FCA Announces Grants to Artists and Robert Rauschenberg Award for 2016

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1963 by John Cage and Jasper Johns, has announced the recipients of its annual awards. Fourteen unrestricted grants of $40,000 each will be given to individual artists in the United States. Along with this cycle of grant awardees, Jennie C. Jones has been named winner of the fourth annual Robert Rauschenberg award. She will receive $40,000. For more on Jones, see Andy Campbell’s current Critic’s Pick of her exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

Additionally, the artist and vocalist Joan La Barbara has been awarded the $50,000 biennial John Cage Award.

Grantees of the 2016 awards, broken up by category, are as follows:


October 27, 2016

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Wins 2016 Nam June Paik Award

Lawrence Abu Hamdan standing next to his work earshot, 2016.

Germany’s Museum Folkwang in Essen announced today that Lawrence Abu Hamdan has won the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. The $27,000 biennial prize is presented by the Nam June Paik Foundation.

Selected for earshot, 2016, the Beirut-based artist often explores the intersection of sound and politics. The installation was inspired by Abu Hamdan’s investigation into the deaths of two teenagers, Nadeem Nawara and Mohamad Abu Daher, who were shot in the West Bank in 2014. After an audio-ballistic analysis of the recorded gunshots, he determined that Israeli soldiers attempted to cover up their role in killing the two boys by trying to mask the live rounds they fired. Solo exhibitions of Abu Hamdan’s work have been held at Portikus in Frankfurt, Kunsthalle St Gallen in Switzerland, and the Van AbbeMuseum in the Netherlands. He has also exhibited at the Shanghai Biennial, Whitechapel Gallery London, MACBA Barcelona, and Tate Modern London.

The jury consisted of artist Dara Birnbaum; Penelope Curtis, director of Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Joanna Mytkowska, director of the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Rolf Quaghebeur, director of Argos Centrum voor Kunst en Media, Brussels; and artist Akram Zaatari. In a statement the jury said, “In his installation he has created an open space in which we can focus with precision on his subject, its means of representation, and on our own role as viewers.The topic of the representation of violence is of great contemporary relevance, and the artist encourages us to debate key moral issues in a different way.”

Works by the shortlisted nominees, Trisha Baga, Neïl Beloufa, and Katja Novitskova, will be exhibited at the museum from October 28, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

October 27, 2016

Students Protest Art Institute of Chicago Trustee’s Support of Public Education Cuts

Students protesting outside of the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo: Claudio Gonzalez

According to Anna Foran of Hyperallergic, Chicago-area students gathered at the Art Institute of Chicago on Monday to protest against a trustee’s ties to public education budget cuts. Eight students were arrested.

Organized by Chicago Student Action, the protest was calling attention to trustee Kenneth Griffin’s support of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who proposed to cut aid to Chicago public schools by $74 million a year. Founder and CEO of Citadel Investment Group, Griffin is one of the museum’s longtime donors.

Chained together and dressed in graduation caps and gowns, several demonstrators stretched across Michigan Avenue in order to block traffic for a group of students marching from Congress Parkway to the institute. In a statement, the group said, “Chicago Student Action leaders put their bodies on the line in front of the art institute to demand Ken Griffin, a museum trustee and single biggest donor to Governor Rauner, stop funding cuts to higher education and push Rauner to make public college tuition-free and accessible to all in Illinois, funded by taxing corporations and the very rich.”

October 27, 2016

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco Appoints Nancy Sackson Chief Philanthropy Officer

Nancy Sackson

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco has announced Nancy Sackson was named chief philanthropy officer. She will take up the position on December 1.

“Nancy Sackson brings her broad fundraising expertise to the museum at an exciting point in our institutional history—we’re celebrating our fiftieth anniversary, and will be constructing a new special exhibition pavilion and refreshing our collection galleries starting in 2017,” Jay Xu, director and CEO, said. “Her strong history of developing philanthropic relationships in the Bay Area and beyond make her an ideal partner in engaging our community to support the next stages of the museum’s advancement.”

Sackson has more than twenty years of philanthropy experience in the nonprofit sector and will be responsible for supervising fundraising efforts to expand support for the museum’s exhibitions and programs. Previously, she served as the director of development at several Bay Area institutions including the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for two years and the Exploratorium from 2010 to 2014. Sackson is also a former employee of the Asian Art Museum where she worked as associate director of development and capital campaign manager from 1997 to 2001. During her tenure at the institution she helped fundraise for the museum’s move from the Golden Gate Park to its current home at Civic Center.

October 27, 2016

Baltimore Museum of Art to Collaborate with Rose Museum on US Pavilion at 2017 Venice Biennale

Mark Bradford

The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University have announced that they will collaborate on presenting the work of Mark Bradford for the US pavilion at the fifty-seventh Venice Biennale.

Commissioned by Baltimore Museum of Art director Christopher Bedford, who is curating the exhibition with the institution’s senior programming and research curator, Katy Siegel, Bradford’s work will be on view from May 13 to November 26, 2017.

“This wonderful collaboration enables us to dedicate the resources of two outstanding institutions in realizing Mark’s installation and all of the programming that will flow from it that is an essential part of his practice,” Bedford said. “Mark’s focus on under-represented urban communities and social justice aligns with the interests of both Brandeis and the Baltimore Museum of Art, so our working together with him to advance these goals will enhance the impact of this major new work.”

Previously, Bedford served as director of the Rose Art Museum. He was appointed head of the Baltimore Museum of Art in August and will oversee the partnership between the two institutions.

October 27, 2016

Anne Imhof to Represent Germany at 2017 Venice Biennale

Anne Imhof, Aqua Leo, 1st of at least two, 2013. Left: Neila Bin Mohahmed Hadj Yahia, Erika Landström, Carolina Cortese, Eva Kruijssen, Olga Pedan, Anne Imhof. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski

Anne Imhof has been selected to represent Germany at the fifty-seventh edition of the Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26 in 2017. Susanne Pfeffer, director of the Museum Fridericianum in Kassel, will curate the pavilion.

Born in 1978, the Frankfurt- and Paris-based artist is known for works that explore the history of performance. In 2015, her work DEAL premiered at MoMA PS1; this year, her three-part work Angst played to much acclaim across three separate venues: the Kunsthalle Basel, the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal as part of La Biennale de Montréal. Last year she won the biennial Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art. Imhof has been working on “a spatially as well as temporally expansive work” for the pavilion since May.

In the September 2016 issue of Artforum, Kerstin Stakemeier examined the artist’s 2016 piece Angst, writing, “Imhof negates the economic idea of progress through siderealism. For Imhof, this also entails constantly undermining our role as audience or public, undercutting any position of distanced, critical judgment through subtle assertions of control.”

October 27, 2016

Donald A. Moore Elected Chair of ICA London

The Institute of Contemporary Art London has announced that Donald A. Moore was elected chair of the council. He succeeds Alison Myners who led the institution for six years and introduced a new governance structure.

Myners said, “Donald has been an outstanding council member for five years and vice chair. His wide experience across the cultural and business worlds will be invaluable to the ambitious plans we hold for the ICA and bring an exceptional level of support to [Stefan Kalmár] as he shapes the institute’s future.” Kalmár will start his term as director of the institute on November 23.

Moore is chair of Morgan Stanley Group Europe and has been a managing director at Morgan Stanley since 1986. He sits on the international council of Tate and the photography acquisition committee of Tate Modern. Previously, Moore has been a trustee at the National Gallery, London, and a member of the advisory board of the London Symphony Orchestra as well as a member of the corporate board of Carnegie Hall. He joined the ICA council in 2011 and became deputy chair in 2015.

“The ICA has gone from strength to strength under Alison and [Gregor Muir]’s leadership and I am looking forward to working with Stefan and council to take this important institution to the next level, ensuring its vital relevance as a leading voice within the culture of the twenty-fist century.”

October 26, 2016

Architecture Research Office Tapped to Renovate Rothko Chapel

Rothko Chapel

The New York–based Architecture Research Office has been selected to renovate Rothko Chapel—a windowless, octagonal-shaped building located in Houston, Texas that houses fourteen monumental panels created by American painter Mark Rothko.

Commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil, Rothko Chapel opened its doors in 1971. Since then, it has served as an interfaith and human rights gathering place that attracts around 55,000 people annually.

“For more than forty years, the Chapel has been a deeply moving experience of personal contemplation that furthers the Chapel’s mission of social action,” Stephen Cassell, partner at Architecture Research Office, said. “We feel enormous responsibility toward its future.”

The firm plans to improve the Chapel’s skylight, interior light baffle, electric lighting, and acoustics and will work with lighting design firm George Sexton Associates. ARO will also be charged with evaluating the layout of the site, which includes an outdoor plaza and a reflecting pool as well as several bungalows, in order to access whether any other renovations need to be carried out.

October 26, 2016

Michael Wellen to Join Tate as Curator of International Art

Michael Wellen

Tate announced today that it has appointed Michael Wellen as curator of international art. Wellen will focus on further developing the representation of art from Latin America in Tate’s collection and its exhibition program at Tate Modern. He will join the institution in December.

Wellen has served as assistant curator of Latin American and Latino art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston since 2011. He cocurated numerous exhibitions, including “Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona,” 2013–2014, and “Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America,” 2015–2016. Previously, Wellen worked as a researcher and writer for the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art in Austin and a lecturer at Rice University where he taught a “Latin American Art and Film Since 1960” seminar. Wellen earned his BA in history and anthropology from Rutgers University and his MA and Ph.D. in modern and contemporary art from the University of Texas.

October 26, 2016

David M. Rubenstein Elected Board Chair of Smithsonian Institution

David M. Rubenstein

David M. Rubenstein, cofounder of the Carlyle Group—a Washington D.C. based investment firm—has been elected chairman of the Smithsonian Institution board, Peggy McGlone of the Washington Post reports. He will succeed board of regents chairman John McCarter.

Rubenstein, who joined the board in 2009, said, “I love the museums, and I love the learning. It keeps me young.” In January, he donated $10 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s capital campaign. The museum named its central exhibition space the David M. Rubenstein History Galleries in his honor. Rubenstein cochairs the Smithsonian’s joint fundraising campaign, serves as board chair of Duke University, and is a board member at several other institutions, including the University of Chicago, Lincoln Center, and the National Gallery of Art.

The Smithsonian also elected Steve Case, cofounder of AOL, as vice chairman and Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as the third member of its executive committee. They will start their three-year terms in January.

In addition to the appointments, the institution announced that it has reached its $1.5 billion goal for its first joint fundraising campaign, which kicked off in 2011, one year ahead of schedule. “It’s the largest, most ambitious campaign for a cultural organization in the world,” Smithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, said. “We are proud to work to keep the museums free for all Americans.”