News

  • David H. Koch at the Defending the American Dream Summit in Columbus, Ohio, in 2015.

    David H. Koch (1940–2019)

    Billionaire right-wing arts philanthropist David H. Koch, who leveraged his business empire to wield enormous influence on American politics and has been credited with bankrolling libertarian causes and far-right contingencies of the Republican party, has died at age seventy-nine.

    Koch—who as of this year had assets worth $42.2 billion and, together with his brother Charles, helmed Koch Industries, the US’s second-largest private business conglomerate that spans oil and gas, chemicals, and consumer goods—was a generous funder of the arts. Among the institutions to receive his $1.2

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  • The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Photo: Jonathan Velardi.

    Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Aims to Become First Fully Solar-Powered Museum

    The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) is attempting to become the first fully solar-powered art museum in the United States. Founded in 1984 as the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the museum, which rebranded in 2017 and moved into a new home in downtown LA, is in the process of instituting green technology and sustainable practices across all areas of its operations.

    “Art museums are uniquely positioned to broaden the cultural conversation and explore the most pressing issues of our time—including climate change,” said executive director Elsa Longhauser. “By undertaking this

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  • Protesters in Hong Kong on  June 16.

    Artist Sanmu Chan Detained by Chinese Officials for Ties to Pro-Democracy Protests in Hong Kong

    On Monday, Beijing–born, Hong Kong–based artist and curator Sanmu Chan was detained by mainland Chinese police as he was going through immigration control at Lo Wu railway station in Hong Kong, reports ArtAsiaPacific. Chan was held for nearly eight hours at the Shenzhen police station in mainland China and was interrogated under suspicion of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a crime that has been used as the basis to arrest activists and that carries a maximum five-year sentence. He was then released and sent back to Hong Kong.

    Chan has publicly supported the ongoing pro-democracy protests

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  • Ragnar Kjartansson. Photo: Elisabet Davids.

    Ragnar Kjartansson Wins 2019 Ars Fennica Prize

    Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson was named the winner of this year’s Ars Fennica Prize. Presented by the Henna and Pertti Niemistö Art Foundation, which was established in 1990 to promote visual art and help Finnish artists achieve international recognition, the annual $44,000 prize is Finland’s biggest visual arts award. Kjartansson is the twenty-fourth recipient of the award.

    Kjartansson received the prize for his presentation of The Boat, one of nine videos from the “Scenes from Western Culture” series, 2015—which conveys an absurd and sometimes ominous vision of Western life. The

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  • Rochelle Steiner. Courtesy of Palm Springs Art Museum.

    Palm Springs Art Museum Appoints Rochelle Steiner as Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs

    Rochelle Steiner has been hired as chief curator and director of curatorial affairs and programs at California’s Palm Springs Art Museum. She comes to the institution from the Vancouver Art Gallery, where she served as associate director and chief curator. During her tenure at the gallery, Steiner collaborated with the National Gallery in London to present Cindy Sherman’s first retrospective in Canada in more than two decades and published a book on the museum’s rich collection of works by the modernist Emily Carr.

    Previously, Steiner was a tenured professor and the dean of the Roski School of

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  • Robert Sain. Courtesy of di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art.

    Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art Director Defends Plan to Sell Off Holdings

    Robert Sain, the director of the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art in Napa, California, is defending the institution’s plan to deaccession hundreds of works from its collection and reinvest the funds in the center’s endowment. On Wednesday, he responded to the more than 120 arts professionals who signed a petition decrying the fate of the works: “The collection was borne from the relationships Rene and Veronica di Rosa had with the artists and curators of the Bay Area,” the petition read. “Rene di Rosa wanted the collection preserved as a whole above all other institutional concerns.”

    While

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  • Udo Kittelmann at the Nationalgalerie. Photo: Juliane Eirich. Courtesy of the National Museums Berlin.

    Veteran Museum Director Udo Kittelmann to Step Down from Helm of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie

    Udo Kittelmann, the longtime director of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie, an umbrella organization that comprises five top institutions—the Alter and Neue Nationalgaleries, the Berggruen Museum, the Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection, and the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum for Contemporary Art—will resign from his post when his contract expires in October 2020.

    Credited with raising the international profile of the city’s state museum galleries, Kittelmann also maintained an active curatorial practice during his twelve-year tenure, organizing group shows such as “The Black Years: Stories of a Collection,

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  • Ed Henry. Courtesy of United States Artists.

    United States Artists Names Ed Henry Board Chair

    United States Artists (USA), the national arts funding organization based in Chicago, announced today that Ed Henry has been appointed as its new board chair. Henry is currently president and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and has been a USA board member since 2014. He succeeds Steven H. Oliver, who will remain a trustee.

    “It’s been an honor to serve as USA’s board chair, and I’m proud to hand the torch to Ed, who has already given our organization years of his expert guidance,” said Oliver. USA president and CEO Deana Haggag added: “Ed’s accomplishments, along with his long-standing

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  • The Noguchi Museum. Photo: Lauren Cavalli.

    Noguchi Museum Elects Four New Trustees

    The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in New York has welcomed four new members to its board of trustees: financier Maximilian Coreth, cofounder of the investment firm Timberlane Partners; Sarah Wendell Sherrill, a former Christie’s executive and a CEO of Lobus, a tech company serving the art industry; art historian, gallerist, and filmmaker Sundaram Tagore, who directed Pace Wildenstein Gallery before opening up his own gallery in 2000; and the Bangkok-born architect Kulapat Yantrasast, a founding partner and creative director of the Los Angeles– and New York–based firm wHY Architecture.

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  • Joi Ito.

    MIT Media Lab Director Apologizes for Accepting Funding from Jeffrey Epstein

    On August 15, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito published a public apology for the Cambridge, Massachusetts–based organization’s business affiliations with Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier who was charged with sex trafficking last month and who was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell on August 10, at the age of sixty-eight.

    “I met Epstein in 2013 at a conference through a trusted business friend,” Ito wrote on the Media Lab’s website. “I was never involved in, never heard him talk about, and never saw any evidence of the horrific acts that he was accused of.”

    Epstein’s foundation, Epstein

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  • Keb Cerda, a recipient of the Ateneo Art Award’s visual art prize.

    Ateneo Art Award Recipients Announced

    The recipients of the 2019 Ateneo Art Awards, which recognize young artists and critics in the Philippines, were announced on Sunday.

    The visual art prizes were awarded to Costantino Zicarelli, Keb Cerda, and Archie Oclos, who will each receive an international residency grant endowed by Ateneo Art Gallery in partnership with La Trobe University in Bendigo, Australia; Artesan Gallery + Studio, Singapore; and Liverpool Hope University, the United Kingdom. In addition, Doktor Karayom received the Embassy of Italy Purchase Prize, awarded in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery.

    The winners were

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  • Rendering of Kai Art Center. Photo: KAOS Architects, 2019. Courtesy of the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center.

    New Contemporary Arts Center Will Open in Estonia Next Month

    The Kai Art Center—a new cultural hub that will present four main exhibitions a year, boast a one-hundred-seat theater, and serve as an education center—will open on the waterfront in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, next month. Spearheaded by the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center, the arts space will be housed in a century-old building in Port Noblessner, a former submarine production plant, and will host an international residency program, dubbed 7+7, that will invite up to fourteen artists to Tallinn each year. The center will also provide studio and event spaces for

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