International News Digest

SEPTEMBER 12

After the controversy generated by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation’s plan to move the collection of old masters out of Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie in order to make way for twentieth-century art, officials have announced that they are reconsidering their decision, according to Bloomberg’s Catherine Hickley. Berlin’s museum directors have now “commissioned a feasibility study to look at alternative options for housing its collections,” writes Hickley. The reprieve comes as a relief, no doubt, to the 13,000-plus people who signed the petition inviting city officials to “reconsider the plan to empty the Gemäldegalerie of old masters.”

Composer and theater director Heiner Goebbels spoke with Monopol about his role as curator of the 2012 Ruhrtriennale. After being asked about the inevitable comparisons to Documenta, Goebbels explained that while the two exhibitions did share a few artists, one difference was that he chose to focus on the music production practices of artists like Christian Marclay and Carsten Nicolai. He stated, “In the visual arts [to make the Conceptual something to be experienced] is rather outmoded. So we tried to expand the program with a notion of theater that makes possible the kinds of experiences that one might have at Documenta, for instance.” The Ruhrtriennale 2012 takes place from August 17 to September 30.

Die Zeit recently asked Benjamin Mandel, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to weigh in on the state of the current art market. Observing the recent tendency of the art market’s highest-priced tier to flourish even more than the middle or lower tiers, Mandel noted that this boom corresponds to the latest income increases amongst the highest earners—the “0.1 percent” as it were. But this isn’t so much a new development as an ongoing historical reality: The market has always grown in parallel with the income of the über-wealthy. Mandel suggested that the most important (and most expensive) works are often seen by buyers as the safest investments. He concluded with the point that buying the most expensive paintings also tends to be more attractive to the über-wealthy because the act of buying these works itself tends to be a highly public endeavor, lending buyers a certain measure of visibility and prestige.

In honor of the Vladimir Tatlin exhibition at the Tinguely Museum in Basel, Switzerland, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung’s Maria Becker has written a comprehensive piece on the show that also looks back at the life of the influential Russian artist, who notably created work in the wake of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The Tinguely Museum’s retrospective, which was curated by Gian Caspar Bott and which features more than a hundred loans from several Russian museums, presents the entire range of the artist’s oeuvre, including painting, sculpture, drawing, architectural models, flying machines, theatrical artifacts, and costume sketches. According to Becker, the exhibition’s best moments are Tatlin’s “Counter Reliefs”: towering, abstract assemblages of wood, metal, and rope. These works, wrote Becker, are “experiments with space and material, and Tatlin is showing their force, as if it were about hitting Western modernism with a particular Russian avant-garde.”