In a big week for German contemporary art prizes, the winners are ... Hiwa K (Hector Prize) and Timm Ulrichs (Käthe Kollwitz Prize). Where the Hector Prize promotes artists living in Germany between 35 and 50 years old working in the "three-dimensional area of sculpture, object art, spatial and multimedia installations" (in case you didn't understand how the dimensions manifest), Timm Ulrichs joins Hito Steyerl and Adrian Piper as recent winners of a prize awarded by Berlin's Akademie der Künste to an artist whose life and work is centred in the city.
The South African art scene, meanwhile, was in mourning this week for David Koloane, one of the most significant artists to emerge from apartheid-era South Africa, who passed away at 81. For a short obituary of an artist who fought to create space for black artists under a discriminatory regime, click here. In the wake of another significant victory for free society, as Istanbul celebrated the defeat of President Erdogan's AKP in the city's (restaged) mayoral election, a leading contemporary art institution announced the opening of a major new building in the heart of the city during the forthcoming Istanbul Biennial, on 13 September. The director of Arter, Melih Fereli, told the Art Newspaper that 'there is no denying that my view of the universality of culture differs from that of President Erdogan' while promising to ensure that 'different cultural values will continue to enrich this country’s common heritage'.
On Wednesday it was announced that Gunnar B. Kvaran would be stepping down after nineteen years as the director of Oslo's Astrup Fearnley Museet. Kvaran, who will continue as adviser to the Hans Rasmus Astrup Foundation set up to support the internationally significant collection of art assembled by the Norwegian billionaire, oversaw the museum's move in 2012 into two new buildings designed by Renzo Piano on Tjuvholmen. The position of director of Astrup Fearnley Museet will, a press release stated, be advertised in August.
More prize winners announced this week: the St Fagans National Museum of History, near Cardiff, has been announced as the winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year award. Worth £100,000, the award is the biggest museum prize in the world, and is administered annually to a museum in the UK that has shown ‘exceptional imagination, innovation and achievement’ over the past 12 months. St Fagans was selected among a shortlist of five, including HMS Caroline (Belfast), Nottingham Contemporary, Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford) and V&A Dundee, which will each receive a £10,000 stipend. Meanwhile, Erin Lefebre’s photograph I Feel Relaxed When I Play String has been selected as the overall winner for the Wellcome Photography Prize, a £15,000 prize organised by the Wellcome Collection to support photography practices engaging with issues of health in society. The winning photograph, an intimate portrait of the artist’s autistic brother, is on view alongside the other category winners and shortlisted artists from 4–13 July at the Lethaby Gallery, Central St Martins, London. Guy Oliver and Reman Sadani were announced the winners of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2020. Working with the theme ‘Hindsight’, each of the artists will receive £25,000 to help produce commissioned moving image artworks which will be on display at Jerwood Space in April 2020. The shortlist of twelve photographers selected for the this year’s edition of Prix Pictet, a global award for photography and sustainability, comprises of: Shahidul Alam, Joana Choumali, Margaret Courtney-Clarke, Rena Effendi, Lucas Foglia, Janelle Lynch, Ross McDonnell, Gideon Mendel, Ivor Prickett, Robin Rhode, Awoiska van der Molen and Alexia Webster. This year’s theme is ‘Hope’, and the winner of the award will receive 100,000 Swiss francs. The work of the shortlisted photographers will be presented at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (14 November – 8 December 2019) and will continue as a touring exhibition.
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