International News Digest

NOVEMBER 7

Libération reported on this year’s Marcel Duchamp prize, which went to Daniel Dewar and Grégory Gicquel. The annual award, given during FIAC, recognized Dwar and Gicquel’s work Gisant, a large dolerite sculpture of a diver wearing flippers, reportedly intended as a stele for the Montparnasse cemetery. The duo will be given a show at the Centre Pompidou in the fall of 2013, and will receive $45,000. Alfred Pacquement, director of the Musée national d’art moderne of the Centre Pompidou and the jury’s president, stated, “Their use of materials, which includes artisanal practices and the fractioning of volumes, also in the form of animation movies, expands the aesthetic standards. At the same time the issues they raise are related to leisure and the most pop cultural traditions.” Other artists nominated for the twelfth Marcel Duchamp Prize were Valérie Favre, Bertrand Lamarche, and Franck Scurti.

The city of Düsseldorf has made the message loud and clear to the Museum Kunstpalast: Budget cuts must be enacted! Despite the wide and celebrated success of the museum’s recent El Greco and Andreas Gursky exhibitions, the city has proposed 120 cost-saving measures that it will discuss with the museum’s board. Düsseldorf’s cultural council spokesman Hans Georg Lohe told Monopol that decisions would be made final in the next months. However, Kunstpalast director Beat Wismer said to Monopol that he was “not familiar with the ominous 120 points.” The austerity measures are a response to the 140 million euro slump in commercial taxes anticipated by the city. Kunstpalast operates on an annual budget of 15 million euros and generally has an annual 2.5-million-euro deficit. The museum is based on a public-private partnership between the city, Metro Group, and Eon, which provides substantial subsidies to keep the museum from accumulating debt. The museum’s second floor, which is home to a quarter of the collection’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century works, will be closed due to lack of funds for a restoration, while the pieces themselves will go on to be exhibited at a yet-to-be-determined location.

Die Zeit recently examined the viability of the Internet as a platform for exhibiting and selling artworks. Not surprisingly, the paper concluded that digital venues have found only moderate success. Die Zeit cited Contemporary Art Daily—founded by Forrest Nash—as the most successful platform for art viewing and launching, given its slick combination of highly selective curation and a spartan aesthetic. Aso noting that Nash’s site is free of critical discourse, so to speak, Die Zeit aligned itself with the opinions of art historian Michael Sanchez, who wrote in Artforum this March that Contemporary Art Daily “effectively dematerialized the white cube into the white screen, creating new conditions of circulation.” Why, though did VIP Art Fair, founded in 2011, prove to be so disappointing, along with Charles Saatchi’s Your Gallery, founded in 2006? Die Zeit suggested that it is the intervention of the individual critic, curator, tastemaker, or collector that makes such platforms viable, not simply the unfettered level of access they provide. Unlike the music industry, the world of art does not measure success with total views or popularity on the Internet. In other words, the number of “likes” an artist may have does not translate into the amount of money someone will spend on their work or the prestige of the museum that will purchase their creations. With the interest in digital media waning in the art world, according to Die Zeit, dealers and artists will continue to look to other mediums and platforms to sell their work.