September 25, 2015

MoMA Appoints Chief Technology Officer

Diana Pan

The Museum of Modern Art is appointing Diana Pan chief technology officer. Pan joined MoMA in 2009 as director of technology and applications, and starts her new role immediately.

At the museum, she has already worked on the museum’s e-commerce order management system and introduced mobile e-commerce. She was the former director of technology at Scholastic Inc.

September 25, 2015

Citigroup Ends Sponsorship of Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center

Citi Performing Arts Center

Citigroup is ending its sponsorship of the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston’s Theater District, report Deirdre Fernandes and Don Aucoin for the Boston Globe. By terminating its support of the nonprofit arts center, it will no longer be underwriting the Citi Wang Theater, the Citi Shubert Theater, and the Colonial Theater. The move is part of the bank’s decision to close its remaining seventeen retail branches in Massachusetts.

“Do you know anybody who wants naming rights? " joked Josiah A. Spaulding Jr., president and chief executive of Citi Performing Arts Center. The bank had contributed around 10 percent of Citi Performing Arts Center’s thirty-million-dollar budget.

“The Citi news could also raise wider concerns about the solidity of corporate sponsorships in an arts community that’s perennially concerned about funding,” write Fernandes and Aucoin. Spaulding said that “whether to seek sponsorships from one corporation, several corporations, one individual, several individuals” is the decision being faced by Citi Performing Arts Center now.

“We’re hopeful that somebody else—as early as tomorrow—will say: ‘I know the value of that,’” said Spaulding.

September 25, 2015

Carol Rama (1918–2015)

Carol Rama, Appassionata, 1944

Carol Rama has died. An Italian self-taught artist, Rama was known for paintings, often erotic, that interrogated notions of female sexual identity. Police shut down her first show, in 1945 at Galleria Faber in Turin.

Rama won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the fiftieth Venice Biennale in 2003. She has had solo shows at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, in Turin, and at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.

“A vibrant, nasty, eccentric, erotic, corporeal, and irrefutably feminine (one might say feminist) wrath is everywhere visible in Rama’s oeuvre, yet hers is hardly piss without pleasure,” wrote critic Johanna Burton in Artforum.

September 25, 2015

Speed Museum in Louisville Names New Film Curator

Dean Otto

The Speed Museum in Louisville has appointed Dean Otto as curator of film, reports the Courier-Journal’s Elizabeth Kramer. Otto has worked at the Walker Art Center for over twenty-four years in a range of roles, including program manager and associate curator of film and video. At the Walker, he coordinated residencies with artists and filmmakers like Arthur Dong, who was awarded a Peabody Award for his 1995 film Coming Out Under Fire, and Christian Marclay. He also organized a retrospective of German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

The Speed will reopen March 12 with its new Speed Cinema. “This is a unique opportunity to be the founding curator for a museum program,” Otto said about his new job. “All of the planning for this building that’s gone into this center has the potential to make it a world-class place for film.”

September 25, 2015

Art Dealers Association of America Elects New President

Adam Sheffer

Adam Sheffer has been elected president of the Art Dealers Association of America at an annual board meeting, according to Artnews’s Hannah Ghorashi. Partner and sales director at Cheim & Read, Sheffer has been the vice president of the institution since 2013 and chairman of its annual fair since 2009. He will succeed Dorsey Waxter, ADAA’s president for the past three years. He has formerly served as director at Danese Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, and Robert Miller Gallery.

“One of the things that I’d really like to work on is the notion that galleries represent relationships, not merely transactions,” he said; according to Ghorashi he is “planning to rethink the presentation of the annual ADAA Art Show.”

September 25, 2015

Kapoor Covers Vandals’ Anti-Semitic Slogans—In Gold Leaf

Anish Kapoor, Dirty Corner, 2015

Is this the final chapter in the ongoing saga sparked by the anti-Semitic slogans that appeared on Anish Kapoor’s Versailles sculpture? Vandals left the hateful writing on Kapoor’s Dirty Corner, 2015, on view at Versailles Palace—and now Kapoor, who earlier wanted to keep the slogans but faced a court ruling that demanded them removed, will be covering the texts with gold leaf, according to the BBC.

The artist’s earlier decision to leave the graffiti intact had provoked a right-wing politician to sue Catherine Pégard, Versailles’s president, for “inciting racial hatred,” as previously reported here. This past weekend, a Versailles tribunal ruled that the graffiti had to be erased, and an alarm put in place.

Kapoor, now, says covering the sculpture in gold will be a way for the slogans to remain, transforming his original piece into “something else, a room still with a painful past, but a piece that first claims the beauty of art.”

September 25, 2015

British Museum Names First Foreign Director in Nearly 200 Years

Hartwig Fischer

Hartwig Fischer, a German art historian, will be the first foreign director of the British Museum in almost 200 years, according to The Guardian. The choice is still pending approval by the prime minister.

Fischer is the director general of Dresden State Art collections, and will fill the position left open by Neil MacGregor, who is going on to chair a committee advising the Humboldt Forum arts complex. Under MacGregor, the museum’s visitor numbers went up from 4.6 million in 2002 to 2003 to 6.7 million in 2014 to 2015. During his tenure though, the museum also faced scandal for holding on to the Elgin marbles, and last year MacGregor provoked a row when he backed loaning a portion of the display to Russia.

The last foreigner to hold one of the museum’s senior posts was Anthony Panizzi; the Italian served as principal librarian between 1856 and 1866.

September 24, 2015

Rauschenberg Foundation Asks Artists to Address Race and Mass Incarceration

Robert Rauschenberg, Signs, 1970

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has issued a call for artists to propose “ambitious projects addressing racial justice through the lens of mass incarceration,” according to the Art Newspaper’s Charlotte Burns. Artists chosen will receive up to $100,000 for a two-year fellowship.

“One in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime,” the foundation noted. “This constitutes an epidemic.”

In 2012, Rauschenberg’s foundation initiated the Artist as Activist Fellowship. The current call for proposals, however, is the first time this fellowship has honed in on artwork that addresses a specific societal ill. “We felt it might be more effective to focus specifically on a targeted issue,” said foundation director Christy Maclear. Awards will be given out in April of next year.

According to Mike Hogan in Vanity Fair, Martin Luther King Jr. once asked Rauschenberg what he did. “When Bob said, ‘I’m an artist,’ Dr. King replied, ‘That must be really difficult.’”

September 24, 2015

Wallis Annenberg Center Names New Artistic Director

Paul Crewes

Paul Crewes, the head of the Kneehigh Theater, will be artistic director of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts starting October 1, reports David Ng for the Los Angeles Times.

Jerry Magnin, the chairman of the Wallis, said of Crewes, “I knew the kind of passion he had for what we were doing.” His appointment comes a little over a year after the sudden exit of Lou Moore, the Wallis’s executive director, who devoted more than ten years raising money to build the new hub.

Since it opened in 2013, the Wallis has mostly brought in pre-existing productions from other venues. It expects to offer 240 performances for its current season.