Ministerial Investigation After Choreographer Jan Fabre Hit by Sexual Harassment Claims From 20 Dancers

In further news: Cuban activists’s manifesto against cultural censorship; the Reina Sofía’s plan to protect Guernica

Jan Fabre, 2016. Courtesy: NurPhoto via Getty Images; photograph: Igor Russak

Jan Fabre, 2016. Courtesy: NurPhoto via Getty Images; photograph: Igor Russak

The Flemish ministry of culture is launching an investigation into dance company Troubleyn following accusations against its founder Jan Fabre. 20 former dancers spoke out about sexual harassment at the hands of the Belgian artist and choreographer, in a letter sent to the Dutch art magazine rekto:verso – they alleged regular humiliation and intimidation. According to The Art Newspaper, Flemish minister of culture, Sven Gatz commented: ‘I am concerned about the content of the letter. Every complaint about behaviour [that crosses boundaries] must be taken seriously […] a review by my administration gives the opportunity to let all parties speak.’ Fabre and his company Troubleyn denies all of the allegations, saying: ‘We deplore this attack via the media, as this constitutes an unfair public trial.’

Cuban activists have issued a manifesto against the country’s new law which censors artistic freedom. The ten-point document, titled Manifesto de San Isidro, was released on 12 September. It states: ‘No cultural action should ever be cause for political repression and abuse of power.’ The manifesto has been signed by artists and cultural figures including Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Coco Fusco. Cuba’s new Decree 349 threatens to eliminate independent cultural activity and gives the state the power to restrict artistic freedom by confiscating materials, seizing property and closing down cultural events that have not secured government pre-approval.

Russian artist-provocateur Pyotr Pavlensky has been released from French pre-trial detention. The protest artist, who was granted asylum in France last year, had been arrested after setting fire to a central Bank of France building in Paris, in October 2017. Pavlensky achieved notoriety after he nailed his scrotum to Moscow’s Red Square in 2013. During a pre-trial court hearing, a representative from Bank of France, said they were considering suing Pavlensky for ‘defamation’ – the artist responded, saying that the institution was a ‘symbol of the destruction of all revolutionary initiatives, which financed the destruction of 35,000 people’. According to RFI, the French court ruled that Pavlensky must report regularly to the police upon his release. His trial will begin in January 2019.

Sotheby’s has withdrawn a USD$3 million ancient Buddha head from an upcoming New York auction, after concerns that it might originate from a UNESCO Heritage Site. The detailed limestone bust, dating to the Tang dynasty, was pulled from auction after it was discovered to be similar to an image from photographs of the Longmen Grottoes in Central China’s Henan Province, taken by a Japanese photographer in the 1920s. An investigation is now under way to determine if the sculpture originated from the site, although it is unclear whether the bust would fall into the category of illegally removed artefacts.

Madrid’s Reina Sofía has revealed its plans to protect Guernica from fire following the devastating blaze at Brazil’s National Museum. The strategy, which is currently in development, involves Google Maps-like software loaded with blueprints of the building, that will monitor the galleries in real-time and alert staff with the best evacuation route, according to El Pais.

In gallery news: David Zwirner now co-represents the estate of Diane Arbus in partnership with San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery, with a New York exhibition planned for November; P.P.O.W. represents Berlin-based painter Elijah Burgher and will hold a solo exhibition in New York in January 2019; White Cube gallery have announced representation of the Al Held Foundation, with two shows of the painter’s work planned for London in 2019 and Hong Kong in 2020; and Hauser & Wirth have announced that they are opening a gallery space in St. Moritz, Switzerland in December 2018, inaugurated with a Louise Bourgeois show.

In appointments news: the senior curator at Mexico City’s Tamayo Museo, Manuela Moscoso has been named as the curator for the next Liverpool Biennial in 2020; the three artists representing the Korean Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale are Hwayeon Nam, Siren Eun Young Jung and Jane Jin Kaisen – curator Hyunjin Kim will organize the pavilion which looks to ‘women and gender-diversified narratives that interrupt, break away from, and reconstruct previous understandings of modernization in the region of East Asia.’

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