Anita Brookner (1928–2016)

Anita Brookner

British art historian and Booker Prize-winning author Anita Brookner died on Thursday at the age of eighty-seven reports the New York Times.

Before Brookner became a novelist in her fifties, she was a renowned art historian who focused on French artists such as Jean-Baptiste Greuze. She was the first woman to hold the Slade professorship of fine art at Cambridge University, and she was invited to teach at the Courtauld Institute of Art by-then director Anthony Blunt. She would lecture there until her retirement in 1988.

In 1981, Brookner published her first novel, A Start in Life, and would continue to write and publish a book almost every year for the next three decades. Often writing convincing depictions of female protagonists who are unsatisfied with their lives, Brookner was once called the “mistress of gloom.” In 1984, she won the Booker prize for her fourth novel titled Hotel du Lac—which was, according to The Guardian, described by the prizes’ judges as “a work of perfect artifice.”

Born in southeast London in 1928, Brookner was the only child of Polish-Jewish parents. During WWII her home was a place of refuge for people fleeing from the Nazi regime. Speaking about her family, she told the Paris Review in 1987 that “they were transplanted and fragile people, an unhappy brood, and I felt that I had to protect them . . . As a result, I became an adult too soon and paradoxically never grew up.”


February 22, 2017

ARCOmadrid’s Thirty-Sixth Edition Launches with 200 Galleries from Twenty Seven Countries

ARCOmadrid 2016.

ARCOmadrid kicked off today with two hundred galleries representing twenty-seven countries. The thirty-sixth edition of the fair will spotlight Argentina as its guest country featuring twelve galleries in the curated section Argentina Platforma, including Alberto Greco, Eduardo Stupia, and Mirtha Dermisache.

“Diverse and intense, the present of the Argentine scene opens its doors in ARCOmadrid,” Pablo Avelluto, minister of culture of the Argentine Republic, said. “A very small sample of what is happening on the other side of the sea, in the other hemisphere. The curatorial challenge was enormous: the Argentine presentation required a program as intense and unique as the pieces that compose it. But the presence of Argentine artistic momentum should not be read in terms of ‘landing.’ We will be guests, not invaders.” He added, ‘The invitation from ARCOmadrid is an unbeatable opportunity: Argentina will be an experience [that] radiates out across more than twenty points in Madrid.”

ARCOmadrid will also have a large percentage of Latin American galleries. Forty-three galleries are from ten countries in the region. Fairgoers will be able to view the Isabel and Agustín Coppel collection at the Fundación Banco Santander; the Lima-based Hochschild collection at Sala Alcalá 31; and the Costantini Collection at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, which is also where the ARCO Foundation dinner and ‘A’ Awards for Collecting ceremony will be held.

February 22, 2017

South Africa’s Zeitz Museum to Open Photography Center with Major Donation

Rendering of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town’s new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, expected to open in September, announced that it has received landmark gifts from the Roger Ballen Foundation and the Eiger Foundation that will contribute to the longterm sustainability of the museum.

While the amount of the gifts was not disclosed, the donation from the Roger Ballen Foundation will allow Zeitz MoCAA to establish a center for photography and will support exhibitions, educational initiatives, and public programming. The center will be one of six at the other institution, including centers dedicated to costumes, art education, the moving image, performance practice, and curatorial excellence. The museum will also receive one signed edition of all of Ballen’s works from 1968 to 1982 as well as from now until his death. Throughout the course of his four-decade career as a photographer, Ballen has documented small towns and intimate interiors across South Africa.

“It has been my great desire to contribute to the understanding of photography in South Africa in the country that I call home,” Ballen said. “By donating my archive and finance to Zeitz MoCAA, I wish to commit to the ongoing success of this important museum in Africa and ensure that photography is guaranteed a place in the museum’s activities.”

February 22, 2017

Paris Archives Digitizes Tributes to Victims of November 2015 Terror Attacks

Sidewalk in front of the Belle Equipe restaurant, one of the sites targeted by terrorists on November 13, 2015.

In the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, archivists working for the mayor’s office collected some 7,709 documents that were left on the sidewalks in front of sites of the shootings and around the Place de la République, which became the city’s largest shrine and collective mourning site. BFMTV reports that these letters, poems, photos, and drawings, which were presented in an exhibition at the Archives de Paris last year, have now all been digitized and uploaded to the website where they can be searched by format, original location (Bataclan, Place de la République, etc.), or collection date.

February 22, 2017

Michael Werner to Receive Rank of Chevalier from France’s Legion of Honor

Michael Werner. Photo: Andrea Stappert.

Art dealer Michael Werner, who has galleries in New York, London, and Märkisch Wilmersdorf in Germany, will receive France’s Legion of Honor in the rank of chevalier at a private ceremony on the evening of February 22 in Berlin. The honor is being given in recognition of Werner’s tremendous contributions to the arts. The award is France’s highest decoration.

Werner donated 130 artworks in 2012 to the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. The museum’s director, Fabrice Hergott, said the gift was “the most significant enrichment of the museum’s collection since the bequest made by Dr. Maurice Giradin in 1953, which led to the creation of the institution.” In 2015, Werner collaborated with the museum for a major retrospective on German artist Markus Lüpertz, who will receive his first US retrospective this summer—a joint effort presented by the Hirshhorn Museum and the Phillips Collection, co-organized by Michael Werner Gallery.

February 21, 2017

Andrea Rosen Will Close Her Gallery and Co-Represent the Estate of Félix González-Torres with David Zwirner

Art dealer Andrea Rosen.

In a letter delivered to her gallery’s many admirers, Andrea Rosen has announced that she will be closing her space to share the duties of representing the estate of Félix González-Torres with David Zwirner.

“While the gallery will continue to exist, with selective activities, like the representation of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, I will no longer have a typical permanent public space and therefore no longer represent living artists. This transition will transpire over the next few months,” states Rosen. “Of course my wish would have been to try to incorporate the depth of my growing intentions within my current immersive and beloved structure. As most people know, the gallery has been all-consuming to me, always very happily, even when at the expense of much else. I have always felt that being open to the public and supporting artists was the perfect conduit for everything I care about. Yet I realized that the only way to be truly available and . . . set an example for my daughter of what it means to try to be an active, kind, and connected citizen, or to try and live without ethical compromise requires time and the simplification of my life. While it will take a new form, I am one of those rare lucky people who loves and considers my work to be the vehicle for growth and contribution.”

The last exhibition of González-Torres’s work at the gallery—curated by artists Julie Ault and Roni Horn—was a collaborative endeavor with Hauser & Wirth in London and Massimo De Carlo in Milan. The tripartite exhibition took place last summer.

You may read the entirety of Rosen’s letter below:

February 21, 2017

Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Appoint Sara Reisman and Alex Gardner to New Executive Directorial Positions

Sara Reisman and Alex Gardner.

The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation announced today that Sara Reisman will be the foundation’s new executive and artistic director. Alex Gardner has been appointed the executive director of the foundation’s Treasury of Lives, one of the largest biographical encyclopedias of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalayan region.

In her new role, Reisman will be an administrator for many of the foundation’s interests, such as its art and social justice program, which seeks to broaden access to art and culture throughout New York City via funding and new initiatives. Reisman will also oversee the foundation's yearly grants program, which supports artistic activism, arts education, art in community and service centers, community-based museums, and public art. “As the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation’s executive and artistic director, I'm proud to further its art and social justice initiative to expand artistic and cultural access in New York City,” said Reisman. “The idea that artists and cultural producers can act as catalysts for social change is at the core of Foundation's mission, and I strongly believe that the work we support through philanthropic means is essential.”

Alex Gardner will continue to expand the Treasury of Lives database. It currently contains more than 1,150 biographies written by more than ninety international scholars. “The Treasury of Lives has become one of the premier resources for scholars, educators, and anyone interested in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism,” says Gardner. “I'm excited to focus on developing this resource as a way to raise further awareness of the deep history and enriching value of Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, of which Shelley and Donald Rubin have been longtime supporters and advocates.”

February 21, 2017

Suzan-Lori Parks and Rashid Johnson Collaborate to Make Richard Wright’s Novel Native Son into a Movie

Rashid Johnson and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Writer Suzan-Lori Parks and artist Rashid Johnson will be collaborating to make Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son into a movie. Johnson will direct, and Parks will write the adaptation for the screen. Bow and Arrow Entertainment, run by Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman, acquired the rights to the book and will produce the film. Julia and Malcolm Wright, Richard Wright’s daughter and grandson, will serve as consultants on behalf of Richard Wright’s estate.

This is not the first time Parks has written for the screen—she wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s 1996 comedy Girl 6 and adapted Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 book Their Eyes Were Watching God for film. Parks received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2001 and was the first African American to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her play Topdog/Underdog (2001).

Rashid Johnson is represented by the gallery Hauser & Wirth and is the first artist to be appointed to the board of trustees for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum in almost forty years. For the artist’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York last fall, titled “Fly Away,” Ian Bourland wrote in an Critics’ Pick: “Whether the show constitutes the sort of ambivalent critique from within of his forebears or a more solipsistic deployment of his personal history isn’t entirely clear, and, for that reason, it is an important provocation in pressing conversations about identity, memory, and power in contemporary art.”

February 21, 2017

Art Basel and BMW Name Max Hooper Schneider as BMW Art Journey Award Winner

Max Hooper Schneider, Accidental Menagerie, 2015, mixed media, acrylic trays, polymer resin, aluminum structure, custom hardware, 120 x 108 x 15".

Art Basel and BMW have awarded this year’s Art Journey Award to Los Angeles–based artist Max Hooper Schneider. Hooper’s Art Journey project, Planetary Vitrine: The Reef as Event, “is a maritime exploration of coral reefs around the globe . . . [mostly] in the Indo-West Pacific,” according to a statement released by the prize’s organizers. The work will incorporate short visits to a pair of “pilgrimage sites seminal in the development of the coral imaginary in science and art: Cocos Keeling Islands, where Charles Darwin conducted fieldwork for his 1842 treatise, The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs; and the Bahamas, to which André Breton traveled on an imaginary voyage via readymade photographic representations of Bahamian coral in order to document nature’s surreality.” Hooper’s project will involve research, documentation, and performative/sculptural interactions with the natural world.

The jury for this year’s award included the New Museum’s Massimiliano Gioni, the Berlin Biennale’s Gabriele Horn, Victoria Noorthoorn of the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires, Bisi Silva of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, and Philip Tinari of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.

February 21, 2017

Sofia Imber (1925–2017)

Sofia Imber

Sofia Imber, a journalist, television presenter, and arts administrator who transformed an auto-parts garage into the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art, died on February 19, writes Fabiola Sanchez of the Associated Press / Star-Tribune.

Imber was born in Soroca, Moldova, in the former Soviet Union. She immigrated to Venezuela in 1930 with her family and went on to graduate from the Central University of Venezuela. With her second husband, Carlos Rangel, she hosted the television program Buenos Dias from 1969 to 1993. She was famous for her no-holds-barred interviews with international leaders, artists, and writers, such as former US president Jimmy Carter, the Dalai Lama, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In 1971, when Venezuelan officials were trying to find a place to exhibit art, Imber said to them, “If you give me a garage, I will turn it into a museum.” A few years later, Venezuela had its first institution dedicated to modern art, exhibiting works from Venezuelan artists in addition to artists of international renown, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Fernando Botero. In 2001, she was fired from her job as the museum’s director, as she was a fierce critic of late president Hugo Chavez’s socialist government. “The president forgot or did not want to recognize the courage and the dedication of this wonderful woman,” the artist Jesus Soto said to the Associated Press before his death in 2005. Prior her departure from the museum, Imber created a program to showcase art in some of Venezuela’s most remote territories. In 1967, she became Latin America’s first woman to receive UNESCO’s Picasso Medal. She also received awards from France, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, and Spain, among other countries.