May 16, 2014

Corcoran Gallery to Cede Its Collection to National Gallery

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., has finalized an agreement with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, which will absorb its building, collection, and its art college, reports Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. Corcoran’s building, which is in need of millions of dollars worth of repairs, will be closed beginning in October for an unspecified amount of time as part of the transfer of is collection of over 17,000 objects. No artworks are to be sold but most will be incorporated into the National Gallery’s permanent collection. With the Corcoran building, the National Gallery will set up a “Corcoran Legacy Gallery” in order to preserve some of the historic institution’s legacy. The Corcoran Gallery, which was founded in 1869, has struggled financially for many years.

May 16, 2014

Phillips Sale Totals $131 Million

Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times that the evening contemporary sale staged by Phillips last night brought in a total of $131 million, just over its low $124.6 million estimate. The highest-priced work was Rothko’s Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange), 1955, which sold to an anonymous bidder for $50 million. Pieces by young artists also exceeded their estimates: a canvas by Wade Guyton went for $2.1 million, over its $2 million estimate, and an Oscar Murillo painting went for $389,000, more than doubling its high estimate of $150,000. Of the forty-six works on offer, nine failed to sell, including sculptures by Dan Flavin, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, and David Smith.

May 15, 2014

Zoe Leonard Named Winner of Whitney's Bucksbaum Award

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, has named artist Zoe Leonard as the recipient of its eighth Bucksbaum Award. Established by Melva Bucksbaum and her family, the award is given every two years to one artist exhibited in the biennial. Leonard, whose work 945 Madison Avenue, 2014, transforms a section of the museum’s fourth floor into an enormous camera obscura, was chosen out of the 103 participants in the 2014 biennial. As part of the award, she will receive $100,000 and will be invited to present a solo exhibition at the Whitney before the next biennial.

Leonard is known for her work in photography, film, and sculpture, which have been exhibited in both the 1993 and 1997 Whitney Biennials. She has also had solo exhibitions at the Camden Arts Center, London; the Museum Moderner Kunst Stifting Ludwig, Vienna; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, among others. Her work can be found in many permanent collections, including at the Art Institute of Chicago; the Centre Pompidou; the Ludwig Museum; and Tate Modern.

May 15, 2014

Participants for New Orleans’s Prospect 3 Biennial Announced

Participants for New Orleans’s Prospect 3 Biennial have been announced. Fifty-eight artists have been selected to exhibit in the biennial and Andrew Russeth of the New York Observer reports that the list includes established artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Clark, Alma Thomas, and Paul Gauguin, alongside younger figures such as Analia Saban, Camille Henrot, and Lucien Smith. Curated by Franklin Sirmans, the department head and curator of contemporary art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the biennial—which has endured funding issues and delays since its inaugural edition in 2008—is slated to open October 25 of this year and run through January 25, 2015. For a full list of artists, click here.

May 15, 2014

Sotheby’s Contemporary Sale Totals $364.3 Million

Sotheby’s contemporary sale last night “started out on a high, but quickly fell back to earth,” in the words of Carol Vogel for the New York Times. After bidders passed on paintings by Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, and Takashi Murakami, among others, the evening’s sales, in total, brought in $364.3 million, just surpassing its low estimate of $336.7 million. Twelve of the seventy-nine works on auction found no buyers. There were, however, works that exceeded estimates. A piece by Rosemarie Trockel went for $4.9 million, more than twice its high $2 million estimate, and Richard Prince’s Untitled (Cowboy), 2000, brought $3 million. It was expected to go for $1 million to $1.5 million.

May 15, 2014

Peggy Guggenheim Foundation Responds to Lawsuit

In response to allegations leveled against the Peggy Guggenheim Collection—as reported here, the heirs of Guggenheim are suing the foundation for purportedly violating the bequest she left for her artwork, which stipulated that the works could only be exhibited at her collection in Venice—the foundation has issued a response. It notes that Guggenheim stated there is only one purpose for these donations in the her deeds of gift: “to demonstrate her admiration for the activities carried out by ‘The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’ . . . concerning the study, the divulgation, and the knowledge of works of art, in particular modern works of art, and with the purpose of expanding and fostering such activities in Italy.” The foundation affirms that for thirty years it has carried out these wishes, and because no endowment was attached to the gift, it has also invested time and resources in maintaining the museum and fulfilling Guggenheim’s wish to make these works widely known and appreciated. For a more detailed account of their rebuttal to the lawsuit, click here.

May 15, 2014

Yilmaz Dziewior Named Director of Museum Ludwig in Cologne

Yilmaz Dziewior will be heading up the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, according to the DPA. The curator of the next Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Dziewior has been the director of the Kunsthaus Bregenz since 2009, and prior to that headed the Kunstverein Hamburg. He’s entering a position that was vacated when Philipp Kaiser departed after just over a year. Cologne’s mayor, Jürgen Roters, praised Dziewior as a “prominent expert and connoisseur of contemporary art.”

May 14, 2014

Yams Collective Withdraws from Whitney Biennial

Hyperallergic’s Mostafa Heddaya reports that the Yams Collective yesterday submitted its withdrawal from the Whitney Biennial over objections to the curatorial program. Maureen Catbagan, a member of the collective, said their decision to withdraw was driven by objections to the inclusion of Donelle Woolford, a fictional artist portrayed by black female actors hired by Joe Scanlan, a white male Princeton professor. “We felt that the representation of an established academic white man posing as a privileged African-American woman is problematic, even if he tries to hide it in an avatar’s mystique,” Catbagan said. “It kind of negates our presence there, our collaborative identity as representing the African diaspora.” After reaching out to Michelle Grabner, who’d curated the floor of the Whitney containing Scanlan’s controversial work, the group apparently received a “nonresponse”; after an unsuccessful mediation attempt by the Whitney, the collective withdrew.

May 14, 2014

Christie’s Contemporary Sale Brings In Record $745 Million

Last night’s contemporary-art sale at Christie’s brought in a total of $745 million—easily exceeding the auction house’s landmark $691.6 million contemporary auction last November, according to Reuters. Topping the auction was Barnett Newman’s Black Fire I, 1961, which brought in $84.2 million—a new auction record for the artist. Francis Bacon's “Three Studies for a Portrait of John Edwards”—expected to be the highlight of the evening’s sales—also did well, bringing in $80.8 million. Sixty-eight of the seventy-two lots sold.