Chicago Architecture Biennial Announces Participants for 2017 Edition

Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee

The Chicago Architecture Biennial has announced the participants for its 2017 edition. Titled “Make New History,” the exhibition will open on September 16 and run through January 7, 2018. More than one hundred firms and artists from around the world were chosen by the biennial’s artistic directors, Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of the Los Angeles–based firm Johnston Marklee. Works will be presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as additional sites across the city, and the exhibition’s opening will also coincide with the sixth annual Expo Chicago, which runs from September 13 to September 17.

For more on the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, see Janelle Zara’s interview with artistic directors Johnston and Lee.

The complete list of participants is as follows:

LATEST NEWS

September 25, 2017

Nicola Trezzi Named Director of Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv

Nicola Trezzi.

The Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv announced that Nicola Trezzi has been appointed its new director and chief curator. He will take up the post at the beginning of 2018. Founding director Sergio Edelsztein will remain at the institution during the transition and then stay on as the chairman of the board.

Trezzi has been head of the MFA program at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem since 2014. Prior to that he was US editor of Flash Art International and curator at the Prague Biennale Foundation. He also co-curated exhibitions held at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, New York, among others, and was one of the cofounders of Lucie Fontaine, an artist-run space in Milan.

“After twenty years of growth, along which we grew from a tiny cultural operation to a vibrant institution leading the contemporary art scene in Israel, we find that Nicola Trezzi is the right person to take the CCA to the next stage, finding for it the right place in the international art scene and in the challenging local cultural and political reality,” Edelsztein said in a statement.

September 25, 2017

Loring Randolph Named Frieze Art Fair’s Artistic Director of the Americas

Loring Randolph. Photo: Hannah Whitaker.

Loring Randolph has been named the Frieze art fair’s artistic director of the Americas. She will play a major role in shaping the strategic goals and content of Frieze New York. She will also act as a liaison for galleries, collectors, and curators located throughout the Americas.

Randolph comes to Frieze from the Casey Kaplan gallery in New York, where she was partner. There she cultivated the gallery’s program; maintained client, curator, and artist relationships; organized gallery exhibitions and solo exhibitions at institutions; and oversaw the production of numerous publications.

“Loring will bring dynamism and new perspectives to her role as Artistic Director (Americas), I am thrilled to welcome her to the Frieze team and I am really looking forward to working with her on Frieze New York,” said Victoria Siddall, the director of Frieze Fairs. “As a former exhibitor, Loring brings an invaluable perspective that will help us continue to improve all aspects of what we do for our exhibiting galleries, whose groundbreaking presentations are the core of the Fairs. She also brings experience and expertise in the New York art world and the Americas that will continue to grow our partnerships with galleries, museums, collectors, and artists across the region, as well as to engage with our community in the city.”

September 25, 2017

Marian Horosko (1925–2017)

Marian Horosko. Photo: Beverly Glen Studio

Marian Horosko, a ballet dancer and historian who danced with the Metropolitan Ballet and the New York City Ballet, died on September 11, writes Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times. She studied at the School of American Ballet and the Juilliard School. When she was at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she was a soloist. But when she came to City Ballet she mostly performed character roles. She stopped dancing in the early 1960s, but wrote for Dance Magazine, where she was the education editor, writing articles on how dancers should take care of themselves and pieces such as “Teachers in the Russian Tradition.”

Horosko consulted and produced on dance programs for radio and television. She was also a film curator for the Lincoln Center Dance Collection. In the 1980s, she created a group called Danse Coalition, which took on the problem of disappearing rehearsal spaces in Manhattan due to exorbitant rents. She was also a cofounder of the Performing Arts Center for Health in New York, a clinic dedicated to the physical and mental well-being of practicing and retired dancers. “We want to be able to help dancers to get help, and get it right away, from doctors who won’t just tell them to ‘stay off their feet,’” she said in an interview with the New York Times in 1982. In 1987 Horosko published The Dancer’s Survival Manual: Everything You Need to Know About Being a Dancer … Except How to Dance, inspired by her work with dancers at the clinic. A second edition of the book was put out in 2009 with the new subtitle, Everything You Need to Know From the First Class to Career Change.

“Marian Horosko was compellingly sensible and humane in her writing on dance, glamorous yet pragmatic, with an encyclopedic passion for the art,” said Jennifer Dunning, a former dance critic for the New York Times. “To spend even a brief time in her company was to be charmed and fascinated by the way her mind worked and the way, after a ballet debut at twelve, she never stopped exploring dance.”

September 25, 2017

Berlin’s Volksbühne Theater Occupied by Activists

The Volksbühne Theater.

A group of activists calling themselves Dust to Glitter are occupying Berlin’s Volksbühne Theater to protest the gentrification of the city, writes Dorian Batycka of Hyperallergic. “We are doing this action because rising rents are making it increasingly difficult for artists to live and work in Berlin,” said Sarah Waterfield, one of Dust to Glitter’s organizers. The gathering started at the theater on September 23, early in the day. By that evening, about 3,000 people came together as word about the protest spread through social media.

Dust for Glitter is planning a number of initiatives for the theater over the next few months, including a “People’s Stage,” a “parliament of the homeless,” and an “anti-gentrification center.” The group will also stage a production of B61-12, a piece centered around the occupation. The title of the work refers to a type of nuclear explosive.

The appointment of Chris Dercon, the theater’s current head and former director of the Tate Modern, has upset many. He took over for Frank Castorf, who pushed for a more experimental and rigorous mode of theatrical production during his twenty-five year tenure as the theater’s director. Berlin’s Senator for Cultural Policy, Klaus Lederer, initially refered to Dercon’s hiring as a “mistake,” characterizing it as something that would make Berlin a host to a “neoliberal art scene and jet-setter attitude.” But in a recent posting on Facebook, he supported Dercon, and said that the protestors were impeding upon the theater’s work, which was “not progressive.”

Dercon reportedly met with the protestors and affiliated groups already. No official word on their specific demands, however, has been announced.

September 25, 2017

Puerto Rican Art Institutions Close in Wake of Hurricane Maria's Devastation

Puerto Rican officials ordered tens of thousands of people to evacuate the area near the Guajataca Dam in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria and is now in danger of collapsing. Photo: AP

Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in more than eighty years, flooded streets, downed trees, caused landslides, and left almost the entire island without power as it moved through the US territory on Thursday, September 21.

According to Danica Coto of the Associated Press, the hurricane was a category four when it struck Puerto Rico with 155 mph winds. Forty-year-old tourism company operator Adrian Pacheco said, “I think people didn't expect the storm to reach the point that it did. Since Irma never really happened, they thought Maria would be the same.”

While Irma knocked out power to at least one million Puerto Rican residents, Maria caused an island-wide outage, nearly destroying its energy grid, and, according to the New York Times, resulted in at least ten deaths. Engineers are also warning about the potential collapse of the 90-year-old Guajataca Dam in the Northwest corner of the island, which could burst at any moment, prompting the government to evacuate neighborhoods nearby.

September 24, 2017

Nicole Eisenman Sculpture Defaced Again at Skulptur Projekte Münster

Nicole Eisenman with her work Sketch for a Fountain in the meadow alongside Promenade at Skulptur Projekte Münster. Photo: David Velasco.

Artist Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture at Skulptur Projekte Münster has been vandalized once again, this time with swastikas and other graffiti, according to a report by Artnews. Last summer, her piece in the exhibition, Sketch for a Fountain, 2017, a plaster and bronze fountain with four figures, suffered the beheading of one its figures, a defacement which was part of a series of several attacks on works in the exhibition last summer. Police are still investigating this new incident.

On her private Facebook page, Eisenman considered this crime in the context of the recent rise of the AfD—the far-right Alternative for Germany political party—ahead of the upcoming German election. The team behind Skulptur Projekte Münster today released a statement about the second act of aggression against this particular piece, as well as the graffiti discovered on a nearby statue of eighteenth-century feminist poet Annette von Droste-Hülshoff: “We are deeply disgusted by such a violation and understand this as an attack against the values of the work.” They further noted: “Both artworks were exposed to a fascist form of violence, a violence that homo-, trans-, and intersexual people have to face in real life everyday in many places…We express our solidarity with people of any color or sexual identity and we strongly condemn the murderous propaganda of all right-wing parties.”

For more on Skulptur Projekte Münster, see Benjamin H. D. Buchloh’s take on this exhibition, the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, and Documenta 14 in the September issue of Artforum.

September 22, 2017

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Joins Initiative to Push Back Against Trump Immigration Policy

Nancy Spector, artistic director of the Guggenheim museums and chief curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim.

Sarah Cascone reports at artnet that while the Supreme Court is preparing to hear oral arguments next month over Donald Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York is partnering with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) to recruit over one hundred art institutions in voicing their opposition to the order, all as part of an attempt to bolster the current series of lawsuits challenging the so-called “Muslim ban.”

The museum commissioned amicus briefs last March—a type of statement filed in an appeal by a person or organization that is not a party to the case but is invested in the outcome—in two appeals cases now underway in Hawaii and Maryland that are seeking to overturn the ban. The documents detail the order’s negative impact on arts institutions across the country and were prepared pro bono by the law firm Davis Polk and signed by the AAMD, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries, the College Art Association, and over a hundred art museums across the country, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The AAMD spearheaded the mobilization of museums to sign the document.

According to the brief: “Museums plan exhibitions and performances months, and often years, in advance…The uncertainty of whether artists or other necessary personnel will receive discretionary waivers, based on ambiguous and undefined criteria, will effectively prevent the amici museums from planning many exhibitions and performances that are dependent on persons covered by the Order.” The brief goes on to note that Trump’s executive order, originally signed on January 27, has already forced museums to cancel exhibitions of work by artists from the affected countries. Some of the shows and individuals affected include a Persian art exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and a planned show at the Portland Art Museum featuring Syrian calligrapher Khaled Al-Saa’i. Iranian-Canadian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli, who currently has a work on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, also opted not to visit the US partially out of fear of being detained upon entry, according to the briefs.

September 22, 2017

Documenta’s Parent Company Releases Interim Audit Report, Announces Structural Changes

Mayor of Kassel Christian Geselle.

After last week’s revelation that the international edition of this year’s Documenta exhibition was facing a deficit of about $8.3 million, a situation that has been addressed by both the curatorial team of Documenta 14 and the artists included in the show, an interim report put together by independent auditors for a board meeting of the parent company Documenta gGmbH was released yesterday, according to a report by Henri Neuendorf at artnet. At a press conference after the meeting, representatives of two shareholders, the mayor of Kassel and board chairman Christian Geselle, and Hessian minister for science and art Boris Rhein, disclosed some of the preliminary findings of the audit and announced structural changes within the organization.

The mayor noted that the budget for Documenta 14 between 2014 and 2018 totaled €34 million (about $40.6 million), including an allocation of €2 million (about $2.3 million) for the show in Athens. Half of the exhibition’s budget was provided by Hesse and Kassel, while the other half—as per tradition—was to be raised by organizers of the quinquennial through ticketing, merchandising, and sponsorships. Geselle confirmed the previous reports that the primary source of overspending was due to the expansion of Documenta to Athens, noting that the company recorded a loss of €5.4 million (about $6.4 million) between January 1 and July 31, a period that coincides with the run of Documenta’s Athens exhibition from April 8 to July 16. Interestingly enough, Geselle noted that while revenues exceeded expectations, losses exceeded expectations as well.

The mayor emphasized that the figure of €5.4 million should be distinguished from the total projected deficit for the fiscal year, which has been estimated at €7 million (about $8.3 million)—the figure first reported by the German newspaper HNA in addition to several other publications. In order to offset this projected shortfall, Documenta’s advisory board approved a loan guarantee of €8 million (about $9.5 million) to be shared equally between the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse, with an additional €1 million (about $1.1 million) as a buffer. Geselle’s statement insisted: “It’s not a loan, but a guarantee…We, the city of Kassel are not paying cash into the documenta gGmbH.” In other words, the guarantee means that Documenta’s parent company can now obtain a bank loan required to prevent the company’s insolvency—although the package must still be ratified by Kassel’s city council in a hearing next Monday.

September 22, 2017

Chinese Conceptual Artists’ Video at Guggenheim Museum Incites Animal Rights Activists

Collage of several scenes from Sun Yuan and Peng Yu's video Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other.

Matthew Haag reports in the New York Times that a video set to be included in an upcoming exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York next month is causing an outcry, along with calls for the work to be pulled from the show. Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s video Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other is a seven-minute clip recording a performance from 2003 wherein eight American pit bulls were placed on eight treadmills as they charge at each other, though the treadmills are actually holding each animal back from contact. There is currently a petition circulating to promote “cruelty-free exhibits” at the museum.

The artists themselves addressed criticism of the piece some time ago, with Peng saying “Where is the soft spot in all of this?” She also questioned the claims of animal cruelty: “Were the dogs being abused? The answer should be no. These dogs are naturally pugnacious.”

The exhibition that will include the piece, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” opens October 6, 2017 and will feature about 150 works by Chinese artists who work in a broad range of mediums, from Land art to painting and photography. The show will run for three months, and a statement released by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum addressing the controversy is as follows.