November 25, 2015

Cultural Institutions in Paris Report Major Drops in Attendance Following Terrorist Attacks

French Military outside the Louvre on November 16th, 2015

Le Monde reports that the number of visitors returning to Paris's cultural institutions in the wake of the November 13th terrorist attacks is increasing following an initial dramatic drop. However, the road to full recovery is bumpy and unpredictable—with some venues reporting far better attendance than others.

Paris museums have taken a particularly hard hit. The Louvre reported a 30% decrease in attendance and the situation is even worse at the Pompidou Center where Benoît Parayre, director of communication, described a 50% drop, “1000 visitors per day versus the 2000 per day that had been coming to see the current Wifredo Lam exhibition.” Also suffering, the Paris Opera confirmed at least 150 cancellations for upcoming performances, 80% from foreign ticket-holders.

Meanwhile, theater and dance audiences appear to be returning in full force, at least for certain productions. Performances of Arthur Miller’s “View from a Bridge” directed by Ivo Van Hove at the Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe had no cancellations. Le Festival d’Automne, a city-wide theater festival that runs through December 31st, reported no significant drop in attendance. According to a spokesperson for the festival, “Those who booked tickets are coming to the shows and we are continuing to receive reservations at a normal rhythm.”

For the past 10 days, movie theaters showing blockbuster films have been less full than normal, but audiences for smaller art films have been strong. A screening of the twelve-hour French New Wave film Out 1 (Jacques Rivette, 1971) attracted 760 viewers on November 22.

November 25, 2015

Wim Delvoye to Stage Historic Show at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

Wim Delvoye

The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has revealed that, this coming March, its entire exhibition space will be devoted to a solo show by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, according to Tim Cornwell in the Art Newspaper. Organized by Vida Zaim and Leila Varasteh, the show will be the first time that the institution is devoting its entire space, comprising nine galleries and outdoor space, to a non-Iranian artist. The art is being carefully selected so as not to infringe on any cultural sensibilities, according to Cornwell, who notes that Delvoye has spent the past several years restoring a former palace and school in Iran. According to Cornwell, Delvoye said it was “surprisingly easy” to work with the museum, adding, “They are very professional; they are easier to work with than the Louvre” —where the Belgian artist staged a show in 2012.

The show will highlight work from throughout his oeuvre, and also include new metalwork pieces by artisans from the Iranian city of Isfahan. Delvoye, however, has opted to avoid displaying his trademark pigskin work, as well as a piece from his Rorschach sculpture series that includes bare shoulders.

The announcement comes on the heels of recent news that the museum would be collaborating with Berlin’s state museums, and that Tehran museum officials have even been in talks with the Hirshhorn about the possibility of staging a loan.

November 24, 2015

Spanish Artist Sued for Creating Controversial Artwork from Eucharist Wafers

Abel Azcona

Spanish artist Abel Azcona has outraged Catholic groups with a project for which he gathered over 240 consecrated hosts by pretending to receive communion, then arranged the wafers on the ground to form the word “Pederasty.” According to the Catholic News Agency, the artwork is being shown in a public art gallery in Pamplona.

Protesters are converging to denounce the use of public property to stage the exhibit, and a petition against the show has gathered over seventy-five thousand signatures. Meanwhile the Christian Lawyers Association has filed a lawsuit against Azcona for “offense against religious sentiments and desecration,” which is illegal according to Spanish Penal Code. “We’ve also given the Pamplona City Council until Thursday to close down the art exhibit,” said the group, which is threatening to sue the city with “charges of complicity and necessary cooperation” if the exhibit continues on.

November 24, 2015

International Print Center New York Names New Director

Judy Hecker

International Print Center New York has announced the appointment of Judy Hecker as director. Currently assistant curator in the department of drawings and prints, Hecker will replace Anne Coffin, who founded the institution and has served as director since 2000.

At MoMA, Hecker curated shows like “Impressions from South Africa: 1965 to Now,” 2011, and “Repicturing the Past/Picturing the Present,” 2007, and also commissioned outdoor billboards by Julian Opie, Sarah Morris, and Lisa Ruyter. “I am thrilled to be leading this flagship organization for printed art,” said Hecker, calling the center a “vibrant community of artists, printers, publishers, institutions, and collectors engaging with the medium in all its varied formats.”

November 24, 2015

New $8 Million Art Gallery in Northeast England Will House Major Spanish Art Collection

Site of Jonathan Ruffer’s future art gallery

Bishop Auckland, a former mining town in northeast England, will soon get a new eight-million-dollar art gallery and research institute focused exclusively on Spanish art, according to The Independent’s Dean Kirby.

Philanthropist Jonathan Ruffer is backing the project, which will convert what was once a bank and a school in town into a museum that will house a collection with works by Velázquez, El Greco, and Ribera, among others. (Ruffer also recently paid thirty-nine million dollars to secure the future of Auckland Castle nearby.) Designed by Stirling Prize winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, the new gallery will offer Spanish art from the Medieval era all the way to the twentieth century.

November 23, 2015

2015 Houston Artadia Award Winners Announced

Autumn Knight, GYN, 2014

Winners of the seventh Houston Artadia Awards have been announced. The winners—all Houston or Harris County residents—are: JooYoung Choi, Lily Cox-Richard, Charisse Weston, Autumn Knight, and El Franco Lee II.

Grantees have been supported by previous editions of the awards offered in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco. Cox-Richard and Knight will both receive prizes of twelve thousand dollars, while the other artists will each be given five thousand dollars.

November 23, 2015

Winners of Inaugural Pierre Daix Prize Announced

Catalogue Raisonné of the Work of Ellsworth Kelly, Cahiers d’Art, 2015.

The first edition of the new Pierre Daix Prize for an art history book on modern or contemporary art, created in honor of Pierre Daix—a journalist, writer, French Resistance fighter, and art historian who wrote about Picasso, Gauguin, Hartung, Manet, Matisse, Rodin, and Soulages—has been awarded to the first volume of the Catalogue Raisonné of the Work of Ellsworth Kelly (by Yve-Alain Bois and published by Editions Cahiers d’Art) and Aby Warburg by Marie-Anne Lescourret and published by Editions Hazan. The prize was created this year by François Pinault in memory of Daix, who died last November, and carries a stipend of about $10,600 per winner. The winners were given their prizes today at the Musée Picasso in Paris.

The panel of judges included Jean-Jacques Aillagon, a former French minister of culture and former director of the Centre Pompidou; Luca Massimo Barbero, an art historian, director of the Art History Institute of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice, and associate curator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection; Jean-Marie Borzeix, a former director of France Culture; Laurent Le Bon, the director of the Musée Picasso Paris, and Marie-Karine Schaub, a historian and professor at the University of Paris-Est Créteil -Val de Marne.

November 23, 2015

Edgar Arceneaux Wins Performa 15’s Malcolm McLaren Award

Edgar Arceneaux with his Malcolm McLaren Award.

Edgar Arceneaux was awarded Performa’s Malcolm McLaren award last night for his Performa 15 commission Until, Until, Until..., an homage to Broadway legend Ben Vereen’s 1981 performance at Ronald Reagan’s televised inaugural celebration. Arceneaux’s work was based on five minutes of the performance footage that did not air that night due to its referencing of the history of segregation and racist stereotypes.

The prize was created in 2010 in honor of the late artist, designer, and music impresario Malcolm McLaren. Previous winners include Ragnar Kjartansson in 2011 for Bliss and Ryan McNamara in 2013 for MEƎM: A Story Ballet About the Internet.

November 23, 2015

Lyons Light Festival Canceled Due to Paris Attacks

Daniel Knipper installation at Lyons Festival of Lights.

Coming on the heels of a few temporary closures of art institutions in Paris after the terrorist attacks there, the Festival of Lights in Lyon, France has announced that it will be canceled this year, according to a report by Victoria Stapley-Brown in the Art Newspaper. The festival, which was planned for December 5-8, is considered Lyons’s biggest annual event but has been pushed back until 2016. In a statement, the Mayor of Lyons said “we have decided that the festival of lights could not take place in its usual form—festive, poetic, light-hearted.”

A few planned events on December 8 will go ahead though, including a light installation by artist Daniel Knipper featuring digitized details from famous paintings. That same night, the city will also hold its traditional candlelight ceremony, “in a tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris,” according to its website.