International News Digest

JULY 14

A Turkish art historian and critic was taken into custody for six hours this past weekend while protesting the detention of Gezi Park demonstrators. Osman Erden, assistant professor at the department of art history at Mimar Sinan University—and president of the Turkish division of the International Association of Art Critics—was detained for six hours on a bus. He was allegedly physically abused before his arrest and during his detention. Sources have reported that critic/curator Ovul Durmusoglu and artist Volkan Arslan are among others who, while protesting, were hit with plastic bullets this past weekend.

Artist Jonathan Meese, no stranger to controversy, is facing his day in court this Thursday, after he saluted Hitler during a public appearance in which he was interviewed about “megalomania in art,” according to the Berliner Zeitung. Meese, who lifted his arm in salute while discussing the “dictatorship of art,” argues that his behavior is part of his artistic freedoms. Prosecutors aren’t buying it. While they moved to have Meese pay a fine in punishment for his use of “symbols of unconstitutional organizations,” courts instead scheduled a trial, where Meese could even be sentenced to imprisonment. “Of course I am totally innocent,” Meese told Der Spiegel. “What I do on stage and in the name of art, is covered by the freedom of art in the basic law.” He added, “It's not just about me personally, but also about what an artist can do on stage and what he can’t.”

Dealer Martin Klosterfelde has announced that he will be closing his Berlin gallery for personal reasons. Over the past eighteen years, Klosterfelde gallery has exhibited 104 shows. Andrew Russeth noted for GalleristNY that Klosterfelde, which opened in the city’s Mitte neighborhood in 1996, later moved to Zimmerstrasse in 2001, and then ended up at Potsdamer Strasse, in an emerging gallery district that’s also home to Blain Southern and Tanya Leighton. The gallery’s final exhibition, “In Search of the Miraculous” by Bas Jan Adler, will be open until August 10.

Der Standard took stock of the sluggish art sales in Italy, as demand in both the domestic sector as well as in world markets continue to decline. Some of the factors contributing to the standstill are the country’s strict laws—implemented to fight tax evasion—which limit cash purchases to only $2,000. The high 21 percent tax for art purchases (compared to only 7 percent in Germany) and the lengthy, bureaucratic export process have also not helped to facilitate sales. Meanwhile, both Christie’s and Sotheby’s in Milan have restricted their operations in the contemporary art sector, with Christie’s claiming semi-annual sales of around fourteen million dollars—eleven million of which was acquired from an auction in April. In spite of this declining demand, modern design remains one niche market that seems to be on the rise. The auction house Wannenes in Genoa increased its design sales by 150 percent in 2012.