Kassel Plans to Turn Former Documenta Venue into a Museum

Palais Bellevue. Photo: Andreas Berthel.

The city of Kassel announced a $1.5 million project to transform and expand the Palais Bellevue, which housed the Brothers Grimm Museum until 2014, into an exhibition space dedicated to literature and music, Monopol reports.

The Spohr Museum, an institution dedicated to composer and conductor Louis Spohr, which is currently part of the Kulturbahnhof—Kassel’s cultural train station—will eventually move into the Baroque building. In addition, a second structure will be renovated as a space for concerts, readings, and exhibitions.

“It is our intention to transform the Bellevue into a high-profile, tourist-oriented public space for Kassel, to host the history of music and literature,” said a city spokeswoman on Monday.

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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.”

December 14, 2017

Getty Research Institute Acquires Mary Kelly Archive

Mary Kelly in 1999. Photo: Kelly Barrie. Courtesy: the Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.

The archive of Conceptual artist Mary Kelly has been acquired by the Getty Research Institute in California. It will include her monumental project, Post-Partum Document, 1973–1979, as well as later works such as Interim, 1984–89, and Gloria Patri, 1992.

“Mary Kelly is an exceptionally influential artist whose art, teaching practice, and scholarship have shaped the conversation around feminism and Conceptualism since the 1960s,” Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute, said in a statement. “By adding her archive to our already strong collections representing American women artists and Conceptual artists, we are bridging contemporary practices in the US and Europe and providing valuable resources to any scholars or artists studying Conceptualism, postmodernism, psychoanalytic theory, or feminism.”

Prototypes of her work, audio reels of the Women’s National Liberation Conference in 1971, audiovisual material, journals on Marxism and feminism, flyers she collected while abroad, research and projection material, and ephemera are included in the archive, which will be catalogued and made available at the Getty in stages. Famous for her arduous teaching approach, the archive also features materials related to her influential work as an educator.

Glen Phillips, the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Getty Research Institute, said: “Mary Kelly is one of the leading artists from the postmodern era in the 1980s and one of the most influential figures to pursue feminist interventions into artistic practice. She was also one of the foundational figures to the development of both Conceptual art and feminism in Great Britain in the 1970s, a key figure in the transmission of poststructuralist and psychoanalytic theory to artists and arts scholars in the United States, and one of the most important arts educators of her generation. In short, she has been a step ahead of cutting-edge art practices for decades.”

Originally trained as a painter, Kelly was moved to Beirut, where she was exposed to Jacques Lacan and various threads of Marxist theory, to teach art. After the birth of her son, she drew upon Lacanian psychoanalytic ideologies to help her raise him and recorded her experiences in Post-Partum Document, which was published in book form by Routledge and Kegan Paul in 1982. Most of Kelly’s work in the 1970s was created through the Berwick Street Collective. The group was known for its sociological project Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry, which studied 150 women who worked at a metal box foundry from 1973 to 1975.

“Because my studio practice is project based, involving extensive research that often overlaps with interests in activism and pedagogy, the concept as well as the material form of an archive is central to the way I work. The Getty Research Institute’s curatorial vision not only supports this approach, but I believe, will enhance the discursive potential it implies. I am thrilled to be included in the collection and honored to be part of an ongoing collective legacy of such significance,” said Kelly.

December 14, 2017

K11 Art Foundation to Expand to Nine Cities in China by 2023

Adrian Cheng. Courtesy: K11 Foundation.

The K11 Art Foundation in Hong Kong has announced that it will expand to nine Chinese cities by 2023. Founded by Adrian Cheng in 2010, the nonprofit helps emerging artists and curators in greater China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan by connecting them with the global art community.

The foundation also announced that Cheng, who remains its honorary chairman, has been awarded France’s Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters for his efforts toward improving cultural exchange between France and China. Cheng is the youngest person in Hong Kong to receive this award since its creation in 1957. Nan Goldin, Anish Kapoor, and Iwona Blazwick, among others, are past recipients of the award.

“The cultural collaborations formed by the K11 Art Foundation with leading institutions such as Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo, and Claude Monet Foundation have allowed French audiences to deepen their understanding of contemporary Chinese art and to expand international opportunities for outstanding Chinese contemporary artists and curators,” Cheng said in a statement.

December 14, 2017

Minneapolis Institute of Art to Establish Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts

The Minneapolis Institute of Art. Courtesy: the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art, or MIA, announced today that it is launching the first-ever Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts within an art museum. The institution will collaborate with scholars, philosophers, artists, and colleagues at other museums to explore “best practices to foster compassion and enhance related emotional skills.” Funded by a $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the five-year project aims to build empathy in order to affect positive social change.

Commenting on the initiative, director Kaywin Feldman said, “A visitor to our museum has the opportunity to experience works of art made over the course of some five thousand years, from every corner of the globe. One of the most meaningful aspects of this encounter is the awareness it can awaken of a common humanity—an immediate sense of connection between the viewer and someone who may have lived in a very different time and place. Thanks to the Mellon Foundation, we’re proud to take the lead with partners across the country, in studying how to spark and nurture empathy through the visual arts, so that MIA and all art museums can contribute even more toward building a just and harmonious society.”

The first phase of this initiative kicked off in October, when MIA invited experts in the social sciences, empathy research, virtual reality, and neuroscience fields, in addition to museum curators and directors, artists, and educators, to discuss empathy and the art museum at the University of California, Berkeley—a partner in the research project.

December 14, 2017

Dane Mitchell to Represent New Zealand in 2019 Venice Biennale

Dane Mitchell.

The Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa has announced that artist Dane Mitchell will represent New Zealand in the Fifty-Eighth Venice Biennale, opening in May 2019. Zara Stanhope and Chris Sharp were named as the curators of the pavilion.

“We are thrilled with Dane’s selection by unanimous decision,” said Jenny Gibbs, the New Zealand at Venice Commissioner for 2019. “Known widely for his innovative and challenging work, Dane presented a strong proposal and we’re excited to have such an original project at this highly influential event.”

Mitchell was selected from a pool of eleven proposals for the biennial presentation. He will create a new sculptural project featuring broadcasts around Venice that “give voice to invisible realms.” Commenting on the piece, the artist told the New Zealand Herald that “It certainly won't be anything abrasive or aggressive across public spaces. There will be multiple ways to tune into it.” The piece will reflect the artist’s interest in the invisible aspects of space and how they’re perceived by using modern technologies to transmit signals and sounds.

December 14, 2017

Iran Opens First Museum Dedicated to a Single Female Artist

Film still from Monir, 2016, directed by Bahman Kiarostami and produced by Leyla Fakhr. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line.

A museum celebrating the oeuvre of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian is set to open in Tehran on Friday, December 15. The institution will showcase fifty works from the ninety-three-year-old artist’s personal collection. It is the first museum dedicated to the work of a single female artist in Iran.

The Monir Museum is located in in the historic Negarestan Museum Park Gardens, a former Qajar-era palace complex. Its collection includes the artist’s signature reverse glass painting and mirror mosaic works, which reference Islamic art and geometry, several pieces from her “Heartache” series, sculptural boxes made of mixed collages, photographs, prints, and other objects, which she made in New York in the 1990s, following the death of her husband Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian.

“It is an honor for Monir to be recognized in her country of origin with the establishment of this new institution,” a spokesperson of the Third Line gallery in Dubai, which represents the artist, told the Art Newspaper. “It is unprecedented in Iran.”

December 13, 2017

Isuma to Represent Canada in 2019 Venice Biennale

Norman Cohn, Pauloosie Qulitalik, Lizzie Qulitalik, Mary Qulitalik, Rachel Uyarashuk, Jonah Uyarashuk, and Zacharias Kunuk on the set of Nunaqpa (Going Inland) in 1990.

The National Gallery of Canada announced today that the artist collective Isuma, led by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn, will represent Canada at the Fifty-Eighth Venice Biennale, expected to open in May 2019. The group’s participation will mark the first time art by members of the Inuit community have been featured in Canada’s pavilion.

Isuma, which means “to think, or a state of thoughtfulness” in Inuktitut, is Canada’s first Inuit video-based production company. Cofounded by Kunuk, Cohn, Paul Apak Angilirq, and Pauloosie Qulitalik in 1990, the collective aims to preserve Inuit culture and language and to present their stories to Inuit and non-Inuit audiences around the world.

“Since the mid-1990s the Isuma collective has been challenging stereotypes about ways of life in the North and breaking boundaries in video art, including the first video-based work to win a major film award at the prestigious Cannes film festival,” said National Gallery of Canada director and CEO, Marc Mayer.

December 13, 2017

Getty Museum Receives Two Major Gifts of Photographs

Helen Levitt, New York, ca.1965. Courtesy: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today that it received donations of two groups of photographs from collectors Leslie and Judith Schreyer and Michael and Jane Wilson. The gifts include works by artists previously unrepresented in the museum’s collection. 

“These generous gifts complement and strengthen our holdings of important photographers from Los Angeles, New York, Europe, and Asia,” said Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Both Les and Judy and Michael and Jane are longtime and enthusiastic supporters of the Museum and our photographs department. Their donations will provide a rich trove of images from which we will be able to organize future exhibitions.” 

The donation from Leslie and Judith Schreyer includes fifty photographs by thirty-nine artists. Among the best-known photographers in the group are Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand, and Magnum Agency photographers W. Eugene Smith, Bruce Davidson, and Josef Koudelka. The collection also features fifteen photographers, who had yet to be represented in the museum’s collection, and works by members of the New York Photo League, such as Helen Levitt, Arthur Leipzig, and Leon Levinstein.