International News Digest

JULY 15

An op-ed in the Tageszeitung took a look at the state of art in Turkey, and in particular the role of Turkey’s “urban, globally connected” segment of wealthiest collectors in keeping contemporary art alive even while Erdogan’s conservative regime seems to spiral out of control. Writer Annegret Erhard cited Turkey’s Vehbi Koç Foundation (established by a family that controls more than 10 percent of the nation’s exports), which in 2010 opened a space that showed works by Mona Hatoum and Kutlug Ataman, and which plans to open a private Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016. Contrasting the efforts by private Turkish citizens to create secular museums to the inclinations of prime minister Recep Erdogan, who’s considering turning the Hagia Sophia—currently a museum—into a mosque, Erhard noted that the fate of contemporary art in Turkey currently rests in the hands of a specific demographic: “secular-minded, prosperous, and cosmopolitan citizens who’ve typically received an excellent international education.”

According to Jens Dirksen in Der Westen, the mayor of Duisburg, Germany, has pulled an installation by artist Gregor Schneider at the Lehmbruck Museum because its network of tunnel-like tubes is apparently too much of an evocation of the tragedy of the 2010 Love Parade, in which a stampede in a tunnel caused the deaths of twenty-one attendees. “The wounds of the Love Parade are not yet healed. The legal treatment of the events is still beginning. Duisburg is not yet ready for a work of art in which confusion and panic situations are imminent, and which plays with the moment of disorientation.”The Ruhr Triennale, the Lehmbruck Museum and Gregor Schneider jointly criticized the decision of the mayor. “This is an affront to the freedom of art and works against the openness of experiencing art,” said the Ruhr Triennale’s director, Heiner Goebbels.

A Paris court ruled that the Guggenheim Foundation could display artworks in its Venetian palazzo as it saw fit, rejecting claims made by Peggy Guggenheim’s descendants that the foundation was required to show artworks as they originally appeared in the philanthropist’s original home, without additions of contemporary works. The court ordered family members to cover about $41,000 of the Guggenheim Foundation’s legal costs, reported Doreen Carvajal in the New York Times.

Various publications reacted to the news of dealer Yvon Lambert’s decision to close his gallery. Le Figaro noted that the news was like a clap of thunder through the French art market, noting, “This is a really bad news for Paris FIAC.” Le Figaro’s Valerie Duponchelle wrote that the news was a shock to admirers and competitors alike, to watch the departure of this mischievous person known for his “rigor, deep sensitivity, and originality too.” Harry Bellet wrote in Le Monde that—more than just taking an aesthetic slant—Lambert defended a certain idea of the avant-garde: As other dealers representing traditional schools of Parisian art, Lambert came to think that nascent American Minimalist art was more radical. As such, wrote Bellet, Lambert was among the first gallerists to be interested in photographers as artists, recognizing the skills of Nan Goldin and Andres Serrano, and also among the first to be excited about video artists like Douglas Gordon. Meanwhile, the Exponaute’s Pascal Bernard called Lambert’s departure a “well-deserved retirement.”

Over in Berlin, another gallery decided to shut its doors: Galerie Kamm is closing this September, according to Alexander Forbes in Artnet. Joanna Kamm, who founded the gallery in 2001, cofounded Art Berlin Contemporary and served on Art Basel’s selection committee for years. Her gallery represented such artists as Amy Granat and Simon Dybbroe Møller. Forbes noted that Galerie Kamm is one in a wave of Berlin galleries deciding to put an end to their operations: Martin Klosterfelde closed a year ago, while Moeller Fine Art recently announced it would shut down its Berlin space.

Meanwhile, in Kolkata, India, CIMA Gallery—which has made a name for itself as something of a hybrid gallery and nonprofit exhibition space—has announced the launch of a new visual arts award for India. The award will annually recognize artists between the ages of twenty-five and forty-five, and winners will receive both a monetary prize and the opportunity to exhibit their work. Said the gallery in a press release, “In the absence of public institutions and foundations to support the humanities and fine arts in India, freedom of expression and quality in the arts is compromised.”