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ROSEMARIE TROCKEL WINS KAISERRING PRIZE

Rosemarie Trockel has been awarded the prestigious Kaiserring (King’s Ring prize) by the city of Goslar, Germany. As Monopol and dpa report, the annual prize has been given since 1975 to international artists, including Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz, Christo, Jörg Immendorff, Bridget Riley, and, most recently, David Lynch. This year’s jury praised Trockel’s versatility and innovation along with her conceptual and multimedia works, which have earned international renown through both solo and group exhibitions. Born in 1952 in Schwerte, Germany, Trockel studied painting at Cologne’s Werkkunstschule from 1974–78 and made contact with the city’s painting group Mühlheimer Freiheit in the early 1980s before going on to produce her knitted paintings and objects. The fifty-eight-year-old artist will be presented the prize during a ceremony on October 8.

CATTELAN GIVES FINANCE THE FINGER

Maurizio Cattelan is once again at the center of a scandal. As Der Standard and the Süddeutsche Zeitung report, the artist installed a large marble sculpture of a human hand, titled L.O.V.E., featuring the middle finger erect with the other four fingers folded, in front of Milan’s stock exchange Borsa Italiana. According to the original plans, the sculpture was to remain on display for only ten days. But that was more than three months ago.

Last week, Milan’s mayor Letizia Moratti and the municipal council decided to prolong the sculpture’s stay for another nine months, until September 30. While the Borsa Italiana deem the fifteen foot-tall piece rude and anti-capitalistic, the municipal council considers the controversial work to be an important advertisement for a series of cultural events that are being planned in the city before the opening of its new museum for contemporary art in 2013.

“[The sculpture] gives the square in front of the stock exchange a metaphysical character,” said one council member. For Cattelan, the sculpture is “a gesture of love.” “The work is indeed provocative,” said the fifty-one-year-old artist, “but a symbol of contemporary art and an expression of freedom of speech.” While remaining mum on the particular meaning of the work, Cattelan has been more vocal about another scandal, namely the government’s plans to reduce culture budgets by up to 80 percent from last year. Cattelan joined ten other artists in a poster action to protest cuts by the ministry of culture.

JANETTE LAVERRIÈRE (1909–2011)

The Swiss designer Janette Laverrière passed away on January 1, shortly after celebrating her 101st birthday. As the website connaissance des arts reports, Laverrière – who participated in the fifth Berlin Biennial with Nairy Baghramian––studied at Basel’s Allgemeine Gewerbeschule and Lausanne's École des Beaux-Arts before joining Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann’s interior architectural agency in Paris in 1931. That same year she married Maurice Pré with whom she collaborated on both furniture and interior designs until their separation in 1945. A member of the Communist Party since 1945, Laverrière joined the Mobilier national in 1950 and went on to realize interior designs through the 1960s and ’70s. Her designs have been re-edited many times over while her 1952 mural desk is part of the permanent collection at the Centre Pompidou.

DISAPPEARING LIGHTBULBS

As the European Union phases out incandescent lightbulbs, what impact will the law have on artworks? Baulinks.de and Monopol offer a vision of the fast-approaching future by considering the fate of one particular artwork: Carsten Höller’s Light Wall IV, 2007, a thirteen by forty-seven-foot wall of flashing lightbulbs. The original version, on display at the Mark Vanmoerkerke collection in Oostende, Belgium, required 2,688 bulbs and too much electricity. To run the artwork, the incandescent bulbs were replaced last November by more-energy-efficient LED lamps––much to the artist’s pleasure. The six-watt LED lamps, with a market value of approximately $90,600, were provided by Philips to support the project. The LED lamps save 80 percent on energy costs and last fifty times longer than their incandescent predecessors. Moreover, the LED lamps can be dimmed to create the blinking effect without the heat so viewers can spend more time in front of the work, which produces the impression of colors when the eyes are closed. “The wall now has an even stronger hallucinatory effect,” said Höller.

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