November 15, 2013

Jitish Kallat Named Director of 2014 Kochi-Muziris Biennale

The Kochi Biennale Foundation has announced that Indian artist Jitish Kallat will be the artistic director and curator of the 2014 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Kallat’s interdisciplinary work, which includes painting, sculpture, site-specific installation, animation video, and photography, has been widely exhibited at international biennials, such as those in Havana and Gwangju. His work has also been shown in many museums and galleries including the Tate Modern; Martin-Gropius-Bau; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; the Kunst Museum in Bern; and the Serpentine Gallery among others. “The biennale has the possibility of becoming a site to exchange prompts and assemble working notes,” Kallat said at the announcement, “to induce shifts in each other's perceptions and practices and to collectively expand the tools with which we might propose versions of the world today.”

November 15, 2013

New Art Museum in Las Vegas

A private board of directors led by philanthropy consultant Julie Murray has announced plans to build a multimillion-dollar cultural art center in downtown Las Vegas, reports the Las Vegas Sun. Financed by a $29 million capital campaign, which has already obtained $2.4 million in land and cash donations, the new art district will include a 35,000-square-foot museum (the Modern Contemporary Art Museum), 15,000 square feet of learning space that will offer interactive educational programs for varying ages (the Center for Creativity), and an outdoor sculpture garden (the Luminous Park). An opening date for the complex has yet to be announced.

November 14, 2013

Artists Announced for 2014 Whitney Biennial

The participating artists for the 2014 Whitney Biennial have been announced. Curators Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner have chosen 2013 artists and collectives. The forthcoming edition of the biennial—the seventy-seventh since its founding—will also be the last in the museum’s building on Madison Avenue: The Whitney will be moving to its new site downtown in 2015. Donna De Salvo, chief curator and deputy director for programs at the Whitney, noted: “The 2014 Biennial brings together the findings of three curators with very distinct points of view. There is little overlap in the artists they have selected and yet there is common ground. This can be seen in their choice of artists working in interdisciplinary ways, artists working collectively, and artists from a variety of generations. Together, the 103 participants offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.”


November 14, 2013

Winners of 2013 Artadia Awards Revealed

Artadia: the Fund for Art and Dialogue has announced that artists Cayetano Ferrer, Nicole Miller, Vishal Jugdeo, Stanya Kahn, and Kerry Tribe are the winners of the first 2013 Artadia Los Angeles Awards. Ferrer and Miller will both receive a cash prize of $15,000, while Jugdeo, Kahn, and Tribe will each receive $3,000. A panel of internationally recognized curators chose these visual artists, who all work in Los Angeles in a range of media and are at different stages of their careers. Artadia will present an exhibition of the winning artists’ work in Los Angeles in January 2014.

November 14, 2013

International News Digest


Fallout continues after German officials several weeks ago revealed the existence of a cache of Nazi-looted art that includes significant works by Picasso, Renoir, and Matisse. Der Spiegel published a letter by Cornelius Gurlitt (whose art-dealer father amassed the collection) asking the paper to “leave the name Gurlitt out of your pages”—and expressing concern that the family’s reputation would become synonymous with Nazi-era dealings. Die Welt, meanwhile, reported that the government has now promised to release a full list of all the trove’s artworks. And the Stuttgarter Zeitung noted that Gurlitt has a brother residing in Kornwestheim who has now also turned in a trove of art to the police. Art historians are now reviewing the twenty-two works handed over by Gurlitt's sibling, whose name has yet to be revealed.

In India, the foundation stone for Kolkata’s Museum of Modern Art has been laid, according to India Blooms. Situated in New Town, Rajarhat, the project is being built to a tune of nearly $80 million dollars, and is funded by a public-private partnership model. Its board of trustees includes industrialists and artists, as well as nominees representing the West Bengal government and India’s national government. "KMOMA is a child now. Today is the beginning,” said the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “Kolkata is the cultural capital of the world. Our golden days are returning.”

India’s not the only country inaugurating a new site for contemporary art: The nation of Benin now has its first contemporary art center, according to RFI. The institution, which occupies the Villa Ajavon in Ouidah, opens its doors with an exhibition featuring thirteen artists of the African continent. As RFI noted, the museum’s debut was a symbol of the country’s move “into the future.”

Political art in Russia has taken a new gruesome turn: According to The Guardian’s Shaun Walker, artist Pyotr Pavlensky stripped off his scrotum and nailed it to Moscow’s Red Square this past Sunday, in protest against Russia’s descent into a “police state.” Pavlensky timed his protest to coincide with Police Day. It’s not the first time Pavlensky has included self-mutilation in his art: He sewed his lips together to protest the jail sentences doled out to members of punk band Pussy Riot. Russian theater director Kirill Serebrennikov called Pavlensky’s performance a “powerful gesture of absolute despair.” But the government wasn’t so pleased. After being given basic treatment for his injuries at a hospital, Pavlensky was taken to a police station. He faces jail time of fifteen days.

Red Square might not seem all too appealing these days, in light of Pavlensky’s gesture, but Russian officials are looking to “project a new image of Moscow and Russia to the world” via a new park just fifteen minutes away from the square. ArchDaily reports that the thirteen-acre Zaryadye Park, formerly the site of Hotel Russia, will be designed by the New York–based Diller Scofidio and Renfro. Archinect notes that the firm’s design is inspired by “principles of wild urbanism, where people and plants coexist in the same area.” The park will feature four typical Russian ecosystems: tundra, steppe, forest, and marsh.

November 14, 2013

Kelly Taxter Appointed Assistant Curator at Jewish Museum

Kelly Taxter will be an assistant curator at the Jewish Museum, where she will work with deputy director Jens Hoffmann on contemporary art programming. The cofounder of Taxter and Spengemann Gallery, which operated in New York from 2003 to 2011, Taxter was responsible for producing over one hundred exhibitions, and represented artists including Andrew Kuo, A. L. Steiner, Xavier Cha, and Frank Benson. Over the past year, she has been a curatorial consultant at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. “I am very happy to welcome Kelly Taxter to the staff of The Jewish Museum. Her experience working directly with artists as the founder of an art gallery and her extensive curatorial expertise support our plans for future contemporary art programming,” said Hoffmann. Taxter’s not the only assistant curator to recently join the museum’s staff; last month, scholar Daniel S. Palmer was also named assistant curator. Palmer is a Ph.D. candidate at CUNY with experience as a curatorial research assistant at the Whitney Museum.

November 14, 2013

Warhol Sells for Record $104.5 Million at Sotheby’s

Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times that a 1963 painting by Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), sold for $104.5 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art auction last evening—a record price for the artist. Warhol’s car-crash painting—“the last of its size left in private hands,” according to Vogel—went to an unidentified European bidder. In total, the evening sale brought in $380.6 million, just short of the auction house’s $394 million estimate. Seven of the sixty-one works on offer failed to sell. High-profile works included those from the collection of hedge-funder Steven A. Cohen, who pled guilty last week to insider trading, and from the Dia Art Foundation, which proceeded with its controversial decision to sell off its collection in order to raise funds for new acquisitions. Dia sold pieces by John Chamberlain and Barnett Newman, among others.

November 13, 2013

At $142.4 Million, Bacon Triptych Breaks Records at Christie’s Auction

A triptych by Francis Bacon brought in a record-breaking $142.4 million last evening at Christie’s sale of postwar and contemporary art—more than $85 million over the auction house’s estimate, reports Carol Vogel in the New York Times. “I went to $101 million but it hardly mattered,” said dealer Larry Gagosian, according to Vogel. In total, last evening’s sale amounted to $691.5 million, far surpassing the $495 million of Christie’s May auction. Nine artists other than Bacon also achieved record prices, including Christopher Wool, Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd, and Willem de Kooning. Of the sixty-nine works on the auction block, only six failed to sell.

November 13, 2013

Cleveland Museum Cancels Show Organized by David Franklin

Steven Litt reports in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that the Cleveland Museum of Art has decided to cancel a major show organized by David Franklin, the former director who stepped down last month after it was revealed he’d had an affair with a museum employee.

Titled “Exporting Florence: Donatello to Michelangelo,” the show—which Franklin was organizing in collaboration with Maxwell Anderson at the Dallas Museum of Art—was scheduled to open at the museum next fall. But now, the Cleveland Museum of Art’s interim director Fred Bidwell has said that, following his “extensive conversations” with Deborah Gibbon (the interim chief curator), they've decided that the show will no longer proceed. “We felt that there were complications no matter which way we went,” said Bidwell.