Edmonde Charles-Roux (1920–2016)

Edmonde Charles-Roux

Edmonde Charles-Roux, editor-in-chief of French Vogue from 1954 to 1966, and author of the novel To Forget Palermo (1966), which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s largest literary prize, that same year, died on January 20 in Marseille, according to William Grimes of the New York Times.

Charles-Roux started writing for Elle in 1946 after serving in World War II—she fought with the French resistance and was a decorated nurse. She started writing for Vogue in 1948 and, six years later, became its editor-in-chief. She quickly placed her imprimatur on the magazine by publishing the writings of Violette Leduc and Alain Robbe-Grillet, and featuring the photography of Guy Bourdin and Irving Penn. She also endorsed the fledgling careers of fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. In 1966, however, she was fired from the magazine for reasons that were never made clear.

Charles-Roux received the Prix Goncourt only months after her departure from Vogue for To Forget Palermo, a story about “an American career woman, the editor of the fictional fashion magazine Fair, who marries a tough New York politician,” and the eventual destruction of their marriage. “When I was fired, I didn’t even know the book had been accepted for publication,” Charles-Roux mentioned to the Times in 1966. She also wrote an acclaimed biography of Coco Chanel, which came out in the United States in 1975, titled Chanel: Her Life, Her World—and the Woman Behind the Legend She Herself Created. She followed it up with a sequel in 1981 called Chanel and her World.

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January 19, 2017

Rental Gallery to Open East Hampton Space in May

Joel Mesler, Untitled (Pool with Beach Ball), 2016. Photo: Martin Parsek

Rental Gallery has announced that it will open a new location in East Hampton, New York, in May. Founded by artist and dealer Joel Mesler, Rental was originally established in Los Angeles in 2004 as a venue for flexible and experimental programming by local curators and gallerists. After three years, the gallery relocated to New York City where it operated until 2010.

Mesler said, “New York has been the center of the art world for the longest time, but in a globalized world, what does that even mean? We’re focusing on one of most important regions of artmaking and collecting in this part of the world, figuring that people will come to us. It’s like those bumper stickers—‘Think Global, Collect Local.’”

In a statement, the gallery cites “a decade of rising rents in arts centers, combined with a global move towards an art-fair driven calendar” as the reason why it chose to move to a seasonal destination such as the Hamptons. Rental will inaugurate its new space with a retrospective featuring artists who have exhibited at the gallery since its founding.

January 19, 2017

New York’s Essex Street Gallery Relocates to Hester Street

Lucy Raven, 4:3, 2008.

Manhattan’s Essex Street Gallery has announced that it is relocating from Eldridge Street to 55 Hester Street, Alex Greenberger of Artnews reports. Founder Maxwell Graham said he considered moving to Berlin or Brussels before deciding on a larger space closer to the gallery’s original location.

A group show of political art, “Change of State,” will inaugurate the space. “I planned on doing an anti-inauguration exhibition regardless of which of the two candidates were elected,” Graham said. The exhibition, which opens on January 19, will be on view at the gallery’s Eldridge Street and Hester Street locations. Essex Street is participating in the J20 Art Strike and will be closed on Inauguration Day, January 20.

“Change of State” will feature older works including Fred Lonidier photographs depicting the arrests of twenty-nine protesters in 1972. Among the other artists exhibiting are Andrea Fraser, Hans Haacke, Rodney McMillian, Lucy Raven, and Sean Snyder. “I didn’t think that new work made sense because I don’t think we’re necessarily moving forward,” Graham said. “Amongst other moments of contemporary art history, critical practices from the ’80s and ’90s are foundational for me and members of the gallery. It’s very depressing to see the increased need for them again.”

January 18, 2017

The Studio Museum Appoints Connie H. Choi Associate Curator

Connie H. Choi

The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, announced today that Connie H. Choi, currently assistant curator of American art at the Brooklyn Museum, has been named associate curator of its permanent collection. She will take up the post on February 6.

“We are thrilled to have Connie bring her significant experience and expertise in American art, African American art, and museum collections to the Studio Museum,” director Thelma Golden said. “I am confident that she will be a wonderful addition to the curatorial team as we approach our fiftieth anniversary and continue to grow our collection.”

Choi joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2009 as a graduate intern and research associate before becoming assistant curator. During her tenure at the museum, she assisted the former curator of American Art, Terry Carbone, with the museum’s Fund for African American Art, an initiative founded in 2010 to support gifts of art by African American artists. She also organized the exhibition “Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection” and was part of the curatorial team for “Infinite Blue.” Choi earned her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her master’s in arts education from Harvard University. She is currently a Ph.D candidate in art history at Columbia University, where her research focuses on African American art, the history of photography, and the intersections between race, history, and culture.

January 18, 2017

Speed Art Museum Names Erika Holmquist-Wall Chief Curator

Erika Holmquist-Wall

The Speed Art Museum 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 has 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, Holmquist-Wall worked in various roles at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts since joining as a curatorial assistant in 2000. She became the institution’s assistant curator of paintings in 2007 and also served 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.