Dallas Museum of Art’s Deputy Director Steps Down

Rob Stein

Deputy director Rob Stein will be leaving the Dallas Museum of Art to begin as senior advisor for the National Center for Arts Research at Southern Methodist University, reports D Magazine’s Peter Simek. (Thanks to Artnews for highlighting the story.)

Stein worked closely with Maxwell Anderson (who abruptly left his position as director of Dallas Museum of Art), having actually followed Anderson to Dallas after the two were coworkers at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

“Stein led most of the digital-driven new initiatives at the DMA, including the Friends and Partners program, which includes a kind of credit card point system that rewards users for logging various museum experiences into their phone,” writes Simek.

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June 24, 2016

Houston Center for Photography Appoints New Executive Director

According to Glasstire, the Houston Center for Photography has announced that Ashlyn Davis will take up the helm as its new executive director. She had previously served as the center’s director of development since June 2015.

Davis is a graduate of the University of Texas Austin and Pratt Institute. She has worked for various organizations, including the Aperture Foundation, Penguin Books, and Newspace Center for Photography. The members of the board said that Davis “brings to the position an intimate knowledge of the organization, rich experience in the non-profit photography community, and a deep passion for the medium of photography.”

June 24, 2016

Obama Names Stonewall Inn First LGBT National Monument

Stonewall Inn, the United States’s first LGBT national monument.

Today, President Obama designated Stonewall Inn, seen by many as the birthplace of the Gay Rights movement, the US’s first LGBT national monument. This step in commemorating LGBT history takes place at a fraught time: less than two weeks after the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando that left fifty dead and wounded fifty-three others, but also only two days before the first anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.

Glennda Testone, director of The Center—New York City’s LGBT community center, which offers health and wellness programs, entertainment, and support services—said, “We thank President Obama for standing with us as a staunch ally and ensuring our place in the history books. After thousands of years of invisibility, LGBT contributions and culture will no longer be marginalized and our significance will be forever be a part of the story of the United States of America." She added, “By designating a home for LGBT history, we ensure that none of the lives lost in the fight for LGBT rights are forgotten. When people come to Stonewall National Monument, we hope they'll know that it was also the place where thousands of people gathered after the Orlando shooting to try and make some sense of a world where something so heartbreaking could happen. It is, and always will be, the place where our community members go to find each other in times of celebration, tragedy and to advance the fight for full LGBT equality.”

The new monument will protect the area encompassing Stonewall Inn, where the LGBT community fought back against police persecution on June 28, 1969.

President Obama said this addition to America’s National Park System “should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity, and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”

June 24, 2016

Cartoonist’s Widow Files Lawsuit Against Charlie Hebdo

French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Le Parisien reports that Gala Renaud, widow of Michel Renaud, one of twelve people killed by the Kouachi brothers at the Charlie Hebdo offices in January 2015, has filed a lawsuit against the satirical newspaper. Renaud alleges that after collecting millions of euros following the attack, the paper’s directors have not made good on promises to compensate families of the victims. The lawsuit specifically targets the new coeditor of Charlie Hebdo, Laurent Souriseau, also known as Riss, who was injured in the shoulder during the shooting.

Responding to Renaud’s accusations in an email addressed to regional newspaper La Montagne, a Charlie Hebdo representative wrote, “We are surprised and shocked. We have always said that the proceeds from the sale of the newspaper should be devoted to ensure its sustainability.” However, in February 2016, Le Figaro reported that contributions collected by the organizations Press and Pluralism via the website JaideCharlie.fr (which at that date amounted to nearly $3 million) and Friends of Charlie Hebdo ($1.7 million) should be donated to the victims of the attacks and the families of those killed.

Central France’s L’Espace Loup is currently exhibiting drawings by Philippe Honoré and Tignous (Bernard Verlhac), two staff cartoonists who were killed during terrorist attack. The show, which runs through August 14, is part of an international drawing festival held in Saint-Just-le-Martel each year.

June 24, 2016

Maxwell L. Anderson Named President of African American Art Foundation

Maxwell L. Anderson

Atlanta’s Souls Grown Deep Foundation—which documents, preserves, and exhibits works by self-taught African American artists from the South—has announced that Maxwell L. Anderson, the former director of the Dallas Museum of Art, was appointed president. The foundation also announced that Harry Arnett will succeed Paul Arnett, as the chair of the board of trustees. Paul Arnett will remain on the board.

In an interview with Randy Kennedy of the New York Times, Anderson said, “Our premise now is providing more major institutions—and then smaller institutions—with works that will allow them to be able to tell the story of these artists and these traditions, which were, if not suppressed, then almost unknown for so long—comparable to the work of many jazz and blues artists for more than a generation.”

For the newly created position, Anderson will be responsible for overseeing the foundation’s various initiatives and operations. Previously, Anderson has served as the head of Atlanta’s Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Ontario’s Art Gallery, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He is also the executive director of the New Cities Foundation—a think tank for urban planning.

Founded in 2010, the nonprofit foundation acquired the majority of its works and archive from William Arnett, an art historian who began to collect artworks by undiscovered African American artists in the 1970s. The foundation’s collection consists of over 150 works by artists such as Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Joe Light, Joe Minter, and Purvis Young. In 2014, it gifted the Metropolitan Museum of Art fifty-seven artworks.

June 24, 2016

Paul Cox (1940–2016)

Paul Cox, an independent filmmaker known as the father of Australian art cinema, has died in Heidelberg at the age of seventy-six, Margalit Fox of the New York Times reports. The family confirmed the cause of death was cancer.

“I’m not a filmmaker out of ambition, I never thought I would be a filmmaker,” Cox said in a 1984 interview. “It’s pure compulsion. I have no option.” Among his best known films are “Lonely Hearts” (1982), “Man of Flowers” (1983), and “A Woman’s Tale” (1991). Cox has also worked on documentaries such as “Vincent” (1987), which tells the life story of Vincent Van Gogh as told through his brother Theo’s letters, and “Nijinsky: The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky” (2001).

Born in 1940 in Venlo, the Netherlands, Cox remembers the hardships the region experienced from World War II. In an essay he wrote, “I witnessed nothing but death and destruction. Half the population of the small town we lived in perished.” In 1965, he relocated to Australia where he worked as a photographer. Cox made his first feature film in the 1970s. After he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2009, he was inspired to make “Force of Destiny” (2015), a film about a romance that develops between a couple who are both on a waiting list for organ transplants, and a documentary, “The Dinner Party” (2012), in which he interviews people who received organ transplants about the experience.The film critic Roger Ebert once said, “Paul Cox is a hero of the cinema, a man who lives in seclusion in Melbourne and turns out one extraordinary film after another.”

June 24, 2016

Artists and Cultural Institutions Voice Concerns After Britain Votes to Leave EU

Brexit votes being tallied.

In a historic decision, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. According to the New York Times, the margin of victory was startling—the “Leave” campaign won by 52 percent. Shortly after the outcome of the referendum was announced, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would resign by October. While all the implications of this landmark decision have yet to be realized, UK institutions and artists have voiced many concerns over the changes the exit from the twenty-eight-member bloc will bring and their impact on the arts.

According to Martin Bailey of Art Newspaper, an overwhelming number of cultural figures want Britain to stay in the EU. Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said he is “deeply concerned at the impact leaving the EU will have on culture in the UK, and particularly on its museums and galleries.” He added, “At one level there is obviously now great financial uncertainty—the effect on European funding streams for the arts, for example—but quite as important is the potential effect on the spirit that drives a myriad of international partnerships in the arts.”

Some of the many economic uncertainties troubling UK’s arts organizations include whether this move would mean additional cuts in government funding. If the financial ramifications negatively impact the residents of the UK it could lead to a decrease in art collecting and reduced corporate sponsorship for the arts. Separating from the EU would also mean tougher regulations on tourists, which could make it harder for international artists to work in Britain or cause a drop in visitors to the country, which correlates to a drop in visitors to the country’s museums.

Recently, German collector Heiner Pietzsch said he will lend works to Scotland rather than England if the country votes to leave the EU. He said, “It is very important for the whole world that England is European, that we stay together. Not only for Germany, for England—but for the whole world.”

Other examples of the art world’s strong opposition to Britain’s leaving the European Union include an open letter that was signed by hundreds of cultural figures in May that states: “Britain is not just stronger in Europe, it is more imaginative and more creative, and our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.” One of the signatures belonged to UK artist Tacita Dean who fears that Brexit could make London as an art center “provincial once more.”

Artist Shirazeh Houshiary, an Iran native who moved to London in 1974, said, “The world is developing and changing, and we have to slowly remove boundaries. The fact that we want to go backwards, and return to what we were in the past, is not growth; this would be bad for creativity, bad for science, it is bad for every single individual.”

A number of artists have produced works in support of the “Stronger In” campaigners, including Damien Hirst and Wolfgang Tillmans, who created a series of thirty posters encouraging people to vote in favor of remaining in the EU. The posters have been put up all over London and were made available for free download. One of the signs reads: “No man is an island. No country by itself.”

Other leading cultural figures support the departure. Munira Mirza, London’s former deputy mayor of culture and education, said, “Britain is a massive net contributor to the EU budget—$481 million every week—of which only around half is returned through grants and the rebate (and only a tiny fraction of that for cultural projects). To put this figure in context, Arts Council England’s budget for the entire year is approximately $825 million.”

UK Culture Secretary John Whittingdale does not share the art world’s worries. He said, “Britain has a hugely successful arts and cultural scene, and freed from the shackles of EU law and efforts to subsume it into a European brand, it can only thrive.”

The ramifications this will have on the art market are not yet clear. Christie’s spokesperson Catherine Mansons said that for now, it is too early to tell. “Once the political process becomes clearer, we will align our business and operations with any new the legislative framework.” She added, “We are used to adapting to suit the shifting political, legal, and cultural issues wherever we do business. Our experience across the years has shown us that collectors want to collect.”

June 24, 2016

Zad Moultaka to Represent Lebanon at the 2017 Venice Biennale

Zad Moultaka

Lebanon’s Ministry of Culture has announced that artist and composer Zad Moultaka will represent the Lebanese Pavilion at the fifty-seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26, 2017. Emmanuel Daydé, an art historian and critic, will curate the exhibition.

Daydé said, Moultaka combines “musical invention with visual research in an approach where technology takes inspiration from the archaic.” His works often explore the themes of separation, time, the violent forces of nature, memory, and impossible reconciliations through works on paper paired with audio tracks.For the pavilion, Moultaka will create Sacrum, a multimedia installation inspired by prehistoric caves such as Lebanon’s Jeita and France’s Chauvet. The work will be installed in Venice’s historic church of Santa Maria della Misericordia

Born in Lebanon in 1967, Moultaka studied piano at the Music Conservatory in Beirut when he was young. The artist moved to Paris in 1984 where he continued his musical education, but also started painting and drawing. He enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire in 1989, and worked as a professional piano soloist for almost a decade before he decided to dedicate himself to composing and painting.

Moultaka is interested in integrating the language and rhythms of Western and Arabic music. In a statement about his work for the biennial he said, “In these times when the Middle East is crumbling before our eyes, foundering in fratricidal wars, every act, every thought must be moved by this foretold catastrophe.” He added, “Our earth is burning, our roots are being torn up, our future is drowning in indifference.”

The artist exhibited at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He will produce an audio-visual installation for the fifteenth edition of Nuit Blanche in partnership with IRCAM in 2016. He will also create a new installation for Paris’s Arab World Institute in 2017.

June 23, 2016

UK Palace House Partners with Collector to Open Permanent Exhibition of Russian Art

Beaulieu Palace House

Russian art collector Andrey Filatov has agreed to a twelve-year arrangement with UK’s Beaulieu Palace House that involves creating a permanent exhibition of his Art Russe foundation’s collection, Sophia Kishkovsky of Art Newspaper reports.

“I want the public to admire the masterpieces of Russian art, rather than keeping my collection in a dedicated warehouse,” Filatov said. Moving the artwork to the UK “will allow thousands of visitors every year to learn more about the depth of Russian art.” Founded in 2012, the Art Russe foundation, has a collection of 200 paintings and sculptures spanning from the late nineteenth century to the 1990s. New works will be displayed every four months.

Located in Hampshire, the Beaulieau Palace House is the home of Lord Montegu. It also hosts the National Motor Museum. Lord Montagu said, “In the past, many stately home owners, including my ancestors, collected art from around the world, and so it is entirely appropriate I should be continuing that tradition by hosting this collection at Beaulieu.”

June 23, 2016

Rotterdam Museum Evacuates Artwork Due to Heavy Rainfall

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum

Rotterdam’s Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum evacuated works that were on display in its basement, including rare books, as the threat of flooding increased as the area experienced heavy rainfall, Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper reports.

The museum confirmed that water and sewage seeped into its basement. Ina Klaassen, deputy director, said, the institution asked the fire brigade to pump water out of the garden pool because it was overflowing, but they were unable to do because of the saturated grounds. None of the objects from the basement displays were damaged. Officials remain concerned because the building’s ground floor is located below sea level. The museum will break ground on a new storage facility with better drainage this fall.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands. It got its name from the eponymous collector who left his art collection to the city in 1849.