August 4, 2015

New Director at Baylor University’s Martin Museum of Art

Allison Chew Syltie

Allison Chew Syltie has been named the new director at Baylor University’s Martin Museum of Art. She’s filling a role left vacant by Karin Gilliam, who has served as the director of the Martin Museum of Art for the past ten years. Since 2008, Syltie has worked at the Pearce Museum at Navarro College as the curator for the museum’s art collection. She later became the director of the museum.

The Martin Museum has a permanent collection of approximately 1,300 objects, including art by Francisco de Goya, Kathe Kollwitz, and Robert Rauschenberg.

August 4, 2015

Skidmore’s Tang Museum Receives Collection of Works on Paper

Amy Sillman, Untitled (#7), 2006.

The Tang Museum at Skidmore College has received a major donation of forty contemporary works on paper from collectors Anne and Arthur Goldstein. The donation includes works by artists like Amy Sillman, Nicole Eisenman, and Beth Campbell, all highlighted in shows at the Tang early on in their careers. Other artists represented in the collection include Huma Bhabha, David Korty, Jack Pierson, Stephen Balkenol, atta Kwami, and Mary Reid Kelley. Most of the art in the gift also marks the Tang’s first acquisition from each artist included.

Ian Berry, director of the Tang Teaching Museum, said: “We are excited to welcome into our collection this group of diverse artists, so many of whom we have worked with previously.”

August 4, 2015

A Curator at Tate Britain Leaves for Serpentine Galleries

Lizzie Carey-Thomas

Lizzie Carey-Thomas, currently curator of contemporary British art at Tate Britain, has been appointed head of programs at the Serpentine Galleries. From 2002 through 2012 she cocurated the “Art Now” series at the Tate, organizing shows by Mark Titchner, Ian Kiaer, Christina Mackie, Ed Atkins, and Pablo Bronstein. Lead curator of the Turner Prize since 2002, she’s contributed to jury deliberations, and also oversaw the exhibition “Turner Prize: A Retrospective” in 2007, which toured to the Mori Art Museum.

The Serpentine’s director, Julia Peyton-Jones, and codirector, Hans Ulrich Obrist, said of Carey-Thomas: “Her experience as a curator and a commissioner of new work, together with her work with emerging artists, ensures that she will make a major contribution to the Serpentine’s programs.”

August 4, 2015

Mellon Foundation Report Finds Lack of Diversity Among Top-Tier Museum Jobs

Diversity Among Museum Staffers by Category

A new report released by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that looked at both gender and race among museum staff members has found that minorities are significantly underrepresented in top-tier jobs, according to Claire Voon in Hyperallergic.

While jobs at museums in categories that tend to be lower paid, like security and facility maintenance, tend to end up being held by a more diverse range of people, Voon writes that “curators, conservators, and those working in publication and registrar are over 80 percent non-Hispanic white.”

Meanwhile, non-Hispanic whites hold about 84 percent of the highest profile positions, with Asians at 6 percent, blacks at 4 percent, and Hispanics at 3 percent.

The foundation’s vice president, Mariët Westermann, noted, “With the exception of the Asian demographic category, which makes up 5 percent of the United States population today, these proportions do not come close to representing the diversity of the American population.”

August 3, 2015

Ai Weiwei Issued British Visa After Initially Denied Document

Ai Weiwei

The BBC reports that the British home secretary has ordered officials to issue a six-month visa to Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in a reversal of their previous decision not to grant him travel documents. The visa was initially denied due to a supposed failure on the part of the artist to declare his “criminal conviction” on his application, even though the artist has never actually been charged or convicted of a crime in China despite eight-one days of detainment in 2011 by the government there.

The artist is in London for his upcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts after his passport was finally returned to him by Chinese officials.

August 3, 2015

Studio Museum in Harlem Director Joins Barack Obama Foundation

Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, is joining the board of directors at the Barack Obama Foundation, according to Alex Greenberger at Artnews. Though involved with other Obama administration-backed cultural projects before—she was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2010—as a board member at the foundation she will be primarily focused on helping raise funds to build Obama’s presidential library in Chicago.

Regarding the future site of the library, Golden said in a statement that “the South Side of Chicago has historically been the nexus of several important cultural movements for African-Americans, and I believe the new Center will help usher in a new era of community engagement for this extraordinary neighborhood.”

August 2, 2015

Brooklyn Academy of Music Announces $25 Million Project to Link Three Spaces

Rendering of BAM's new addition

According to Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s announced that it’ll embark on a twenty-five-million-dollar project to link three of its spaces: BAM Harvey Theater, 653 Fulton Street, and the ground floor of 230 Ashland Place will all be connected by the expansion, which is being called BAM Strong, after the Strong siblings (whose mother is Brigitte Vosse, a fashion designer and the expansion’s main donor).

“We need to have that presence on the corner as the neighborhood gets built up — we want to make sure our patrons know there’s a BAM Harvey down the street,” said Alan H. Fishman, the academy’s chairman. “The world around BAM is changing so rapidly, and the world around Brooklyn is changing so rapidly, you’ve got to react to it.”

BAM has raised $17 million for the project thus far, while the city has given $6.2 million.

A partner at Mitchell Giurgola architects, Paul Broches, is designing the project, which will also result in new balcony seating in the Harvey, as well as a one-story structure at 653 Fulton Street featuring a ground-floor cafe.

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, 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.