News

  • Barbara Steveni. Photo: Flickr.

    Barbara Steveni (1928–2020)

    British artist Barbara Steveni, who founded the conceptually and politically driven art organization Artist Placement Group (APG) with her partner John Latham in 1966 and maintained much of its collaborative and administrative functions for more than two decades, has died at ninety-two years old.

    The couple conceived of APG in 1965, and, after Steveni assembled a board of directors, the organization was formally established the following year. In the early 1970s, against the backdrop of ongoing discourses about the dematerialization of art, APG published print-based interventions in Studio

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  • Chiyo Ishikawa. Photo: Scott Areman.

    Seattle Art Museum Curator Chiyo Ishikawa to Retire after Thirty Years

    Chiyo Ishikawa, the deputy director for art and curator of European painting and sculpture at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), announced that she will retire in the summer of 2020. “It has been my honor and pleasure to work for an institution that so fully embraces its civic responsibility to serve our community,” Ishikawa said. “After thirty years, it seems a good time to turn this wonderful opportunity over to someone new.”

    Ishikawa joined the museum in 1990 as a part-time assistant curator of European painting, one year prior to the opening of its downtown location. During her tenure, she curated

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  • Georges de La Tour’s The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame, circa 1635–1637, a from the Ahmanson Foundation. Photo: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    Concerns over LACMA Redesign Prompts Major Donor to Suspend Acquisition Program

    The Ahmanson Foundation, the Beverly Hills–based charitable organization which helped launch the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 1965, is ending the acquisition program through which it has gifted more than $130 million in art to the institution in the last five decades. The Los Angeles Times reports that the major donor of European Old Master paintings and sculptures decided to suspend the initiative because of growing concerns over the museum’s new $650 million, Peter Zumthor–designed building.

    LACMA’s new construction will involve tearing down four structures—in addition to the

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  • Charles Hirschhorn. Photo: James Ross Mankoff. Courtesy of Otis College.

    Charles Hirschhorn Appointed President of Otis College of Art and Design

    The Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles announced today that Charles Hirschhorn has been named its next president. Hirschhorn currently serves as head of AEG Television and sits on the boards of the Berklee College of Music, Harvard College Office of the Arts, and Wilshire Boulevard Temple. He will join the college on June 1.

    “On behalf of the board of trustees of Otis College of Art and Design, I’m excited to welcome Charles Hirschhorn as incoming president to the college,” said Mei-Lee Ney, the college’s board chair. “His background and experience in the arts, digital media, education,

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  • Rendering of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada. Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron, Herzog & de Meuron.

    Vancouver Art Gallery Gifted $1 Million for New Building

    The Vancouver Art Gallery has received a donation of $1.1 million in support of its fundraising campaign for its new 300,000 square-foot, Herzog & de Meuron–designed building, bringing the total amount raised to $102 million. The gift was made by Donald Ellis, a longtime museum supporter and the founder of an eponymous gallery, whose clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and the Musee de Quai Branly in Paris. Specializing in North American art, Ellis also recently donated several works by the Haida artist Charles Edenshaw.

    “Through

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  • Rendering of Toyo Ito’s design for the State Hermitage Museum’s Barcelona outpost. Courtesy of the State Hermitage Museum.

    Barcelona Rejects Proposal for Branch of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum

    Barcelona’s city council has refused to greenlight a planning application for an outpost of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum. The council took issue with the site chosen for the project as well as the branch’s economic viability. Several expert reports commissioned by the council and published on January 27 cite the accessibility of the Nova Bocana section of the city’s port, its proximity to the sea, and traffic congestion in the area as well as unanswered questions about the new institution’s staffing, projected visitor numbers, and admission prices as reasons why the proposal wasn’t approved.

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  • Mary Boone. Photo: Carly Otness/MACKME.COM.

    Former Gallery Director Sues Imprisoned Dealer Mary Boone

    Veteran dealer Mary Boone, who is currently serving a thirty-month sentence in Danbury Correctional Facility, Connecticut, for tax fraud, is being sued by a former director of her now closed eponymous gallery. Artnews reports that last month, James Oliver, who worked for Boone for more than two decades, filed a lawsuit against the dealer, her gallery, and Boone Associates, in the Southern District Court of New York over an alleged misappropriation of funds and unpaid wages.

    Oliver claims that the defendants were involved in an “unlawful scheme,” which involved the misappropriation of more than

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  • Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl. Photo: HBF/Trippolt.

    Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl Will Represent Austria at 2021 Venice Biennale

    Austrian State Secretary for Cultural Affairs Ulrike Lunacek announced today that Jakob Lena Knebl and Ashley Hans Scheirl, who are frequent collaborators, will represent Austria at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale, which will take place from May through November in 2021. Lunacek praised the “liveliness” of their proposal for the pavilion, which will be curated by Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wein (MUMOK) director Karola Kraus, and said that it lacks neither humor nor satire.

    The artists plan to fill the pavilion with paintings, textile works, photographs, objects, audio and video works,

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  • João Ribas. Photo: Filipe Braga.

    João Ribas to Lead California Institute of the Arts’s REDCAT Theater

    The California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) announced today that curator João Ribas has been named executive director and vice president of cultural partnerships at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles. Ribas will be the second director to lead the multidisciplinary center for visual, performing, and media artists in its seventeen-year history. He succeeds Mark Murphy, who stepped down at the end of last year’s season, and will take up the post on June 1.

    “I’m excited to be joining such an innovative, inclusive, experimental, and forward-thinking institution where

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  • The Hall of Ocean Life in the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

    American Museum of Natural History Parts Ways with Billionaire Climate-Change Denier Rebekah Mercer

    Billionaire Rebekah Mercer, the chair of the Mercer Family Foundation—which has donated millions in support of President Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 and routinely backs conservative causes including climate change denial organizations—is no longer on the board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The institution has been criticized over its ties to Mercer, who was elected a trustee in 2013, and has faced mounting pressure to remove her from its board. 

    The activist group Revolting Lesbians first learned that Mercer, the daughter of hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer, had been

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  • Alison Scott-Williams. Courtesy of Studio In a School.

    New York Nonprofit Studio In a School Names Alison Scott-Williams President

    Studio in a School, the New York City­–based nonprofit founded by philanthropist Agnes Gund in 1977 to connect professional artists with public school students, has appointed Alison Scott-Williams as its new president. She comes to the organization, which is run by the Studio in a School Association, Inc., from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), where she has served as vice president for arts education since 2015. Scott-Williams will assume her responsibilities on March 9.

    Prior to joining NJPAC, Scott-Williams was associate vice president for diversity and campus life at the Juilliard

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  • James Brown. Photo: © Francois Hallard.

    James Brown (1951–2020)

    American-born, Mexico-based painter and sculptor James Brown, whose work ranged from neo-Cubist collage to abstract gouaches, died at age sixty-eight after a car crash on Saturday in Mexico. His wife Alexandra Condon, with whom Brown ran the Oaxaca-based publishing house Carpe Diem Books, died as well in the crash.

    Brown was born in Los Angeles in 1951, where he studied painting and printmaking before attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He moved to New York in 1979 and began his career with Leo Castelli and Shafrazi Gallery. His abstract paintings were grouped alongside those of contemporary

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