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France Introduces Financial Incentives to Combat Film Industry Sexism

In further news: artist’s plan to rebuild Berlin Wall shut down; and did Caravaggio die of stab wounds or syphilis?

Haifaa al-Mansour, Kirsten Stewart, Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay, Cate Blanchett and Agnes Varda walk the red carpet at Cannes in protest of lack of female filmmakers, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Pascal Le Segretain

Haifaa al-Mansour, Kirsten Stewart, Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay, Cate Blanchett and Agnes Varda walk the red carpet at Cannes in protest of lack of female filmmakers, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Pascal Le Segretain

Marianne Slot, Haifaa al-Mansour, Kirsten Stewart, Lea Seydoux, Khadja Nin, Ava DuVernay, Cate Blanchett, Agnes Varda and Céline Sciamma walk the red carpet at Cannes in protest of lack of female filmmakers, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Pascal Le Segretain

French culture minister Françoise Nyssen has announced that her government will offer subsidies to film productions that hire more women. In order to receive the funds, four to eight women must be hired into key leadership positions; currently, Nyssen claimed, less than one in six films would qualify. Projects’s crew members will be rated through a point system – for instance, awarding one point per female director, screenwriter or chief technician. Films with 8 points would be eligible for the maximum subsidy increase of 15 percent. It’s the first points-based system to be introduced in Europe aimed at improving the gender imbalance in film production. From 2006 to 2016, less than 25% of French feature films had female directors, according to data released by the 5050x2020 collective. Nyssen said at a press conference: ‘When things do not change on their own, or too slowly, it’s up to us to change them.’ The new measure will be introduced in 2019.

Artist Candice Breitz has launched an open letter via Facebook protesting the exclusion of women from exhibition-making, signed by artists, curators and critics who are ‘sick of eating […] “Dick Soup’’’. The trigger for the letter was the exhibition ‘If in Doubt, Choose Doubt: The Great World Conspiracy’ at NRW-Forum Düsseldorf – curated by Florian Waldvogel and Alain Bieber, with artists including Ólafur Eliasson, Forensic Architecture and Trevor Paglen. In protest at the exhibition’s nearly all-male artist list (with the exception of two individual artists and two collectives), the letter asks: ‘How is it possible that an ‘international’ exhibition, one that sets out to address a global phenomenon, is composed almost exclusively of works by white men?’ The letter described NRW-Forum Düsseldorf’s response to criticism – the institution claimed that ‘it was certainly not our intention to exclude’ female artists – as an inadequate explanation for the virtual absence of women and ‘people of colour’ in the show. Over 300 signatories include artists Trevor Paglen (included in the exhibition), Alexandra Pirici, Ming Wong and curator Patrizia Dander.

Caravaggio died of stab wounds, not syphilis, new research finds. Theories about the Italian Baroque painter’s death in 1610 range from lead poisoning to syphilis, but new research published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal by a team of French and Italian scientists has found that the artist passed away due to sepsis caused by an infected wound, after a close study of a skeleton thought to be Caravaggio’s. The researchers write that that the artist died from ‘an infected wound that Caravaggio received during his last fight in Naples.’

Plans to temporarily reconstruct a portion of the Berlin Wall have been shut down by German authorities. The project to rebuild (and later destroy) the barrier that divided the city has been blocked two weeks before it was due to be launched in the German capital after authorities cited security concerns and fire risks regarding escape routes. The project was shut down because such an event would normally require a lead time of about one year; however, the application for the installation was received only six weeks ago. Instigated by Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky, the project would have seen 900 concrete wall slabs erected on Unter den Linden boulevard to create a ‘city within a city’. Visitors would have to apply for visas to get to the border where they could then view the artist’s re-imagined East Berlin through films and performances.

In museum and gallery news: In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is planning to hand its Breuer building over to the Frick Collection in 2020; a new centre for digital preservation of culture is to launch in Venice – ARCHiVe Analysis and Recording of Cultural Heritage in Venice will be based on Venice’s San Giorgio Maggiore island; in London, Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) is relocating to the campus of UAL’s Chelsea College of Arts, providing more space for the Stuart Hall Library; and Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art has finally reopened in a former aluminium factory, with new commissions by Barbara Kruger and Tania Bruguera.

João Ribas has resigned as artistic director from Portugal’s Serralves Museum in Porto over claims that its Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition was censored – Ribas had been in the role for eight months. The show of the late US photographer’s work allegedly had two rooms restricted for those under 18, and 20 images removed, causing Ribas to step down. Ribas had agreed for the show to warn visitors about explicit content, which include S&M imagery, but did not consent to excluding younger visitors. Speaking to Públic, the former director said: ‘a museum cannot condition, separate, or delist access to works, to say what people can see or not.’ An open letter supporting Ribas has been signed by more than 150 artists and arts professionals including Wolfgang Tillmans, Tania Bruguera and Stuart Comer. But the Serralves Foundation has denied censorship, saying that all works on show were chosen by the curator. And a statement from the Mapplethorpe Foundation said: ‘We do not believe that any censorship occurred.’

In further movements and appointments: Brian Cass has been appointed as senior curator of Hayward Gallery Touring at Southbank Centre; Bart van der Heide is leaving his position as chief curator and head of research at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum on 1 November; and Courtenay Finn has been named chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland.

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