Lothar Baumgarten (1944–2018)

Plus: ICA LA director Elsa Longhauser to step down | Tania Bruguera and other artists released in Cuba | and recommended reading

7 December 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Lothar Baumgarten (1944–2018) | The German conceptual artist Lothar Baumgarten has died at the age of 74. Baumgarten’s interdisciplinary body of work included writing, video and photography, drawing and site-specific installation. A student of Joseph Beuys, he gained recognition for his politically engaged approach to conceptualism, in particular addressing colonialism and the continued exploitation of Indigenous cultures and communities. In 1984 he was the recipient of the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion.

ICA LA director Elsa Longhauser to step down | Elsa Longhauser, executive director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, will step down in 2019, it was announced yesterday. Longhauser joined the museum as director in 2000 when it was known as the Santa Monica Museum of Art; in 2015 she oversaw the launch of a $5m capital campaign to transform it into the ICA LA, which opened in downtown Los Angeles in 2017.

Tania Bruguera and other artists released in Cuba | The Art Newspaper reports that Tania Bruguera and a group of other artist activists, who were arrested on Monday over plans for a sit-in protest against the cultural censorship law Decree 349, have been released. This follows reports that the Cuban vice-minister of culture, Fernando Rojas, has announced a softening of the law – published in July and planned to come into effect today – so that the ‘supervising inspectors’ intended to review cultural events will only be able to intervene in ‘extreme cases, such as public obscenity, racist or sexist content’.

Recommended reading | Nicholas Thomas considers the question of restitution and the future of colonial artefacts in the Financial Times. In the Guardian, Mary Katharine Tramontana wonders whether nudity in performance art remains radical or has become a lazy stunt. Meanwhile, Roberta Smith and other critics at the New York Times review their art world highlights from 2018.