Ai Weiwei calls for Obama to pardon Edward Snowden | Ai Weiwei has joined the campaign for President Obama to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, reports ArtNet News. The request is one of 11 causes Amnesty International has taken up for its ‘Write for Rights’ campaign. ‘As an artist, free speech is essential to my work, and I know first-hand what happens when that comes into conflict with the powers that be, and how important global support is when the state tries to silence you,’ Ai Weiwei said in a statement.
Kamiar Maleki to direct Contemporary Istanbul 2017 | London-based collector and curator Kamiar Maleki has been appointed as director of next year’s Contemporary Istanbul fair. Maleki, who has a special interest in developing the careers of young artists, has previously curated shows at London’s Ronchini Gallery and the Custot Gallery Dubai. ‘With his years of experience in the contemporary art world, as well as a strong family background in collecting and art philanthropy, Kamiar’s direction will enable us to further enhance and refine the fair’s identity and collector following,’ commented Contemporary Istanbul chairman Ali Güreli.
Michał Siarek wins New East Photo Prize | Photographer Michał Siarek has been awarded the Calvert 22 Foundation’s inaugural New East Photo Prize for a series of images documenting the Macedonian government’s reconstruction of Skopje. Siarek was selected from an 11-strong shortlist, and was praised by judges for his ‘compelling exploration of history, memory and national identity’.
Recommended reading | Tate Modern’s Robert Rauschenberg exhibition has opened to almost blanket praise. The Guardian’s Adrian Searle described it as ‘almost impossibly rich and rewarding’, while the Daily Telegraph’s Mark Hudson named it as his ‘exhibition of the year’. So far, the only dissenting voice belongs to the London Evening Standard’s Matthew Collings, who thought it was ‘in part magnificent’ but ‘dramatically uneven’. In New York, MoMA’s Picabia retrospective has received comparable praise. New York Magazine’s Jerry Saltz called it a ‘blast of fresh air just when we need it’, while Forbes’s Jonathon Keats thinks it is ‘exhilarating’. Meanwhile in the FT, Russian businessman Igor Tsukanov told Andrew Jack about plans to show off his growing art collection in a permanent space in London: ‘My dream is to have a museum, for the best Russian collection outside Russia,’ he says.