Study Tells of Explosion of Private Museums Globally Since 2000

The Broad in Los Angeles

According to a report by Alexandra Seno in the Art Newspaper, a new study from the Private Art Museum Report indicates that there are 317 “privately funded contemporary art museums” around the world, with a fifth of them having opened in just the past five years. Seventy percent of these museums were founded after 2000, and South Korea leads with the highest number of private art museums in the world. That country has forty-five such institutions, including thirteen in Seoul alone. The United States ranked second with forty-three, followed by Germany with forty-two, China at twenty-six, Italy with nineteen, and Japan at eleven. The cities with the most private museums next to Seoul are Beijing and Berlin with nine each.

The Private Art Museum Report is an international research project founded by the art collector database Larry’s List and Art Market Monitor of Artron. The survey authors collaborated with 166 private museums from more than forty countries, conducting interviews with collectors and sending a questionnaire to the 317 private museums identified in the report.

The report also predicts that China and the Middle East will be opening more private museums in coming years.

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January 18, 2017

Speed Art Museum Names Erika Holmquist-Wall Chief Curator

Erika Holmquist-Wall

The Speed Museum of Art in Kentucky announced today that Erika Holmquist-Wall, currently the museum’s curator of European and American painting and sculpture, was appointed as its new chief curator. She succeeds Scott Erbes who held the position since 2013. Holmquist-Wall will be responsible for organizing future exhibitions, conservation and restoration, and acquisitions.

“I’m brimming over with ideas for how we can better share the collection and encourage the public to be more involved,” Holmquist-Wall said. “I have traditional museum experience, but I’m also looking toward the future. We need to share our collection on not just a physical level, but a digital level as well. That means reaching out via the Internet, podcasts, social media and more.”

Prior to the Speed Museum, Holmquist-Wall worked in various roles at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts since she joined as a curatorial assistant in 2000. She became the institution’s assistant curator of paintings in 2007 and also servd as its provenance specialist, overseeing all research related to ownership and acquisitions for the museum’s collections. During her tenure, she curated several exhibitions including “The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy” (2011) and “Alexander Roslin and the Comtesse Pignatelli” (2008).

January 18, 2017

Marianne Boesky Gallery to Open New Space in Aspen

Marianne Boesky Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein

Marianne Boesky Gallery has announced that it will open Boesky West, a new project space in Aspen, Colorado. Slated to open on March 8, 2017, the venue will serve as an extension of Marianne Boesky’s flagship gallery in Chelsea.

Boesky tapped Selldorf Architects to lead the redesign of the three-thousand-square-foot, nineteenth-century cabin that was once owned by photographer James “Horsethief” Kelly. Local architecture firm David Johnston Architects will collaborate on the project.

“I have long been inspired by Aspen’s extreme landscape, and the creativity that it has fueled among artists, musicians, writers, and so many other individuals of diverse background and interests,” Boesky said. She added, “I see Boesky West as a space to present the work of our artists in a completely different context and environment than New York, expanding the experience of their work and introducing it to new audiences. At the same time, Boesky West offers the gallery more opportunity to experiment and collaborate with not only artists, but with curators, art historians, critics, and other members of the community.”

January 18, 2017

Artists Raise More Than $1 Million to Create Protest Art for Inauguration Day

One of Shepard Fairey’s works for the “We the People” campaign.

After learning that there will be restrictions against large scale signs and banners on Inauguration Day, artists Shepard Fairey, Ernesto Yerena, and Jessica Sabogal have teamed up to launch “We the People,” a campaign to create full-page newspaper ads that double as protest art, which will be distributed through the Washington Post to the thousands of people expected to demonstrate in Washington, DC on January 20 and over the weekend.

Since its launch on Kickstarter on Tuesday, the project has raised over $1 million. In collaboration with the Amplifier Foundation—a nonprofit that works to amplify grassroots movements and the commissioner of the “We the People” project—Fairey, Yerena, and Sabogal worked with photographers to make images of people that “capture the shared humanity of our diverse America.”

A street artist known for his Obama campaign poster Hope, Fairey has made three works in a similar graphic style featuring a Muslim woman wearing an American flag as a headscarf, a Latino woman with a flower in her hair, and an African American kid. Below the portraits, “We the People” is written in all caps as well as the phrases: “Are greater than fear,” “defend dignity,” and “protect each other.” Fairey said, “It was the right time to make a campaign that’s about diversity and inclusion, about people seeing the common bonds we have, and our connections as human beings. The idea was to take back a lot of this patriotic language in a way that we see is positive and progressive, and not let it be hijacked by people who want to say that the American flag or American concepts only represent one narrow way of thinking.”

January 18, 2017

Protesters in Hong Kong Urge China to Shelve Plan for New Palace Museum

People protesting the opening of a branch of Beijing’s Palace Museum in Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence

A proposal to open a new branch of Beijing’s Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in Hong Kong has sparked protests throughout the city, Juliana Liu of BBC reports. Critics of the plan claim that the museum is being forced on the semi-autonomous city by Hong Kong’s former chief secretary for administration Carrie Lam. Expected to make an election bid for chief executive, Lam is accused of supporting the project to win favor with Beijing.

Following the backlash, Lam defended the project. She said, “I know that today’s society is full of mistrust, but for this issue, we really do not have any selfish motives and private interests.” She added, “We should not let this cultural issue be politicized.”

Supporters of the project argue that the new cultural institution would increase Hong Kong’s tourism revenue since Beijing’s Palace Museum welcomes more than fourteen million people annually. For Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats in Hong Kong, exhibiting loaned works from the Beijing museum is equivalent to “cultural whitewashing by introducing more Chinese history and culture that is perceived to be positive.” Beijing’s Palace Museum is located just north of Tiananmen Square, where troops and tanks killed hundreds of students participating in pro-democracy protests in 1989. In recent demonstrations, protesters have carried models of tanks and paper versions, which they threw at police officers.

January 18, 2017

Unveiling Ceremony for Wax Statute of Donald Trump Interrupted by Protestor

Femen activist attacking wax statute of Donald Trump in Madrid.

Gabriella Paiella of New York magazine writes that the unveiling ceremony for a statute of Donald J. Trump at the Madrid Wax Museum last week was interrupted by a Femen protestor. Femen is a feminist activist collective started in Ukraine in 2008.

The protestor, who was topless, clutched the statue’s genital region and declared “Grab patriarchy by the balls!” Museum staff constrained her for a little while, then removed her from the premises. Gonzalo Presa, the museum’s head of communications, said “If they want to do this they should do it directly to him. This is too easy.”

Two other Femen protestors were at a polling site in midtown Manhattan on the day of the US election, shouting “Grab your balls! Off of my boobs!” They were eventually arrested.

January 18, 2017

Laura McLean-Ferris Appointed Curator at Swiss Institute

Laura McLean-Ferris

Laura McLean-Ferris has been promoted to curator at the Swiss Institute. McLean-Ferris started at the institute in 2015 as an adjunct curator, and has organized several exhibitions for the New York venue since then, such as: “Nina Beier: Anti-Ageing,” (2015) “Nancy Lupo: Parent and Parroting,” (2016) “Alex Baczynski-Jenkins: Us Swerve,” (2016) and “Olga Balema: Early Man” (2016).

Prior to the Swiss Institute, McLean-Ferris was an independent curator creating exhibitions for a variety of art spaces, including London’s David Roberts Art Foundation, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, S1 in Sheffield, as well as Chapter NY. She was part of the curatorial team for the thirteenth edition of Performa, and was an associate curator for the 2015 Ljubljana Biennial. She has written for Artforum, Art-Agenda, Frieze, Mousse, and Flash Art International, among other publications. In 2015 she received a Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for short form writing.

“As we look forward to moving into our new building on Saint Marks Place [this summer], Laura is playing a central role in establishing a thoughtful and pioneering curatorial program. Her wealth of knowledge, rigorous approach, and extraordinary relationships with artists internationally are a tremendous contribution, furthering Swiss Institute’s commitment to today’s most forward-looking artistic practices,” said Simon Castets, the Swiss Institute’s director.

January 18, 2017

Swiss Dealer Sues J. Paul Getty Museum for $77 Million

J. Paul Getty Museum

The Geneva-based antiquities dealer Phoenix Ancient Art has filed a $77 million federal lawsuit against the J. Paul Getty Museum for shutting it out of a multimillion-dollar acquisitions deal that did not actually go through. Brothers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam are seeking damages for misappropriation, fraud, breach of and interference with a contract, interference with prospective business relationships, and conversion.

According to the complaint, Phoenix Ancient Art provided “professional judgment, and extensive knowledge regarding antiquities” to facilitate a deal potentially valued at between $350 and $550 million with the Torlonia family and Italian officials in order to help the museum acquire sculptures from the family’s collection, one of the largest holdings of Greek and Roman art in the world.

Citing the 2005 controversy involving former Getty curator Marion True, who was accused of conspiring with dealers to purchase looted art for the museum, Phoenix Ancient Art claims that it was instrumental in helping the institution rebuild its reputation and professional standing with the Italian government and that the museum “stole the value of years of work and relationships cultivated by plaintiffs in violation of their contractual and legal duties” after it violated a non-circumvention agreement by directly contacting the Torlonia family and ceased communicating with the plaintiff in the fall of 2015.

January 18, 2017

Paris’s Maison Rouge to Close in 2018

La Maison Rouge

Paris’s La Maison Rouge, a private contemporary art foundation founded by French collector Antoine de Galbert, will permanently close its doors at the end of next year. Since 2004, the 14,000 square foot exhibition space located near the Bastille monument has hosted shows dedicated to artists ranging from Anthony McCall to Henry Darger. Reporting on the imminent closure, Le Monde referred to La Maison Rouge as, “one of the hottest spots for contemporary art in Paris.”

In a statement signed by Galbert, he explained that his decision to close the institution came down to a “lack of long-term sustainability...the feeling that I could not do better in the years to come than what we’ve done in the past, and the risk of ‘settling.’” The statement continued, “When I opened the Maison Rouge I realized very quickly that one day it would come to an end, and I prefer that this happen when the institution is still in top form.”

The foundation will host seven more exhibitions before its closure. Next up is a thematic show titled “The French Spirit, Countercultures 1969–1989.” Also on the horizon, a monograph of Parisian multi-media artist Hélène Delprat (for which an accompanying exhibition will open next fall) and “Black Dolls,” a presentation of American collector Deborah J. Neff’s antique cloth dolls depicting African-Americans, slated to open in February 2018.

January 18, 2017

Joseph Beuys Work Damaged at Neue Galerie in Kassel

Installation view of Joseph Beuys’s The Pack, 1969.

Moths have infested a felt suit created by Joseph Beuys on display at the Neue Galerie in Kassel, reports Monopol. The suit is part of a permanent installation made by Beuys in 1976.

The museum said on Wednesday that the insects were discovered in December. To prevent further damage, the suit was placed in a nitrogen chamber to undergo a six-week treatment, after which it will be examined frequently for any further damage.

According to a museum spokeswoman, “Presumably the moths already have made several tiny holes in the felt. If that’s the case, because of their small size, the holes shouldn’t be visible to visitors and won’t compromise the material of this treasured suit.”

Moth infestations often occur in museums, particularly with pieces made of textiles created from fibers of animal hair, such as wool. Institutions in Kassel, for example, regularly monitor for such infestations using pheromone traps. Since identifying the recent infestation and removing the suit, no further moths have been detected in the traps.