Devin Wayne Leonardi (1981–2014)


Artist Devin Wayne Leonardi has taken his own life at the age of thirty-three, according to Altman Siegel, his San Francisco gallery. Leonardi represented issues of American history and politics in his work, reprocessing images of industrialization as a way to point to the “modern” as a persistent force in history. The artist studied visual arts at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and then at Cooper Union. His work is included in the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and he has been shown internationally and at his New York gallery, 1602 Broadway. Said Altman Siegel: “Leonardi's artwork looked back to terrains of nineteenth-century Americana, to landscape painting, to pictorial narratives of the conquest of the West with its collaterals, victims, and its repressed memory, earning him a devoted following of collectors and admirers throughout the United States and the European art world.”

Sam Hunter (1923–2014)


Founding director of the Rose Art Museum Sam Hunter has passed away at the age of ninety-one. Hunter came to Brandeis in 1960 as director of the Poses Institute of Fine Arts, and shortly thereafter became the first director of the Rose. He used an initial gift of $50,000 from collector Leon Mnuchin to establish the institution and to begin acquiring works. Although Hunter and Mnuchin set a limit of $5,000 per painting, they managed to gather early works by Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist, Adolph Gottlieb, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Marisol, Morris Louis as well as major pieces by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. “The guiding principle of the selection was individual quality rather than tendency,” wrote Hunter for the brochure accompanying the collection’s exhibition. “As a matter of policy, the collection focused on younger artists with only a token representation of the older generation . . . Abstract Expressionism is the collection’s point of departure, taken at a point of subtle but significant transition.”

Emily Kernan Rafferty Retires as President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art


Emily Kernan Rafferty has announced that she will retire as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, effective spring 2015. Rafferty began at the institution in 1976 as an administrator in the development department. She then served as vice president for development and membership—the first woman to be appointed a vice president in the museum’s history—and later as senior vice president for external affairs. Said Rafferty: "It has been a singular privilege to work for the Metropolitan Museum. 2015 will mark my thirty-ninth year at the Met and the eleventh year of my tenure as president. My respect and affection for the institution and for my colleagues is profound, and the Met will always be close to my heart.”

Said director Thomas P. Campbell: “The Met is known for the extraordinary dedication of its staff, but few people have had a greater impact on this Museum than she has. Over nearly forty years, Emily has grown with the Met, rising to its challenges through the decades. Indeed, I am deeply indebted to her for the role she played in my own transition to director. We have worked together as partners over the past five years, and I remain grateful for the intelligence, generosity, and charisma she brings to every endeavor.”

Rose Art Museum Appoints New Board Members


Fifteen new board members have been added to the board of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. Eight former board members have also been reappointed, all which follow the recruitment of Christopher Bedford as director in 2012 and naming of Lizbeth Krupp as chair of board of advisors last fall. Said Bedford: “This is an exciting time for the Rose. We have ambitious goals for the museum, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the board to help us achieve our collective vision for expanding access to modern and contemporary art.”

New board members include Gannit Ankori, Leslie Aronzon, Mark Bradford, Ronni J. Casty, Rena M. Conti, Tory Fair, John S. Foster, Steven A.N. Goldstein, Susan B. Kaplan, Lizbeth Krupp, Frederick Lawrence, Beth Marcus, Dianne Markman, Tim Phillips, and Lisa Yuskavage. Reappointed board members are Gerald Fineberg, Lois Foster, Matthew Kozol, Jonathan Novak, Betsy Pfau, Meryl Rose, Ann Tanenbaum, and George Wachter.

Met Museum Sees Over 6 Million Visitors for Third Year in a Row


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has announced that 6.2 million people visited the museum during its 2014 fiscal year that ended on June 30, reports New York Daily News. For the third year in a row, attendance at the museum has exceeded six million, which is the highest level of attendance since the Met began tracking these statistics more than forty years ago.

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum Appoints New Curator


San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has announced the appointment of Dr. Tianlong Jiao as the museum’s new curator of Chinese art, reports Artfixdaily. A specialist in Chinese archaeology and early Chinese art history, Jiao joins the museum after serving as the chief curator at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. He also worked as chair of the anthropology department at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Jiao earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University, an MA in archaeology from the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, and a BA in archaeology from Beijing University. He begins his new post on September 15, 2014.

Lydia Yee Appointed Chief Curator of Whitechapel Gallery


Lydia Yee has been appointed chief curator of Whitechapel Gallery. Yee is currently a curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, a role she assumed in 2007. Recent exhibitions at that institution included “Bauhaus: Art as Life,” 2013, “Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene,” 2011, and “Ron Arad: Restless,” 2010. She has also commissioned works by artists including Cory Arcangel, John Bock, and Geoffrey Farmer among others. Yee was formerly a senior curator at the Bronx Museum of Art and was the 2006 recipient of the Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Said director Iwona Blazwick: “Yee has an incredible ability to bring key moments in art history to life, while illuminating the work of contemporary figures, and we look forward to welcoming her to the artist’s gallery for everyone.”

Major Gift of Artworks to Stanford University


Major gifts of work by Andy Warhol, Richard Diebenkorn, and Jacob Lawrence have been given to the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Included are 3,600 of Andy Warhol’s contact sheets and corresponding negatives, given by the Andy Warhol Foundation; twenty-seven of Richard Diebenkorn’s sketchbooks, which have never been exhibited before and contain 1,400 to 1,600 drawings, given by his widow and children; and the largest collection of Jacob Lawrence’s work on the West Coast, donated by Gabrielle Reem and Herbert Kayden. Said director Connie Wolf: “These singular works by Diebenkorn, Lawrence, and Warhol will support new interdisciplinary approaches to twentieth century American art and culture here at Stanford, and I couldn't be more thrilled.”

James Turrell, Tod Williams, and Billie Tsien Among 2014 National Arts Medal Honorees


Mike Boehm reports in the Los Angeles Times that President Obama will be giving National Medals of Arts next Monday to artist James Turrell and architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, among others. Albert Maysles, the documentary filmmaker known for Gimme Shelter (1970), is also being recognized, as is Chicago arts patron Joan Harris. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be honored as an institution that's “showcased the works of both established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.”