International News Digest

JANUARY 29

The Generali Foundation’s much-beloved art collection will be leaving its home base in Vienna and heading to the Museum der Moderne Salzburg on permanent loan, Anne Katrin Fessler reports in Der Standard. The move is part of a new twenty-five-year partnership between the two institutions. Sabine Breitwieser, the director of the Salzburg museum who spearheaded the new partnership, noted: “We can compensate for the [MdM’s] deficits of international art from 1960s to the present in one fell swoop.”

And yet while Salzburg has reason to celebrate Breitwieser’s coup, Vienna is “in shock,” reports Das Handelsblatt’s Nina Schedlmayer, who noted that the Generali Foundation—founded by Generali Group, an insurance firm, in 1988—will probably still acquire artworks to the tune of over $300,000 per year. Still, while Generali president Dietrich Karner said that there should be no case where the foundation’s employees suffer, Schedlmayer wasn’t convinced that all would be well. “Implausible,” she wrote of Karner’s statement. She also pointed out that last year, the Bank for Labor and Economy already closed its own art space in Vienna. “Now comes this,” wrote Schedlmayer. “Another bitter loss for the Viennese art scene.”

Conservators in Egypt desperately scrambled to save antiquities in Cairo’s Islamic Art Museum, which was hit by a car bomb last Friday after just openings its doors following a multimillion-dollar renovation, according to Al Shorfa. Manuscripts were drenched in water from broken pipes, glass and porcelain pieces were blasted to smithereens, and five of the museum’s rare ancient lanterns (of which there are only three hundred worldwide) were ruined. “This is a very sad day for antiquities,” said Rafaat el-Nabarawy, an Islamic antiquities professor, told USA Today. “These are rare and irreplaceable.” The director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, promised aid for restoration efforts. “This raises the danger of irreversible damage to the history and identity of the Egyptian people,” she said of the attack.

Joăo Ribas has been named the new deputy director and senior curator at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. Formerly curator at the Drawing Center in New York and then the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ribas won four consecutive AICA Exhibition Awards from 2008 to 2011, and an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Ribas has published numerous books and monographs, and has contributed as a critic to publications including Artforum, Mousse, and Art in America.

Alexander Sturgis will head the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, reports the Art Newspaper’s Pac Pobric. Sturgis has been director at the Holburne Museum in Bath, where he won over critics with a $18 million expansion that added a glass façade to the building. He’s filling a position left vacant by Christopher Brown, who, during his sixteen years as director, oversaw a $100-million renovation and increased attendance from 100,000 visitors per year to over one million.