Outsider Art Fairgoers to Recite Obama’s Speeches Inauguration Weekend

President Obama’s farewell address. Photo: Brian Cassella

Manhattan’s Outsider Art Fair is launching a three-day event in celebration of Barack Obama’s term as president of the United States. For “The Barack Obama Readings,” attendees are invited to read one of his speeches or recite one of his quotes during inauguration weekend, Jillian Steinhauer of Hyperallergic reports.

While many arts institutions are planning to participate in the “J20 Art Strike” on January 20, which calls for artists’ organizations to close in protest of “the normalization of Trumpism,” fair owner Andrew Edlin said, “We thought better to show up than shut down.” People can e-mail the fair to sign up to read one of the fifty-six passages that Edlin compiled or request to recite a passage of their own choosing between 3 and 5 PM each day of the fair. Participants will not have to pay the fair’s $20 admission fee.

Edlin said, “Doing something performative is in keeping with the fair’s spirit and is also a nod to other trailblazers who have reacted to controversial political times. ‘The Barack Obama Readings’ will give people an outlet to express themselves, sort of like in an old-style, public square kind of way.”


July 26, 2017

Barry Till, Curator at Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Retires

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s longtime Asian arts curator Barry Till has announced he will step down after a thirty-six-year term. Till will be named as the gallery’s first curator emeritus when his retirement takes effect at the end of September.

“Barry is an internationally known and admired treasure in the field of Asian Art,” said director Jon Tupper. “Barry’s work and reputation have attracted donors, volunteers, and staff, including myself to the AGGV, he will be truly missed by all.”

The gallery’s first director, Colin Graham, wanted the AGGV to stand out from other institutions in western Canada and began acquiring Asian art. Graham originally hired Till as a part-time Asian arts curator in 1981. Since then, Till has grown the gallery’s holdings to more than 10,000 works, which make up 50 percent of its total collection. During his tenure, Till curated almost 200 exhibitions, twenty of which have travelled nationally or internationally.

July 26, 2017

Ei Arakawa’s Skulptur Projekte Münster Work Restored

Technicians repairing Ei Arakawa’s project, Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster. Photo: Sophia Trollmann

Organizers of the Skulptur Projekte Münster announced today that artist Ei Arakawa’s project Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster, which was targeted by thieves only one week after the decennial’s opening, has been repaired.

On June 17, one of the artist’s seven digital paintings, which consist of screened pixelated LED panels on hand-dyed fabric, was stolen. The works depict well-known pieces by other artists, such as Joan Mitchell, Gustave Courbet, and Amy Sillman, and there is an audio component to the ensemble as well. The perpetrators took the LED painting of a Jutta Koether work without causing the piece significant damage. According to the police, one of the installation’s glass vitrines was carefully opened and the power cords were severed in order to remove the work.

Ei Arakawa has since prepared a new LED panel. According to a statement issued by the exhibition, two technicians of the LWL-Museum für Kunstund Kultur installed the electronic screen into the deserted frame today and from now on the work will be on display for its regular hours, from Monday to Sunday, 10 AM to 8 PM, and on Friday, 10 AM to 10 PM.

July 26, 2017

Dana Schutz’s ICA Boston Exhibition Sparks Protests

Dana Schutz’s Big Wave, 2016, from the Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, which is currently on view at ICA, Boston. Photo by Matthias Kolb. © Dana Schutz

A local group of artists, activists, and community members are criticizing the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston’s decision to stage a solo show by artist Dana Schutz, whose Emmett Till–inspired work Open Casket, 2016, which was included in the Seventy-Eighth Whitney Biennial earlier this year, has created a furor in the arts community.

In a six-page open letter addressed to the institution’s chief curator Eva Respini and her team, the protesters criticized the ICA for not adequately addressing the concerns raised by critics of the Whitney Biennial and for failing to acknowledge how an exhibition dedicated to the artist may impact the African American community.

Among the signatories of the letter are Megan Smith, Allison Disher, Stephanie Houten, Pampi, and Vounds DuBuisson, who were invited by the institute’s staff to attend meetings regarding the show on July 13 and July 20. While the group thanked the institute for reaching out to the community and acknowledged that “such meetings are rare and require personal integrity and a tremendous amount of dedication to democratic principles of representation on the part of the institution’s head staff,” ultimately, the group does not think the ICA “is making a responsible decision.”

July 26, 2017

San Antonio Museum of Art Gifted Thirty-One Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, America Ferrera, 2011.

The San Antonio Museum of Art announced today that it is due to receive thirty-one portraits from American photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s “Latino List” series, wherein the artist documents the struggles and the accomplishments of Latinos. The promised gift, from Houston-based dealer and collector Hiram Butler and his spouse Andrew Spindler-Roesle, will be exhibited at the museum in October 2017.

“Giving the ‘Latino List’ to the San Antonio Museum of Art memorializes old friendships and shared values,” said donor Hiram Butler. “This group of photographs is especially important to me, as I grew up in Eagle Pass speaking Spanish, and San Antonio was my connection to the larger world of culture. Museum trustee Banks Smith and I have known one another since we entered the University of Texas in 1970, while Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and I have been friends and worked together since 1979. I want my gift to acknowledge Banks and the friendship he has shown me—and to support an institution that does so much to share the art of cultures from around the world.”

Greenfield-Sanders began shooting his large-format portraits in the late 1970s. His works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others. In 2004, his series of seven hundred art world portraits was accepted into the permanent collections of New York’s MoMA and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

July 26, 2017

Ringling Museum Appoints Rhiannon Paget Curator of Asian Art

Rhiannon Paget.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, has named Rhiannon Paget the institution’s new curator of Asian art. Paget will oversee the Ringling’s Asian art exhibitions, collections, and publications as well as the museum’s new Center for Asian Art, which opened in May 2016. She will assume the post on July 31.

“Asian art has been a priority at the Ringling since John and Mable Ringling began collecting objects of Asian origin nearly a century ago,” said executive director Steven High. “I am pleased to welcome a curator of Rhiannon Paget’s caliber and potential to our team and look forward to a number of exciting Asian projects and initiatives under her auspices in the coming years.”

Paget comes to the institution from the Saint Louis Art Museum, where she was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Japanese Art in the department of Asian art. While at the museum she cocurated the exhibition, “Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan” (2016–2017) and coauthored its catalogue. Previously, she served as research associate at the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford, California. As a specialist in Japanese art and culture, Paget has written a number of books, catalogues, and essays. Her most recent book is Hiroshige & Eisen: The Sixty-Nine Stations along the Kisokaido, coauthored with Andreas Marks, which will be published by Taschen in October 2017.

July 26, 2017

Frye Art Museum Names Amanda Donnan Curator

Amanda Donnan.

The Frye Art Museum announced today that Amanda Donnan has been appointed
curator. Donnan comes to the Frye from Seattle University, where she served as curator of the University Galleries, in addition to holding a teaching appointment in the department of art and art history.

“I am greatly impressed with her proven track record of working on both a regional and international scale,” said director and CEO Joseph Rosa. “She brings a high caliber of thoughtfulness and a true commitment to working with artists in respectful and creative collaboration. I look forward to the dynamism and vision she will contribute to the museum and Seattle’s greater cultural community.”

Prior to her tenure at Seattle University, Donnan spent six years as assistant curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where she contributed to the organization of the 2013 Carnegie International and codirected an archival initiative of the museum’s time-based media collection.

July 26, 2017

Philippe de Montebello, Former Director of the Metropolitan Museum, to Lead Acquavella Galleries

Philippe de Montebello.

Former Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello is joining the Acquavella Galleries as director. De Montebello, who has been friends with the organization’s founder, Bill Acquavella, for more than fifty years, will focus on organizing special exhibitions and developing publications.

“I think it’s one of the great art galleries,” de Montebello told Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times in a telephone interview. “We have been talking over the last few years since I left the Met about how I could use some of my academic and other experience with the gallery.”

Since stepping down from the helm of the Met neatly a decade a ago, de Montebello has served as a chairman of the Hispanic Society of America; a professor at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts; an honorary trustee of the Prado Museum; and a host of the PBS TV program NYC-ARTS. The museum veteran retired after more than thirty years as the Met’s eighth, and longest-serving, director.

July 26, 2017

Collector Faces Prison Sentence and $100 Million Fine for Smuggling a Picasso

Pablo Picasso, Head of a Young Woman, 1906.

Spanish collector and billionaire Jaime Botín, the largest shareholder in the Spanish bank Bankinter S.A. and great grandson of the founder of Santander, has been accused of smuggling Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Young Woman, 1906, out of Spain, José María Irujo of El País reports.

Botín could be sentenced to up to four years in prison and ordered to pay a $100 million fine if convicted. The prosecutor is also asking for the court to invoke Article 29 of the Law of Historical Heritage in order to transfer ownership of the work, valued at $30 million, to the state.

Picasso’s portrait, an early work from his Gósol period, was declared a national treasure by the Spanish National Court in May 2015, and, therefore, can not be exported. French authorities confiscated the painting from a yacht in the waters near Corsica, France. Botín is the major shareholder of the business that owns the ship, the Euroshipping Charter Company. Once the canvas was seized it was moved to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, where it will remain until the conclusion of the investigation.

July 26, 2017

Gift of Annie Leibovitz Photos to Nova Scotia Museum Encounters Delays

Annie Leibovitz. Photo: Philip Montgomery / New York Times.

Harley Mintz, a retired Canadian businessman, purchased 2,070 Annie Leibovitz photographs in 2012 for $4.75 million and planned to gift the group of works to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax, making him eligible for a generous tax deduction. But years later the Canadian government, which scrutinizes such deductions more carefully than the US, has become reticent to approve it, as its review panel won’t accept the collection’s $20 million valuation, write Sopan Deb and Colin Moynihan of the New York Times. The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board has only certified 762 of the prints so far, valued at $1.6 million. The gift has been called “a tax grab” by an advisor to the panel. Mintz does not see it this way: “We were asked to help facilitate a major gift to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia that would provide it with a unique collection of art from one of the world’s most praised photographers and that is exactly what we did. Instead of being celebrated, it has been met with resistance, for reasons that we do not understand,” he said. The museum is in the middle of preparing its fourth application to the board for the works’ approval.

Leibovitz has only received half of the $4.75 million purchase from Mintz. She will not receive the rest of the money until the panel approves the gift, as stated in a contract she signed with the businessman. It’s also unclear why Leibovitz agreed to this particular deal if the photos are worth considerably more. Experts say the $20 million valuation for the works isn’t off the mark, provided they are not sold in one fell swoop. (“I can’t imagine that you’re going to sell 2,000 Annie Leibovitz prints at whatever her prices are in a [short] period of time,” said Alan Klinkhoff, a Canadian art dealer.) But a representative for the board, who spoke anonymously on its behalf, said that the artist’s works did not meet its criteria of “outstanding significance and national importance”—even though Leo Glavine, Nova Scotia’s minister of culture, said, “I’m quite mystified as to why this has not been given the significance that it should have received.”

The museum would consider receiving the full collection a major boon, as it would make Halifax a cultural destination. “I know that Nova Scotians and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia visitors are eager and excited to see this collection. I know the results of previous applications—and the length of time it has taken—has been frustrating for the artist, the donor and, most importantly, for Nova Scotians,” said Nancy Noble, the museum’s director. Noble, however, is optimistic that the board will accept the work this time around—a decision is expected in the fall.