Apollo Magazine

Chris Dercon resigns as director of Berlin’s Volksbühne

Plus: FBI recover stolen Chagall painting | Ellen Salpeter resigns from ICA Miami | Jean de Loisy to curate 2019 Lyon Biennale | and recommended reading

Chris Dercon in 2017.

Chris Dercon in 2017. Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Chris Dercon resigns as director of Volksbühne theatre in Berlin | Former Tate Modern director Chris Dercon is to leave Berlin’s Volksbühne theatre after a troubled period at the head of the institution, reports the Art Newspaper. In a statement, Berlin’s senator for culture senator, Klaus Lederer, said that he and Dercon had reached an ‘amicable’ agreement allowing the latter to step down immediately. Dercon, who replaced longstanding director Frank Castorf last year, faced considerable hostility from both local activists and theatre employees as soon as his appointment was announced in 2015. Despite support from a number of international arts professionals, his tenure at the theatre was beset by protests and his programming criticised for a perceived slant towards ‘commercial’ projects. Managing director Klaus Dorr will act as interim head until a replacement is found.

FBI recover stolen Chagall painting | The FBI has announced that it has recovered a painting by Marc Chagall that was stolen 30 years ago, reports NBC. Othello and Desdemona (1911) was stolen from a Manhattan apartment block in 1988, and resurfaced only last year when an associate of the thief attempted to sell it to a gallery in Washington, D.C. The seller, who contacted law enforcement officers after the gallery told him it could not accept the piece without proof of ownership, is thought to have acquired it from the thief some years ago – and had already tried to sell it in 2011.

Ellen Salpeter resigns from ICA Miami | Ellen Salpeter is to step down as director of Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art, the institution announced on Thursday. Salpeter joined the ICA in 2015, and has overseen the completion and inauguration of its new permanent home. ‘With the new building launched, the museum’s program for the coming seasons set, and the institution on stable financial footing, the timing is right for me to pursue new projects,’ she said in a statement. The ICA also announced changes to the structure of its management, with deputy director and chief curator taking on the role of artistic director and associate director Tommy Ralph Pace promoted to deputy director.

Jean de Loisy to curate 2019 Lyon Biennale | Palais de Tokyo director Jean de Loisy has been appointed to curate the 15th edition of the Lyon Biennale in 2019, reports Le Petit Bulletin (French language article). According to reports, de Loisy was initially approached to succeed Thierry Raspail, the founder of the biennial, as head of Lyon’s Musée d’Art Contemporain, but declined the offer. Raspail officially retires from the institution today.

Recommended reading | On Hyperallergic, Sarah Rose Sharp visits an exhibition in Detroit’s Mexicantown that looks into the peculiar tradition of black velvet painting. While the medium is considered ‘rasquache’ (loosely, ‘ordinary or low’) as art, it his significant in Chicano culture. Meanwhile in France, President Macron’s government has been exploiting the republic’s cultural assets as a weapon of global diplomacy. In Le Monde (French language article), Philippe Dagen and Cédric Pietralunga examine his ‘soft power’ strategy and compare it to the cultural diplomacy of previous administrations. And on New Yorker.com, Andrea K. Scott looks at the career of Max Hollein, who was confirmed as the next director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this week.


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