Briefing

Anish Kapoor to use $1m prize money to aid refugees; 57th Venice Biennale artist list published

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004, installation view, AT&T Plaza, Chicago. Courtesy: Open Source

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004, installation view, AT&T Plaza, Chicago. Courtesy: Open Source

Anish Kapoor, Cloud Gate, 2004, installation view, AT&T Plaza, Chicago. Courtesy: Open Source

  • Anish Kapoor has been awarded the 2017 Genesis Prize, an accolade described by Time magazine as the ‘Jewish Nobel’. Upon accepting the award, the UK-based artist, who was born in Mumbai to an Iraqi-Jewish mother and Indian father, condemned the ‘abhorrent government policies’ towards refugees, pledging to use the USD$1m prize money to help highlight the current crisis. He added: ‘I am an artist, not a politician, and I feel I must speak out against indifference for the suffering of others. There are over 60 million refugees in the world today – whatever the geography of displacement, the refugee crisis is right here on our doorstep.’
     
  • The full artist list has been announced for the 57th Venice Biennale, which opens on 13 May. Titled ‘Viva Arte Vive’, curated by Christine Macel, and pitched as a biennale ‘with the artists, by the artist, and for the artists’, this year’s edition aims to reiterate the importance of art unstable times. Speaking last year, Macel explained the founding concept: ‘[Art] is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom, and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.’ To see the full list, click here.
     
  • In protest of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, which is currently suspending pending review later today, The Museum of Modern Art in New York has rehung part of its permanent collection with works by artists from the majority-Muslim nations whose citizens could eventually be temporarily blocked from entering the US. The institution has placed a wall-text alongside each of the rehung works, clearly outlining its stance: ‘This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum as they are to the United States.’
     
  • Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of St. Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, has played down reports that the Federal Security Service (FSB) carried out a surprise search of one of the institution’s storage facilities last week, claiming that he is in ‘constant contact’ with the FSB. Reporting for The Art Newspaper, Sophia Kishkovsky notes that the search coincided the government’s controversial decision to hand control of St. Petersburg’s St Isaac’s Cathedral from museum officials to the Russian Orthodox Church, a move that Piotrovsky has been a vocal opponent of.
     
  • The nominees for this year’s Marcel Duchamp Prize, France’s most coveted award for contemporary art, have been announced. The shortlist, which was organized by 11 collectors from the Association for the International Diffusion of French Art (ADIAF), features Maja Bajevic, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Charlotte Moth, and Vittorio Santoro. Previous winners include Kader Attia, Latifa Echakhch, Cyprien Gaillard, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Thomas Hirschhorn, Julien Prévieux, and Tatiana Trouvé.

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