July 25, 2014

International News Digest


News that the Prado Museum in Madrid has lost track of 885 works of art has many up in arms. El País’s José Marcos Garcia reported that the museum’s inventory registers a total of 27,509 objects, but that the location of nearly nine hundred remains unaccounted for. Spain’s audit court is apparently unconvinced by the museum’s argument that most of the missing artworks have been lost over time in fires and wars. (“Suspecting this is not enough; if there is no factual evidence that they were destroyed, we cannot take them off the inventory,” explained a museum spokesperson.) Citing the complications arising from the Prado’s massive number of artworks disseminated around various other cultural centers, the audit court has encouraged the museum to develop a three-year plan to follow up on all works on loan, photograph its current holdings, and make new records with the help of a computer application.

Speaking to NWZ, Okwui Enwezor said he saw no crisis at the Munich Haus der Kunst, even though the exhibition space has seen the withdrawal of its main sponsor, the Schörghuber group. He also said that thinking in terms of blockbuster shows was not sustainable for him, in response to accusations that his shows were not popular enough to the general public—accusations which he sees “as an attack on our audience and the Munich public that is interested in contemporary art.”

Despite a government that’s halved its cultural ministry’s budget, Greece’s arts have been soldiering on with the help of private patrons and culture workers, wrote reporter Markus Bernath in Der Standard. Bernath cited the example of Iliana Fokianaki, a cultural journalist who last year opened State of Concept, the first nonprofit art gallery in Greece. Meanwhile Iasson Tsakonas, a private collector, continued to support his ReMap project, started in 2007, which offers spaces for contemporary art in underprivileged neighborhoods. Outside of Nafplio, the artist and collector Florica Kyriakopoulos founded a combination of studio, sales, and exhibition spaces for contemporary art and craft. The shipowner George Economou opened a museum for his art collection in the district of Athens Marousi. In contrast, thanks to the collapse of government arts funding, the lavish glass-and-concrete National Museum of Modern Art—just a few minutes’ walk from Fokianaki’s gallery—is closed.

An installation by Christoph Büchel has been removed from Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art. Australia’s ABC reports that the work included a sign that read “Are you of Aboriginal descent?” and offered visitors DNA testing that would determine their ancestry. The museum said it removed the installation after discussion with Aboriginal elders. Representatives at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Center were disappointed that they had not been consulted before the work was displayed. It’s not the first time a work by Büchel has not been shown as planned at a museum—in 2007, a work by Büchel at Mass MoCA was canceled, over differences between the museum and the artist that ultimately lead to a lawsuit over whether the work could be shown unfinished.

July 25, 2014

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum Appoints New Curator

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has announced the appointment of Dr. Tianlong Jiao as the museum’s new curator of Chinese art, reports Artfixdaily. A specialist in Chinese archaeology and early Chinese art history, Jiao joins the museum after serving as the chief curator at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. He also worked as chair of the anthropology department at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Jiao earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University, an MA in archaeology from the graduate school of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, and a BA in archaeology from Beijing University. He begins his new post on September 15, 2014.

July 24, 2014

Lydia Yee Appointed Chief Curator of Whitechapel Gallery

Lydia Yee has been appointed chief curator of Whitechapel Gallery. Yee is currently a curator at the Barbican Art Gallery, a role she assumed in 2007. Recent exhibitions at that institution included “Bauhaus: Art as Life,” 2013, “Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene,” 2011, and “Ron Arad: Restless,” 2010. She has also commissioned works by artists including Cory Arcangel, John Bock, and Geoffrey Farmer among others. Yee was formerly a senior curator at the Bronx Museum of Art and was the 2006 recipient of the Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award. Said director Iwona Blazwick: “Yee has an incredible ability to bring key moments in art history to life, while illuminating the work of contemporary figures, and we look forward to welcoming her to the artist’s gallery for everyone.”

July 24, 2014

Major Gift of Artworks to Stanford University

Major gifts of work by Andy Warhol, Richard Diebenkorn, and Jacob Lawrence have been given to the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Included are 3,600 of Andy Warhol’s contact sheets and corresponding negatives, given by the Andy Warhol Foundation; twenty-seven of Richard Diebenkorn’s sketchbooks, which have never been exhibited before and contain 1,400 to 1,600 drawings, given by his widow and children; and the largest collection of Jacob Lawrence’s work on the West Coast, donated by Gabrielle Reem and Herbert Kayden. Said director Connie Wolf: “These singular works by Diebenkorn, Lawrence, and Warhol will support new interdisciplinary approaches to twentieth century American art and culture here at Stanford, and I couldn't be more thrilled.”

July 23, 2014

James Turrell, Tod Williams, and Billie Tsien Among 2014 National Arts Medal Honorees

Mike Boehm reports in the Los Angeles Times that President Obama will be giving National Medals of Arts next Monday to artist James Turrell and architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, among others. Albert Maysles, the documentary filmmaker known for Gimme Shelter (1970), is also being recognized, as is Chicago arts patron Joan Harris. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Academy of Music will be honored as an institution that's “showcased the works of both established visionaries and emerging artists who take risks and push boundaries.”

July 23, 2014

North Carolina Museum of Art Receives $1.9 Million Grant

Yesterday, the North Carolina Museum of Art was awarded a $1.9 million grant from the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation for art education research, according to WRAL.com. The grant comes just as the museum is preparing to begin construction next spring. The renovation will include an auditorium, classrooms, and a distance-learning center.

July 23, 2014

Met Fellow Named Curator at Amherst’s Mead Art Museum

Artdaily reports that Dr. Vanja Malloy will be the new curator of American art at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum. Malloy was previously the Chester Dale Fellow in the department of modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In her new role, she’ll research the collection, develop exhibitions, and propose new acquisitions.

July 22, 2014

Art Basel Asia Director Magnus Renfrew Steps Down

Magnus Renfrew has resigned as director of Art Basel Asia to become deputy chairman of Bonhams's Asia department and director of fine arts, reports Frederik Balfour of Bloomberg. Renfrew managed Art Basel’s 2013 and 2014 Hong Kong fairs. He will begin at Bonhams—where he worked for seven years, originally setting up the auction house’s first London Contemporary Asian Art sale in 2006—in September. Renfrew was the founding director of ART HK, which was acquired by Art Basel’s parent company MCH Group in 2011. Said Renfrew: “This is a very exciting time to be involved in the Asian art market and building up an Asian collector base.”

July 22, 2014

Goldsmiths to Build Museum

Goldsmiths has announced plans to build a public art gallery, located behind the University of London’s art department in a twentieth-century building, which formerly housed public baths, reports Hendrik Hansson of Artnet. In order to convert the space, the university needs to raise $3.41 million and is asking its alumni and professors—including Michael Craig-Martin, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Anthony Gormley, Fiona Banner, Bob and Roberta Smith, Rebecca Warren, and Ceal Foyer—to donate works that will be auctioned by Christie’s next year. An architect for the project will be announced on July 28. Richard Noble, head of the university’s art department, states that the institution will provide a space for Goldsmith students to show their work alongside leading artists.