February 10, 2016

Contemporary African Art Fair 1:54 Reveals Exhibitor List

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

Returning to New York for a second year, the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair has announced its exhibitor list today. The fair will feature seventeen galleries, twenty-five countries, and a selection of works by over sixty artists including Derrick Adams, ruby onyinyechi amanze, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Edson Chagas, William Kentridge, Otobong Nkanga, and Billie Zangewa.

The founder of the fair, Touria El Glaoui, said, “The energy, interest, and overall success of the inaugural US fair in 2015 has lead us to return this May in hopes of broadening our reach and expanding the art world’s knowledge of Africa and the ever-evolving African art market.”

Among the countries that will be represented are Angola, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, the US, and Zimbabwe.

The fair will kick off at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn from May 6 through May 8.

The full exhibitor list can be found here.

February 10, 2016

Serpentine Reveals Architect for 2016 Pavilion

Bjarke Ingels

Instead of selecting one architect for its annual architecture exhibition, Serpentine Gallery announced today that it has chosen five. Architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) will design the pavilion, which is constructed outside the gallery, in Kensington Gardens.

In addition to Ingels’s work on the pavilion, architects Yona Friedman, Asif Khan, Barkow Leibinger, and Kunlé Adeyemi have been commissioned to design a series of summer houses inspired by a classical-style summer house built in 1734 called Queen Caroline’s Temple.

Gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones said, “After fifteen years, the pavilion program has expanded. It now comprises five structures, each designed by an architect of international renown, aged between thirty-six and ninety-three.” She will retire this year.

Yona Friedman is a Hungarian-born French architect whose ideas about addressing urban growth involve megastrucutres. The majority of the ninety-three-year-old Friedman’s work is on paper, consisting of theories about urban planning, publications, and drawings. The London-based architect Asif Khan is known for experimenting with interactive and digital approaches to architecture, exemplified in his MegaFaces pavilion at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Berlin’s Barkow Leibinger firm is known for its research-based approach to architecture and for projects such as the Biosphere in Potsdam. Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s works include his famous solar-powered floating schools in Nigeria. The architects have less than six months to construct their designs.

“All projects have been thrilling to commission and will be equally exciting to realize. We cannot wait to unveil them all this summer,” Peyton-Jones said.

February 10, 2016

Croatia’s Leading Cultural Figures Protest Country’s New Minister of Culture

Zlatko Hasanbegović

Less than a month into his administration, Croatia’s freshly-minted prime minister Tihomir ‘Tim’ Orešković is fielding protests and petitions over his choice for the minister of culture, Zlatko Hasanbegović, a historian with no background in cultural management but well known for his ties to a Croatian nationalist movement that flirts with fascism, according to a report by Vedran Pavlic at Total Croatia News.

Hasanbegović’s appointment has been protested by the anti-fascist human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center as well as Kulturnjaci2016, an organization of Croatian cultural figures who are circulating a petition to have him removed from office. Signees include such prominent artists as Sanja Iveković, David Maljković, Andreja Kulunčić, and Damir Očko along with the curatorial collective “What, How and for Whom.” As WHW’s Sabina Sabolović explained, “Mr. Hasanbegović's public statements and his first moves”—including pulling funding from nonprofit media initiatives—“suggest that his focus will be on projecting a monolithic national cultural identity.” The petition calling for his dismissal can be found here.

February 10, 2016

Chinese Performance Artist Does Nude Push-Ups at Sites of Paris Terrorist Attacks

Ou Zhang in front of the former Charlie Hebdo headquarters on January 20, 2016

Chinese performance artist Ou Zhihang has carried out a piece for which he did nude push-ups in front of Charlie Hebdo’s former headquarters, where eleven people were killed by the Kouachi brothers in January 2015, and across from the Bataclan concert hall, the site of a second terrorist attack in the French capital this past November.

A television personality in China, Ou Zhihang is also known for his series of nude self-portraits doing push-ups in front of emblematic sites and places associated with scandal. The series dates back to 1999, but did not receive broad public attention until 2007 when, just before the Olympic Games in Beijing, Ou Zhihang participated in a group show that caused a scandal in China.

Ou Zhihang’s work has gotten him arrested in China, but there was no such reaction in Paris. Quoted in Le Monde on February 5, the artist said, “Normally, there are police officers, security guards, cameras in front of a sensitive place. Especially in a country that is currently in a state of emergency. But, in the end, there was no control or restraint. This puzzled me.”

February 10, 2016

Elena Ochoa Foster Wins Ibero-American Prize for Art Patronage

Elena Ochoa Foster

The founder, editor, and curator of Ivorypress, Elena Ochoa Foster, has been awarded this year’s Ibero-American Prize for the Patronage of Art.

Each year the jury recognizes individuals from Spain or Ibero-America for their patronage and promotion of art. This year’s jury included curator Patrick Charpenel, Carmen Iglesias (the president of Spain’s Royal Academy of History), and Prado Museum director Miguel Zugaza.

Founded in 1996 by Elena Ochoa Foster (the wife of architect Sir Norman Foster) as a private initiative, Ivorypress is a Madrid-based gallery space, publisher of artists books, and bookstore specializing in photography, architecture, and contemporary art. It has created audiovisual projects on commission for venues including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Somerset House, and the tenth Venice Biennale of Architecture.

February 10, 2016

Rotterdam Museum Will Begin Renting Public Space to Private Collectors

A rendering of the Public Art Depot's interior space.

Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans van Beuningen will rent out 10 percent of its new Public Art Depot—an open art storage facility—to private collectors. The Rotterdam City Council voted in favor of constructing the reflective, bowl-shaped depot in the fall of 2015. Designed by architecture firm MVRDV, the almost $60 million facility is expected to open in 2018.

According to the Art Newspaper’s Gareth Harris, the director of the museum, Sjarel Ex, said he has already spoken to more than sixty European collectors, and six are on board. To be considered, all collectors must be approved by the museum staff and commit to storing their work in the space for a minimum of five years.

Storage space at the depot will be priced between $400 and $450 per square meter, but the museum is offering more amenities. At an extra cost, the museum will provide collection management services including the facilitation of loans and generation of condition reports. Upon the individual collector’s approval, visitors to the storage facility will be allowed to view their works.

Besides viewing private collections, Ex said “for the first time, anywhere in the world, a museum’s entire collection will be accessible to the public.” Currently, the museum’s galleries are only capable of displaying 7 percent of its collection at one time. The new depot will also possibly feature a freeport.

Twenty-two million dollars of funding for the project is coming from the social investment fund Stichting De Verre Bergen while another almost $3 million will be provided by the city and the rest will come from admission and the collector’s rental fees.

February 10, 2016

Philadelphia Museum of Art Announces Round of New Appointments

Jessica Todd Smith

Two internal promotions and one new hire have been announced at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, according to a report by Robin Scher in Artnews. Alexandra Kirtley, who was previously associate curator of American decorative arts, has been promoted to curator in her department while the associate curator of European painting and sculpture, Jennifer Thompson, has also been named curator in her area of specialty. Thompson is succeeding Joseph J. Rishel, who retired last year and currently serves as curator emeritus.

As for the addition to the museum’s team, Jessica Todd Smith, the current chief curator of American art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, has been hired as curator of American art and manager of the Center for American Art at the museum. She will start in her new post July 1.

February 9, 2016

Smithson’s Spiral Jetty May Soon Be Utah’s Official State Work of Art

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970.

Robert Smithson’s famous earthwork the Spiral Jetty—a 1,500-feet-long, fifteen-feet-wide coil that juts out on the shore of the Great Salt Lake—may soon be officially made a Utah state symbol, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

The proposed bill is sponsored by Republican North Salt Lake representative Becky Edwards, who said it is “an opportunity for us as a state to do a little bragging.”

The bill advances after the results of a vote by the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee held on Tuesday, February 2, were 7-1 in favor of honoring the 1970 basalt work.

The only person in opposition was Timothy Hawkes, Republican representative of Centerville. He declared that there are other, more appropriate, ways to honor the sculpture.

The Dia Art Foundation, which owns the work—it was donated by the artist’s estate in 1999—is thrilled that Utah want to honor it. Director Jessica Morgan said Spiral Jetty represents Dia’s commitment to supporting projects of extraordinary ambition. “We are honored that Utah is considering designating Spiral Jetty as the state’s work of art and delighted that the artwork will be known and understood by a wider public,” Morgan told artforum.com.

Students at American Fork High School and Utah Valley University were among the first to propose elevating the work to state emblem: a status it may soon share with the elk, sea gull, and sego lily.

February 9, 2016

Marta Kuzma is the First Woman to be Named Dean of Yale School of Art

Marta Kuzma

In the almost 150 years since the Yale School of Art was established, a woman has never filled the position of dean—until now. President of Yale University Peter Salovey announced today that renowned curator Marta Kuzma will be the first female dean of the school. This news comes after last September's appointment of Deborah Berke as the first female dean of Yale’s School of Architecture.

“I am confident that she will develop a distinctive vision for the Yale School of Art,” Salovey said. “She has an appreciation for developing ‘courageous’ students, and recognizes the importance of new sensibilities and new contexts for the presentation of artists and art.”

The curator, writer, and academic is currently vice chancellor and rector of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

With over twenty-five years of curatorial experience in the international contemporary art world, Kuzma has served as director of the Office of Contemporary Art Norway, artistic director of the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington DC, and as the head of the international exhibitions program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. She was also founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev.

Kuzma will succeed revered critic and curator Robert Storr, who has served as the dean of the nation’s first art school since 2006. In an interview with the New York Times’ Robin Pogrebin, Storr said “ten years is enough. More than enough.”