Briefing

Jannis Kounellis passes away aged 80; The Salesman to be screened in London following Iranian director's Oscars boycott

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled (12 Horses), 1969, installation view, Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled (12 Horses), 1969, installation view, Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled (12 Horses), 1969, installation view, Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York, 2015. Courtesy: the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York

  • Celebrated Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis has passed away at the age of 80. Born in Piraeus, Greece, in 1936, Kounellis relocated to Rome at the age of 20 to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. It was there that Kounellis first began to experiment with the ‘poor’ materials that would associate him with the Arte Povera artists and come to define his practice. An example of this came in 1969 with the famous exhibition ‘Untitled (12 Horses)’ at Galleria L’Attico (recently restaged at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York), which saw Kounellis tether 12 live horses to the walls of the exhibition space. Throughout his lengthy career, Kounellis was the subject of solo exhibitions at Tate Modern, London (2009); the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2007); the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (1996); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1982); and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1981), amongst others.
     
  • The Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, has de-installed or covered all of the artworks in its collection that were created or donated to the museum by US immigrants. The act, which has been dubbed Art-Less, sees around 20% of the museum’s collection obscured from view, and highlights the major contribution that immigrants have made to American history. Art-Less comes shortly after a similar act of protest by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which saw the institution re-install rehang part of its permanent collection with works by artists from the majority-Muslim nations that would be barred from entering the country if President Donald Trump’s travel ban were to be successful.
     
  • The Public Art Fund has announced that it will install London-based artist Anish Kapoor’s Descension (2014) – a vast pool of spiralling black water – in Brooklyn Pier Park as part of its 40th anniversary season. In a press release, chief curator Nicholas Baume, said: ‘As we celebrate 40 years of bringing remarkable public art to New York City, it’s important to recognize those artists and exhibitions that have shaped the discourse and been so memorable to our broad public audience.’ On the installation of Descension, Baume added: ‘We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us.
     
  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he will organize an outdoor screening of the Oscar-nominated film The Salesman after Asghar Farhadi, the film’s Iranian director, refused to attend the Academy Awards ceremony to protest President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. In an statement, Khan said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome people from across the capital and beyond to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a beacon of diversity.’ The screening, which will take place in Trafalgar Square on 26 February, will be the film’s British premiere.
     
  • The inaugural AWARE Award, a French art prize for female artists, has been presented to two artists: Laetitia Badaut Haussmann and Judit Reigl. The prize, which was launched by AWARE (Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions) and has the backing of the French culture ministry, aims to foreground the women artists who have been overlooked in the 21st century. Speaking at the awards ceremony, French culture minister Audrey Azoulay expressed the need ‘to deconstruct and reconstruct our outlook on the history of art and to recall the role of women and bring it the critical, intellectual attention that it deserves’.

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