International News Digest

Catherine Grenier will be serving as director of the Giacometti Foundation. Le Monde’s Emmanuelle Jardonnet and Clarisse Fabre report that the announcement comes after Grenier’s departure as the deputy director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne of the Centre Pompidou. Grenier left following a “showdown” with Alain Seban, president of the Pompidou, who moved for her dismissal in December. (The minister of culture Aurélie Filippetti later reinstated Grenier in her role.) Speaking about her new position, Grenier noted: “I realized that the Giacometti Foundation had huge potential. The collection is very beautiful.”

Five artists have withdrawn from the Sydney Biennial. Libia Castro, Ólafur Ólafsson, Charlie Sofo, Gabrielle de Vietri, and Ahmet Öğüt were among thirty-seven biennial participants who signed a petition protesting festival sponsor Transfield and its role in managing the Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centers. The centers came under criticism recently when Reza Berati, an Iranian asylum seeker, was found dead after a riot. Asking the biennial to consider Transfield’s involvement, the artists wrote they were told “the issue [was] too complex, and that the financial agreements are too important to renegotiate.” As a result, Castro, Ólafsson, Sofo, de Vietri, and Öğüt have pulled their work and demanded that the biennial recognize their reasons for withdrawal. Their names have been removed on the biennial’s website, but thus far no accompanying notes have explained the disappearance.

The Moderna Museet has received an historic collection of artworks thanks to Elisabeth “Peggy” Bonnier’s will. The gift includes eight works: paintings by Jean Fautrier, Juan Gris, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso, and sculptures by Henri Laurens and Jean Fautrier. Said Daniel Birnbaum, director of the museum, “Art like this is practically impossible to buy nowadays, and it is an great privilege to experience such generosity. The donation is fantastic news to all art lovers in Sweden.”

The inclusion of Israeli artist Keren Cytter’s work in the Marrakech Biennale has stirred up controversy, according to Julia Michalska in the Art Newspaper. Her participation has ignited the ire of Arab activists who oppose relations with Israel “in any field, including culture,” writes Michalska. The firestorm comes as the Moroccan parliament has been reviewing a proposed bill that would outlaw all forms of contact with Israel by Moroccans. Alya Sebti, the artistic director of the biennial, said, “We hope that this controversy will not monopolize the dialogues leading up to and during the biennial. We look forward to the conversations inspired by the central question of this edition of the biennial, and we are proud to include Keren Cytter, like all of our artists.” Sebti also pointed out that, due to funding cuts, this could be the last edition of the biennale.