March 29, 2017

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center Appoints Blake Shell as Executive Director

Blake Shell

Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in Portland, Oregon, has named Blake Shell, currently director and curator of the Art Gym and Belluschi Pavilion at Marylhurst University, as its new executive director. Blake Shell succeeds Disjecta’s founder Bryan Suereth, who was dismissed by the board over conflicts of leadership in January.

“Blake Shell’s passion for supporting artists at every stage of their career, her knowledge of the challenges presented by risk-taking programming, and her ability to increase resources will complement Disjecta’s innovative Curator-in-Residence and Biennial exhibition programs,” the board of directors said. “She brings energy and experience to us at a time when contemporary art centers need passionate, dedicated and articulate leaders to advance their work.”

Shell has over fifteen years of experience in directing nonprofit galleries. During her tenure at the Art Gym, Shell provided artistic direction, worked on development initiatives, helped establish a brand identity, and expanded programming and publications. Previously, Shell served as executive director of Dinnerware Contemporary Arts in Tucson and as gallery curator and director of the University of Arizona’s Joseph Gross and Lionel Rombach Galleries, where she worked as an adjunct professor and public art coordinator.

March 29, 2017

Getty Research Institute Acquires Frank Gehry Archive

Frank Gehry’s model of the Winton Guest House, in Wayzata, Minnesota, 1982–1987.

The Getty Research Institute announced today that it has acquired architect Frank Gehry’s archive comprising materials from his days as a graduate student in the 1950s to his 1988 competition entry for the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“Frank Gehry is undoubtedly the world’s most famous living architect,” Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, said. “This extensive archive, covering the first three decades of his illustrious career, offers an in-depth look at the genesis of Gehry’s distinctive style and includes many of the projects for which he is internationally known.”

The Frank Gehry Papers, which was part purchase and part gift, includes one thousand sketches, more than 120,000 drawings, 100,000 slides, hundreds of boxes of office records, personal papers, and correspondence, and 280 architectural models. In addition, the collection also consists of digital files of designs for the Vitra Museum, the Disney Concert Hall, and the Grand Avenue Project.

March 29, 2017

Claudia Rankine and Nathaniel Mackey Win Bobbitt National Poetry Prizes

Claudia Rankine

The Library of Congress has announced that Claudia Rankine and Nathaniel Mackey have been awarded 2016 Bobbitt National Prizes for Poetry. Rankine was honored for her book Citizen: An American Lyric (2014), and Mackey for his lifetime achievement in poetry. Mackey is the author of six poetry collections, including his most recent anthology Blue Fasa (2015).

The biennial award recognizes a book of poetry written by an American author that was published during the preceding two years and the lifetime work of an American poet. Named for Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt of Austin—the sister of president Lyndon B. Johnson and a former employee of the Library of Congress—the prize includes a $10,000 award. Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges; National Book Award–winning poet Mary Szybist; and scholar Betty Sue Flowers served on the judging panel.

In a recent interview with Lauren O’Neill Butler of artforum.com, Rankine discussed her plans for the New York–based Racial Imaginary Institute, which will host exhibitions, performances, lectures, and talks that examine race as a social construct. Rankine said, “Our name ‘Racial Imaginary’ is meant to capture the enduring truth of race: It is an invented concept that nevertheless operates with extraordinary force in our daily lives, limiting our movements and imaginations.”

Rankine is participating in a program at the Whitney Museum of American Art on Sunday, April 9. For “Perspectives on Race and Representation: An Evening with the Racial Imaginary Institute,” Rankine is inviting artists, scholars, and critics to share perspectives on Dana Schutz’s controversial painting, Open Casket, 2016, as well as issues of race, violence, and the ethics of representation.

March 29, 2017

Florence Griswold Museum Director Jeffrey Andersen to Step Down

Florence Griswold

Jeff Andersen, director of the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, has announced that he is resigning after more than forty years of service. Ted Hamilton, board of trustees president, said that a national search for his replacement is underway. Andersen will stay on until the next director is appointed.

“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to be a part of this museum,” Andersen said. “What I am perhaps most proud of is the deep sense of loyalty and camaraderie that is felt amongst our staff, trustees, volunteers, and members. In many ways, it echoes what Florence Griswold and the original Lyme artists had with one another. In this spirit, I know that everyone will give their full support to the next director to help the museum flourish in the years ahead.”

Andersen began his career at the museum after he earned his master’s degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program in New York. During his tenure, the institution was transformed from a seasonal attraction with one staff member and fewer than 1,000 visitors per year to an accredited art museum with twenty staff members, 225 volunteers, and nearly 80,000 visitors annually. Andersen helped establish an endowment fund for the institution, which now funds one-third of its annual operating budget of $2.6 million.

March 29, 2017

Following Rule Change, Artists of All Ages are Eligible for Turner Prize

Winner of the 2016 Turner Prize winner Helen Marten.

Britain’s Turner Prize has announced that it is eliminating its rule stating that only artists under fifty are eligible for the contemporary art award. It is also expanding the judging parameters. Previously, artists were only judged based on work for which they were nominated. Moving forward, the selection panel will also take into consideration works created for the Turner Prize exhibition.

Director of Tate Britain and chair of the Turner prize jury Alex Farquharson told The Guardian that it was the right time to make a change. “The Turner prize has always championed emerging artists,” he said. “It has never been a prize for long service but for a memorable presentation of work in that year. Now that its reputation is so firmly established, we want to acknowledge the fact that artists can experience a breakthrough in their work at any stage.”

Prize organizers revealed the changes when it announced the jury members for the 2018 prize—novelist Tom McCarthy; Lisa Le Feuvre, head of sculpture studies at the Henry Moore Institute; Elena Filipovic, director of Kunsthalle Basel; and Oliver Basciano, art critic and international editor of ArtReview.

March 29, 2017

Tate St. Ives Reopens March 31 After $25 Million Renovation

A birds-eye view of the refurbished Tate St. Ives.

The Tate St. Ives reopens this Friday, March 31, after a $25 million renovation that took place over the course of eighteen months, writes Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper. The museum’s exhibition space has been doubled and, this fall, will feature a semipermanent display of work by the artists who came to the seaside town during the middle of the twentieth century (in the past, the museum only had the space and resources to stage temporary exhibitions). The show will feature works from artists of the “St. Ives School,” and pieces by well-known modernists such as Naum Gabo and Barbara Hepworth. The second phase of the museum’s extension, built behind the original building, will open in October.

The museum’s director, Mark Osterfield, said the refurbishment will “re-present the story about why St. Ives is significant in the story of modern art, in an international context.” Eldred Evans and David Shalev, the venue’s original architects, oversaw its remodeling.

According to the museum’s records, the majority of its 200,000 yearly visitors are UK citizens; about 10 percent of them are from abroad. It is expected that 40,000 people more will be coming to St. Ives on an annual basis. Anne Barlow, the former director of New York’s Art in General, will take over as the institution’s artistic director next month.

March 29, 2017

UK Prime Minister Officially Enacts Brexit, Creating Widespread Uncertainty in British Arts Sector

A poster designed by Wolfgang Tillmans prior to the official referendum, encouraging people to vote against Brexit.

Today, March 29, Theresa May has “pulled the trigger”—as many news outlets have referred to it—on Article Fifty, the UK’s formal announcement on withdrawing from the European Union. Many within the British art community and beyond have expressed their concerns over how the departure will affect the international artworld, says Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Tracey Emin, and Damien Hirst are but a mere handful of artists residing in London who have been vocally opposed to Brexit. Anish Kapoor, speaking at his Lisson Gallery opening in London today, said, “It’s one of those things that goes against the flow of history. Frankly, nationalism diminishes [us]. We want more than that, we want a bigger, more open vision.” Kapoor has a team of thirty people who work in his studio—half of them are not British. He is very concerned about what will happen to the arts economy: “London is a great place for the art world, but most art buyers are not English. What will it mean for the whole . . . art world? Sadly, it really is a matter of small minds, small hearts.”

According to a recent poll taken by the UK’s Creative Industries Federation, 96 percent of its members do not support Brexit.

March 29, 2017

Centre Pompidou Cancels Fortieth Anniversary Party due to Strike

Centre Pompidou

Le Figaro reports that a VIP dinner to be held in the galleries of the Centre Pompidou in honor of the museum’s fortieth anniversary was canceled this week because of a workers’ strike. Eight hundred and fifty guests, among them French collector Maryvonne Pinault and Russian banker and collector Igor Tsukanov, were informed that the dinner will be rescheduled.

The event is one of the Friends of the National Modern Art Museum’s major fundraising efforts. Tables for the dinner were priced at roughly $9,700 and donors on the guest list included Russian arts patron Anastasia Potanina—daughter of Russian publishing mogul Vladimir Potanin—and the Chinese entrepreneur and collector Mao Jihong.

A notice on the Pompidou’s website today reads: “The Centre Pompidou will be closed 29 March 2017 due to a strike action following the implementation of a French governmental law.”

March 28, 2017

Julian Stanczak (1928–2017)

Julian Stanczak, Zip Me Up Please, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 50".

Julian Stanczak, a figurehead of the 1960s Op art movement, died at his home in Seven Hills, Ohio, on March 25, reports Alex Greenberger of Artnews. The artist’s paintings—sleek, scintillating, seductive, groovy—were said to have a “painterly expressiveness,” per Donald Judd, which made them stand out from other kinds of Op art production. Stanczak was featured in the seminal but critically maligned 1965 exhibition “The Responsive Eye,” a group show that attempted to make sense of Op’s currency and its historical precedents, organized by William C. Seitz at MoMA.

Stanczak was born in Borownica, Poland. The artist and his family were made to work at a Siberian labor camp during World War II. It was there that he developed encephalitis, which profoundly damaged his right arm. When he started making art, he could only use his left arm. It did not, however, impede his progress, as he was a prodigious maker of technically sophisticated and formally dense images. The artist managed to flee the camp and traveled through the Middle East and South Asia. He spent some time living in Uganda—the vivid coloration of his paintings was inspired by the sunsets he saw there. He went to the Cleveland Institute of Art for his undergraduate degree and received his MFA from Yale, where he studied under Josef Albers. He also taught at the Cleveland Institute from 1964 until 1995—Dana Schutz and April Gornik were among his students.

Stanczak’s paintings are in the collections of New York’s MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the RISD Museum in Providence; the Milwaukee Art Museum; LACMA; and the Museo Tamayo and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, among other institutions. He has had exhibitions at many venues throughout the United States, including New York’s New Museum, Danese Gallery, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash (who represents the artist); the Cleveland Institute of Art; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Columbus Museum of Art; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.