March 22, 2013

Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe (1970–2013)

Russian artist Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, who of late became a social media icon for gay rights in his home country, has died at the age of forty-three. The cause of death is suspected to be murder: The artist was found drowned in a shallow swimming pool while on vacation in Bali, notes Baibakov Art Projects.

Monroe emerged in the late 1980s and ’90s as one of the first video artists of the post Soviet era. He later became known for styling himself after historic figures such as Jesus Christ, Hitler, the Pope, and Putin as well as female celebrities like Marilyn Monore and Lyubov Orlova. In 2010, after presenting a series of portraits of government officials in drag, the artist was brutally beaten in the streets; he used this incident to bring international attention to the homophobia rampant in Russia by documenting his recovery on Facebook.

In commemoration of the artist, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art has announced that admission to his current exhibition at the institution will be free for the remainder of its run.

March 22, 2013

Tamar Harpaz Awarded 2013 Kiefer Prize

Tamar Harpaz has been named winner of the 2013 Wolf Fund Anselm Kiefer Prize for young artists. The prize, worth eight thousand dollars, is intended to aid promising Israeli artists under the age of thirty-five. Jerusalem-born Harpaz uses light, photography, and video along with domestic objects to create installations that ponder illusion and memory. Harpaz lives and works in Tel Aviv.

March 22, 2013

$655,000 Bestowed on Santa Barbara Museum of Art

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art has been given $655,000 by an anonymous donor to endow the position of curator of contemporary art. Katrina Carl of Noozhawk reports the funds are to be allocated over the next five years. Julie Joyce, who has been the museum’s curator of contemporary art since 2008, will be the beneficiary of this donation. Said director Larry Feinberg: “We are extremely grateful for this generous gift in support of our curator of contemporary art. This is a testament to the high-quality, groundbreaking exhibitions Julie has produced. This gift brings us one step further to our goal of having each curatorial post and the director of education position fully endowed, ensuring that the museum is able to continue to retain and attract the most talented staff to serve our community with important and thought-provoking exhibitions and powerful education programs.”

March 22, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Now Open Seven Days a Week

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will now be open seven days a week, effective July 1. Carol Vogel of the New York Times reports that this idea was proposed last September and has just been finalized. It follows, as reported here, the Museum of Modern Art’s move to a seven-day-a-week schedule, which was announced in September and will commence May 1. Said director Thomas Campbell: “Art is a seven-day-a-week passion and we want the Met to be accessible whenever visitors have the urge to experience this great museum. Last year we had a record-breaking attendance of 6.28 million visitors and yet were turning away many thousands on Mondays, when we have traditionally been closed.” The museum will now be closed only three days of the year: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day.

March 21, 2013

Eisenhower Family Supports Nixing Gehry Design for Memorial

David Ng from the Los Angeles Times reports that members of the Eisenhower family have stated that they support a bill to suspend the plans set forth by Frank Gehry for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington. “It is time to go back to the drawing board, with an open process for the redesign of the memorial," Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of the former president, said while addressing a congressional panel on Tuesday. The family's primary grievance against the Gehry design is that it does not emphasize Eisenhower’s military and political accomplishments. The Eisenhower family has proposed halting any further federal funding for the design, which will reportedly cost $142 million upon its completion.

March 21, 2013

AICA Names Best Exhibitions of 2012

The International Association of Art Critics has announced the winners of its annual awards for best exhibitions from 2012, reports Zoë Lescaze of GalleristNY. Among the most notable honors beginning with the New York division, Pace Gallery won first prize for “Happenings: New York 1958-1963” and Acquavella Galleries won second place for “Georges Braque, Pioneer of Modernism” in the commercial gallery category. For the best monographic museum exhibition, MoMA took first prize for “de Kooning: A Retrospective” and the Metropolitan Museum took second for “Matisse: In Search of True Painting.” In the thematic show category, the Brooklyn Museum came out the winner with its Lucy R. Lippard exhibition and the Met placed second for “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop.” The Park Avenue Armory won both first and second prize in the public space category for Ann Hamilton’s “The Event of a Thread” and Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s “The Murder of Crow,” respectively. In the national division, MoMA PS1 and the Hammer Museum shared the Best Thematic Museum Show for “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980.” The award ceremony will be held at the Asia Society on April 1.

March 20, 2013

Jack Jaeger (1937–2013)

Artist, curator, and editor Jack Jaeger passed away five days ago, according to White Columns and Zapp Magazine. Between 1994–96, Jaeger edited the eight issues of ZAPP, a pioneering quarterly VHS art magazine. He also curated numerous shows, including “Please, don’t hurt me!” 1993, at Gallery Snoei in Rotterdam and Cabinet Gallery in London, which was responsible for introducing Carsten Höller, Roman Signer, Elke Krystufek, and Lily van der Stokker to British art viewers. White Columns featured Jaeger’s work in a solo show in 2005.

March 20, 2013

International News Digest

MARCH 20

A Vienna court has released a report confirming that Peter Noever—former managing director at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art in Vienna, or MAK—mismanaged the museum’s budget. The court pronounced Noever’s seventy-nine travel days per year—and average annual travel costs of over $100,000—“very high.” Noever was taken to task for other spending decisions as well: In 2007, he charged the museum for fifty-eight bottles of alcohol at an event for eight people. He also held ten birthday parties for his mother on the museum’s tab, and then asked an employee to hand over paper records of the events and delete corresponding digital records. According to Thomas Trenkler in Der Standard an Austrian national television has reported that Noever, in self defense, argued that a court doesn’t know how to operate a museum. He pointed out that the celebrations for his mother had brought in patrons.

At TEFAF in Maastricht last Friday, economist Clare McAndrew presented a report showing that the US has overtaken China in art sales, reclaiming the top spot after coming in second place last year. In the Art Newspaper, McAndrews noted, “Most European markets performed poorly in 2012. Sales were virtually stagnant in the UK, while nearly all the other large markets such as France, Germany and Italy experienced declines, and overall sales in the EU down by 3 percent.” Meanwhile, “Strong US sales, particularly for fine art, and a slowdown across the board in the Chinese market, meant that the US again regained its number one ranking. The US accounted for 33 percent of the overall art market in 2012, up 4 percent from the year before, while China took a 25 percent share, a drop of 5 percent, although it remained ahead of the UK, which was in third place with 23 percent.”

TEFAF itself is suddenly the subject of much attention: Bloomberg reports that the world’s biggest art and antiques fair is in talks with Sotheby’s about the possibility of collaborating with the auction house, as well as China’s state-owned Beijing GeHua Cultural Development Group, to stage “TEFAF Beijing 2014,” a China-based outpost of the fair. The collaboration will allow all parties to “take advantage of a planned free port project that GeHua is developing within the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone in Beijing, which will serve as a tax-advantaged storage location and provide a platform for various activities,” Sotheby’s stated. As Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn noted, “A venture between a dealer-organized fair and an international auction house is unusual, emphasizing the importance of China for the West’s art and antiques trade.”

If art markets seem poised to reach new heights, so too do Christo’s artworks—quite literally. According to Deutsche Welle, the artist’s record-breaking installation, Big Air Package—an inflatable sculpture in which visitors can enter—is the single largest indoor piece ever created, reaching up to 295 feet. The artist’s first work without his wife Jeanne-Claude, Big Air Package has been installed in the Gasometer Oberhausen in Germany. It was officially unveiled four days ago, and will be on view until December 30, 2013.

March 20, 2013

Guggenheim Appoints Thomas Berghuis Curator of Chinese Art

The Guggenheim announced today that Thomas J. Berghuis will be the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation curator of Chinese art. Berghuis is a lecturer in Asian Art History and deputy director of the Australian Center for Asian art and archeology. His writings have been published in prominent journals and art magazines, including Art Review UK and Art Asia Pacific. The newly endowed curatorial position is part of a larger initiative funded by the Ho Family Foundation that will also support the Guggenheim’s commissioning of works from artists born in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland China. The initiative dovetails with the Guggenheim’s existing Asian art program led by Alexandra Munroe, Samsung senior curator of Asian art.