France Launches ‘Arty Tinder’ App; Hands Young People €500 to Enjoy Culture
In further news: artists for Planned Parenthood; US court rules on Nazi-looted Cranachs; Munich’s Haus der Kunst cancels Joan Jonas show
In a bid to get youngsters to enjoy the arts, the French culture ministry has launched a new smartphone app, called Pass Culture, which gives EUR€500 of credit to each 18-year-old in the country to spend on arts events, from films to gigs. The app is currently being tested in select parts of the country, before being rolled out at the beginning of next year. The app is geolocated, showing users the latest arts events in their area – leading one French journalist to describe it as an ‘arty Tinder’. But some have warned of the dangers in offering cultural bonus credit to young people – a similar scheme in Italy in 2016 created a black market in which some sold products online that they’d purchased with the credit.
10 female artists, including Zoe Buckman, Chitra Ganesh, Hillary Jordan, Shirin Neshat, Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems, have signed up to Planned Parenthood’s new online arts initiative Unstoppable Art. The artists will contribute works to an online exhibition, part of the non-profit’s campaign to build public consciousness around reproductive rights. ‘I couldn’t be more pro-choice,’ Neshat told The Art Newspaper. ‘I absolutely believe on an international universal level that women should have the freedom to choose what they want to do with their bodies.’
A US appeals court has upheld a 2016 ruling on a pair of Nazi-looted Cranachs, in favour of California’s Norton Simon Museum. The court permitted the museum to keep two 16th-century oil-on-panel paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder that had been taken from Dutch-Jewish art dealer Jacques Goudstikker by the Nazis during the Second World War in a forced sale, following Germany’s invasion of the Netherlands in 1940. They were later returned to the Dutch government – the dealer’s heirs failed to make a claim to them before a 1951 deadline. The paintings were then sold and brought to America. The 2016 lower court ruling concluded that it did not possess the right to invalidate the Dutch government’s decision to sell the paintings in 1966. The lengthy legal battle has been ongoing for over a decade, initiated by Goudstikker’s daughter-in-law Marei von Saher, who seeks to reclaim the paintings, valued at USD$24 million.
A Joan Jonas exhibition at Munich’s Haus der Kunst has been pulled due to financial problems. The museum cited budget issues, as it cancelled the show of the video and performance artist – it was set to go on view in November following its current presentation at London’s Tate Modern. Haus der Kunst said that it was forced to scrap the Jonas show due to ‘a difficult financial situation stemming from management errors in the past.’ It said that last-minute attempts to pull in funds for the show to go ahead had failed. The institution has been plagued by financial problems for many years. Okwui Enwezor, director since 2011, left in June citing health reasons – he is yet to be replaced.
In passings: the Brazilian artist Antonio Dias has died aged 74. Dias first trained as a draughtsman and graphic designer. He moved to Europe in 1965, creating canvases highly critical of his country’s military dictatorship, drawing on the visual language of comics and graffiti – his work’s references to commercial culture attracted comparisons with the US pop movement, though Dias was reluctant to be associated. His work was included in the 2015 ‘The World Goes Pop’ show at London’s Tate Modern. Chinese artist Cui Xiuwen has passed away aged 48. The Beijing-based artist’s works moved across painting, installation and the moving image, engaging with changing notions of female identity and sexuality in post-reform-era China – one work Ladies Room (2000) deployed a secret camera to record conversations in seedy Beijing nightclub’s restroom. Cui received the ‘Most Influential Artist of the Year’ honour at the 2010 Award of Art China.
In awards and grants news: the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation has gifted New York’s Jewish Museum USD$10 million and over 70 artworks from the late artist’s collection, including works by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; artist Nicole Eisenman has been named winner of the 2020 Suzanne Deal Booth/FLAG Art Foundation Prize which comes with a USD$200,000 award and an exhibition at the Contemporary Austin and New York’s FLAG; Florida’s Norton Museum of Art has been gifted USD$16 million by the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund, part of the museum’s USD$100 million expansion campaign which will build a new exhibition wing designed by architect Norman Foster; and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has granted New York’s New Museum USD$660,000 towards its New Inc initiative which supports artists experimenting with technology.
In gallery news: New York’s Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is opening a new location in an apartment on the Lower East Side, called Third Floor, which will be inaugurated with a group show ‘Housewarming’ in October; LA dealer Stefan Simchowitz is opening a space in a former newsstand – the ‘semi-permanent pop-up exhibition space’ is set to open this weekend; London’s Richard Saltoun gallery has announced representation of Ulay in the UK – a show is planned for 2019, which will include a ‘relatively unknown’ film produced with the artist’s former lover and collaborator Marina Abramović; and New York’s Cheim & Read are holding a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon on 14 August.