February 9, 2014

Terry Adkins (1953–2014)

Artist, performer, musician, and educator Terry Adkins has died. Born in 1953, Adkins received a BS from Fisk University in 1975, a MS from Illinois State University in 1977, and a MFA from the University of Kentucky in 1979. Adkins frequently performed with his longtime band, the Lone Wolf Recital Corps; their last performance together was held at the Studio Museum in Harlem as part of Performa 13.

Adkins has had solo museum exhibitions at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art (1995); SculptureCenter, New York (1997); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (1999). His work is included in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Tate, London. Black Artist News notes that Adkins’s latest body of work—three-dimensional representations of bird songs, constructed from cymbals and percussion instruments—will be featured in the upcoming Whitney Biennial, on view from March 7 to May 25, 2014.

February 7, 2014

Baltimore Museum of Art Receives Photography Collection

The Baltimore Museum of Art has received a major gift of photography from Baltimore-based collectors Tom and Nancy O’Neil. Included are twenty-four color and black-and-white photographs from nineteen contemporary artists including Dawoud Bey, Edward Burtynsky, Rodney Graham, Richard Misrach, and James Welling. The gift is the most significant collection of photographs to arrive at the museum since 1988. Said curator Kristen Hileman: “The passion, connoisseur’s eye, and thoughtfulness that Tom and Nancy O’Neil bring to collecting photography are truly exceptional. Through their generous gift, we have expanded the museum’s contemporary photography collection in a way that we could not otherwise have imagined possible.”

February 7, 2014

MoMA Appoints First Director of Digital Content and Strategy

Fiona Romeo has been appointed the director of digital content and strategy at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the newly created position, Romeo will lead the museum’s digital media department. In addition to overseeing MoMA’s website and its online collection and exhibition materials, she’ll also be in charge of the institution’s mobile applications, digital in-gallery displays, and live-streamed events.

Romeo has served as head of design and digital media at Royal Museums Greenwich in London, which included work for the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory Greenwich, the Queen’s House, and Cutty Sark. During her tenure, she was responsible for commissioning “High Arctic,” a digital installation by United Visual Artists. Speaking of Romeo, Glenn D. Lowry—MoMA’s director—said: “Her extensive museum experience and her background in social and interactive digital platforms makes her particularly well suited to lead MoMA’s innovative and multifaceted initiatives.”

February 7, 2014

Fionn Meade Appointed Senior Curator at the Walker Art Center

Fionn Meade has been appointed senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms at the Walker Art Center. Meade is currently a curator, writer, and faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Columbia University. In addition to his new role he will also serve as interim head of the Walker’s visual art department while a search continues for a permanent leader. Said director Olga Viso: “Fionn’s diverse curatorial experience working in the arenas of film, performance, and museum practice makes him uniquely qualified to take on this new curatorial role at the Walker.” Simultaneously, Isla Leaver-Yap has been named Bentson visiting film scholar, a new position which assesses the holdings and expands scholarship of the Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Collection with its core of avant-garde films from the period of 1943 to 1985.

February 7, 2014

Hans Haacke and David Shrigley Named Winners of London’s Fourth Plinth Commission

Hans Haacke and David Shrigley have been named winners of the next two commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square; their designs will be unveiled in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The two artworks are the tenth and eleventh of the commissioning program; previous winners include Thomas Schütte, Elmgreen & Dragset, and Katharina Fritsch. Said London mayor Boris Johnson: “The commissioning group has chosen two very different sculptures to go on the Fourth Plinth, with each being wryly enigmatic in their own way. Our rolling program of art continues to surprise, providing a contrast to its historic surroundings and giving Londoners and visitors alike another reason to visit Trafalgar Square.”

February 7, 2014

Helen Toomer Named Director of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair

Helen Toomer has been appointed director of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair. Toomer formerly ran the gallery Toomer Labzda, which shut its doors this past year. Said Toomer: “I am delighted and honored to be taking on the directorship of such a prominent and well-established fair as it moves into its tenth year. Exhibitors and fairgoers alike can expect compelling changes in quality and commitment, which will be demonstrated throughout all aspects of the PULSE experience.”

February 7, 2014

Curator of Swiss Institute Steps Down

Piper Marshall has resigned as curator of the Swiss Institute to pursue freelance projects. Marshall began at the institution six years ago and has since organized several exhibitions at the space, including “Descartes’ Daughter” and the first institutional presentations of DAS INSTITUT, with Kerstin Bratsch and Adele Roder. She has also curated exhibitions at Blum & Poe, New Jerseyy, Three's Company, and at Écal, among other venues. Forthcoming projects include a book with Sternberg Press and a curatorial collaboration with Mary Boone Gallery. Said Marshall: “I am extremely grateful to the SI Board, former director Gianni Jetzer, and the SI team for nurturing my growth and challenging and refining my role as a curator of historically significant art and immensely talented artists such as Miriam Cahn, Jimmie Durham, Malcolm McLaren, Mai-Thu Perret, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, and Lawrence Weiner.”

February 6, 2014

International News Digest

FEBRUARY 9

Nicolaus Schafhausen has fallen out with Bucharest Biennial organizers, and will no longer be curating this year’s festival, Martin Bailey reports in the Art Newspaper. Schafhausen—who’s Kunsthalle Wien’s director—was replaced by two curators in their twenties, Gergő Horváth and Ștefan Voicu, who now have less than two months to curate the sixth edition of the biennial.

According to the Art Newspaper, Schafhausen, who’d announced his resignation on January 29, chalked tension up to the fact that he wanted to focus on Romanian artists while festival organizers insisted on featuring international stars. A counter-statement released by the festival, however, takes a different—and more inscrutable—angle, saying that Schafhausen’s “conceptual approach . . . could generate a reputational risk” and that the biennial must be implemented in “an ethical manner.”

The Kunsthal in Rotterdam opened its doors to the public this month after extensive renovations overseen by OMA, which designed the original building in 1992. The building now features energy-efficient lighting, glass facades insulated with high-performance materials, and an updated climate system, all of which will reduce energy consumption significantly. The opening drew around 3,600 visitors, reported the Blik op Nieuws, which raved, “The results are there. The Kunsthal shines forth in all its simplicity and beauty.” The Belga News Agency, meanwhile, called the opening “a hit,” saying there was a long line at the entrance well before doors opened.

After Christie’s pulled eighty-five Joan Miró works earlier from auction, Portuguese officials are now blaming the auction house, reports Patricia Kowsmann in the Wall Street Journal. In a controversial move, the government had decided to consign the works—estimated at a total of $49 million—raising an outcry over the loss of what was considered the country’s cultural heritage. While a court denied a prosecutor’s demand that the consignment be canceled, it nonetheless ruled that the works had headed to London without authorization—leading Christie’s to call off the sale only hours before it was scheduled to begin this past Tuesday. “The auction house was responsible for dealing with everything,” prime minister Passos Coelho said, saying the Mirós should head back to Portugal to be exported with the proper paperwork. Coelho affirmed that the government intends to proceed with the sale.

A Balthus show has been canceled at the Folkwang Museum in Essen, after the museum said that the show’s 2,000 photos taken by Balthus of a model named Anna—many of them explicit—“could lead to unwanted legal consequences and the closure of the exhibition.” Julia Michalska reports for the Art Newspaper that Die Zeit had earlier lambasted the show’s contents as “documents of pedophilic greed.” The photographs were shown at a Gagosian Gallery show that closed last month; it was the first time Anna, as well as Balthus’s widow and daughter, had given their permission for the images to be exhibited.

February 6, 2014

Ann Hamilton Digital Archive Goes Public

Ohio State University has announced that it is creating a comprehensive digital archive, comprising images of artist Ann Hamilton’s works, that’s being made accessible to the public. The 1,000-plus images, from thirty-five installations ranging from Hamilton’s days as a grad student at the Yale School of Art to more recent, international exhibitions, are being made available here. Hamilton spoke to Artforum.com recently about both her site-specific art and the more text-inspired, Conceptual elements of her practice, saying, “Making can be nondirectional—if you let it.”