Kunstkritikk reported that the Astrup Fearnley museum in Oslo has signed a sponsorship agreement that raises certain ethical issues. The museum will be collaborating with the Norwegian branch of the Swedish-owned Lundin Petroleum. Kunstkritikk’s Jonas Ekeberg points out that Lundin was involved in drilling the world’s largest gas field in Qatar in 1976, and since then has been culpable of mining and drilling in Libya, Sudan, and South Africa under apartheid. Though museum officials have pointed out that the company is part-owned by the Norwegian government through its pension fund, and the museum's new sponsor is therefore part-owned by citizens, that justification doesn’t pass muster for Ekeberg. He writes: “It is simply not ethical to have Lundin Petroleum as [the museum’s] main sponsor while the company is under investigation for complicity in genocide.”
While Astrup Fearnley seems to be making deals with a problematic sponsor to pay its bills, the Grand Palais in Paris is about to cancel Monumenta due to budget woes, according to Gareth Harris in the Art Newspaper. Artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov were commissioned to create a large work for the venue, until a spokesperson for France’s cultural ministry recently announced that the project is in jeopardy due to “cost issues”which no doubt relate to culture minister Aurélie Filippetti’s austerity package that includes a 4.5 percent cut in the state culture budget next year. Harris notes that, according to French publication Le Figaro, the Kabakovs were originally slated to work with a budget of around 6.5 million dollars.
Meanwhile, other French cultural programs seem to soldier on despite the nation's budget cuts: Laurent Le Bon, director of the Centre Pompidou Metz and artistic director of this year’s Nuit blanche all-night festival in Paris spoke with Emmanuelle Lequeux of Le Monde about Nuit blanche. He stated, “In one night we reach more of an audience than all FRACs and other art centers in France all year . . . . In a period of crisis, it would be easy to suppress the festival, but things are more complex.” He said he chose to focus on the art institutions along the Seine: “Rather than imposing our choice on them, we asked them what they had up their sleeve. We then supported them in the production of their events.” Le Bon also pointed out that Nuit blanche provided attendees with access to many venues previously closed to the public, including Inalco (Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales), the architecture school designed by Frédéric Borel, the Morland Tower designed by Albert Laprade, Jussieu’s meeting hall, and the Musée du quai Branly’s balcony.
Chus Martínez has been appointed as chief curator at El Museo del Barrio, New York, reports Art in America. She will replace Deborah Cullen, who was director of curatorial programs and left in June to become director and chief curator of Columbia University’s Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery. Martínez has worked for Documenta for the past three years as head of the department of artistic production. Some of her prior positions include chief curator at MACBA, Barcelona, director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2005–2008), and curator of Cyprus's national pavilion at the fiftieth Venice Biennale in 2005. Margarita Aguilar, director of El Museo del Barrio, said, “Chus Martínez is an inspiring curator who will bring an innovative and exciting approach to our collections and exhibitions.”
The two recipients of the 2012 Artadia awards have been announced. Jillian Conrad and Carl Suddath will each receive $15,000. In addition, Francesca Fuchs, Seth Mittag, and Jang soon Im will each receive $5,000. Chosen from about 200 applicants, the finalists all have work on view in Artadia's booth at the Texas Contemporary.
The board of trustees of the Parrish Art Museum has elected Frederic M. Seegal as chair and H. Peter Haveles, Jr. as president. “We are all proud and pleased to welcome our new officers, and anticipate great things in the museum’s future,” said Parris director Terrie Sultan. “Fred has a longstanding commitment to cultural philanthropy and he will be instrumental in helping us to realize our great promise. We are thrilled to have Peter assume the role of president. Peter has been involved with the museum for more than a decade, and he is profoundly dedicated to our future success.”
Frederic M. Seegal joined the Parrish board in 2011. He is a current trustee of the New York City Center, San Francisco Symphony, and the James Beard Foundation, and a former trustee of the San Francisco Opera, the Neuberger Museum, and Southampton Hospital. H. Peter Haveles has been a trustee since 2009. He is a past president of the Boston University School of Law Alumni Association. He is also president of the board of directors of the Irish Georgian Society.
Giovanna Melandri has been named president of the National Museum of 21st Century Arts (MAXXI). Melandri has served as Italy’s minister of cultural heritage and activities under prime minister Massimo D’Alema between 1998 and 2001. She is also responsible for hiring architect Zaha Hadid to design MAXXI’s current building in Rome. Artinfo reports that the museum was forcibly taken over by a government-appointed commissariat in April after a dispute over budget concerns. The decision has received criticism in the Corriere della Sera among other publications.
The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles announced that it has acquired the Knoedler Gallery archive, a collection that dates from 1850 to 1971 including stock books, sales books, a photo archive, and files of correspondence, including illustrated letters from artists and collectors. Last year Knoedler Gallery shut its doors while its director Ann Freedman faced numerous lawsuits concerning selling fakes. Marcia Reed, chief curator at the Getty Research Institute, told the New York Times, “This is an archive that was born well before e-mail. So all the correspondence between artists and collectors is all intact, including how paintings were hung and framed.”
The Rhode Island School of Design Museum has appointed Elizabeth A. Williams its curator of decorative arts and design, reports the Providence Journal. Williams will oversee the museum’s collection of American and European decorative arts, with a focus on exhibitions, publications, and participation in the Rhode Island School of Design’s teaching and community engagement. Her expertise includes eighteenth and nineteenth-century silver. Williams is currently assistant curator of decorative arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Michael Asher, Conceptual artist and professor at the California Institute of the Arts, whose “post-studio art” courses made him a legend among student artists, has passed away at the age of sixty-nine. He was described by Roberta Smith in the New York Times as one of the “the patron saints of the Conceptual Art phylum known as institutional critique, an often esoteric dissection of the assumptions that govern how we perceive art.” Asher exhibited widely; his work was featured in Documenta and the Venice Biennale, and in solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was the 2010 winner of the Bucksbaum Award, receiving $100,000 and a solo show at the Whitney Museum. With Benjamin Buchloh, he coauthored Writings, 1973–1983, on Works 1969–1979, which they published in 1983.
The New Orleans Museum of Art has appointed Brooke Minto as the deputy director for development and external affairs. Minto most recently served as Miami Art Museum’s director of development’s appointment. Her appointment initiates the launch of NOMA’s development and external affairs division.