The Mondriaan Fund, responsible for the Dutch entry at the Venice Biennale, has selected the proposal submitted by curator Lorenzo Benedetti to present works by artist Mark Manders. Benedetti, director of SBKM/De Vleeshal at Middelburg since 2008, will curate a wide range of works by Manders, including installations, sculptures, offset prints on paper, and architectural interventions. Said Benedetti, “It’s fantastic to be able to represent the Netherlands in Venice and it is a great honor to be allowed to create an exhibition in Gerrit Rietveld's beautiful pavilion.”
The Art Museum Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has voted unanimously to stop volunteering at the museum because of the museum’s plans to triple council members fees, reports Jori Finkel of the Los Angeles Times. Members who once paid approximately four hundred dollars are now required to pay one thousand dollars in addition to a membership fee of two hundred and fifty dollars. The Art Museum Council is one of ten such museum support groups and currently has some two hundred members. Chairwoman Diana Gutman explained the decision in email yesterday: “Our AMC board of directors voted to withdraw from LACMA rather than discriminate against any of our members who would be unable to pay the exorbitant increase to stay in our council. We do not believe in leaving anyone out of our group.” Director Michael Govan explained that the fee hikes are necessary to help with acquisitions and exhibitions. He also noted that the boards of the support groups will be dissolved, shifting responsibility for fundraising and events to in-house staff and curators.
Teresa Margolles has been selected as the winner of this year’s Artes Mundi prize. Margolles, who received her degree in forensic medicine, creates work exploring economics and death in the context of drug-related crime in Mexico. Her art was included in the 2009 Venice Biennale, where she used water from a Mexican morgue to mop the floor. The panel of judges, led by curator Tim Marlow, said they were impressed by “the visceral power and urgency as well as the sophistication of her work in confronting an ongoing human tragedy.” She will win over $60,000.
The Whitney has announced plans for the 2014 Biennial, reports Carol Vogel of the New York Times. The exhibition will be organized by three non-Whitney curators, each taking a floor of the museum. The curators will be: Stuart Comer, the film curator at the Tate Modern in London; Anthony Elms, an associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, a professor and the chairwoman of the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator, said, “The idea to have three curators came about after a series of discussions here. It’s an experiment. By slicing the museum up like a layer cake and seeing how it will look collectively, it gives the curators the opportunity to express their own points of view, each on a different floor.” This will also be the last Biennial in the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building. The selection came out of a list of candidates proposed by Whitney staff members and approved by director Adam D. Weinberg.
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has appointed Veronica Roberts as curator of modern and contemporary art. Roberts is currently serving as adjunct associate curator of contemporary art for the Indianapolis Museum of Art and as director of research for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Catalogue RaisonnÚ. She holds an MA in the history of art and architecture from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a BA in art history from Williams College. Simone Wicha, director of Blanton Museum of Art, says, “Veronica is a creative thinker who brings to the museum an ideal combination of art historical knowledge, intellectual curiosity, and rigor, and a network of distinguished museum and gallery professionals from around the world. These strengths, combined with her passion for connecting communities and great artists working today, will engage Austin and further distinguish the Blanton and the University of Texas.”
Whitney Museum of American Art curator Elisabeth Sussman will receive the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College 2013 Audrey Irmas award for curatorial excellence. The award comes with a cash prize of $25,000. Sussman’s curatorial career also includes fifteen years at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, where she served as interim director and deputy director for programs. In addition to being a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation at the Rockefeller Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy (1999), and at the Getty Research Institute (2001), Sussman is author of many publications and has taught at MIT and Tufts University. Previous recipients of the award include Harald Szeemann, Marcia Tucker, Kasper K÷nig, and Paul Schimmel, among others.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced the collected gifts of 473 photographs from three separate collectors, reports the New York Times. This includes twenty-six photographs by Diane Arbus from the San Francisco dealer Jeffrey Fraenkel. Other artists whose works were included in the gift include Robert Adams, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Nan Goldin, Andreas Gursky, Irving Penn, and Garry Winogrand. Two gifts from the Kurenboh Collection in Tokyo and an anonymous donor will add nearly 350 examples of Japanese photography to SF MoMA’s collection.
The New York Times’s Patricia Cohen reports that Nina Sundell and Antonio Homem, the children and heirs of art dealer Ileana Sonnabend, have donated Robert Rauschenberg’s famous Combine Canyon, 1959, to the Museum of Modern Art.
The work has been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum since 2005. But Sundell and Homem decided to gift it to MoMA after the museum made a concerted pitch for the work, agreeing to add Ileana Sonnabend’s name to the Founders Wall in the museum lobby and to devote an entire exhibition to Canyon and Sonnabend.
The work is being donated to MoMA as part of a $41 million settlement with the Internal Revenue Service. Canyon features a bald eagle, which prevents it from being legally sold or traded; so when Sundell and Homem inherited the Sonnabend estate, they listed the work’s value at zero. The IRS claimed the work was worth $65 million, and demanded that the heirs pay an estate tax of $29.2 million in addition to $11.7 million in penalties.
In the end, the IRS agreed to settle with the family so long as the work was donated to a museum and that they claimed no tax deduction. Two federal statutes, in fact, make it a crime to even possess a bald eagle. But Sonnabend was allowed to keep Canyon thanks to a notarized statement from Rauschenberg that explained that the eagle had been stuffed by one of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders before the passage of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
David Copley—publisher, arts philanthropist, and eventual president of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s board—has passed away, according to the New York Times’ Norimitsu Onishi. As a patron of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, he permanently endowed the director’s chair and gave the museum his collection of thirty-nine works by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
For years, he turned down the invitation to be the museum’s board president, citing a conflict of interest due to his role as publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, which his family had bought over eight decades ago. He eventually accepted the position in May of 2011, after selling the publication, according to John Wilkens in the Union-Tribune. “He cared deeply about art and was very knowledgeable about art and design and architecture,” said Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. “I’ve lost a very, very good friend.”