May 23, 2014

Fire Ravages Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, completed in 1907, has been ravaged by a fire, reports Justin Davidson of New York Magazine. The fire appears to have begun in the basement of the building and is believed to have engulfed the entire west wing, which includes Mackintosh’s famous library and the Hen Run, a glazed corridor that runs along the roof. There is as yet no confirmed indication as to what caused the fire and no casualities have been reported.

May 22, 2014

Katharina Grosse Wins First Oskar Schlemmer Prize

According to Monopol, artist Katharina Grosse has won the inaugural Oskar Schlemmer Prize, which amounts to around $34,000. The prize, named after the Bauhaus star, is offered by the state of Baden-Württemberg. The artist, who was born in Freiburg and works in Berlin, has staged solo shows at venues ranging from Mass MoCA to the Kunstmuseum Bonn, and will be opening an exhibition at the Kunsthaus Graz this June. Secretary of state Jürgen Walter, commending Grosse, noted that the artist “systematically expands the boundaries of painting.”

May 22, 2014

Artists Announced for 2014 Taipei Biennial

The Taipei Biennial has announced the artist roster for its 2014 edition. The list includes artists Joan Jonas, Anicka Yi, Sterling Ruby, Camille Henrot, Tetsumi Kudo, and Haegue Yang, among the biennial’s total fifty-one international artists and collectives. “The Great Acceleration” is curated by Nicolas Bourriaud and will be on view at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum from September 13, 2014, to January 4, 2015.

May 22, 2014

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot to Represent France at 2015 Venice Biennale

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot will be representing France at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Boursier-Mougenot has staged solo exhibitions at the Peabody Essex Museum, Mass MoCA, the Barbican in London, the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia, and Milan's HangarBicocca. His project is being organized by Emma Lavigne, curator of contemporary art at the Centre Georges Pompidou.

May 21, 2014

Michael Schmidt Named Winner of Fifth Prix Pictet Prize

Michael Schmidt has been named winner of the fifth Prix Pictet photography prize. Schmidt will be receiving $112,500 in recognition for his monumental work Lebensmittel (Foodstuff), made between 2006 and 2010, which the jury praised as an “epic and hugely topical investigation into the ways in which we feed ourselves.” Schmidt was chosen from a shortlist of eleven artists.

May 21, 2014

Orange County Museum of Art Names New Director and CEO

The Orange County Museum of Art today announced that Todd DeShields Smith would be its new CEO and director beginning in August. For the past six years, Smith has served as executive director at the Tampa Museum of Art. He oversaw the construction of the museum’s new buildings in 2010, and under his tenure the Museum Gives Back program was instituted, which gave the public increased free access to the museum. Smith has also served as executive director of the Gibbs Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina.

May 20, 2014

International News Digest

Thanks to Putin, swearing just got a lot less legal in Russia: According to the Moscow Times’ Ivan Nechepurenko, swear words have now been banned from works of art including films, books, concerts, and plays. “In December 2013, the Institute of Russian Language at the Russian Academy of Sciences compiled a list of four words that constitute swearing and will thus be banned. Two depict male and female reproductive organs, one describes the process of copulation, and the last refers to a promiscuous woman,” wrote Nechepurenko, who added in protest that “swearing has been a vital component of Russian art, with some of the nation’s best poets and playwrights using curse words prolifically, from classical Alexander Pushkin to contemporary post-modernist Vladimir Sorokin.” Now, individuals who violate the ban will be charged up to seventy dollars, while companies or organizations will be penalized up to $1,500.

More details have emerged on the design of Arles’s future center for contemporary art, which is being funded by collector Maja Hoffmann and her family. The project, designed by Frank Gehry, was announced nearly five years ago; now, 20 Minutes reports that the new building will be a nearly 200-foot-tall tower featuring custom-molded glass plates. Along with about 260,000 square feet of exhibition space, it will offer a library, artist residencies, a café, and a restaurant. Construction costs are estimated at over $200 million, and the project is expected to be completed in 2018.

Saudi Arabia will be spending more than $1.7 billion on the construction of 230 museums in order to promote the country’s culture, reports Catherine Milner in the Art Newspaper. Construction has already begun on fourteen of the 230 museums, which will contain a mix of antiquities and contemporary art. “But the history of Arabia does not belong just to us but to the whole world. Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, noted that women will play a notable role in operating the new museums. “Women in Saudi Arabia have come a long way—this is not something new,” he said. “They have carried a lot of the history of Saudi Arabia on their shoulders. If you look throughout history, Bedouin women were the backbone of life.”

A long-suppressed Iranian collection of modern art from the West, assembled by Farah Pahlavi (the last wife of the former Shah of Iran), will soon be seeing the light of day, and even may embark on a Western tour, according to information obtained by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Thiemo Heeg. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, the 1,500-piece collection, which includes major pieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Nolde, Munch, Kandinsky, Klee, Miró, and Monet, had been banished to a basement room in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, kept under watch by a single warden since the days of the revolution. Now, in accordance with a new wave of openness spreading across the country, Majid Mollanoruzi (Tehran's former minister of culture who became director of the museum in March) told the FAZ, “We want to open up the realm of art after being inaccessible for thirty-five years.”

May 20, 2014

William M. Griswold Appointed Director of Cleveland Museum of Art

William M. Griswold, currently the director of the Morgan Library, has been named director of the Cleveland Museum of Art, effective early this fall. His appointment follows the Cleveland museum's $350 million expansion and comes on the heels of the institution’s centennial anniversary in 2016. As M. H. Miller of the New York Observer notes, it also follows a substantial amount of controversy following the departure of David Franklin, the museum’s last director.

Griswold assumed his position at the Morgan in 2008 after acting as president of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. During his tenure at the Morgan, Griswold expanded the drawing department to include more contemporary art—notable exhibitions include Dan Flavin and Matthew Barney—and appointed its first photography curator. Said the Cleveland Museum’s chairman Steven Kestner: “We couldn’t have found a better, more experienced candidate and we’re looking forward to Bill’s leadership for years to come. . . . It is the perfect moment to begin his legacy of scholarship, innovation, and community outreach.”

May 20, 2014

Brooklyn Museum Receives $5 Million for Director Position

The Brooklyn Museum has been given $5 million from the Leon Levy Foundation to endow its director's position. Arnold L. Lehman, the director of the museum since 1997, will now be formally known as the Shelby White and Leon Levy director of the Brooklyn Museum. Allan Kozinn of the New York Times reports the gift is the largest the museum has ever been granted from a donor who was not a member of the board. Shelby White, after whom the position is partially named, is a founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation. Said White: “I grew up in Brooklyn and I remember taking class trips to the museum to look at the Egyptian collection. I didn’t realize, until much later, that it was one of the greatest museums in the world.”