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Gustav Metzger, inventor of auto-destructive art, has died aged 90

Plus: Max Beckmann’s granddaughter makes major donation to Munich’s museums | First Baltic Artists’ Award winners announced | Eleven bidders announced for the UK City of Culture 2021

2 March 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Gustav Metzger (1926–2017) | The ground-breaking artist Gustav Metzger has died in London at the age of 90. Born in Nuremberg to Polish-Jewish parents, Metzger and his brother fled from Nazi Germany to Britain on the Kindertransport in 1939; his parents and other family members were murdered in the Holocaust. The artist placed political activism at the heart of his creative work, and became a prominent critic of capitalism and consumerism and a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In 1959, he launched the auto-destructive art movement, which he conceived as a direct challenge to the artistic values and traditions championed by capitalist and authoritarian societies. ‘When I saw the Nazis march, I saw machine-like people and the power of the Nazi state’, Metzger once recalled. ‘Auto-destructive art is to do with rejecting power.’

Max Beckmann’s granddaughter makes major donation to Munich’s museums | Hundreds of documents and artefacts from the estate of Max Beckmann have been given to the Pinakotheken in Munich by the artist’s granddaughter, Mayen Beckmann. The network of Bavarian museums already holds the largest collection in Europe of Beckmann’s paintings, as well as safeguarding the Beckmann archive. The gift includes items from the artist’s library, photograph albums, and ephemera. The German painter was among those targeted for ridicule by the Nazis in the notorious ‘Degenerate Art’ exhibition in Munich in 1937.

First Baltic Artists’ Award winners announced | Jose Dávila, Eric N. Mack, Toni Schmale and Shen Xin have been named as the recipients of the Baltic Artists’ Awards, a new initiative from the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. The winners were selected, respectively, by artist judges Pedro Cabrita Reis, Lorna Simpson, Monica Bonvicini and Mike Nelson. Each will receive a fee of £5,000, plus £25,000 to finance new work that will subsequently be exhibited in a 13-week exhibition at the museum.

Eleven bidders announced for the UK City of Culture 2021 | Coventry, Hereford, Paisley, Perth, Portsmouth, St Davids and the Hundred of Dewisland, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea, Warrington, and Wells have all submitted formal bids to become the third UK City of Culture in 2021, culture minister Matt Hancock announced today. The winner of the title will be awarded £3 million in Heritage Lottery funding to realise a major cultural programme centred on local heritage. A shortlist will be announced this summer, and the winning city will be named in December 2017.

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