February 4, 2016

Naima Keith Will Leave Studio Museum in Harlem to Serve as Deputy Director at California African American Museum

Naima Keith

The Studio Museum in Harlem’s curator, Naima Keith, will be leaving her job to begin a new role as deputy director for exhibitions and programs at the California African American Museum in LA’s Exposition Park, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Carolina A. Miranda.

At the Studio Museum, Keith was responsible for curating “Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974–1989,” which represented the artist’s first museum survey, and also organized “Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street,” which is opening in one month. Keith comes from Los Angeles, and obtained an MA at UCLA.

The California African American Museum operated without a director for about one year, after Charmaine Jefferson stepped down in July of 2014, and until executive director George Davis was hired this past summer.

February 4, 2016

Benjamin Millepied to Step Down from Paris Opera Ballet

Benjamin Millepied

The director of dance at the Paris Opera Ballet, Benjamin Millepied, will be stepping down to return to his own choreography—and LA—according to Roslyn Sulcas in the New York Times. The French paper Paris Match first reported rumors of his departure yesterday. Millepied started his role in November 2014, bringing an cross-disciplinary spirit and level of visibility to the enterprise. The director of the Paris Opera, Stéphane Lissner, will be holding a press conference later today.

Calling his departure “a blow to the opera’s much-vaunted era of new collaboration between opera, ballet, and other artistic ventures,” Sulcas wrote that the choreographer had spoken “of his dislike for the rigid hierarchical system of grading and promotion at the Opera.”

“His discontent with various aspects of his role has been well documented over the past few months,” she added.

February 4, 2016

National Museum in Yemen Destroyed by Civil War

Locals on the footsteps of the National Museum in the Yemeni city of Taiz

The National Museum in the Yemeni city of Taiz was damaged on Sunday, as part of the fallout from the nation’s ongoing civil war, according to the New York Times’ Shuaib Almosawa and Kareem Fahim. A rebel movement from the north known as the Houthis were shelling the city, resulting in a fire that incinerated the museum and most of its rare manuscripts and other artifacts.

“Manuscripts, an ornate turban said to belong to an unknown but ancient king, old Qurans dating back more than one thousand years, and private pistols of Imam Ahmed Hamid Al-Deen- the last Yemeni Imam (national religious leader) before Arab nationalists seized power in 1962- have all been destroyed,” reports the Middle East Eye.

February 4, 2016

Emma Hart Wins Sixth Max Mara Art Prize for Women

Emma Hart

Max Mara has awarded London-based artist Emma Hart its sixth annual prize for women, reports Artinfo. UK-based female visual artists who have not yet had a solo survey show are eligible for the prize, which has been awarded biennially since 2005. The winner receives a six-month residency in Italy to produce work that will then be featured in a major solo show at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2017.

Hart received her BFA at Central Saint Martins, and proposed to work on clay or ceramic sculptures that will be exhibited as well as objects, photos, and video. For her award residence she will work in artist Alighiero Boetti’s studio.

"The jury were impressed with the depth and breadth of references in [her] approach, from the Milan System’s Approach of family psychotherapy to the novels of Elena Ferrante, to the Italian tradition of Maiolica ceramics,” said Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery.

February 3, 2016

Mari Spirito Named Director and Curator of New Istanbul Exhibition Space

Mari Spirito

Mari Spirito, the curator and founding director of Protocinema – a nonprofit that organizes exhibitions traveling between Istanbul and New York – has been appointed as the new curator and director of a recently established art space in Istanbul.

The exhibition space, Alt, opened last month as a venue for exhibitions and performing art projects, Today’s Zaman reports. The center is housed in a former brewery in Bomonti.

Spirito and assistant curator Gökcan Demirkazık said that “authorship” is the theme of Alt’s first season, and the first solo show features the works of Canadian contemporary artist Rodney Graham.

According to Daily Sabah, Spirito said, “Although Turkish art is going through hard times, new galleries and exhibition spaces such as Alt continue to be opened.”

February 3, 2016

Artist List Announced for Portland2016 Biennial

Michelle Grabner Meeting with Ellen McFadden

Curator Michelle Grabner has announced the list of artists participating in this summer’s Portland2016 Biennial. The festival will take place at the Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, though a press release for the event also notes that it will be “activating locations around the state,” to draw in artists and audience from beyond Portland.

Grabner, who considered more than four hundred artist submissions and conducted more than one hundred studio visits, chose a total of thirty-four artists or teams. The additional seventy-one artists who received studio visits will be invited to participate in Salon: Portland2016 Biennial, The Studio Visits, a curatorial index highlighting Oregon-based art practices.

“From La Grande to Ashland, I was looking for work that addressed global realities as much as it embraced radical regionalism,” said Grabner.

A full list of artists is as follows:

February 3, 2016

Gean Moreno Named Curator of Programs at ICA Miami

A rendering of the ICA Miami’s new building, slated to open in 2017.

The Institute of Contemporary Art Miami announced two curatorial appointments today. Gean Moreno will join the museum as curator of programs to help further develop the institute’s public and educational programs and Stephanie Seidel was named assistant curator.

The institute’s director, Ellen Salpeter said, “They bring rigorous global perspectives and wide-ranging institutional experience into dialogue with innovative approaches to interdisciplinary programming.”

Moreno is the on the advisory committee for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. He served as artistic director at Cannonball, a Miami nonprofit cultural organization, from 2014 to 2016, and was the director of programming at Miami’s Locust Projects for four years. Seidel is the former curator of 25/25/25. Both Moreno and Seidel will take up their new positions at the museum on February 8.

“I’m thrilled to be joining ICA Miami at this crucial moment in its history,” said Moreno. The institute’s new building and sculpture garden is slated to open in 2017.

February 3, 2016

V&A Museum in London Will House Largest Photography Collection in the World

Victoria and Albert Museum

In a historic and controversial move, England’s National Media Museum will transfer more than four hundred thousand objects from the Royal Photography Society's collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Guardian reports. The works will join the museum’s existing collection of five-hundred-thousand works, making it the largest photography collection in the world.

The agreement is part of a broader initiative by the Science Museum Group, which comprises several museums including the Science Museum and National Railway Museum. After the National Media Museum faced the threat of closing its doors in 2013, the Science and Museum Group decided to shift its focus to science and technology.

Martin Barnes, the senior curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, said putting the two collections together made “a huge amount of sense … it kick starts a really exciting time for us, for photography.”

However, the director of the Royal Photographic Society, Michael Pritchard expressed concern. “Because of the breadth of photography, in that it covers science, technology and art, we think the story is told much better through a single institution able to deal with all of those,” he said.

The Victoria and Albert Museum intends to create an international photography resource center and double its permanent gallery space for photographs.

Among the objects transferred are the world’s first negative, daguerreotypes, early color photographs, and about eight thousand cameras.

February 3, 2016

Helsinki City Museum’s New Site to Debut in May

The new Helsinki City Museum

A new flagship venue of the Helsinki City Museum is being established in the historic Tori Quarters, reports Artinfo’s Nicholas Forrest. After eighteen months of construction, the museum will open in May with the show “Helsinki Bites,” featuring works from its collection of photos, as well as found objects. “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” a conceptual project by Croatian artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić that pays homage to an ended relationship, will also occupy the space. The museum has one million photos, 450,000 historical objects, and six thousand works of art, and was founded with a collection of works by photographer Signe Brander.