The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, announced today that Helen Molesworth has been appointed chief curator. She’ll start her new job in September. Molesworth will be heading out to LA from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, where as chief curator she was responsible for overseeing shows including “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s,” and “Dance/Draw.” She contributed to the organization of projects and exhibitions for artists including Catherine Opie, Amy Sillman, and Josiah McElheny. Before her work at the ICA, Molesworth led the department of modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museum, where she was Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art. Said LA MoCA director Philippe Vergne, “The word curator means to ‘care for’ and Helen Molesworth is the perfect embodiment of caring for art, artists and audiences.”
Brooke Hodge has been named deputy director of Cooper-Hewitt at the Smithsonian Institute, effective July 16. Hodge is currently director of exhibitions and publications at the Hammer Museum. She assumed this role in 2010 and over her tenure produced exhibitions on the work of Frank Gehry and car designer J Mays as well as “Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture,” which examined the relationship between contemporary fashion and architecture and traveled to London and Tokyo. She is currently organizing an exhibition of British designer Thomas Heatherwick, slated to open at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas in September and to later travel to Cooper-Hewitt. Alongside three Cooper-Hewitt curators, she was also a guest curator of the third National Design Triennial, “Design Life Now.”
Said director Caroline Baumann: “I’ve known and admired Brooke since her involvement with the 2006 Triennial at Cooper-Hewitt, and I’m thrilled she is joining us at this critical juncture. Brooke will be diving into preparations for our opening later this fall, while partnering with me and museum teams on the exciting, future plans for the nation’s design museum.”
Justin Conner and Heather Harmon have been appointed to the board of Artadia, the nonprofit fund established by Artspace founder Christopher Vroom that makes grants to artists and art programs. Conner is a public-relations executive who recently cofounded Third Eye, a firm that provides brand consultation and creative direction in addition to doing public-relations work. Harmon is a writer and art dealer who has worked at Regen Projects, and Patrick Painter and is a partner in the Los Angeles-based firm Champions of Culture.
Maya Angelou has died at the age of eighty-six. The revered literary voice internationally recognized for her commitment to civil rights, justice, education, and equality passed away yesterday at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Margalit Fox of the New York Times writes that her literary agent reported she had been frail and suffering heart problems. Among the dozens of awards Angelou has received—including thirty honorary doctoral degrees and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize—she was given the National Medal of Arts in 2000 and Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. She was also nominated for a Tony Award, received three Grammys for her spoken-word albums, and served on two presidential committees.
Angelou began her career in roles including a fry cook and nightclub dancer, jobs that eventually led her to become a journalist and editor in Egypt and Ghana during decolonization. During this time she met Malcom X and returned to the United States to work as an activist and, after his death, began working with Martin Luther King, Jr., who was killed on her birthday. She simultaneously wrote and produced plays, movies, and public television programs, and authored several books, including the 1969 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among one of the first autobiographies by a black woman to reach a general public, and a profound examination of racism and sexism in the United States. Said President Obama: “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time—a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.”
Diana Baldon has been named the director of Malmö Konsthall. An Italian art historian, critic, and curator, Baldon has lead Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation in Stockholm since 2011. Before that she worked at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as curator in residence. She has prepared exhibitions for institutions and biennials including the Generali Foundation, 2012; the second Athens Biennale, and the second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. “Malmö Konsthall is renowned both locally and internationally and Diana Baldon will continue to strengthen its profile further,” said Elisabeth Lundgren, director of the department of culture in Malmö.
Graphic designer Massimo Vignelli has passed away, according to Douglas Martin in the New York Times. While he worked on everything from corporate design for companies like Xerox and Gillette to brochures for the National Park Service, he was perhaps best known in New York City for creating a version of the MTA’s subway map. Released in 1972, his graphic upset some riders with its minimalist paucity of street-level detail, but also eventually made its way into the Museum of Modern Art’s collection of postwar design. In addition, Vignelli’s work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
The St. Petersburg Art Museum will be opening its first European satellite in Malaga, Spain, according to the Art Newspaper’s Javier Pes and Laurie Rojas. In accord with the agreement reached by the museum and Malaga’s city government, one hundred works will head to the former tobacco factory in Malaga that’s slated to serve as the museum’s new outpost. Temporary exhibitions will also figure in its program.
The Abendblatt reports that the Cultural Authority of Hamburg, Germany, has established a new fund to support the art projects of emerging and midcareer artists in the region. The catch? The artists supported are to be nominated by an art expert who’ll remain anonymous, known only by the title “Kunstbeutelträger”—a made-up term referring to said expert as an art-load carrier. The fund has currently been endowed with about $50,000.
Chinese police have shut down the Lucheng museum in Liaoning after finding that a third of the 8,000 items in its collection are fakes. The state-run Global Times reported, via The Guardian, that the museum’s forgeries included a sword touted as dating from the Qing Dynasty. Said Chinese antiques expert Ma Weidu: “Similar fake museums are found in many places in China in search of monetary gain.”
German photographer Michael Schmidt has died, reports ABC News. Schmidt, who is known for documenting postwar Berlin, had just won the fifth Prix Pictet photography prize. Schmidt’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and is currently on view at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, completed in 1907, has been ravaged by a fire, reports Justin Davidson of New York Magazine. The fire appears to have begun in the basement of the building and is believed to have engulfed the entire west wing, which includes Mackintosh’s famous library and the Hen Run, a glazed corridor that runs along the roof. There is as yet no confirmed indication as to what caused the fire and no casualities have been reported.