March 2, 2014

International News Digest

Catherine Grenier will be serving as director of the Giacometti Foundation. Le Monde’s Emmanuelle Jardonnet and Clarisse Fabre report that the announcement comes after Grenier’s departure as the deputy director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne of the Centre Pompidou. Grenier left following a “showdown” with Alain Seban, president of the Pompidou, who moved for her dismissal in December. (The minister of culture Aurélie Filippetti later reinstated Grenier in her role.) Speaking about her new position, Grenier noted: “I realized that the Giacometti Foundation had huge potential. The collection is very beautiful.”

Five artists have withdrawn from the Sydney Biennial. Libia Castro, Ólafur Ólafsson, Charlie Sofo, Gabrielle de Vietri, and Ahmet Öğüt were among thirty-seven biennial participants who signed a petition protesting festival sponsor Transfield and its role in managing the Manus Island and Nauru immigration detention centers. The centers came under criticism recently when Reza Berati, an Iranian asylum seeker, was found dead after a riot. Asking the biennial to consider Transfield’s involvement, the artists wrote they were told “the issue [was] too complex, and that the financial agreements are too important to renegotiate.” As a result, Castro, Ólafsson, Sofo, de Vietri, and Öğüt have pulled their work and demanded that the biennial recognize their reasons for withdrawal. Their names have been removed on the biennial’s website, but thus far no accompanying notes have explained the disappearance.

The Moderna Museet has received an historic collection of artworks thanks to Elisabeth “Peggy” Bonnier’s will. The gift includes eight works: paintings by Jean Fautrier, Juan Gris, Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso, and sculptures by Henri Laurens and Jean Fautrier. Said Daniel Birnbaum, director of the museum, “Art like this is practically impossible to buy nowadays, and it is an great privilege to experience such generosity. The donation is fantastic news to all art lovers in Sweden.”

The inclusion of Israeli artist Keren Cytter’s work in the Marrakech Biennale has stirred up controversy, according to Julia Michalska in the Art Newspaper. Her participation has ignited the ire of Arab activists who oppose relations with Israel “in any field, including culture,” writes Michalska. The firestorm comes as the Moroccan parliament has been reviewing a proposed bill that would outlaw all forms of contact with Israel by Moroccans. Alya Sebti, the artistic director of the biennial, said, “We hope that this controversy will not monopolize the dialogues leading up to and during the biennial. We look forward to the conversations inspired by the central question of this edition of the biennial, and we are proud to include Keren Cytter, like all of our artists.” Sebti also pointed out that, due to funding cuts, this could be the last edition of the biennale.

March 2, 2014

Alain Resnais (1922–2014)

The Guardian’s Brian Baxter reports that avant-garde French film director Alain Resnais has passed away. He made his professional debut at the age of twenty-six with Van Gogh (1948), and continued making other studies of artists and artworks, including Gauguin (1950), and Guernica (1950). Of his thirty-minute Night and Fog (1955), critic François Truffaut called it the greatest film ever made. Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) then came out to wide acclaim and won critic’s awards in New York and at the Cannes Film Festival. He went on to direct a wide variety of films, including Last Year in Marienbad (1961), based on Alain Robbe-Grillet's avant-garde narrative, and the English-language Providence (1977), and My American Uncle (1980), which received the grand prix at Cannes, and an Academy Award nomination for its screenplay.

February 28, 2014

Birmingham Museum Names New European Curator

Birmingham Museum of Art has announced the appointment of Robert Schindler as its curator of European art, reports Broadway World. Most recently a medieval art curatorial fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Schindler was born in Berlin, Germany and studied art history and business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin, receiving his Ph.D. in 2010. He has previously served as a fellow in the department of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, New York, and worked in the European art department at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

February 28, 2014

San Antonio Museum Curator Resigns

David Rubin, a longtime curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art, has resigned, reports Jack Morgan of Texas Public Radio. Rubin was raised in California, graduated from Harvard University, and moved to San Antonio from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Details over his departure have not been released. Rubin’s departure follows on the heels of the museum’s recent appointment of William Keyse Rudolph as its chief curator.

February 27, 2014

New Board Members at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Steve Elmendorf and Mark Rosman have been appointed to the board of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Steve Elmendorf is the founder of the Washington government relations firm Elmendorf Ryan and spent twelve years as a senior advisor to House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt. Mark Rosman is a partner in the Washington office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and previously acted as assistant chief of the National Criminal Enforcement Section in the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Said Hirshhorn interim director and chief curator Kerry Brougher: “As the Hirshhorn approaches its fortieth anniversary in October, we are pleased to announce the election of two board members who have significant ties to the local community and have shown a deep commitment to contemporary art.”

February 27, 2014

Public Art Fund Announces New Board Members

Patricia E. Harris, Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman, and Matthew D. Bass have joined the board of directors at Public Art Fund. Said director and chief curator Nicholas Baume: “Given our mission to present dynamic contemporary art experiences in New York’s urban environment, we are delighted to add these three outstanding leaders of the city’s business and philanthropic communities to our board.” Harris heads Bloomberg Philanthropies and previously served as the first deputy mayor of the City of New York; Fearon Pepperman is a former Brooklyn assistant district attorney, and Matthew D. Bass is a vice president and the chief operating officer of AllianceBernstein’s alternative asset management business.

February 27, 2014

Jan Hoet (1936–2014)

Belgian curator Jan Hoet has passed away at the age of seventy-seven. Hoet was the founder of Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent, which he headed from 1975 until 2003, when he left to become the artistic director of MARTa Herford in Germany. Among a large number of international exhibitions, he curated the 1992 Documenta IX, which he described as “a documenta of locations” and one based “solely on the artist and his work.” The Associated Press reports that “Hoet was known for his outspokenness, and was as scathing of art snobs as of politicians who did not get the point of modern art. In the process, his rasping, down-to-earth style brought contemporary art within the reach of everyone, making him a beloved Belgian cultural icon.” In a tribute delivered today, Belgium’s prime minister Elio Di Rupo said that the Belgian art world has “lost a father.”

February 26, 2014

Former Time Executive to Open Gallery

Ann S. Moore, former chief executive and chairwoman of Time Inc., will open a gallery in Chelsea, reports Randy Kennedy of the New York Times. The Curator Gallery, a 1,600-square-foot space that previously housed the Von Lintel Gallery, will invite guest curators to organize exhibitions with a focus on painting, photography, and sculpture by contemporary artists. Moore, a collector of photorealistic painting, has enlisted Mark Wethli for the gallery’s first show, set to open on March 7, 2014.

February 26, 2014

New Bill Proposes Auction Royalties for Artists

Three United States lawmakers have introduced legislation today that would allow artists to share in proceeds when their work is sold at auction, reports Patricia Cohen of the New York Times. Named the American Royalties Too act, proposed by Democratic Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the bill calls for artists to receive 5 percent of the price of their artwork resold at public auction for more than $5,000 with an overall cap of $35,000. A previous incarnation of the bill was introduced by Nadler in 2011 but was criticized by blue-chip auction houses for its 7 percent royalty fee.