Artist Posts “Future Internment Camp” Signs at Construction Sites Across the US

A Future Internment Camp sign posted by street artist Plastic Jesus on Boylston Street in Boston.

Days before President Donald J. Trump announced his revised travel ban—now barring people from only six Muslim-majority countries instead of seven—Los Angeles–based street artist Plastic Jesus was busy marking construction sites across the US with signs that read, “Lot reserved for: Future internment camp,” and feature the president’s official seal and signature.

According to Claire Voon of Hyperallergic, Plastic Jesus posted at least fifty signs as part of “executive order 9066” in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, and Boston. The number refers to former president Franklin Roosevelt’s order that sent more than one hundred thousand people of Japanese descent, including American citizens, into internment camps during World War II.

A QR code on the signs reveals that they are part of Plastic Jesus’s anti-Trump campaign, once scanned they bring you to the artist’s website. As a British citizen with a green card, Plastic Jesus has been actively protesting Trump since he announced he was running for the presidency. Last April, he hung “No Trump anytime” signs in parking lots and in July he erected a miniature wall around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


July 27, 2017

Arts Writers Rally Behind Village Voice’s Union

Cover of the Village Voice, October 26–November 1, 2016.

Arts journalists, writers, editors, and other cultural figures have signed an open letter addressed to Peter Barbey, the billionaire owner of the Village Voice, criticizing his leadership of the storied paper and accusing him of trying to weaken its historic union.

Since the last union contract expired on June 30, members of the union have been trying to negotiate its new terms with the management team appointed by Barbey. However, management wants to make severe modifications to their contract including the elimination of the paper’s diversity and affirmative-action commitments; the termination of the union’s ability to bargain over healthcare (union members must accept whatever healthcare options management offers, without question); and a reduction on the amount of leave new parents can have.

Employees became quickly frustrated with management’s inflexible stance and their ignorance of the paper’s history. Over the years, the Village Voice has staunchly defended LGBTQ rights and was the first private company in the country to offer domestic/same-sex partner benefits in 1982. On June 21, union members peacefully protested outside the paper’s inaugural annual Voice Pride Awards gala—celebrating New York’s LGBTQ community—at the event space Capitale in the Bowery.

July 27, 2017

Opening of Menil Collection’s Drawing Institute Delayed

Rendering of the Johnston Marklee and Associates–designed Menil Drawing Institute, currently being built in Houston, Texas.

The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, has postponed the opening of its new drawing institute, which was originally scheduled for October 7, due to the need for additional construction work. As a result it has rescheduled previously announced exhibitions including, “The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns;” “Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings;” and “Roni Horn: When I Breathe, I Draw.”

“Over the past few weeks, it has become clear that we will need more time to complete the Menil Drawing Institute and the other exciting projects on our campus, such as the new public greenspaces, in a manner that meets our exacting standards,” director Rebecca Rabinow said. “Rather than rush to open the Menil Drawing Institute in early October, the trustees and I have decided to delay the festivities, to ensure that everything is perfect. We apologize for any inconvenience this change of date may cause, especially for those who have factored an early October celebration into their fall plans.”

Dedicated to the exhibition, conservation, and study of modern and contemporary drawings, the $40 million institute will be housed in a new 30,000-square-foot facility, designed by the Los Angeles–based firm Johnston Marklee and Associates.

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.