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Pioneer of French New Wave Cinema Agnès Varda Dies Aged 90

In further news: MoMA PS1 settles pregnancy discrimination case, Kochi-Muziris Biennale workers claim non-payment of fees 

Agès Varda in the lobby of the Fiesta Americana Hotel, 2010. Courtesy: © FICG 25 / Oscar Delgado and Wikimedia Commons

Agès Varda in the lobby of the Fiesta Americana Hotel, 2010. Courtesy: © FICG 25 / Oscar Delgado and Wikimedia Commons

Belgian-born filmmaker and artist Agnès Varda has passed away aged 90 at her home in Paris. Varda was a prominent figure, and the only female director, in the French new wave cinema of the 1960s. She came to prominence with films such as Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) and made celebrated movies throughout her career, including Kung-Fu Master (1988), One Hundred and One Nights (1995) and Beaches of Agnes (2008). Varda was the first woman to receive an honorary Oscar in 2017, and last year she became the oldest nominee for a competitive Oscar. She worked until the very end of her life; her final film, Varda by Agnes (2019), premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Her family told AFP: ‘The director and artist Agnès Varda died at her home on the night of Thursday, March 29, of complications from cancer. She was surrounded by her family and friends.’

MoMA PS1 has reached a settlement with Nikki Columbus, a curator and editor who accused the museum of gender, pregnancy and caretaker discrimination after they withdrew a job offer upon learning that she had given birth the previous month. The settlement includes an undisclosed monetary sum and will force MoMA PS1 to update and circulate its workplace policies concerning pregnancy and care for young children. In a statement, Columbus said: ‘What happened to me was wrong and clearly against the law. I decided to speak out in order to protect other women at MoMA PS1 and beyond.’

Construction workers who worked at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale have accused the organizers of withholding wages. A subcontractor and a number of workers have claimed that the organizers are refusing to pay costs incurred from the construction of a pavilion in Cabral Yard, the centrepiece of the biennial. The lawyers of Appu Thomas, director of Thomas Clery Infrastructures and Developers Pvt Limited, a contractor based in Kerala, have issued a legal notice, which claims that the company has been left ‘in a precarious financial situation’.

In appointments and awards news: Rhizome announced this year’s Seven on Seven participants, who include: Artie Vierkant, Hayal Pozanti, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Sarah Meyohas, Rashida Richardson, James La Marre, Laura Welcher, Trevor McFedries, Tarun Chitra, Kirstin Hagelskjaer Petersen, Rachel Rose, Qiu Zhijie and He Xiaodong. MoMA have promoted Thomas J. Lax to the position of curator of performance and media art and Hao Jingban, Hsu Che-Yu, Eisa Jocson and Phan Thao Nguyen have been nominated for this year’s Hugo Boss Art Asia award.

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