International News Digest

DECEMBER 17

Philipp Kaiser announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position as director of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, and various publications have since weighed in on the fallout. According to the DPA via Monopol, Kaiser said, “The decision to leave the museum is not easy. I ask for understanding in the face of my privately motivated decisions.” Calling his departure a “serious blow,” Monopol wrote that Kaiser’s appointment was one of the few bright spots in Cologne's cultural scene of the last two years,” pointing out that the city had recently lost award-winning drama director Karin Beier and his opera director Uwe Eric Laufenberg. Meanwhile, according to the Kölnische Rundschau, the head of Cologne’s culture department, Susanne Laugwitz-Aulbach, said, “We have to accept this development, as bitter as that is. I find it hard, because we had a good rapport with one another.”

This year’s Kandinsky Prize winner is Irina Nakhova, according to the Art Newspaper’s Sophia Kishkovsky. Nakhova received about $55,000 in a ceremony this past Thursday from the ArtChronika foundation. Kishkovsky reports that Nakhova’s grandfather was executed in one of Stalin’s purges; the artist uses materials from the family’s archives as a way to “attempt to understand the inexplicable state of affairs that has reigned in my country for the last century.” Timofei Parschikov and Evgeny Granilshikov also won the Kandinsky young artist prize, and are splitting approximately $14,000.

Meanwhile, the Baibakov Art Projects blog reports that Russian president Vladimir Putin has sponsored a bill that would grant amnesty to political prisoners including members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot. It’s primarily a decorative gesture, according to the blog, which notes: “The Kremlin hopes that the bill will be passed by the end of the year, but it will only go into effect six months after the date it’s signed. The remaining members of Pussy Riot are due for release in March.”