WARSAW, POLAND — The Division of Looted Art at Poland’s Ministry of Culture is a small office with a big mandate. Since 1992, the four-person unit has been charged with collecting and digitizing information about the more than 63,000 objects stolen from the Polish state, churches and private citizens during World War II.

Until now, the division’s website was only able to exhibit 3,000 of the objects. Thanks to an upgrade and reintroduction in March, today almost 14,000 lost pieces — including Raphael’s “Portrait of a Young Man,” taken by the Nazis from a family collection in Krakow — will have a virtual home. Read more


KIGALI, Rwanda — Born in Burundi and raised in Rwanda, the artist Bruce Niyonkuru has never traveled outside East Africa, but he believes his works have universal appeal.

The artist’s recent piece, “Young Talented Artists’ Dilemma” (2013) is a colorful painting depicting the faces — some fat, some thin, one crying and from a variety of angles — of artists he has known over the years. It is a work that he hopes communicates the daily struggles that artists in Rwanda face.

“When I started painting, I did not have money to even buy materials, and I did not know of any place to help me grow my talent,” said Mr. Niyonkuru, 21. “In Rwanda, society does not see being an artist as a profession. Most people think I am jobless and I am just painting for fun.” Read more


DETROIT, MICHIGAN–In May, the art world was horrified when rumour spread that Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevin Orr, was investigating whether some valuable pieces in the multibillion dollar collection of the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) – which include iconic works by van Gogh, Picasso and Whistler – could be sold off to cover the city’s $15 billion debt to creditors. Luckily, however, in mid-June, the Michigan attorney general announced that no pieces in collection could be, ‘sold, conveyed or transferred to satisfy City debts or obligations’, which, says Graham W.J. Beal, the British director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), came as a ‘fantastic relief.’ Unlike most major civic museums in the US, the city of Detroit has, since 1919, owned the building and the collection, while exhibitions, fundraising and daily operations are overseen by the Founders’ Society, a nonprofit institution. ‘Now, we can go back to being the forward thinking, innovative art museum that we are known for,’ said Mr. Beal, sitting under one of the DIA’s large murals painted by Diego Rivera, which depict industry in Detroit in the 1930s, pharmaceuticals, birth and the manufacture of poison gas in World War One. Read more


BANGKOK, THAILAND — The idea for the Thai Art Archives grew out of a conversation Gregory Galligan had with two art professors from Bangkok’s Silpakorn University back in 2007. They told Mr. Galligan — at the time a New York-based art critic and curator — that the country lacked a proper modern and contemporary art archive.

Their example was Montien Boonma, an internationally respected Thai artist who was 47 years old when he died of cancer in 2000. His sketchbooks, photographs and library were still being kept in the family home, looked after by his son but not organized. Read more


LONDON — In Africa, even in the world of art, the road to financial support and international recognition has long passed through the West.

But the ever-shifting landscape of African politics and economics and a protracted financial crisis in the West have led a growing network of artists, curators and nonprofit organizations to seek ways of detaching the continent’s art world from its Euro-American axis.

Bisi Silva knows the pull of the north well. After studying languages and art history in France, and a postgraduate curating course at the Royal College of Art in London, Ms. Silva worked for several years as a freelance curator in London before returning to Nigeria in 2002. She founded the Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos in 2007 to develop the arts both locally and across Africa. Read more