June 20, 2017

Five Italian Museum Directors Reinstated After Dismissal

Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi with the group of new museum directors appointed in 2015. Photo: Tiberio Barchielli

Last month, an Italian court, the Lazio Regional Administrative Tribunal, ousted five museum directors from a pool of twenty new hires after a lengthy search helmed by the culture ministry in 2015—the first-ever international search conducted by the Italian government. According to the court, the directors were suspended because their Skype interviews seemed insufficient, and there was some confusion as to how the ministry ranked the candidates. The Lazio magistrates also said that the entire search process was problematic and, according to a 2001 law, that non-Italians are barred from taking public positions.

Nonetheless, the five directors—Martina Bagnoli of the Galleria Estense in Modena; Peter Assmann of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantua; and Eva Degl’Innocenti, Paolo Giulierini, and Carmelo Malacrino of the National Archaeological Museums of Naples—have returned to work, writes Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper. This is because Italy’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, overruled the regional court’s decision. Also, the ministry managed to pass an amendment to the 2001 law that allows EU nationals who are not Italian to take public posts.

The Council of State is scheduled to have a final hearing on the matter come October 26. Bagnoli, speaking on behalf of the other directors, said that she was elated, “especially because our projects are moving forwards.” The group was also appreciative of the support shown to them by the local community and other institutions.

June 20, 2017

NYC Pledges to Create 10,000 Jobs in Creative Industries

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference for New York Works, an initiative that aims to create 100,000 more jobs for middle class New Yorkers over the next ten years. Photo: nyc.gov

On Thursday, June 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative that aims to combat economic inequality, grow the middle class, and adapt to ever-changing technology, by creating 100,000 good-paying jobs over the next decade. The new positions will be in industries ranging from cyber security to healthcare and will have salaries in the $50,000 range.

Called New York Works, the plan will add 10,000 jobs to the city’s cultural sector including positions in fashion, film, design, television, music, and the visual arts. “The city will make strategic investments in the jobs that come from the cultural and entertainment assets that define the New York City brand,” stated its 114-page guidelines. In addition, 30,000 jobs will be created in tech, 15,000 in life sciences and health care, 20,000 in industrial and manufacturing, and 25,000 jobs in emerging commercial centers and office districts.

“The creative sector is the soul of this city, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs in all five boroughs,” said cultural affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “To help creative New Yorkers thrive, we need a diverse set of jobs and affordable places to present and create art. This plan will strengthen the entire cultural ecosystem.”

June 20, 2017

Sarah Glennie to Step Down as Director of Irish Museum of Modern Art

Sarah Glennie

Sarah Glennie will be stepping down as director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in order to lead the National College of Art and Design. She will begin her new directorship in January 2018. Glennie started at the IMMA in 2012. Under her purview, the museum hosted exhibitions by a broad range of artists, such as Etel Adnan, Stan Douglas, Karla Black, Nan Goldin, Hito Steyerl, Helio Oiticia, and Lucian Freud.

Heather Humphreys, the Irish minister of culture, said, “I want to wish Sarah Glennie every success in her new role and to thank her for her years of service. IMMA is in a very strong place as a result of her directorship, with significantly increased visitor numbers, greater opportunities for Irish artists, a strong International reputation . . . .While I am very sorry to see someone of Sarah’s caliber departing IMMA, she can go on to her new role secure in the knowledge that she is leaving the Irish Museum of Modern Art in a very positive place.”

“I have been honored to have led IMMA as Director since 2012 and I am extremely proud of the program and institutional change that has been achieved by the team at IMMA over that period, despite the challenging times faced by Irish cultural organizations. While I am very sad to be leaving IMMA I am excited by the great opportunity to contribute further to the development of creativity in Ireland as the director of such a significant institution as NCAD which is in a unique position to inspire and nurture creative talent in Ireland,” said Glennie. The search for a new director at the IMMA will begin in the coming weeks.

June 20, 2017

Thieves Steal Ei Arakawa Work at Skulptur Projekte Münster

Ei Arakawa’s installation Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster at Skulptur Projekte Münster.

Only one week after the opening of the decennial, outdoor Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017, unknown perpetrators have damaged and stolen parts of Japanese-American artist Ei Arakawa’s installation Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster.

Located on a meadow in front of Haus Kump, which houses part of the city’s Chamber of Crafts, Arakawa’s installation consists of seven digital paintings. The screened LED panels, on hand-dyed fabric, depict works by Joan Mitchell, Atsuko Tananka, Gustave Courbet, Nikolas Gambaroff, Amy Sillman, Reena Spaulings, and Jutta Koether. The piece also includes an audio component—songs, composed by two of the artist’s friends—that plays throughout the day. “They are texts about the public and the private space,” Arakawa explained, “whoever is listening to them in this rural environment experiences the meditation between the public and private and feels what this means for our time.”

A statement on the exhibition’s website reads: “One of seven LED panels for Ei Arakawa’s Harsh Citation, Harsh Pastoral, Harsh Münster, was stolen on June 17. The artist is working on the replacement, and it might take until the beginning of July. Six other LED panels and all seven sound components are working normally, so please visit. The best viewing time for LED is on the cloudy day or closer to sunset time.”

June 20, 2017

Photographer Arrested on Greek Island at Anti-Refugee Rally

Richard Mosse. Photo: Angelmedina G / EPA.

Christian Viveros-Fauné of the Art Newspaper writes that Irish photographer Richard Mosse was arrested on the Greek island of Chios June 15 while observing an anti-refugee demonstration. Mosse, who won the 2017 Prix Pictet prize last month, is known for making work about the travails of Middle Eastern and North African refugees coming to Europe. The photographer was on the island taping an episode of Bloomberg’s “Brilliant Ideas” series.

Mosse was released several hours later after his arrest. Greek photographer Daphne Tolis helped with the discharge, as she told authorities at the jail that he was “a famous photographer who had recently been given an important award by Kofi Annan.” Tensions on Chios over the migrant situation are high—there have been a number of clashes, including a group of right-wingers trying to set fire to refugees at a Souda camp, as Helena Smith of The Guardian reported in April.

Via email, Mosse spoke about his poor treatment on Chios: “The police seemed to jump to the conclusion, based on me being a foreigner and wearing black, that I was an anarchist and must be arrested. I hurt no one; spoke to no one; bumped into no one; harassed nobody. If, as an EU citizen, I can be treated in this way by a European police force, how then are stateless and vulnerable refugees treated?”

June 19, 2017

Art Forgers Accused of Selling Fake Damien Hirst Prints Arrested

A fake Damien Hirst print found by authorities in the residence of known art counterfeiter Vincent Lopreto. Photo: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

Fifty-two-year-old Vincent Lopreto, a known art counterfeiter, was arrested last week for trying to sell $400,000 worth of forged Damien Hirst prints to collectors in Manhattan and abroad, Luis Ferré-Sadurní of the New York Times reports.

Assistant district attorney Jaime Hickey-Mendoza said that Lopreto was detained in New Orleans on Wednesday, June 14, after police discovered four counterfeit works and a printer, which he may have used to create the reproductions, in his residence. The following day Lopreto agreed to voluntarily return to New York without an extradition hearing. At an arraignment in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, on Monday, he pleaded not guilty to five counts of grand larceny, two counts of attempted grand larceny, and four counts of scheme to defraud.

According to the prosecutor, Lopreto and two accomplices, Marco Saverino and Paul Motta of Arizona, allegedly attempted to sell fake works to an undercover investigator and four Manhattan buyers between October 2015 and February 2017. Saverino and Motta also face grand larceny and scheme to defraud charges. The swindlers created phony prints from the British artist’s “Valium” series and “Mickey” series, which they sold for around $3,000 and $14,000 respectively.

June 19, 2017

Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Announces 2017 Grantees

Choreographer and dancer Nichole Canuso, one of the 2017 Pew Center for Arts & Heritage fellows, in the solo performance Midway Avenue (2013). Photo: Peggy Woolsey

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage announced today the recipients of fifty-three grants in support of the Philadelphia region’s cultural organizations and artists. The 2017 awards total more than $10.3 million and provide funding for twelve new Pew Fellowships, thirty-nine project grants, and two advancement grants.

“The center’s 2017 grant recipients represent the breadth and vibrancy that make Greater Philadelphia such a compelling destination for arts and cultural experiences,” said executive director Paula Marincola. “We are very pleased to continue to support such wide-ranging, extraordinary work from the region’s independent artists and emerging organizations, as well as some of Philadelphia’s largest and well-established institutions.”

Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and established in 2005, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage issues grants in two areas: performance and exhibitions and public interpretation. The center offers twelve annual fellowships to individual artists working in all disciplines as well as multi-year advancement grants to high-performing institutions undertaking bold, innovative organizational initiatives.

June 19, 2017

Jan Prasens Appointed Managing Director of Sotheby’s Europe

Jan Prasens

Sotheby’s announced today that Jan Prasens has been named the new managing director of Sotheby’s Europe. While he will be based in London, Prasens’s responsibilities will also include the company’s operations in the Middle East, Russia, India, and Africa. A seasoned member of Sotheby’s senior management team, Prasens has spent the past decade building Sotheby’s financial services.

“While Jan’s commercial credentials are impeccable, he also commands a deep understanding of our business and clients,” said Tad Smith, Sotheby’s CEO. “Over the course of his twenty-year career at Sotheby’s, he has worked with nearly every single specialist department and built relationships with some of our most important clients, negotiating, along the way, some of the largest consignments in Sotheby’s history.”

Prior to his post leading Sotheby’s financial services, Prasens worked for the company’s corporate finance team, and became treasurer in 2006. The following year, he assumed the position of managing director of Sotheby’s financial services. He will continue to oversee the department’s operations until a search for new leadership is completed, at which time he’ll begin to serve in an advisory role.

June 19, 2017

Art Basel’s Baloise Art Prize Awarded to Martha Atienza and Sam Pulitzer

Martha Atienza, Our Island, 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E, 2017, HD video, color, silent, 1 hour 12 minutes.

Crystal Wu reports in ArtAsiaPacific that the Dutch-Filipino artist Martha Atienza and American artist Sam Pulitzer have been announced as the winners of the nineteenth Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel. The prize, annually awarded to two artists, is sponsored by the European financial services provider Baloise Group, with each artist receiving approximately $30,800. Works by the winners are also acquired by The Baloise Group and donated to two European museums, which this year are the Nationalgalerie–Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art in Luxembourg.

The prize was presented at the Statements sector of Art Basel by a jury of international experts, including MUDAM curator and head of collection Marie-Noëlle Farcy, Kunsthalle Zurich director Daniel Baumann, Nationalgalerie–Staatliche Museen zu Berlin curator Sven Beckstette, Zak Group creative director Zak Kyes, and Baloise’s fine art advisor Martin Schwander. Mary Reid Kelley and Sara Cwynar won the prize last year.