Police Shut Down Mosque Installation at Venice Biennale

23 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Icelandic Pavilion “Mosque” Shut Down in Venice, First Gurlitt Painting Goes to Auction Block, and More.

MILAN (AP) — Venice officials have ordered the closure of a working mosque in an ex-church, set up as Iceland’s exhibit for the 56th Venice Biennale contemporary art fair. — Icelandic Pavilion “Mosque” Shut Down in Venice: The artist Christoph Büchel’s temporary mosque installation that marks Iceland’s participation in the Venice Biennale was closed to the public Friday, ending weeks of speculation about its fate due to threats of closure made by Venice authorities. The Icelandic pavilion was closed Friday after Venice city officials withdrew authorization for the installation citing violations of the initial agreement, including using the pavilion as a place of worship. The apparent justification for the closure is visitor safety, with attendance at times reportedly exceeding the space’s 90-person limit, as well as unspecified security risks cited by municipal authorities. They claimed false arrest and improper seizure of Illuminator Collective property by the NYPD. [Hyperallergic] Amy Brandt, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Chrysler Museum (as well as the recent successful “Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera” exhibit at Grey Art Gallery), has died. [Hampton Roads]

Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Buechl’s exhibit created the first mosque ever in the historic center of Venice, which for centuries served as a crossroads between East and West and is infused with Middle Eastern architectural influences. The work is the second official Venice participation to run into trouble, with the Syrian collective Abounaddara having pulled out of the central exhibition amid claims, denied by organizers, of censorship. [TAN, Icelandic Art Center] — First Gurlitt Painting Goes to Auction Block: A painting returned to its rightful heirs after being seized from Cornelius Gurlitt’s Nazi-tainted trove by German authorities in 2012 is heading to Sotheby’s in London on June 24. Max Liebermann’s “Two Riders on a Beach,” 1901, is the first such work to go to auction, and is expected to bring in an estimated $540,000-850,000. The painting is one of two that have been returned since authorities confiscated the Gurlitt collection, and has been restituted to David Toren of New York, great-nephew of the Liebermann’s original owner, David Friedmann, a Jewish industrialist in Western Poland. [WSJ] — Havana Biennial Opens Amid Thawing US-Cuba Relations: The 12th Havana Biennial features extensive participation by US artists and a special exchange with the Bronx Museum, which will exhibit works from its collection alongside Biennial projects by American artists Duke Riley and Mary Mattingly, among others.

Tania Bruguera remains detained in Havana since her arrest earlier this year in connection with her “Tatlin’s Whisper” series, and earlier this week announced a new project involving the reading of Hannah Arendt’s “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” [Ardaily] — Analyzing this Year’s “Most Speculative” Auction Season: The current auction season, begun in November, has been dominated by auction resales, according to data cited in a recent analysis of the auction market by Scott Reyburn in the New York Times. Reyburn references a Skate Art Market Research report finding this to be “the most speculative auction season ever,” with 28 percent of lots being previous auction resales — a record high since the firm began recording such figures in 1985. [NYT, Skate’s] — Eric Fischl Quits Mary Boone Gallery: Citing a desire to focus on his studio work and misgivings about the present market environment, the painter Eric Fischl has withdrawn from Mary Boone gallery. A director of the gallery, Ron Warren, said “he wants to concentrate on making his work, and distance himself from being represented by a gallery.” [TAN] — Top Human Rights Honors for Ai Weiwei and Joan Baez: Artist Ai Weiwei and the late singer Joan Baez received Amnesty International’s highest honor on Thursday, the Ambassador of Conscience Award.

The gallery is located in a townhouse currently listed for sale by the artist Brice Marden; the space was previously occupied by the gallery Rivington Arms from 2002 to 2009. [NYO] — The architect Frank Gehry has received the Getty Trust’s lifetime achievement award.

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