International News Digest

NEW DIRECTOR FOR HEIDELBERG’S KUNSTVEREIN

Susana Sáez has been named the new director of Heidelberg’s Kunstverein. As Monopol reports, Sáez replaces Johan Holten, who will take on the directorship of the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden on April 1, 2011. Sáez, a German-Spanish national born in 1975 in Zaragoza, Spain, studied art history and literature in Berlin. Her work with the departing director Holten dates back to 2004. “With Susana Sáez as the commissioned director, the exhibition program that has been adopted until spring 2012 will be carried out at a high level,” said the head of the board of directors and state secretary Michael Sieber. “Susana Sáez has not only formed the position of the Kunstverein with respect to content in recent years but also brought many organization threads together.”

C/O BERLIN MISSES OUT ON BERLIN’S JEWISH GIRL’S SCHOOL

Berlin’s C/O gallery for photography, which must move from its current location in a former postal building in the city’s Mitte district, has faced a setback in its search for a new home. As Monopol reports, the gallery had hoped to secure a location in Auguststrasse in the former Jewish Girl’s School, which was used as an exhibition site for the fourth Berlin Biennial “Of Mice and Men” co-curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni, and Ali Subotnick. The Jewish Community, which decides the fate of Jewish buildings in the city, has instead chosen the investor Michael Fuchs from Galerie Haas & Fuchs. “This decision, which comes during ongoing negotiations, comes as a surprise to C/O Berlin,” said a press rep for the gallery. C/O Berlin must move out of its current location by the spring but is still hoping for an extension of its lease until the end of 2012.

FALCKENBERG COLLECTION TO BE LOANED TO HAMBURG’S DEICHTORHALLEN

The Hamburg collector Harald Falckenberg will be offering his private collection as a long-term loan to the city’s Deichtorhallen. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, Falckenberg’s collection includes 1,900 modern and contemporary works, including creations by Jonathan Meese, Martin Kippenberger, and Daniel Richter. Falckenberg––a jurist and an entrepreneur––was awarded the Art Cologne Prize in 2009 for his activities in contemporary art. “This is a real Christmas present,” said Deichtorhallen director Dirk Luckow, “and for us an enormous gain.” The collection will be shown in the Deichtorhallen as well as in the Phönix-halle, which will become another branch of the Deichtorhallen. The Falckenberg collection will also get an annual curatorial budget of $92,000 and an extra grant of $660,000. The agreement begins on January 1, 2011 and will last until at least December 31, 2023.

NEW QATAR MUSEUM FOR MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART

Le Monde’s Harry Bellet takes a tour of the new Mathaf museum in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Mathaf––the Arabic word for museum––was designed by the French architect Jean-François Bodin and features 6,000 works dating from 1840 to the present in an 18,000 square-foot exhibition space. As Bellet reports, the museum reflects the ambition of Sheik Hassan bin Mohammed bin Ali Al-Thani, an artist, the vice president of the Qatar Museum Authority, and a collector who has been amassing artworks from the Arab world for over twenty years. “Here it’s about Arab art, not Islamic art,” writes Bellet, adding “[t]he nuance is important.” Along with art historical selections, Mathaf’s three inaugural exhibitions include a contemporary show with works by Ghada Amer, Kader Attia, Walid Raad, Mounir Fatmi, and Zineb Sedira. “This group is of an exceptional level,” writes Bellet. “If it were presented at the Venice Biennale, for example, it would merit the prize for the best pavilion.”

SNOW PROBLEMS FOR POMPIDOU CENTRE METZ

Snow has become a problem not only for holiday travelers but also for museums. As Le Monde’s Nicolas Bastuck reports, the Centre Pompidou branch in Metz, France, is feeling the weight of the white stuff. For the second time in one month, the building, co-designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, has suffered breaks in its elegantly curved roof due to the weight of snow. While the first break in the roof occurred on December 5, the most recent break, a twelve foot-long tear, occurred on the night of December 20. Every day workers are checking the snow, and have used high-pressure water jets to remove it from the roof. “It wasn’t enough,” said Antoine Fonte, an assistant to the Metz mayor who is in charge of culture. “When things started to thaw, all the snow accumulated on the roof rushed down the sloping roof, provoking mini-avalanches.” Despite the negative impact of the wintery weather on the roof, the building itself remains solid. “The structure is not threatened,” said Jean-Luc Bohl of Metz-Métropole, which owns the building. “We can continue to welcome the public in a secure manner.”

Jennifer Allen