This week’s rolling news roundup

17–23 December

Troels Wörsel, Untitled, 1999, acrylic on canvas and aluminium, 65 x 50 cm. Courtesy Galleri Riis, Oslo


On Monday, director of Manifesta Hedwig Fijen announced the appointment of the artistic team for the 13th edition of the travelling biennial which will next take place in the city of Marseille in 2020. Danish painter and experimental artist Troels Wörsel, who represented Denmark at the 2007 Venice Biennale, has died aged 68. German curator and founder of Skulptur Projekte Münster Kasper König has been criticised for describing the Turkish migrant and second generation community in Germany as “aggressive” during a panel discussion on the rise of the far-right in Germany and across Europe with artists Henrike Naumann, Wilhelm Klotzek, and Cana Bilir-Meier, a German artist of Turkish descent. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam is to shut for refurbishment from 27 May, with a phased closure starting 13 January. No date is stated for the works to be completed, but the newly renovated museum will sit next to the forthcoming Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, scheduled to open its doors in early 2020, in the Dutch city's Museumpark. In the meantime the collection of art and design will be shown at local schools and museums, other national museums and put out to loan to international institutions.

Front International has announced that its inaugural triennial event, which ran from 14 July – 18 September in Cleveland, northeast Ohio, racking up 227,000 visits, gained $31 million in ‘economic impact’ for the state. In addition to this, according to an impact study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development, numerous sites across the northern part of the state hosted art exhibitions throughout the period, which made sales of $115 million and generated more than $8 million in state and local taxes. In a statement, executive director of FRONT Fred Bidwell has said: ‘One of the primary objectives of FRONT is to bring new economic activity to Northeast Ohio through cultural tourism...We were very pleased to see that 34 percent of visitors to FRONT exhibitions came from outside of Northeast Ohio, and during our opening week, over 50 percent were from out of town.’ 

Loic Gouzer, Christie’s co-chairman of postwar and contemporary art, has announced he will be leaving the auction house at the end of the year. Gouger joined Christie’s in 2011, and his unconventional methods made the firm millions – Gouger most notably engineered the record-breaking sale of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvatore Mundi which went for $450.3m in 2017. ‘Those who know me best know that my two great passions in life have always been art and the environment,’ Gouzer said in a statement. ‘I intend to spend the next few months concentrating on conservation and climate issues before coming back to the art world with a new project.’

On Tuesday, it was announced that Vanessa German received the 2018 Don Tyson Prize, a biennial award given for outstanding achievement in American art. German, a Pittsburgh-based artist and activist who uses her practice to help transform communities, was awarded $200,000 at her Art House, ‘a living and work space that serves as a refuge for kids in the Homewood neighbourhood of Pittsburgh’. Meanwhile, Jamie Crewe, Winnie Herbstein, Stuart Middleton and Margaret Salmon have been shortlisted for the 2019/2020 Margaret Tait Award, a £15,000 commission for Scottish or Scotland-based artists working with moving image. Each artist will submit a proposal, which will premiere in February 2020 at Glasgow Film Festival, where the winner will be announced.

On Wednesday Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT was named curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale, which will open in May 2020. The Lebanese architect said ‘The world is putting new challenges in front of architecture. I look forward to working with participating architects from around the world to imagine together how we are going to rise to these challenges.’

On Thursday, it was announced that Moscow residents have launched a petition for Garage Museum of Contemporary Art to cancel sponsorship funding from Russian property developer PIK, which is accused of displacing citizens from their current homes, and of causing damage to the ecology and city environment. Gregory Burke has resigned from his role as executive director and CEO of Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada’s newest museum of modern art which opened in 2017. Burke, who curated the 2014 Biennale de Montréal, will step down in March 2019 to take up the directorship of the Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand. Following accusations of sexual harassment, artist Subodh Gupta has stepped down as curator of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa, India. Gupta, who denies the allegations, said in a statement published by the festival that his decision to leave was so as ‘not to detract from the collaborative efforts’ of the other participants. Over in Florence, a tourist had a heart attack in front of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (c. 1485) at the Uffizi Galleries. He was quickly taken to the hospital and is reported to be recovering. This is not a first according to the museum’s director Eike Schmidt, who told the Corriere della Sera that someone recently fainted in front of a Caravaggio painting, while Botticelli’s Venus caused another tourist an epileptic fit back in 2016.

Stay tuned for the daily rundown on the artworld’s latest gallery news: awards, appointments, artist representation, open calls and more...