Briefing

Police end Volksbühne occupation in Berlin; Thomas Dane to open a space in Naples

Volksbühne, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Some Rights Reserved

Volksbühne, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Some Rights Reserved

Volksbühne, Berlin. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Some Rights Reserved

Police have ended the occupation of Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre, taken over by activists last Friday to protest the gentrification of the city’s spaces. The protesters from the 'Dust to Glitter' group called the building the ‘property of the people’ and announced intentions to build a ‘People’s Stage’, an ‘anti-gentrification centre’ and a ‘parliament for the homeless’ over the coming months. Chris Dercon, director of the Volksbühne, filed a complaint on Wednesday evening, requesting police intervene in the occupation, after talks broke down. Dust to Glitter demanded that the theatre be run as a collective, with a two-year interim council, which the management deemed impossible. The activists were evicted by police on Thursday morning. It’s been a turbulent time for the theatre’s new director, who has faced open letters and petitions debating his appointment since last year – and even feces left at his door in August. His appointment, replacing the Volksbühne’s long-time director Frank Castorf, has been regarded by many as another chapter in the inexorable gentrification of the city. A recent letter from the activist coalition Hands Off Our Movement to Dercon chastized the director for filing a criminal complaint against the protesters.

Kathy Halbreich has been named as the new Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Halbreich, who is currently Associate Director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, will take up the position on 1 November 2017, replacing Christy MacLear. ‘Kathy embodies my father’s belief in art as transformational and we are thrilled that she will bring that devotion to the Rauschenberg Foundation,’ Chris Rauschenberg, President of the Foundation, said. Prior to her nine years at MoMA, Halbreich spent 16 years as Director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Augustus Casely-Hayford has been named as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. Casely-Hayford is currently a research associate at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and will take up the role in February 2018. The Smithsonian’s secretary, David Skorton, commented: ‘[Casely-Hayford’s] presence at the museum will boost its already prestigious programmes and compelling exhibitions and inspire more people across the nation and around the world to explore the rich cultural heritage of African art.’ He replaces Johnnetta Cole who stepped down in March.

The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced that it is the recipient of a two-year Ford Foundation grant which will be used to expand its Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program which provides mentorship and support to immigrant artists in New York City. The programme was founded a decade ago and has worked with almost 200 immigrant artists since. Now the programme will be expanded to Detroit; Newark, New Jersey; Oakland, California; and San Antonio, Texas, with 144 immigrant artists participating. The Newark programme is currently accepting applications until 30 October. Michael L. Royce, Executive Director, commented: ‘Many of these immigrants are already contributing to the cultural landscapes in their cities, and we aspire to work with them through a formalized, professional-guided mentoring programme that produces catalytic results for their communities.'

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, has been named as head of the International Biennial Association. She takes over from Yongoo Lee, and in line with the new appointment, will move the Association’s headquarters from Korea's Gwangju to Sharjah, UAE. Al Qasimi was curator of the 2003 Sharjah Biennial and remained as director. She organized the United Arab Emirates Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. You can read our 2016 profile of her over here

Thomas Dane Gallery has revealed details of its new Naples space, opening in 2018. The gallery has taken over a restored first floor in 19th century Casa Ruffo, in Naples's Chiaia district, as a space for residencies and exhibitions. Previous inhabitants of the building have included the philosopher Benedetto Croce and writer Gustav Herling-Grudzinski. The gallery will begin in January by showing work engaging with the 'idea' of Naples, including pieces by Bruce Conner, Steve McQueen, Catherine Opie, Caragh Thuring and Kelley Walker. Federica Sheehan has been appointed gallery director of the Naples space.

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