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  • Apr 19, 2024

Weekly News Roundup: April 19, 2024

LOTUS LAURIE KANG, 2022. Courtesy the artist.

Guggenheim Foundation Announces 2024 Fellows

On April 11 the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced 188 Guggenheim Fellowships, featuring artists, scholars, scientists, writers, and other cultural workers across 52 disciplines. Chosen on the basis of their exceptional career achievements, each fellow will receive a monetary stipend of varying amounts (depending on an individual’s project) to support recipients with “the freest possible conditions,” as the grant’s founder, senator Simon Guggenheim, once stated. Since its inception in 1925, the Foundation has awarded over USD 400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 fellows. This year’s fellows include Japanese-American artist and educator Kim Anno, Korean-American multimedia artist Won Ju Lim, Kurdish visual artist Shadi Harouni, New York-based multidisciplinary artist Lotus L. Kang, and Korean interdisciplinary artist Bang Geul Han.

Installation view of Tokyo Gendai 2023 in PACIFICO Yokohama. Courtesy Tokyo Gendai. 

Tokyo Gendai 2024 Reveals Galleries and Themes

Now in its second edition, Japan’s international art fair Tokyo Gendai unveiled its galleries and themed sectors on April 15. Returning to PACIFICO Yokohama, the venue will host 73 galleries from 20 countries and showcase presentations within three sectors: Galleries, Hana (“Flower”), and Eda (“Branch”). The main Galleries sector will feature newcomers such as Hong Kong’s Gallery EXIT and Kwai Fung Hin Art. The Hana sector will showcase 20 galleries featuring early to mid-career artists, such as a joint booth between Tokyo’s Misako & Rosen and Wisconsin’s The Green Gallery that is set to exhibit the works of multidisciplinary artist Trevor Shimizu. Lastly, the Eda sector will include nine galleries dedicated to solo or group presentations of established or historically significant Asian artists. Seoul’s PYO Gallery, for instance, plans to showcase the works of late South Korean abstract artist Kim Tschang-yeul. The second Tokyo Gendai runs July 5 to 7, 2024. 

The Solar New Year celebration at the sixth Asian Aotearoa Arts festival in Wellington, New Zealand, 2024. Photo by Jo Sunga. Courtesy Asian Aotearoa Arts. 

Asian Aotearoa Arts Returns 

Asian Aotearoa Arts (AAA) is currently hosting its sixth edition in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, featuring public programs focusing on Asian Tauiwi arts, whakapapa (Māori for “genealogy”), whanaungatanga (kinship), and cultural wellness. As with last year’s event, the artist-led festival will respond to the theme “Past, Present and Futures,” hosting events such as exhibitions, workshops, wānanga (seminars), and talks. AAA’s partnerships range from a residency program at 115 Taranaki Street with the independent arts organization Urban Dream Brokerage, to celebrating South Asia and Southeast Asia’s Solar New Year with the Burmese cuisine-inspired Mabel’s Restaurant. Creative director Kerry Ann Lee stated in a press release: “AAA events are a time of seeing ideas spark, collaborations forming, unexpected and accidental detours of the imagination, friendships made and an unplanned hotpot of conversation.” The festival began on April 14 and will run until May 10, 2024.

Interior of the Museum of Oriental Art in Turin, Italy. Courtesy Museum of Oriental Art. 

Korean, Italian Museums Strengthen Ties

On April 15, the Museum of Oriental Art (MAO) in Turin, Italy, signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Korea’s Gwangju Museum of Art, starting an initiative that aims to strengthen exchange and cooperation between the two institutions. The partnership involves the opening of a new section within the MAO dedicated to Korean art, some of which will be on loan from the Gwangju Museum of Art’s collection, and organizing exhibition projects at the Gwangju Museum of Art that focus on Italian art; in turn, an exhibition will be held at MAO in collaboration with the Gwangju Biennale and the Department of Cultural Policies of the City of Gwangju. The MOU also indicates a future collaboration between the Korean art museum and the prestigious Venice Biennale, as well as other initiatives. The agreement was signed by Turin’s and Gwangju’s respective mayors, commemorating the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

Photo of a Lamaistic reliquary from the 14th-century Goryeo Kingdom. Courtesy Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. 

14th-Century Korean Relics Repatriated

South Korean Buddhist monks will repatriate 14th-century Buddhist relics from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which are set to arrive at Hoeamsa Temple in Gyeonggi Province on May 19. The items, which include sarira beads found among cremated remains of Buddhist masters, were decided upon in February after an agreement was made between the Museum of Fine Arts, officials from Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA), and monks from the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. The CHA has sought the return of a silver-gilt, Lamaistic, pagoda-shaped reliquary (and the sarira) since 2009. As the museum only acquiesced to returning the sarira, the CHA is currently requesting a loan of the reliquary. The Museum of Fine Arts insists the container was purchased legitimately from a dealer in 1939 and have indicated a lack of urgency in finalizing any decisions regarding the loan request. 

MOHAMMED SALEM’s winning photograph for the 67th annual World Press Photo Contest, 2023. Courtesy World Press Photo Foundation.

Gaza Photograph Wins World Press Award

The World Press Foundation has named Gaza-based photojournalist Mohammed Salem as the winner of its 67th annual World Press Photo Contest. The winning image was captured on October 17, 2023 at Khan Younis’s Nasser Hospital morgue, and depicts a Palestinian woman (Inas Abu Maamar) mourning the death of her 5-year-old niece (Saly), whose wrapped body is cradled in Maamar’s arms. The announcement marks the second time the Reuters photojournalist has won World Press’s prestigious award: in 2010 Salem was first awarded the photojournalist prize for a photo of Israeli white phosphorus bombs detonating over Gaza. Reuters's global editor for pictures and video Rickey Rodgers stated that “[Salem] received the news . . . with humility, saying that this is not a photo to celebrate but that he appreciates . . . the opportunity to publish it to a wider audience.” Awardees are given the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam from May 22 until 25 to attend a program of events, including the World Press Photo Exhibition at De Nieuwe Kerk, which will showcase their winning images. 

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