Jennifer Schuessler reports in the New York Times that the New York Public Library will release more than 180,000 photographs, postcards, maps, and other items in the public domain from the library’s special collections as downloadable high-resolution files on their website. Users will also have the freedom to circulate the files at will. According to Ben Vershbow, the director of the library system’s technology division NYPL Labs that has led the project, “We see digitization as a starting point, not end point…we don’t just want to put stuff online and say, ‘Here it is,’ but rev the engines and encourage reuse.”
Most items included in this release have already been accessible via the library’s digital collections portal, the difference being that the files are now available for free and immediate download. NYPL Labs was an intiative started in 2011 and in the future plans to offer “Remix Residencies,” which will provide funds for users’ projects that incorporate the public-domain materials.
The Portland Art Museum in Oregon has announced that Grace Kook-Anderson, a former curator of contemporary art at the Laguna Art Museum in California, has been appointed curator of Northwest Art. Kook-Anderson will be responsible for the care, research, exhibition, and growth of the Northwest art collection, including the organization of the biennial Contemporary Northwest Art Awards and will take up the post on January 9, 2017.
“Having closely followed the Portland Art Museum for the last several years, I am very excited to be part of the talented staff of the museum,” Kook-Anderson said. “I look forward to collaborating with fellow curatorial and educational staff, deepening my knowledge of the collection, expanding the scholarship of historical Northwest art up to the present time, and actively engaging with regional artists in the context of a broader art scene.”
During Kook-Anderson’s six-year tenure at the Laguna Art Museum she organized nearly thirty exhibitions, including the creation of the ex.pose contemporary art program. She also expanded the exhibition calendar from one year to three years, served as interim education curator, developed programming, and acquired work for the museum’s collection. Previously, Kook-Anderson served as assistant to the chief curator at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. She earned her bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in curatorial practice from California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
Portland Art Museum’s Northwest art collection boasts of a variety of works by artists living and working in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming, including Morris Graves, Jacob Lawrence, Carl Morris, C.S. Price, and Mark Tobey. The entire collection has recently been made available online.
The Denver Art Museum announced today that it received a $25 million gift from board chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife Sharon Martin to revitalize its Gio Ponti–designed North Building. The museum will recognize the Martin family’s donation, which is the largest in the museum’s history, by renaming the building in their honor.
“The North Building is considered one of the most significant objects in the museum’s collection, and our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring it into the twenty-first century,” Lanny Martin said. “The Denver Art Museum is a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region and it is critical that we continue to invest in it for the benefit of the entire community.”
Designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates, the seven-story North Building opened in 1971 and was celebrated as the first high rise art museum and the first Ponti building to be constructed in North America.
Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti will lead the $150 million redesign of the building, which will expand gallery spaces, make improvements to the exterior, and better integrate it into the museum’s campus. Construction is expected to start by the end of 2017.
Director Christoph Heinrich said, “The revitalization of the North Building will unify the Denver Art Museum campus, celebrate Gio Ponti’s iconic design, and ensure the building’s relevance and stewardship for the next fifty years.”
Portland Museum of Art Photo: Corey Templeton
The Portland Museum of Art in Maine announced today that it has received the largest matching gift in its history. Arts patrons Judy and Leonard Lauder donated $5 million in support of the museum’s initiative to increase its endowment by a total of $15 million. The directorship position at the institution will be named the Judy and Leonard Lauder director of the Portland Museum of Art in their honor.
In a statement, the Lauders said: “We are overjoyed to be able to make this gift to the Portland Museum of Art in recognition of its sterling leadership—from director Mark Bessire and board Chairman Jeffrey Kane—to the extraordinary board, museum staff, and volunteers, who have collectively made the Portland Museum of Art one of the leading regional art museums in the United States. While we recognize the importance of buildings, we also recognize the tremendous importance of economic stability for cultural institutions. We are confident that this gift, which focuses on the museum endowment, will greatly enhance and promote the financial integrity of this magnificent Maine institution.”
Director Mark H.C. Bessire called the gift “transformative.” He said, “When we complete the focused endowment initiative—spurred by the remarkable contributions of Judy and Leonard Lauder—the museum’s endowment will have grown to almost $40 million, thus providing the PMA with the stronger foundation it needs to effectively continue its mission.”
New York’s ISE Cultural Foundation—a nonprofit organization established in 1984 to promote emerging and under-represented artists and curators—has announced that it will shutter its doors indefinitely on December 31.
In an open letter, director Tomi Ise cited a sudden decision made by the foundation’s headquarters in Tokyo as the reason for the closure. “After this unexpected notice was delivered, we searched for any possibility to continue our activities in New York. However, we could not overturn the decision in Japan… It is so regrettable and disappointing that we have to stop our activities in the middle of operation.” He added, “We deeply appreciate your support and friendship to the foundation for such a long time and we apologize for any inconvenience caused by this closure.”
For more than two decades the foundation organized exhibitions at its gallery located at 555 Broadway in SoHo. It was known for presenting projects such as the “Asian Art Series,” which focused on introducing Asian artists to US audiences; the “Program for Emerging Curators,” an open call for curators worldwide to present exhibitions; as well as its “Art Student Exhibition” and “ISE NY Art Search” programs.
In 2015, the foundation shifted its focus to issuing grants in support of artists and art communities. In May 2015, it was awarded the Consul General’s Commendation from ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the consulate general of Japan in New York.
Jochen Volz to Curate Brazil’s Pavilion at 2017 Venice Biennale
The São Paulo Biennial Foundation announced that Jochen Volz, the curator of the 2016 Bienal de São Paulo, will organize Brazil’s pavilion at the fifty-seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26, 2017.
Volz said, “Sharing the event’s faith in the transformative potential of art and culture, I am convinced that we are going to put together a show that will dialogue fully with the present concerns of artists the world over.”
A German native and São Paulo–based curator and art critic, Volz has served as director of the Serpentine Galleries in London and as artistic director of the Inhotim Institute in Brazil. He curated Portikus in Frankfurt and cocurated the international art exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2009 as well as the first Aichi Triennial in Nagoya in 2012.
The announcement was made at the Bienal Foundation on Monday, December 5. Among those in attendance were the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, José Serra, and the international program director of the Ministry of Culture, Adam Muniz, signaling that the ministry will play a larger role in organizing the country’s representation in Venice. Previously, it was the sole responsibility of the Bienal Foundation.
Minister Roberto Freire said: “The resealing of this partnership is fruit of the efforts of the ministry of culture, the ministry of foreign affairs, and the [foundation] to continue to promote Brazilian culture on one of the art world’s greatest stages, reinforcing Brazil’s interest in stepping up its efforts toward the internationalization of Brazilian culture.”
After thirty-six people were killed on December 2 in a fire that engulfed a warehouse where artists lived, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the city will create more affordable spaces for arts organizations with a $1.7 million philanthropic grant, Rachael Swan of SF Gate reports.
“The arts are at the center of vibrant and diverse communities, and are critical to neighborhood health and wellbeing, yet artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to instability and displacement,” Schaaf said in a statement. “This public-private collaboration and investments are aimed at preventing displacement, growing the capacity of the city’s artists and cultural organizations, and enhancing municipal resources for the cultural sector over the long haul.”
The grant, which is funded by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust, will support a two-year pilot program that will focus on helping artists afford their existing studios or find financially sustainable workplaces. The city will also buy property and offer it to local artists at below market rates.
Critics disapproving of the mayor’s ties with developers booed Schaaf at a vigil that took place at Oakland’s Lake Merritt Monday night. In response, Schaaf said, “It’s OK. This city is going to go through a lot of emotions and one of them is going to be anger. It’s my job to hear that and feel that.”
In addition to the grant announcement, Schaaf appointed Roberto Bedoya as cultural affairs manager. He will be responsible for allocating $900,000 in grants to arts organizations. Urban planner Kelley Kahn, a special projects director for the city’s department of economic and workforce development, will take up a new post that will work on preventing displacement.
Rendering of the winning Illuminated River project design. Photo: Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced yesterday evening that a team led by US artist Leo Villareal has won the Illuminated River design competition to create a public installation that will light up seventeen bridges along the Thames River in 2017. The team includes lead artist Leo Villareal, lead consultant Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, and curator Future\Pace, along with Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, and Price & Myers.
“We saw an incredible response to this fascinating competition,” Kahn said, “showing that London continues to inspire creatives from around the globe, and is open to all. There were some spectacular ideas, and I can’t wait to see the winning design light up the Thames. Huge congratulations to Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands on this fantastic achievement.”
More than one hundred teams in twenty countries submitted proposals for the permanent light installation. The six shortlisted concepts were exhibited at the Royal Festival Hall in November.
Known for his “The Bay Lights” project, which lit the San Francisco Bay Bridge for two years, Villareal is a sculptor who has worked with light and computer code for more than a decade. His work is in the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington. He recently participated in the exhibition “The Light Show” (2013), organized by London’s Hayward Gallery. His celebrated light installation in San Francisco was so popular that it is being revived this year and will remain a permanent addition to the Bay Area skyline.
Villareal said: “I’m delighted and humbled by the fact that the jury went with an artistically-driven vision for the Illuminated River. The whole team shares a belief in the power of large-scale public culture and art to enrich our cities…Our aim is for a lighting masterplan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology, and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night time experience for residents and visitors.”
New York’s Christie’s auction house announced today that Brett Gorvy, the chairman and international head of postwar and contemporary art, is leaving after twenty-three years to partner with gallery founder Dominique Lévy. The flagship Madison Avenue gallery will now be known as Lévy Gorvy.
The auction house issued a statement that said: “Brett will continue to work closely with Christie’s on special projects and consignments across the twentieth-century field, while operating independently as an art advisor and dealer within the global art market.”
Jussi Pylkkanen, Christie’s global president, told Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times that he was sorry to see Gorvy leave. “It’s a loss for us,” he said. “He’s deeply respected both by collectors and the people who have worked with him.”
Gorvy commented: “To those who know me well, you will be fully aware of my profound love for Christie’s and the deep respect and pride that I have for the international team and the shared passion that we have for the extraordinary art that we are fortunate to work with.”
He added, “I am confident in the knowledge that Christie’s has an exceptionally talented team that has proven itself each season to be the best in the industry…It is the right time in my professional life to take advantage of new opportunities, knowing that I will still have close synergy with Christie’s.”
Under Gorvy’s leadership, Christie’s established a substantial amount of specialist expertise in the postwar and contemporary art category. Since he joined the auction house it has netted its highest prices for contemporary works at auction, including the sale $179.4 million sale of Picasso’s Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) in 2015.
“It’s quite a coup,” Mary Zlot, an art adviser in San Francisco, told Pogrebin. The pair “will add that much more firepower” to the marketplace.
Several other auction house executives have recently left to become dealers or run their own businesses, including Amy Cappellazzo, who left Christie’s after thirteen years to launch an art advisory business in 2014, and Sotheby’s auctioneer Tobias Meyer, who resigned to work as a private art adviser in 2013.
At the international level, the department will continue to be led globally by Laura Paulson, Francis Outred, Mariolina Bassetti, and Loic Gouzer, along with Barrett White, Sara Friedlander, Andy Massad, and Koji Inoue in New York; Xin Li and Eric Chang in Asia, and Edmond Francey in London. As previously announced, Alex Rotter will join the department in the Americas in 2017, having left Sotheby’s in early 2016. The global department will continue to be overseen by Jennifer Zatorski, president of specialist art departments.
Director Lisa Phillips and president James Keith Brown of the New Museum have revealed that Isolde Brielmaier, Victoria Mikhelson, and Michael Xufu Huang have joined the museum’s board of trustees, just as the museum nears its fortieth anniversary.
Brielmaier is professor of critical studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts as well as director of arts and culture at Westfield World Trade Center in New York. Mikhelson, who received an MA in art history from the Courtauld Institute in London, serves as project manager overseeing V-A-C, a Russian foundation supporting contemporary art. Huang is an art collector and a cofounder of the contemporary art museum M WOODS in Beijing, and was already a member of the New Museum’s international leadership council.
“We could not be more pleased that these three connected supporters of the New Museum will join our board at this time. Their passion, dedication, and intelligence will strengthen the diverse perspectives we champion,” said Phillips.