August 17, 2012

Found Guilty of Hooliganism, Russian Band Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

David Herszenhorn reports in the New York Times that the Moscow judge presiding over the trial of Russian punk band Pussy Riot has found the defendants guilty of hooliganism and sentenced each of them to two years in prison. Herszenhorn reports, “As the judge, Marina Syrova, read the lengthy verdict, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse and shouted, ‘Free Pussy Riot!’” Riot police apparently arrested a good number of protestors, including former chess champion Garry Kasparov. The three defendants, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Maria Alyokhina, have been in jail since March after staging a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior last February in which they prayed to the Virgin Mary to rid the country of Vladimir V. Putin. has been reporting on the proceedings here.

August 16, 2012

Meleko Mokgosi Wins 2012 Mohn Award

The Hammer Museum has announced that Meleko Mokgosi is the recipient of the inaugural Mohn Award. The $100,000 award is funded by Los Angeles philanthropists and art collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn and will be accompanied by a publication of a monograph about Mokgosi’s work. A jury of curators––Cecilia Alemani, curator and director of High Line Art Program; Doryun Chong, associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art; Rita Gonzalez, curator of contemporary art at LACMA; and Anthony Huberman, independent curator and writer––selected five finalists––Simone Forti, Liz Glynn, Meleko Mokgosi, Slanguage, and Erika Vogt. The winner was chosen by visitors to the exhibition through online and onsite voting from June 28 to August 12. Mokgosi, thirty-one, was born in Gaborone, Botswana, and lives and works in Los Angeles.

August 16, 2012

Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch Named Associate Curator at Baltimore Museum of Art

The Baltimore Museum of Art has announced the appointment of Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch as associate curator and head of the department of the arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Pacific Islands. Gunsch has worked as an adjunct instructor of art history at Marymount Manhattan College, Montclair State University, and New York University. She most received her Ph.D. as the Erwin Panofsky Fellow at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Doreen Bolger, director of Baltimore Museum of Art said, “We are thrilled that Kathryn has joined us at such a pivotal moment in the museum’s history. The ambitious $24.5 million renovation currently underway will culminate with the . . . reinstallation of the museum’s outstanding African collection. Kathryn’s leadership of this project will help us bring updated scholarship, fresh educational perspectives, thoughtful design, and innovative uses of technology to better showcase these remarkable objects.”

August 16, 2012

Utah Museum of Fine Art Names Whitney Tassie Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts has announced that Whitney Tassie has been hired as its new curator of modern and contemporary art. A cofounder of Chicago Gallery Week, Tassie previously worked as the director of the Monique Meloche Gallery for seven years, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. She holds a master’s degree in modern art history, theory, and criticism from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree in art history and archaeology from Cornell. Gretchen Dietrich, the museum's executive director, said in a statement, “We are confident that [Tassie’s] fresh energy, great eye, scholarship, and creative curatorial ideas will bring incredible value to students and the broader community. She made a tangible difference in the art scene of Chicago, and we look forward to the extraordinary art experiences she will bring to Salt Lake City, the University of Utah, and the region.”

August 16, 2012

The Getty Gives $1.95 Million to Claremont University

The Getty Foundation is giving Claremont Graduate University a $1.95 million grant over the next three years to fund its Getty Leadership Institute, a program on the California school’s campus that to date has trained more than 1,000 museum administrators working internationally. The grant guarantees the institute’s continuation through 2015, though its programs will be suspended next year while curricula are redeveloped and overhauled.

August 15, 2012

New Director for Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has announced that Charles L. Venable has been appointed its new director and CEO. Currently holding the same position at the Speed Art Museum in Kentucky, Venable will succeed Maxwell L. Anderson, who had moved to the Dallas Art Museum. At the Speed, Venable was responsible for acquiring a series of significant works, as well as spearheading an initiative to have the museum’s 14,000-piece permanent collection comprehensively analyzed. Venable’s leadership also gave rise to what has become a planned 200,000-square-foot expansion featuring a new building for modern and contemporary art. “Charles has a proven track record as a director, curator and fundraiser at leading museums across the country,” said June McCormack, chair of the Indianapolis Museum’s board of governors.

August 15, 2012

Margo Leavin Gallery to Close

Dealer Margo Leavin has announced that she will be closing her eponymous gallery after forty-two years. Since opening her doors in 1970, Leavin has been the LA representative of such artists as Jeffrey Vallance, Alexis Smith, William Leavitt, and John Baldessari, who later said, “I thought she would be around for a long time. And it turned out to be true.” The gallery will officially close in September at the end of the current group show, though it will remain open by appointment through the following year, according to David Ng of the Los Angeles Times. Business associate Wendy Brandow, who became a partner in 1989, told the Times, “People are approaching art differently today. They’re not seeking out the thoughtful, complete statement that artists make when they create gallery exhibitions. The exhibitions have been such an important part of what we do, and they are no longer valued as much by the public.” Added Leavin, “It feels like the right moment for change.”

August 15, 2012

Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture Announces Award Winners

The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture has announced the recipients of three awards. Roger&Reid has won the Morton Award, valued at nearly $8,000, which will fund the duo’s proposal to travel through Scotland visiting and documenting historic battle sites. Anne Murray is the winner of the $3,000 Littlejohn Award, which will allow her to study the ancient Japanese printmaking technique of Mokuhanga and apply it to her ceramic practice. And Madeline Mackay, winner of the Barns-Graham Travel Award, will use her $3,000 prize to fund her upcoming residency position at Aland Archipelago, Finland.

August 14, 2012

Third Text Issues Letter Protesting Dismissal of Founding Editor

Third Text, a scholarly journal providing critical perspectives on art and visual culture, specifically examining the ways in which “the West legitimizes its position as the ultimate arbiter of what is significant within this field,” has issued a letter protesting the “continuing disrespect” and dismissal of founding editor Rasheed Araeen by the board of trustees. In the letter, the journal’s editorial staff members accuse the board of taking “the extraordinary unilateral action of dismissing Rasheed Araeen as executive director . . . without consulting with the Third Text editorial board or advisory council and without any attempt to publicly explain or justify such a drastic action.” Going on to summarize the events that ensued—which included the resignations of five of the nine members of Third Text’s editorial board—the petitioners stated, “In our view, what has taken place is unacceptable. Clearly, there were major divergences and sharp disputes regarding funding strategies in the current financial crisis and official turn to austerity. But no such differences justify the removal, without consultation or justification, of the man who more than any other defined the vision we share and established the standards of the journal we know and love.”