The Oregon Arts Commission has awarded $237,500 to seventeen arts groups, reports David Stabler of The Oregonian. The grants predominantly focus on helping groups upgrade technology, like office and radio station equipment. Grantees range from the Newspace Center for Photography, which will receive $7,900, to the Salem Art Association, which will receive $24,500. This round of grants is one of thirteen the arts commission awards each year.
Amy Cappellazzo, former chair of postwar and contemporary art at Christie’s, will be starting a new venture with Allan Schwartzman. The two are founding Art Agency Partners, which will offer advice to collectors and foundations “on all aspects of their art, from acquisitions and sales to museum involvement and long-term strategy,” writes Carol Vogel in the New York Times. Cappellazzo left Christie’s in February.
The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, has announced that it will become a museum, reports Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. The nonprofit center was founded in 2008 by collector Dasha Zhukova. By May 1, 2014, it will be known as the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2015, the institution will move to a new permanent home, a building in Gorky Park redesigned by architect Rem Koolhaas.
The Zabludowicz Collection, London, has announced that artist Jason File has won the 2014 Future Map Prize. The prize provides support for graduating art students. Filea recent graduate from Chelsea College of Arts, Londonwill receive $5,000 and will be invited to collaborate with the collection to produce a limited-edition artwork.
The Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, has announced that it will sell up to four works from its permanent collection to keep the museum from closing, reports Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. The museum currently faces a $19.8 million debt, which comes from tax-exempt bonds that were issued in 2003 for the museum’s expansion. The sales, which are expected to raise $30 million, will provide the museum with enough funds to repay what is owed and replenish its endowment. The museum has not yet identified the works it intends to sell.
The APT Institute, New York, has appointed David A. Ross as its director, reports Michael H. Miller of GalleristNY. Ross has previously served as director for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. He is also a cofounder of the APT Institute, a nonprofit supported by the Artist Pension Trust. Ross begins his post immediately.
Die Tageszeitung’s Carmela Thiele profiled Adam Szymczyk, director of Kunsthalle Basel, with the hopes of shedding light on how he’ll shape Documenta 14, which opens 2017. Noting the huge expectations faced by the forty-four-year-old curator, Thiele wrote that Szymczyk “wants to avoid hierarchies, and likes working with his team in an open-walled office.” “If I could only reach the goals I set out to reach, that would be deadly dull, and there would be no reason to curate exhibitions.”
Though Szymczyk’s remaining mum on the preliminary concepts underlying the upcoming Documenta, Thiele wondered whether the current exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel (which features Scottish artist Ross Birell and David Harding) indicates Szymczyk’s interest in keeping the boundaries between different media fluid—an interest that might also inform his approach in 2017. A piece by Birell, for instance, shows three musicians performing a piece composed by the artist. As Szymczyk told Die Tageszeitung, “I like to refer to the sgraffito by Arnold BŲcklin on the facade of [the Kunsthalle], where all the liberal arts—sculpture, poetry, music, painting, architecture—are listed all together non-hierarchically. For me it’s always important to blur the formal distinction between the various arts—particularly in the ways they’re received.”
France comes to its own defense: In a recent article, Le Figaro’s Mathieu Rollinger took a swing at British critic A.A. Gill, who pulled no punches against contemporary French culture in a recent Vanity Fair article. “Could France be losing its panache, its je ne sais quoi?” wrote Gill. “Name a living French painter worth the wall space. Name a great French musician. A novelist, apart from Michel Houellebecq—and the French hate him.” In response, Le Figaro’s Rollinger wrote, “It’s difficult not to suspect this London-based commentator of bias,” reminding readers of Pierre Huyghe, as well as Daft Punk’s Grammy win, actors Jean Dujardin and Marion Cotillard Hollywood appearances.
Noting other similar articles that have appeared in British and American press, Rollinger added, “These charges are part of a convoluted reasoning that has more to do with wild ramblings than rational analysis.” Pointing out that Gill mostly focused on France’s reaction to Francois Holland’s suspected affair, Rollinger noted that Gill’s critique centered on the French way of living, which was then sloppily extended to French art and culture. “Even if … the state of France’s cultural industries are not beyond reproach, nothing justifies the ferocity [of these attacks].”Rollinger signed off with a classic French phrase, “De quoi je me mÍle?” In English? Mind your own business.
The Norwegian museum cofounded by ice-skating champion Sonja Henie—the Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter—will be returning a major work from its collection to the heirs of French art dealer Paul Rosenberg, the Art Newspaper’s Hannah McGivern reported. The work, Henri Matisse’s Woman in Blue in front of a Fireplace, 1937, was looted by Nazis in 1941, a year after Rosenberg fled France. The museum reiterated that “both Niels Onstad, and subsequently HOK, acquired the painting in good faith” but announced that it “has chosen to adhere to international conventions” by unconditionally returning the work.”As the first instance of Nazi-looted art restitution in Norway, the case may set a precedent for other Norwegian institutions,” wrote McGivern.
An article in the DPA describes a stone barn in the mountains of Aley, Lebanon—a town outside Beirut—that’s recently become a residency for Syrian refugee artists. The building was renovated by a civil engineer and art lover named Raghad Mardini. As she began finishing her renovations, the Syrian uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began to grow, driving a number of her Syrian artist friends into exile. While hosting one of these friends, Mardini stumbled upon the idea of starting a residency for displaced Syrian artists. “To create art, you need an atmosphere in which you feel comfortable,” she says. “I thought I had the place. All I had to do was to give these young Syrian artists space to produce their art and to show their feelings—the suffering as well as the hope.” Participating artists stay for two weeks and leave behind at least one artwork; Mardini hopes to eventually build a museum of contemporary Syrian art to house the donated works.
Abigail Guay has been appointed Mount Tremper Art’s first executive director. Located in the Catskill Mountains, Mount Tremper Arts presents artists during an annual summer festival and supports them through a yearlong residency program. Most recently associated with Grantmakers in the Arts, Guay has previously held positions at Seattle-based artist residencies Open Satellite and Artist Trust. In her new directorial role at Mount Tremper, Guay will lead its staff, residency management, administration, and development.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has announced that the eight-year-old institution will be led by cochairs Julia Reyes Taubman and Elyse Goldin Foltyn. Taubman, an author as well as a founder of the museum who has served as chair of the board for the last seven years, will focus on the institution’s creative operations. Foltyn, a former chief marketing officer at Munder Capital Management and a member of the museum’s board for three years, will concentrate on MOCAD’s nonprofit business priorities.