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Anne Imhof and Franz Erhard Walther win Golden Lions; the Louvre Abu Dhabi to finally open

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Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017, installation view, German Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: © Nadine Fraczkowsk

Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017, installation view, German Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: © Nadine Fraczkowsk

The Golden Lion for best national pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale has been awarded to Germany for Anne Imhof’s performance work Faust. The jury called it ‘a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time. It pushes the spectator to a state of anxiety.’ Imhof was also recently named as the winner of the 2017 Absolut Art Award (see below). The Golden Lion for best artist in Christine Macel’s exhibition ‘Viva Arte Viva’ went to Franz Erhard Walther and the Silver Lion for promising young artist was awarded to Hassan Khan. The jury consisted of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía’s director, Manuel J. Borja-Villel; curator and writer Francesca Alfano Miglietti; co-founder of TheCube Project Space, Amy Cheng; Chimurenga publication founder Ntone Edjabe; and the Tate Modern’s senior curator of international art, Mark Godfrey.

The Samdani Art Foundation, a Bangladesh-based private arts trust known for the Dhaka Art Summit, will open an arts centre and sculpture park in 2018. Called Srihatta—Samdani Art Centre and Sculpture Park, the foundation’s new permanent venue will boast 3,000 square metres of space for artist residencies; 3,000 square metres of plazas; and a 3,000-square-metre gallery designed by Dhaka-based Bangladeshi architect Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury and his firm URBANA. Located in Sylhet, a city approximately 150 miles from Dhaka, Srihatta will be free to the public and feature rotating exhibitions curated from the Samdanis’s 2,000-work collection of modern and contemporary art. The foundation’s artistic director, Diana Campbell Betancourt said, ‘we do not believe that Bangladesh needs a private museum. This is a community space where we can all engage with art on equal terms.’

The winners of this year’s Absolut Art Award for art and art writing have been named as Anne Imhof and Huey Copeland respectively. They will both receive €20,000 as well as a budget to produce new work. Imhof will receive €100,000 to fund a new work and Copeland will receive €25,000 to produce a new art publication with a leading publishing house. Led by Daniel Birnbaum, director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, the jury comprised Simon Castets, director and curator of the Swiss Institute in New York and cofounder of 89plus; Elena Filipovic, director and chief curator of Kunsthalle Basel; Polly Staple, director of Chisenhale Gallery in London and frieze contributing editor; and Jack Bankowsky, critic, curator, and editor at large at Artforum.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open in November. Since the controversial €1 billion project was announced more than a decade ago, the opening date for the long-awaited, Jean Nouvel–designed institution has been postponed numerous times. According to sources close to the project, the museum is in the ‘final stages’ of construction. An internal memo circulated at the Louvre in France stated that all departments should prepare getting the works that will be loaned to the institution ready to ship to Abu Dhabi. Three hundred works are expected to travel from France to inaugurate the new museum.

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