International news in brief

Swedish artist pays tribute to Magritte, Turin foundation asks Italian businesses to donate annually to museums, and more

Christian Andersson's "To R.M. for EVER", 2011 (Photo: Terje Östling, © Christian Andersson/BUS 2011, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm/Berlin)

Swedish artist pays tribute to Magritte with 7m “stone” wall

A painting by surrealist René Magritte appears to have been turned into a reality. Swedish artist Christian Andersson has built a three-dimensional, 7m-high “stone” wall depicting Magritte’s work The Art of Conversation, 1950. On view as part of Andersson’s solo show at Moderna Museet Malmö (until 24 April), R.M. For EVER, 2011, is made from polystyrene foam painted grey to give the illusion of stone. In tribute to Magritte, Andersson includes the word “reve” (dream) in the title of the work. “What for a moment looks like something solid is a coulisse made to look like eternal,” said Andersson. The Swedish exhibition, “From Lucy With Love”, is Andersson’s largest solo show to date. C.B.

Turin foundation asks Italian businesses to donate €10,000 annually to museums

The Turin Museums Foundation, which oversees the city’s Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Palazzo Madama, the Museum of Oriental Art and the Rocca and Borgo medieval art museums, is asking Italian businesses to annually donate at least €10,000 each to the organisation as a part of a new patrons scheme. Corporations can choose which museum to support, with perks such as advance entry to exhibitions and gallery hire available to benefactors. “Private funding is scarce; businesses no longer want to throw money into a black hole but participate in projects. Public institutions no longer have the necessary resources,” Giovanna Cattaneo Incisa, the foundation's president, told our sister paper Il Giornale dell’Arte. The patronage project, which is similar to sponsorship programmes run in major US and UK institutions, was launched at a recent round-table meeting with the Milan-based Pirelli Foundation. The Turin Museums Foundation is overseen by the city council. T.L. And G.H.

India to get first art biennial

India's first contemporary art biennale is due to open in 2012 in Kochi and Muziris in the Kerala region. The non-profit Kochi-Muziris Biennale will be held every two years and will draw on the cultural heritage of the modern city of Kochi as well as the ancient port of Muziris. Works by a rosta of Indian and international artists will be exhibited in galleries, public spaces and heritage buildings throughout the area. Artists Bose Krishnamachari, who was born in Kerala but is based in Mumbai, and Riyas Komu, who lives and works in Mumbai and Kerala, are joint artistic directors of the event, which is being organised by the Kochi Biennale Foundation in partnership with the Muziris Heritage Foundation. The Indian government has pledged financial support for the biennale. A.S.

Municipal museums in Paris move towards autonomy

Fourteen municipal museums and heritage sites overseen by the City of Paris authority, including famous institutions such as the Musée Carnavalet and the 18th-century catacombs in the south of the city, are due to be run by a new intermediary agency by 2012. The management of the 14 institutions, from staffing to ticketing, is currently administered by the city council through its cultural affairs department. A separate, privately run body, Paris Musées, complements the city organisation by mounting exhibitions and publishing catalogues. “But there has been a lack of flexibility [with this system],” said Christophe Girard, the cultural affairs commissioner. Under the new regime, the newly autonomous museums can invest their own income rather than ploughing profits into a communal funding pot; the city, meanwhile, will continue to provide around €46m funding annually to the 14 sites. “Free entry to collections will be maintained,” said a City of Paris press statement. G.H.

Portrait of NATO chief unveiled

An official portrait of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the general secretary of NATO and the former prime minister of Denmark, has been unveiled, showing the centre-right politician in front of a rocky landscape with a military plane flying past his head. The work was unveiled at the Danish parliament in Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, in December. The unconventional portrait was painted by Simone Aaberg Kærn—the first female artist to be invited to paint an official portrait of a prime minister in Denmark. Aaberg Kærn is known for her activism, and in 2002-03 flew a small aircraft from Denmark to Afghanistan, ignoring the flight ban imposed by the US military. “By that she showed great courage—as did you, Anders,” said Thor Pedersen, the president of the Danish parliament, at the presentation ceremony. Fogh Rasmussen was head of the Danish Liberal-Conservative government from 2001 until 2009 when he was elected chief of NATO, which has been instrumental in sending more international troops to Afghanistan to instigate the handing over of power to Afghan forces. C.B.

Norwegian collector saves Oslo museum from closure

Norwegian businessman and collector Christen Sveaas has saved the Norsk Maritimt Museum (Norwegian Maritime Museum) from closure. Sveaas and the city of Oslo will support the museum with NKr750,000 (€95,000) each in 2011. The money is enough for the museum to keep its doors open to the public till the end of the year. Earlier it had been announced that while research activities would continue, the Oslo museum would have to close to visitors owing to cost-cutting drives that could see eight members of staff lose their jobs. However, the sum secured through Sveaas and the city of Oslo is enough to avoid closure of the museum. Sveaas is to donate the money through his investment company Kistefos AS. Sveaas, who is a member of the Kistefos Museum Foundation, is one of the biggest art collectors in Northern Europe. He also financed Monica Bonvicini’s installation “She Lies”, which was installed in the harbour in front of the Den Norske Opera and Ballett (Norwegian Opera and Ballet) in May 2010. C.B.

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