International News Digest

APRIL 16

Artists Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet claim they’re facing censorship after lawyers for Guggenheim Bilbao asked them to remove an artwork (which hangs on a nearby building) because it allegedly discredits the institution. Kelly Crow reports in the Wall Street Journal that the four-story-tall vinyl poster depicts the Guggenheim as a sort of battleship, full of gun turrets. Meanwhile, according to the museum’s associate director of legal and internal control, Alba Urresola, not only does the museum disapprove of the “warlike elements” in its depiction, but the work is a matter of copyright infringement, because the museum enjoys “exclusive” rights to approve any copyrighted images of the museum under Spanish law. “It’s clearly a caricature,” Bouchet said of the piece, pointing out that artists throughout history have satirized museums and collections. “What if the Louvre had gone after Duchamp in this kind of threatening way?”

Austria’s court of auditors has been sharply critical of the rising costs at 21er Haus, reports Orf.at. A report published by auditors notes that the total expected costs of the construction project have now risen by nearly two thirds, to over $40 million. This was due in large part to the expansion project, Arthotek, planned by the Ministry of Culture, as well as poor planning and low cost rates in the cost calculation. The 21er Haus was originally built in 1958 as the Austrian Pavilion for the Expo in Brussels by the architect Karl Schwanzer. Then it was transferred to Vienna, which used it as a museum of modern art, at which point it was called 20er Haus. When it reopened in November of 2011 as a branch of the Belvedere Museum, it was renamed 21er Haus to reflect its new focus on contemporary art.

Yilmaz Dziewior will curate the Austrian pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The director of Kunsthaus Bregenz since 2009, Dziewior has also served as an independent curator with the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. From 2001 through 2008, he directed the Kunstverein in Hamburg. He’s also contributed to Artforum, Camera Austria and Texte zur Kunst. In an interview with Art-in.de, he perhaps gave a glimpse of what will be his approach for the Biennale. “In my view,” he said, “the most successful presentations at the Austrian Pavilion were those who concretely grappled with the existing architecture such that they entered into a dialogue with the space.”