Jennifer Allen

  • news December 28, 2009

    International News Digest

    Reviewing the Decade and 2009 in Art; Looking for Leonardo


    Die Welt’s Tim Ackermann takes a look at the past decade, which he argues was better for art than for art criticism. While contemporary art teetered between “boom” and “bling,” art criticism began to show signs of wear and tear in 2002 at Okwui Enwezor’s Documenta 11. For Ackermann, this “politically correct monster” turned Kassel into a kind of UN summit for global artists while suggesting that the art world had been exhausted. “To everyone,” writes Ackermann, “it became suddenly clear that there were no more real avant-garde artists hidden away anymore in the West African

  • news December 21, 2009

    International News Digest

    Art at Copenhagen Talks; Trading Modernity for History in Warsaw?; Contemporary Art at the Hermitage; Algerian Artist Kicked Out of Alexandria Biennial; Pregnant Saint Petersburgers Flock to Exhibitions


    While Copenhagen failed to produce a tough climate deal, there was no lack of dialogue. The Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Andrian Kreye listened in on a unique session held at the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, where figures such as curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, artist Olafur Eliasson, philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, mathematician Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, and ecological engineer Matthias Schuler took to the podium. While Kreye notes that consensus was rare, climate change remains one of the few themes where all agree that something must be done. “My generation has witnessed the

  • news December 14, 2009

    International News Digest

    Iranian Artist Arrested; Litz to Head Documenta 13 Projects; Can Google Post Images?; “Art of Two Germanys” AICA’s Top Show; French Strike Update; Human Rights Exhibition Partially Dismantled


    Parastou Forouhar—an Iranian artist living in Offenbach, Germany—has been arrested in her native country. As Der Standard reports, Forouhar was stopped as she was traveling from Tehran to Germany while her passport was confiscated. The Iranian ministry of information has brought charges against Forouhar, but in a telephone interview last week, the artist said that she not been informed about the precise content of the charges. Her work is currently on display at the BrotKunsthalle in Vienna and at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. Gereon Sievernich, the director of the

  • news December 08, 2009

    International News Digest

    Pompidou Curators Side with Striking Workers; Cultural Figures Protest Swiss Referendum; Latvian Cultural Minister Under Fire


    Curators at the Pompidou Center wrote an open letter to French culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand last week to explain the impact of government plans on the national museum. As Le Monde’s Clarisse Fabre reports, the twenty-one signatories did not include four curators who have “hierarchical” roles in the museum. The Révision générale des politiques publiques (General Revision of Public Policies) will have a particularly devastating impact on the Pompidou, due to the age of the majority of its employees who are heading for retirement. The plan, which

  • news November 30, 2009

    International News Digest

    More Details on the “Papal Pavilion” at Venice; Bye-Bye Dubai; Update on Pompidou Strike; Berlin Gallery Weekend and Art Cologne Lists


    The Süddeutsche Zeitung has released more details about the Vatican’s pavilion, which is being planned for the next Venice Biennale in 2011. According to the newspaper, the name of the Swiss architect Mario Botta is circulating as a possible designer to create a Vatican pavilion. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, director of the papal cultural council, stated that he asked Botta informally as a “longtime friend.” The sixty-six-year-old Botta, who hails from the Swiss canton of Ticino, has made a name for himself internationally through his designs for

  • news November 24, 2009

    International News Digest

    Pope Invites Artists for Papal Blessing; French Courts Block Sale of Press-Edition Photos; Prague’s New Museum; ZKM Head Takes on Kunsthalle Düsseldorf; “Fake” Beuys to be Dismantled; Taschen’s Helmut Newton Book Temporarily Shelved; EasyJet Recalls Magazine with Holocaust Memorial Fashion Shoot


    Pope Benedict XVI invited 260 cultural figures—artists, architects, singers, filmmakers, and writers—for a talk last weekend in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. The Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Henning Klüver reports that many of the guests were Italian cultural figures, although others answered the papal call from abroad, including Bill Viola, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Terence Hill, and Peter Greenaway. In his talk, the pope—citing Dostoyevsky, Georges Braque, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and even Augustine—noted that the search for beauty could

  • news November 17, 2009

    International News Digest

    Hamburg’s Artists Making Gains—and Resisting City Marketing; Vladimir Poutine Embraces Street Art; Bamako Biennial Honors African Photographers; Orozco’s “Skeleton Sculpture” Comes to New York; Paris’s 104 Looks for a New Director; Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI II Museum Opens in Rome—with a Dance


    A group of Hamburg artists who squatted historical buildings slated for development has made gains in its battle for affordable housing, art spaces, and the preservation of a local architectural gem known as the “Gängeviertel” neighborhood. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the City of Hamburg is slowly but surely moving toward buying the inner-city area back from the Dutch investor Hanzevast. which had planned to demolish the buildings and replace them with luxury apartments and shops. “It’s true that not everything is yet set in

  • news November 11, 2009

    International News Digest

    Berlin’s East Gallery Reopens; Old Masters in Public Spaces; Curators, Dealers, and Artists—from Larry Gagosian to Matthew Barney—Sign Beuys Petition; Another Struggle over Photographs of Beuys Performances


    The twentieth-anniversary celebrations for the fall of the Berlin Wall—while marking the end of German and European divisions—also include a few traces of the actual wall. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the famed “East Side Gallery” has opened to the public after months of reconstructive work. The gallery of graffiti images—which were created by artists from around the world in 1990 on the remains of the wall—has also been named as the world’s longest open-air gallery. Measuring about 0.8 miles, the East Side Gallery is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin

  • news November 07, 2009

    International News Digest

    Sâadane Afif Wins Marcel Duchamp Prize; Ida Tursic and Wilfried Mille Win Ricard Foundation Prize; Artist Hides Gold; Sigmar Polke Wins Swiss Prize; Pierre Bergé Creates Endowment to Fight AIDS; Kippenberger's Paris Bar Painting: Not Exactly Kippi


    The French artist Sâadane Afif has been awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize for 2009. The prize, which comes with nearly fifty thousand dollars, was presented to Afif at FIAC. Association pour la Diffusion Internationale de l’Art Francaise (ADIAF), which has given out the prize annually for the past nine years, posted the announcement. “His work over the past few years in collaboration with musicians, art critics, and other artists enables him to envision new forms of receiving art,” noted the jury in its evaluation.

    The jury included American collector James

  • news October 27, 2009

    International News Digest

    Bergman Property to Become Artist Center?; French Antiquarians Versus Auction Houses; “General Strike” at Vienna Academy; Dutch Museum Loses Collection to Creditors; Hamburg Artist Protest Impacts City Planners


    Ingmar Bergman’s property on the island of Farö in the Baltic Sea has been sold. As Agence France-Presse reports, the Norwegian businessman Hans Gude Gudesen purchased the property from the inheritors of the late Swedish film director, who died in 2007. According to the report, Gudesen plans to transform the property into “an artistic center,” although there are no further details in the report on his plans.


    Antiquarians in France are up in arms over proposed legislation that would allow auction houses like Christie’s

  • news October 19, 2009

    International News Digest

    A “New” Mona Lisa Theory; Trouble Broils over Peru’s “Memory Museum”; Denmark Faces Crisis in Arts Funding; Do Internet Users Consume More Culture?


    While many have pondered why Mona Lisa smiles, the new question among researchers focuses on who Mona Lisa is. As Agence France-Presse reports, the Italian historian Roberto Zapperi is the latest researcher to propose a theory about the identity of the smiling subject in Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. According to Zapperi, the “Jaconde” does not capture Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a Florentine merchant, as was reported by Giorgio Vasari in 1550. Citing the minutes of a meeting that took place between Leonardo and Cardinal Louis d’Aragon at the Clos Lucé in central

  • news October 15, 2009

    International News Digest

    Van der Heide to Direct Kunstverein München; Peter Weibel Awarded European Culture Prize; Fischli & Weiss Win Wolfgang Hahn Prize; Baselitz Honored; Update on the “Affaire Mitterrand”; Majority Wants Mitterrand to Stay; Académie des Beaux-Arts Supports Polanski


    Munich’s Kunstverein has decided on Bart van der Heide as the successor to director Stefan Kalmár. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, van der Heide––an art critic and publicist––worked at London's Cubitt gallery up until March of this year. Kalmár is the new director of Artists Space in New York.


    The media megatheorist Peter Weibel has been awarded the European Culture Prize in the Project category. As the Standard reports, Weibel directs the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Center for Art and Media

  • news October 07, 2009

    International News Digest

    Right and Left, Calls for French Culture Minister’s Resignation; Pierre Bergé Received Death Threats over Chinese Bronzes; Citing Health Reasons, Ai Weiwei Cancels Appearance; Bridget Riley Honored; Something Rotten in Denmark?


    The right-wing French political party Front National (FN) has called for the resignation of the national minister of culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, after Mitterrand showed support for the cause of the French-Polish film director Roman Polanski. As Agence France-Presse reports, the FN petition included excerpts from Mitterand’s best-selling 2005 book, La Mauvaise Vie (The Bad Life), with details of sexual tourism. “It’s not surprising that Frédéric Mitterrand supports Roman Polanski,” said FN party head Jean-Marie Le Pen, who qualified Mitterand’s

  • news September 29, 2009

    International News Digest

    Documenta Directors Meet in Turin; Kippi’s Paris Bar for Sale; Artists Draw Khodorkovsky Trial; Good-bye to the Blockbuster, Hello to the Permanent Collection; Spread of Street Festivals: the Antidote to “Elitist” Contemporary Art; Phillips de Pury Introduces the Monthly Auction—with a Theme


    Documenta 13 director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev invited all the living former directors of Documenta for a discussion at the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Holger Liebs reports, the question of the day seemed to turn around poetry versus discourse in the curatorial strategies at the Kassel show.

    The late founding curator Arnold Bode and the late Documenta 5 curator Harald Szeemann were both represented by companions of the period or former colleagues. Jean-Christophe Ammann from Szeemann’s team argued that Catherine David’s 1997

  • news September 21, 2009

    International News Digest

    Ai Weiwei Hospitalized in Munich; Sigmar Polke Painting Goes Missing; Swine Flu as Sculpture; Lecturing the Pompidou?


    The Chinese artist, architect, and activist Ai Weiwei has been hospitalized in Munich for a cerebral hemorrhage. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Henrik Bork reports, Ai accuses the Chinese government and claims that he suffered the injury due to police brutality in the Chinese province of Sichuan. “I was operated on yesterday evening at 10 PM,” said Ai, who has been documenting the entire process at Munich’s Klinikum Großhadern on his Twitter feed. The surgery occurred last Monday; Ai was in Munich in preparation for his upcoming show at Munich’s Haus der Kunst.


  • news September 15, 2009

    International News Digest

    Shirin Neshat Wins Best Director at Venice; Pipilotti Rist’s Pepperminta Debuts; Ten Cultural Projects for France, Including a Pompidou on Wheels; Arts Council Seeks Assessors


    The Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat has been awarded the Silver Lion for best director for her directorial debut, Zanan Bedoone Mardan (Women Without Men), at the Sixty-sixth Venice Film Festival. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neshat discusses the film, which follows the fate of four women in Iran in 1953, when the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadeq was overthrown by a foreign-sponsored coup. Neshat and her cast dressed in green and made peace signs while crossing the red carpet as an act of solidarity with

  • news September 07, 2009

    International News Digest

    Free Museums in Spain?; “Super” Art in Berlin; Furor over Israel Exhibition; Koolhaas Defends Beijing Tower; Hirst vs. Cartrain; Art for Public Buildings in Estonia?


    Spain is the latest country to pick up on the debate about the policy of free entry to state museums. Eurotopics cites a report by El Correo’s Enrique Portocarrero, who considers the French policy of opening national museums to the public for free one day a month with the goal of increasing visitor numbers. “This is an interesting solution,” writes Portocarrero. “Especially for attracting younger visitors and for the evening hours when visiting these places can be an alternative to other, less cultured pastimes.” Calling France “an important laboratory for cultural and

  • news September 01, 2009

    International News Digest

    Stoschek Collection to Leave Düsseldorf?; Berlin Mayor Supports Kunsthalle; Bristol Decides Between Art and Vandalism; Picasso Museum: Not Coming to Museum Near You; Swedish Student Artwork Judged; Question over Appel Paintings; Scientist Preserve World Heritage Sites; Technology Brings Mona Lisa to Life in China


    The German collector Julia Stoschek is having second thoughts about keeping her private collection of media art in Düsseldorf. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Catrin Lorch reports, the problem regards the city’s plans for a new office and residential development in the direct vicinity of the Julia Stoschek Collection. In 2007, the young collector opened her collection to the public in a former framing factory after spending fourteen million dollars of her own funds to renovate the registered historical building. According to a press release from the

  • news August 25, 2009

    International News Digest

    Artists Occupy Hamburg Buildings; Interpol Puts Database of Stolen Art Online; Market for Fake Art; Art Competition or Historical Revision in Poland?


    Close to two hundred artists occupied a dozen empty houses in Hamburg’s inner city over the weekend. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung and DPA report, the painter Daniel Richter was among the crowds who broke into the buildings, which have been barricaded for years, to transform them into galleries and ateliers. “They wanted to bring attention to the shortage of space for artists, as well as save the historic buildings from deterioration and demolition,” notes the report.

    A spokesperson for the group, Darko Caramello, said that the houses would remain occupied until the

  • news August 17, 2009

    International News Digest

    A Second Auction for Yves Saint Laurent; Disputes over Professorship in Leipzig; Former HK MoCA Director Leaves Debt; French Artist Sentenced in Hong Kong


    The spectacular auction of the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection at Christie’s last February did not exhaust the pair’s treasures. As Agence France-Presse reports, a second auction of objects belonging to the late designer and his partner will take place at the Christie’s Paris branch once again in mid-November. This second sale, which includes twelve hundred objects kept at their residences in Paris and at the Château Gabriel in Normandy—from a gouache by Fernand Léger to Yves Saint Laurent’s Mercedes Benz—is expected to bring in between $4 and