Ullens Center for Contemporary Art CEO May Xue Resigns

May Xue

The chief executive officer of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China, has resigned. After six years at the helm of the institution, May Xue will officially step down from her role on April 20. Her departure comes as founders Guy and Myriam Ullens continue to search for new owners for the center, which they put up it for sale in June 2016.

May Xue first joined UCCA in 2009 as director of UCCASTORE, a concept store celebrating China’s design talent. She oversaw the development of activities supporting UCCA’s many nonprofit activities, including exhibitions and public programs.

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December 15, 2017

Joseph V. Melillo to Receive 2018 Bessies Presenter Award

Joseph V. Melillo. Photo: Jesse Winter.

The New York Dance and Performance Awards, known as The Bessies, announced today that Joseph V. Melillo, the executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), is the recipient of the 2018 Bessies Presenter Award for Outstanding Curating. His accomplishments will be celebrated at the Bessies Presenters Gathering at La MaMa on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

“The Bessie committees wanted to recognize Joe Melillo for his visionary curation for more than three decades,” said Bessies executive director Lucy Sexton. “Joe has made sure dance has a place on the stages of BAM—from the grand Howard Gilman Opera House to the adventurous Harvey Theater to the intimate space at the Fisher. He has brought so many international choreographers to New York City and lifted up generations of American dance artists on the world stage. We are thrilled to be honoring him with this award.”

Melillo, who has been the executive producer at BAM since 1999, is responsible for its artistic direction. During his tenure, the academy has expanded its programming, increased its audience attendance, and launched initiatives such as The Bridge Project—a three-year series of international theater engagements—and DanceMotion USAsm—a cultural diplomacy and exchange program that partners with the US Department of State. Previously, Melillo served as BAM’s producing director, following a six-year tenure as founding director of the Next Wave Festival. Previously, Melillo served as BAM’s producing director and as founding director of the Next Wave Festival.

December 15, 2017

Lewis Manilow (1927–2017)

Lewis Manilow. Photo: the Chicago Sun-Times

Celebrated arts patron, Lewis Manilow died on Tuesday, December 12, at the age of ninety. He is remembered as an important supporter of cultural institutions in Chicago. Manilow helped establish the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where he endowed a curatorship position, donated a variety of works, and served as the president from 1976 to 1981. Kara Walker, Shirin Neshat, and Kerry James Marshall are just some of the artists whose works Manilow and his wife, Susan, have brought into the museum’s collection. He also contributed to major Democratic campaigns for former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, who awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 2000.

“Lewis Manilow was a driving force behind Chicago cultural anchors including the Goodman Theatre and Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, a generous philanthropist, and dear friend,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. “Throughout my career, Lew challenged me to think fresh and new, read great books and question conventional wisdom.”

Manilow was born in an orphanage in 1927. He was adopted a year later by well-known Chicago developer Nathan Manilow and his wife Minette. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, and then received a law degree from Harvard University. Shortly after graduation, he moved to New York City to produce Sean O’Casey’s play, Purple Dust. However, his wife told Bob Goldsborough of the Chicago Tribune, that he quickly realized this was not his path.

December 15, 2017

Printed Matter Cancels 2018 Edition of Its LA Art Book Fair

Printed Matter’s LA Book Fair, 2017. Photo: Printed Matter.

Printed Matter announced today that it will not hold the 2018 edition of its LA Art Book Fair. The organization cited the unavailability of the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the sudden death of fair curator Shannon Michael Cane as the reasons for the cancelation.

“Over the years, the LA Art Book Fair has grown to become one of the art publishing world’s largest gatherings—a community-driven celebration of innovation and creativity, as well as a rich educational forum for engaging with all facets of art book publishing,” executive director Max Schumann said in a statement. “We are greatly disappointed that we are unable to mount the Fair in 2018.” He added that the fair will return in 2019 with “renewed energy.”

Founded in 2013, Printed Matter’s LA Art Book Fair welcomes approximately 40,000 book lovers, collectors, artists, and arts professionals over the course of its four days, and provides a full schedule of public programming that ranges from panel discussions, readings, sound performances, and interactive workshops to curated exhibitions. The event prides itself in its ability to host independent presses, commercial distributors, rare book dealers, university presses, zinemakers, leading gallery imprints, photo-book publishers and activist collectives—under one roof.

December 15, 2017

Major Funding Cuts Threaten Future of UK’s Towner Art Gallery

Towner Gallery.

The future of Towner Gallery, a leading regional UK arts space, is in jeopardy due to a proposed 50 percent cut in funding by the Eastbourne Borough Council (EBC). As Towner’s biggest stakeholder, EBC currently invests $818,000 every year.

EBC has proposed an initial reduction of $266,000 in April 2018 followed by incremental cuts in subsequent years. As a result of the proposed cuts, Towner’s board chair, David Dimbleby, said “We could lose six out of ten exhibitions a year, as well as our award-winning learning program, putting at risk everything that Towner stands for.” 

According to the BBC, the council said that this is the first time it has reduced financial support to the gallery. A council spokesman said that this year the council’s budget was also slashed by the government.

December 15, 2017

Dalit Matatyahu Promoted to Curator at Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Dalit Matatyahu. Photo: Tomer Appelbaum.

The Tel Aviv Museum of Art announced that it has appointed Dalit Matatyahu its new curator of Israeli Art. She will take up the post in May, when Ellen Ginton, who has been served as the institution’s senior curator of Israeli Art since 1987 retires.

Matatyahu said she was “delighted, anxious, and excited to take part in the processes of thought and definitions about Israeli art.” She added, “I believe in the power of the past and present art community to create a dialogue that begins with ‘self-appraisal’ and continues with action.”

Born in Jerusalem in 1969, Matatyahu has worked as an associate curator in the department of prints and drawings at the museum since 2010. She curated exhibitions such as “Yifat Bezalel: Tehilla” (2017), “Talush” (Rootless) (2016), and “Objektiv: Josef Albers, Oran Hoffmann” (2014).

Commenting on the appointment, Doron Rabina, the museum’s chief curator, said: “Dalit has a strong affinity to the written word and original perceptions of the visible. These will offer TAMA a fresh, fearless, and responsible touch with Israeli art.”

December 15, 2017

Caterina Avataneo Wins 2017 NEON Curatorial Award

NEON Curatorial Award 2017 winner Caterina Avateneo, with Whitechapel director Iwona Blazwick, NEON founder Dimitris Daskalopoulos, NEON director Elina Kountouri, and the 2017 judging panel. Photo: Rosie Kennedy. Courtesy: NEON and Whitechapel Gallery.

The Whitechapel Gallery in London has announced that Caterina Avataneo has won the 2017 NEON Curatorial Award, an annual prize established by the gallery and NEON, a non-profit organization in Athens, in 2012. The award recognizes curatorial excellence and gives each winner the opportunity to devise an exhibition proposal drawing from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes over five hundred contemporary artworks by 220 international and Greek artists.

Avataneo was selected for her exhibition proposal “And Yet They are Knocking at the Door,” which shares its title with a short story written by the Italian author Dino Buzzati in 1942. Bringing together works from thirteen artists, including Giovanni Anselmo, Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Rebecca Warren, and Rachel Whiteread, the exhibition, which addresses notions of human existential anxiety, death, paradox, and fate, will be staged in the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery and will be accompanied by a publication.

Chaired by Nayia Yiakoumaki, curator and head of curatorial studies, at Whitechapel, the judging panel comprised Ben Eastham, dditor of the White Review; Nadia Schneider Willen, collections curator at Migros, Zurich; and Tina Sotiriadi, an independent curator at H+S Projects.

December 15, 2017

Ralph Rugoff Named Artistic Director of 2019 Venice Biennale

Ralph Rugoff.

The Venice Biennale announced today that Ralph Rugoff, the director of the Hayward Gallery in London, will be the artistic director of the fifty-eighth edition of the exhibition, which will run from May 11, 2019 until November 24.

“The Venice Biennale is the oldest and most prestigious exhibition of its kind internationally and I am really looking forward to taking on this new challenge alongside next year’s momentous reopening of the Hayward Gallery and upcoming exhibition program,” Rugoff said in a statement.

Rugoff first joined the Hayward Gallery in 2006. During his tenure there, he curated exhibitions such as “The Infinite Mix” (2016), “Invisible: Art about the Unseen 1957-2012” (2012), and “The Human Factor: the Figure in Contemporary Sculpture” (2014) and organized solo presentations by various artists including Ed Ruschka, Jeremy Deller, Carsten Holler, and Tracey Emin. He also served as curator of the Thirteenth Lyon Biennale in 2015 and the director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco from 200 to 2006. A prolific writer, Rugoff has penned artilces for publications such as Artforum, Frieze, Parkett, and the Los Angeles Times, and has contributed essays to books on artists such as Mike Kelley, David Hammons, Roni Horn, Luc Tuymans, and Paul McCarthy.

“The appointment of Ralph Rugoff confirms the Biennale’s primary goal, to qualify the exhibition as a place of encounter between the visitors, the art, and the artists,” Biennale president Paolo Baratta said. “An exhibition engaging the viewers directly with the artworks in such a way that memory, the unexpected, the possible provocation, the new and the different can stimulate their visions, their minds and their emotions, and offer them the opportunity for a direct experience.”

December 14, 2017

Alison Cole Named Editor of the Art Newspaper

Alison Cole. Photo: Alison Cole.

The Art Newspaper, an online and paper publication founded in 1990, announced today that Alison Cole has been appointed its new editor. Cole is an arts consultant, historian, and journalist who has previously worked as the executive director of advocacy and communications at Arts Council England, executive director of communications and publications at the Art Fund, and as editor of Art Quarterly magazine.

Cole has written features and arts criticism for a number of publications, including The Independent and the Arts Desk. Her latest books are Michelangelo: The Taddei Tondo (Royal Academy, 2017) and Art, Pleasure and Power: Italian Renaissance Courts (Laurence King, 2016). Cole also spearheaded the digital arts channel The Space, produced by ACE and the BBC, and is assisting Heni Talks with the creation of a new art history digital platform, fashioned after TED Talks. She has a master of philosophy in medieval studies from London University’s Warburg Institute.

December 14, 2017

Stedelijk Museum Teams Up with Rem Koolhaas to Rehang Its Permanent Collection

Installation view of Stedelijk Base, the Stedelijk Museum’s new presentation of its permanent collection. Courtesy: the Stedelijk Museum.

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam revealed today a major rehang of its collection of modern and contemporary art. The institution partnered with AMO architect Rem Koolhaas—who says the Stedelijk shaped his sense of aesthetics—and exhibition designer Federico Martelli to reconfigure its presentation of about seven hundred works by artists such as Piet Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerrit Rietveld, Ed van der Elsken, Marlene Dumas, and Yayoi Kusama.

Dubbed Stedelijk Base, the arrangement of the works incorporates new architectural elements. One-hundred-and-eighty tons of steel were used to create thin freestanding walls, which are positioned to help create thematic zones of related artworks. Commenting on the layout, Koolhaas, who has visited the museum since he was twelve, said, “We did not want to create a rigid circuit for visitors. They’ll have the freedom to explore in different directions, and choose their own route, as adventurous as circulation through any city.”

Margriet Schavemaker, the head of collections and research at the Stedelijk Museum—who was jointly responsible for the selection of works and their presentation—said, “Stedelijk Base is our way of making the collection relevant today, in the twenty-first century. The presentation is crammed with surprising connections and associations, and also offers a clear chronology. This way visitors will always know which period of art history they have entered.”