Christine Macel Appointed Artistic Director of 2017 Venice Biennale

Christine Macel.

Christine Macel has been appointed director of the Visual Arts Sector of the fifty-seventh edition of the Venice Biennale, to be held May 13 through November 26, 2017, with press previews beginning May 10th.

Since 2000, Macel has been chief curator of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where she has organized a number of exhibitions, including “Danser sa vie, art et danse aux XX et XXIème siècles” in 2011 and solo shows devoted to Gabriel Orozco in 2010, Philippe Parreno in 2009, Sophie Calle in 2003, and Nan Goldin in 2002. In Venice, Macel curated Anri Sala in the French Pavilion for the Biennale in 2013, and Eric Duyckaerts for the Belgian Pavilion in 2007. She also founded and heads the Pompidou’s department of contemporary art and prospective creation. “Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner,” which she organized with Elisabeth Sussman of the Whitney Museum, travels to the Pompidou on June 10, 2016.

“In the wake of the Biennale Arte directed by Okwui Enwezor, centered on the theme of the rifts and divisions that pervade the world, and aware that we are currently living in an age of anxiety, La Biennale has selected Christine Macel as a curator committed to emphasizing the important role artists play in inventing their own universes and injecting generous vitality into the world we live in,” said the Biennale’s president, Paolo Baratta, in a statement.


March 28, 2017

Julian Stanczak (1928–2017)

Julian Stanczak, Zip Me Up Please, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 70 x 50".

Julian Stanczak, a figurehead of the 1960s Op art movement, died at his Seven Hills, Ohio home on March 25, reports Alex Greenberger of Artnews. The artist’s paintings—sleek, scintillating, seductive, groovy—were said to have a “painterly expressiveness,” as per Donald Judd, which made them stand out from other kinds of Op art production. Stanczak was featured in the seminal but critically maligned 1965 exhibition, “The Responsive Eye,” a group show that attempted to make sense of Op’s currency and its historical precedents, organized by William C. Seitz at MoMA.

Stanczak was born in Borownica, Poland. The artist and his family were made to work at a Siberian labor camp during World War II. It was there that he developed encephalitis, which profoundly damaged his right arm. When he started making art, he could only use his left arm. It did not, however, impede his progress, as he was a prodigious maker of technically sophisticated and formally dense images. The artist managed to flee the camp, and traveled through the Middle East and South Asia. He spent some time living in Uganda—the vivid coloration of his paintings were inspired by the sunsets he saw there. He went to the Cleveland Institute of Art for his undergraduate degree, and received his MFA at Yale, where he studied under Josef Albers. He also taught at the Cleveland Institute from 1964 until 1995—Dana Schutz and April Gornik were among his students.

Stanczak’s paintings are in the collections of New York’s MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the RISD Museum in Providence; the Milwaukee Art Museum; LACMA in Los Angeles; and the Tamayo Museum, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, among other institutions. He has had exhibitions at many venues throughout the US, such as New York’s New Museum, Danese Gallery, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash (who represents the artist); the Cleveland Institute of Art; the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu; the San Jose Museum of Art; the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

In a review of the artist’s exhibition at MOCA Cleveland for the December 2009 issue of Artforum, writer Christopher Bedford said, “There is a great deal of romance and heroism to be found in the relationship between Stanczak’s early life and the work he has chosen to make. And while that kind of biographical cache does not always serve an artist’s critical reception—romance and heroism are hardly the picks of today’s critical litter—it should here. An already powerful body of work is made only more so when coupled with a consideration of the man who produced it.”

March 28, 2017

Iranian Gallery Withdraws from New York Photography Fair over Travel Ban

A photograph from Bahman Jalali’s series titled “Iran-Iraq War,” 1980–88. Jalali is represented by Ag Galerie in Tehran.

Ag Galerie, based in Tehran, will not be participating in this year’s AIPAD Photography Show due to President Trump’s travel ban, which currently affects six predominantly Muslim countries, writes Joshua Barone of the New York Times.

Even though two federal judges ruled against the president’s travel ban, the gallery did not want to take any chances. Ag Galerie would have been the fair’s first Iranian participant. A note from the gallery on AIPAD’s website reads: “Due to the recent travel ban and the uncertainty of international travel from countries identified in the ban, Ag Galerie, Tehran, is unable to participate in the Photography Show this year.”

The fair’s president, Catherine Edelman, said, “We felt it was really important to acknowledge why they weren’t able to appear at the fair. [The note is] a quiet way of acknowledging what’s going on. It’s important for the art world to acknowledge the immigration ban and the effect it’s having on the arts.” The AIPAD Photography Show opens on March 30 and runs through April 2 at Pier Ninety-Four in New York City.

March 28, 2017

Smithsonian Asks LACMA Director Michael Govan to Join Board of Regents

Michael Govan. Photo: Stefanie Keenan.

Peggy McGlone of the Washington Post writes that LACMA’s director, Michael Govan, has been asked by the Smithsonian to join its board of regents. Roger W. Ferguson, the chief executive of TIAA, a financial services company, has also been asked to join the museum’s board.

Govan and Ferguson’s nominations were approved by the United States Senate yesterday. If the nominations are accepted by President Trump and the House of Representatives, the pair will take over from Shirley Ann Jackson, the president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and real estate developer Robert Kogod. Kogod and Jackson served on the board for two terms.

The Smithsonian’s board of regents has seventeen members, including John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States; Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States; three members each from the Senate and the House, and nine citizens. Philanthropist David Rubenstein is the board’s chairman.

March 28, 2017

Musée Camille Claudel Opens in France

Musée Camille Claudel

The Musée Camille Claudel opened on Sunday, March 26 in the small French town of Nogent-sur-Seine, southeast of Paris, reports Maev Kennedy of The Guardian. The museum holds the largest collection of the artist’s works in the world. Claudel’s career struggled under the shadow of Auguste Rodin, who for a time was her lover (Constantin Brancusi, who was once Rodin’s studio assistant, famously said of working with Rodin, “Nothing grows under the shade of great trees.”)

Claudel and her family lived in Nogent-sur-Seine for only four years, but it was there, at the age of twelve, that she first began making sculptures from the local clay. The town is also known for being the setting of Gustave Flaubert’s 1869 novel, A Sentimental Education.

The museum, designed by Adelfo Scaranello architects, was paid for by the town—the new structure wraps itself around the old Claudel home. The interest in a museum dedicated to Claudel came out of a 2003 exhibition of the artist’s work in Nogent-sur-Seine. The show attracted more than 40,000 visitors to an area with a population of 6,000.

March 28, 2017

Zurich’s Galerie Eva Presenhuber to Open New York Space in May

Installation view of Oscar Tuazon’s show at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Löwenbräu-Areal, Zurich, in 2017.

According to Andrew Russeth of Artnews, Zurich’s Galerie Eva Presenhuber has announced that it will open a third location. With two spaces in Switzerland, Galerie Eva Presenhuber’s new outpost in New York “will function as an important extension of the Zurich gallery.”

Designed by Selldorf Architects, the new space will be located at Thirty-nine Great Jones Street in NoHo. A show featuring Austrian painter Tobias Pils will inaugurate the gallery, which opens on May 5, coinciding with Frieze week. Presenhuber maintains Zurich sites at Löwenbräu Areal and MAAG AREAL and currently represents artists such as Joe Bradley, Trisha Donnelly, Carroll Dunham, John Giorno, Henry Taylor, and Michael Williams.

March 28, 2017

Arts Council England to Start Inquiry Into Benefits of Art for Children

Sir Nicholas Serota

Sir Nicholas Serota, in his new position as the chairman of Arts Council England, has announced that an investigation into the benefits of exposing children to art—referred to as the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education—will be one of the first major projects undertaken by the council under Serota’s leadership, reports Mark Brown of The Guardian.

The eighteen-month-long inquiry has been formed as a response to concerns that the opportunities to offer arts education to children has been damaged by the government’s English baccalaureate, or Ebacc, which does not make arts study mandatory. Serota says the commission will allow educators and administrators to “step back, review the evidence, see what has worked, and come up with some proposals.”

A protest letter delivered to Prime Minister Theresa May on March 15, underlining the problems with the Ebacc, was signed more than one hundred leading figures in the British art world, including the Tate’s new director, Maria Balshaw, who took over the position from Serota. The letter states that in 2016, the percentage of students taking at least one arts-related class has declined considerably, and that teaching hours and courses in the arts have dropped almost twice as quickly as in other subjects. On the matter, Serota said, “Even if they were to open the Ebacc to one arts subject, I don’t think that would be the complete solution. In my view, it would help, but it would only be a partial solution. What I think the Durham commission might do is come up with a number of ideas that would be applied across the country to ensure kids in all kinds of schools get the kind of opportunities that are currently available only in the best of schools.” The commission is expected to start its inquiry in September, and have a report ready by the spring of 2019.

March 28, 2017

Library of Congress Acquires Civil Rights Photographer Bob Adelman’s Massive Archive

Bob Adelman, I Am a Man Strike, Memphis, Tennessee, 1968.

Allison Meier of Hyperallergic reports that the Library of Congress has acquired civil rights photographer Bob Adelman’s 575,000-item-strong archive of photographs, negatives, and slides. The collection was gifted to the library by an anonymous donor.

Adelman was born in 1930 and grew up on Long Island. He started taking pictures after studying law at Harvard and earning a masters degree in philosophy at Columbia University. He received a great deal of his training working under Alexey Brodovitch, the famed art director of Harper’s Bazaar. He then volunteered his services as a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality, an African American civil rights organization founded in Chicago in 1942.

Among the more notable images from the Adelman trove are pictures from the first women’s liberation march in New York in 1970, and a photograph of Reverend Joseph Carter on his porch, silhouetted and brandishing a gun, wondering if the KKK would come to his home and attack him after registering to vote in Louisiana’s West Feliciana Parish—the first black person in sixty years to do so. “I realized that my involvement [in documenting the civil rights movement] would be very dangerous, but I had a long think with myself and decided that this was something worth risking your life for,” he said to the New York Times in 2014.

March 28, 2017

Philadelphia Museum of Art Begins $196 Million Expansion

Philadelphia Museum of Art

On the eve of its one hundredth anniversary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is beginning a $196 million expansion project—an endeavor by architect Frank Gehry that took about ten years to develop, writes Katherine Scott of 6ABC. “The core project, as it suggests, really starts at the heart of the museum. It’s an extraordinary design and one that both respects the building, but makes it ready for the next one hundred years,” said Timothy Rub, the museum’s director.

The plan includes a vaulted walkway that starts at the Kelly Drive side of the museum, which will function as the building’s main entrance. The auditorium will be removed and a two-story public area, known as the “The Forum,” will go in its place. Overall, more than 23,000 square feet of gallery space will be added, which will allow the museum more room to display work from its collection of American art.

The project is scheduled to be completed by 2020. “It will make the experience of the museum more legible, more understandable for visitors who sometimes get lost in this great big and wonderful place,” said Rub. Many of the museum’s public collections will remain accessible throughout the construction. The plans for the expansion will be officially unveiled to the public on Thursday.

March 28, 2017

Allen Memorial Art Museum Appoints Andrea Gyorody as Assistant Curator

Andrea Gyorody

The Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin, Ohio, has named Andrea Gyorody its new assistant curator of modern and contemporary art. At the AMAM, Gyorody will be responsible for overseeing the museum’s collection of twentieth- and twenty-first century works, assisting in the staging of exhibitions, organizing related programing, and acquiring new works for the collection. She will begin working at the museum on April 3.

Gyorody previously served as the assistant curator in the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During her two and a half years at LACMA, Gyorody organized exhibitions of erotic prints and drawings from Germany and Austria; art created at the time of the 1918–19 communist revolution; and Jugendstil and art nouveau highlights from across LACMA’s collections. She also cowrote a forthcoming handbook on the Rifkind’s holdings. Gyorody is a Ph.D. candidate in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles and a contributor to Artforum.

“My colleagues and I are so pleased to welcome Andrea Gyorody to Oberlin. Her experience in all aspects of museum work and her desire to robustly connect the AMAM’s collection of modern and contemporary art with socially engaged practices will ensure vibrant future programs and educational opportunities for Oberlin College students and the broader public,” the museum’s director Andria Derstine said.