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Controversial monument containing ashes from Holocaust victims installed in Berlin

Plus: Turkish court rules that Kariye Museum must become mosque | Byron Kim announced as recipient of Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize | and Andrés Jaque announced as curator of Shanghai Biennale

3 December 2019

Our daily round-up of news from the art world 

Controversial monument housing ashes from Holocaust unveiled in Berlin | A German art collective has caused controversy in Berlin by erecting a monument that, it claims, contains the ashes of Jewish people killed during the Holocaust. The two-and-a-half-metre monument, created by Zentrum für Politische Schönheit (Centre for Political Beauty), is situated outside the Kroll Opera House in Berlin, the former assembly hall of the Reichstag and a site where the collective has said ‘democracy was eradicated’ with the passing of the Enabling Act of 1933. It is also intended to comment on current political events in Germany. Christoph Heubner, the International Auschwitz Committee’s executive vice-president, said in a statement that ‘Auschwitz survivors are dismayed at this hurtful monument which disturbs the eternal rest of their murdered relatives’.

Turkish court rules that Kariye Museum must become mosque | Istanbul’s Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora, a Byzantine Greek orthodox church later converted into a mosque before becoming a museum in 1958, has been ordered to return to a Muslim house of worship by a Turkish court. In session last month, Turkey’s Council of State ruled that the conversion of the church into the Kariye Museum was unlawful because a mosque ‘cannot be used except for its essential function’. The decision could result in the church’s 14th-century frescoes being removed, and could also have repercussions for other Byzantine Christian monuments, notably the Hagia Sophia, which is currently a museum but was earmarked for consecration by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this year.

Byron Kim announced as recipient of Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize | This year’s Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize, an accolade offered annually to a mid-career American painter, has been awarded to Byron Kim. Kim’s works, monochrome, abstract canvases that explore themes relating to race, childhood and landscape, have appeared at exhibitions including the Whitney, Gwangju and Sharjah biennials. The award, which carries a $25,000 cash prize, was founded by the actor Robert De Niro in 2011 to commemorate his father, who was an Abstract Expressionist painter.

Andrés Jaque announced as curator of Shanghai Biennale | The 13th Shanghai Biennale will be curated by the Spanish curator, architect and writer Andrés Jaque. Currently directing the advanced architectural design programme at Columbia University, Jaque co-curated Manifesta 12 in Palermo last year. He was chosen to curate the Shanghai Biennale, which will run at the Power Station of Art from 13 November 2020 to 28 March 2021, for his interdisciplinary collaborations with artists, architects, ecologists and scientists, many of which are run by the Office for Political Innovation, which Jaque founded in 2013.

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