June 7, 2013

Geoffrey Farmer Wins 2013 Gershon Iskowitz Prize

Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer has won the 2013 Gershon Iskowitz Prize, reports Andrew Russeth of GalleristNY. The award, which is given annually to one artist who has made a significant contribution to the visual arts in Canada, was established to assist other artists by Canadian painter Gershon Iskowitz, who lived from 1921 to 1988. Farmer will receive a $50,000 cash prize and a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

June 6, 2013

Caroline Baumann Named Director of Cooper-Hewitt

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, has named Caroline Baumann as its director, effective June 16. Baumann joined the museum in 2001 and has served over the last year as acting director. In her new role, she will continue to oversee the museum’s $54 million renovation and gallery expansion. “The new Cooper-Hewitt visitor experience—physical and digital—will be a global first,” Baumann said, “a transformative force for all in 2014 and beyond, impacting the way people think about and understand design.” The museum is set to reopen to the public in the fall of 2014.

June 6, 2013

Susan Sellers Appointed Head of Design at Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has announced the appointment of Susan Sellers as its head of design. The museum’s design department includes specialists in installation, graphics, and lighting design who are responsible for the signage, printed materials, and exhibition set ups at the Met’s Fifth Avenue location and its Cloisters outpost in northern Manhattan. Sellers is the founding partner and current creative director of 2x4, a global design consulting firm, as well as the senior critic of graphic design at Yale School of Art. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MA in American Studies from Yale University. Sellers joins the museum on June 24.

June 6, 2013

Flavin Estate Lifts Ban on Posthumous Editions

The Dan Flavin Estate has lifted its ban on the posthumous production of more than one thousand of the artist’s unrealized fluorescent light sculptures, reports Julia Halperin of the Art Newspaper. According to Stephen Flavin, the artist’s son and executor of the estate, two factors contributed to the decision to lift the restriction: renewed public interest in the artist’s work after the 2004 retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the dissolution of a plan for a permanent exhibition space in a museum dedicated to Flavin in New York. If produced, the works could be worth upwards of tens of millions of dollars, though it is unclear if the new policy is in keeping with the artist’s wishes. “I would like to leave a will and testament to declare everything void at my death,” said Flavin in 1982, “and it’s not unrealistic.” His son though iterates that the artist did not address posthumous editions in his will.

June 6, 2013

L&M Arts Los Angeles to Close

L&M Arts, Los Angeles, is closing its doors at the end of August, reports Jori Finkel of the Los Angeles Times. Owners Dominique Lévy and Robert Mnuchin recently dissolved their partnership at their main New York gallery in the beginning of the year and are now shuttering their remaining outpost in Los Angeles. Opened in September 2010, the Los Angeles gallery showcased emerging artists in group exhibitions and staged solo shows by Paul McCarthy, Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer, among others.

June 5, 2013

International News Digest


In a dispatch from Venice for the Art Newspaper, Aaron Cezar detailed the protest staged by various artists and curators—in town for the Biennale—to show support for those in Turkey demonstrating against the planned destruction of Gezi Park, as well as the current government, led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Cezar reports that a group of about thirty gathered in Piazza San Marco on Saturday, “carrying handwritten signs, banners, and leaflets produced overnight.” Making their way toward the Biennale’s grounds, the group—which included Ahmet Ögüt, one of two artists featured in Turkey’s pavilion in 2009; and Bige Örer and Fulya Erdemci, director and curator, respectively, of the forthcoming Istanbul Biennial—nearly doubled its numbers upon reaching the Arsenale. Erdemci later told the Art Newspaper, “As the violence exercised by the police is getting wilder, the masses are pouring down the streets against the repressive governance of the state. I wholeheartedly support the resistance where hundreds of protesters were seriously injured and condemn the violence exercise by the police. Against the barbarians!”

As we know, Venice is sinking. But a biennale nearly 6,000 miles away may soon have even more trouble staying afloat—so to speak. The Hindu’s Nidhi Surendranath reports that a decision by the High Court of Kerala, India, might result in cuts—or even an end—to government funding for the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The Keralan government’s decision to give around $700,000 to the foundation responsible for the biennale has been questioned in courts by a public-interest organization. The situation seems extra dire because the advocate-general, who represents the government on legal matters, didn’t show up in court to defend the government’s support of culture. Surendranath notes that while the biennale drew rave reviews internationally, upped tourism and commerce, and even prompted a question about the event in the entrance exams for Jawaharlal Nehru University’s MA program in art and aesthetics, critics claim that the art festival should not be financed so heavily by the government. “That speaks a lot about the kind of government we have,” poet and critic K. Satchidanandan told the paper. “There is a great reluctance to invest in culture. That is either because of the government’s illiteracy or indifference to art.”

Rita McBride has been named the new director of the Düsseldorfer Kunstakademie, reports Monopol. Known for pieces that toy with functionalism and formalism, including her 2011 Mae West, a carbon steel sculpture stationed on Effnerplatz in Munich, McBride has been a professor at the school since 2003. In her new role, she’ll be replacing Tony Cragg, who’s served as director for the past four years. McBride will be the first woman to head the institution, whose faculty over the years has included such artists as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, and Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Christie’s recently pulled a number of artworks scheduled for the auction block, purportedly by Brazilian artists, after getting wind of forgery concerns, reports Silas Martí for the Art Newspaper. The works, allegedly by the likes of Ivan Serpa, Mira Schendel, and Roberto Burle Marx, were “withdrawn pending additional research,” according to a spokesperson for the auction house. The pieces came from the collection of the Rio de Janeiro-based Ralph Santos Oliveira, who, speaking to Brazilian publication Folha de S.Paulo, said he was shocked by the decision. Oliveira explained he was selling the pieces on behalf of his grandmother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and who can’t remember the exact provenance of the pieces. But according to Martí, dealer André Millan (who represented Schendel’s estate until last year) said he had concerns about a piece that Christie’s brought to his attention. Meanwhile, Gustavo Rebello, another dealer who collects the work of Serpa, was similarly skeptical. “They seemed very suspicious, clearly strange,” he said of the images he saw in Christie’s catalogue. “They also seemed too flat and plain to be Serpa paintings, especially the smaller ones.”

June 5, 2013

Cisneros Fontanals Foundation Announces Grants and Commissions Recipients for 2013

The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation has announced the names of the ten Latin American artists who are this year’s winners of its grants and commissions program. The artists recognized this year are Milena Bonilla, Benvenuto Chavajay González, Jorge Méndez Blake, Sofia Olascoaga, Manuela Ribadeneira, Santiago Villanueva, José Gabriel Fernandez, Laureana Toledo, and Antonio Caro, whom the jury awarded a special achievement award in recognition of his forty-year career. The winners will show work in at the foundation, in an exhibition opening on August 28.

June 5, 2013

Minneapolis Institute of Arts Receives Japanese Art Collection Valued at $25 Million

Mary Abbe reports in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that philanthropists and cattle breeders Libby and Bill Clark have given the Minneapolis Institute of Arts a collection of nearly 1,700 Japanese objects—paintings, sculpture, ceramics, woodblock prints, and bamboo baskets—estimated to be worth a total of $25 million. “I’m absolutely thrilled,” said museum director Kaywin Feldman. Clark decided to make the gift after realizing that his three adult children would not want to continue maintaining the nonprofit he founded, the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture, which currently houses the collection. “Minneapolis is one of the great cities in our country,” Clark said. “I think it’s the perfect home for our collection because they’re going to continue our programs.”

June 4, 2013

William Morris Gallery Wins Museum of the Year Award in UK

William Morris Gallery has been named 2013 Museum of the Year in the United Kingdom, winning the 2013 Art Fund prize, reports Alice Vincent of The Telegraph. The gallery reopened in 2012 after a substantial renovation with an exhibition of Victorian designer William Morris. According to Vincent, the judges said that William Morris Gallery “sets the highest standards of curatorship, reaches out impressively to its local community, and offers a memorable way of experiencing art of the highest quality in the context of a great historic personality.” The prize is worth over $150,000.