Metropolitan Museum of Art’s New Logo Revealed

Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new logo

The Metropolitan Museum of Art allegedly has a new logo: two short words—“THE MET”—in red lettering. According to Justin Davidson for New York Magazine, who obtained an early look at the logo, the branding firm Wolff Olins is responsible for the new designs that will take the place of the museum’s old capital M, which made its debut in 1971.

The logo, along with new maps and signs, is part of a campaign to make the Met “feel more available and accessible to first-time as well as frequent visitors,” according to a museum spokesperson. The new designs also coincide with the Met’s expansion into Met Breuer, the Upper East Side building previously occupied by the Whitney Museum.

Davidson notes that Wolff Olins was responsible for the visual identity of Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives, Tate Modern, and Tate Britain in the 1990s. The Met’s new logo has already received harsh criticism, even while it hasn’t yet officially been unveiled: Davidson himself calls it a “typographic bus crash,” and one Twitter user, responding to his article, deemed it “abominable.”

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December 5, 2016

Helen Marten Wins 2016 Turner Prize

Helen Marten and installation view of “Turner Prize 2016.” Photos: Joe Humphrys

The Turner Prize 2016 has been awarded to Helen Marten. The approximately $38,500 award was presented by author Ben Okri. In addition, nearly $8,000 is being given to each of the other shortlisted artists: Michael Dean, Anthea Hamilton, and Josephine Pryde. A show featuring the four finalists is on view at Tate Britain until January 2, 2017.

After studying at Central Saint Martins in London; and Ruskin School of Fine Art at University of Oxford, Marten has staged solo shows at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris; Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany; and CCS Bard Hessel Museum in New York, among many other venues. She was included in “All the World’s Futures” at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale and just staged a solo presentation at the Serpentine Sackler Galleries which closed on November 20.

In the December 2012, issue of Artforum, Brian Dillion wrote about Marten’s “Peanuts”. He said, “Among the effects of the profusion of objects in Marten’s sculptural assemblages is the sense that the substances they are made of (sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure) might transmute into one another. In Marten’s Linus-world, all are equally interesting, all equally digestible.”

Chaired by Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain, the jury consisted of Michelle Cotton, director of Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn, Germany; curator Tamsin Dillon; Beatrix Ruf, director of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; and Simon Wallis, director of the Hepworth Wakefield.

In a statement issued by the prize, the jury said that Marten’s work has “poetic and enigmatic qualities which reflect the complexities and challenges of being in the world today.” Marten was recognized for Lunar Nibs, which was shown at the 2015 Venice Biennale and her solo exhibition “Eucalyptus Let Us In” at Green Naftali in New York.

Established in 1884 by the Patrons of New Art group, the award was created to encourage a wider interest in contemporary art and to grow the collection of the Tate Gallery. Previous winners of the prize include Assemble, Laure Prouvost, Mark Leckey, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Chris Ofili.

December 5, 2016

Artists Announced for Iraqi Pavilion at 2017 Venice Biennale

Photo: Ali Arkady.

The Ruya Foundation has announced the participating artists for Iraq’s national pavilion at the fifty-seventh Venice Biennale in May 2017. The local and internationally-based contemporary artists participating are Luay Fadhil, Sherko Abbas, Sakar Sleman, Ali Arkady, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji, and Nadine Hattom, while the two modern artists also represented in the exhibition will be Jawad Salim, widely considered the most influential artist of the Iraqi modern period, and Shaker Hassan Al Said, who was a pupil and friend of Salim.

The exhibition, titled “Archaic,” will also include ancient Iraqi artifacts and the pavilion will additionally feature a new commission by the Belgian-born artist Francis Alÿs on the subject of war and the artist. The pavilion is curated by Tamara Chalabi, chair and cofounder of the Ruya Foundation, and Paolo Colombo, an art adviser at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art. Of the six living artists, five have been commissioned by Ruya to create new work for the pavilion.

In early 2016, Ruya helped Alÿs organize a trip to Baghdad and the refugee camps in northern Iraq. He followed this visit with another expedition in October 2016 in which he was embedded with a Kurdish battalion on the Mosul frontline, during the ongoing campaign to liberate Mosul from ISIS. Further details of the newly commissioned work for the pavilion, along with information about the ancient artifacts on display, will be announced in 2017.

December 5, 2016

The Artist Pension Trust Merges with MutualArt.com

Mark Sebba.

After recently making its first distributions, the Artist Pension Trust, a mutual assurance fund that provides longterm financial security for artists, has announced a merger with MutualArt.com, a website dedicated to “objective art information,” to form MutualArt Group. Mark Sebba, the former CEO of the Net-a-Porter Group Limited and current trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum, has been named as chairman of the company. Sebba will take over from Moti Shniberg, who served as chairman of both APT and MutualArt.com until the merger.

The merger will facilitate the sale of artworks from the Artist Pension Trust collection to the most relevant collectors and institutions across the globe. The APT collection currently comprises nearly 13,000 artworks from 2,000 artists in seventy-five countries, while MutualArt.com’s more than 500,000 registered members are mostly collectors and art world professionals.

December 5, 2016

Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie Returns Nazi-Looted Sculpture to Jewish Heirs

Reinhold Begas, Susanna, 1869–72.

Catherine Hickley reports in the Art Newspaper that a marble sculpture titled Susanna, by Reinhold Begas, which is currently on display in Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie, will be returned to the heirs of the Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse, whose most prestigious newspaper—the liberal, non-partisan Berliner Tageblatt—was forced to close when the Nazis came to power.

This latest restitution comes soon after a painting was returned to Jewish heirs by France. The sculpture in this case, dating from 1869, will remain on loan to the Berlin museum for now, according to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. The heirs of Rudolf Mosse set up the the Mosse Art Restitution Project in 2012 to trace missing works from his collection, which once included pieces by Max Liebermann, Carl Spitzweg, Wilhelm Leibl, Hans Makart, and Adolph Menzel. The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation previously returned eight works to the heirs in 2015. Other artworks recently restituted to them include a painting by Carl Blechen that the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe agreed to buy back from the family in June, after identifying it as Nazi loot in 2014. In October, the Jewish Museum in Berlin returned an oil sketch by Anton von Werner that served as a preparatory work for a large painting showing Mosse hosting a dinner party, which he commissioned in 1899 for his dining room.

Mosse’s daughter, Felicia Lachmann-Mosse, and his son-in-law, Hans Lachmann-Mosse, fled to Switzerland in 1933 and later immigrated to the US. Their possessions, including the inherited art collection, were seized and sold at auction in 1934 and the family had no share of the proceeds.

December 5, 2016

Steven Mnuchin Resigns from LA MoCA Board

Steven Mnuchin.

After his appointment to the rank of treasury secretary in Trump’s presidential administration, the banker Steven Mnuchin has resigned from his board position at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Yvonne Villareal of the LA Times reports. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner and onetime cochairman of the Relativity Media studio, joined the museum’s board of trustees in December 2009. He cited his new duties as the reason for his resignation.

Mnuchin also stepped down from the boards of CIT Group Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp. last Friday.

December 5, 2016

Philip Smith Wins 2016 Miami Beach NADA Artadia Award

Philip Smith, Night, 2016, 35mm film negative printed on paper.

The New Art Dealers Alliance and the nonprofit Artadia have announced Philip Smith as the winner of the joint 2016 Miami Beach NADA Artadia Award, Maximilíano Durón of Artnews reports. The prize of $5,000 is given annually to an exhibiting artist in the NADA Miami Beach fair.

Smith’s work was displayed at the Miami-based nonprofit Locust Projects’s booth. The artist was one of five included in Douglas Crimp’s 1977 “Pictures” exhibition and he also participated in the 1991 Whitney Biennial. His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among others.

The two-person jury of Jen Mergel, a contemporary art curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Jacob Proctor, a curator at the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society, wrote in a statement about Smith’s photograph Night, 2016: “A digital scan of his damaged, decades-old 35mm slide of an African sculpture he collected both continues and updates the artist’s longstanding investigation into the generative capacity of photographic imagery.”

December 5, 2016

More Than 30 Dead, After Blaze Razes Artist Commune in Oakland

An Oakland warehouse that was gutted by a fire, which killed at least thirty-three people on December 2. Photo: Noah Berger

The Oakland warehouse where a fire killed at least thirty-six people on Friday was a communal studio and living space for artists who have been priced out of housing in the Bay Area.

Known as the Ghost Ship, the 4,000-square-foot building is owned by Chor Ng, who described the space as an art collective and claimed “nobody lived there.” However, the structure had been under investigation for several months due to reports of illegal residences.

According to the New York Times, the Ghost Ship was a home for jewelers, metalworkers, dancers, and musicians. While described by some artists as a safe haven, it was also called a tinderbox due to the makeshift studios filled with flammable objects, a temporary staircase between the first and second floors that was made with wooden pallets, generators, and the tangled webs of electrical cords.

After the fire started on the evening of December 2, it quickly engulfed the building where an electronic dance concert was taking place. The inferno raged for hours and is considered one of the worst structure fires in the United States in over a decade.

Deputy Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann said that some of the victims were trapped after the staircase collapsed and confirmed that the building, which only had two exits, also had no sprinkler system. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but investigators are considering whether it was a faulty electrical system, which often failed, forcing residents to use flashlights.

The event’s Facebook page has become a resource for identifying people who are still unaccounted for.

December 2, 2016

Putin Promises to Halt Censorship of Artists in Russia

Valdimir V. Putin

On Friday, December 2, President Valdimir V. Putin met with film directors and artists and vowed that he would protect artistic freedom in Russia, Andrew E. Kramer of the New York Times reports. Putin called any interference with theater or exhibitions “absolutely inadmissible.”

During the same meeting, the Russian leader said that he agreed with a court ruling that sentenced Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov to twenty years in jail in Siberia. Putin claimed that the Sentsov was not imprisoned because of his films, but for “in fact dedicating his life to terrorist activities.”

Artists appealed to Putin about their concerns relating to the power of conservative groups and recently censored arts shows, including the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography’s decision to shut down an exhibition by US photographer Jock Sturges and a theater in Omsk’s cancelation of a performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” both of which were protested by right-winged groups.

Putin defended the religious rock musical and said that it should not have been canceled, but also said that as artists they have a responsibility to not offend people’s religions. He cited the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo, which resulted in the deaths of twelve people, as why it is important to “not split the society.”

December 2, 2016

Zachary Cahill Named Curator at University of Chicago’s Gray Center

Zachary Cahill

The University of Chicago’s Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry has announced that artist Zachary Cahill has been appointed as the institution’s new curator. Cahill will be responsible for developing a range of partnerships between artists, scholars, and the community; cultivating Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships; and ensuring that the center continues to be a place of creative experimentation.

For the past several years, Cahill has worked with the university to produce arts programming. From 2007 to 2016, he served as the open practice committee coordinator and as a lecturer in the department of visual arts.

Since 2009, Cahill has been working on a longterm exhibition-based project, “USSA,” which explores concepts of nation building. His artwork has been featured in solos shows at numerous institutions including the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He also recently participated in the group show “Broken Flag” at Iceberg Projects in Chicago and the Goethe Institut’s Kultursymposium in Weimar. A widely published author, Cahill’s writing has been featured in Afterall, Artforum, The Exhibitionist, Frieze, and Mousse. He earned his BFA in sculpture from Cornell University in 1995 and his MFA from the University of Chicago in 2007.