This past November, Lynn Orr relinquished her position as curator of European art from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which include the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor. Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper now reports that her departure is raising concern among museum professionals as she was dismissed for “performance reasons.” Her termination came on the heels of the opening of “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” an exhibition she helped organize at the de Young Museum. Robert Flynn Johnson, the curator emeritus at the Fine Arts Museums, says that “with her length of service and curatorial expertise, Orr was part of the solution, not part of the problem at the Fine Arts Museums.” Gary Garrels, senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, called Orr “the model curator, with integrity, scholarship, and a deep network of connections.” Harris reports that a spokesman from the museums said that “it is our policy that we do not discuss personnel matters.” The Fine Arts Museums have been without a director since their last director, John Buchanan, died in December 2011.
Benjamin Millepied has been appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet, which, as David Ng of the Los Angeles Times reports, is creating uncertainty for L.A. Dance Project, a dance collective the French choreographer formed in 2011. Millepied will begin his new position in October 2014 and states that he will most likely take on the role of “founding director and advisor” of the project, allowing another choreographer to manage daily operations and leadership. Charles Fabius, a producer at the project, says, “This was never meant to be [Millepied’s] company.” He notes that it is a curatorial entity rather than a traditional dance organization, with the goal to bring together artists from dance and other disciplines. The project initially received two hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the Los Angeles Music Center and has since raised nearly one million dollars.
GalleristNY reports that author J.M. Coetzee has been tapped as curator for the 2013 Belgian Pavilion, featuring sculptor Berlinde De Bruyckere. While Coetzee was born in South Africa, he has held Australian citizenship since 2006 and can therefore curate for the pavilion. Coetzee has recently worked with de Bruyckere on a book titled, Allen vlees (All Flesh) with texts by the author and photos by the Flemish artist.
The Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA, has announced that it will receive a $25,000 donation from Hyundai Motor America that will go toward the purchase of a bus to be used to provide free tours and art workshops to students from the Los Angeles area, reports the David Ng for the Los Angeles Times. In November, the museum said it had to lay off its chief curator and cut is operating budget by 15 percent. The Museum of Latin American Art was founded in 1996 by Dr. Robert Gumbiner, who died in 2009.
Rein Wolfs, the artistic director of Kassel’s Kunsthalle Fridericianum, has announced that he will be leaving his position to become the director of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, in Bonn. At the helm of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum since 2008, Wolfs was responsible for curating shows by artists including Christoph Büchel, Teresa Margolles, and Danh Vo. Wolfs reflected on the two institutions, saying, “At Kunsthalle Fridericianum, the permanent presence of contemporary art in Documenta’s city, Kassel, can be fostered on a supreme level,” and that “the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn is marked by its wide range of different types of exhibitions, offering a diverse program that is impressive due to its scientific rigor and its great success with different audience types.”
Die Zeit reports that Olafur Eliasson will be this year’s recipient of the Goslar Kaiser Ring prize, given annually by the city of Goslar in Germany. Eliasson will receive a simple gold ring depicting the Goslar-born Emperor Henry IV, and the Goslar Museum will purchase one of the artist's works for its permanent collection. The previous three winners of the prize were John Baldessari, Rosemarie Trockel, and David Lynch.
The Telegraph has reported that Romanian police have arrested three suspects in the brazen art heist that took place last October in Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum. At the time, works totaling over $100 million were stolen, including pieces by Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, and Picasso. According to the Romanian television station Antena1, two works—by Matisse and Gauguin—have been recovered. The three suspects are being detained and questioned in Romania.
The Netherlands isn’t the only country that will soon be reunited with a stolen Matisse. Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art just announced today that it has located a Matisse painting that went missing from its collection early one morning twenty-five years ago, when a burglar broke in to the museum with a sledgehammer. The 1920 work, Le Jardin (The Garden), surfaced when a dealer ran its details through the Art Loss Register database after being contacted by an elderly Polish man who wanted to sell the artwork to raise money for his grandchildren, according to the AFP.
Lost art seems to keep appearing all over the world this month: Hundreds of etchings by William Blake have been discovered in a library at the University of Manchester in the UK. The Independent reports that a team of students, led by Manchester university art historian Colin Trodd, had begun to search through the millions of books and records in the university’s John Rylands Library after coming to suspect that a good number of never-before-seen artworks by Blake were hidden in the library's collection. The students unearthed a total of 350 new engravings by Blake, many of which will go on view at the library next month.
Three sources have told Art in America off the record that the art fairs owned by Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., including the Armory Show in New York, will not be sold to Louise Blouin, the owner of a number of art magazines and Artinfo.com, as well as the founder of the Louise T. Blouin Foundation. Art in America's Brian Boucher is reporting that the deal, rumors of which were picked up by the New York Times earlier last year, has now allegedly fallen through in part because the offer would have required Blouin to cover the budget to renovate Pier 94. Established in 1994 as the Gramercy International Art Fair by dealers Matthew Marks, Colin de Land, Pat Hearn, and Paul Morris, the Armory Show will feature a pared-down 2013 edition that includes 200 exhibitors.
The Columbus Museum of Art will be building a new wing, according to 10tv. The expansion will cost $37.6 million. The museum revealed renderings of the project yesterday, which included a renovation of Ross Wing as well as the addition of 50,000 square feet to the east side of the building. This new space will be used to host performances and house part of the museum’s permanent collection, and will also feature a restaurant.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has announced that it will be hiring Risha K. Lee as the Jane Emison assistant curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art. Lee, who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, will work for Liu Yang, who heads the museum's department of Asian art. Lee has worked as curatorial assistant at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University and at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
The Portland Institute of Contemporary Art has announced the Precipice Fund, a new grant-giving initiative for Portland-based unincorporated visual art collectives, alternative spaces, and collaborative projects. The fund aims to provide fifteen to twenty small grants, ranging from five hundred to five thousand dollars, for a total of seventy-five thousand dollars annually. Precipice was formed with the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Said foundation program director Rachel Bers, “Artist-run organizations, initiatives, and projects don’t only fill the gaps in our art ecosystem, they are our ecosystem. Portland is home to a thriving self-organized art scene and the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art has a deep understanding of and commitment to the artists that live and work there. The foundation is looking forward to working with the institute to support experimental and ambitious projects in the region.”