1) China Lifts Ban on South Korean Art
China has lifted its ban on South Korean art after nearly a year. The ban, which included not only visual art but other cultural exports like Korean music and television, was originally put in place by China after South Korea installed a series of U.S. air defense systems in Seongju, just south of the capital, Seoul. The defense systems were installed in response to the increased missile threat from North Korea, but China claimed that the south Korean defense posed a security risk to its own borders. Curators and artists working with and in China during the past 11 months noted that though the “ban” on art was not widely announced, any exhibition that included Korean artists would be denied -- leading to noticeable holes in large annual shows like West Bund and Art021 in Shanghai.
2) A Message From Earth Celebrates Voyager's Journey
A data-transfer service called We Transfer has collected a series of artworks as part of an exhibition inspired by the Golden Record contained on the Voyager Spacecraft, which is celebrating its 4th decade in space. Launched in 1977, Voyager’s mission was to explore the outer reaches of our solar system, carrying with it the so-called Golden Record: a phonograph record containing information about the Earth and the human race, designed to offer a representation of the probe’s origin, should it be discovered by other intelligent life. A Message From Earth features works from 40 different artists contemplating the 40th year of Voyager’s mission -- compiled on a very visually particular website.
3) Protests Erupt Outside Catalan Museum
Protests broke out in Spain following the removal of artworks from the Catalan Museum of Lleida by police. According to reports, Spanish law enforcement personnel were ordered on Monday morning to begin removing 44 artefacts that were originally located at the Sijena Monastery in Aragon, where officials claim that the artefacts were sold illegally by nuns. The removal of the artworks caused a spike in tensions, hitting a sore point with Catalonia, which has been pushing for independence from Spain in recent years.
4) Artists Call for Changes to Documenta Internal Structure
In light of recent news about Documenta’s budgetary overages at its most recent iteration, 200 artists and culture workers have signed a letter calling for changes to the event’s governing body. According to the artists, who include Hans Haacke, Walid Raad, and Annette Messenger, the famous German exhibition has become a commercial enterprise where it was once a landmark showcase of the arts across the world. The letter includes five points of affirmative action that supporters believe would create a better Documenta for current socioeconomic conditions.