The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 16 June 2018

Art

Image: Art Basel

Grand finale

With Art Basel winding down, the city’s museums are gearing up to host a series of stunning shows.

As Art Basel rolls to the end of another successful week, it’s time to rest the chequebook and let the Ruinart bar be restocked for another year. At the weekend, Art Basel is all about the museum shows timed to coincide with the fair and impress the world’s most critical eyes – soothe them, even, after an exacting week of art. The Fondation Beyeler is the most serene and satisfying place to look at anything (or nothing: the Beyelers commissioned Renzo Piano to build a home for their collection and the structure and aquatic gardens alone are a joy to behold) and its Francis Bacon/Alberto Giacometti show is stunning and definitive. While the Swiss wasn’t quite one of Bacon’s Colony Room cronies, the two men admired each other’s work and this show serves them beautifully. Meanwhile, the less bucolic setting of Basel’s Schaulager presents “Disappearing Acts”, the first complete retrospective of US artist Bruce Nauman, whose Duchampian take on the nature of art and the artist has been enchanting and infuriating audiences for decades. See it here though; in New York in the autumn it will be in two separate venues.

Culture

Image: Getty Images

Sporting identity

As the World Cup kicks off, the triumphs and tribulations of Russia’s ethnic groups are on display.

They may have come for the football but visitors to Kazan in southwest Russia have been flocking to the striking turquoise Qolsharif Mosque in the heart of the city. With origins in the early 1500s, for centuries the mosque has borne witness to the changing fortunes of the local ethnic Tatars. Interest in Kazan’s history points to a broader positive consequence of the 2018 Fifa World Cup: an erosion of the myth of monolithic Russia, as international visitors become acquainted with the vast country’s considerable cultural diversity. But while the Tatars might be putting on a brave face for World Cup celebrations, their identity is under threat. In 2017 a law requiring compulsory Tatar lessons at schools in the Republic of Tatarstan was repealed and Moscow has allowed the treaty governing the region’s special status to lapse. Tatarstan is the last legally autonomous part of Russia – perhaps not for much longer.

Art

Image: Pilar Corrias Ltd

Good on paper

A new arts space in Berlin is sure to be a win-win for its operator, Deutsche Bank, as well as the city.

Banks around the world own some of the most impressive art collections, from Andy Warhols – hanging in the halls of UBS – to renaissance paintings displayed at the world’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Italy. Deutsche Bank is no different. Its collection includes national and international pieces by the likes of Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter​,​ Andreas Gursky​ and​ Robert Rauschenberg. This week​,​ the investment bank ​announced that it will be opening​ its new exhibition space in the centre of Berlin​ on 27 September to coincide with Berlin Art Week​. ​The idea behind the PalaisPopulaire​, housed in the 18th-century Prinzessinnenpalais, is to create a cultural space that’s open to everyone,​ with shows ​regularly ​accompanied by concerts and events. A highlight will be The World On Paper, which brings together 300 artworks from the collection. It’s a way of giving back to the community – while generating a spot of good PR.

Housing

Image: Getty Images

Home grown

Vancouver is taking welcome steps to increase its affordable-housing stock and reduce homelessness.

Vancouver city hall has announced a drastic revision to its housing policy in an attempt to reduce the number of homeless people on its streets and alleviate pressure on the city's housing stock. The CA$2bn (€1.3bn) affordable housing endowment fund, which is due to be discussed by the city council this week, would add to the effort to increase the number of social and supportive-housing units from 8,000 to 12,000. The city has also increased the number of rental units to be built to 20,000. Also on the agenda is a densification plan to create more diversity within neighbourhoods so that expensive properties and affordable properties may cluster together. Successive governments have not been able to tackle Vancouver’s rising rate of homelessness in recent years, the new fund is an encouraging step in the right direction for quality of life in the city.

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