Chrysler Museum Names New Chief Curator

Lloyd DeWitt

Lloyd DeWitt has been named chief curator and Irene Leache curator of European art of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, reports Daily Press. Since 2011, DeWitt has been curator of European art at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; he also worked for a decade at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is succeeding Jeff Harrison, who stepped down in August after over three decades at the museum.

DeWitt specializes in seventeenth-century Dutch art, but also has expertise on everything from twentieth-century Canadian art to nonprofit management.

“By selecting Lloyd, we have made a statement that the Chrysler will be an active participant in the national and international museum field,” Erik Neil, the Chrysler’s director, said.

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April 26, 2017

Jonathan Demme (1944–2017)

Jonathan Demme. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo

Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, best known for working on critically acclaimed films such as The Silence of the Lambs, 1991, and Philadelphia, 1993, has died at his home in Manhattan at the age of seventy-three, NPR reports.

Born in Baldwin, Long Island, in 1944, Demme wanted to become a veterinarian, but changed course after failing college chemistry. He began writing movie reviews for his campus paper and eventually left college to accept an apprenticeship with producer Roger Corman. Demme started out as a publicist before trying his hand as a director.

Demme’s cinematic output over the course of his career ranges from Beloved, 1998, an adaption of Toni Morrison’s eponymous novel inspired by the story of an African American slave who flees to a free state after the Civil War, to the Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate, 2004, to documentaries on Neil Young and Demme’s radial cousin who worked as a priest in Harlem. He perhaps earned the widest recognition for his haunting film The Silence of the Lambs, which earned him five Oscars in 1991, including one for best picture and director.

April 26, 2017

Metropolitan Museum Considers Charging Out-of-State Visitors Admission Fees

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Following director Thomas P. Campbell’s resignation in February and a recent wave of layoffs to prevent a ballooning multimillion deficit from growing, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is discussing whether to charge admission to people visiting from outside of the state, Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times reports.

Ben Sarle, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio, confirmed that the leaders of the institution were weighing the option. He said, “We are still waiting to see the proposed plan between the Met and our department of cultural affairs. The Met is one of our most beloved, historic New York cultural institutions, and we are ready to work with them to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive.”

The museum currently has suggested admission prices—$25 for adults, $17 for senior citizens, and $12 for students (children are free)—but many visitors don't pay. At the end of the 2016 fiscal year, the museum found that only 13 percent of its overall revenue, about $39 million, was raised through ticket sales. If admission fees were required the institution would earn millions more.

April 26, 2017

Jean Pigozzi to Build Foundation for Contemporary African Art

Jean Pigozzi

French venture capitalist Jean Pigozzi, renowned for his collection of contemporary African art—some of which will be shown in “Art, Africa: the New Atelier” at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, opening April 26—is planning on building a foundation and exhibition space for these works, reports Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper. “It would be sad if thirty years of work disappeared, and the 10,000-strong collection was dispersed, if I were to fall under a taxi one day in London. It is still incredible that neither the Museum of Modern Art, nor Beaubourg [the Centre Pompidou in Paris], nor the Metropolitan Museum of Art have a department of contemporary African art. In five years’ time, I want to create an [operational] space in Europe,” he said in an interview for Le Quotidien de l’Art.

Pigozzi started his collection in 1989, going to sub-Saharan African countries with André Magnin, a curator, looking for art. “I held myself to three rules: the artists had to be from black Africa, live there, and work there,” he said. In an interview for the “Art, Africa: the New Atelier” exhibition catalogue, Suzanne Pagé, the artistic director of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, said that a number of people have criticized Pigozzi’s collection though, as some of it seems to reflect a “neo-colonial approach that privileges handicrafts or self-taught artists at the expense of work that is more in line with the [scholarship] criteria of international art.”

“Deep down, what do artists care about categorization? . . . African artists speak to us about themselves, their society, their reality. This demands an open mind . . . colonization negated the reality of certain populations, and today the future of Africa is in the hands of Africans,” responded Pigozzi to the accusations.

April 26, 2017

French Presidential Candidates Reveal Proposals for Art and Culture

From left: Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron.

The cultural budget for France under its current president, François Hollande, shrank by about $468 million during his time in office, despite promises of maintaining funding for the arts throughout his campaign. The current candidates for the French presidency—centrist Emmanuel Macron and right-winger Marine Le Pen—have also made mention of policies for French arts and culture, writes Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper. The final polling day for France’s new president is May 7.

Macron, who is deeply pro-Europe, said he wants to keep the arts budget steady—he’d like to provide an annual “culture pass” for young people, worth about $544 per person, and launch an Erasmus (the EU’s student exchange program) for curators, artists, and other arts professionals. Macron would also like to create an endowment for the upkeep of heritage sites, in addition to a $218 million fund for various cultural initiatives.

Le Pen has made no specific mention of a budgetary commitment to culture. As a staunch nationalist, however, she wants to increase funding allotted to preserving French heritage by 25 percent. She is keen on preventing foreigners and buyers in the private sector from purchasing national buildings, and would like to create an online platform for arts sponsorship and philanthropy. She would also like to establish more residency opportunities for artists of all ages and disciplines, and put more energy into supporting French contemporary artists.

April 26, 2017

Public Petitions Against New Berlin Museum’s Design

Design rendering of the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin. Photo: Herzog & de Meuron

A recently created public initiative has launched a petition against Berlin’s prospective Museum of the 20th Century (M20) due to its controversial design, reports Monopol. In the petition, the new organization, #forumskultur: kulturforum, calls for a public discussion over the future and design of the museum.

Addressed to minister of culture Monika Grütters, the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, and Senate building director Regula Lüscher, the petition was spearheaded by Kristin Feireiss, cofounder of the architectural forum Aedes, and it currently has more than five hundred signatories including architects, city planners, artists, and publicists.

#forumskultur: kulturforum criticizes the financing for the new building, claiming that the current budget of $218 million is unrealistic. The group is demanding a more transparent financial plan, for images and the specs of the new design to be made available, and for a public discussion to be held before construction commences.

April 26, 2017

Artists Plaster France with Humorous Campaign Posters

Fake presidential campaign posters outside a poling site in Montpelier. Photo: Efix

Last Sunday, just in time for the first round of the French presidential elections, artist and musician Efix replaced official candidate posters at a polling site in Montpelier with posters featuring cartoon characters based on the “Little Miss” and “Mr. Men” children’s books by Roger Hargreaves.

In an interview with France Info, Efix explained his motive, “I thought it was necessary to energize the city and make the elections more jovial. The ‘Little Miss’ books are familiar to everyone from childhood and touch all generations.”

Efix’s Facebook post featuring a photo of his installation, which promoted candidates like “Mr. Dreamer,” “Mrs. Authority,” and “Mr. Perfect,” was shared more than 10,000 times. However, the city of Montpelier had not approved the art installation and so officials quickly covered over the cartoons with portraits of the eleven actual candidates.

April 25, 2017

Marisol Estate Bequeathed to Albright-Knox Art Gallery

View of Marisol’s New York studio. Photo: Jason Mandella

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo has received the largest gift of art in its history—the entire estate of Venezuelan American artist Marisol. Upon her death in 2016 at the age of eighty-five, María Sol Escobar left the museum more than one hundred sculptures spanning her sixty-year career, over 150 works on paper, thousands of photographs and slides, and a collection of works by other artists.

“The Albright-Knox is proud to have been the first museum to acquire Marisol’s work,” director Janne Sirén said in a statement. “We are moved, and profoundly grateful, that Marisol was similarly proud of her association with the Albright-Knox and took the extraordinary step of leaving her estate to our museum.”

The museum purchased its first works by the artist—The Generals, 1961–62, from her solo show at Stable Gallery, and Baby Girl, 1963—in 1962 and 1964. Marisol’s longtime friend and co-executor of her estate Carlos Brillembourg, told the Buffalo News that the artist was incredibly grateful when Knox bought the works. He added, “I think it’s a wonderful thing for an artist to have a museum take care of their archive because it means that it will always be in public view and not dispersed among private collections.”

April 25, 2017

High Museum of Art Acquires Fifty-Four Artworks from Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Joe Light, Untitled,1987, enamel, seashells, stones, artificial plants, wood, glass, television console, dimensions variable. Photo: Kathryn Kolb.

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art has acquired fifty-four artworks from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, a nonprofit organization also based in Atlanta and dedicated to the preservation and distribution of artworks made by African Americans in the American South. This combined gift and purchase—made up of paintings, sculptures, and works on paper—is a major boon to the museum’s collection. Some of the artists represented in the gift/purchase include the quilt-makers of Gee’s Bend, Thorton Dial, Ronald Lockett, Joe Minter, Joe Light, Royal Robertson, Georgia Speller, Eldren Bailey, and Vernon Burwell.

Rand Suffolk, the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art, said, “This gift dovetails remarkably well with our existing collection—essentially adding strength on strength to one of the most distinctive and important collections of its kind. We’re grateful to the Souls Grown Deep Foundation for the opportunity to deepen our commitment to these artists and recognize their impact on contemporary art.”

“This landmark acquisition is a capstone of years of collaboration with the High Museum of Art, the anchoring institution in the foundation’s hometown of Atlanta. We are very pleased to add dozens of significant works to the High’s collection of contemporary art and look forward to years of future collaboration through insightful programming, displays and publications,” said the president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, Maxwell L. Anderson.

In February, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco acquired sixty-two works from Souls Grown Deep—another major gift from the foundation.

April 25, 2017

Art in America Editor in Chief Steps Down

Lindsay Pollock

Lindsay Pollock, the editor in chief of Art in America, has announced that she will resign after the release of the magazine’s June/July issue. After serving six years in the position, she has “decided the moment is right to move on to other projects and possibilities.”

“It has been a great honor to work with such a talented and loyal group of editors, designers, production managers, and sales representatives at this distinguished magazine,” Pollock said in a statement. “I am also grateful for the hundreds of writers and artists who have collaborated with us over the years. Their generosity of spirit was genuinely inspiring, while the ongoing respect and support of our readers made my role rewarding each and every day.”

Prior to joining the magazine, Pollock worked as a reporter for Bloomberg News and the Art Newspaper. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2003 and her bachelor’s degree in art history from Barnard College.