Just when we all thought that Germany couldn’t get any more “kunst-y,” Akademie der Künste der Welt has opened in Cologne. According to Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, the academy—which has elected not to tie itself down with a permanent building—has thus far proven to be exciting and refreshingly international. With an annual budget of $1.5 million, the institution will be led by president Galit Eiat. The academy celebrated its launch at the rented Colonia Theater and then went on to stage a panel discussion on circumcision, in which Germany-based Iraqi Najem Wali recalled how traumatic it was to be circumcised at the age of twelve, while Austrian Robert Schindel, the child of Jewish Communists, explained how happy he was after choosing to have the surgery performed as an adult. Meanwhile, intersexual artist Ins A Kromminga spoke about being a hermaphrodite, and Senegalese hip-hop artist Sister Faknown for her anti–female mutilation activismperformed her songs.
Elsewhere in Germany, Max Hollein, the director of the Städel Museum, spoke with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Rose-Maria Gropp to discuss the controversy surrounding the museum’s purchase of a Raphael painting of Pope Julius II. An article in Die Süddeutsche Zeitung accused the museum and its director of turning the acquisition of the work into a mass public spectacle. Hollein countered: “We knew that the attribution was going to be controversial. That’s why it was so important for us to not simply hang it in the museum, but to present all the facts we had gleaned over the years. I don’t see this as sensationalist, but rather as a very open and transparent process.” He added, “We researched [the work’s history] at length, then decided in favor of the purchase, aware of the risk. Not as speculation, neither for the market nor for our museum, but because we knew that our estimation had been solidified. There will still be discussions about this painting in years.” The work will be exhibited in the show “Raphael: Drawings,” opening this month at the museum.
Over in Asia, the Chinese art market has been “faltering,” according to Die Zeit, even with the growth of the nation’s creative class and universities’ continuing expansion of their art departments. Last year, when sources reported that 30 to 40 percent of the world’s revenue from art sales was based in China, Chinese auction houses had a stranglehold on the market, even as buyers were charged 30 percent taxes on art sold. However, with the recent raids on auctions houses, the imprisonment of a German art shipper, and the looming credit shortage, the oversaturated market has slowed down significantly. Kevin Ching, CEO of Sotheby’s in Asia pointed out that this year’s auctions brought in $580 million as opposed to last year’s $1 billion. Some say it’s a product of the foothold Western auction houses have gained in the Chinese market, but considering the strategic partnerships that Western institutions and Chinese auction houses are forging, as well as the heavy restrictions placed on non-State owned houses, the truth about the rise and fall of the market remains complicated.
Even if Asian art markets might well be losing steam, Hong Kong artist Pak Sheung Chuen should have nothing to complain about. Pak just took home the best artist award at the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, established by curator Uli Sigg to recognize outstanding achievements by Chinese artists and critics. A regular art critic for the Sunday Ming Pao Daily News from 2003 to 2007, Pak has had his art featured in the Taipei Biennial, the Yokohama Triennial, and the Guangzhou Triennial. He represented Hong Kong at the Venice Biennale in 2009. Artist Geng Jianyi, meanwhile, won the CCAA’s lifetime contribution award, and Yan Xing received the best young artist award.
The Art Dealers Association of America has doubled its relief fund, which was set up only a week ago to aid galleries and nonprofit organizations that suffered significant damages from Hurricane Sandy. Over the past seven days, pledges from over seventy-five galleries, private collectors, publications, nonprofits, and other industry supporters have flooded in, bringing what began as a $250,000 fund to over $500,000. Contributions of $50,000 have been received from David Zwirner, the Pace Gallery, Art Basel, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Said Lucy Mitchell-Innes, following a walkthrough of impacted galleries with Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “This has been an extraordinary time for the art community to come together. Galleries uptown and out of town, and even galleries that have been impacted themselves have joined forces. Along with generous donations from private collectors and other supporters, these significant financial contributions have prepared the ADAA Relief Fund to meet the needs of galleries recovering from the storm.”
Remco de Blaaij and Ainslie Roddick have both been appointed to the curatorial team at Glasgow’s Center for Contemporary Arts. Blaaij has been named curator and Roddick the center’s new program coordinator. Said director Francis McKee: “Remco brings a wealth of international museum experience and contemporary arts expertise that will prove a great asset to our program. Ainslie’s work both at the Duchy [Gallery] and in an administrative capacity at the Glasgow School of Art, as well as being a GSA graduate, has embedded her within the city’s arts arena, giving her a unique understanding of local arts practices and the climate in which they exist. Combined, the two will give us a well rounded approach to our programming and we are delighted to have them onboard.”
Adele Chatfield-Taylor has resigned as president and chief executive of the American Academy in Rome, reports Rachel Donadio of the New York Times. “It’s been the great experience of my life,” says Chatfield Taylor, who has spent the past twenty-five years as the leader of the independent research institution. Trained as historic preservationist, the former president is credited with fully restoring buildings within the academy’s grounds, including the sixteenth-century Villa Aurelia, and increasing the institution’s endowment to nearly one hundred million dollars, five times the amount it was when she assumed her position. Chatfield-Taylor notes that over the past two plus decades she has witnessed the “transformative effect” of Rome over a generation of American artists and scholars, adding that she “cannot say enough about how cultural diplomacy helps people. You can’t declare war on a place you love.”
Carol Vogel reports for the New York Times that Nicholas Cullinan, curator of international modern and contemporary art at Tate Modern in London, is joining the modern and contemporary art department at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. He follows his former colleague Sheena Wagstaff, the new chairwoman of modern and contemporary art at the Met; Wagstaff was formerly the chief curator at Tate Modern before she came to the Met in May. “Part of my remit here is to extend our global reach, which I did at the Tate, where Nick has been a key player,” Wagstaff told Vogel.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Musée du Louvre announced an agreement to collaborate on a series of exhibitions and exchanges for the next five years. This agreement includes collaborations on publications, art conservation projects, and public education programs. Richard Benefield, deputy director of the Fine Arts Museums, said, “It is incredibly exciting to be involved in bringing to the public, both in Paris and San Francisco, great works from our two illustrious institutions. The accord will not only bring forth new scholarship through the collaboration of our colleagues, but it will also give our visitors the opportunity to see great works of art from both museums in ways that would otherwise not be possible.’’ Under the terms of the accord, a committee composed of representatives from the two museums will meet once a year to determine what exhibitions, pieces from their collections, or educational programming will be exchanged. The partnership between the curators and conservators of the two institutions, as outlined in the agreement, “will result in a cultural exchange that is broader and deeper than either institution could achieve on its own.’’
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and Lambent Foundation have launched a relief effort to assist beleaguered artists and nonprofit arts organizations affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Warhol Foundation has allocated $2 million to be evenly divided between individual artists and organizations. The Warhol Foundation and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will both address nonprofit organizations in need at Emergencygrants.org, with the Andy Warhol Foundation making grants to visual arts organizations and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation making grants to other cultural organizations. All three institutions will be utilizing New York Foundation for the Arts to assist those in need. Christy MacLear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, stated, “Every effort helps in a state of emergency––we are struck by the scope of need. Pooling our resources with other artist foundations will help simplify the points of access for both artists and organizations––hopefully making the process of request as simple as possible for those hardest hit."
Artist Berlinde De Bruyckere has been selected to represent Belgium in the 2013 Venice Biennale, reports GalleristNY. The Flemish Minister for Environment, Naturem and Culture, Joke Schauvliege, made the announcement. The forty-eight-year-old Ghent-based artist is known for her sculptures, installations, and drawings of semiabstract human and animal figures.
Wednesday’s Postwar and Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie’s brought in $412.2 million, just over its $411.8 million high estimate and a record for a contemporary art auction at the house.
Top lots included Warhol’s Statue of Liberty, 1962, which went for $43.7 million with fees. An untitled Franz Kline painting from 1957 went for $40.4 million, more than six times the artist’s previous record (from 2005), and one of Jeff Koons’s Tulips, 1995–2004, went for $33.6 million, also a record for the artist.
“There’s a lot of foreign money coming in,” the Broad Foundation’s Joanne Heyler told the New York Times’s Carol Vogel. “More than ever before.”