May 22, 2015

NYPD Sued by Art Collective that Protested Naming of David H. Koch Plaza

Projection by the Illuminator Art Collective on on the fašade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, September 9, 2014.

Hrag Vartanian reports at Hyperallergic that members of the Illuminator Art Collective who protested the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s inauguration of the David H. Koch Plaza last September have this week filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York alleging false arrest and improper seizure of Illuminator Collective property by the NYPD’s Central Park Precinct.

The three members of the collective arrested, Kyle Depew, Grayson Earle, and Yates McKee, were released four hours after their arrests on September 9, 2014, but the police kept their projector as “arrest evidence” for an additional two months and ten days. They were charged at the time of their arrest with unlawful advertising, which was later dismissed by a Manhattan Criminal Court judge. In their court filing, the three Illuminator members allege that the unlawful seizure of their property constituted a restraint on speech and a violation of First Amendment rights.

The group says the seizure of the projector prevented members of the collective from participating in various planned protest actions, including the People’s Climate March in September 2014.

May 22, 2015

Frank Gehry Wins 2015 J. Paul Getty Medal

Frank Gehry.

Mike Boehm reports in the Los Angeles Times that architect Frank Gehry has won this year’s J. Paul Getty Medal, the Getty Trust’s annual award for leadership in visual art. Gehry is the first designer or artist to win the prize, launched in 2013 to recognize lifetime contributions in the various art-related fields that are part of the Getty’s mission, including philanthropy, art-history research, archeology and conservation of art and architecture as well as art practice.

Gehry has previously won the Pritzker Prize in 1989, the year after he’d won a design competition for creating Disney Hall. He also recently designed the Foundation Louis Vuitton art museum in Paris, which opened last year. The architect has a strong presence in the Getty’s research collections, which owns his wood and styrofoam models for a 1980s home in Brentwood and a massive archive of papers, photographs, and sound and video recordings from the Disney Hall project.

The 2013 medal went to Harold Williams and Nancy Englander, the founding Getty Trust president and executive who initiated the Getty’s diverse mission and set into motion the building of the Getty Center in Brentwood, which opened in 1997. Last year’s winner, Lord Jacob Rothschild, was honored for his philanthropy in the arts.

May 22, 2015

Icelandic Pavilion at Venice Biennale Shut Down by Local Authorities

Christoph BŘchel, THE MOSQUE: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice, 2015.

Cristina Ruiz and Lidia Panzeri report in The Art Newspaper that the Swiss artist Christoph BŘchel’s installation THE MOSQUE: The First Mosque in the Historic City of Venice for the Icelandic pavilion at the Fifty-sixth Venice Biennale in Italy, which Venice authorities had previously threatened to shut down, has officially closed to the public as of today.

The mosque, which is Iceland’s official contribution to the Venice Biennale, opened only two weeks ago and was meant to stay open for the entire seven-month run of the Venice Biennale. A notice from the local council has been posted on the door of the tenth-century building of the Santa Maria dell'Abbazia della Misericordia, a former Catholic church, and the project’s organizers have sixty days to lodge an appeal with the supervisory court for the Veneto region.

The official reason for the closure is a breach of health and safety regulations, as the number of visitors has exceeded the capacity of the building on a number of occasions, according to city officials. They also say they had not granted permission for a mosque in the space, but issued permits only for the installation of an art exhibition. Different legal permission is required to create a space of worship in Venice.

May 22, 2015

Jacob Jensen (1926–2015)

Jacob Jensen.

The industrial designer Jacob Jensen, whose Minimalist style became known as Danish modern, has died, reports Bruce Weber in the New York Times. Jensen started designing regularly for the high-end Danish electronics company Bang & Olufsen in 1964, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted an exhibition to the company’s stereo equipment and Jensen’s work in 1978. A dozen or so of Jensen’s designs are in the museum’s collection.

Born Jakob Jensen in Copenhagen in 1926, Jensen, after leaving school, trained as an upholsterer and designed chairs. He later attended the School of Arts and Crafts, now part of the School of Design of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and graduated in 1952. From then until 1958 he worked for the Copenhagen design firm Bernadotte & Bjorn, where he is credited with creating the Margrethe mixing bowl.

In addition to his work at Bang & Olufsen work, he also started his own company in the 1950s called Jacob Jensen Design. Jensen and his company designed hundreds of products including hearing aids, office chairs, phones, wristwatches, and kitchen hardware. The business now has studios in Shanghai and Bangkok, in addition to its headquarters in northern Denmark.

May 21, 2015

Christopher Heuer Named Associate Director of Research and Academic Program at Clark Art Institute

The Clark Art Institute has appointed Christopher P. Heuer to serve as the associate director of its research and academic program, beginning July 1.

Formerly an assistant professor in the department of art and archaeology at Princeton University from 2007 through 2014, Heuer is currently serving as senior fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, where he specializes in early modern European art and architecture. He was also one of the founding members of Our Literal Speed, an art and performance collective based out of Selma, Alabama.

At the Clark, Heuer’ll be organizing many of the program’s intellectual events and collaborations, as well as maintaining engagement on a daily basis with the Clark’s residential scholars’ program.

May 21, 2015

Amy Brandt (1978–2015)

The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, has shared the sad news that Amy L. Brandt, the McKinnon curator of modern and contemporary art, has passed away at the age of thirty-seven. Brandt arrived at the Norfolk in 2011 to begin her newly created and endowed position. During her time there she oversaw around 2,400 works of art in the museum’s post-1945 painting collection. She went on to present the Chrysler’s renovated and reinterpreted McKinnon Wing of Modern and Contemporary Art, with shows like “Colorama,” 2011, and “Mark Rothko: Perceptions of Being,” 2011–2012.

Brandt also previously held a variety of roles at institutions including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the American Federation of Arts in New York. She most recently organized “Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera,” which opened at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery in April and runs through July.

“Academically distinguished, deeply passionate, and supremely self-confident, Amy embodied the very best of America’s new generation of art historians,” said chief curator Jeff Harrison. “It was a joy and a privilege to work with her.”

May 21, 2015

Emory Acquires Atlanta Contemporary Art Center’s Archives

Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library has acquired the institutional papers of Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, reports Howard Pousner in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The acquisition is a recognition of our institution’s rich, forty-two-year history and legacy,” Julie Delliquanti, the Westside art center’s executive director said, calling the records “a history that deserves to be researched, studied and considered by researchers, scholars, artists, students and the general public who are interested in the arts, history and politics of Atlanta and the critical role that the Contemporary has played in the region.”

Comprising over 120 linear feet of material, the collection includes administrative records, exhibition files, and exhibit catalogs put out by the Contemporary (and its earlier incarnation, Nexus Contemporary Art Center), as well as rare artist books produced by Nexus Press. “We may always hear about New York City, Los Angeles and other places but everything that went on in those places happened here too, just on a smaller scale,” said the library’s curator of modern political and historical collections, Randy Gue.

May 20, 2015

In Limbo, In Cuba, Tania Bruguera Kicks Off First Art Project Since Arrest

Tania Bruguera is launching her latest project in Cuba today: the first performance she’s staged since being arrested five months ago for her free-speech performance in Havana’s Plaza de la Revoluciˇn, according to the Art Newspaper’s Laurie Rojas. Based on the writing of the German political theorist Hannah Arendt, the new project will begin just before the twelfth Havana Biennial kicks off.

Continuing for one hundred consecutive hours, Bruguera will read from Arendt’s book, the Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). The public will be invited to take part in reading and discussion.

The artist has remained in Cuba in “legal limbo,” while officials, who confiscated her passport, schedule a hearing to decide whether she’ll go on trial for her previous work.

May 20, 2015

Shigeru Ban Will Build Housing for Nepal’s Earthquake Survivors

Shigeru Ban, the Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect, has announced that he will deploy emergency shelters for victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal, according to Artnet's Christie Chu. Ban's relief organization, Voluntary Architects’ Network, will begin by giving out donated tents and plastic sheets. Then, as the situation grows more stable, it’ll work with regional architects to construct less temporary living spaces.

Chu notes that Ban has a history of contributing architectural expertise and help in times of disaster around the world, having designed living spaces for victims of disasters in India, Sri Lanka, China, Italy, and New Zealand. Details of Shigeru Ban's project can be found on his website | here|.