August 24, 2012

Dawson W. Carr Named Curator of European Art at the Portland Art Museum

Dawson W. Carr has been appointed the first Janet and Richard Geary curator of European art at the Portland Art Museum. While a two-million curatorial endowment, to be distributed over five years, was pledged in 2008, the museum wanted to wait until the funds had more or less completely materialized before hiring, reports Marty Hughley of The Oregonian. Carr is currently curator of Spanish and later-Italian paintings and head of displays at the National Gallery in London. Prior to this role, he acted as associate curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; he has also played a variety of roles at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Said Carr: “When an institution steps up to the plate and has an endowed position in European art, at this point in time, people sit up and take notice.”

August 24, 2012

Lee Sherry (1947–2012)

Painter Lee Sherry has passed away at the age of sixty-five, reports Charles Bernstein in a notice posted on the Jacket2 website. Sherry had several solo shows in the 1970s at Susan Cadwell Gallery and was also the designer and editor of ROOF magazine. In a 1980 essay, Sherry noted that her paintings play out permutations of line and shape; she grouped “strokes in various ways until the paintings became fields of very light pastel impasto strokes with only an edge between them.” She wrote that then “the ground more or less became the surface. I cut into this surface with a single color, painting between the strokes to find their edges, inverting the process.”

Lee attended Reed College with David Reed, Leslie Scalapino, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, and James Sherry, whom she later married. Of Sherry’s work, David Reed stated: “What was remarkable was something that I would have thought impossible. Each of the paintings was very different, very specific. Each had it’s own life, was fought for, and found in a way that only it could be found. Each painting was the record of a very different journey. There was no repetition. The clue that led me to see this was how her touch varied and was appropriate for what happened in each painting . . . . I miss Lee and I miss her paintings terribly.”

August 23, 2012

Amal Kenawy (1974–2012)

Egyptian artist Amal Kenawy has passed away at the age of thirty-seven, reports the Egypt Independent. The artist had leukemia. Born in Cairo, Kenawy studied film and fashion design at the Academy of Fine Arts Cinema Institute before earning a bachelor’s degree in painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan in 1999. Kenawy has shown widely throughout Egypt as well as in numerous international exhibitions. Her output spanned a variety of media, exploring the relationship between desire and doubt, reality and imagination, often connecting personal circumstances to global problems. Discussing her work, Kenawy noted: “I may have a heart that beats and functions regularly, but I cannot confirm that I am alive. Emotions inhabit this human frame and make a vessel of it. Therefore, I attempt to adjust my understanding so as to perceive the self in a wider context, a context in which these abstracted/removed emotions fluctuate between being memories and dreams.”

August 23, 2012

Staci Boris Appointed Chief Curator of Elmhurst Art Museum

Staci Boris has been named chief curator of the Elmhurst Art Museum in Illinois. From 2004 to 2009, Boris acted as senior curator of Chicago’s Spertus Museum. Prior to this role, Boris spent twelve years as curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, notably organizing the first retrospective of William Kentridge in the United States, the first survey of John Currin, and the first solo museum show of Sarah Sze, reports the Elmhurst Press.

“We are extremely fortunate to welcome Boris as chief curator to the Elmhurst Art Museum,” said executive director Phyllis O’Neill. “With Boris’s curatorial vision, upcoming exhibitions will continue the museum’s tradition of showing the finest emerging and midcareer artists in the area, while broadening and deepening visual content by introducing national and international artists. Her interest in the interplay between art, design, and architecture will resonate through future exhibitions and educational programs.”

August 22, 2012

Hans Josephsohn (1920–2012)

The Zurich-based artist Hans Josephsohn has died at the age of ninety-two, according to Par Etienne Dumont in the Tribune de Genève. Known for his sculptural explorations of the human figure, often made from plaster, Josephson was the winner of the art prize offered by the city of Zurich in 2003, the same year Kesselhaus Jospehsohn was founded as a storage and exhibition space for his works. He was featured in solo exhibitions at venues including the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and at the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt.

August 22, 2012

Richard Mosse to Represent Ireland at the 2013 Venice Biennale

The Irish Times reports that artist Richard Mosse will be representing Ireland at the 2013 Venice Biennale. He was selected by Ireland’s commissioner Anna O’Sullivan, who is also the director of the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. The Irish pavilion will feature Mosse’s “highly ambitious eight-channel multimedia installation on the subject of the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.” His recent book, Infra, features Kodak Aerochrome photographs that capture Congolese involved in the fighting, and their surrounding landscape.

August 22, 2012

Activists Petition Corcoran Gallery to Reconsider Plans to Sell Building

Lonnae O’Neal Parker reports in the Washington Post that the Save the Corcoran coalition has petitioned the gallery to reconsider its plans to sell its historic beaux-arts building. Earlier this spring, Corcoran officials had made the decision in response to financial woes, compounded by the institution's need of $130 million to renovate the 1897 building. Jayme McLellan, a spokesperson for Save the Corcoran, said that gallery officials should “listen and dialogue with the community,” adding, “There’s not a cookie-cutter fix, but let’s come up with them together. I believe there are more solutions than problems.”

August 22, 2012

Cleveland Museum of Art Receives $7.5 Million for Expansion

According to Steven Litt in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Mandel Foundation has donated $7.5 million to the Cleveland Museum of Art to fund its eight-year expansion and renovation plans, currently projected to cost $350 million. In honor of the gift, the museum will name its armor court after Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel, the three brothers behind the foundation. Speaking about the equipment-distribution business he and his siblings founded—which eventually earned them spots on Forbes’s list of wealthiest Americans—Morton Mandel stated, “My brothers and I had just a wonderful rags to riches story and we’re able to share our wealth with the community and the world at large . . . . This is a real privilege for us.”

August 22, 2012

International News Digest


Various critics have continued to debate the plan to move Berlin’s Old Masters collection from Kunstforum to Bodemuseum. Dieter Bartetzko of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung predicted that the Old Masters collection would be cramped in the Bodemuseum, and the move would be a colossal waste of money that does no good for the cultural landscape of Berlin. He stated, “Under these conditions, and this is truly where the scandal lies, art will no longer expand our horizons; rather, it will promote the general dulling of our senses.” The alternative proposal—to move the Old Masters to the Kronprinzenpalais—is even more absurd, argued Andreas Kilb of FAZ, because it doesn’t even have the air-conditioning to care for the collection. In Die Welt, Cornelius Tittel accused the plan’s critics of being hypocrites, citing their support of a similar 1999 plan to move the collection to the Bodemuseum.

Monopol spoke with Áron Fenyvesi, curator at the independent Budapest art center Trafó, about the current state of art in Hungary and its relationship to national history, on the occasion of the show “Haunting Monumentality,” which Fenyvesi organized in Berlin’s Plan B gallery. Said Fenyvesi, “For a long time there’s been a tendency to lead people to forget decades of communism. Monuments are being taken down, the square in front of the parliament is to be rebuilt in its supposedly original form from 1944, which means that undesirable monuments will be blotted out there as well.” When asked about the leadership of current prime minister Victor Orbán, Fenyvesi spoke of “new forms of national hero worship,” stating, “In Budapest’s National Gallery there was a controversial show titled ‘Heroes, Kings, and Saints’ at the same time the Orbán regime’s new constitution was approved. Artists were commissioned new interpretations of famous history paintings. A rather flat propaganda.” And when Monopol asked Fenyvesi’s decision to juxtapose older works with contemporary pieces, Fenyvesi said that it was an unconventional choice, explaining, “In contrast with the West, such a mixture is still unusual in Hungary. I suppose it has something to do with the regime changes: Younger artists cannot imagine having anything in common with someone of their parents’ generation.”

Klaus Brill of the Süddeutsche Zeitung has written a feature on the present state of Romania’s new government majority and the changes it has imposed—including a lamentable cultural policy overhaul. According to Brill, Romania’s new government head—Social Democrat and “Ph.D. thesis plagiarizer” Victor Ponta—had promised an “honest and competent government,” but has largely failed to deliver. Brill noted that the government’s majority is currently composed of Social Democrats, liberals, and a conservative splinter party bound together by a general sense of bourgeois nationalism—and fabricated credentials. With this new government came a sweeping replacement of directors at cultural institutions such as the National Archive and the Romanian Cultural Institute. Film director Cristian Mungiu called this move a “purging of the worst kind.” Brill suggested that Horia-Roman Patapievici, who was the dismissed head of the cultural institute, is likely being penalized because he was on the side of conservative president Traian Basescu, who brought him into office. Brill also observed that, in the context, today’s cultural creatives in the former Eastern bloc tend to be on the conservative side of the spectrum, by contrast with their Western counterparts, because of their negative experiences with Communism.