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Kiev Biennial Canceled Due to Turmoil in Ukraine [UPDATED]

Due to security concerns, organizers of Kiev’s second biennial of contemporary art, Art ARSENALE, have pulled the plug on this year’s festival, reports the New York Times’ Sophia Kishkovsky. The biennial, curated by Georg Schöllhammer and Hedwig Saxenhuber, was supposed to be held later this year.

A statement posted on the website of the Mystetskyi Arsenal museum, which would have hosted the biennial, said that it was “absolutely impossible” to continue with plans “due to the fact that the armed conflict in the East of Ukraine does not stop.”

Originally planned for last year, the biennial was postponed in February 2014 as tensions grew in Kiev. Noted Nataliia Zabolotna, the general director of Mystetskyi Arsenal and founder and commissioner of the biennial: “We were hoping that the military confrontation would end.”

UPDATE, March 24, 2015, 2:44 PM: Schöllhammer and Saxenhuber have apparently released a statement noting that the Mystetskyi Arsenal unilaterally acted to cancel the biennial. But citing the “artists, intellectuals and civil society initiatives of Ukraine, Europe and the world” who’ve all already been extensively involved, the curators have “decided to continue the preparation of biennial in Kiev,” if without the support of the Mystetskyi Arsenale.

“After the revolution at Maidan and during the war in the East of the country, the political potential of art is relevant as ever,” they wrote.