University of Chicago Awards Artist Kerry James Marshall the 2016 Rosenberger Medal

Kerry James Marshall

The University of Chicago has announced that artist Kerry James Marshall was the recipient of its 2016 Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal for outstanding achievement in the creative and performing arts. Established in 1917, the Rosenberger Medal is an annual award given to a nominee who is recognized for achievements that benefit humanity.

Born in Alabama, Marshall grew up in the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles and graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with a BFA in 1978 and an honorary degree in 1999. When he was featured on PBS’s Art 21 series—which profiles twenty-first century artists—in 2001, he said, “You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility. You can’t move to Watts in 1963 and not speak about it. That determined a lot of where my work was going to go.” The artist, who currently lives and works in Chicago, is known for chronicling the African American experience, confronting racial stereotypes, and questioning history through comic book-style drawings, paintings, and installations, as well as collage, video, and photography.

Numerous solo exhibitions of Marshall’s work have been presented throughout Europe and North America. He has participated in multiple art fairs including the 1997 Whitney Biennial, the 2003 Venice Biennial, the 2009 Gwangju Biennial, and the 1997 and 2007 Documentas. In 2015, he produced his first public commission in New York, a large-scale mural for the High Line. In 2013, a major survey, “Kerry James Marshall: Painting and Other Stuff,” was featured at Antwerp’s Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, which then traveled to Copenhagen and two venues in Spain in 2014.

In a “Best of 2014” list compiled by curator Lynne Cooke in Artforum, Cooke highlighted the retrospective. She said, “Marshall’s shape-shifting roving across a dizzyingly broad range of mediums and genres attests to his refusal to be tied to the signature monumental paintings with which his reputation was secured, and to his relentless questing for idioms and vernaculars in which to voice his desire to insert African American narratives into mainstream American discourse.”

Marshall was also awarded Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst’s Wolfgang Hahn Prize in 2014, a 1997 grant from the MacArthur Foundation, and a 1991 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013, he was appointed to President Obama’s committee on the arts and the humanities. An exhibition of his work, “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago until September 25. It will also travel to the Metropolitan Museum and LA’s MoCA.


June 22, 2017

Refugees to be Taught How to Rebuild Heritage Sites

Ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra. Photo: AP

The World Monuments Fund has secured $680,000 to train refugees from Syria and Jordan in conservation skills in order to rebuild cultural heritage sites devastated by ISIS and other conflicts. The award is part of the British Council and the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport’s $38 million fund to safeguard heritage and the arts.

To launch the initiative, the World Monuments Fund and its British affiliate, World Monuments Fund Britain, will work with Petra National Trust in Jordan to open a training facility. The organizations will recruit a group of candidates who can then serve as mentors to other refugees taking part in the eighteen-month program.

“In recent years we’ve witnessed the devastating impacts of human conflict on the Syrian people and their treasured cultural sites, and we are eager to help renew community strength through this exciting new initiative,” Joshua David, president and CEO of the World Monuments Fund, said.

June 22, 2017

Sunday Painter Gallery Relocates to London’s Vauxhall District

Will Jarvis and Harry Beer.

Alex Greenberger of Artnews writes that Sunday Painter gallery in London will move from the Peckham neighborhood to the Vauxhall district where Tate Britain as well as the galleries Cabinet, Greengrassi, and Corvi Mora are located. An exhibition by American painter Cynthia Daignault will inaugurate its new space.

Cofounded by artists Will Jarvis and Harry Beer in 2009, the gallery first started out as a project space, which evolved into a commercial gallery in 2013. The name of the gallery was inspired by an insult that was thrown at the gallerists when they were studying art at Camberwell University. Someone called them “Sunday painters” for pushing back against the school’s attempt to make studio practice fit a more academic format.

June 22, 2017

Detroit’s 2017 Kresge Artist Fellows Announced

2017 Kresge Artist Fellows. Photo: Noah Stephens.

Eighteen artists from 750-plus applicants have been selected to join the 2017 class of Kresge Artist fellows, reports Ryan Patrick Hooper for the Detroit Free-Press. Each prize winner receives a cash award of twenty-five thousand dollars plus a year of professional support by Creative Many Michigan. This year’s fellows are Nicole Macdonald, Catie Newell, Jennifer Harge, David Philpot, Jeanne Bieri, Robert Sestock, Sydney G. James, Juan Martinez, and Matthew Angelo Harrison. In addition, two artists—Leah V. (creative nonfiction) and Austen Brantley (sculpture)—were selected for five thousand dollar Gilda Awards, commemorating late Detroit painter Gilda Snowden.

Since 2008, the Kresge Arts in Detroit program has given over $4.5 million to metro-Detroit-area cultural practitioners. According to Kresge Arts in Detroit director Christina deRoos, “This is not a judgment on the best artist in the city—this is a curated group of individuals representing literary and visual arts excellence in metro Detroit for 2017.”

June 22, 2017

New York’s Envoy Enterprises to Close in August

Envoy Enterprises. Photo: Google Maps

Jimi Dams of Envoy Enterprises on the Lower East Side announced that the gallery will close its doors on August 4 after more than a decade, Artnews reports. Located at Eighty-Seven Rivington Street, the gallery will stage a final exhibition titled “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu.” The show will feature a number of artists who have exhibited at the space over the years.

In a letter addressed to the gallery’s friends, Dams said that his reason for closing “is simple. . . .It is not fun anymore.” The gallerist continued to bash the art world’s growing emphasis on fairs “where eyes have been replaced by dollar signs” and “an eagerness to experience and learn replaced by hiring personal shoppers.”

Dams concludes his tirade by reflecting on the potential the arts have to make a difference. “We should be improving people’s lives through art, we should be trying to create a world where art is living on every level, indivisible from life and for everyone to experience.”

June 22, 2017

CalArts Names Dimitri Chamblas as Dean of Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance

Dimitri Chamblas. Photo: Roxanne Lagache

California Institute of the Arts has announced that Dimitri Chamblas, former artistic director of the Paris Opera’s creative digital platform 3rd Scene, has been chosen as the new Dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. Chamblas will begin his tenure with the start of the fall semester.

“Dimitri has a worldwide reputation as both a performer and creative force in the world of dance,” said CalArts president Ravi Rajan. “He is a visionary who believes in innovation and collaboration. His ability to work across many genres makes him an ideal fit for CalArts. We are thrilled that Dimitri chose CalArts as the next step in his prolific career.”

Chamblas joined the Paris Opera’s celebrated dance school at age ten, which inspired him to become a professional dancer. During his career, he collaborated with performers, visual artists, and designers such as Regine Chopinot, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Richard Alston, Andy Goldsworthy, Christian Boltanski, William Forsythe, and composer Heiner Goebbels. He has taught widely, including at the Dance Institute of Beijing, the French Higher National Conservatory, and on the streets of Paris in the form of urban workshops. With choreographer Boris Charmatz, Chamblas cofounded the acclaimed dance company EDNA in 1992. Their duet À bras le Corps (Head On), 1993, has been performed on every continent in the world and, this year, entered the repertoire of the Paris Opera.

June 22, 2017

Artist Sheba Chhachhi Wins 2017 Prix Thun for Art and Ethics Award

Sheba Chhachhi

Indian artist and women’s rights activist Sheba Chhachhi has been awarded this year’s Prix Thun for Art and Ethics Award, which recognizes artists who promote sustainability in their work. As the second recipient of the prize, which was established by artist George Steinmann who grew up in Thun, Switzerland, Chhachhi will receive $25,000.

Chhachhi’s career launched in the 1980s with her documentary photographs of the women’s movement in India. In the 1990s, Chhachhi began making the large-scale multimedia installations for which she is well known. Based in New Delhi, the artist works with other female artists to bring about awareness of the challenges faced by women at all levels of society. She also often investigates questions of gender, eco-philosophy, violence, and cultural memory in her practice. Chhachhi’s works have been featured in a number of solos shows over the years, including “Sheba Chhachhi” (2008-2009) at Walsh Gallery in Chicago; “Women of the Cloth: Photographic Conversations” (2007) and “Winged Pilgrims: A Chronicle from Asia” (2007-2008) at Nature Morte in New Delhi; and “Ganga’s Daughters, Nellkanth: Poison/Nectar, When the Gun is Raised, Dialogue Stops” (2005) at the Townsend Centre at the University of California, Berkley.

The jury comprised Steinmann, Jürg Neuenschwander, a film director and producer based in Bern and Paris; Peter Schneemann, a professor at the Institute of Art History at the University of Bern; Jean Ziegler, a professor and sociologist based in Geneva; Helen Hirsch, director of Kunstmuseum Thun; and Marianne Flubacher, head of Thun’s cultural department. The prize will be presented to Chhachhi during a ceremony on August 25.

June 22, 2017

Kassel City Council Approves Plan to Build Documenta Institute

Marta Minujín’s The Parthenon of Books, 2017,
 at Documenta 14 in Kassel. Photo: Roman März

On Monday, June 19, Kassel’s city council voted in favor of building a $26.7 million research center dedicated to Documenta at a site adjacent to the University of Kassel, HNA reports. After hosting the contemporary art exhibition every five years since 1955, Kassel will “keep alive the concept and experience of Documenta in the years between exhibitions,” the city council said in a statement.

The Documenta Institute will be managed by the organizers of the exhibition, the city of Kassel, and the Fridericianum museum. The 50,000-square-foot building will employ around twenty-five staff members and will host talks, conferences, and other events. The German government will contribute $13.4 million to the project, the state of Hesse will provide $6.7 million, and the remaining $6.7 million will be fundraised by the city.

June 21, 2017

Erin B. Coe to Lead Penn State University’s Palmer Museum of Art

Erin B. Coe. Photo: The Post Star

The Hyde Collection’s board of trustees announced that director Erin B. Coe will step down from her position at the helm of the institution at the end of July and a national search will be conducted for her replacement. Coe is leaving to join the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State University as director, according to a report by Maury Thompson at The Post Star. Anne Saile, founder of the Saile Group LLC, a business development and leadership consulting firm, has been named interim director at the Hyde.

“This is a bittersweet moment for the Hyde,” board chair Karl Seitz said. “We are delighted to see Erin take the next big step in what is already a brilliant career. Her leadership of the Hyde, particularly the establishment of the new Feibes & Schmitt Gallery for modern and contemporary art, has been extraordinary. Erin has created a platform for future growth and opportunity for the Hyde. As her colleagues and friends, we will miss our daily contact with a vibrant, optimistic, visionary spirit and we wish her only the best.”

During her tenure, Coe helped the Hyde secure an $11 million gift, one of the largest in its history, and led a successful campaign to raise $500,000 to expand the museum and build a new gallery for modern art—the first new exhibition space at the institution in more than twenty-eight years.

June 21, 2017

Sylvie Patry Named Deputy Director of Musée d’Orsay

Sylvie Patry

The Barnes Foundation has announced that its chief curator Sylvie Patry will return to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris to become deputy director for curatorial affairs and collections. Patry will continue to collaborate as a consulting curator at the Barnes Foundation until 2019, during which time she will oversee a roster of exhibitions and complete a catalogue raisonné of the Barnes’s Cezanne collection.

“Sylvie has played an important role in building our dynamic special exhibition program, which brings living artists and new ideas into conversation with our permanent collection, and she has also expanded our relationship with leading arts institutions around the world,” said Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation. “We are excited for Sylvie in her new role at the Musée d’Orsay, and are looking forward to collaborating with her in the years ahead.”

Prior to joining the Barnes in January 2016 as deputy director for collections and exhibitions and the Gund Family Chief Curator, Patry had served as chief curator of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings at the Musée d’Orsay for more than a decade.