International News Digest

MAY 14

To get a better picture of what’s in store for the Palestinian Museum—set to open late next year in Birzeit north of Ramallah—the Art Newspaper’s Gareth Harris sat down with the museum’s director, Jack Persekian. “[The museum] provides spaces and opportunities for Palestinians to shape their own historical narrative and to engage with it,” Persekian told Harris, diplomatically noting that it will be a “political symbol only insofar that it celebrates the accomplishments of the Palestinian people in arts and culture, and that it affirms the presence of Palestinians as a people who have agency, who are productive, who shape their own histories.” A significant virtual presence is planned for the museum, reports Harris. “One might argue that it is even more important given the Palestinians’ diaspora, but also given the fact that even for Palestinians living in the West Bank or Gaza, travel to Birzeit can be quite difficult and sometimes impossible because of geopolitical realities,” said Persekian. The new museum, which will cost eleven million dollars to build, will only be fully completed a decade from now. Its collection will range from nineteenth-century to contemporary art, and will be amassed through acquisitions and donations.

Der Standard reported on a few German architecture laurels recently. Lederer Ragnarsdóttir Oei—a Stuttgart-based firm—will receive nearly $40,000 as the winner of this year’s German Architecture Prize, for its design of the Ravensburg Museum, which German construction minister Peter Raumsauer called “a great plea for the careful development of the European city.” Meanwhile, the Mies van der Rohe Prize goes to the designers of the Harpa Concert House in Iceland: Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen Architects, Icelandic architecture firm Batteríiö, and artist Olafur Eliasson. The performing arts center’s designers will receive about $75,000.

What is it they say again about death and taxes? Der Spiegel reports that investigators recently raided the Bavarian home of artist Georg Baselitz, who’s under investigation for tax evasion. The investigators seized several crates of files after the artist’s name turned up on a CD with information on secret bank accounts that was bought by the the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia last summer. Baselitz apparently received advance warning of the raid and was already on the way to his other home on the Ligurian Coast in Italy by the time agents arrived, according to Der Spiegel. The paper also reported that, via his secretary, the artist denied owing millions of euros in taxes, and noted that there was no arrest warrant out against him.