November 18, 2015

MoMA Officially Files Expansion Plans for Former Folk Art Museum Site

Rendering of Planned MoMA Expansion

Yesterday, MoMA officially filed plans to expand on an adjoining lot with the New York City Department of buildings, reports the Real Deal, via Curbed.

The news comes after MoMA made headlines with its decision to raze the American Folk Art Museum, on the site, in order to make room for its estimated ninety-three-million-dollar expansion, which is being designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Many spoke out against the move at the time. “A common refrain among the vehement protests was that the structure in question, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and completed in 2001, should be afforded the same respect as any other object in MoMA’s collection,” Julian Rose wrote in Artforum. At the time, Williams and Tsien themselves said, “This action represents a missed opportunity to find new life and purpose for a building that is meaningful to so many.”

The museum had purchased the site of the former American Folk Art Museum for $32.1 million in 2011.

November 18, 2015

Museum of the City of New York Names New Director

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York has announced that Whitney W. Donhauser will be their new president and Ronay Menschel director. Donhauser joins the institution on January 1, succeeding Susan Henshaw Jones, who is retiring at the end of the year. Donhauser was previously senior advisor to the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas P. Campbell, and oversaw most museum functions and projects. She also worked on the trustee committee to select the design of the Met’s David H. Koch Plaza and supervised the early planning phase of the Met’s takeover of the former Whitney Museum’s Breuer Building.

On her new appointment, Donhauser said “I am deeply honored to be joining the Museum of the City of New York…as a long-time New Yorker, I have greatly enjoyed seeing the museum’s transformation into an important cultural force in the life of the city. Now, I look forward to advancing the museum’s profile and role in the city’s cultural life, increasing its audience and completing the groundbreaking exhibition, ‘New York at Its Core.’ I am excited to work with the museum’s staff on exhibitions and programs that capture the city’s rich history and ethos – its diversity, neighborhoods, and internationalism.”

Donhauser has a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a certificate from the Royal Society of Art in London.

November 17, 2015

India and the UK Partner to Launch New Cross-Cultural Festival

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister David Cameron

India and the UK are partnering to launch a new festival exploring the cultural ties between the two nations, according to the Art Newspaper’s Gareth Harris. The festival will take place in 2017, the seventieth anniversary of Indian independence.

Key loans will be made by the British Museum to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya museum in Mumbai. Meanwhile, Shakespeare’s First Folio and the 1225 edition of the Magna Carta will also head to India as part of traveling exhibitions. And an India-themed show will open at the Manchester Museum. The Nehru Center in London and the British Council are also involved in the new partnership.

November 17, 2015

Jenny Holzer, Robin Rhode Among Recipients of VIA Art Fund Grants

Robin Rhode

The nonprofit VIA Art Fund has announced the recipients of its most recent grants, totaling $190,000. Four projects are being recognized: Jenny Holzer’s upcoming semi-permanent installation at MASS MoCA, Robin Rhode’s operatic commission for Performa 15, an upcoming show at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, and a new site-specific outdoor sculpture for the 2016 season of High Line Art in New York.

Since its founding in 2013, VIA has awarded nearly $1.25 million in grants to twenty-five individuals and organizations. It was established by Bridgitt Evans and Lisa Schiff to bring together the support of US-based arts patrons.

November 17, 2015

Haus der Kunst Receives $23 Million for Renovations

Haus der Kunst

The German government has given the Haus der Kunst in Munich a twenty-three-million-dollar grant for its planned renovations, which will be led by David Chipperfield architects, according to ArtDaily. The building was first founded in 1937 under the Nazi regime. The Bavarian government had already promised sixty-six million dollars in funding, making for a total of eighty-nine million dollars in public money that will support the renovation.

“Haus der Kunst possesses the potential to radiate far beyond Bavarian borders,” said Rüdiger Kruse, speaking for the budget committee of the German Bundestag. And Haus der Kunst director Okwui Enwezor said that the support “affirms and strengthens our core mission to serve old and new audiences, and provide them a lively forum and strong access for the encounter and appreciation of the art and ideas of different generations of contemporary artists.”

November 17, 2015

Whistleblower Placed on Leave by San Francisco Fine Arts Museum

Dede Wilsey

Controversy has hit the San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, where whistleblower and former chief financial officer Michele Gutierrez has apparently lost her job, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier & Ross.

Earlier this year Gutierrez approached the city and the state attorneys general accusing the museum’s board chair and chief executive, Dede Wilsey, of financial misconduct. In her complaint, Gutierrez accused Wilsey—a high-profile arts patron in the city—of paying $450,000 from the museum’s coffers to an employee who was ill, without obtaining approval from the forty-six-member board of trustees. Gutierrez was already on family leave to take care of her mother who had cancer; she then received a message from museum authorities saying she was being placed on administrative leave.

November 16, 2015

MoMA Returns a Kirchner Painting to Heirs of Jewish Collector

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Sand Hills in Engadine, 1917

The Museum of Modern Art has announced that it will be returning Sand Hills in Engadine, 1917, a painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, to the heirs of a Jewish art collector, according to the New York Times’ Robin Pogrebin. The work’s original owner, Max Fischer, fled Germany in 1935, losing much of the Ludwig and Rosy Fischer collection—which he and his brother had inherited, and which Pogrebin calls “one of the most important collections of expressionist art assembled in pre-Nazi Germany.”

At the urging of the family’s attorney, David Rowland, the museum spent several years researching the painting’s provenance, and came to the conclusion that the painting should be returned. “There’s no sense of loss,” Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director, told Pogrebin. “It feels like we’re doing the right thing.”

November 16, 2015

Constant Dullaart Wins Prix Net Art

Constant Dullaart

Rhizome, the Beijing-based Chronus Art Center, and Tsinghua University Art and Science Media Lab today announced that Dutch artist Constant Dullaart has been awarded the second annual Prix Net Art, an international prize for internet art that comes with an award of ten thousand dollars. A five thousand dollar award of distinction was also granted to the Berlin-based collective Weise7. Dullaart will discuss the future of net art during a new art and technology conference presented by Rhizome and the New Museum in January 2016.

The jury which decided the winners this year comprised critic Josephine Bosma; Whitney Museum curator Chrissie Iles; and critic and curator Domenico Quaranta.

November 16, 2015

Drawing Center’s Funding Ignites Controversy [UPDATED]

The Drawing Center

Rachel Corbett reports in The Art Newspaper that the Drawing Center, a nonprofit exhibition space in New York, has begun a new and controversial funding model wherein artists donate works to the center that are then sold in order to help fund the artists’ exhibitions. The organization began selling art last year because “the philanthropic community has become less supportive of artists’ shows,” according to Drawing Center director Brett Littman. They would not ask artists to pay for their exhibition’s costs outright though, said Littman, given the institution’s stipulation that income from a donated work should not exceed twenty to thirty percent of a show’s budget.

Stefan Kalmár, executive director of the nearby nonprofit Artists Space, has publicly disagreed with such a model, saying the center’s funding model is “not how not-for-profits should operate…it has more to do with how commercial galleries operate,” and citing their 40 Years Artists Space Program Fund started in 2011 to solicit donations from successful artists to support other emerging ones.

UPDATE, November 17, 2015, 11:18 AM: Kalmár has clarified, “Unlike the Art Newspaper suggests, I never was asked to comment directly on the Drawing Center’s affairs, neither am I familiar with the Drawing Center’s fundraising strategies.” Saying he was quoted out of context, Kalmár added: “What I did say however, is that artists should not be asked to pay directly for their own exhibitions at any not for profit arts organization, as this indeed would have more to do with how commercial galleries operate.”

Littman, meanwhile, emphasized that the funding model described by Corbett in the Art Newspaper highlighted “one very small aspect of our fundraising by focusing on something we have done only twice in the eighty-five shows we have produced in the last eight years.”

Added Littman: “In these cases, after the Drawing Center had exhausted all traditional fundraising avenues, two young contemporary artists, who had ambitious, production-heavy shows, offered to donate specific works that, if sold, could help to support a small percentage of their overall production expenses. To date, this initiative has raised $10,000 against our $2 million dollar budget, and so represents less than 1 percent of our overall fundraising.”