Sotheby’s Acquires Amy Cappellazzo, Allan Schwartzman, and Adam Chinn’s Art Agency, Partners

Amy Cappellazzo

Sotheby’s is acquiring an art advisory business managed by Amy Cappellazzo, a former executive from Christie’s, Allan Schwartzman, and Adam Chinn for $85 million, which includes potential earnings based on performance, according to a report by Robin Pogrebin in the New York Times. The almost two-year-old firm is called Art Agency, Partners and will lead a new fine art division within Sotheby’s auction house, focusing primarily on twentieth-century and contemporary art. This major financial investment comes just on the heels of the house’s strategic decrease in staff, as well as another grab from rival house Christie’s staff.

Cappellazzo is the former chairwoman of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art department. The other managers of Art Agency, Partners are veteran advisor Schwartzman and Chinn, a cofounder of the investment bank Centerview Partners and a former partner at the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. They will bring a fifteen-member staff to Sotheby’s, with Cappellazzo and Schwartzman overseeing specialists in the areas of Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art departments as well as private sales and the development of a retainer-based advisory business within Sotheby’s. Chinn will take on the role of executive vice president for worldwide transaction support, succeeding the retiring Mitchell Zuckerman.


February 24, 2017

Lisson Gallery to Open Second New York Space

Lisson Gallery

London’s Lisson Gallery has announced that it will open its fifth location and second New York Space this April, Nate Freeman of Artnews reports. The new 3,500-square-foot gallery will be housed at 136 Tenth Avenue.

The gallery’s director, Alex Logsdail, said that the idea for another New York space came about when artist Haroon Mirza inquired about finding a temporary space for a project that he thought was too small for the gallery’s 8,500-square-foot building on West 24th Street, which opened last year. “I started looking into it, and I realized we don’t have a space to show single-work exhibitions, or things that are a little more intimate. It was something that met the needs of a lot of our artists that make smaller work that we don’t exhibit all the time,” Logsdail said.

Mirza’s installation ããã – Experience, Practice, Ritual Remix, which consists of LED lights, an array of plants, and a video work that features found footage spanning the last fifteen years, beginning with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and ending with the election of Donald Trump, will inaugurate the space. The show will open March 3.

February 24, 2017

MoMA PS1 Names Jenny Sabin Studio Winner of 2017 Young Architects Program

Rendering of Jenny Sabin Studio's Lumen, 2017.

Jenny Sabin Studio’s Lumen has been selected as the winning design of MoMA PS1’s annual Young Architects Program. The immersive environment, an evolving design that changes in response to the people interacting with it as well as to heat and sunlight, will be constructed in the museum’s courtyard, opening on June 29.

Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and MoMA chief curator at large said, “Lumen is a socially and environmentally responsive structure that spans practices and disciplines in its exploratory approach to new materials. Held in tension within the walls of MoMA PS1’s courtyard, Lumen turns visitors into participants who interact through its responsiveness to temperature, sunlight, and movement.”

Now in its eighteenth edition, the Young Architects Program has offered emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects for a temporary, outdoor installation that provides shade, seating, and water. The architects must also work within guidelines that address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. Made of responsive tubular structures in a lightweight knitted fabric, Lumen features a canopy of recycled, photo-luminescent, and solar active textiles that absorb, collect, and deliver light as well as a misting system that will respond to visitors’ proximity.

February 24, 2017

Ren Hang (1987–2017)

Ren Hang, Untitled, 2013.

Beijing-based self-taught photographer Ren Hang, known for pushing boundaries in China with his controversial nude portraits, has died at the age of twenty-nine, the British Journal of Photography reports.

Born in Nong’ An—a suburb of Changchun, the capital of the northeastern province of Jilin—in 1987, Ren left for Beijing to study advertising when he was seventeen. Shortly after, he became interested in photography as a way to “relieve boredom.” The artist began by using a point-and-shoot-camera to capture his friends. Since then, Hang has been featured in solo exhibitions in Antwerp, Athens, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Marseille, New York, Paris, and Vienna, and self-published seven monographs before the publishing company Taschen released a retrospective photobook of his work this year.

Despite being widely celebrated, Ren had a turbulent relationship with his native country. He was jailed because his images were considered pornography, which has been illegal in China since 1949, his work was frequently censored, and his website was removed. Ren said, “I don’t really view my work as taboo, because I don’t think so much in cultural context, or political context. I don’t intentionally push boundaries, I just do what I do.”

February 24, 2017

Paul Schimmel Leaves Hauser & Wirth

Paul Schimmel

Paul Schimmel will be leaving his role as director, partner, and vice president of Hauser & Wirth. Iwan Wirth and Manuela Wirth, cofounders and copresidents of the gallery, made the announcement today. After joining Hauser & Wirth in May of 2013, Schimmel headed the gallery’s new downtown arts district complex in Los Angeles.

Schimmel was previously the longtime chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and has maintained a curatorial career extending back to the mid-1970s. (He wrote a Passages on Chris Burden, on the occasion of the artist’s death, in the September 2015 issue of Artforum.)

In announcing Schimmel’s departure, Iwan Wirth noted, “Going forward, Hauser & Wirth will continue building upon its longstanding, passionate commitment to Los Angeles with expanded programs, including an increasingly robust campaign of public events and community outreach activities, and an ever more dynamic schedule of exhibitions that celebrate our artists, and connections between California and the international scene.”

February 24, 2017

Lincoln Center Rejects Ticket Holder Wearing Anti-Trump Sign

Jenny Heinz holds up the sign she had affixed to her jacket when Lincoln Center turned her away from a performance at David Geffen Hall. Photo: George Etheredge for the New York Times

In November, Jenny Heinz, an avid performance goer, attached an eight-by-eleven sign to the back of her jacket that reads: “No! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!”

Earlier this month, Lincoln Center would not admit Heinz to a Budapest Festival performance at the David Geffen Hall for refusing to remove the sign from her jacket, Colin Moynihan of the New York Times reports. Despite wanting to attend the event, Heinz forfeited her ticket to keep the sign, saying it was a matter of “freedom of expression.”

While Lincoln Center did not directly address the incident, it released a statement that reads: “Lincoln Center’s founding mission is to bring the world’s greatest artists to the broadest possible audience. Every day we strive to provide an environment that cultivates the special and uninterrupted connection between a diverse array of performers and patrons, enabling a multitude of curated experiences for our 6.5 million annual visitors and artists.”

February 24, 2017

Greek State Assumes Control of Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation handed over its Renzo Piano–designed cultural center, which houses the National Library and the National Opera House, to the Greek state in a ceremony on Thursday, February 23, Ekathimerini reports. The foundation also donated roughly $650 million to support the maintenance of the facility for years to come.

Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras welcomed the “generous donation” and also acknowledged the public’s unease over the fate of the center once it’s controlled by the state saying, “The concerns are very real. They are due to the fact that many Olympic facilities on which the people spent hundreds of millions remain unexploited, virtually in ruin.” He added, “However, it is not right to create the impression that the state and citizens are not in the position to keep this jewel, to make use of it and to make it into something even better.”

Tsipras brushed over several examples of missteps by both private and public Greek cultural institutions including the Athens Concert Hall, which accumulated millions of dollars of debt, forcing the state to intervene. Director of the foundation Andreas Dracopoulos said that the center has already been “embraced” by Greeks and that 760,000 people have visited the space since it opened in 2016. President Prokopis Pavlopoulos added that if the state fails to manage the facility it “will not be a breach against the donors but against culture itself.”

February 24, 2017

Marlborough Chelsea Rebrands and Merges New York and London Programming

Max Levai, principal director of Marlborough Chelsea, which has been rebranded as Marlborough Contemporary. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Marlborough Chelsea has announced that it is rebranding itself as Marlborough Contemporary and will coordinate programming between its New York and London spaces under the leadership of directors Max Levai and Pascal Spengemann.

“We are now an internationally aligned program, and Marlborough Contemporary represents the future of this legendary gallery,” Levai said. “This expansion opens up an exciting opportunity for connecting with new artists and expanding our audience.”

The gallery will also add to its staff by welcoming director Nichole Caruso, formerly of Wallspace Gallery and Lisa Cooley Gallery, as well as Leo Fitzpatrick, who will continue overseeing the adjacent Viewing Room gallery. Ed Spurr, formerly of Matthew Marks Gallery, will also join Marlborough Contemporary as a director in London.

February 24, 2017

MoCA Jacksonville Appoints Caitlín Doherty Director

Caitlín Doherty

The Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville has announced that Caitlín Doherty, chief curator and deputy director of curatorial affairs at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, will join the institution as its new director. She will take up the post on March 20.

“She brings with her a wealth of leadership experience, strategy, and programmatic vision, as well as significant skills in museum and nonprofit management,” MOCA acting director and deputy director Ben Thompson said. He added, “Caitlín is a great team builder and at other institutions has created a culture of ‘cooperative enthusiasm,’ which helps align all stakeholders toward shared goals. She recognizes the importance of integrating with our community, making the museum a destination, a warm and welcoming place for all.”

Since January 2015, Doherty has been chief curator and deputy director of curatorial affairs at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. During her tenure at The Broad, Doherty curated numerous exhibitions, including “The Artist as Activist: Mahbubur Rahman and Tayeba Begum Lipi” (2016), “2116: Forecast of the Next Century” (2016), “Gideon Mendel: Drowning World” (2016), and “Moving Time: Video Art at 50, 1965-2015,” which is currently touring China.

February 24, 2017

Congressman Sues Architect of the Capitol over Removal of Student Artwork

A painting by high school student David Pulphus. Photo: Zach Gibson

Congressman William Lacy Clay of Missouri has filed a federal lawsuit against Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers for removing a student painting from a Capitol Hill exhibition claiming that he violated the artist’s right to free speech, Spencer S. Hsu of the Washington Post reports.

The lawsuit is the latest development in an ongoing controversy over an exhibition of works by high school students who won an annual nationwide art competition sponsored by the Congressional Institute. David Pulphus’s painting depicts police officers, who resemble razorback pigs in uniforms, aiming weapons at African American protesters in a standoff that was inspired by the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of unarmed African American teen Michael Brown in 2014.

Clay said that the removal of the painting “sent a chilling message to young Americans that their voices are not respected.” He added, “This case is truly about something much bigger than a student’s painting. It is about defending our fundamental First Amendment freedoms which are currently under assault in this country.”