International News Digest


Movies, not art exhibitions, usually get rated. But a retrospective about the photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris has led to an exception. As Agence France-Presse reports, the retrospective, which opens on October 8, will be interdicted for visitors under eighteen years of age. The interdiction, a rarity for French museums, hits Clark’s first retrospective in the country. The exhibition will cover fifty years of Clark’s work through more than two hundred photographs, many of which have never been shown before. According to the report, the photographs feature provocative images of adolescents along with sex, violence, and drugs. A cultural representative for the municipal government, which decided on the interdiction, defended the decision. “The moment you have images that could be contested for their content, you must find a solution that will not touch the integrity of the artist’s work,” Christophe Girard told AFP, and cited the example of the Bordeaux exhibition in 2000 ”Présumés innocents” (Presumed Innocent), which led to years of litigation over the exhibition’s alleged sexual content.


Editor, critic, and curator Georg Schöllhammer is taking on the artistic directorship of the Vienna contemporary art fair Viennafair. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, Schöllhammer will be joined by codirector Hedwig Saxenhuber. The founding editor of the magazine Springerin, Schöllhammer also organized the Documenta 12 magazine project. “In our curatorial and editorial activities, we have contributed a little to developing Vienna’s important role as a place for exchange,” said Schöllhammer, who hopes to develop the fair as a market that will go beyond East and South Europe. Viennafair 2011 runs from May 12 to 15.


The painter Andreas Schulze has been awarded the annual artist prize by the Cologne Fine Art and Antiquities fair. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the prize, which is doted with $17,000, will be given to Schulze during the November fair, when a special exhibition of the artist’s work will also take place. Former winners include Sigmar Polke, Katharina Sieverding, and Thomas Schütte. The fair runs from November 17 to 21.


Last February’s spectacular sale of Alberto Giacometti’s 1960 sculpture L’homme qui marche I (The Walking Man I) is finally bringing some good news, and much-needed funds, to German museums. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, the Commerzbank, which auctioned off the sculpture through Sotheby’s at $103.7 million, has decided to give one million dollars to the Städel Museum and one million dollars to the Museum für Moderne Kunst, both in Frankfurt. The Commerzbank sold off the Giacometti work from the former Dresdner Bank’s corporate art collection after having taken over the bank. While initially promising to give all of the receipts from the sale to arts and culture, the Commerzbank had a change of heart after the auction results.

This second edition of Giacometti’s sculpture stands in the record books as one of the most expensive artworks ever sold on the block. Now, Commerzbank has promised a third of the sale price to supporting the arts and culture in Germany. Along with the Städel and the MMK museums, Berlin’s Nationalgalerie, Dresden’s state galleries, as well as the bank’s own foundation will receive funding.


Itay’s minister of culture Sandro Bondi is not happy with the director Quentin Tarantino’s role as the president of the latest Venice film festival. As Agence France-Presse reports, Bondi accused Tarantino of being “elitist” and a “snob” in an interview in the weekly Panorama. “Tarantino is the expression of an elitist, relativist, and snob culture,” said Bondi, adding that the director’s “vision influences his critical judgments.”

“The results of the festival obliges everyone to open their eyes and to do a bit of introspection,” said the minister of culture, an ally of president Silvio Berlusconi who himself has expressed the wish to see Italy play a more central role in selecting future members of the festival’s jury. “Since it’s about public funding, starting now, we want to be implicated in the selection of jury members,” Bondi told Panorama. The Italian government contributes nine million dollars to the festival’s sixteen million dollar budget. The AFP notes that Tarantino was criticized by the Italian journalists, and many others, for giving the top prizes to his friends. While Tarantino’s ex, Sofía Coppola, walked away with the best film Golden Lion for her effort Somewhere, one of the director’s friends Alex de la Iglesia won the Silver Lion for best scenario with Balada Triste de la trompeta, and a mentor and producer of his film Reservoir Dogs won a Special Prize for his life’s work. The jury members also included the directors Arnaud Desplechin (France), Guillermo Arriaga (Mexico), and Gabriele Salvatores (Italy).

Jennifer Allen