March 31, 2015

Details Unveiled for Walker Art Center’s $75 Million Revamp

The Walker Art Center has unveiled plans for its new seventy-five million-dollar renovation, reports the Star Tribune’s Mary Abbe. With a new glass-walled entrance pavilion, groves of trees, and acres of new grass, the newly designed art center will unify a nineteen-acre cultural “campus,” including the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Sixty million dollars has already been committed to the project, with ten million dollars in public money. Construction will begin this fall and is slated to be finished by 2016.

Said Walker director Olga Viso, “This plan envelops the whole building in a carpet of green.”

March 31, 2015

San Antonio Museum of Art Receives Gift of Land and New Building

The San Antonio Museum of Art is receiving a gift that will address its space shortage, reports the Business Journal’s W. Scott Bailey.

CPS Energy will be giving the museum approximately 3.5 acres of real estate near a redeveloped portion of the San Antonio River. The gift includes a former operations facility. Said museum director Katie Luber, “This is a fantastic opportunity because we are so short on space.”

The museum plans to shift its administrative operations out of its old space to make room for a growing collection and more programming.

March 31, 2015

Betty Churcher (1931–2015)

Betty Churcher

The former director of the National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher has passed away, according to Artnet’s Zoe Li. Churcher started out as director of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, then later became the first woman director of the National Gallery of Australia.

Her knack for organizing appealing shows that drew hundreds of thousands of visitors earned her the nickname “Betty Blockbuster.” The host of a number of television shows in the 1990s, she also wrote books such as The Art of War(2005), about war artists.

National Gallery director Gerard Vaughan told The Australian: “Betty was a towering figure in the Australian art community and loved by so many.”

March 30, 2015

Michael Rush (1949–2015)

Michael Rush.

Michael Rush, the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and an award-winning curator, author, and critic, died last weekend from cancer. Rush started at MSU in 2010 and was instrumental in the completion of the 46,000-square-foot contemporary art museum which opened in November 2012 and was designed by Zaha Hadid.

Eli and Edythe Broad, longtime supporters of the university who provided the lead gift of $28 million for the museum and an additional $5 million for an endowment named after Rush, said “Michael Rush was a visionary founding director of the Broad Art Museum at MSU who set a high bar for innovative exhibitions and programming…. We are immensely appreciative of the dedication and commitment he demonstrated during the past two and a half years to making the museum an integral part of the East Lansing community and a world-class destination.”

Before arriving at MSU, Rush served as the director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he oversaw a significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the region and was recognized for his leadership during a controversial and successful effort to legally prevent the university from selling its collection and closing the museum.

He also previously served as founding director of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, received awards from the International Association of Art Critics for his curatorial projects, and was the cofounder of the Contemporary Art Museum Directors Association. In 2014, he was awarded the Charles A. Gliozzo International Award for Public Diplomacy from the MSU Office of International Studies and Programs.

Prior to his work in museums, Rush was a theater artist and founder of New Haven Artists’ Theater, in addition to a long association with New York’s La MaMa Experimental Theater Club. A memorial service is being planned for later this spring in New York City and the university will also be honoring his memory.

March 30, 2015

Andy Warhol Museum Backs Down from Plan to Build Branch in New York

The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA.

The Andy Warhol Museum, which is based in Pittsburgh, PA, has announced that it will be dropping an anticipated plan to build a branch of the museum in New York City, reports Marylynne Pitz in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The outpost was originally envisioned as a 10,000-square-foot space, as part of the development of Seward Park on the Lower East Side.

Eric Shiner, director of the museum, said in a statement Friday night that “The Andy Warhol Museum, which had been exploring its participation in the Essex Crossing development in lower Manhattan, has determined that it will not proceed with the project. Despite the efforts of both the museum and the developers, an internal study of business and other operational considerations led the museum to this decision.”

Negotiations for the project first began in 2012, when David M. Hillenbrand, former president and CEO of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, approved the initiative.

March 30, 2015

Roger L. Mayer (1926–2015)

Roger L. Mayer.

Sam Roberts reports in the New York Times that Roger L. Mayer—a film executive who was central in preserving and restoring many classic movies and who also stirred controversy by coloring some black-and-white ones—died last Tuesday in Los Angeles.

At the 2005 Oscar ceremony, Martin Scorsese presented Mayer with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his chairmanship of the National Film Preservation Foundation, which had saved more than 2,100 movies that were abandoned by their copyright holders. Mayer also served on the Library of Congress’s National Film Preservation Board, which each year chooses twenty-five “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” for preservation.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Mayer went to work as a lawyer for Columbia Pictures. He joined MGM in 1961 and rose to senior vice president for administration and president of MGM Laboratories.

From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Mayer was also president and chief operating officer of the Turner Entertainment Company, which acquired thousands of films from Warner Bros. and RKO as well as from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where Mayer was an executive for twenty-five years. He also helped develop the Turner Classic Movies cable channel.

Among Turner Entertainment’s first major ventures was to transform some of the black-and-white movies in its collection into color features. This process of digital colorizing started a fierce debate among many directors, film purists, and congressional hearings, but Mayer defended the method saying it provided an alternative format, rather than a substitute, that could attract younger audiences.

March 30, 2015

New Triennial Announced in Saitama, Japan

Darryl Wee reports at Artinfo that the city of Saitama in Japan has announced it will hold its first triennial of contemporary art from September 24 through December 11, 2016. Hayato Shimizu, mayor of Saitama and president of the executive committee of the Saitama Triennale, said in a press conference on March 25 that the triennial hopes to focus on projects and works produced collaboratively with the local population and become a “festival based on the imagination of Saitama’s citizens.”

Titled “Envisioning the Future,” the festival will enlist as its director Takashi Serizawa, a curator who previously established the contemporary art institution P3 art and environment in 1989. Serizawa has also served as a curator of the 2005 Yokohama Triennale and overall director of the Beppu Contemporary Art Festival in both 2009 and 2012.

One of the key elements of this triennial will be “HomeBase Project Saitama 2015,” organized by Israeli artist and curator Anat Litwin. This research and residency program exploring a theme of home was previously held in New York, Berlin, and Jerusalem.

March 30, 2015

American Institute of Architects’s New York Director Abruptly Resigns

Fredric M. Bell.

The executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Fredric M. Bell, has abruptly resigned his post, reports Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times.

Appointed executive director in June 2001, Bell was crucial to the establishment of the institute’s Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place in Manhattan. He was a high-profile advocate at times: Along with Nina Libeskind, he proposed a new home for New York's Museum of Modern Art in Long Island City, so that the institution wouldn't raze the former Folk Art Museum building in Manhattan to make way for a new space.

March 27, 2015

Albert Irvin (1922–2015)

Albert Irvin.

Mike Tooby reports in the Guardian that the British artist Albert Irvin has died. Known for his abstract paintings, watercolors, and prints, he became well known in the 1980s and '90s, with his first solo show at the age of thirty-eight. Born in southeast London, he attended the Northampton School of Art but cut his studies short to join the Royal Air Force in 1941 during World War II.

After the war Irvin enrolled at Goldsmiths College in 1946 from which he graduated with a diploma in design. Irvin later returned to Goldsmiths in 1962 as a professor and taught for over twenty years.

He was closely involved with the Advanced Graphics London printshop, where he began screen printing in 1980, and he went on to become one of Britain’s foremost printmakers. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2013, and his art has appeared in Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum among other venues.