Manifesta Reveals Palermo 2018's 'Planetary Garden' Concept

In further news: initiative for museum staff diversity; Gwangju Biennale's 2018 curators; Jens Hoffmann clarifies Front Triennial departure

Orto Botanico di Palermo. Courtesy: Manifesta 12; photograph: CAVE Studio

Orto Botanico di Palermo. Courtesy: Manifesta 12; photograph: CAVE Studio

Orto Botanico di Palermo. Courtesy: Manifesta 12; photograph: CAVE Studio

The itinerant European art biennial Manifesta has revealed the concept for its upcoming edition, opening in Palermo, Sicily in the summer of 2018. Naming ‘creative mediators’ rather than curators (pushing for an interdisciplinary collective with expertise beyond the contemporary art world) these include architects Pestellini Laparelli and Andrés Jaque, journalist and filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak and curator Mirjam Varadinis. 'The Planetary Garden: Cultivating Coexistence’ explores unseen connections, new intelligences and inequality (Sicily is one of Italy's poorest regions) through the prism of its host city, with the exhibition using Palermo ‘as a laboratory to investigate the challenges of our time and look for traces of possible futures'. Francesco Lojacono’s 1875 painting View of Palermo is the trigger for the biennial, capturing different migratory waves into the city through a landscape of various foreign plants – alongside the city's botanical garden, this has pushed Manifesta 12 to explore notions of 'the garden’ as a site for cross-pollination. Manifesta is due to run from 16 June until 4 November 2018. Read our latest dispatch from Sicily, which takes a look at Manifesta’s pre-biennial activies in Palermo and reaffirms the importance of 'remembering an alternative Mediterranean modernism’.

The upcoming 2018 Gwangju Biennale (its 12th edition) has announced further details: 11 curators are responsible for seven exhibitions responding to the theme of ‘Imagined Borders’, a reference both to the work of historian Benedict Anderson (particularly his 1983 book on nationalism, Imagined Communities) as well as the theme of the inaugural 1995 Gwangju Biennale, ‘Beyond the Borders’. The 2018 biennial asks: 'Where have our utopian visions gone? Where are we headed?' Exhibitions include curator Clara Kim’s exploration of the relationship between architecture and nation-building, while Gridthiya Gaweewong focuses on migration patterns across Southeast Asia and B.G. Muhn looks to the art of North Korea. More details over here.

Jens Hoffmann has clarified that his departure from the FRONT Triennial was over a difference of opinion over the artistic direction – the Cleveland exhibition abruptly announced that Hoffmann would be leaving earlier this week. Hoffmann stated: 'As the triennial was evolving, I found that I personally could not identify with the directions it was taking.’ Hoffman’s co-artistic diector Michelle Grabner remains in charge of the exhibition. Triennial CEO Fred Bidwell’s account of the departure seemed to differ – ‘We’ve made a change in the artistic leadership’, he told Cleveland newspaper The Plain Dealer.

In gallery movements: Hauser & Wirth now represents the Eduardo Chillida Estate in a partnership which will also see the reopening of the Basque-Spanish sculptor’s museum in 2018, situated near San Sebastian where Chillida was born. The gallery is also preparing for a show of the artist's work in New York in 2018. Lisson Gallery has announced it will represent the estates of American mimimalist Ted Stamm and self-taught Italian abstract painter Antonio Calderara. New York’s James Cohan Gallery is to represent sculptor Kathy Butterly and painter Grace Weaver with simultaneous exhibitions planned for its New York spaces in September 2018. Meanwhile, after four years at New York’s Sargent’s Daughters, cofounder Meredith Rosen is opening her new space as Meredith Rosen Gallery, with an inaugural show by Jennifer Rubell. Allegra LaViola, Sargent’s Daughters’ other cofounder is remaining at the gallery.

Li Ming has been announced as the winner of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award – the winner was announced after Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum featured Li and the other finalists Tao Hui, Yu Ji and Robert Zhao in a group show. The award comes with a cash prize of RMB300,000. Jury member and Rockbund director Larys Frogier commented on Li’s work: 'His artworks have enriched the field of media and engendered a unique sensitivity of making time and space profuse with infinite possibilities of meaning.’

The Design Society, housed in Shenzhen’s Sea World Culture and Arts Center – a 70,000 square metre waterfront complex comprising shopping, hotels and arts spaces – will open to the public on 2 December. Designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the institution is a collaboration between China Merchants Shekou and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and is the V&A’s first push outside of the UK. The inaugural exhibition will include more than 250 objects from its permanent collection.

And finally, the Walton Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation have pledged USD$3 million each over the next 3 years to launch an initiative dedicated to diversifying art museum staff in curatorial and management positions. The founder of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Alice Walton commented: ‘Achieving diversity requires a deeper commitment: To hire and nurture leaders from all backgrounds. This initiative creates the opportunity for museums to build a more inclusive culture within their institutions.’ You can see the full list of museum programmes funded by the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative over here.

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