May 27, 2015

Hermann Nitsch Show, Canceled by Museo Jumex, Gets Second Chance

Earlier this year, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City canceled an exhibition of artwork by Viennese actionist Hermann Nitsch. Though no reason was provided, many speculated that it had to do with the depiction of gory animal corpses in his work, which provoked a petition accusing Nitsch of animal cruelty. “This is a different kind of shocking,” Nitsch said at the time. “They wasted a lot of money. They wasted my time.” Following the incident, curator Magali Ariola was fired, and the museum's director Patrick Charpenel also left the organization.

Now, the show is scheduled to open in Palermo this summer, in Museo Zac ai Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa, a former industrial building, according to the Art Newspaper's Julia Michalska. The show will include videos documenting Nitsch's actions, as well as forty canvases and a number of photographs. “A multi-floor ‘Pharmacy’ filled with fetish objects will also be on show,” notes Michalska.

May 27, 2015

SANAA Wins Competition to Design Sydney Modern Project

Rendering of Sydney Modern Project

Tokyo architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA have won the international design competition to design the Art Gallery of New South Wales’s expansion, known as the Sydney Modern Project, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s Daisy Dumas.

The $450 million upgrade will create a public space that connects the gallery to its surroundings, and will include “platforms of sandstone and glass” that “cascade downhill from the existing gallery site north towards the harbor, blending indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces,” according to Dumas.

“From below, we saw the natural sandstone, we really wanted to keep continuity between different areas and also between nature and architecture and art and the people,” said Sejima.

With ten million dollars promised by the government, gallery director Michael Brand will now have to raise the remaining funds needed for the project’s target 2021 completion date.

May 27, 2015

UC San Diego May Lose Art Gallery

UCSD's University Art Gallery will shut its doors indefinitely beginning July 1, reports the UCSD Guardian's Tina Butoiu. Funding for the fifty-year-old art space, which has an annual budget of $250,000, has been cut after months of debate over the gallery's operating costs, according to Angela Carone in KPBS. Meanwhile, the gallery’s only full-time staffer has been let go.

“The gallery's future is on hold to the extent that there is no programming scheduled for the summer or next year,” university authorities said in an email. “The visual arts department has been discussing the mission and operation of the gallery for several years and, with resources from the dean, established a committee to survey the faculty and come up with a plan. However, there was no consensus on how the gallery would be run, so the plan was not approved.”

Assistant Director Merete Kjaer, whose job will now come to an end in July, took issue with university officials’ claims that the gallery was not closing. Said Kjaer, “Knowing what we’ve gone through this year of trying to secure funding and continue and the action of laying everyone off, I don’t really know what you call it other than closing. I think that it's just rhetoric, choosing one word over another.”

May 27, 2015

Dallas Museum of Art Receives $3 Million for New Plaza

Arts patrons Jennifer and John Eagle have promised $3 million to the Dallas Museum of Art, according to Artnews's Anna Heyward. Their gift will create the Eagle Family Plaza, at one of the museum's entrances.

Eagle, an automobile dealer, has been president of the museum’s board. Another $1.3 million from the Hamon Charitable Foundation will be augmenting the Eagles’ gift.

May 26, 2015

Mary Ellen Mark (1940–2015)

Mary Ellen Mark.

Molly Eichel and Gabrielle Bonghi report in the Philadelphia Inquirer that the photographer Mary Ellen Mark died yesterday in New York City. Born in 1940 in Philadelphia, she received a bachelor of fine arts in art history and painting from the University of Pennsylvania in 1962 and a master's in photojournalism in 1964 from UPenn’s Annenberg School of Communication. Later in life she received honorary doctorates in fine arts from the institution in 1992 and 1994. Famous for her bracing documentary photography, she is best known for series like “Streetwise,” documenting the daily life of young prostitutes and runaways in Seattle, first published in 1983 in LIFE and later made into a book for the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1988.

Her photos have regularly appeared in publications such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Rolling Stone and have been featured in many exhibitions across the world. In 2014 she received the lifetime achievement in photography award from George Eastman House as well as the outstanding contribution photography award from the World Photography Organization. Her most recent project was based on New Orleans and is to be published later this summer by CNN to mark the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

May 26, 2015

Artist Group Blocks Entrances to Basel Museums

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Basel.

Last Thursday, brick walls were found blocking the entrances of several art museums in Basel, Switzerland, reports Henri Neuendorf at Artnet. A spokesperson at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Basel, where one of the walls was found, speculated that the piece was likely made by a collective of artists and squatters called Atopie.

The group recently organized a two-week series of exhibitions and talks in an abandoned property in central Basel that was shut down and evacuated by the police. Other institutions where the walls have appeared in front of the entrances include the Basel Museum of Contemporary Art and the Basel Architecture Museum in addition to the house from which the group was recently evicted.

According to their website, the group wishes to “claim space for society, culture, and alternative lifestyles,” and “demands space to live and exist in without consumerism and commercialism.”

May 26, 2015

Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art Names New Director

The Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University has hired a new director: Susan Longhenry, currently director of the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos, New Mexico, reports the Journal Sentinel’s Mary Louise Schumacher.

A Milwaukee native and a specialist in modern and contemporary art, Longhenry has also held posts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She‘ll begin the role in early August, as the first female head of the museum.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the Haggerty Museum and to build upon the remarkable interdisciplinary work that has been nationally recognized,” Longhenry said.

May 25, 2015

Chief Curator of Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg Resigns

Jennifer Hardin.

Lennie Bennett reports in the Tampa Bay Times that the longtime chief curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg in Florida, Jennifer Hardin, unexpectedly resigned last Friday. The museum opened in 1965 on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront and Hardin became its curator in 1995 while she was finishing her doctoral degree at Princeton University. At that time the museum's collection included 3,700 works. During her tenure, the collection has grown to encompass more than 20,000 objects.

Hardin’s exhibitions for the museum include “Monet's London: Reflections on the Thames” in 2005, with 150 works lent from thirty venues throughout Europe and the United States, as well as a Georgia O'Keeffe show in the late 1990s. In 2012, philanthropists Bill and Hazel Hough gave $2 million to endow Hardin’s position, renamed the William and Hazel Hough chief curator.

May 25, 2015

Sharjah Biennial Artists Pen Open Letter in Support of Artists Denied Entry to UAE

Sharjah Biennial.

Mostafa Heddaya reports at Artinfo that participants in the twelfth Sharjah Biennial have issued an open letter to cultural institutions and authorities in the United Arab Emirates expressing their support for artists Ashok Sukumaran and Walid Raad, who were both recently denied entry to the country after attempting to travel there for a conference associated with the biennial. Both artists are members of Gulf Labor, an activist group concerned with workers’ rights on Saadiyat Island in the UAE.

The letter was signed by forty-four of the fifty-five biennial artists and collectives and includes the follow statement, “We feel that the work done by the Gulf Labor Artist Coalition is important and that transparency and dialog are essential to ensure that globalised cultural institutions like the Guggenheim, the Louvre and NYU are expanding responsibly, sustainably and without labor exploitation.” The signatories also “urge authorities in the UAE to lift entry restrictions for Ashok Sukumaran, Walid Raad, and Andrew Ross.” A full list of signatories and the entire open letter can be read here.