September 17, 2010

Head of UK Film Council Resigns

The chief executive of the UK Film Council, John Woodward, announced his resignation with a sideswipe at the government’s planned scrapping of the organization, The Independent’s Robert Dex reports.

Woodward said of the job: “I enjoyed every minute of it up until 5:35pm on July 24 this year”—the date details of the proposed cut emerged. He will leave the organization in November. The Film Council had an annual budget of $23.5 million to invest in British films.

Its chairman, Tim Bevan, said that, under Woodward’s leadership, it had backed a “succession of successful films and filmmakers.” When the plan to abolish the council was announced, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said it would ensure “greater value for money.” But it has proved controversial, with both sides launching media broadsides in defense of their position.

September 17, 2010

Warner Bros. Donates $5 Million to Smithsonian

The Washington Post reports that Warner Bros. Entertainment is donating $5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to create a theater to present the history of American film.

The gift announced Wednesday will transform the forty-six-year-old Carmichael Auditorium into a movie theater with digital 3D projection. It will also show original 35 mm films. It will be renamed the Warner Bros. Theater when it reopens next year.

Museum spokeswoman Melinda Machado says the theater will offer free programs. It won’t be an IMAX theater like others on the National Mall because of the seating configuration.

The museum says the theater will complement its entertainment collection, which includes drawings for the first Mickey Mouse film, a camera used to film The Wizard of Oz (1939) and the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in the movie.

September 17, 2010

New Plans for AOL’s Art Campaign

YouTube may be interested in putting videos in museums, what with the initiative it announced with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Intel in June. AOL, however, is using art to enhance its identity, reports Carol Vogel for the New York Times.

“It’s the new normal,” Maureen Sullivan, AOL’s senior vice president for brand marketing, said of the company’s latest round of art projects. “Technology has empowered consumers who expect to be wowed.”

AOL’s new advertising campaign features images of personalities like Alec Baldwin, taken by Chuck Close. And its home page has become a rotating gallery of sorts, with artwork appearing behind the corporate logo every time a new visitor goes to the site. Click on it and users can “meet the artist,” as the Web site puts it, directing them to AOL Artists, a page with information about that artist.

This initiative began at the end of last year when the company formally split from Time Warner. “That’s when we rebranded,” Sullivan said. And that’s when the fourteen million people who use AOL every day began seeing the artwork. About 892,000 visitors went to that part of its site in August alone.

AOL is about to introduce its third collection of artwork. The company is also awarding twenty-five artists $25,000 each as part of a grant program, “25 for 25,” that it hopes will support the next generation of creative thinkers. The jury choosing the winners will include Robert Storr, dean of the Yale University School of Art, and Adam D. Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

September 16, 2010

Montclair Art Museum Appoints New Curator

The Montclair Art Museum has announced that Alexandra Schwartz has been appointed curator of contemporary art, according to the Montclair Times. She will begin work on November 16.

A curator and scholar of contemporary art, Schwartz has worked in curatorial roles at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 2004, most recently as the coordinator of MoMA’s Modern Women’s Project, designed to increase understanding of women artists across the museum’s collections. In this capacity, she served as coeditor and contributor to Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art, and curated an exhibition, “Mind and Matter, Alternative Abstractions, 1940s to Now,” a group exhibition of ten contemporary artists working in abstraction. Her book Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles, published earlier this year by MIT Press, is the first critical examination of Ruscha’s work in relation to the cultural contexts of its production. The newly created position at the Montclair Art Museum has been funded by a donation from the Vance Wall Foundation.

September 16, 2010

New Director and CEO for Woodmere Art Museum

The Woodmere Art Museum, the idiosyncratic collection housed in a rambling Victorian structure on six acres at the top of Chestnut Hill, has a new director and chief executive officer, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Peter Dobrin. William Valerio steps down Friday as assistant director for administration of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to take the leadership of the seventy-year-old Woodmere, whose focus is artists of Philadelphia and the region.

“It’s hard to leave, because of course I love the Philadelphia Museum of Art and it’s one of the special places on the planet,” said Valerio. “On the other hand, when this opportunity arose, I had to think long and hard about whether I wanted to be a museum director in my life, and I did, and I decided I needed to start.”

Valerio, forty-six, officially takes his new job Monday, but already has been involved in decisions. The museum has been operating without a director since the beginning of the year. Michael W. Schantz, chief of the museum since 1981, announced a year ago his intention to leave.

Valerio holds a master’s degree in art history (with a seventeenth-century specialization) from the University of Pennsylvania, and a bachelor’s from Williams College. He earned a doctorate in art history from Yale University in 1996, and was a curator at Queens Museum of Art in New York, where he became interim director of exhibitions. Drawn to Philadelphia in 2002 by Wharton’s MBA program, he worked on various projects for the Woodmere Art Museum as an intern even before graduating in 2004. As a senior member of the administration, Valerio has focused on marketing, government affairs, and other matters.

September 16, 2010

Daniel Walker to Head Two Curatorial Departments at Art Institute of Chicago

Following an international search, the Art Institute of Chicago has announced the appointment of Daniel Walker as the head of two curatorial departments at the museum. Effective October 18, 2010, Walker will become the Pritzker chair and curator of Asian art and the chair and Christa C. Mayer Thurman curator of textiles at the art institute. A scholar, writer, and curator of textiles as well as Islamic art, Walker has held previous positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Textile Museum in Washington, DC.

“Daniel Walker’s experience at major museums in this country and abroad, as well as his record of distinguished scholarship in both textiles and Islamic art, make him the ideal leader of two curatorial departments at the museum,” said James Cuno, president and Eloise W. Martin director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

September 15, 2010

Jenny Taubman Resigns from Taubman Museum of Art Board of Directors

Jay Warren reports for that the namesake of the Taubman Museum of Art no longer has any formal connection with the museum.

Jenny Taubman, wife of former Romanian Ambassador and former Advance Auto CEO Nick Taubman, has resigned from her position on the museum's board of directors. She had planned to resign later this year.

Kimberly Templeton, the museum's spokeswoman, says Taubman resigned for personal reasons, and not due to any financial issue with the museum.

Templeton also confirmed that the Taubmans removed their Romanian art collection from the museum. Templeton said it was being stored there for a possible future show.

Templeton notes that the Taubmans now have no formal role with the museum that bears their name, but that they have, or will honor, all pledged financial gifts.

September 15, 2010

New York Drops Rules Against Museum Deaccessioning

In a surprise development in the battle over whether museums should be allowed to sell art to cover operating costs, the New York State Board of Regents has approved the expiration of emergency regulations regarding such “deaccessioning,” reports Robin Pogrebin for the New York Times.

Those rules, which enjoined such sales, have been in effect since 2008. After hearing views from museums statewide, “there was no consensus on the efficacy of those emergency regulations,” David Steiner, the state’s education commissioner, said in a statement. Thus, “those regulations will be allowed to expire, allowing the prior regulations regarding museum collections to once again take effect.”

Last month the board indicated it planned to make the emergency regulations permanent, in part because a bill to prohibit cultural institutions from selling pieces from their collections to pay for expenses had stalled in the legislature.

“This removes a substantial obstacle to the monetization of art held in the public trust and to the transfer of art from public hands to private hands,” said assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, who led the drafting of the bill. The education department also said it was developing an advisory group to inform the regents’ future decisions on collections and other museum matters.

September 14, 2010

2010 Praemium Imperiale Laureates Named by Japan Art Association

The winners for 2010 of the prestigious Praemium Imperiale arts awards, announced today by the Japan Art Association at the Nippon Press Center Building in Tokyo, include artist Enrico Castellani, sculptor Rebecca Horn, and architect Toyo Ito. Carrying prizes of approximately $169,000 each, the awards recognize lifetime achievement in the arts in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes. Pianist Maurizio Pollini and actress Sophia Loren were also named laureates in the categories of music and theater/film, respectively.

“We are honored to recognize this year’s distinguished group of laureates whose life long pursuit for excellence in their art form has inspired and enriched the global community,” said American advisor, William H. Luers. “We congratulate them for becoming laureates of Praemium Imperiale––an illustrious prize that celebrates the vital contribution of art in building international pathways of communication, enlightenment and joy.”

Last year, the Praemium Imperiale was awarded to Hiroshi Sugimoto (painting/photography), Richard Long (sculpture), Zaha Hadid (architecture), Alfred Brendel (music), and Tom Stoppard (theater/film). Previous laureates have included: Ingmar Bergman, Leonard Bernstein, Peter Brook, Anthony Caro, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Jean-Luc Godard, David Hockney, Willem de Kooning, Akira Kurosawa, Arthur Miller, Renzo Piano, Robert Rauschenberg, Mstislav Rostropovich, Ravi Shankar, and Stephen Sondheim.

The Praemium Imperiale was created in 1988 to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Japan Art Association and to honor the late Prince Takamatsu, who served as the association’s honorary patron for fifty-eight years.