Effective today, Trisha Brown will take the title of founding artistic director and choreographer of her company. Plans to extend the life of the single-artist company have been announced and include a proposal for an artistic succession and a farewell tour of works made for the stage, which will be seen one last time in their original context. The company has proposed an ongoing presentation of Brown’s masterworks in both site-specific and museum contexts. Plans for the preservation of Brown’s papers, film and video archive, sets, and costumes have also been announced. Said board president Kirk Radke: “As we considered how to keep Trisha’s work alive in the world, we were compelled to ask, ‘How can we innovate in a way that is worthy of a revolutionary artist like Trisha?’ We had to find a new model: one that honors Trisha’s spirit, her playfulness, her continual rethinking of her work, her stature as a visual artist. This plan does that. It is a bold reimagining of how the public experiences the work of a great choreographer.” A three-year international farewell tour “Proscenium Works, 1979–2011” will commence January 30, 2013 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and include components created by Brown’s collaboratorsRobert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Laurie Anderson, Terry Winters, Elizabeth Murray, and Nancy Graves among others.
Brooke Adams reports in the Salt Lake Tribune that the Central Utah Art Center has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Ephraim, Utah, where it is based, alleging that the city government cut off funding and evicted the center as a way to censor exhibitions. After the art center mounted “Camera Vivant,” which included screenings of two short Jack Smith features, the Ephraim mayor sent an email saying that the exhibition went against his “values and beliefs.” City Manager Regan Bolli also sent a message registering his “disgust with the ‘art’ on view at the Central Utah Art Center.” He went on to add that he was “saddened that a historic building built through sacrifice and faith by Ephraim’s pioneer founders would be used to display such offensive items.” Another show, “SuperHUMAN,” drew censure for artist Chitra Ganesh’s depictions of iconography from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. A mere days after Bolli sent another email, this time saying that “SuperHUMAN” was “not appreciated,” the city last summer announced that it would be canceling the CUAC’s $30,000 in annual funding, and demanding that it leave the mill that it occupied, according to the art center, which noted: “The purported bases for CUAC’s eviction are entirely pretextual, and lay only the thinnest veil over the city’s fundamental objective of censorship.”
Today, the Association of Art Museum Directors has voted to strengthen rules requiring museums to publish pictures and information about antiquities they have acquired that are suspected of having been looted, reports Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. The new rules require museums to post information about any object that was, prior to 1970, outside the country including where it was discovered in modern times, or where it was legally exported from after 1970, which are in line with the 2008 Unesco guidelines. The new guidelines also require including an image, its known provenance, and an explanation of why the museum decided to acquire the object. Failure to meet these guidelines may result in ethical censure or expulsion from the association if the museum does not post this information.
It has been announced that Frank H. Goodyear III and Anne Collins Goodyear will become the new codirectors of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The Goodyears, who are married, are both currently curators at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Frank currently curates photography while Anne is an associate curator of prints and drawings. Anne Collins Goodyear is also president of the College Art Association.
Reuters reported that the Prado in Spain has received its biggest private donation in decades: twelve medieval and Renaissance paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists. The collection, donated by Barcelona-based businessman and engineer Jose Luis Varez, includes The Virgin of Tobed. Attributed to Jaume Serra, the altar centerpiece is often cited as a prime example of Catalan Italo-Gothic painting. “These aren't times of lavish state spending, so this donation is generous and tremendously timely,” said president of the Prado's board of trustees Jose Pedro Perez Llorca. Reuters noted that the Spanish government has recently been forced to cut spending drastically in the cultural sector in order to reach deficit targets as part of an agreement with the European Union.
If accusations are true, a leading Modigliani expert has turned out to be the mastermind behind an unthinkably brazen con-game. Christian Gregori Parisot, who Il Tirreno identifies as the president of the Archives Legales Amedeo Modigliani, was placed under house arrest last month after a two-year investigation. Dealer Matteo Vignapiano has been arrested as well. Investigators seized forty-one drawings, thirteen prints, four bronze sculptures, and one oil painting. Over the years, Parisot had apparently positioned himself as a leading expert on Modigliani, even serving as a consultant to the Cultural Heritage Protection agency, and boasting of having worked with Modigliani’s daughter Jeanne in the 1980s. Surprisingly enough, Parisot managed to keep his game going after being apprehended five years ago. In 2008, the Art Newspaper reported that Parisot was sentenced to two years in prison for forging drawings by Modigliani muse Jeanne Hébuterne. Why people continued to consult Parisot after that episode is anyone’s guess.
Brazil is instituting a rather generous new cultural policy: Workers will soon be paid a twenty-five-dollar monthly stipend they can spend on cultural expenses including museums, movies, or books. According to the AFP, culture minister Marta Suplicy said in an interview, “In all developed countries, culture plays a key role in the economy.” Suplicy cited the precedent set by popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose policies included conditional cash transfers to poor families.
Al Arabiya reports that Somalian artists have “resurfaced from their hideouts and are now painting in the open.” Their troubles began in 2006 when the extremist organization al-Shabaab, a group with ties to al Qaeda, took power in the country and forbade all forms of entertainment, including sports and the arts. Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, an arts patron who founded Mogadishu’s Center for Research and Dialogue, was murdered by suspected al-Shabaab soldiers. Now, the center’s director, with aid from several government agencies, has started a project helps artists create pieces about their country’s recent political history. Thus far, the project’s members have installed over twenty paintings in various public spaces throughout Mogadishu.
As Somalian artists regroup after facing the nation's right-wing regime, curators revealed that a number of priceless artifacts are safe now from the Islamic extremists who took over Timbuktu, Mali, last year. “Archivists and librarians associated with the Ahmed Baba library, in fact, over the months of the occupation, worked to take the manuscripts out, to conserve them and hide them,” said Shamil Jeppie, Timbuktu Manuscripts Project director at the University of Cape Town, adding that “over 90 percent” of the 40,000 manuscripts archived at the Baba collection have miraculously been saved. The manuscripts, most dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, were smuggled to safety in trunks and hidden around Bamako and Timbuktu while the extremists in power destroyed centuries-old texts, shrines, and other cultural artifacts throughout the city.
Dagens Nyheter reports that over 195 artists have signed a petition imploring the government to save the autonomy of the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden. Founded in 1996, IASPIS promoted exchange between local artists and an international art scene, and was headed by curators who over the years included Daniel Birnbaum, Sune Nordgren, and Maria Lind. In Kunstkritikk, Joel Tunström noted an increasing concern shared by many: Following bureaucratically driven restructuring, the program’s curator (currently Lisa Rosendahl) is no longer allowed to develop any programs without approval from the politically appointed head of the Swedish Arts and Grants Committee. Rosendahl told Tunström that now “it is not possible for the IASPIS director to organize a seminar on cultural and creative industries from a certain point of view, when the museum as a whole has been commissioned by the government to deal with this issue in a larger perspective.” Ponders Tunström, “In whose interests was IASPIS’s autonomy cut?”
Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times reports that the Kennedy Center has unveiled plans for its new expansion. Designed by architect Steven Holl, the plan will expand the center’s rehearsal and education space. Half of the $100 million required has been donated by the Kennedy Center’s chairman, David M. Rubenstein. Holl’s design comprises a trio of connected pavilions, one of which will float on the Potomac and include an outdoor stage. The center intends to complete construction by 2018.
Audrey Whitty has been named the curator of European glass at the Corning Museum. Whitty, who is currently the curator of the art and industrial department of the National Museum of Ireland, is also an expert in Asian art, and will curate the Asian glass collection as well. She was the first woman representative from Ireland to be named to UNESCO’s International Academy of Ceramics.
Lara Almarcegui will represent Spain at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Octavio Zaya, who was appointed curator of the Spanish Pavilion in October 2013, selected the Spanish-born artist, who currently lives and works in Rotterdam. Said Zaya: “Almarcegui works at the boundary between urban regeneration and decay, devising exhibitions that render visible what escapes our attention and even our awareness. Since the 1990s, she has been researching and studying the transitional spaces where the urban and the natural orders meet . . . . Operating as an archeologist of the present conducting field research, Almarcegui documents her investigations by way of guides, maps, and brochures, in an effort to concentrate on marginal elements or areas within the complexity of our urban reality, revealing the connections that inform us about the relationship between our past and our future.”
The Orange County Museum of Art announced the names of the thirty-two artists whose work will appear in the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial. Formally known as the California Biennial, this first iteration of the new format includes artists from fifteen countries that border the Pacific Ocean. The list of artists includes: John Bankston, Brice Bischoff, Fernando Bryce, Masaya Chiba, Tiffany Chung, Hugo Crosthwaite, Gabriel de la Mora, Dario Escobar, Pedro Friedeberg, Shaun Gladwell, Farrah Karapetian, Kim Beom, Kimsooja, Robert Legorreta, Michael Lin, Liz Magor, Danial Nord, Eko Nugroho, Yoshua Okón, Raquel Ormella, Sebastián Preece, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Adriana Salazar, Mitchell Syrop, Akio Takamori, Koki Tanaka, Whiting Tennis, Lin Tianmiao, Camille Utterback, Adán Vallecillo, Mark Dean Veca, and Wang Guangle.