November 2, 2012

Gae Aulenti (1928–2012)

Gae Aulenti, the Italian architect credited with transforming a Paris train station into the Musée d’Orsay, has passed away at the age of eighty-four, reports Douglas Martin of the New York Times. Called “the most important female architect since the beginning of time,” by former architecture critic of the New York Times Herbert Muschamp, Aulenti is best known for her capacity to fuse historic and cultural values into urban structures. Martin writes that her work, especially on the Musée d’Orsay, was seen as “a giant step for someone whose influence had been as an industrial designer and as a leader of a young generation of Italian theorists who had questioned the tenets of modernist architecture.”

Aulenti grew up near Trieste, Italy and decided to study architecture as a way to resist her parents' desire that she become a “nice society girl.” In 1954 she was one of two women to graduate from the Milan Polytechnic School of Architecture. She and her peers adamantly rejected the architecture of Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius. They called themselves the “Neo Liberty” movement: “More than anything, we were trying to recognize our own identity,” she once said. In addition to work including the National Museum of Modern Art at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris and the restoration of the Palazzo Grassi as an art museum in Venice, Aulenti has created showrooms for Fiat, shops for Olivetti, pens and watches for Louis Vuitton, and a coffee table on wheels that is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

November 2, 2012

Frank Verpoorten Appointed Director of Naples Museum of Art

Frank Verpoorten has been named director of the Naples Museum of Art at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Florida, effective the end of December. The museum’s previous director, Michael Culver, resigned in August of 2010, reports the News-Press. Verpoorten is currently the cultural attaché representing Flanders, Belgium in the United States. Prior experience includes curatorial roles at the Museum of Modern Art, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, and the Dahesh Museum of Art. “Frank is exactly the visual arts partner I envisioned as we shape the future of the Patty and Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art,” said the center’s chief executive officer Kathleen van Bergen. “Not only does he have impressive curatorial experience, but we share a commitment to bringing the best of the visual and performing arts to our audiences.”

November 1, 2012

Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012)

Architect Lebbeus Woods has died at the age of seventy-two, reports William Yardley for the New York Times. Woods was unlike most in that his cause de célèbre was for the buildings he designed that never manifested. Architect and friend Steven Holl confirmed the report. Woods chose a career in which he didn’t have to design for commercial profit, but rather could design structures that reflected his own fascinations and interest in bucking conventions. Many of his drawings have been compared to fantasy, but Woods once wrote that, “The arts have not been merely ornamental, but central to people’s struggle to ‘find themselves’ in a world without clarity, or certainty, or meaning.” In addition to being a respected architect, he also acted as a professor at Cooper Union and a writer of a popular blog. An exhibition of work by Woods will be on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art beginning in February 2013.

November 1, 2012

Danh Vo Wins Hugo Boss Prize

Danh Vo is the recipient of the 2012 Hugo Boss Prize. Vo will be the ninth recipient of the award, which comes with a $100,000 award and an exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in spring 2013. Other finalists include Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Monika Sosnowska, Tris Vonna-Michell, and Qiu Zhijie. The jury comprised Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Magali Arriola, curator, Colección Jumex; Suzanne Cotter, curator, Abu Dhabi Project, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Kate Fowle, executive director of Independent Curators International; Nat Trotman, associate curator at the Guggenheim Museum; and, Theodora Vischer, senior curator at large for the Fondation Beyeler in Basel.

November 1, 2012

London’s Hotel Gallery to Close Doors

Hotel, the gallery in London, will be closing its doors after over nine years. Financial issues have made maintenance of the space untenable, according to Darren Flook and Christabel Stewart, who opened the gallery in 2003 with a white neon sign by Peter Saville that read VACANCIES. Hotel’s current exhibition—“Polished Simulated Rescue Enclosures,” featuring work by Mike Bouchet—will be the gallery’s last.

November 1, 2012

New Appointment at Dallas Museum of Art

Sabiha Al Khemir has been appointed the new senior advisor of Islamic art at the Dallas Museum of Art. Al Khemir—the founding director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar—will serve a three-year term for the Dallas Museum of Art, building partnerships with other institutions and increasing the presence of Islamic art in the museum’s collections. Al Khemir has taught on Islamic art at the British Museum and has worked as a consultant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in the same field.

November 1, 2012

Pacific Standard Time Makes Large Economic Impact on California Economy

A study conducted by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation Economy and Policy Analysis Group has found that “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980” added $280.5 million in economic output to Southern California during its six months beginning October 2011, supported 2,490 jobs with total labor income of $101.3 million, and added $19.4 million in tax revenues to state and local governments. Further, a survey filled out by visitors at thirty-one participating “Pacific Standard Time” institutions found that almost half of the people visiting participating cultural institutions from October 2011 through April 2012 stated that the motivation for their visit was “Pacific Standard Time.” More than 16 percent of visitors to these exhibitions and events came from outside of California. Out of the nearly 1.8 million people who participated, an estimated total of 742,500 were drawn to the museums and other institutions precisely because of their “Pacific Standard Time” exhibitions.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “‘Pacific Standard Time’ solidified Los Angeles’s place in art history and celebrated the region’s artistic contributions to society. But it provided Angelenos more tangible benefits as well, through creating jobs, driving tourism to the region, and increasing the economic activity that generates revenue to fund public services.”

October 31, 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Receives $10 Million

The New York Times’ Carol Vogel reports that the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, has received a gift of ten million dollars from the Zell Family Foundation, operated by the museum’s longtime supporters Sam and Helen Zell. Half of the sum will go to paying off debt incurred by the museum’s construction costs in 1996, according to Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the museum. The rest of the donation will go toward the museum’s “Vision initiatives,” which include programs such as the “outdoor summer plaza series, exhibitions, and artist residency programs.” In addition, the funds would help support digital projects, including the museum’s website.

October 30, 2012

More Damage Reported by New York Galleries After Hurricane Sandy

GalleristNY’s Andrew Russeth, Michael H. Miller, and Dan Duray have been continuing to cover the havoc wrought by the hurricane on galleries and art spaces throughout New York. According to the GalleristNY team, Chelsea galleries reporting damage including Zach Feuer, Andrea Rosen, David Zwirner, Gagosian, and Pavel Zoubok. Firefighters were apparently investigating a gas leak in front of Gagosian’s Twenty-first Street space, while over at Andrea Rosen’s Tenth Avenue gallery, an employee noted that water indoors had reached over three feet.

Meanwhile, the list of art spaces left in disarray by the hurricane continues to grow, according to Businessweek's Katya Kazakina, who reported today that Marc Jancou Gallery and Susan Inglett Gallery had both experienced severe flood damage. The entire basement of Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert gallery on Nineteenth Street is underwater. Over at Churner and Churner, Rachel Churner told Businessweek, “I’ve probably lost $100,000 worth of art. Our basement is wet all the way to the ceiling.” Dealer Margaret Thatcher, whose gallery is on West Twenty-third Street, showed reporters approximately forty drawings meant to be shown at an upcoming exhibition, all of which were soaked. “They are all destroyed,” she said. “It brings tears to my eyes,” said Leo Koenig about the losses he was facing. “I don’t care about the damage to the gallery. That’s fixable. The irreplaceable art that has been lost—that’s the worst of it.”