International News Digest

JULY 25

Der Standard has conducted an interview with Karola Kraus, director of the Museum Moderner Kunst Foundation Ludwig in Vienna (MUMOK), who discusses the recent drop in attendance, the institution’s budget crisis, and her own desires for the museum’s future. With regard to the plummeting visitor numbers, she states, “The three-month closing due to remodeling was the reason for the decline. The new year has gotten off to a good start; the Claes Oldenburg exhibition counts among the most visited exhibitions since Mumok’s move to the Museumsquartier.” She went on to note that expenses are on the rise, which hurts the development of the collection and the museum’s ability to present younger artists. When the topic of conversation strayed to her personal art collection, Kraus said: “I have always been surrounded by art, and in this sense there’s no separation for me between my professional life and my private life. I can’t say: ‘At home, I’m not interested in art.’ In my free time art is the most important subject as well.”

Artist Olafur Eliasson and inventor Frederik Ottesen have been collaborating on a solar lamp that may revolutionize living standards in many third-world nations, reports Monopol. The lamp, Little Sun, resembles a sunflower and can be used as a ceiling, table, or bike light. After four hours in the sun, the six-by-six-centimeter module can give off light for five hours. Eliasson and Ottesen’s device, designed to last up to three years, could replace the ubiquitous kerosene lamp, which, among other things, gives off the stench of petroleum and is prone to starting fires. Perhaps we shall soon see entire countries illuminated by millions of small sunflowers.

The Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Photographie (ENSP) in Arles, France, founded in 1982 under the auspices of François Mitterrand and Jack Lang, will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year. Libération’s Sylvain Bourmeau spoke with François Hébel, director of Rencontres d’Arles, about the occasion. Hébel explained why he made alumni of the photography school the focus of the 2012 Rencontres d’Arles, stressing the uniqueness of the ENSP: “The instructors did not format their students for the market. On the contrary, ENSP develops a critical spirit. Whether they become photographers or experts (artistic directors, curators, exhibition makers, etc.), the former graduates have this rigor when looking at art history and the history of photography.”

TAZ reports on the genesis of a new art academy in Cologne, Akademie der Künste der Welt (AdKW), designed to increase the level of international discourse on art in the city. It already has an impressive array of board members, including Indian documentarian Madhusree Dutta, Samoan choreographer Lemi Ponifasio, German artist Rosemarie Trockel, Chinese writer Liao Yiwu (this year’s recipient of the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers), and Israeli curator Galit Eilat. It reportedly predicts that its success will be founded on four pillars: forty internationally renowned artists, an artist-in-residence program that will invite artists for up to a year, a “Best Practice Projects” which can be proposed by artists from all over the world, and a school for Cologne’s youth.