The Metropolitan Museum of Art allegedly has a new logo: two short words—“THE MET”—in red lettering. According to Justin Davidson for New York Magazine, who obtained an early look at the logo, the branding firm Wolff Olins is responsible for the new designs that will take the place of the museum’s old capital M, which made its debut in 1971.
The logo, along with new maps and signs, is part of a campaign to make the Met “feel more available and accessible to first-time as well as frequent visitors,” according to a museum spokesperson. The new designs also coincide with the Met’s expansion into Met Breuer, the Upper East Side building previously occupied by the Whitney Museum.
Davidson notes that Wolff Olins was responsible for the visual identity of Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives, Tate Modern, and Tate Britain in the 1990s. The Met’s new logo has already received harsh criticism, even while it hasn’t yet officially been unveiled: Davidson himself calls it a “typographic bus crash,” and one Twitter user, responding to his article, deemed it “abominable.”
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 Felice 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 Brugnero, the commissioners, and city councilors. Those who have signed include the Elisabetta di Maggio, Maria Morgenti, 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.
Emphasizing Bevilacqua La Masa’s significance to Venice’s role as a cultural and artistic center, the petition states: “Bevilacqua La Masa is one of its most important cultural workshops, a key element in the project—now increasingly threatened by mass tourism—to make Venice a cultural capital, open to the world and to today.”
Since the city has already stated that it is taking over management of the foundation because of Bevilacqua La Masa’s “waste” of its financial resources, many questioned whether the petition would have any impact. But Elisabetta Meneghel, a representative of the foundation, told Artforum.com, “Artists, people of the cultural world, friends of the Bevilacqua La Masa of different generations and public opinion in general, bipartisan, mobilized for the autonomy of the Bevilacqua La Masa, and at the end of the week the government withdrew their intention.”
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.
On July 7, Paris’s High Court ruled in favor of Lady Gaga in a plagiarism lawsuit filed by French artist Orlan in 2013, Victoria Stapley-Brown of Art Newspaper reports. The court also ordered the artist to pay the pop star and her record label $22,000 for the legal proceedings.
In the complaint, Orlan alleged that Lady Gaga reproduced two of the artist’s works: Orlan Bumpload, 1989, a sculpture of the artist with disfiguring bumps, and Woman with Head, 1996, a severed head sitting on top of a table. Orlan also claimed that Lady Gaga’s recitation of The Manifesto of Mother Monster was too similar to the artist’s Orlan’s Manifeste de l’art charnel (Manifesto of Carnal Art). The artist accuses Lady Gaga of infringing on her image rights when she produced her “Born This Way” music video and album cover in 2011. Orlan had asked the court for $31.7 million, or 7.5 percent of the royalties from the album.
The court determined that the messages of the works differed and that the idea of transforming the human body into a hybrid does not belong to Orlan. The artist said that she plans to appeal the decision. Orlan filed a separate suit in New York in January, in which she is asking the court to subpoena the fashion director and makeup artist who collaborated on the “Born This Way” video with Lady Gaga.
The Swiss Institute announced that it will be moving into a 5,000-square-foot temporary project space at 102 Franklin Street before it relocates to a more permanent address in 2017. This new space will be known as Swiss In Situ and programming will focus on ephemeral formats surrounding, among other things, architecture and publishing. This is an expansion of the institute’s “One for All” series, which gave emerging artists their first institutional exhibitions within the United States.
New York–based artist Anne Chu, whose otherworldly sculptures and installations—classical figures merged with sundry modernist forms, gently pulverized, then charged with a spectral, deadpan humor—died yesterday, July 25, 2016.
Chu received her BFA from the Philadelphia College of Art in 1982 and earned her MFA from Columbia University only three years later. Since 1991, she has had more than thirty solo exhibitions at a number of institutions and galleries throughout the United States and abroad, such as Victoria Miro in London; Monica De Cardenas in Milan and Zuoz; Donald Young Gallery in Chicago; Galerie Karlheinz Meyer in Karlsruhe; 303 Gallery in New York; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro; Marc Foxx in Los Angeles; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Chu has also been the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards. Among them are a John and Simon Memorial Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010, a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 1999, and the Alpert/Ucross Residency Prize in 2009.
In regard to Chu’s exhibition at the Kunstmuseen Krefeld/Museum Haus Lange, critic Hans Rudolf Reust said in the March 2013 issue of Artforum, “Chu’s installation surprises with an array of cultural fragments whose amalgamation seems at once unconventional and natural. The return of ornamentality, a lascivious luxury in spatial geometry, is here more than the return of what modernism repressed. She creates a bucolic and hybrid world that will certainly leave its mark on our memories of the rooms of the Haus Lange, already shaped by so many important exhibitions.”
Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper reports that Peter Ballantine, a fabricator who worked closely with Donald Judd and a former art supervisor for the Judd Foundation, has started a new fellowship program at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh that will focus on the creation of new scholarship surrounding Judd’s work based on the artist’s and Enlightenment philosopher David Hume’s thinking.
The program will run for five years and focus on overlooked aspects of Judd’s oeuvre, “such as abstraction, the image, precognition, objectness, delegated fabrication, and sustainability,” writes Shaw. A new fellow will be selected every year, and each fellow will be funded by the nearly $40,000 Judd-Hume Prize.
Professor emeritus at the University of Basel Gottfried Boehm will take the inaugural post, which will run from March to April of 2017. The fellowship will end with a symposium scheduled for May, along with the publication of Boehm’s research. Alva Noë, a professor of philosophy at UC Berkeley, has already been chosen for 2018.
Diane Wilsey, known by many as Dede, will be leaving her post as board president and chief executive of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, reports Jori Finkel of the New York Times. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which is made up of the Legion of Honor and the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, is now being led by Max Hollein, the group’s new director. Hollein will be taking over some of Wilsey’s responsibilities.
These changes follow on the heels of a $2 million settlement that the board agreed to in regard to stopping a wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Michele Gutierrez, the group’s former chief financial officer. Gutierrez said last year that Wilsey had given $450,000 of museum money to a retired employee without getting the board’s approval (Wilsey says the funds were to cover costs related to the former employee’s health issues). Gutierrez’s allegations caused some high-profile board members to resign, such as philanthropist Bernard Osher and Louise Renne, who used to be the city attorney.
Wilsey is an extraordinarily influential force within the group. She was the primary fundraiser for the completion of the de Young Museum’s building in 2005 (designed by Herzog & de Meuron) and played a large role in choosing Hollein as the group’s director.
According to a report from Agence France-Presse in the Guardian, Switzerland has seized a painting by Vincent Van Gogh and two by Claude Monet as part of a global investigation into Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. Swiss justice ministry spokeswoman Ingrid Reyser said the works in question were taken into legal custody following a request from the United States, which is one of several countries involved in the investigation of a massive fraud scandal at the Malaysian state fund 1MDB. Reyser declined to comment on where the paintings had been found or the individuals implicated.
The US Justice Department filed lawsuits earlier this week in an attempt to reclaim more than $1 billion in assets linked to stolen or laundered 1MDB funds. The Monet and Van Gogh artworks were among the assets listed in the lawsuit filed at a California federal court. The Van Gogh work is the sketch La Maison de Vincent a Arles and those by Monet are Nympheas avec Reflets de Haute Herbe and Sainte-Georges Majeur.
The Art Gallery of Ontario has announced that Wanda Nanibush, a Toronto-based curator and activist, will serve as the institution’s first curator of indigenous art, Murry Whyte of the Toronto Star reports. Nanibush is Anishinabe from the Beausoleil First Nation near Penetanguishene and has been a guest curator on various projects at the gallery since 2014. She started in the position of assistant curator of Canadian and indigenous art on July 18.
“It was important for us to create a position that was both clearly identified as being focused on indigenous art but was also engaged in the wider program,” Andrew Hunter, curator of Canadian art, said. “Wanda was someone I felt would come in and be themselves, and be confident and be critical.”
Nanibush is known for her advocacy for indigenous rights and has helped organize protests as part of the Idle No More movement, a nationwide campaign established in 2012 to protest legislation that threatened both the rights of the First Nations and environmental protections. Her numerous curatorial projects include “KWE: The Work of Rebecca Belmore” (2014) at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery in Toronto; “Sovereign Acts” (2012) at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery; and “Mapping Resistances” (2010), a performance event in Peterborough. Nanibush has worked for various cultural organizations over the past twenty years, including ImagineNATIVE, LIFT, Optic Nerve Film Festival, and Reframe Film Festival, as well as the Ontario Arts Council, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective, and ANDPVA in the roles of programmer, festival coordinator, aboriginal arts officer, and executive director. She earned her master’s degree in visual studies from the University of Toronto.