St. Mark’s Bookshop to Close For Good

St. Mark’s Bookshop

The St. Mark’s Bookshop will finally be closing its doors for good, after nearly forty years in the East Village, reports Daniel Maurer for Bedford and Bowery. The bookshop had moved to its East Third Street location, after pressure from its landlord, Cooper Union, led to a high-profile fundraising campaign.

“Memories, gratitude, and laments are already pouring in from commenters, some of whom have been browsing at the shop since it opened on St. Mark’s Place in 1977,” writes Maurer.


June 24, 2016

Tony Feher (1956–2016)

Tony Feher installing his show at the Lumber Room in Portland, Oregon in 2014.

The sculptor Tony Feher died today. His subtle, straightforward work, made with the most throwaway of things—plastic water bottles, berry cartons, jelly jars, or blue painter’s tape—upended Minimalist sobriety and Conceptualist cool with an intelligence that wholly embraced humor and charm.

Feher was born in Albuquerque. He grew up in a military family and had an itinerant childhood, with stints in Corpus Christi, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Florida. He received his BA in 1978 from the University of Texas in Austin. Around that time, he was told he lacked creativity, and that if he could even make it as a shoe salesman, he’d be lucky. So with that, he moved to New York.

He had his first solo show at Wooster Gardens in New York in 1993. Since then, he has had over forty solo exhibitions at numerous venues and institutions, such as Diverseworks in Houston; Sikkema Jenkins & Co., Pace Gallery, and D’Amelio Terras in New York; ACME in Los Angeles; Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco; and The Suburban in Oak Park, Illinois. A midcareer survey of Feher’s art, curated by Claudia Schmuckli, opened at the Des Moines Art Center in 2012 and traveled to Houston's Blaffer Art Museum later that year; then to the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts in 2013; and finally the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Akron Art Museum from 2013–14.

“For years, I’ve felt Feher’s assemblages of found objects—domestic, utilitarian, cute—to be the most viscerally satisfying sculptures in this or any town,” said poet, painter, and critic Wayne Koestenbaum of the artist in his “Best of 2014” list from that year’s December issue of Artforum. “He collects and arranges his colorful foundlings with custodial precision—a kinky rigor that restores the dignity of those who overly cathect to household flotsam. Feher’s patterns reassure; he seems a model-maker, constructing maquettes of villages and bundled communities that imagine utopia by seceding from usefulness into gridded whimsy.”

June 24, 2016

Philipp Demandt to Lead Städel Museum and Liebieghaus as Director

Philipp Demandt

Frankfurt’s Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus have announced that Philipp Demandt has been appointed director and will join the organizations on October 1. The art historian and curator served as the director of Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie since 2012. Among the shows he organized during his tenure were “Rembrandt Bugatti,” “Impressionism—Expressionism: Art at a Turning Point,” and “The Monk Has Returned.” “I look back on five fulfilling years at the Nationalgalerie with deep gratitude,” he said. “I am greatly looking forward to Frankfurt—professionally because it has developed to become one of the most exciting art centers in Germany and beyond.”

Nikolaus Schweickart, chairman of the Städel Museum administration, said, “We are very happy about the fact that, so soon after Max Hollein’s departure, we have succeeded in recruiting one of the most creative minds in the German museum world to direct the two institutions.” Hollein left his position to head the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

June 24, 2016

Québec City Museum Opens New $80 Million Pavilion

Musée nationale des beaux-arts de Québec

Québec City’s Musée nationale des beaux-arts de Québec opened its new 15,000-square-foot pavilion today, Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper reports. “The world heritage site that is Québec City has just added a new emblem,” Line Ouellet, the museum’s executive director and chief curator, said.

The building, which is named for the institution’s chairman, Pierre Lassonde, was designed by the New York outpost of Rem Koolhaas’s Rotterdam-based architectural firm OMA—Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The five-story facility doubles the institution’s exhibition space and includes an auditorium, a café, rooftop garden, and an underground passageway that connects the pavilion with the three existing buildings on the museum’s grounds.

The museum broke ground on its new nearly $80 million building in 2013. Seven exhibitions of works curated from its permanent collection have been organized to inaugurate the new space.

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 (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.”