Vincenzo de Bellis and Adrienne Edwards Join Walker Art Center

Left: Vincenzo de Bellis. Photo: Marco De Scalzi. Right: Adrienne Edwards. Photo: Whitney Browne.

The Walker Art Center announced today that it has appointed Adrienne Edwards as their new curator at large and Vincenzo de Bellis as curator of visual arts.

De Bellis arrives from Milan, where he is director of Peep-Hole Art Center, which he cofounded in 2009, and artistic director of the MiArt fair, a position he has held since 2012. At Peep-Hole he has produced exhibitions with Mario García Torres, Ahmet Ögüt, Gabriel Sierra, and Rosalind Nashashibi, among others, as well as publications with Jimmie Durham, Christodoulos Panayiotou, and Judith Hopf.

Edwards is based in New York where she is a PhD candidate in performance studies at New York University and curator at Performa. At Performa she has worked with artists including Edgar Arceneaux, Juliana Huxtable, Ralph Lemon, Rashid Johnson, Adam Pendleton, and Carrie Mae Weems. Edwards will retain her position at Performa, traveling between Minneapolis and New York.

Fionn Meade, artistic director of the Walker Art Center, said, “Adrienne Edwards and Vincenzo de Bellis are two of the most exciting and dynamic curators in contemporary interdisciplinary practice, bringing breadth of experience and global reach to the Walker Art Center. I am thrilled to welcome their expertise and vision to the Walker’s leadership in artistic programming, commitment to scholarship, and risk-taking innovation across platforms.”

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May 25, 2016

Art Basel and BMW Name Abigail Reynolds as BMW Art Journey Award Winner

Abigail Reynolds. From the series “The Universal Now”.

Art Basel and BMW have awarded this year’s BMW Art Journey to British artist Abigail Reynolds. Her sponsored BMW Art Journey project for 2016-2017, The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road connects the complex religious and secular narratives of Europe and Asia and the award will allow her to expand her working methods through an extensive multi-continent series of visits to historic and fabled repositories of books. The international jury selected her unanimously from a shortlist of three artists whose works were exhibited in the Discoveries section at this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong. Judges included on the jury were Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Claire Hsu, director of Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Matthias Mühling, director of Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich; Bose Krishnamachari, the president Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India; and Pauline J. Yao, the curator of visual art at M+, Hong Kong.

Reynolds studied English literature at Oxford University before pursuing fine art at Goldsmiths University.

The BMW Art Journey is a global collaboration between Art Basel and BMW that recognizes and supports emerging artists worldwide. The award is open to artists who exhibit in the Discoveries and Positions sectors of the Hong Kong and Miami Beach Art Basel fairs. BMW is a global partner of Art Basel and has been a longtime sponsor of Art Basel’s three shows in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong.

May 25, 2016

Smithsonian Museum Holds Emergency Meeting to Halt Parisian Auction of Native American Artifacts

Governor Kurt Riley of the Pueblo of Acoma

According to Allison Meier in Hyperallergic, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian yesterday hosted an emergency meeting of tribal leaders, US government representatives, and NGO officials to call for a halt to an auction set to take place next Monday in Paris that includes human remains and sacred indigenous objects among its lots. The sale scheduled for May 30 was organized by the EVE auction house at Drouot Richelieu.

Governor Kurt Riley of the Pueblo of Acoma said at the meeting, “The whole world condemns the destruction of Palmyra by ISIS, the National Geographic cover story this month is about tomb raiders, and just as these things are happening worldwide, they are also happening in the United States with regards to the plundering of native cultures.” Riley pointed out an Acoma shield that’s to be included in the auction as a “sacred item which no individual can own” and would never have been sold, adding “how it left the pueblo we don’t know…However, its mere existence and presence outside of the pueblo tells us that an event occurred that violated Acoma law.”

Bradley Marshall of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California also spoke, explaining that when “these objects are created for spiritual use within our community, a spirit goes into them. These objects are living beings to us, these objects are a part of our family, these objects are a part of who we are as a community.” A ceremonial deer from the Hoopa is also listed in the auction. The president of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, D. Bambi Kraus, protested against the selling of a warrior jacket that is purportedly made of human scalps, saying “in our world, if that’s human remains, you cannot sell human remains.”

Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico was in attendance to discuss the House Concurrent Resolution 122, which he introduced to congress and which asks the Government Accountability Office to “determine the scope of illegal trafficking in tribal cultural items and identify steps required to end such trafficking.” He called on governmental departments at the meeting “to consult with tribes and traditional Native American religious leaders in addressing this issue, to take affirmative action to stop these practices, and to secure repatriation of tribal cultural items.”

EVE’s Alain Leroy has stated that “all the items proposed are of legal trade in the US and in France,” adding “the public auction process allows the different tribes to acquire their past, and that is exactly what some tribes prefer to do, seeking efficiency and discretion.”

May 25, 2016

Russia’s Innovation Prize Winners Announced

Aslan Gaisumov, Volga, 2015.

On May 18, the Innovation Prize—a state-run contemporary art competition that is known as Russia’s Turner Prize—was awarded to artists and curators deemed the best of 2015 in the categories of Curatorial Project, Art Theory and Criticism, Regional Project of Contemporary Art, and New Generation. The prize also honors two nominees annually in the categories of Creative Contribution to the Development of Contemporary Art and Support of Russian Contemporary Art.

This year, Viktor Misiano’s large-scale exhibition “The Human Condition” won him the award for the best Curatorial Project. The show will run until 2018. Olga Shishko was awarded the prize for Art Theory and Criticism for her catalogue, titled Projections of the Avant-Garde. The 3rd Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art received the award for best Regional Contemporary Art Project. Aslan Gaisumov’s video Volga—in which he reconstructed the history of his twenty-one-member family who moved with one old Volga car in 1995 from war-torn Grozny to a village where the artist’s grandmother lived—won for New Generation. The winning nominees for the Creative Contribution to the Development of Contemporary Art and Support of Russian Contemporary Art were Boris Orlov and Leonid Mikhelson.

The prize for Work of Visual Art usually celebrates an artwork, however, it was not awarded this year following the controversial decision of the National Center for Contemporary Art—who established the prize—to not accept the nomination of a work by dissident Russian artist Pytor Pavlensky, as artforum.com previously reported.

Several members of the prize’s expert committee had abandoned a session this spring when they were informed that the NCCA director refused an application to promote Pavlensky’s work titled Threat, a performance piece in which the artist set fire to the door of the Lubyanka, the FSB headquarters in Moscow last November. General director Mikhail Mandolin said that the work was rejected because it involved “breaches of the law and caused material damage.” Pavlensky was arrested shortly after the performance and is currently on trial in Moscow.

May 25, 2016

Eva Birkenstock Named Director of Düsseldorf Art Foundation

Eva Birkenstock

Eva Birkenstock, the current curator at Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, has been selected as the new director of the Düsseldorf Art Foundation, reports Monopol. Chosen from among forty international candidates, Birkenstock will replace Hans-Jürgen Haffner, the foundation’s director since 2011. Beginning her career in Hamburg, Birckenstock has worked in Lüneburg, New York, Basel, and finally Bregenz, where she has been since 2010.

The foundation praised Birkenstock for her “sharply focused exhibition practice” and her “excellent reputation.” The Düsseldorf Art Foundation, founded in 1892, is one of the oldest such entities in Germany.

May 25, 2016

Courtauld Institute Plans $73 Million Revamp

Somerset House, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Artforum.com announced yesterday that the Courtauld Institute will receive over $13 million from the UK’s Heritage Fund in the first stage of a renovation that will cost $73 million in total for a project titled “Courtauld Connects.” Phase one of the renovation will require about $44 million to complete, and will focus on the institute’s permanent collection as well as public outreach initiatives, both within the UK and internationally.

Phase two will cost $29 million, and it will be aimed towards creating top-of-the-line-facilities and resources for teaching and research. For this, the institute will be working with Stirling Prize-winning architects Witherford Watson Mann. Their upgrades to Somerset House, where the Courtauld has resided since 1989, will be expansive, but keep in line with its history and architecture.

Courtauld alumnus and director of the Tate Nicholas Serota says, “The Courtauld is a world class teaching institution allied to an outstanding collection. ‘Courtauld Connects’ is a bold venture that will open the resources of both parts of The Courtauld to new audiences in London, nationally and internationally. The improvements to the galleries and public facilities have been designed by architects with a deep sympathy for art and the needs of audiences.”

May 25, 2016

Christie’s To Open Exhibition Space in Beijing

Rebecca Wei

Christie’s is planning on opening an exhibition space in Beijing this fall, reports Anna Brady of the Art Newspaper, despite a steady weakening in the Chinese art market since 2015. Christie’s has had an outpost in Beijing for a number of years, but this new space will offer facilities for various exhibitions, both rotating and permanent. Christie’s global president Jussi Pylkkanen says that the first exhibition there will focus on, according to the Art Newspaper, “international art highlights from Christie’s November New York sales.”

When Christie’s opened its salesroom in Shanghai in 2013, it was the first auction house in the country to be given a license to work independently (Christie’s opened an office in Shanghai in 1994). The opening of the exhibition venue in Beijing is being overseen by Christie’s Asia president, Rebecca Wei.

May 25, 2016

Brazil Reinstates Culture Ministry After Thousands Protest

Interim president of Brazil Michel Temer

Michel Temer, Brazil’s interim president, has restored the country’s culture ministry after his decision to dissolve it by folding it into the Ministry of Education caused Brazilian artists to protest throughout the country, according to Reuters. Temer’s plan to merge the two was a part of his crusade to reduce the number of the country’s ministries from thirty-two to twenty-three. This is one of a series of reversals he has made during the government’s recent transition in leadership. Marcelo Calero, a diplomat, took up the position of culture minister on Monday, May 23.

In the aftermath of Temer’s decision to ax the culture ministry, which he announced on May 12, artists quickly organized demonstrations with people occupying ministries in eleven regional capitals. Erasmo Carlos and Caetano Veloso, Brazilian music legends, gave a concert in Rio de Janeiro on May 20 during one of the protests. When Temer asked singer Daniela Mercury and actress Bruna Lombardi to head up the reduced culture portfolio after it merged with the education ministry, both women said no.

Temer was put in charge of Brazil, Latin America’s most robust economy despite being in the midst of a terrible recession and numerous corruption scandals, after leftist president Dilma Rousseff was put on trial and removed from her post for breaking rules regarding the country’s budget. Temer says that he will put into action a series of business-friendly reforms to try and strengthen Brazil’s economy.

The interim government plans intends to reveal more austerity measures, planning minister Romero Jucá said on his Twitter account after a meeting with Temer and the finance minister on May 21.

May 24, 2016

Stedelijk Museum Looking for a New Contemporary Art Venue in Amsterdam

Beatrix Ruf

The Stedelijk Museum and Ammodo, an agency that “initiates and supports projects that stimulate the development of art and science,” are working together to find a new contemporary art venue in Amsterdam. This venue will be a “repositioning” of the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam—scheduled to depart its current residence on July 1, 2016—which was started twenty-three years ago to offer emerging artists and curators a platform to engage with one another.

Curators Emily Pethick, Sophie Goltz, and Eungie Joo have been appointed to oversee a search that will consult assorted art professionals in the Netherlands and throughout the international art world. The search will begin with a gathering at the Stedelijk from June 17 through 19. Here, current themes in regard to contemporary art will be discussed during a panel discussion that will include Barbara Visser, artist and chair, Akademie van Kunsten, KNAW; artists Witte van Hulzen and Sander Breure; Vincent van Velsen, writer and curator; and Annet Zondervan, director of CBK Zuidoost.

“We feel it is vital to have a location in Amsterdam that augments our own program and acts as a bridge between major institutions like the Stedelijk and the contemporary field of art,” says Beatrix Ruf, director of the Stedelijk. “It must also enhance the city’s current program. The venue needs to reflect the city’s culturally diverse and international context, and connect with global art movements. Together with Ammodo, we look forward to investigating ways of creating an inspiring place that offers compelling artistic encounters in Amsterdam and contributes to the city’s thriving artistic climate.”

May 24, 2016

New Commissions and Participating Artists Announced for SITE Santa Fe 2016

SITE Santa Fe / “SITE.lines.2016” has just announced some of the participating artists and new commissions for this year’s revamped biennial, curated by Kiki Mazzucchelli, Pip Day, Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Pablo León de la Barra, and Kathleen Ash-Milby, under the direction of Irene Hofmann, Phillips Director and Chief Curator of SITE Santa Fe. It is scheduled to open on July 16, 2016, and run through January 8, 2017. The title of the biennial, “Much Wider Than a Line,” is taken from Leann Simpson’s book, Dancing on our Turtle’s Back (2011), about the people of the Nishnaabeg Nation.

Some of the artists participating include Xenobia Bailey (New York), Carla Fernández (Mexico City), Cildo Meireles (Rio de Janeiro), David Lamelas (Buenos Aires), Mariana Castillo Deball (Berlin), and Erika Verzutti (São Paulo). A partial list of the commissioned artists includes Jonathas De Andrade (Recife), Julia Rometti and Víctor Costales (Paris), and William Cordova (Miami).

For more information about the biennial, visit SITE Santa Fe’s website here.