James Rondeau Named President and Director of Art Institute of Chicago

James Rondeau

The Art Institute of Chicago has named James Rondeau its new president and director. A curator of contemporary art at the institute’s museum for nearly two decades, he has also chaired the contemporary art department since 2004. At the museum, Rondeau has organized shows featuring Charles Ray, Cy Twombly, and Jasper Johns, among other artists.

He was also crucial in brokering Stefan T. Edlis and H. Gael Neeson’s record-breaking gift to the museum, a gift discussed last year on artforum.com.

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May 30, 2016

LA’s The Smell Receives Demolition Notice

the Smell in Los Angeles with owner Jim Smith (right).

Southern California Public Radio’s KPCC and LAist report that the Los Angeles DIY arts venue the Smell received a demolition notice from the city on its building last Friday. The owner of the venue, Jim Smith, says the building housing the venue, and all of the businesses on the rest of the west side of Main Street between 2nd and 3rd streets in Downtown LA, received the notice. Located at 247 S. Main Street, the all ages and alcohol-free club—which has a longstanding policy of charging only $5 for its events—has been a mainstay of the arts in the city since 1998 and plays host to a major intersection of local independent bands, touring acts, and many artists associated with the city as well.

Smith told KPCC “It was a surprise…there’s been some signs that something is maybe in the works. Our building was sold a year ago to L&R and they bought the building down the block. I wasn’t aware until last night they also bought the Downtown Independent, our neighbor to the south.” The L&R Group of Companies operates various parking facilities in the city and, according to Smith, now own all of the land including and immediately surrounding the Smell. In April or May of 2015, L&R became the venue’s new landlord, and “raised the rent, like within a month or two. That’s been a little bit of a struggle because they really jacked it up. It went from $2,375 to $4,000 overnight, so almost a 70 percent increase right there,” said Smith. There are already several parking lots immediately surrounding the club.

Thought the club abuts the city’s Skid Row—a notorious concentration of the homeless crisis in Los Angeles—restaurants, hotels, and other high-end development have sprouted up or are currently in the works for the area. Despite the changes around them, Smith noted “We’d love to stay in downtown…the direction downtown is going, that might be impossible, but it’s definitely something we’ll explore. And if it can’t be in downtown, we’ll find another location and make our home there.” LAist reported that due to the Memorial Day holiday, “no information regarding the notice or plans for demolition has been made available yet, and won’t be available until at least Tuesday, as all governmental offices are closed for the Memorial Day weekend.”

May 30, 2016

Public Art Fund To Install David Shrigley Sculpture in Central Park

David Shrigley

Public Art Fund has announced that a new public artwork by British artist David Shrigley, a seventeen-foot-tall granite sculpture with a shopping list engraved on its surface and titled MEMORIAL, will be the next installation at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park. Located at the southeast entrance to the park, the plaza currently features Isa Genzken’s Two Orchids, which will remain installed through August 21. Shirgley’s work will be on view from September 8, 2016 to February 26, 2017.

Public Art Fund associate curator Emma Enderby, who organized the exhibition, said of Shrigley’s upcoming installation “Public monuments are familiar features of parks and plazas across the world and enable communities to celebrate, remember, or pay homage to great endeavors or individuals. In MEMORIAL, however, David has chosen to celebrate one of the most familiar acts in many of our daily lives: the jotting down of a grocery list…By memorializing a list in this way, the work pays homage both to no-one and to everyone —it’s a simple ode to humanity.”

The installation in New York will be concurrent with the artist’s Fourth Plinth Commission to be installed in London’s Trafalgar Square on September 29, which features a ten-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a “thumbs-up” gesture. David Shrigley lives and works in Brighton, UK and was previously a Turner Prize nominee in 2013. His most recent solo exhibitions have been at Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand (2015); National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2014–15); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2014); BQ, Berlin, Germany (2013); and the Hayward Gallery, London, England (2012).

May 30, 2016

Rijksmuseum Names New Director

Taco Dibbits

Nina Siegal reports in the New York Times that the board of trustees at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam have announced Taco Dibbits, the museum’s current director of collections, as the new director of the museum, replacing Wim Pijbes. Pijbes previously announced his resignation last March and will become the director of a new, private, contemporary art institution called Museum Voorlinden, set to open in September on a nature reserve near The Hague.

Dibbits has worked at the Rijksmuseum since 2002, and will take on his new role after Pijbes steps down on July 15. Dibbits joined the Rijksmuseum as curator of seventeenth-century painting, prior to the museum’s closing for an expansion that lasted a decade and cost about $415 million. He spearheaded the reinstallation of the museum’s collections and helped develop the institution’s digital strategy, which has made high-resolution images of works in its collection available to the public for free. Dibbits was promoted to director of collections in 2008.

He studied at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Cambridge, and previously worked in London as the director of the old masters department at Christie’s.

May 30, 2016

Clifton Benevento Gallery Closes

Michael Clifton and Michael Benevento

Michael Clifton and Michael Benevento have announced they will be closing their gallery, located at 515 Broadway between Spring and Broome streets. The gallery’s last day open to the public is tomorrow, May 31.

A few of the artists exhibited in the last six years have included Zarouhie Abdalian—covered by artforum.com’s Wendy Vogel last month—Polly Apfelbaum, Gina Beavers, Zak Kitnick, Sofia Leiby, Jeanette Mundt, Martin Soto Climent, Wu Tsang, and Ned Vena. Other artists that have shown with the gallery throughout the years are Nina Beier, Luis Miguel Bendaña, Colby Bird, Phillip Birch, Patrick Brennan, Marieta Chirulescu, Peter Coffin, Aleksandra Domanović, Dan Finsel, Channa Horwitz, Sanya Kantarovsky, Marjorie Keller, Edward and Nancy Kienholz, Joshua Kolbo, Denise Kupferschmidt, Shio Kusaka, Eddie Martinez, Chadwick Rantanen, Kyle Thurman, Jeffrey Tranchell, Siebren Versteeg, Jonas Wood, Aaron Wrinkle, Mike Yaniro, Anicka Yi, and David Zuttermeister.

May 27, 2016

Spanish Court Denies US Extradition Request for Alleged Member of Knoedler Forgery Ring

A courtroom sketch depicting one of the fake Mark Rothko paintings bought by a collector.

On Wednesday, Spain’s national court cited health reasons when it ruled that José Carlos Bergantiños Díaz, an alleged member of the more than $80-million forgery scheme in which fake artworks were sold to Knoedler & Company Gallery, should not be extradited to the United States, Raphael Minder of the New York Times reports.

Medical reports detail a series of ailments that Díaz is suffering from including neurological conditions. The forty-three page ruling states Díaz could appear “before Spanish courts, with a level of success similar to that which could be reached before American courts.”

In February, the national court decided Díaz’s brother, Jesús Ángel Bergantiños Díaz, could be extradited to the United States where he faces charges of “wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and money laundering,” as artforum.com previously reported.

The brothers were the alleged partners of Glafira Rosales who commissioned Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese immigrant, to forge works by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock among other artists, and then sold them to clients through Knoedler Gallery. Since it closed in 2011, Knoedler has made a number of out-of-court settlements with collectors who purchased the fakes.

May 27, 2016

Marianne Boesky Gallery Expands Chelsea Space and Closes Lower East Side Outpost

Marianne Boesky Gallery

Marianne Boesky Gallery will double its footprint at its flagship Chelsea location by expanding into an adjacent space, Dan Duray of the Art Newspaper reports. After the expansion project, the gallery will be 13,000-square feet. It is due to open on June 23 with an exhibition curated by artist and writer Chris Wiley that will showcase works by Jay Heikes, Thornton Dial, and Lee Mullican. Meanwhile, the gallery’s Clinton Street location in the Lower East Side will shut its doors.

“Experimentation with space and architecture in diverse NYC locations, from Chelsea to the Upper East Side to the Lower East Side, has been an essential part of our vision, evolving and growing to meet and complement the changing interests and needs of our artists," Boesky said.

May 27, 2016

Dutch Artist Claims Duke Riley’s Brooklyn Pigeon Performance Was His Idea

Duke Riley’s performance Fly by Night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

According to Andy Newman of the New York Times, Dutch artist Jasper van den Brink said that when the news of Duke Riley’s well-received ongoing performance piece Fly by Night—which involves releasing thousands of pigeons with LED lights attached to their legs over the Brooklyn Navy Yard to illuminate the night sky—he thought, “How is this possible?”

Van den Brink was shocked because he alleges the idea of a light performance in which a flock of pigeons fly at night wearing LED lights was originally his idea. Except, it was supposed to take place in Stockholm. He described the project in the spring 2006 issue of the New York-based magazine Cabinet, but said he abandoned the idea because pigeons cannot easily fly at night. The artist’s lawyer sent a letter to Creative Time—who helped organize the piece—requesting that Riley and the organization credit van den Brink and agree to license his work.

In response, Creative Time’s executive director Katie Hollander said, “he has nothing to license.” Riley said he has never heard of van den Brink before now. He added that the idea to light up the sky using pigeons “has been something that’s been a reoccurring vision in my head for probably over three decades.” He had drawn what he imagined it would look like as a teenager and has sketches of the project from 1988.

Amy Adler, a New York University law school professor, confirmed that van den Brink has no case. “You can’t copyright an idea,” she said. “If you allowed anyone with an idea to stop other people from making work, creative expression would grind to a halt.”

May 27, 2016

Performance Space 122 Launches Search for New Leadership

Vallejo Gantner

East Village’s Performance Space 122 has announced that artistic director Vallejo Gantner will step down and a search for a new head for the non-profit organization is underway. Gantner, who has been at the helm of PS122 since 2005, will remain in the role until the institution can find a replacement. The board hopes to reveal the organization’s new artistic director before the end of the year.

Gantner said that he was “immensely proud” of what he, the staff, and the artists he’s worked with have achieved at the adventurous performing art space, but believes that when the organization moves back to its renovated First Avenue home in 2017 it will be time for him to exit. “I think cultural organizations, particularly those in the business of new work and ideas, must embrace change in order to remain vital,” Gantner said. “We artistic directors can often hang around a bit too long.” He added, “I’m looking forward to being a part of that transition and ensuring that PS122 remains an essential anchor of New York City’s culture life.”

During Gantner’s tenure at the contemporary performance art hub, he launched Coil, an annual performance festival; PS122 Global, an international touring project, which brings works produced by the organization’s artists to countries in Europe as well as Australia; and Give Performance Space, the organization’s largest and most successful fundraising effort. Before joining PS122, Gantner led Ireland’s Dublin Fringe Festival from 2002–2005, served as an artistic associate for the Melbourne Festival, and worked as a theater director and producer for various venues in Asia and the US.

PS122’s twelfth edition of the Coil festival as well as programming for 2017 will still be curated by Gantner.

May 27, 2016

Brant Publications Takes Full Control of Art Media Assets of Artnews S.A.

The cover of the current issue of ARTnews magazine.

Brant Publications, Inc. has announced today that as of May 25 it has taken full control of all assets of Art in America, LLC; BAM Modern, LLC; Antiques, LLC; and Artnews LTD from their Poland-based parent company, Artnews S.A. Peter M. Brant, art collector and owner of BMP Media Holdings LLC, is now the legal owner of the publications.

In 2015, Brant, the longtime owner of Art in America, Antiques, and Modern, had given up 100 percent of his holdings to Artnews S.A., the publisher of ARTnews, but became the largest controlling shareholder in the company. A few months later, ARTnews transitioned from a monthly publication to a quarterly. The CEO of the magazine, Isabel Depczyk, resigned four months later. In a statement about the 2015 merger, Brant said, “Under one umbrella, the combined company will have some of the most important cultural publications that together provide the complete content and history of decorative arts, classical arts and art-related news.”

In a statement about the recent reshuffling in ownership, Brant said, “The US magazines that BMP originally brought into this transaction, Art in America, The Magazine Antiques, and Modern, will continue their normal operation, as will ARTnews, under our management. This will allow us to begin to grow the US magazines.”

Founded by Brant in 1984, Brant Publications also owns Interview, the fashion and culture magazine created by Andy Warhol.