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Briefing

Revered theatre director John Vaccaro passes away; Marina Abramović responds to accusations of racism

The group Dark Ages performing John Vaccaro's Playhouse of the Ridiculous play, Persia, a Desert Cheapie, at La Mama, New York, 1972. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jack Mitchell/

The group Dark Ages performing John Vaccaro's Playhouse of the Ridiculous play, Persia, a Desert Cheapie, at La Mama, New York, 1972. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jack Mitchell/

The group Dark Ages performing John Vaccaro's Playhouse of the Ridiculous play, Persia, a Desert Cheapie, at La Mama, New York, 1972. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jack Mitchell/

  • Pioneering theatre director John Vaccaro has died, aged 86. Vaccaro, whose avant-garde troupe ‘Playhouse of the Ridiculous’ helped to advance the Off Off Broadway theatre scene in the 1960s, was best known for his absurd stage productions, described by the New York Times as ‘nonplays … a pastiche of lines from Shakespeare, Aeschylus, 1930s movies, grand opera, TV commercial, and comic books, in no apparent order’.
     
  • A passage from Marina Abramović’s forthcoming memoir, in which the celebrated artist described Indigenous Australians as ‘dinosaurs’ that ‘look terrible’, has been removed from the final version of the text. In response to widespread criticism, Abramović wrote that the description was taken from her early diaries, and ‘reflects my initial reaction to these people when I encountered them for the very first time way back in 1979.’
     
  • Rita Kersting is set to become the new deputy director of Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Kersting, who is a fellow at MoMA, New York, a board member of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, will assume the role on 1 September, taking over from Katia Baudin.
     
  • France’s former minister of culture Jack Lang is campaigning for the €864,000 restoration of Galerie Vivienne in Paris to be abandoned, calling the project an ‘attack on the architecture of a protected space’. The 19th-century glass-covered gallery sits in the second arrondissement, and was declared a National Historic Monument in 1974.
     
  • The Hammer Museum has announced the three recipients of the Made in L.A. 2016 Mohn Awards, which was established to recognise artistic excellence. Dancer and choreographer Adam Linder has been awarded USD$100,000, which he will receive across a two-year period, while Wadada Leo Smith has won the USD$25,000 Career Achievement Award and Kenzi Shiokava has been presented the USD$25,000 Public Recognition Award, which was determined via public vote.
     
  • Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed claims that British retailer Topman has plagiarised his 2012 work Oiling on their ‘Print Tank Vest’. Ahmed believes that the interpretation of his hanging carpet has been simplified, something that is ‘deeply disrespectful to the artist and other people whose creative energy is invested in every work’.
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