International News Digest

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH TO OPEN MUSEUM IN SAINT PETERSBURG?

Roman Abramovich may be expanding his art portfolio in Russia. According to a report from the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Sonja Zekri, the Russian billionaire may be planning to build a museum for modern art on the New Holland island in Saint Petersburg. Abramovich recently won an open competition to develop the three-hundred-year-old docklands on the artificial island, which held the first Russian military harbor. Abramovich now plans to invest four-hundred-million dollars over the next two to five years––an investment that may include a space to show his personal art collection. Abramovich already put up the money to turn the former bus central, The Garage, into a contemporary art gallery headed by his partner Dasha Zhukova. Another investor––unnamed in the report––was developing a design by Norman Foster on New Holland island, but the project was taken away from this investor after guidelines for the protection of historical monuments were not followed.

MUSEUM CLOSES DUE TO ECONOMIC CRISIS

The latest victim of the global economic crisis is the Chillida-Leku Museum in Saint Sebastian, Spain. As Agence France-Presse reports, the museum, which features works by the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida who died in 2002, will close its doors January 1, 2011. The crisis has made the project “impossible from the point of view of a private initiative,” according to a statement released by the museum. “This decision came about due to the recurrent deficit of the museum as well as almost all other artistic museums,” noted the statement. Even though the museum will close its doors to the public, the institution will continue to retain Chillida’s works, including the sculpture Wind Comb, 1977, and to contribute to both national and international exhibitions. Since its inauguration in 2000, the Chillida-Leku Museum has welcomed 810,000 visitors.

MAC/VAL DIRECTORS TO HEAD NUIT BLANCHE

The tenth edition of Paris’s Nuit Blanche (White Night,) when the city’s museums stay open late, will be lead by the directors of the MAC/VAL contemporary art museum at Vitry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne), just beyond the city’s periphery. As Agence France-Presse reports, Alexia Fabre, the head curator at MAC/VAL, and Frank Lamy, head of temporary exhibitions at the institution, have been chosen by the city of Paris to take care of the programming for the prestigious event, which attracted 1.5 million visitors last fall. The choice reflects the rising status of the MAC/VAL, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. For the mayor’s office, the choice “illustrates once again the good will to open up Nuit Blanche toward greater metropolitan Paris.” The tenth edition of Nuit Blanche will run on October 1 and 2, 2011.

CARDIFF AND BURES MILLER WIN KOLLWITZ PRIZE

The artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller have been awarded the Käthe Kollwitz Prize for 2011. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the prize, doted with $16,000, is awarded annually by Berlin’s Akademie der Künste. The jury members––Arnold Dreyblatt, Birgit Hein, and Wulf Herzogenrath––praised the “unique artistic position” of Cardiff and Bures Miller, who split their time between Berlin and Canada.

ANSELM KIEFER AT THE COLLÈGE DE FRANCE

The German artist Anselm Kiefer has become one of the select lecturers of the prestigious Collège de France. As Le Monde’s Philippe Dagen reports, the sixty-five-year-old painter and sculptor gave his inaugural lecture last week as the new chair of artistic creation. His talk, titled “L’art survivra à ses ruines” (Art Will Survive Its Ruins,) was presented to the college’s other professors as well as directors and former directors of France’s museums, including Werner Spies, Serge Le Moine, Olivier Kaeppelin, and Alfred Pacquement. According to Dagen, Kiefer said that art knows no progress and defies verbal definitions while thriving in contact with poets, writers, and philosophers. The program for Kiefer’s courses at the college can be found on its website. Coming lectures include conversations with Daniel Buren (January 24), Edgar Morin (February 28) and Roland Recht (March 14). The final sessions will be led by Danièle Cohn at Kiefer’s ateliers in Croissy-Beaubourg (March 25) and at Barjac (April 29), where the artist has transformed a factory and a hill into an “unlimited work of art.”

Jennifer Allen