Briefing

Gustav Metzger has died aged 90; director of the Met resigns

  • Gustav Metzger has died, aged 90. Born in Nuremburg to Polish-Jewish parents in 1926, the artist arrived in England in 1939 with his brother on the Kindertransport. He lived in London for the remainder of his life. He studied art in Cambridge, London, Antwerp and Oxford, and by the late 1950s was heavily involved in anti-capitalist and anti-consumerist movements, as well as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. This political activism was the motivation for his auto-destructive art manifesto of 1959. Together with John Sharkey he initiated the now legendary Destruction in Art Symposium in 1966. A retrospective of his work was held at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in 2009 and his work Liquid Crystal Environment (1965/2005), is currently on display at Tate Modern, London.
     
  • The director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Thomas Campbell, has resigned. Campbell, who joined the Met in 1996 as a tapestry curator and who has been director since January 2009, has faced increased scrutiny in recent months as the Met has worked to tackle its budget deficit. Campbell has overseen a rough time at the Met with the museum announcing a 24-month financial restructuring plan in April last year, shedding around 90 employees through a combination of buyouts and lay-offs. He also introduced the controversial ‘recommended’ (now ‘suggested’) admission donation of USD$25.
     
  • Manifesta has appointed four ‘creative mediators’ for its 12th edition which will be held in Palermo, Sicily in 2018. Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, a partner at the Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Swiss curator Mirjam Varadinis, Spanish architect Andrés Jaque, and Dutch filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak will serve in the role. The team will work with local communities to ‘reveal the city’s perspective on migration, climate change, heritage, and the current state of Europe.’ They will publicly share their research in the spring and present their plans for Manifesta in the summer.
     
  • Two auction house records were set in London this week with Sotheby’s taking GBP£195m in its Impressionist, Modern and Surrealist auction on Wednesday, more than doubling its figure for last year. The sale followed a strong night at Christie’s, which on Tuesday took sales of GBP£137m, a 43 per cent rise on last year. The star of the Christie’s sale was René Magritte’s La Corde Sensible (1960) which went for £14.4m including fees, an auction record for a work by the Belgian surrealist artist. Gustav Klimt’s Bauerngarten (Flower Garden, 1907) went for  close to GBP£48million at Sotherby’s.
     
  • The Baltic, an art institution in Gateshead in the north of England, has announced Jose Dávila, Eric N. Mack, Toni Schmale and Shen Xin as the winners of its inaugural artist prize. The winners receive a show at the museum this summer, GBP£25,000 to create new work, and a GBP£5,000 artist fee. The international award is the first worldwide art prize to be judged solely by artists, the judging panel comprising  Monica Bonvicini, Mike Nelson, Pedro Cabrita Reis, and Lorna Simpson.
     
  • Chus Martínez has been appointed curator of KölnSkulptur #9. The head of the Institute of Art of the FHNW Academy of Arts and Design in Basel, will curate the ninth edition of the biennial which opens 15 October, coinciding with the Sculpture Park Cologne’s 20th anniversary.
     
  • The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston has a USD$10-million plan for a new satellite addition in East Boston. The new Watershed building would increase ICA's exhibition space by 50 percent. 

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