November 28, 2015

Eldzier Cortor (1916–2015)

Eldzier Cortor

Painter and printmaker Eldzier Cortor died on Thursday, according to Elizabeth a. Harris in the New York Times. Cortor’s works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among other venues. He was also featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s first show at its new building, “America Is Hard to See.”

Employed by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project, he was “charged with depicting scenes of African-American social life in the slums of Chicago’s South Side,” in the words of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The foundation awarded him a fellowship in 1949 that let him travel to Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti. And with WPA funding, he played a key role in founding the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago.

He said of his goal in making art: “You try to just get [viewers] to stay with that painting for a while, you don’t just burst past it there. And that’s the idea. If you can get someone, to catch their eye a little bit.”

November 27, 2015

Deborah Boardman (1958–2015)

Deborah Boardman

Artist and teacher Deborah Boardman passed away on November 21, according to Maureen O’Donnell of the Chicago Sun-Times.

After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, Boardman—whose paintings and projects previously took more oblique turns in regards to autobiography—put aside that approach for “I can't go on. I'll go on,” her solo exhibition about her diagnosis, which took place at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studios this past May. “It's what life looks like in that gracious limbo between life and death,” said artist and critic Lori Waxman of the show in the Chicago Tribune.

Boardman had been an adjunct associate professor within the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s painting and drawing department. She had taught there since 1997.

November 27, 2015

Chinese Authorities Cancel Exhibition on Violence Against Women

Tom Phillips of The Guardian reports that an exhibition organized by Chinese artist Cui Guangxia at the Jinge Art Gallery in Beijing was canceled by Chinese authorities (Guangxia was also arrested for supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year). One work in the show features a brassiere attached to a mound of wrinkled Chinese money.

The exhibition, which contains the work of thirty-two women and thirty-two men, was scheduled to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

November 27, 2015

Russia to Sever Cultural Ties with Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

According to Sophia Kishkovsky of the Art Newspaper, the gunning down of a Russian fighter jet on November 24 that appeared to pass through Turkish airspace while it was going into Syria has prompted Russia to close all cultural ties with Turkey. Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev assembled a series of diplomatic and economic orders against Turkey only days after the incident.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered no apologies for the downing during a recent interview on CNN. Vladimir Putin called the incident “a stab in the back delivered to us by accomplices of terrorists.”

November 27, 2015

Maria Taniguchi Wins Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2015

Maria Taniguchi

Artist Maria Taniguchi, who lives and works in Manila, Philippines, has been awarded the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2015 for emerging Asian artists, announced director of the Rockbund Art Museum Larys Frogier, and Managing Director of Hugo Boss China Retail Co. Ltd., Marc Le Mat. Other artists nominated for this prize were Huang Po-Chih (Taiwan), Guan Xiao (Mainland China), Yang Xinguang (Mainland China), Vandy Rattana (Cambodia), and Moe Satt (Myanmar). Their work is being exhibited at RAM until January 3, 2016.

Taniguchi’s brick-pattern paintings call to mind the early peregrinations of Frank Stella, or Agnes Martin’s metaphysical explorations of line and space. Says Larys Frogier, “Her detailed video compositions of objects, architectonic elements, and color spectrums turn out the repetition and the familiar into a full practice of difference and strangeness. Maria Taniguchi solidly positions her work, without any compromise, into the context of Asia and international contemporary art.”

The artist will be given a stipend of about $2400.

November 26, 2015

Fiona Gasper to Direct Manchester International Festival

Fiona Gasper.

The Manchester International Festival today announced that Fiona Gasper will take over as executive director in March 2016. Gasper succeeds Jim Forrester, who oversaw the festival’s 2013 and 2015 editions. Gasper arrives at the Festival after five years as director at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre; prior to her work there, she was executive producer of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture Program. In 2009 she was awarded a MBE for her service to the arts.

Conceived as a biennial event presenting original works that mixed artists from the performing and visual arts with artists from popular culture, the Festival launched in 2007 with Alex Poots and Peter Saville as codirectors. Its earliest commissions included the group show/event “Il Tempo del Postino,” organized by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno, and Steve McQueen’s Queen and Country, a commemoration of fallen British soldiers.

The news quickly follows another big announcement in Manchester, with Rem Koolhaas awarded the commission to design a new arts venue called The Factory Manchester.

November 26, 2015

UK’s Department for Sport, Culture, and Media to Face 20 Percent Decrease in Budget

Blythe House

The UK’s department for sport, culture, and media is soon to face a 20 percent cut—or about $1.6 billion—to its core administrative budget, according to Nick Clark in The Independent. However, the Arts Council will receive a cash increase of about fifteen million dollars, each year until 2019 and 2020. This represents a net budget decrease for the arts of 5 percent over the period.

Arts Council England’s Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, said that the figures reflected an “astonishing settlement for arts and culture,” and overall, according to ex-Barbican chief Sir John Tusa, the news was a victory because “some had expected cuts of up to 20 percent” in the arts.

Concerns were raised by the director of the Art Fund, Stephen Deuchar, over the fate of lesser-known local arts organizations—though Osborne did pledge support for institutions beyond London. And the government also unveiled plans to sell Blythe House, which currently functions as a store and archive for the Victoria and Albert as well as the Science and British museums. Proceeds from the sale of the property will generate around $230 million in funding, which will rehouse the two million objects kept in the building’s storage.

November 26, 2015

Tate Modern Appoints Two New Curators, Clara M. Kim and Nancy Ireson

Left: Clara M. Kim. Right: Nancy Ireson.

Tate announced today the appointment of two new curators, Clara Kim and Nancy Ireson. Kim will be the Daskalopoulos Senior Curator in International Art (Africa, Asia, and Middle East), while Ireson has been made curator of international art.

Kim arrives at Tate Modern after her recent role as senior curator at the Walker Art Center, where she organized a midcareer survey of Abraham Cruzvillegas; prior to the Walker, Kim spent eight years at REDCAT in Los Angeles, where she was gallery director and curator from 2008–2011. Since 2013, Ireson has been the Rothma Family Associate Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she curated “Temptation! The Demons of James Ensor” in partnership with the Getty Museum.

November 25, 2015

Rem Koolhaas Wins Competition to Design New Manchester Arts Venue

Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s rendering for The Factory Manchester

Rem Koolhaas’s Pritzker Prize-winning Office for Metropolitan Architecture has just won an international competition to design a new arts venue called The Factory Manchester in the north of England. The new venue will accommodate a range of performing arts including theater, music, and dance in addition to film and television along with a year-round commissioning schedule. This project will be the firm’s first major public building in the United Kingdom, with the British government pledging revenue funding of nine million pounds, or 13.5 million dollars, per annum.

The Factory is intended to hold audiences of up to seven thousand and construction is due to begin in 2016 with an anticipated completion date of 2019. Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, and David Gianotten will head the project.