in News | 30 MAY 17


Ruben Östlund's The Square wins the Palme d'or; the Walker Art Center to remove a Sam Durant piece after protests

in News | 30 MAY 17

Ruben Östlund, The Square, 2017, film still. Courtesy: © Festival de Cannes 2017 

The Cannes film festival – its 70th anniversary edition – wrapped up on Sunday, with the Palme d'or awarded to Swedish director Ruben Östlund's The Square. Östlund’s film, co-starring Claes Bang and Elisabeth Moss, is a dark, satirical take on the art world, following a gallery director's meltdown after becoming the victim of a pickpocket scam. Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, who presided over this year’s jury, described it as a story about the 'dictatorship of being politically correct'. Elsewhere at Cannes, the Chinese director Jia Zhangke called for a relaxation of his country's film law, in an effort to ensure independent films are properly represented on the global stage. A new law in mainland China, introduced in March, lays down penalties for directors who choose to take their films to overseas festivals without official approval – with a ban from film-related activities for 5 years. Read our critic’s guide to this year's Cannes

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis will remove a piece from its sculpture garden after protests from the American Indian community. LA-based sculptor Sam Durant's wood and steel The Scaffold, a composite of the visual history of gallows, was installed as part of the garden's reopening. Around 100 American Indians protested against The Scaffold’s partial reference to the 1862 Mankato Gallows, used to hang 38 Dakota tribe members – the largest mass execution in US history – during the Dakota War. While Durant intended his piece to explore the country's violent past and history of execution, protesters claimed that it trivialised genocide. On Saturday, the Center announced it would be taken down. ‘I apologize for any pain and disappointment that the sculpture might elicit’, executive director Olga Viso wrote in an open letter. 

LACMA's plans for its forthcoming Zumthor building, which will house its permanent collection galleries, seek to reverse the 'Met template’. Instead of inheriting the 18th-century Enlightenment and colonial behaviours of art institutions, premised on geography and chronology, the new Zumthor building will be designed in favour of a curatorial model that promotes departmental sharing, with the permanent collection installed as a perpetual series of temporary exhibitions. The LA Times has the story.

Martin Roth, who co-curated the Azerbaijan Pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale, now says that he may have been mistaken in describing Azerbaijan as 'a blueprint of tolerance’. Roth has faced notable criticism for his involvement. But speaking to The Art Newspaper, the former V&A director defended working with the 'authoritarian' country in the name of dialogue. 

The Nancy Graves Foundation has named the recipients of its annual grants for visual artists: Sam Contis and Myeongsoo Kim, awarded an unrestricted $5000 prize. Oakland-based Sam Contis focuses on photography and traditional printing, while Brooklyn-based Myeongsoo Kim's sculptural installations draw on found and fabricated objects. The foundation was established in 1996 after the death of Nancy Graves and has been awarding grants since 2001, with the aim of giving artists the ability to experiment with new media and techniques.

South Africa’s Goodman Gallery, with locations in Cape Town and Johannesburg, has added four new names to its roster: Yinka Shonibare MBE, Samson Kambalu, Paulo Nazareth and Grada Kilomba. Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist living in London, is currently showing at the Venice Biennale’s Diaspora Pavilion; Portuguese artist Kilomba – based in Berlin – will perform at documenta 14 in Kassel next week. ‘These interdisciplinary artists produce work at the nexus of contemporary art and social action’, Liza Essers, gallery director and owner, said in a press statement. 

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) celebrated the opening of its newly renovated Building 6 this weekend. The new Robert W. Wilson Building doubles the museum’s gallery space, and will house long-term shows by Jenny Holzer (with art projected onto the building and landscape), Laurie Anderson, Louise Bourgeois and a James Turrell retrospective. Since its 1999 launch, Mass MoCA - occupying the site of a former textile factory - has been working to renovate the 28 buildings on its campus. 

The Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate has been selected to host the Turner prize in 2019. The gallery is built on the site of a boarding house frequented by the artist. Turner was a regular visitor to the seaside town, returning repeatedly to paint its sea and skies. The annual Turner prize is presented in alternate years at London’s Tate Britain and at a venue outside London. 'This is a truly transformative opportunity for Margate to be part of something which invites conversations on an international scale’, said Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery. ‘The gallery’s associations with Turner have particular resonance’, Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner prize jury, said, ‘and we are delighted that the prize will be presented in Kent.’

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has called to ban the Nyansapo Festival in the capital, on the grounds that most of the event space is set aside for black women only. Hidalgo claimed that the festival, due to run from 28 to 30 July – which describes itself as ‘an event rooted in black feminism, activism, and on (a) European scale’ – was ‘prohibited to white people’. 80% of the festival space was reserved as a ‘non-mixed’ space for black women. The festival organisers said that they had been ‘the target of a campaign of disinformation and fake news orchestrated by the extreme right’. Hidalgo later seemed to backtrack, tweeting that a solution had been found, and the festival would go ahead.

Galerie Urs Meile with locations in Beijing, China, and Lucerne, Switzerland, has announced the opening of a new exhibition space in Beijing’s 798 Art District, relocating from its gallery complex in the Caochangdi neighbourhood, where it has been located for 11 years. Housed in the historic Dashanzi factory complex, the space is being repurposed by Japanese architect Mitsunori Sano, with an inaugural show by Qui Shihua.

New York’s Peter Blum Gallery is relocating downtown, opening in September at 176 Grand Street with a show of work by John Zurier. Their current space on West 57th Street, along with neighbouring buildings, is due to be demolished, to make way for new condos.

Edinburgh will welcome a new visual art gallery, opening on Calton Hill in 2018. The iconic City Observatory site is being renovated by the visual art organization Collective in partnership with the city council. Ian Munro, Deputy Chief Executive at Creative Scotland, said: 'The transformation of the City Observatory site marks an important milestone for the Collective and presents the gallery, the artists that it works with and the public with a rich and inspiring context for its work'.

Palestinian artist Emily Jacir has launched a crowdfunder to help turn her 19th-century family home in the West Bank into a community art centre, in collaboration with architectural preservation group RIWAQ. The exhibition space, moments away from the barrier wall, will be primarily devoted to cinema and visual art, hosting a research centre focused on the Jacir Ottoman archives - photos and texts from the late 19th century and 20th century Ottoman empire. 'We envision the center as a place in which the history and contemporary conditions of Bethlehem will meet, enabling the production of new works of art and visions of the future', Jacir wrote on Kickstarter.