The Dhaka Art Summit, which opens today and runs through February 8, has just announced that photographer Rasel Chowdhury, selected from a shortlist of thirteen artists, is the winner of this year’s Samdani Art Award. Chowdhury will be given a three-month, all expenses paid residency with the Delfina Foundation in London. The biannual award “aims to support, promote, and highlight Bangladeshi contemporary art and showcase the work of talented emerging artists between the ages of twenty-two and forty who live and work in Bangladesh.”
Says Tate Modern director Frances Morris, “The Dhaka Summit has rapidly become an important focus for artists from South Asia and beyond and this year is attracting widespread international attention. The Samdani Foundation have done an amazing job in combining new research, artistic production and creative collaboration . . . . I am personally looking forward to making discoveries and encountering new perspectives in Dhaka.”
After building an art collection with an estimated worth of more than $800 million, J. Tomilson Hill, vice chairman at the private equity firm Blackstone Group, has decided its time to show it to the public, Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times reports. Hill will open a two-story, private museum in Chelsea in the fall of 2017.
With interiors designed by Peter Marino, the West Twenty-Fourth Street building will feature 6,400-square feet of exhibition space. The gallery will be open during the week and on Saturdays, at hours yet to be determined.
Hill and his wife, Janine, started collecting shortly after they married in 1980. At first, “We wanted to figure out what we liked,” Hill said, “and then figure out what we wanted to look at in our home.” Then the couple focused on acquiring at least four works by an artist whose practice they were interested in. They currently own fourteen works by Christopher Wool, ten by Andy Warhol, four by Francis Bacon, four by Roy Lichtenstein, three by Cy Twombly, and over thrity-four Renasissance and Baroque bronze sculptures, among other pieces.
After the Hills’s bronze collection was displayed in an exhibition at the Frick Collection in 2014, and students at an East Harlem elementary school were able to learn about Hercules and his twelve labors during their visit, the couple decided they want the new museum to help contribute to the arts education of city students. Hill plans to collaborate with institutions such as the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Metropolitan Museum of Art on educational intiatives.
For the space’s first show, Hill is thinking about staging an exhibition that highlights artists’ use of palette knife techniques. “I’ve got all these ideas,” he said. “Now I’ve got to find a curator to say, ‘You’re out of your mind.’”
While planning the museum, Hill has looked at other private museums, such as the FLAG Art Foundation in Chelsea and Andrew Hall’s art foundation in Germany, but he doesn’t work with a consultant before adding to his collection. “I don’t think you can put a serious collection together with an art adviser,” he said. “You have to make your own decisions, make your own mistakes.”
The Frick Collection has announced that Bradford Evans and Bernard Selz have joined the instituion’s board of trustees. Chair Margot Bogert said that the new members “come to the board with strong leadership backgrounds and financial acumen. They also share with our staff a deeply held commitment to making the collections and the Frick experience accessible to a broad and interested public.”
Evans is a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley, where he has worked since 1970. He has been a member of the Frick since 2000. He will serve on the museum’s investment and capital campaign committees.
Selz is currently the managing partner of Selz Capital LLC and is cofounder of Furman Selz, Inc. He is a trustee of American Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the World Monuments Fund, and Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum. Selz currently serves on the acquisitions committee.
Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art announced today that Sonia Almeida, Jennifer Bornstein, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, and Lucy Kim have been awarded the 2017 James and Audrey Foster Prize. Each artist will be featured in a prize exhibition for which they will present a major work or group of works in the city for the first time. Organized by senior curator Dan Byers and curatorial assistant Jeffrey De Blois, the show will run from February 15 through July 9, 2017.
“This year’s James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition shines a light on a selection of established Boston-based artists working at a national and international level, but whose work has only received limited exposure here at home,” ICA director Jill Medvedow said.
Established in 1999, the James and Audrey Foster Prize, formerly known as the ICA Artist Prize, recognizes artists working in the Boston area. It was renamed after James and Audrey Foster endowed the prize with a $1 million gift. This edition of the prize will also present Foster Talks, a series of discussions for which the winning artists will invite a writer, artist, performer, or cultural figure who has influenced their work to engage the artist and audience in conversation.
One week after Christie’s announced that sales were down 29 percent from last year, three high-ranking officials have left the auction house, the New York Times reports. It is unclear whether Paul R. Provost, the senior vice president and director of trusts, estates and appraisals; Nicholas Hall, international head of old master paintings and nineteenth century art; and Cathy Elkies, head of Christie’s twentieth and twenty-first century design stepped down or were dismissed.
In a statement, Christie’s said, “As a private company, we don’t comment on speculation around our employees. However, like any business, we continue to review the deployment of resources and focus investment on areas of growth so as to best to serve our clients.”
According to Claire Voon of Hyperallergic, Jersey City has painted over artist Gary Wynans’s public artwork, which the city’s public arts program commissioned in May.
Wynans, who also goes by the name Mr. AbiLLity, discovered on Monday that his larger-than-life, Jersey City–centric, Monopoly board mural, which was painted on Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza, was gone; in its place was a fresh coat of green paint.
Wynans’s design for the board game was chosen for the Jersey City Mural Program, which was established in 2013, after the artist posted his idea for the project on Facebook. The final work, however, did not reflect Mr. AbiLLity’s original vision for the piece. After residents started to complain about certain imagery on the board, the city forced the artist to change his work. Besides incorporating local street names and landmarks, the board game also revealed issues of gentrification in the developing city. The police department was angered over a square that showed an officer depicted as a pig and residents were angry over the tag “cool statue” underneath an illustration of a statue memorializing the victims of the 1940 Katyń massacre. Other controversial squares included one that read “gentrification tax” and the jail, which featured a dark-skinned man behind bars.
Brooke Hansson, director of the mural program, asked the artist to change the design, so the policeman became a Simpsons-like character, “gentrification tax” became “hipster tax,” and “cool statue” was replaced with the name of the memorial. The artist explained that the man in jail was not a racial stereotype. It was actually supposed to be a self-portrait of the Italian and Puerto Rican artist. He added his signature to try and make the depiction clearer, but the city ended up painting it over saying that it received threats of funding cuts if the square was not changed. Hansson had also asked Wynans to include Charles & Co. on the board because the company sponsors the art program.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill told The Jersey Journal that “artwork painted on a public street is not permanent.” She added that the city had been planning to repaint the street for some time.
Amy Wilson, a Jersey City artist and School of Visual Arts professor, said that the mural program needs an open application process that seeks community input and a qualified committee to chose works to produce. Instead, she said, “Artists are chosen through some sort of mysterious process. It’s overseen and run by a single employee in the Department of Public Works who does not have an art background, and the neighborhood has zero say as to whether they want a mural or what that mural will be of—it simply shows up one day.”
Morrill said that the city council hopes to establish a board made up of local artists for the mural program by September. She said the city will “make sure there is a process in place” for selecting proposals for public artworks in the future.
After a six-month international design competition, the Museum of London has announced that Stanton Williams and Asif Khan will work on the institution’s new building at West Smithfield, which will replace the existing building at Barbican Estate, Dezeen reports.
The two London-based firms will collaborate with conservation architect Julian Harrap and landscape design consultants J. and L. Gibbons. The architects shortlisted for the project are BIG with Hawkins\Brown, Caruso St. John, Diener and Diener Architekten with Sergison Bates Architects, Lacaton and Vassal with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, Studio Milou with R.L. and Associés and Axis Architects.
The new building will boast of nearly 270,000 square feet of space, a massive dome that will allow natural light to fill the entrance to the institution, an underground chamber for exhibitions, spiraled escalators, and a sunken garden. It will also feature flexible spaces for events and public programming. The venue, which will be made up of several Victorian buildings in the historic market area, including the former Smithfield General Market, the Fish Market, the Red House, and the Engine House, will accommodate double the amount of visitors than the museum’s current location.
The jury of the competition consisted of Sonita Alleyne, founder of The Yes Program; Sharon Ament, London Museum director; Clive Bannister, group chief executive of Phoenix Holdings; David Camp, chief executive at Stanhope; Evan Davis, broadcaster; Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund; Robert Mull, architect and former Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture, and Design director; Lucy Musgrave, director of Publica; Michelle Ogundehin, editor-in-chief of ELLE Decoration; and Jörn Rausing, a Museum of London governor.
Davis, who served as chair of the jury, said the project was “a clear winner.” He added, “Stanton Williams and Asif Khan offered some really innovative thinking, and managed to combine a sensitivity to the heritage of the location, with a keen awareness of the practicalities of delivering a really functional museum.” The architects will work on developing proposals for a planning application in 2018. The museum is slated to open in 2020.
British Petroleum has announced that it will renew its sponsorship deals with four UK institutions. The oil giant will invest over $8 million in the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House, and the Royal Shakespeare Company over the next five years.
Activists, who have long contested BP’s partnerships with these cultural institutions, responded to the announcement with the promise to organize more demonstrations.
According to The Guardian, Chris Garrard, a spokesperson for BP or Not BP—a campaign group that has held eighteen performance protests at the British Museum—said, “At a time when the world needs to urgently shift away from fossil fuels, the idea that these institutions will still be promoting an oil company into the 2020s is deeply irresponsible.”
Anna Galkina, a member of the group Platform London, said, “BP is ripping off our cultural institutions–their sponsorship provides less than 0.5% of the British Museum’s budget. With this pocket change, BP buys legitimacy, access to invaluable advertising space, and masks its role in destroying indigenous lands, arming dictatorships and wrecking our climate.” She added, “The museums help BP do that. That’s why art interventions and protests against BP will go on. The new deals will not last five years.”
Nicholas Cullinan, director of the NPG, said that the company’s support of the arts is vital at a time when just this past year the UK announced sweeping cuts to the national arts budget. “We are extremely grateful for and proud of this ongoing partnership, for such longevity and loyalty is unique in corporate sponsorship.”
In a statement, British Museum director Hartwig Fischer said, “BP has supported the British Museum for the past twenty years which has enabled the museum to host magnificent exhibitions and events with a great public benefit.”
Earlier this year, both Tate and the Edinburgh International Festival decided not to renew their partnerships with BP.
Documentary photographer Carol Highsmith is suing Getty Images and Alamy for $1 billion for “gross misuse” of 18,755 of her photographs, Carey Dunne of Hyperallergic reports. Highsmith had previously donated all of her photographs to the Library of Congress so that the public could use her images without having to pay, but last December she discovered that the stock agencies were charging people for using her work. Highsmith only became aware of the issue after Getty Images sent her an email demanding that she pay $120 for featuring one of her photographs on her website.
According to the lawsuit, Getty and Alamy allegedly attached a false watermark to Highsmith’s photographs and sold thousands of licenses. The complaint reads: “The defendants [Getty Images] have apparently misappropriated Ms. Highsmith’s generous gift to the American people. [They] are not only unlawfully charging licensing fees…but are falsely and fraudulently holding themselves out as the exclusive copyright owner.”
Highsmith, whose work was featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Time, the New York Times, and the Washington Post Magazine, has been documenting all fifty states through her This is America! Foundation—a nonprofit whose mission is to produce a visual study of the United States in the early twenty-first century—and has been making tens of thousands of her images available to the public free of charge since 1988.
The lawsuit alleges that Getty and Alamy seriously damaged the photographers reputation. It also states: “The economic damage that Ms. Highsmith has suffered includes, without limitation, any and all revenue received by the defendants based on purported licenses sold for the Highsmith photos. These funds represent money that Ms. Highsmith could have received had she attempted to monetize her photos through the defendants.”
Highsmith is allowed to seek damages as high as $25,000 per photo. If she asks for the largest amount of damages for each violation she would receive nearly $500,000,000, but since Getty has been sued for copyright infringement within the last three years, Highsmith is allowed to ask for three times that amount in damages.
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.