15/05/2007

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 15.05.2007

Algiers has been decorated with the title "Arab Cultural Capital", reports Hans-Christian Rößler, who has been talking to the city's artists and intellectuals. The bloody conflicts of the 90s, in which tens of thousands were massacred at the hands of the Islamists and the state, are gradually becoming an issue. Not in the official programme of course, which encourages folklore and state approved piety: "The president's 'Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation' was aimed at closing the chapter on the nineties. Alongside the generous amnesty offer for the Islamists, the charter decrees that all Algerians are victims of the 'national tragedy' including the perpetrators. Since over 90 percent of Algerians showed their approval of the charter in a referendum, it is now officially forbidden to broach the subject."


Frankfurter Rundschau
15.05.2007

This year's documenta 12 exhibition of contemporary art opens its doors for 100 days in Kassel on June 16. In an interview with Elke Buhr, co-curator Ruth Noack defends the new greenhouse-style Aue Pavillion. "Yes, we had to keep it cheap, because the money for the building wasn't covered in the budget. And because it's temporary, it would be silly to build something expensive. The French architects Lacaton & Vassal have also worked with such greenhouse modules in social housing units, for example. On the one hand of course there's an unavoidable middle-class quality about it, but on the other hand it's airy and very roomy."


Die Welt 15.05.2007

After Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, John Updike and Ian McEwan, now Don DeLillo has brought out a 9/11 novel, and for a somewhat resigned Wieland Freund, the question is not so much whether but how "Falling Man" would disappoint. For Freund the book is bogged down in theses. "As if to say 'Look, us too!' DeLillo drags a leftist terrorist onto the stage, with the best intentions he has a certain Omar H. suffer from Alzheimer's and the final emotive scene, when an abandoned briefcase is passed from person to person in the stairwell of the toppling tower, was undoubtedly written hand on heart. In moments like this the novel disappoints, precisely because it is so determined not to disappoint anyone."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 15.05.2007

Commenting on the international congress "Judging Values" held in Karlsruhe at the end of last week, Uwe Justus Wenzel voices scepticism about the idea of a European value canon. "'The cult of values,' said Theodor W. Adorno in his 1963 summer lectures on moral philosophy, 'has to be understood reactively, in the context of social disorientation and de-structuring. Traditional norms no long exist, and yet individuals still fail to determine values for themselves. Instead they rather reach out for something they can hold on to.' Such people cut a poor figure, stretching their hands out for 'absolute, eternal pieces of wisdom,' - values, that is - which 'hang from the ceiling like herring.' But herring, needless to say, don't just hang there by themselves. They're heaved up into this value heaven by people."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 15.05.2007

For Eva Karcher and Holger Liebs, the upcoming art summer with its once-in-a-decade mass of events has reached a critical mass that can only be described rather blissfully as "madness". Collectors have become investors in the footsteps of Charles Saatchi. "Saatchi's most recent coup is the Internet portal your gallery which is a 'youtube' type forum for mass dealing and talent-scouting. Then there are the significantly more dodgy fortune-hunter enterprises like Stephen Fern's dubious Internet platform Xalt TV which promises investors investment capital of 100,000 euros and upwards and profits of up to 40 percent within a year. Then there's Art Estate, a spin-off of the Hamburger firm EECH, which offers investors equity in funds in second rate artworks bought for too much money. It's like the bargain box in the sales: the first to hear about an artist having a major retrospective gets the best buys."

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