Walker Art Center Gives Sixteen Works to Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Artist Katharina Fritsch with model of Hahn/Cock, 2010.

Mary Abbe of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Walker Art Center will be providing the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with sixteen artworks, valued at $15 million.

The sculpture garden, home to Claes Oldenburg’s and Coosje van Bruggen’s famous Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985–88, will soon have the company of a twenty-foot high ultramarine blue rooster by German artist Katharina Fritsch, titled Hahn/Cock, 2010, which was initially created for the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. Fritsch’s piece, among others, will be installed this summer as part of the sculpture garden's renovation, scheduled to be completed by June 2017.

“We really felt that we needed a bold, signature piece at the garden’s north entrance so we’re very excited about this. It’s not a general on horseback, but it’s a playful reimagining of that tradition. It’s irreverent but has this stoic authority at the same time,” said Olga Viso, the Walker’s director.

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July 28, 2016

Inti Guerrero Appointed Curator of the 2018 Ireland Biennial

Inti Guerrero

EVA International, the Ireland Biennial, has announced that Inti Guerrero was named curator of the Thirty-Eighth edition of the fair, which will be held from April 14 to July 9, 2018.

Born in Bogotá in 1983, Guerrero is currently a curator of Latin American art at Tate London and was previously associate artistic director and curator at the nonprofit TEOR/éTica in San José, Costa Rica. He is also curator of Neptune, a yearlong curatorial initiative in Hong Kong, and cocurator of “Aún: Yet, Still,” the Forty-Fourth Salón Nacional de Artistas in Pereira, Colombia. The Hong Kong–based curator studied history and theory of art and architecture at the University of Los Andes in Colombia and the University of São Paulo in Brazil, then completed the Curatorial Program at Amsterdam’s De Appel Arts Center.

The 2016 iteration of EVA International, “Still (the) Barbarians,” presented works by fifty-seven artists and drew over 100,000 local and international visitors.

July 28, 2016

Tehching Hsieh to Represent Taiwan at the 2017 Venice Biennale

Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance, 1981–1982.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum has announced that performance artist Tehching Hsieh will represent Taiwan at the Fifty-Seventh edition of the Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26, 2017. Adrian Heathfield will curate the pavilion.

“This exhibition is a rare opportunity to show previously unseen early works that I made in Taiwan, and to develop new understandings of my One Year Performances in New York,” Hsieh said. “I am grateful for the support of the nominating committee, the director of TFAM Ping Lin, chief curator Chaoying Wu, and for the opportunity to collaborate with curator Adrian Heathfield.”

Born in 1950, Hsieh traveled to the United States in 1974 as an illegal immigrant. He is best known for his series of five One Year Performances, 1978–1986. Hsieh spent one year locked inside a cage, one year punching a time clock every hour, one year completely outdoors, one year tied to another person, and one year without making, viewing, discussing, reading about, or in any other way participating in art. Known for creating works that evoke collective cultural anxieties and explore the many existential dilemmas found within the modern human condition, the New York–based artist embarked on his “13-year plan,” the longest durational performance of his career in 1986. For over a decade the artist created art, but refused to show it publicly. Following this project, Hsieh declared he would stop making art altogether, but resurfaced in the art world in 2009.

July 28, 2016

Dutch Authorities Recover Stolen Salvador Dalí and Tamara de Lempicka Works

Dutch art detective Arthur Brand and La Musicienne, 1929, by Tamara de Lempicka

According to Victoria Stapley-Brown of Art Newspaper, Dutch art detective Arthur Brand has announced that two works stolen from a private museum in the Netherlands in 2009 have been recovered. Salvador Dalí’s Adolescence, 1941, and Tamara de Lempicka’s La Musicienne, 1929, were found in good condition.

On May 1, 2009, armed robbers had walked into the Scheringa Museum for Realist Art in Spanbroek, a village north of Amsterdam, during opening hours and took the two paintings from the wall, while threatening the museum staff with a gun.

Brand said that a criminal gang had the works and contacted him through an intermediary because they “did not want to find themselves guilty of the destruction or resale of works of art.” The canvases were given to Scotland Yard who will return them to their rightful owners.

July 28, 2016

Honolulu Biennial 2017 Names Ngahiraka Mason Curator and Reveals Theme

Honolulu

The Honolulu Biennial Foundation has announced that Ngahiraka Mason will curate the inaugural edition of the fair, which will be held from March 8 to May 8, 2017. Mason, who served as the curator of Indigenous Art, Maori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in New Zealand for more than twenty years, collaborated with the biennial’s curatorial director Fumio Nanjo, the director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, to develop the theme and select the participating artists.

Titled, “Middle of Now / Here,” the Biennial focuses on how contemporary art from the Americas, Pacific, and Asia can engage with the cultural diversity of Hawaii. The artists will be asked to reflect on how our landscapes and lives are in a constant state of change and transformation, in turbulent and contradictory ways, and the archipelago’s role as a bridge between the East and the West in the twenty-first century.

The Biennial will exhibit works in various venues such as, Honolulu Hale, Foster Botanical Garden, and McCoy Pavilion, among others. An initial list of participating artists includes Brett Graham (New Zealand); Les Filter Feeders (Hawaii); Charlton Kupa’a Hee (Hawaii); Yuki Kihara (New Zealand/Samoa); Mohammed Kazem (UAE.); and Yayoi Kusama (Japan). The full list of artists will be announced in the fall.

July 27, 2016

Mohamed Khan (1942–2016)

Mohamed Khan

Mohamed Khan, a celebrated Egyptian film director who earned recognition for making films that tackle social issues in the 1980s, has died in Cairo at the age of seventy-three, Sam Roberts of the New York Times reports. Egypt’s actors’ union confirmed his death.

Born in Cairo to an Egyptian mother and a Pakistani father in 1942, Khan originally wanted to study architectural engineering in London, but changed course after was introduced to the London School of Film Technique by a friend. “My real school was being in London in the ’60s and experiencing all the cultural changes,” Khan said, “whether in music, fashion or, obviously, in films.” After working as an assistant director in Lebanon and London, Khan returned to Egypt in 1977, where he directed twenty-four feature films often featuring female protagonists.

Several of his films, including Streetplayer (1984), The Wife of an Important Man (1987), and Dreams of Hind and Camilia (1988) were featured on the “100 Greatest Arab Films of All Time” by the Dubai International Film Festival. Despite being a leading neorealist filmmaker in Egypt, Khan was only granted citizenship to the country in 2014 due to a law that declared mothers who married foreigners were not permitted to pass citizenship to their children.

His recent drama Factory Girl (2013), a global sensation about a female textile worker who does not accept her class status but falls in love with her boss, has won numerous prizes and was Egypt’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the eighty-seventh Academy Awards. Khan collaborated on the film with his wife, the screenwriter Wessam Soliman, with whom he had two children Hassan and Nadine, a film director whose debut film, Chaos, Disorder, won the Special Jury Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival in 2012.

July 27, 2016

Design Plans for V&A Museum Outpost in London’s Olympicopolis Revealed

V&A East

In celebration of the four-year anniversary of the 2012 Olympics, the London Legacy Development Corporation has released design renderings of the Victoria and Albert Museum's new building, which will be constructed in East London on the former site that hosted the games.

V&A East will be a seven-story structure that will boast of 194,000 square feet of space, which the museum will share with Washington DC’s Smithsonian Institution, as artforum.com previously reported. Designed by the London–based firm Allies and Morrison and Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey, the Cubist building featuring a brick and glass façade is part of a masterplan to develop a new educational and cultural district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. V&A East will be located opposite of Zaha Hadid’s London Aquatics Center and adjacent to Sadler’s Wells, London College of Fashion, and the University College London.

Dubbed the museum for the digital age, the venue will allow the V&A to exhibit a larger portion of its over two million-object collection. It is expected to open to the public in 2021.

July 27, 2016

Florine Stettheimer and Rockwell Kent Paintings Surreptitiously Sold by Nashville’s Fisk University

Florine Stettheimer's Ashbury Park South, 1920.

Susan Mulcahy of the New York Times writes that Hazel O’Leary, former president of the historically black Fisk University in Nashville, surreptitiously sold off paintings by Florine Stettheimer and Rockwell Kent a number of years ago during a financially tumultuous period for the school.

When Fisk tried selling works from its famous Alfred Stieglitz collection—a gift to the school from Georgia O’Keeffe, Stieglitz’s widow—it violated the terms of the donation. A deal, however, was worked out with Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges museum and the school to share the collection, which brought Fisk a necessary $30 million.

When the Stettheimer painting, Ashbury Park South, 1920, was sold—which, along with the sale of the Kent, took place prior to the arrangement Fisk made with Crystal Bridges—it was the first time that a major work by the artist had come onto the market in twenty years (the Kent work was one of the artist’s paintings of Greenland). Lyndel King, chair of the Task Force for the Protection of University Collections and director of the Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota said “Shame on [Fisk]. It’s very much against the ethics of our profession.” The task force doesn’t have any control over universities in these situations, but it can reprimand schools that try making these sales to cover operating costs, as this kind of gesture, said King, “alienates donors and undermines the purpose of having a museum on campus.”

It has not been revealed how much the Stettheimer was sold for. It’s believed that Michael Rosenfeld, the dealer who bought the painting, paid in the low six-figures for it. Francis Naumann, one of the few art dealers who’ve actually sold Stettheimer works, said it could actually be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million, as it is an important piece from the artist’s oeuvre.

July 27, 2016

Arts Community Protests Local Government’s Interference in Venice’s Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation

Save the BLM posters in Venice.

Following the announcement that the city of Venice will acquire the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation and act as the institution’s executive manager, beginning September 1, the city’s artistic community responded with protests, culminating in a petition published on change.org.

The Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation was founded in 1899 when the duchess Felicita Bevilacqua bequeathed funds and real estate to support “young artists, who often lack access to major exhibitions.” The foundation currently provides local artists with workspaces and residences, presenting, as the petition states, a “coherent system of places, geographically spread throughout the city,” including twelve artist workshops, two guest houses for international artists, as well as two exhibition spaces, an historical archive, a library, and an archive documenting the work of over two thousand artists from the Triveneto region.

The government’s interference was met with an outcry, with a spokesperson for the foundation telling Artforum.com’s Lauren Cavalli, “The issue is political control and business-style centralization.” The petition, comprised of five demands to guarantee the foundation’s autonomy, is addressed to the Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, the commissioners, and city councilors. Those who have signed include Elisabetta di Maggio, Maria Morganti, Tobia Ravà, and Caterina Erica Shanta, as well as Italian TV-host and writer Alessandro di Pietro.

The petition’s two main requests address the foundation’s board of governors–demanding that three should be appointed by the mayor at “the designation of the provosts or directors of the three public educational institutions in Venice, which work in the field of contemporary art, art critique, curatorship, and management,” including the Academy of Fine Arts and the Ca’ Foscari and IUAV universities—and also the nomination of a president or artistic director. Petitioners are demanding that the latter should be chosen via a public search and be appointed by a selection committee.

July 27, 2016

Detroit Institute of Arts Launches Multimillion Dollar Campaign to Add African American Art to Its Collection

DIA

According to Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Institute of Arts has launched a multimillion dollar campaign to collect African American art. With this landmark initiative, the institution will strive to strengthen its commitment to African American art by also funding exhibitions, artist commissions, community partnerships, staff development, and internships.

Spearheading the campaign is museum director Salvador Salort-Pons, who aims to shift the organization’s programming and collecting priorities to make DIA more culturally relevant to Detroit’s African American population. A recently acquired David Hammons’s sculpture, Bird, 1990, is representative of the institution’s new direction; estimated to cost at least one million dollars, the work is one of the most expensive pieces of contemporary art the DIA has bought in the past two decades. The six-foot tall piece, consisting of a Victorian bird cage enclosing a basketball encased in chicken wire, will go on display in the fall.