December 24, 2012

Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum to Close

The Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, a nonprofit multidisciplinary arts institution founded in December 2005, has announced that it will close at the end of this month. “Undoubtedly, we believe that ACAF played an important role in Alexandria during previous years,” curators Bassam El Baroni, Mona Marzouk, and Mahmoud Khaled wrote in an email sent today. “But, we have come to the conclusion that this role—a balancing act between an open minded approach to education, a quality-based presentation of art, and a context-based criticality—is no longer sustainable as Egypt and Alexandria shifts and fluctuates both positively and negatively in a period of heightened political and social transitions.”

December 21, 2012

International News Digest


The new Pas-de-Calais location of the Louvre’s satellite museum, Louvre-Lens, opened to the public on December 12. Its architecture, designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA, cost nearly two hundred million dollars, and was constructed to be fully integrated into its landscape design, which was conceived by Catherine Mosbach. The new building features five rectangular segments, reports Le Monde. The function of the space is different from that of the original Louvre. While it doesn’t have its own collection, there will be a great entrance hall, workshop rooms, and a fully exposed storage facility viewable from the entrance. Henri Loyrette, who recently announced that he will be stepping down from his position as director of the Louvre, spoke to Le Monde about the purpose and unique qualities of the new space. He stated, “A great characteristic of the Louvre is that it was a palace before it was a museum, even though the great halls built in the Second Empire were designed to display painting. The Louvre-Lens is a museum, a transversal museum, meaning that it will give us the option to show works that in Paris would be separated in different departments.” As to the possible pitfalls of the new space, Loyrette said, “In my eyes there are two ways it could fail: if the Louvre’s habitual visitors feel it’s not a place for them, and if the people who visit Louvre-Lens think they can skip the Louvre.”

Eighty-four-year-old artist Otto Piene has received the Max Beckmann award from the city of Frankfurt, reports Der Standard. The German Piene is a sculptor who founded the influential German art movement, Zero Group, with Heinz Mack. The Max Beckmann prize honors artists in the fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, and drawing, and comes with a cash award of $50,000. Previous winners include Arnulf Rainer, Willem de Kooning, Bruce Nauman, Richard Hamilton, and Barbara Klemm.

Prosecutors are no longer pursuing corruption and embezzlement charges against former Kunsthalle Wien director Gerald Matt. Matt was accused of offering Austrian citizenship to foreigners who made significant donations to the kunsthalle. Der Standard reports that the Attorney’s Office for Economics and Corruption (WKStA) has abandoned its proceedings against Matt, as well as kunsthalle officials Thomas Häusle, Siegfried Menz, and Bettina Leidl. Explained the prosecutors, “Taking into consideration all the results of the investigation, we could not find a conscious abuse of power based on an intent to harm.” It has been noted that the statute of limitations had expired on a large part of the alleged embezzlement, which could therefore not be investigated. The Green Party’s cultural spokesman Wolfgang Zinggl told Der Standard he was “surprised” at the closing of the investigation. He noted, “When a contract allows for the private use of public money, one has to question the contract, for one, and also the public authorities handing out money that accept such a contract.”

Meanwhile, Der Spiegel reports that workers have uncovered six murals by German painter Otto Dix during the process of renovating the artist’s former home in Southern German city of Hemmenhofen. The paintings were discovered behind a large bookcase in the cellar, which was used as a library. The Stuttgart Kunstmuseum operates the house, and officials from the museum surmised that Dix produced the works for the Mardi Gras celebration of 1966.

December 21, 2012

Simon de Pury Leaves Phillips de Pury

According to Andrew Russeth in GalleristNY, Simon de Pury has announced that he will be leaving Phillips de Pury in January after twelve years as chairman. The departure follows the auction house’s acquisition by Mercury Group, a Russian investment company, in 2008. Said de Pury, “I embark on new adventures comfortable with the knowledge that the company is in an excellent position and has been going from strength to strength.” The auction house, which from now on will be known as Phillips, also revealed its plans to expand its space at 450 Park Avenue.

December 20, 2012

Museum of Liverpool Wins European Museum Prize

The BBC reports that the Museum of Liverpool has received the 2013 European Museum Prize. The Council of Europe, the human-rights watchdog organization that offers the prize annually, praised the Museum of Liverpool for its “exemplary recognition of human rights in museum practice,” adding, “It promotes mutual respect between ethnically and socially diverse parts of the society, addresses human rights through contemporary debates and dialogue, and maintains an open and inclusive policy aimed at bridging cultures in every aspect of its work.” The museum will receive a statuette by Joan Miro to keep for a year.

December 20, 2012

Laguna Beach Art Museum Receives $100,000

According to Samar Khoury in the OC Metro, philanthropist and collector Yvonne Boseker has pledged $100,000 to the Laguna Beach Art Museum, which will establish the Edward H. and Yvonne J. Boseket Fund for Early California Art, named for Boseket and her husband. The fund will support conservation of works in the museum’s collection, as well as exhibitions featuring Californian art. The Pacific Life Foundation and the Laguna Beach Community Foundation have also given the museum grants of $10,000 and $4,000 respectively, for community programs.

December 19, 2012

Iman Issa Wins Han Nefkens Foundation–MACBA Award

The Cairo-born artist Iman Issa has been named the winner of the Han Nefkens Foundation–MACBA award, offered by Dutch patron and writer Han Nefkens in collaboration with the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. Issa will receive about $26,000 as an artist fee, plus an additional $40,000 to cover the costs of a new work that will be presented in Barcelona. Her work has been featured in “The Ungovernables” at the New Museum and “Seeing is Believing” at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin, among other exhibitions.

December 18, 2012

Andrea Viliani Named Director of MADRE

Andrea Viliani has been appointed director of the Museo d‘Arte contemporanea DonnaREgina (MADRE) in Naples. Viliani was previously the director of the Fondazione Galleria Civica di Trento and participated in Documenta 13 as a curatorial agent. He was one of thirty-three candidates selected by a committee including Laura Cherubini, Bice Curiger, Johanna Burton, Andrea Bellini, Gianfranco Maraniello, and Chuz Martinez.

December 18, 2012

Henri Loyrette, Director of Musée du Louvre, Resigns

After twelve years as director of the Musée du Louvre, Henri Loyrette has announced that he will not renew his contract. Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper reports that under his tenure, “visitor figures are expected to reach a record high of almost ten million by the end of the year.” In 2001, this figure was 51. million. The announcement comes on the heels of the Louvre’s launch of a satellite space in Lens, an industrial city in the north of France, as well as the inauguration of the museum’s new Islamic art galleries, heavily championed by Loyrette, which opened in September. Loyrette will stay on until April of 2013.

December 18, 2012

Jewish Museum in New York to Offer “Pay-What-You-Wish” Admission System One Evening per Week

The Jewish Museum in New York has announced that one evening per week it will offer an admission system similar to that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, allowing viewers to decide if they would like to pay for entry or visit free of charge. The New York Observer reports that this program has been coined “pay-what-you-wish” and will be available on Thursday evenings from 5pm to 9pm, effective January 3.