July 31, 2015

College Art Association Director Retires

Former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Philippe de Montebello and executive director of CAA Linda Downs.

The executive director and chief executive officer of the College Art Association (CAA), Linda Downs, will retire next February. During her nine years with the organization, the CAA celebrated its centennial, digitized current and archival issues of their publications The Art Bulletin and Art Journal, increased international membership via the CAA/Getty International Program, and established over thirty professional guidelines and standards through their professional practices committee. Additionally, a task force supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation was established to develop a code of best practices in fair use for the visual arts.

Besides her tenure at CAA, Downs was formerly a curator of education at the Detroit Institute of Arts; head of education at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and director of the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. She earned a master’s degree in art history from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor’s in philosophy from Monteith College at Wayne State University in Detroit.

July 31, 2015

London’s National Gallery Labor Strike Escalates

Union strikers at National Gallery

The entire group of union workers currently employed at the National Gallery in London are set to renew their strike this August, according to Sarah Cascone at Artnet. This comes after several other recent periods of labor dispute at the venerable British institution, all over the management’s plans to privatize visitor services at the museum. The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents the workers who will be participating, has told the museum of its intentions to strike on August 4, 5, 6, 12, and 17.

The plan at the heart of the dispute would replace hundreds of union workers in security and visitor services at the museum with privately sourced employees. The union is also still fighting the suspension of one of their representatives, Candy Udwin. Nicholas Penny, the previous director at the gallery, approved the proposed switch of labor sources.

July 30, 2015

Whitney Museum Receives $2 Million for Educational Programming

Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art has received a $2 million donation from the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation to support its education programs. “Steven and I were inspired to give more after we saw the amazing impact that art has on children first-hand at the Whitney’s Jeff Koons exhibition last summer,” said Alex Cohen, the foundation’s president. “Jeff helped the art come alive to the kids and engaged them in a completely different way. We are thrilled that our gift will help the Whitney expand their education programs and reach more people in our community.”

With the support of the donation, the museum will stage more free guided visits to students from New York City Schools, and will expand its number of workshops as well as its open access days for senior residents and others in the community.

July 30, 2015

NEH Announces Winners of $36.6 Million in Grants

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Yesterday, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced the 212 humanities projects receiving a total of $36.6 million in its latest round of grants.

Grantees include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which will receive $400,000 to stage an exhibition on Mexican modern art from 1910–50, and the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, which is getting the same amount to reinstall the museum’s collections.

The announcements also marked the inaugural round of grants being given under the new NEH Public Scholar Program, which supports “nonfiction books that apply serious humanities scholarship to subjects of general interest and appeal.” The complete winners of this grant cycle can be found here.

July 30, 2015

Boeing to Give $20 Million to Kennedy Center

Rendering of Kennedy Center expansion

Boeing will be donating twenty million dollars to the Kennedy Center, according to the Washington Post’s Peggy McGlone. Boeing chairman W. James McNerney Jr., who became part of the Kennedy Center board earlier this spring, announced the news at a Q&A with the center’s board chairman David M. Rubenstein, who turned to the audience and said, “I hope this sets a precedent.”

The money will go toward funding the center’s $100 million expansion, designed by architect Steven Holl. The expansion will create three pavilions and underground space, adding up to a total of sixty thousand square feet for rehearsals, classrooms, performances, and events.

The project’s now scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018, about fifteen months behind schedule.

July 29, 2015

Issue Project Room Chooses New Executive Director

Zev Greenfield

Issue Project Room has chosen a new executive director: Zev Greenfield. Greenfield was most recently managing director of the Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation, where he increased its revenues and budget. He was also formerly vice president of finance and administration/operations for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

At his new job with the Brooklyn-based nonprofit arts organization that focuses on experimental and avant-garde music and performance, he’ll lead operations in Issue Project Room’s five-thousand-square-foot space—which embarked on the beginnings an seven-million-dollar renovation project earlier this year.

“Zev is an excellent strategist with a strong finance and fundraising background,” said board vice chair Jeanne Lutfy.

July 29, 2015

Artnews to Merge with Art in America

Covers of Artnews and Art in America

There’s big news on the art-publishing front: Artnews will be merging with Art in America, according to Brian Boucher in Artnet. The two magazines are both over a century old: Artnews was founded in 1902, and Art in America eleven years later.

Peter Brant, and his company BMP Media Holdings, will obtain a 47.61 percent stake in Artnews for $3.4 million, and he’ll in turn sell around 3,400,000 shares to Artnews’s Skate Capital, run by investor Sergey Skaterschikov, according to Reuters. The deal must still be approved by Artnews’ shareholders.

Art in America’s staff will move to Artnews’ offices, and both magazines will share digital content at Artnews.com. Brant’s other publications, such as Interview, remain separate from the deal.

July 29, 2015

New Director at High Museum of Art

Randall Suffolk

Randall Suffolk has been appointed the High Museum of Art’s director. Suffolk’s currently director and president of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, where he’s worked for over twenty years, including fifteen years as a director. Under his tenure, the Philbrook saw a 63 percent increase in attendance and a 22 percent rise in membership. The museum also added 2,800 new works. to its collection.

The chair of the board of the High Museum of Art, Charles Abney, called Suffolk “an ideal choice to build upon and deepen the High’s strong relationship with the city of Atlanta, and the greater Southeast.”

July 29, 2015

Tate Britain Appoints New Director

Alex Farquharson

Tate Britain has appointed Alex Farquharson as its new director, reports The Guardian’s Mark Brown. The founding director of Nottingham Contemporary, Farquharson’s replacing Penelope Curtis, who’s going to serve as the director of the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon. In addition to his role at Nottingham, he sits on the Arts Council Collection’s acquisitions committee, and formerly served as research fellow and a visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. Farquharson was also part of the selection committee that chose Steve McQueen for the 2009 Venice Biennale’s British Pavilion. During his tenure at the Nottingham, it drew over a million visitors during the first five years.

Although she oversaw the museum’s successful $70 million renovation, critics accused the museum of staging flat exhibitions, while defenders said the accusations against her “verged on a vendetta.”

The director of Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota, said Farquharson had made Nottingham “one of the leading galleries in the UK,” adding, “He has created a program that serves local and national audiences, working closely with artists and reflecting history as well as the present.”

And Turner Prize hopefuls might also want to take note: As Tate Britain director, Farquharson will now also serve as chair of the committee that chooses the award’s winners.