November 16, 2015

MoMA Returns a Kirchner Painting to Heirs of Jewish Collector

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Sand Hills in Engadine, 1917

The Museum of Modern Art has announced that it will be returning Sand Hills in Engadine, 1917, a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, to the heirs of a Jewish art collector, according to the New York Times’ Robin Pogrebin. The work’s original owner, Max Fischer, fled Germany in 1935, losing much of the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer collection—which he and his brother had inherited, and which Pogrebin calls “one of the most important collections of expressionist art assembled in pre-Nazi Germany.”

At the urging of the family’s attorney, David Rowland, the museum spent several years researching the painting’s provenance, and came to the conclusion that the painting should be returned. “There’s no sense of loss,” Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director, told Pogrebin. “It feels like we’re doing the right thing.”

November 16, 2015

Constant Dullaart Wins Prix Net Art

Constant Dullaart

Rhizome, the Beijing-based Chronus Art Center, and Tsinghua University Art and Science Media Lab today announced that Dutch artist Constant Dullaart has been awarded the second annual Prix Net Art, an international prize for internet art that comes with an award of ten thousand dollars. A five thousand dollar award of distinction was also granted to the Berlin-based collective Weise7. Dullaart will discuss the future of net art during a new art and technology conference presented by Rhizome and the New Museum in January 2016.

The jury which decided the winners this year comprised critic Josephine Bosma; Whitney Museum curator Chrissie Iles; and critic and curator Domenico Quaranta.

November 16, 2015

Drawing Center’s Funding Ignites Controversy [UPDATED]

The Drawing Center

Rachel Corbett reports in The Art Newspaper that the Drawing Center, a nonprofit exhibition space in New York, has begun a new and controversial funding model wherein artists donate works to the center that are then sold in order to help fund the artists’ exhibitions. The organization began selling art last year because “the philanthropic community has become less supportive of artists’ shows,” according to Drawing Center director Brett Littman. They would not ask artists to pay for their exhibition’s costs outright though, said Littman, given the institution’s stipulation that income from a donated work should not exceed twenty to thirty percent of a show’s budget.

Stefan Kalmár, executive director of the nearby nonprofit Artists Space, has publicly disagreed with such a model, saying the center’s funding model is “not how not-for-profits should operate…it has more to do with how commercial galleries operate,” and citing their 40 Years Artists Space Program Fund started in 2011 to solicit donations from successful artists to support other emerging ones.

UPDATE, November 17, 2015, 11:18 AM: Kalmár has clarified, “Unlike the Art Newspaper suggests, I never was asked to comment directly on the Drawing Center’s affairs, neither am I familiar with the Drawing Center’s fundraising strategies.” Saying he was quoted out of context, Kalmár added: “What I did say however, is that artists should not be asked to pay directly for their own exhibitions at any not for profit arts organization, as this indeed would have more to do with how commercial galleries operate.”

Littman, meanwhile, emphasized that the funding model described by Corbett in the Art Newspaper highlighted “one very small aspect of our fundraising by focusing on something we have done only twice in the eighty-five shows we have produced in the last eight years.”

Added Littman: “In these cases, after the Drawing Center had exhausted all traditional fundraising avenues, two young contemporary artists, who had ambitious, production-heavy shows, offered to donate specific works that, if sold, could help to support a small percentage of their overall production expenses. To date, this initiative has raised $10,000 against our $2 million dollar budget, and so represents less than 1 percent of our overall fundraising.”

November 16, 2015

Leonard Peltier’s Paintings Removed From Exhibition at Washington State Agency

Leonard Peltier’s paintings at the Department of Labor and Industries’ headquarters in Tumwater, Washington

ABC News reports via the Associated Press that a Washington state agency plans to remove four paintings by Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who is currently serving two consecutive life sentences after being controversially convicted in 1977 for the murder of two FBI agents in a 1975 conflict at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. An association representing retired FBI agents demanded the state agency remove the paintings from inclusion in an art exhibition installed in the lobby of the state Department of Labor and Industries’ headquarters in Tumwater, Washington.

The works have been hanging near the front doors of the building as part of an exhibit to mark National American Indian Heritage Month. Retired FBI agent Ray Lauer, who wrote a letter to the agency, said “for the state of Washington to use taxpayers’ dollars to basically offer a free art gallery to somebody who is a convicted cop killer, I find it, as a law enforcement officer, appalling and quite frankly disgusting as taxpayer also.” The department said it would replace the paintings this week with other artwork.

November 16, 2015

Sotheby’s Offers Staff Buyouts

Sotheby’s in New York

Coming just on the heels of the auction house’s recent contemporary evening sale, Robin Pogrebin reports in the New York Times that Sotheby’s has offered its employees voluntary buyouts in order to cut costs. The company’s stock price has been in decline over the previous six months, and last Monday their third-quarter results showed that commissions from Sotheby’s auction sales during this period were $56 million, a decrease of twelve percent as compared to the same period in 2014.

Tad Smith, the chief executive of Sotheby’s, said in a memo emailed to staff on Friday that he would “certainly understand that announcing a cost reduction program right after two weeks of dazzling sales may be unexpected,” adding that “our company would benefit from a lower and more flexible cost structure” by giving “colleagues an attractive economic opportunity to volunteer to resign, should they wish to do so.” If the buyouts don’t lead to the necessary cost reductions, Sotheby’s may head towards layoffs.

November 16, 2015

Centre Pompidou Foundation Hires New Curator of American Art

Florence Derieux

The Centre Pompidou Foundation has announced that curator Florence Derieux will be its new curator of American art in New York as well as curator at large for the Pompidou in Paris. Derieux will start at the beginning of 2016, leaving her current post as director of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, France. She has previously also held positions at the Palais de Tokyo and at the Picasso Museum.

The Centre Pompidou Foundation is an American-based nonprofit “dedicated to supporting the Centre Pompidou in Paris” through acquisitions of American art and design, as well as superintending gifts and loans to the Centre Pompidou’s permanent collection.

November 16, 2015

Museums in Paris Reopen Today After Terrorist Attacks

Sign outside of the Louvre announcing its closure over last weekend

After Paris’s major art institutions closed over the weekend in the wake of last Friday’s terrorist attacks by ISIS, the BBC reports that the museums will reopen as of today. French culture minister Fleur Pellerin said that despite France’s tragedy, “culture is more than ever this symbolic place of self-discovery.” Pellerin additionally noted that the government would boost security measures at public cultural institutions in Ile-de-France, a region surrounding Paris.

The institutions reopened at 1PM local time, following a minute’s silence to honor the victims.

November 14, 2015

Paris Art Institutions Close Doors In Wake of Terrorist Attacks

Police in front of Louvre on November 14, 2015

In the wake of the coordinated terrorist attacks that left at least 127 people dead last night in Paris, French art institutions are remaining closed for the day. France’s cabinet earlier authorized officials to temporarily close any place of public assembly, and now the Pompidou and Louvre have both announced that they will shut their doors, with the Louvre posting on Twitter: Musée fermé. #DeuilNational, and in English, “Museum is closed today. National Day of Mourning.” The Louvre will remain closed tomorrow, Sunday November 15, as well.

The Telegraph wrote that shootings were initially reported at both museum venues as the attacks spread through the city last night, though those reports are now believed to be false alarms.

Meanwhile, Paris Photo has also announced that it will remain closed today. The fair opened just two days ago. Organizers released a statement that read: “Reed Expositions, the Paris Photo team, and all the exhibitors extend their sincere condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims of the attacks and share in the national mourning decreed by the President of the Republic.”

UPDATE November 14, 12:45 PM: The French Ministry of Culture and Communication has announced that “all cultural institutions in the Ile-de-France region will be closed Sunday November 15th.” Paris Photo will not reopen this year.

November 14, 2015

$190,000 Grant Will Support Nick Cave’s Artist Residency in Shreveport

View of Nick Cave performance

The Educational Foundation of America has given a $190,000 grant to the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, in support of the cultural development of the nine-block area comprising Shreveport Common. The grant also accompanies a year-long artist-in-residency of Nick Cave. Local artists Karen LaBeau, Kathryn Usher, Heather Beauvais, Jerry Davenport, and Sherry Tamburo are gathering the stories of local residents and interpreting them as artworks that will be featured in the Nick Cave production, AS IS, 2016, a piece that will involve beaded blankets, musical works, and dance compositions.

“We believe that Shreveport Common will become a reality when area Artists make it their home…their place to live, work, and play,” said Heidi Ettinger, chair of the Educational Foundation of America Arts Committee.