International News Digest

DECEMBER 1

The Art Newspaper’s Julia Michalska reports that Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna (MAK) has reached a settlement with Peter Noever, its former director. A court had earlier ordered Noever, who allegedly mishandled the institution’s finances, to pay over $140,000 in damages, but the same court ruled that Noever was owed over $300,000 in severance and unpaid wages. Noever resigned in 2011 at the center of a scandal over his lavish private birthday parties at MAK, among other abuses of the museum’s resources. Thought the Art Newspaper did not report details of the settlement, the museum seemed satisfied with the arrangement reached, saying it would “prevent a time-consuming court procedure and the high associated legal costs.”

The Guardian reported that the Romanian art thieves who stole paintings from a Rotterdam museum around a year ago have been sentenced. Radu Dogaru and Eugen Darie both received nearly seven years in prison. Dogaru’s mother made headlines earlier this year when she first claimed she’d burned the masterpieces in a fire, and then reversed her story, saying they’d been handed over to an unidentified middleman.

Artist Francesco Vezzoli’s plans have hit a snag, according to Ted Loos and Gaia Pianigiani in the New York Times. Vezzoli’s intended to move a deconsecrated church, brick by brick, from the Italian town of Montegiordano to New York’s MoMA PS 1 for exhibition, but “The Church of Vezzoli,” as the exhibition was titled, was canceled last week after Italian authorities detained shipment and tried to determine whether Vezzoli was “trying to export items of artistic and cultural value without authorization,” wrote Loos and Pianigiani. Though no charges have been filed yet, the crime can carry a sentence of jail time of up to four years. Meanwhile, Il Giornale’s Luca Beatrice noted that Vezzoli’s stalled plans highlighted problems with Italy’s management of its cultural heritage. If it was true that the church was legally demolished, wrote Beatrice, who would now pay for its reconstruction?

Jason Chow reports in the Wall Street Journal that real-estate developer Lu Jun and his son Lu Xun have unveiled their new $164-million development project in a forest on the outskirts of Nanjing. Central to their plans is a 21,000-square-foot exhibition space—the Sifang Art Museum—that will be designed by architect Steven Holl. The museum opened its doors this weekend with an exhibition featuring works by Anselm Kiefer, Luc Tuymans, and Chinese art collective Made In Company. The Lus’ museum is just one instance of the spread of privately funded museums in China, wrote Chow, who also reports that critics have noted that many art-museum projects are owned by real-estate moguls, who allegedly get better deals on land from the government.