International News Digest

JUNE 30

In the Art Newspaper, Sophia Kishkovsky reported on what seems like a disturbing instance of censorship in Russia. The director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, Marat Guelman, has been fired, and prosecutors have begun investigating the Russian director’s financial practices, allegedly also seizing a work he curated and deeming it an example of “extremism”—raising concerns that Russia could be seeing the beginnings of a crackdown on contemporary art and freedom of speech. Authorities shut down “Welcome! Sochi 2014,” an exhibition organized by Guelman that seemed to obliquely support the political opposition’s stance that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi is a “corrupt Kremlin vanity project,” in Kishkovsky’s words. According to a tweet by Guelman, police confiscated from the exhibition a tongue-in-cheek portrait made by artist Vasily Slonov of Joseph Stalin as an Olympic mascot. Guelman posted an outraged response on Facebook: “All of this looks like they received an order from Moscow. To find something at any cost. And this is even though I’m not in any way part of the opposition, but simply a person who openly speaks what I think. In short, soon you’ll learn that I transported narcotics, am a pedophile, or work for the CIA.”

After complaints surfaced regarding a three-day-long action to be performed by artist Herman Nitsch at the Leipzig Central Theater, which was originally to include corpses of a cow and three pigs on stage, Der Standard reports that the performance will be allowed to continue with only the brains and blood of the animals. “It will definitely take place, but in a modified form,” said a spokeswoman for the Nitsch Foundation. The foundation had received a letter from Burkhard Jung, the mayor of Leipzig, lamenting the fact that the performance required the “killing of animals particularly for this production.” Jung wrote that animals should only be killed by a man for “reasonable cause,” among which the legislature does not consider art actions.

According to Monopol, a watercolor by painter Egon Schiele has sold for just under $2.4 million, the highest price for an image in an online auction. The Berlin-based auction house, Auctionata, sold the 1916 painting Reclining Woman after discovering it in a private estate, lying in a folder between pieces of paper in a library. The previous highest price paid for a picture in an online auction was 1.3 million dollars for a Warhol. Auctionata was launched last year.