International News Digest

FEBRUARY 28

Der Spiegel reports that a triptych painted in 1970 by Georg Baselitz for the Westend Hospital in Berlin was recently restored to the building’s contemporary art collection. It is on view at the hospital along with seventy-five thematically grouped prints, in “Früh. Jetzt - Druckgrafiken von Georg Baselitz” (Early. Now - Prints by Georg Baselitz), which is currently the sole exhibition in Berlin commemorating the artist’s seventy-fifth birthday. The work, titled Lebenskraft (Vitality), 1970, was made as part of a 1970 competition between Baselitz and Markus Lüpertz to decorate the entrance hall of the then newly renovated hospital. It is one of the artist’s first works in which he “toppled” the figuration on its head. The paintings went missing in 1991, unbeknownst to the hospital until their disappearance was noticed by a former assistant doctor and art enthusiast upon a revisit to space. After an intensive search, the paintings were discovered hanging in the foyer of the medical director of Rudolf Virchow Hospital, who had acquired them during a merger between hospitals and who refused to give them up. After a number of court cases, and pleas made to officials, the triptych has finally been returned to its intended location in the hospital.

While Baselitz is celebrating his seventy-fifth, Yoko Ono is being recognized on the occasion of her eightieth. Various German publications have begun to weigh in on the current Ono retrospective at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, staged in celebration of the occasion. Ono was “an almost mythical figure,” noted director Max Hollein in the Hannoveriche Allgemeine Zeitung. “Everyone knows and recognizes it, but few know exactly what excellent artistic work she has created.” Crediting curator Ingrid Pfeiffer, Rose-Maria Gropp wrote in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the exhibition, with its “enigmatic” title, “The Half a Wind Show,” “captures the sensuality of Ono’s oeuvre.” Catrin Lorch wrote in the Suddeutsche Zeitung, “Who cares if she broke up the Beatles?” adding, “Art history easily forgets to appreciate the powerful woman performer.” The retrospective will be on view until May 12.

Over in Spain, Eva González Sancho has been named the new director of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León. She was previously director of the FRAC Bourgogne in France between 2003 and 2011, and prior to that she directed the Etablissement d'en face projects (Office for Art Projects) in Brussels, Belgium. She is currently a member of the curatorial team responsible for the Lofoten International Art Festival in Norway. The appointment of González Sancho follows the departure of Agustín Pérez Rubio, who left the position on January 31.