International News Digest


José-Manuel Gonçalves has been chosen as the new director of the 104 space in Paris. As Le Monde’s Clarisse Fabre reports, the 131,000 square-foot complex in the Nineteenth has suffered from financial and managerial difficulties since its opening in October 2008. Gonçalvès, who has headed the arts and cultural center Ferme du Buisson in Marne-la-Vallée since 1999, replaces Robert Cantarella and Frédéric Fisbach, who decided not to prolong their contract after just one year at the helm of 104. Gonçalvès has also piloted the company Made in Productions and chairs the Rosny circus school. “He will have the difficult task of enlivening this wasteland, which has struggled to exist since its opening,” writes Fabre. And Gonçalvès will have the equally difficult task of sticking to a non-negotiable budget of $10 million, which was given by the city of Paris. Renting out additional spaces in the complex is expected to generate another $13 million.

Under Gonçalvès’s direction, 104 is expected to remain a production site for artists in residence, but the complex will also move towards theatrical shows through associations with other key theaters in Paris. Using his multidisciplinary experience from the Ferme du Buisson, Gonçalvès will bring together artistic creation with festival direction. “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” noted Gonçalvès. “I won’t give a lecture about the link between the neighborhood and social workers––that’s part of my everyday routine!” The routine may hold some surprises in the next coming weeks. A report by the municipal general inspector is expected by the end of the month to clarify the real financial situation of the site, although the deficit is expected to be lower than $855,500, which had been previously announced.


Milan has finally opted for an expansion of its famed painting gallery Pinacoteca di Brera inside the Palazzo Brera. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the debate over the building has been going on for more than two decades. Next year will see the beginning of the reconstruction of a barracks complex, which will house parts of the art academy, which is currently located in the ground floor of the Palazzo Brera. This reconstruction for the Accademia della Belle Arti and its nearly 3,500 students, should be complete by 2015. The Pinacoteca, which is currently located on the top floor, will be able to occupy the ground floor of the palace. This expansion project puts a definitive end to former plans to use the Palazzo Citterio, an underground complex designed by James Stirling in the 1980s as an extension for the Pinacoteca but stopped in the midst of construction. Currently, the Fondazione Trussardi is showing videos and installations by Paul McCarthy in the unfinished space.


Maurizio Cattelan is no stranger to controversy, especially in the realm of public sculpture. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, Milan’s city council is debating the fate of a series of public sculptures that Cattelan has proposed as part of his upcoming show this fall at the Palazzo Reale and other locations in the city. Cattelan’s proposal for the front of the stock exchange, a large sculpture of a crippled hand, is the topic of discussion. More reports point to problems with other works, including Contro le ideologie (Against the ideologies) planned for the Piazza Affari: a sculpture of a huge hand missing all fingers except for the middle one. The Milanese have reason to be wary. In May 2004, Cattelan shocked locals by hanging three puppets representing children from the branches of an oak tree in the city’s Piazza XXIV Maggio.


Cattelan’s is not the only contemporary art project facing obstacles in Milan. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the plans for the MAC museum of contemporary art, designed by Daniel Libeskind, are also being debated by the city councilors as well. The architect has already reduced the exhibition space by one half from 32,800 to 16,100 square feet. Despite the compromise and the reduction in size, there’s a growing opposition in the municipal government to realize the project, which is estimated to cost $56 million.