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
PRISTINA, KOSOVO–In June, Kosovo will make its pavilion debut at the Venice Biennale.
Petrit Halilaj, a 26-year-old artist whose artistic talent of drawing simultaneously with both hands was first spotted at a refugee camp in Albania, will be representing Kosovo in a solo exhibition. He creates large-scale installations that combine piles of earth and rubble, live chickens and his intricate drawings.
It’s a major coup for both Mr. Halilaj and the Kosovo contemporary art scene, but it doesn’t come without controversy. Everything to do with Kosovo boils down to politics, and the contemporary art scene is no exception. Read more
JAKARTA, INDONESIA** — Wiyu Wahono admitted that the first time he came across a contemporary painting while on a student backpacking trip in Venice in the late 1970s, he was “shocked” by how ugly it was. But the jolt soon subsided, and Mr. Wahono developed a passion for contemporary art. He has amassed a collection of video, installation, photography, sound and new-media art — much of it Indonesian. His office in central Jakarta also serves as an art space, where visitors can see video pieces like Yusuf Ismail’s “Eat Like Andy,” where he mimics a video of Andy Warhol consuming a hamburger, and “Ting,” a whimsical video and installation piece by the artistic collective Tromarama from Bandung. Read more
OSLO, NORWAY–The Oslo neighborhood of Tjuvholmen is a noisy place these days. Construction trucks rumble past large moving vans while sparks fly from welders soldering metal onto several skeletal structures soon to be loft apartments, office buildings and cafes.
Situated on a peninsula that sticks out into the Oslofjord, Tjuvholmen was historically a shipyard, and while there are still parts that are littered with shipping crates and large boats, the area has been transformed by a multimillion-dollar urban renewal investment. Read more