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International News Digest

NEW GEOGRAPHY OF PARISIAN GALLERIES

Le Monde’s Harry Bellet takes a stroll through Paris’s shifting gallery scene. He identifies three sites of tectonic shifts in the City of Lights. While heavyweights are clustering near the swanky Champs-Elysées, younger dealers are still flocking to the funkier Belleville, and some dealers that set up shop on rue Louise-Weiss in the Thirteenth arrondissement are migrating across the Seine to the Marais in the Fourth arrondissement.

In the Champs-Elysées area, both Christie’s and Sotheby’s have arrived in the neighborhood, along with a branch of the Italian gallery Tornabuoni in 2009 and an impressive space in a hotel opened by the Belgian dealer Guy Pieters last March. Meanwhile many are closely watching a building in the nearby Rue de Ponthieu, where the architect Jean-François Bodin is said to be designing a space for another branch of Larry Gagosian’s empire. Rumors are circulating that the Pace Gallery might also open a branch in the neighborhood, although Jennifer Benz Joy, a spokesperson for the gallery, refused to comment on the rumors.

Over in Belleville, young dealers, such as Axel Dibie of the gallery Crèvecoeur, Isabelle Alfonsi and Cécilia Becanovic of the gallery Marcelle Alix, and the gallery Gaudel de Stampa have all set up shop. But some more established galleries are also following the path to Belleville and to larger spaces. Bellet cites the former gallery Cosmic, which was renamed Bugada & Cargnel, as well as the Galerie Suzanne Tarasiève, who migrated to Belleville from the Thirteenth arrondissement.

Tarasiève’s next move—to open a second space in the Marais—may be the start of a trend for other galleries currently located in the Thirteenth arrondissement. “Galleries have multiplied in their shadow,” writes Bellet, citing the latest arrival to the Marais in March, Art:Concept. “Other important galleries will also migrate from the Thirteenth arrondissement to the Marais,” including Jousse Entreprise in April and GB Agency in September.

BEDDING FOR CULTURE

German cities have come up with a novel idea to raise funds for their disappearing cultural budget: tax hotel guests. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the city of Cologne has recently voted in a so-called “bedding tax”: Whoever stays overnight in a Cologne hotel will have to pay 5 percent of the price of the room to support culture in the city. While Saarbrücken has already agreed upon a bedding tax, more German cities—Augsburg, Bochum, Erfurt, Essen, Freiburg, Heidelberg and Stuttgart—are exploring this new source of income. In Cologne, the new tax is expected to raise an extra sixteen million dollars annually for the municipal cultural budget.

The move comes after the German federal government introduced a reduction in the sales tax for hotels from 19 percent to 7 percent value added tax. “Our fee is not an extra charge for hotel business,” said Cologne city treasurer Norbert Walter-Borjans. “We are only decreasing the advantage that hotels have taken from the reduction in sales tax.”

EYEDEA COLLECTION IN PERIL

The news and photography agency Eyedea Presse—home to the world’s third largest collection of photographs—may become another victim in the ongoing crisis of photojournalism. As Le Monde’s Claire Guillot reports, Eyedea was placed in January into judicial recovery—a French legal rehabilitation procedure designed to save jobs in firms that are facing financial difficulties or bankruptcy. In the case of bankruptcy, Eyedea’s sixty-five employees would face an uncertain future along with the group’s collection, which is estimated at thirty million documents, photographs, and negatives made by eleven thousand photographers over the twentieth century. Eyedea Presse-which includes the agencies Gamma, Rapho, Top, Hoa-Qui, Keystone, Stills, Explorer, and Jacana–currently owes $900,000 in copyright payments to photographers, among other debts. “Eyedea’s revival is promising to be perilous in a context of a crisis in the press and of competition from stock images at low prices,” writes Guillot.

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