Rhizome Wins $600,000 Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Ilya Kreymer

Rhizome announced today that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the group a two-year, $600,000 grant to fund the development of a platform that will archive the internet—dubbed Webrecorder. This grant is the largest Rhizome has ever received. The project will be led by Ilya Kreymer, who will join Rhizome as lead developer, in collaboration with Dragan Espenschied, the organization’s digital conservator. The Mellon Foundation support will also fund the hiring of a second software engineer, a design lead, and a project manager.

An early version of Webrecorder is available at webrecorder.io. The free service, built with open-source tools, allows users to archive web content via browsing and to instantly review that archived content and download their own copy of it. Rhizome’s artistic director Michael Connor said of the initiative: “The things we create and discover and share online—from embedded videos to social media profiles—are often lost, or become unrecognizable with the passage of time. Webrecorder, with its ability to capture and play back dynamic web content, and its emphasis on putting tools into users’ hands, is a major step towards addressing this, and improving digital social memory for all.”

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January 23, 2017

Geta Brătescu to Represent Romania at 2017 Venice Biennale

Geta Brătescu, Mrs. Oliver in her traveling costume, 1985.

Romania’s ministry of culture has announced that Geta Brătescu will represent the country at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26. Magda Radu, a curator and art historian at Romania’s National Museum of Contemporary Art, will curate the pavilion.

The ninety-year-old pioneer of Romanian Conceptual art won the second phase of the ministry’s selection process with her proposal “Geta Brătescu-Apariţii” (“Geta Brătescu-Appearances”). With a career spanning fifty years, Brătescu has represented the country in a number of international biennials including the Venice Biennale in 1960 and 2013 as well as the São Paulo Bienal in 1983 and 1987. In 2008, she received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the National Arts University in Bucharest for her contribution to the development of contemporary Romanian art. Her works can be found in the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate, and the Vienna Modern Art Museum.

In the December 2014 issue of Artforum, Gwen Allen wrote about the artist’s first solo exhibition in the US presented by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Allen said, “Poetic transformations of objects and materials pervade the artist’s investigations of self-portraiture, the studio, female gender, and memory tropes particularized by the social and political conditions of Communist and post-Communist Eastern Europe.”

January 23, 2017

Egyptian Museum Partially Destroyed by 2014 Car Bombing Reopens

Damaged exhibitions at Egypt’s Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo.

Three years after Egypt’s Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo was severely damaged in a car bombing, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that the institution was reopening on Wednesday, January 18.

The museum’s façade was destroyed as well as several exhibits after Egyptian jihadists set off a car bomb outside of a nearby police headquarters in January 2014. The explosion damaged more than 170 objects from its collection of 100,000 artifacts—one of the largest holdings of Islamic art in the world.

Several countries funded the restoration, including the United Arab Emirates, which contributed roughly $8 million. One hundred and sixty relics have been restored and three new galleries were built which allow the museum to display nearly three times as many objects.

January 23, 2017

Cuban Artist Released After Two Months in Prison

Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado

Andrea Torres and Liane Morejon report from ABC Local 10 in Miami that the Cuban artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, also known as “El Sexto,” has been released from a maximum security prison outside Havana, where he has been held since Fidel Castro’s death last November. His lawyer, Kimberly Motley, was arrested in Havana the next month.

The artist was released after the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention started to review a legal petition filed in his behalf. The artist has been imprisoned before, but this time he was detained just prior to traveling to Miami for an exhibition he was in and a performance he was scheduled for at Art Basel Miami. Machado’s family said they were grateful to Motley and international civil rights attorney Centa B. Rek Chajtur from the Human Rights Foundation. In a statement on the artist’s Facebook page, they said, “It was the growing awareness about his case that has led the Cuban government to liberate him,” adding that the artist plans to “continue doing meaningful art towards a free and democratic Cuba.”

January 23, 2017

South Korea’s Culture Minister Resigns Over Blacklist of Artists

South Korea’s former culture minister Cho Yoon-Sun

After news broke of a supposed blacklist of artists in South Korea, who were subsequently denied support from the government’s usual channels, the AFP now reports that the country’s culture minister Cho Yoon-Sun has resigned after being arrested over the weekend for allegedly creating this blacklist of almost 10,000 artists who were critical of the now impeached president Park Geun-Hye.

Cho Yoon-Sun, the first minister in active service to be arrested in South Korea, is accused of creating the list to disqualify the artists from receiving government subsidies and private investments, and also to place them under state surveillance. The blacklist’s existence has sparked outrage, as it seems a throwback to dictator Park Chung-Hee’s rule from 1961 to 1979, when the press, arts, and entertainment were heavily censored. Park Chung-Hee was also the impeached leader Park Geun-Hye’s father.

Shortly after her arrest, Cho tendered her resignation to prime minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn, according to a spokesman for the prime minister’s office. Cho also previously served as the minister for gender equality. The Seoul Central District Court had issued a warrant to arrest Cho on charges of abuse of authority and perjury following a request from prosecutors. The court also simultaneously issued an arrest warrant for Kim Ki-Choon, a powerful former chief of staff for Park, who is accused of ordering Cho to create the list of artists.

January 23, 2017

Paula Cooper Gallery Adds Dealers Jay Gorney and Lisa Cooley to Its Staff

Lisa Cooley

Jay Gorney, a veteran of the New York art world who has had galleries in the East Village, SoHo, and Chelsea, and Lisa Cooley, who ran her eponymous gallery on the Lower East Side until this past August, will join Paula Cooper Gallery, according to Andrew Russeth at Artnews.

Since Gorney left the Chelsea gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash in 2013, where he was the director of its contemporary art program, he has been organizing shows of work by Deborah Remington, Mathew Cerletty, Ray Johnson, and others, while also working as an advisor to collectors and to the estate of Sarah Charlesworth. In March, he will present a solo booth of work by Anna Betbeze at Independent in New York and, in May, a solo show with Barbara Bloom at David Lewis Gallery in New York. Cooley opened her gallery in 2008 on Orchard Street and moved to a larger venue on Norfolk Street in 2012 where she showed artists such as Cynthia Daignault, Sue Tompkins, Josh Faught, and Lucy Kim, among other artists.

January 23, 2017

Brooklyn Museum Announces Seven New Board Members

Andrew Cogan

The Brooklyn Museum has announced the addition of seven new members to its board of trustees: Sarah Arison, Andrew Cogan, Karen Kiehl, Joel Mallin, Victoria M. Rogers, Ellen N. Taubman, and Susan Weber. Sarah Arison is the president of the Arison Arts Foundation, a private grant-making organization that provides support for emerging artists and the institutions that foster them. She is a trustee of the National YoungArts Foundation, New World Symphony, MoMA PS1, Americans for the Arts, and American Ballet Theatre. Andrew B. Cogan is the CEO of Knoll, Inc., which was founded in 1938 and is recognized internationally for workplace and residential furniture designs. Cogan is also the board chair of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas and serves on the external advisory board of the master’s program in design engineering at Harvard University.

From 2008 to 2011, Karen Kiehl was a senior vice president of the investment banking division at Barclays Capital. She also worked at Goldman Sachs from 1995 to 2008, where she served as the CIO of the merger department and eventually became head of the investment banking division's knowledge management group. Joel Mallin is a contemporary art collector whose collection of sculpture can be seen at the Mallin Collection and Buckhorn Sculpture Park in Pound Ridge, New York. He has served on the board directors at the Hebert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University for over twenty-six years. Victoria M. Rogers is the director of arts at Kickstarter and also serves on the board of Creative Time.

Ellen N. Taubman is an independent curator and art consultant who was previously a guest curator at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, where she organized a series of exhibitions focused on contemporary Native American art. She has also served as the vice president and department head of American Indian, African, and Oceanic Art at Sotheby’s in New York. Taubman is also a board member at Creative Time. Susan Weber is an American historian and founder and director of the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) for studies in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture, which is affiliated with Bard College. Prior to establishing the BGC, Weber was the executive director of the Open Society Institute, an umbrella organization for more than twenty independent foundations that support the advancement of freedom of expression around the globe. The total number of voting trustees at the Brooklyn Museum is now thirty-eight.

January 23, 2017

Expo Chicago Announces Curators for 2017 Edition

Justine Ludwig

Expo Chicago has announced the curators for their “In/Situ” and “Expo Video” programming, in addition to the inaugural curator for the “Exposure” section. Showcasing large-scale installations and site-specific works throughout Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, the “In/Situ” program will be curated by the Centre Pompidou Foundation’s curator of American art and curator-at-large Florence Derieux. The fair’s screening program for film, video, and new media works is titled “Expo Video” and will be curated by the adjunct curator at the Hammer Museum in LA, Ali Subotnick. The “Exposure” section, a part of the fair that will be installed on the main floor and feature solo and two-artist presentations represented by galleries that have been in operation for eight years or less, will be curated by the director of exhibitions and senior curator at Dallas Contemporary Justine Ludwig.

Additionally, Katell Jaffrès of the Palais de Tokyo will curate the first US-based iteration of the “Hors Les Murs” exhibition program, opening as an official satellite of the fair and running from September 12–October 29, 2017. The opening will also align with that of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. This program is an extension of the French-American Curatorial Exchange initiated in 2013 with the cultural services of the French Embassy in the United States. Developing in two parts, the first involves a partnership with Mana Contemporary Chicago that allows international artists to produce new work in Chicago specifically for Expo. The second part will entail a large-scale exhibition, to take place at a site that has yet to be announced, through a partnership with the Graham Foundation nominating a local emerging architect to collaborate with Jaffrès on the design of the space and exhibition. The show will feature the work of eight to twelve artists, both based in France and abroad, as well as local emerging artists in Chicago. The “Hors les Murs” initiative has taken place in eight other cities to date, including Zurich during Manifesta 11 and Singapore during the last Art Stage Singapore, among others.

The five-day, sixth edition of Expo Chicago runs September 13–17, 2017 at Navy Piers Festival Hall.

January 23, 2017

European Authorities Arrest 75 Art Traffickers and Recover Thousands of Stolen Artworks

Murcia, Spain, where 500 archaeological artifacts were recovered as part of Operation Pandora

Raphael Minder reports in the New York Times that European police have arrested seventy-five people and recovered about 3,500 stolen archaeological artifacts and other artworks in an continent-wide operation to take down an international network of art traffickers. Police investigators from eighteen countries were involved, and they also received support from Interpol, Europol, and UNESCO. Led by investigators in Spain and Cyprus, the effort, code-named Pandora, has been ongoing since last October and this array of arrests was announced yesterday in a statement by Spain’s interior ministry. However, the investigation was disclosed this weekend only because it is now considered completed, the arrests occurred earlier.

The criminal network they went after specialized in artworks looted from war-torn countries, as well as works stolen from museums and other sites, according to Spain’s statement. In the southern Spanish city of Murcia, police recovered about 500 archaeological pieces, including nineteen stolen from the city’s archaeological museum in 2014. In Greece, authorities recovered part of an Ottoman tombstone, pieces from the Byzantine era, and an eighteenth century image of St. George. During their investigations, Spanish police released a photograph of ancient coins, some of which were recovered by examining online sales. Spanish authorities have not provided a detailed inventory of all the recovered objects though, and would not confirm where the arrests were made. Over 48,000 people were investigated in the course of the operation.

January 20, 2017

Ongoing List of Arts Institutions to Close for Inauguration Day Culture Strike

Anti-Trump protest.

In protest of the normalization of a Donald Trump presidency, arts institutions, artists, and critics are planning to participate in a culture strike on Inauguration Day, January 20. Billed as an “act of non-compliance,” the J20 Art Strike urges museums, galleries, theaters, concert halls, studios, nonprofits, and art schools to take a stand against hate and intolerance.

The following is a running list of institutions and organizations that will close or present special programming.

Closures:

47 Canal
A.I.R.
Accola Griefen Gallery
Alexander & Bonin
Alexander Gray
Andrew Kreps
Black Ball Projects
Blank Forms
Blum & Poe
bitforms gallery
Burning in Water
Canada
The Carpenter Center, Harvard University
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
Cheim & Reid
College Art Association
David & Schweitzer
Dillon + Lee
DM Contemporary
Essex Street
Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
First Street Gallery
FiveMyles
Fresh Window
Foxy Productions
Garth Greenan
Grey Art Gallery, New York University
The Hole
Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project
Joan, Los Angeles
The Kitchen
Light Industry
Lisson Gallery
LMAK
Lyles & King
Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery NY
Miguel Abreu
Minus Space
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
No Longer Empty
Odetta
Pen + Brush
The Phillips Collection
Present Company
Primary Information
Printed Matter
Queens Museum
Radiator Gallery
Recess
Salon 94
SculptureCenter
Sean Kelly Gallery
Secret Dungeon Project
Smack Mellon
Station Independent Projects
Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects
Steven Kasher Gallery
Thomas Erben Gallery
Triple Canopy
Victori + Mo
Viridian Artists
White Columns

Pay What You Wish and Free Admission:

El Museo del Barrio, New York
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Museum of Arts and Design, New York
Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Museum of the Moving Image, New York
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
The New Museum, New York
Rhode Island School of Design Museum
The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Institutional Activities:

Bard Graduate Center will stage readings from the United States Constitution.

Outsider Art Fair, New York, will invite attendees to read speeches, interviews, and quotes by former President Barack Obama.

The Brooklyn Museum will present a marathon reading of Langston Hughes’s 1935 poem “Let America Be America Again.”

While the Queens Museum, New York, will be closed to visitors wishing to view its galleries, the building will be open for “Sign of the Times,” which provides visitors with space and materials to make posters, buttons, signs, and banners that they can use in marches or for other actions.

The Museum of the Moving Image in New York will offer a free screening of the movie “Loving,” about Richard and Mildred Loving who took their fight against laws banning interracial marriage to the Supreme Court.

National Sawdust in Brooklyn is organizing “The Hillary Speeches,” which will screen two of Clinton's speeches—when she first announced she was running for President on January 7, 2007, and when she gave her concession speech on November 9, 2017—and live music performed by several classical musicians and Broadway performers.

At MoMA PS1 artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, creators of the first artist-run political action committee (PAC), For Freedoms, will begin their residency which will run through the first one hundred days of Trump’s presidency.

The Baltimore Museum of Art is hosting a “nonpartisan” event with readings, tours and performances.

The Rubin Museum is hosting a meditation and yoga workshop called “Swear In, Breathe Out.”

Petzel Gallery in New York is presenting a public roundtable hosted by Justin Caguiat of the Manila Institute, which will initiate a dialogue about “naming our systems of oppression, and against the fixed resolution of authority, and what this looks like to young artists today.”

On Friday, January 27, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles is presenting a night of poetry. Will Alexander, Tisa Bryant, and Robin Coste Lewis will read new works of poetry, followed by a piano performance by Donal Fox. There is a suggested $10 donation to attend and all proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood.

The Whitney Museum in New York is offering free programming, including “My America” guided tours; a speak out convened by the artist collective Occupy Museums; and open discussions moderated by artists, critics, and Whitney staff.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts will offer a free “Nasty Women” tour on Saturday, January 21, coinciding with the Women’s March on Washington DC.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, will host “School Night: Self-Care as Warfare,” on January 24. The event invites artists and activists to participate in a discussion on wellness techniques people can use throughout Trump’s presidency.