August 29, 2015

Arkansas State University’s Art Museum Gets New Name, $500,000 Gift

Curt Bradbury and Charlotte “Chucki” Bornhoft Bradbury

The Bradbury Gallery at Arkansas State University now will be known as the Bradbury Art Museum, and will have a redesigned space comprising five galleries, thanks to a $500,000 donation from Curt Bradbury in honor of his wife Charlotte “Chucki” Bornhoft Bradbury, reports Emily Nitcher at Arkansas Online. According to the museum, its new name better reflects the purpose of the facility as a noncommercial, collecting institution.

The director of the Bradbury Art Museum, Les Christensen, said the old design allowed for about six shows a year, but the museum with the new design could accommodate up to twenty exhibitions per year.

Curt Bradbury underscored that while other areas of Arkansas afforded opportunities to view art, via Little Rock venues and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, the new museum would allow those growing up in northeast Arkansas to see art more locally.

“I feel like this museum is something my family will support in the future,” Bradbury added.

August 28, 2015

Judge Rules Against Lawsuit Claiming Hospital Manipulated Heiress into Donating $3.5 Million Manet

Edouard Manet, Pivoines dans une bouteille (Peonies in a Bottle), 1864

Relatives of copper heiress Huguette Clark have lost a lawsuit asserting that the hospital Beth Israel Medical Center manipulated Clark in her final years to make $4 million in gifts to the hospital, including a painting by Edouard Manet. In 2011, Clark, who passed away at age 104, had no close relatives, spending the last nineteen years of her life at the hospital, according to the New York Times’ James C. McKinley Jr.

Last week, the judge dismissed the estate’s claims against the hospital, but ruled that a separate lawsuit could move forward against two doctors and a nurse who took care of Clark in her later years, receiving around $3.6 million from her.

After Clark was originally hospitalized, she worked out an arrangement that allowed her to stay in her ward, paying $1,200 a day for her room, according to the New York Times’ Anemona Hartocollis. A doctor informed the development office that Clark was “quite wealthy and suggested that she might make a gift to the hospital.”

In 2000, she donated Manet’s Pivoines dans une bouteille (Peonies in a Bottle), 1864. When the painting sold far under its expected price, one doctor sent an internal memo that read: “I told her about the disappointing price of the painting, but she didn’t take the bait and offer a half-dozen more.”

In 2013, heirs filed a separate lawsuit regarding two different wills she had left. One left the majority of her $300-million fortune to her family; the later will bequeathed her money to various people around her, including her nurse, her doctor, her attorney, and her accountant—and also to a newly established arts foundation. That suit was ultimately settled out of court.

August 28, 2015

NYC Mayor Names Artist Mary Valverde to City’s Public Design Commission

Mary Valverde, Allegiance Dance (Video Still No.3), 2011.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has chosen artist Mary Valverde to serve as the newest member of the city’s Public Design Commission, according to The Observer’s Alanna Martinez. Valverde will fill the position set aside for sculptors.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the School of Visual Arts, Valverde has exhibited at El Museo del Barrio, the Queens Museum of Art, and Abrons Art Center in New York. She is also a professor at Hunter College, York College, and Cooper Union.

Richard Moore from the Brooklyn Museum, Ann G. Tenebaum from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and artist Hank Willis Thomas already serve on the commission. So do architect James Stewart Polshek and Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos of the New York Public Library.

The commission’s members are tasked with “reviewing art commissions, architectural projects, and historic renovations on city-owned property, as well as helping to oversee the city’s public art collection,” according to Martinez.

August 27, 2015

Savannah College of Art and Design to Open First Fashion Museum in American South


The Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia is establishing a museum dedicated to fashion, according to the Art Newspaper’s Julia Halperin. Called SCADfash, the institution will feature garments from the university’s collection of more than one thousand pieces, and will include a fashion conservation lab, media library, and temporary exhibition space as well. Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, and Yves Saint Laurent will all be featured in upcoming exhibitions.

“SCADfash celebrates fashion as a universal language and garments as vehicles of identity,” Paula Wallace, the president of SCAD, said. As Halperin notes, fashion exhibitions have often historically been blockbuster hits: Nearly half a million people visited the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum—more visitors than any other exhibition with an entry fee in the organization’s history.

August 27, 2015

Frank Gehry Reveals Renderings for $300 Million LA Sunset Strip Project

Rendering of 8150 Sunset Boulevard

Frank Gehry has unveiled his designs for a proposed $300 million mixed-use development anchoring LA’s Sunset Strip, according to the Architectural Record’s Anna Fixsen.

Gehry’s initial renderings reveal five architecturally distinct buildings distributed across the 2.6-acre site around a central plaza. The 333,600-square-foot complex will offer 249 residential units. Two of the commercial buildings, “made from glass with cross-laminated timber mullions,” according to Fixsen, will be dedicated to retail: stores, cafés, and restaurants. Of three residential buildings, two will feature concrete frames, with the taller one capped by “a sculptural top of billowing glass.” And the central residential structure will have “a white, tubular facade ... that is evocative of a sea anemone.”

Gehry told the Record about his memories of the original LA site—the Garden of Allah hotel, which housed luminaries like Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. “It was all white, the Garden of Allah. It was low rise, a lot of incense burning, and people in flowing gowns,” he said. Discussing his new plans, he explained that residents and visitors “should feel that they are part of LA, a part of LA that has a culture that comes with it.”

It’s not Gehry’s only high-profile project of late: He has been quietly been working with city officials, pro bono, to draft a new master plan for the redevelopment of the Los Angeles River, as Artforum previously reported here.

August 27, 2015

Crystal Bridges Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright House Set to Open in November

Bachman-Wilson House

The Frank Lloyd Wright house acquired by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be making its public debut on November 11. Originally built in 1954, the house was disassembled, transported 1,200 miles across the nation, and reconstructed at the museum’s site.

Known as the Bachman-Wilson House, Wright’s design occupied a spot along the Millstone River in New Jersey, where it was threatened by repeated flooding. Crystal Bridges acquired the house in 2013.

“As the only Frank Lloyd Wright house in Arkansas, it enhances our region’s offerings with unique engagement opportunities for schools, families, and individuals with an interest in architecture, all at no cost to the public,” said Crystal Bridges executive director Rod Bigelow.

August 26, 2015

Palestinian Artist Ejected from Banksy’s Dismaland for Protesting Israeli Art

Shadi Alzaqzouq, Rock me all night long, 2011

A Palestinian artist staging an impromptu protest was removed by security guards from Banksy’s dystopian theme park, Dismaland, on Saturday, reports The Independent’s Chris Green. Protesting against works on view at Dismaland made by Israeli artists, Shadi Alzaqzouq covered two his own paintings in bedsheets written with the words “R.I.P Gaza: Boycott Israel,” and then lay down “like a corpse” in front of them.

“I found out when I arrived at the show that three Israeli artists were taking part, one of whom served in the Israel Defense Forces,” the artist told the Jewish Chronicle. In an interview with al-Araby al-Jadeed, he added: “I got upset that I hadn’t been informed and tried to complain to the organizers. I was told someone would meet with me but after over an hour of waiting no one came to meet with me.” So in response, he pulled bedsheets from his hotel room and used coal to write protest messages on them.

Alzaqzouq was reportedly told that his protest on Sunday was too “ugly” for the park—even though Banksy’s Dismaland has generally promoted so-called ugly work. But Alzaqzouq isn’t completely gone: Though security guards eventually removed him from the site, his two paintings are still on display.

August 26, 2015

2015–2016 Members Announced for National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts

Vidya Dehejia

The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art has announced its members for 2015–2016. Vidya Dehejia, of Columbia University, will be the sixty-fifth Mellon Lecturer for 2016 at the center. She will be discussing bronze temple sculptures from the Chola dynasty.

Overall, six senior and four visiting senior fellows have been appointed, as well as two postdoctoral fellows, seven predoctoral fellows working in residence, and eleven predoctoral fellows based at their respective institutions worldwide. Appointees include Thomas Kren, of the Getty Museum, and Mary E. Miller of Yale University.

“This year, CASVA’s topics range from the gold discs of Chichen Itza to the encounters between art and science in the work of Hungarian artist György Kepes,” said Earl A. Powell III, the gallery’s director.

This year's appointees are:

August 26, 2015

In New Orleans, Joan Mitchell Center Makes Its Debut

Joan Mitchell Center

Doug MacCash reports in the Times Picayune that the Joan Mitchell Center, a $12.5 million artist retreat funded by Mitchell's foundation, made its debut this weekend in New Orleans. Architect Jonathan Tate designed the renovations to the existing historic buildings, which included a central 1790s mansion, a nearby restaurant converted into gallery space, and cottages converted to dormitories. The residency’s centerpiece—a $4 million, 8,000-square-foot building—is designed by architect Lee Ledbetter and Associates.

“With the Joan Mitchell Center you get this really unique opportunity to have this oasis with property and space, but to also be in the middle of where things are happening,” director Gia Hamilton said. “I think we’re finding that that’s what artists are really interested in.” By the end of 2015, twenty-one artists will have made visits, and in 2016, that number will have risen to seventy-six artists in total.

To cover costs, the Joan Mitchell Foundation sold one of the painter’s works at auction. “We don’t seek outside funding,” Hamilton said. “We are really privileged to be supported by the sales of Joan’s work, the endowment, and other assets.”

The artists for the center’s first full residency program were announced last month, as Artforum previously reported here.