Lebanon Denies Passport to Curator Christine Tohme

Christine Tohme

Curator Christine Tohme has been denied a passport renewal from Lebanon because of a warrant issued against her, reports Artinfo’s Mostafa Heddaya. The founder and director of Ashkal Alwan (the Lebanese Association for the Plastic Arts) and the newly appointed curator of the thirteenth Sharjah Biennial, Tohme believes that she is being targeted due to her Ashkal Alwan roles.

Heddaya notes that Tohme—and apparently others in the cultural sector—are being denied passports following the antigovernment protests that rocked Beirut in 2015 and that included the participation of many artists. (He also noted that no official connection has been reported to exist between Ashkal Alwan and artists who took part in the demonstrations.)

A statement issued by Tohme attests: “The significance of this action against me cannot be understated, as it affects the domain of other civic workers, as well as mine personally. Using warrants illegally for obstruction of an administrative procedures, such as renewing passports, strips people of their right to mobility and travel. This is an illegal penalty issued by an administrative security authority, not a judiciary one.” (A more extended passage from her statement can be found here.) According to Heddaya, the Lebanese embassy in Washington, DC, did not comment when requested for a response.


October 28, 2016

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art Begins Expansion and Raises $40,000 for its New Diversity Fund

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art has announced that it has begun construction on a major expansion project that will double the size of the institution’s footprint. Located on Wooster Street, the museum is taking over the space adjacent to its existing gallery.

The additional 2,300 square feet of space will feature new galleries, a gift shop, rooms for events and educational initiatives, and storage areas. Interim director Meryl A. Allison said, “This expansion marks an extraordinary turning point and phase of substantive growth for the museum, which has had a strong presence in SoHo for nearly thirty years.”

The museum also announced that it has raised over $40,000 for its Hunter O’Hanian Diversity Art Fund, which it launched this summer. The fund will support the acquisition of artworks by primarily transgender and female artists.

After its current exhibition, “Cut Ups: Queer Collage Practices,” ends on December 18 the museum will close until early 2017. It will reopen with a show that explores Leslie-Lohman’s thirty-year history and feature 140 works of art by various artists, including Bernice Abbott, George Bellows, Richard Hamilton, Go Mishima, and Mickalene Thomas.

October 28, 2016

Carolyn Marsden-Smith to Join Getty Museum as Associate Director for Exhibitions

Carolyn Marsden-Smith

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today that Carolyn Marsden-Smith, currently head of exhibitions at the British Museum, has been appointed the new associate director for exhibitions. She will succeed Quincy Houghton, who left to join the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marsden-Smith will take up the position in January 2017.

Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, said that Marsden-Smith “has both the breadth of experience and the attention to detail necessary to oversee a complex and dynamic program.” He added, “Her more than sixteen years of experience and success at the British Museum are the ideal platform on which to continue to strengthen the Getty’s exhibition program in the years ahead.”

During her tenure at the British Museum, Marsden-Smith led the temporary conversion of the institution’s Round Reading Room to an exhibitions space, collaborated with external partners on programming for the London Cultural Olympiad, and managed the exhibition program, which included shows such as “Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia” (2005); “First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army” (2007); and “Celts: Art and Identity” (2015).

October 28, 2016

Chile Opens New National Center for Contemporary Art

National Centre for Contemporary Art Chile

The National Centre for Contemporary Art Chile—the first government-run facility dedicated to contemporary artists—opened its doors last month. Located on the former premises of the historic Cerrillos Airport, the venue will be the home of the National Council of Culture and Arts Chile’s collection.

“This is an important new space for Chile, a modernist building dedicated to strengthening conservation policies, research, archival work, and the display of contemporary Chilean and Latin American visual art.” Ernesto Ottone, minister president of the National Council, said.

The newly-renovated, 43,000-square-foot arts center boasts of exhibition spaces, libraries, a documentation center, a digital archive, research laboratories, and storage warehouses. The property, which was originally donated to the Chilean government by American philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim in 1928, was transferred to the National Council in 2016. Los Cerrillos airport operated on the grounds from 1929 to 2006.

Curated by Chilean artist Camilo Yañez, the center’s inaugural exhibition, “Una Imagen llamada Palabra” (An Image Called Word), features artworks by artists such as Gonzalo Díaz, Paz Errázuriz, Eugenio Dittborn, Iván Navarro, and Cecilia Vicuña. It will be on view until January 30, 2017.

October 28, 2016

Herzog & de Meuron Wins Design Competition for New Berlin Museum

Design rendering for Berlin’s new Museum of the Twentieth Century.

Berlin’s new Museum of the Twentieth Century announced that the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron with Vogt Landscape Architects has won its international design competition, Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper reports.

Herzog & de Meuron, whose other projects include the new Tate Modern Switch House said, “The museum is the place where different paths cross, where different mentalities and worlds allow an encounter. It has several entrances, as it is oriented in all directions. It draws attention to the local collection of art.” Resembling a barn, the winning design consists of a long and low brick building with a large gabled roof.

Plans for the new institution, which will be located at the Berlin Kulturforum between Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie and Hans Scharoun’s Philharmonic, were originally announced in 2013. Germany’s lower house of parliament allocated nearly $220 million for the project in 2014 and the design competition was launched a year later.

Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said, that firm’s concept “doesn’t attempt to compete with the ‘divas’ by Scharoun and Mies van der Rohe. But it still makes a very strong statement. It achieves an almost impossible feat by healing this place and bringing together these buildings.”

October 28, 2016

More Than 70 California Institutions to Participate in 2017 Pacific Standard Time

Installation view of “Scratch,” 2014, at ESMoA, one of the new institutions participating in Standard Pacific Time. Photo: Gloria Plascencia

The Getty Foundation has announced that more than seventy museums and cultural centers will participate in the 2017 edition of Pacific Standard Time—a series of thematically linked exhibitions at California-based institutions. It is partnering with twenty-four arts venues for the first time, including The Broad, ESMoA, Sunnylands Center and Gardens, the University of California Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California.

Titled “LA/LA,” the second iteration of the four-month-long initiative will explore Latin American and Latino art and will be held from September 2017 to January 2018. The Getty Foundation also announced that $1.25 million in grants will support programming for the event. Six-hundred-thousand dollars will go to “Live Art: Latin America/Los Angeles”—an eleven-day performance art festival organized by Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT)—$450,000 will be allotted to the LA Promise Fund, and $250,000 will support the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation, said, “Like the exhibition catalogues which preserve a legacy of scholarship, the new grants announced today ensure that the impact of ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ will be felt far beyond museum walls.”

Jim Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, said, “To do justice to its vast and complex theme and engage audiences throughout the region, ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ needs to be as encompassing as its subject. We’re thrilled that the initiative is still growing, and we’re proud that the Getty is helping to realize these ambitions through additional grants.”

Pacific Standard Time exhibitions will explore a wide range of topics, including the history of pre-Hispanic art in South America as seen through the holdings of the Mingei International Museum, Cuban video art at ESMoA, and new work by Latina artists Judithe Hernández and Patssi Valdez at the Millard Sheets Art Center.

The full list of participating institutions is 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.