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Briefing

German cultural figures protest far-right Bundestag representative; Saskatoon's Remai Modern opens; Nato Thompson joins Philadelphia Contemporary

The Reichstag, seat of the Bundestag, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Photograph: Cezary Piwowarski

The Reichstag, seat of the Bundestag, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Photograph: Cezary Piwowarski

The Reichstag, seat of the Bundestag, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Photograph: Cezary Piwowarski

An open letter is circulating protesting the appointment of Siegbert Droese, a member of far right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), to chair the German Bundestag’s Committee on Cultural and Media Affairs. The letter warns of the impact the AfD's ‘nationalist poison’ would have on cultural policy, with over 25,000 signatories, including Amelie Deuflhard of Kampnagel performance space, Ronald Grätz of Kulturaustausch, president of the Goethe-Institut Klaus-Dieter Lehmann and Klaus Staeck, formerly the president of the Academy of Arts at Berlin.

Nato Thompson is leaving his artistic director position at New York public art outfit Creative Time to take up the new role of artistic director of Philadelphia Contemporary. Thompson has worked at Creative Time for a decade, and has been involved in major public works such as Kara Walker’s 2014 installation A Subtlety and Pedro Reyes’ Doomocracy (2016), as well as the nonprofit’s recent protest flag project ‘Pledges fof Allegiance’ (2017). Philadelphia Contemporary, founded by Harry Philbrick last year, describes itself as an ‘independent and free-standing’ platform dedicated to ’the abundance of genre-bending, multidisciplinary practices’. Thompson will start his new job next month, guiding the nonprofit as it looks to shift from pop-up projects to a permanent space by 2022.

Wesleyan University in Connecticut has announced a a short-term residency, beginning in April 2018, for artists who were affected by hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria in the US this year. The residency has emerged from a collaboration between the university’s Center for the Arts and its College of the Environment, for projects which look to examine the impact of hurricanes, climate change and relationships with the natural world. Artists from regions impacted by the devastation of hurricane season are asked to provide a proposal which reacts to the following questions: ‘How can the arts address and respond to the environmental and humanitarian crises wrought by climate change? How do we redefine humankind’s evolving relationsip to nature, specifically to water? What role might the arts play in rebuilding after storms?' The residency will provide a USD$10,000 fee as well as USD$5,000 for travel and supplies, and is open to all disciplines.

Berlin-based artist Agnieszka Polska has won Germany’s National Gallery Prize for Young Artists – the prize is awarded every two years to artists under 40 working in Berlin, with a major solo exhibition at a state museum. Anne Imhof won the previous prize in 2015. ‘Throughout her work Polska ingeniously interweaves some of the most pressing issues of our time’, jury member and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sheena Wagstaff commented.

Saskatoon’s new USD$70 million art gallery Remai Modern opened to the public on Saturday, with an inaugural show of work by Philippe Parreno, Haegue Yang and Picasso linocut prints. The 11,500 square metre building was designed by Canadian architect Bruce Kawabara, paying architectural homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style – it replaces Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery and inherits the Mendel’s collection.

The form of V&A Dundee’s building has been unveiled after its temporary cofferdam was dismantled last week, revealing the shape of the new museum. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma said that he hoped the institution would become a ‘living room’ for residents – it will be devoted to the history of Scottish design as well as loans from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum is due to open its doors in 2018.

At the opening ceremony of Pakistan’s inaugural Karachi Biennale, Lahore-based artist Ali Kazim was announced as winner of the Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation Juried Art Prize. Kazim’s untitled award-winning installation uses human hair in a three-dimensional drawing.

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