International News Digest

AUGUST 16

Score one for artistic freedoms: As the BBC reports, Jonathan Meese has been acquitted of all charges, after he was hauled to court for performing a Nazi salute twice at an event called “Megalomania in the Art World” at Kassel University. Though public displays of Nazi symbolism are illegal in Germany, Meese and his lawyers successfully argued that his gesture, and his use of the swastika symbol, are meant satirically. “Art has triumphed,” Meese said after the verdict was announced. “Now I am free.”

Colta.ru reports that ArtChronika, a leading Russian art magazine, will be shutting down, according to the Baibakov Art Projects blog, which notes that the magazine drew attention to the Pussy Riot case with its iconic cover story. Founded in 1999, the magazine was taken over by Shalva Breus, who also established the ArtChronika Foundation, and has been led since 2011 by editor-in-chief Maria Roguleva. Word is the magazine’s staff has quit en masse, which has led to much speculation in the press.

In more news from Russia, Norman Foster’s architectural firm has resigned from its role in the expansion of Moscow’s State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts—a project that has stalled over disputes between officials and preservationists, reports Sophia Kishkovsky in the Art Newspaper. Foster’s resignation took place after a challenge from Moscow’s lead architect, Sergei Kuznetsov, “demanding that Foster take a more active role in the project and prove his commitment by coming to the Russian capital within a month,” notes Kishkovsky. But Foster + Partners asserted that it had already earlier quit the job, and specified that its name could not be used in conjunction with the project, because it had been elbowed out of project-development discussions. “This was despite numerous attempts by the practice to continue working with the museum,” said the firm.

Over in Brazil, the Museo de Arte de Sao Paulo has announced the winners of its annual awards, notes ArtNexus. Regina Silveira won in the “Whole Oeuvre” category and Odires Mlászho has been named “Artist of the Year 2012–2013”; both will receive around $86,000. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Braga, who’s been recognized in the “Emerging Artist” category, will win approximately $30,000.