International News Digest

MARCH 28

Der Standard reports that Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has been named the winner of this year’s Zurich Festival Prize, the first visual artist to be honored. The jury called Rist one of the most important artists working today. Rist will receive the award—which comes with over $50,000—in a ceremony that takes place on June 26 at the Zurich Festival, an annual month-long cultural celebration programmed by the Zurich Opera, the Schauspielhaus, the Tonhalle-Orchester, and Kunsthaus Zurich. The prize has gone to musicians and composers for the last seven years.

Inspired by Rist’s latest laurels to move to Zurich? Not so fast, artists. A ruling issued by the city’s district court has some worried that art in Switzerland will face new levels of censorship. The court banned sales of a book of photos by artist Christian Lutz, In Jesus’s Name, which includes images of a religious group, the International Christian Fellowship. Twenty-one members of the group, depicted in baptisms and other celebrations, filed a complaint that, even though they had consented to being photographed, they had not agreed to allow their images to be published. According to Gareth Harris in the Art Newspaper, a lawyer representing the church members said, “Since the book predominantly contains personal and intimate pictures, the plaintiffs could have expected in good faith that the photographer would inform them in advance regarding his choice of the pictures, and ask them for an explicit approval.” But Sam Stourdzé, the director of the Musée de l’Elysée, in Lausanne, aired his worries in Le Journal des Arts: “There is a risk that self-censorship could now creep into this type of reportage, and that institutions become more wary of showing such works.” Lutz’s photographs are scheduled to go on view at the Musée de l’Elysée this summer, and thus far the museum has asserted that the exhibition will take place as planned.

As April 14 draws near, Henri Loyrette, director of the Louvre, prepares to step down from his position after twelve years. Le Monde’s Michel Guerrin and Nathaniel Herzberg caught up with Loyrette to talk about his departure. “In the interest of the museum, it’s time for me to return the keys,” said Loyrette, adding, “I’ve always supported fresh leadership, which is a stance that’s often too absent in France.” Asked to respond to criticism that the French public, which funds the Louvre, is often unable to see works from the museum’s collection on loan, Loyrette said that critics “fail to take into account all the works that other museums lend us. They think it’s natural that 95 percent of the exhibition ‘From Germany’ comes from foreign countries.” What was Loyrette’s greatest accomplishment? “Rejuvinating the public,” he said. “Making the Louvre truly ‘of its time,’ in the words of Zola.” Meanwhile, Loyrette said that one of his greatest regrets was never having launched the Louvre’s research and exhibition center in Cergy-Pontoise. Plans for the center were shelved after the economic crisis hit.