International News Digest

JULY 28

The Volkswagen Foundation, working in concert with the Lower Saxony government in Germany, has come up with over $600,000 to support the merging of two design collections into an Internet archive. The “Prints and Drawings Online” project will combine the holdings of the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum Braunschweig and the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel. “Researchers and citizens alike will benefit from insights yielded by such a free digital print room,” said Green party culture minister Gabriele Heinen-Kljajic, according to Focus.

It seems like China is outsourcing the design of its national art museum. French architect Jean Nouvel has been tapped to create the nation’s new museum. His vision for the building is reportedly one of a “vast structure” that will evoke the simplicity of a single brush stroke. Speaking with Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times, Nouvel quoted the Chinese artist Shi Tao: “A single line is the source of everything in existence. Pupils used to spend half a year just on that first line with a brush. That first line contains all of Chinese culture—painting, writing, and the energy of Chi.” A rendering of the future museum released by Nouvel can be found here.

Meanwhile, the Pingtan Art Museum is keeping things closer to home: According to Becky Quintal in ArchDaily, Chinese firm MAD has released renderings of its plans for the museum, in Fujian Province, which will be the largest private museum in the nation, at over forty thousand square feet. The biomorphic form of the museum “represents a long-lasting earthscape in water and is a symbol of the island in ancient times,” in Quintal’s words.

Publications around the world are bidding goodbye to seminal artist Walter De Maria, who passed away earlier this week. In the Tages Anzeiger, Konrad Tobler invoked the words of longtime Zeit critic Petra Kipphoff, who called De Maria’s work a “calculated wonder.” Tobler, writing for a Swiss publication, was quick to point out De Maria’s connection to Zurich, where he won the Roswitha Haftmann Prize in 2001. Meanwhile, the Corriere della Serra cited De Maria’s current piece in the Venice Biennale’s “Encyclopedic Palace” show and quoted curator Massimiliano Gioni, who noted that in De Maria’s works, “the endless possibilities of the imagination are reduced to an extreme synthesis.” And Anne Katrin Fessler wrote in the Austrian paper Der Standard, “One of his early works, influenced by Dada humor, is currently on view in Venice, in the restaged Harald Szeemann exhibition ‘When Attitudes Become Form’: a phone with a sign that encourages viewers to answer when it rings: ‘Walter de Maria will be on the phone and wants to talk to you.’” Added Fessler: “Now it is a sad certainty: The phone will remain silent.”