International News Digest

MARCH 9

Saudi Arabia will be getting its first contemporary art museum, Beyt Jameel, according to the AMA. Last month, the philanthropic arm of the conglomerate Abdul Latif Jameel—known for its automotive and real estate investments—announced plans to build the museum north of Jeddah. The building will include an open-air exhibition space, as well as a gallery devoted to exhibiting work by the winner of the Jameel Prize, which is awarded at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The 75,000-square-foot museum will cost $27 million to complete, and will be built with the aim of supporting and promoting Saudi Arabian artists while also being a site for international exhibitions.

Bernd Leifeld will soon be retiring from his post as CEO of Documenta. Leifeld’s position’s being filled by Annette Kulenkampff, who’s directed the art-publishing venture Hatje Cantz for over a decade, reports the German-language magazine Art. The mayor of Kassel, Bertram Hilgen, praised the appointment, saying, “Annette Kulenkampff has an international network in the art world at her command.” According to Kunstmarkt.com, Leifeld will officially be replaced by Kulenkampff on July 1.

The collector Egidio Marzona has given the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation a gift of 372 works from his collection, which includes pieces by Daniel Buren, Jan Dibbet, Hamish Fulton, Richard Long, Gary Kuehn, and Mel Bochner. According to Die Zeit, Marzona had previously loaned the works to the museum. “I’m glad I can bring closure to my responsibility to art . . . through this donation,” said Marzona in Die Zeit. “Gift-giving is an art, but art-giving is a special kind of art,” wrote Ingeborg Ruthe in the Berliner Zeitung, adding that this is the result of “decades of obsessive collecting from auctions, galleries, and artists studios.”

“It's increasingly difficult to see modern art in Berlin,” pronounced the Berlin Morgenpost’s Gabriela Walde, who concludes that the heated debate over the destination of the city’s old-masters collection is eclipsing the fact that Berlin’s modern art museums are in the midst of “crisis.” “Several museums in Berlin are plagued by structural defects,” noted Walde, who pointed out that the Berggruen collection closed its extension after a mold infestation was discovered in its roof, and that the Berlinische Galerie will close in July so that its ceilings can be torn out for the sprinkler system to be renovated. Currently, the latter is expected to reopen in January 2015, but director Thomas Khler has stretched that deadline to March, to be on the safe side. (Khler noted that the institution would also have to cut back on spending to make up for losses during its shutdown.) It would be “too embarrassing,” wrote Walde, if the museum’s doors are closed for most of its fortieth-year anniversary in 2015.

Jrg Mandernach is the first winner of the Hannes Burgdorf Prize for contemporary visual art, according to the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. The $14,000 prize is given to an artist every three years. Mandernach’s multimedia output includes room drawings, works on paper, and hot-wax painting, but also musical performance.