October 7, 2015

Harvard Postdoc Organizes Playful Anti-Renoir Protest Outside Boston’s MFA.

Anti-Renoir protesters rallied in front of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts on Monday

Max Geller, creator of the Instagram account “Renoir Sucks at Painting,” organized a rally outside the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on Monday. As reported in the Boston Globe, Geller and his fellow Pierre-Auguste Renoir-haters carried handmade signs reading “God Hates Renoir” while chanting, “Put some fingers on those hands! Give us work by Paul Gauguin!”

October 7, 2015

Légion d'Honneur Awarded to FIAC Director Jennifer Flay

Jennifer Flay was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by France's Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius.

Jennifer Flay, who has been at the helm of Paris's premier contemporary art fair, FIAC, since 2003, was awarded the French Legion of Honor on Monday night, reports Le Figaro. FIAC’s 42nd edition opens at the Grand Palais on October 22.

October 7, 2015

Elizabeth Alexander Named Director of Creativity and Free Expression at Ford Foundation

Elizabeth Alexander

The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of poet, essayist, playwright, and scholar Elizabeth Alexander as director of its Creativity and Free Expression program. The appointment comes as the Ford also says that it’s shifting “its overall focus to addressing inequality.”

Alexander is the author of the book The Light of the World (2105), her memoir, as well as six books of poetry, including American Sublime (2005), which was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She wrote the poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

Alexander will join as the foundation launches a year-long program for which a diverse group of artists, cultural leaders, scholars, and social activists will explore “the role of creativity and free expression in shaping a more equitable future,” in the foundation’s words. This initiative is also linked to the Ford’s Visiting Fellows Program, for which thirteen distinguished artists from across the globe are conducting research and participating in groups and workshops held at the foundation.

October 6, 2015

Eileen Myles Receives 2015 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing

Eileen Myles

The Clark Art Institute has selected poet and writer Eileen Myles as the recipient of the 2015 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. The prize comes with a $25,000 honorarium and an award designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando.

“Through her work, Eileen Myles has inspired new ideas and discourse on modern society, connecting literature and other artistic practices in fresh and provocative ways. Her selection as the recipient of this year’s Clark Prize recognizes her authentic voice, her pioneering work, and her unbridled curiosity and creativity,” said Francis Oakley, interim director of the Clark.

Myles’s writings include The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art; Not Me; Inferno;_ and Snowflake/Different Streets. Her essay “Street Retreat” was part of the Semiotext(e) installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and her essay “Twice” appears in the catalogue of the 2014 Liverpool Biennial. As an art writer, she has written about Shannon Ebner and Marilyn Minter for ICA Miami and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, respectively

Linda Nochlin, Peter Schjeldahl, and Hal Foster are some of the previous winners of the prize.

October 6, 2015

Chantal Akerman (1950–2015)

Chantal Akerman

Belgian director and artist Chantal Akerman has died, reports Catherine Shoard for The Guardian. Hugely influential to experimental and feminist filmmaking, Akerman was just at Locarno’s film festival last month with her new film No Home Movie (2014), a portrait of her mother Natalia, who survived Auschwitz and was often a figure in Akerman’s work.

Her first UK exhibition will open later this month at ICA London, where she was also scheduled to appear for a masterclass and Q&A. It was also just revealed that she would be included in “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1.

Akerman gained wide renown for Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelle, a 1975 film that pictured an aging widow performing domestic tasks and augmenting her income through prostitution. (As Amy Taubin wrote, the film “reinvented cinematic language” and “inspired thirty years of what is termed ‘observational fiction cinema.’ . . . Among the American filmmakers who found the film revelatory: Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, and Jim Jarmusch.”)

In 2011, Akerman joined the staff of New York’s City College. Her films and videos have been featured in the Center Pompidou, Documenta XI, and the 2001 Venice Biennale. The Austrian Film Museum mounted a retrospective of her work four years ago.

Melissa Anderson recently wrote about No Home Movie’s screening at the New York Film Festival, here, noting that Akerman speaks to her mother, over Skype: “I want to show that there is no distance in the world.”

October 6, 2015

Hepworth Wakefield Launches Prize for UK Sculptors

Barbara Hepworth

A $46,000 award for UK-based sculptors is being created by the Hepworth Wakefield gallery, according to the BBC. The prize will be awarded every other year, and will go to honorees who have made “a significant contribution to contemporary sculpture.” The gallery, which opened in May 2011, will exhibit work by the four shortlisted artists next October.

Simon Wallis, Hepworth Wakefield’s director, “said there was an obvious gap” in art prizes that specifically recognize sculpture, according to The Guardian’s Mark Brown, who points out that the award will offer a larger cash prize than the Turner Prize.

Added Wallis, “Few specifically recognize sculpture and it is our aspiration to redress that with one of the UK’s most important awards.”

Wallis, who is one of the judges for next year’s Turner prize, says that artists of all ages will be eligible. “One of the things I wanted to do away with right away was age restrictions, I’m simply not interested in whether someone is 21 or 101.”

October 6, 2015

Natasha Ginwala Appointed Curator of Belgium’s CONTOUR Biennale

Natasha Ginwala

Natasha Ginwala has been appointed curator for CONTOUR 8 taking place in Spring 2017 in Mechelen, Belgium. An independent curator, researcher, and writer, Ginwala was part of the artistic team in the eighth Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, and in 2013 through 2015 led the multi-part curatorial project Landings, which made appearances at Witte de with Center for Contemporary Art and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. She curated “My East is Your West” featuring Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana, at the fifty-sixth Venice Biennale.

Speaking about Ginwala, CONTOUR’s director, Steven Op de Beeck, said: “We are confident that her engagement with artists from Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia will provide additional relevance to the largely Euro-American focus reflected in the artist selection of the biennale thus far.”

October 5, 2015

Duke University Receives $25 Million Gift to Support New Arts Building

David M. Rubenstein

Graham Bowley reports in the New York Times that the philanthropist and business magnate David M. Rubenstein will give $25 million to his alma mater, Duke University, to fund arts programming and a new building on campus. Rubenstein, who has been chairman of the board at Duke since 2013, is a founder of the private equity firm Carlyle Group. Previous gifts he has made to Duke supported the Sanford School of Public Policy, athletics, libraries, and fellowship and faculty programs.

Duke has stated that the gift “will help create and sustain programs, activities and performances across the range of performing and visual arts at Duke.” The new 71,000-square-foot arts building for instance, at a projected cost of $50 million, will include a dance studio, a theater for performances and an additional one for film, as well as classrooms and other facilities. Additional financing for the building is to come from the university and other private donors.

October 5, 2015

Art16 Fair Announces New Director

Nathan Clements-Gillespie

The London-based art fair Art16 has announced a new director for their upcoming edition, according to a report by Anny Shaw in the Art Newspaper. Nathan Clements-Gillespie will be their new head after a previous tenure at the MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where he was director of external affairs for four years. Clements-Gillespie also previously worked on the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013.

This appointment comes after the recent, surprising departure of Kate Bryan, who was the director the Art15 edition of the fair. During her ten months with the organization, Bryan introduced such features as an exhibition curated by Kathleen Soriano, the former director of exhibitions at London’s Royal Academy of Arts; and the New 100 Club, which is meant to provide a platform for young art collectors under forty. Bryan also limited the amount of galleries allowed to exhibit, decreasing its scope from 180 in 2014 to 134 for Art15. Some of the qualities will carry over into Art16 under Clements-Gillespie’s leadership, such as the New 100 Club.