October 26, 2016

New Museums Opening in France Despite State Budget Cuts

The MusVerre in Sars-Poteries, France.

Between now and 2019, more than fifteen museums will open in France, according to Le Figaro. Among these: a perfume museum in Paris, a museum dedicated to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the Museum Bonnat-Helleu in Bayonne whose collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Rubens.

The most expensive project is the MusVerre, a museum dedicated to contemporary glass works that relocated to a larger facility in Sars-Poteries near the Belgian border earlier this month. With a price tag of 15 million euros, MusVerre aims to turn Sars-Poteries into a tourist destination by attracting visitors from nearby Belgium and Luxembourg as well as from further afield locations like the US and Scandinavia.

Finding less and less state funding for cultural institutions, French museums (new and existing) are now relying more heavily on private donations, ticket sales, and space rentals for private events.

October 25, 2016

Studio Museum’s 2016 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize Awarded to Derrick Adams

Derrick Adams

Maximilíano Durón of Artnews writes that Derrick Adams has been awarded the $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize from the Studio Museum in Harlem. Adams, a multidisciplinary artist in performance, sculpture, photography, and video, among other media, has been featured in several exhibitions at the Studio Museum (see the artist’s Clockin’ [Hamomons], performed on June 16, 2012, at the museum on artforum.com). Adams was also in three editions of the Performa biennial and appeared in the 2005 iteration of MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York” exhibition.

The prize was initiated in 2006 in memory of philanthropist and jazz promoter George Wein’s wife, who was a longtime trustee of the museum. Previous winners of the prize include Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Lorna Simpson, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.

October 25, 2016

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Appoints Aimee Marcereau DeGalan to Lead Museum’s European Arts Division

Aimee Marcereau DeGalan. Photo: Chris Dissinger.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has appointed Aimee Marcereau DeGalan as its Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Senior Curator of European Art. Marcereau DeGalan comes to the Nelson-Atkins from the Dayton Art Institute, where she was chief curator and curator of European art.

Julián Zugazagoitia, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell CEO and director of the Nelson-Atkins, said, “The timing of this important addition to our staff could not be better. Aimee’s scholarship will be immediately called upon as we prepare to open the Bloch Galleries in the spring, and she will continue the important work that has begun on our catalogue of French paintings.”

Marcereau DeGalan has held curatorial posts at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont. While at the Dayton Art Institute, she accessioned more than four hundred works for the museum, raised money to conserve seven significant European paintings, and brought in scholars on a regular basis to advise on the institution’s various collections. She also presented twenty-four exhibitions during her tenure there.

October 25, 2016

Head of Turin Museum Foundation Resigns After Fight With City’s Mayor

Chiara Appendino, mayor of Turin.

Stephanie Kirchgaessner of The Guardian reports that Patrizia Asproni, head of the Turin Museum Foundation, has resigned from her post after a fight with Turin’s new mayor, Chiara Appendino, “a rising star in the populist Five Star Movement.” Appendino called for Asproni’s resignation after a major unnamed sponsor pulled out of a proposed Édouard Manet exhibition, preferring that the show be in Milan instead.

Appendino claims news of the withdrawal caught her off guard. She said, “The city cannot tolerate that the foundation is not able to maintain relationships with important sponsors.” Those familiar with the situation between Appendino and Asproni, however, say the issue is about something much larger—specifically, the mayor’s ambivalent relationship with her city’s reigning cultural constituency. During her campaign, Appendino stressed that museums should focus on making their galleries more accessible to the population, rather than hosting “blockbuster” exhibitions—but this announcement alienated many of the Manet exhibition sponsors. Asproni, who was appointed by the city’s last mayor, Piero Fassino, said she tried doing what she could to work with Appendino, but Appendino kept putting her off.

In an interview yesterday, Asproni said, “It is a terrible thing that the mayor wants to decide which exhibitions go to museums. I think this [calling for my resignation] was a political move because of course I arrived with the previous mayor and he asked me to build the culture of the town.”

October 25, 2016

Italy’s Cultural Heritage Force Recovers 900 Works After Amatrice Earthquake

Buildings in Pescara del Tronto in Central Italy that were destroyed by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake on August 24.

Italy’s Comando Tutela Patrimonio Culturale—a cultural heritage preservation squad known as the Blue Helmets for the color of its members’ headgear—has recovered nine hundred artworks, including altarpieces, mosaics, frescoes, and paintings, from the ruins of the museums, chapels, and other historic sites that were razed by an earthquake that struck central Italy in August, Caroline Elbaor reports for The Guardian.

The Blue Helmets was launched in February after Italy and UNESCO signed a landmark agreement to establish a task force to help protect heritage sites in conflict regions. The unit, comprising thirty historians, scholars, and restoration experts, and thirty members of the carabinieri art squad, was supposed to depart for the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra when it was reassigned to Amatrice and other Italian cities that were devastated by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake with more than two hundred aftershocks, which killed nearly three hundred people.

According to Fabrizio Parrulli, commander of the cultural heritage protection department, artifacts were taken to Rieti for restoration. “My men are trained for all crisis situations,” Parrulli said. “The people who have already lost everything, even in an earthquake, should not feel stripped of their memories, which often remain the only identifying elements of a community.”

October 25, 2016

First Alternative Art School Fair Announced by Pioneer Works

Logo for Alternative Art School Fair.

Pioneer Works in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood announced that it will host the inaugural edition of the Alternative Art School Fair, which will feature more than fifty alternative art schools located across the United States and around the globe. The fair is scheduled to open on November 19, 2016, and run through November 20.

Pioneer Works’ website states, “The impetus to create an alternative art school is rooted not only in a desire to create ‘better’ art, but to create the conditions for greater freedom of expression. Often run as free, artist-run initiatives, the values and visions of alternative art schools vary widely in methodology, mission, and governance. But even when they are relatively small in scale they provide vital models of cultural critique and experimentation.”

A keynote panel featuring artists Luis Camnitzer, Dorothea Rockburne, and Carol Becker, dean of faculty and professor of the arts at Columbia University School of the Arts, among others, will be announced. The majority of the events at the fair will also be livestreamed and archived by Clocktower Productions on clocktower.org.

This year’s participants in the fair are:

October 25, 2016

Mayor Gallery in London Files Lawsuit Against Agnes Martin Authentication Committee

“Agnes Martin” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, on view until January 11, 2017.

Laura Gilbert of the Art Newspaper writes that London’s Mayor Gallery filed a lawsuit in New York on October 17, 2016, against the authentication committee for Agnes Martin’s catalogue raisonné—which includes Pace Gallery’s founder, Arne Glimcher, who represents the artist’s estate—because they rejected thirteen Martin works submitted by the Mayor Gallery’s clients. Because of this, auction houses such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s will not accept these Martin works for private sale—if they are not included in the catalogue raisonné, they are considered inauthentic. The Mayor Gallery will reimburse the $7.2 million their clients paid for the works. The gallery is seeking the same amount in damages.

As stated in the complaint, four collectors purchased the works, all of which were signed by the artist. Sybil Shainwald bought a work on paper for $180,000; Patricia and Frank Kolodny bought a work on paper for $240,000; Pierre de Labouchère, the former CEO of Japanese Tobacco International, purchased ten Martin paintings for a total of $3.6 million; and Jack Levy, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, bought Martin’s Day & Night, 1961–64, in 2010 for $2.9 million. When their works were rejected, James Mayor, of Mayor Gallery, wrote to the committee to ask why. His queries were mostly ignored. He was reminded of the contracts signed by his clients that contained a clause stating that they agreed not to sue.

When Day & Night was refused by the authentication committee in 2014, Mayor bought back the work and resubmitted it, this time with photographs of the artist with the piece and of the work with its previous owners, as well as additional information about its exhibition history and the results of a radiocarbon test. It was, however, rejected once more, with a letter from Aaron Richard Golub, the committee’s lawyer. Golub stated, “When I read the complaint, I failed to see a legal claim. I’d never seen a legal complaint without a claim, until now. I compare it to an opera without music.”

October 24, 2016

Vasif Kortun to Step Down as Director of SALT in 2017

Vasif Kortun Photo: Adam Golfer

Vasif Kortun, the director of research and programs at Turkey’s SALT—a cultural institution comprising three venues in Istanbul and Ankara that house galleries as well as a theater, library, and archives—will step down in 2017 but will remain on the institution’s board of directors, HG Masters reports for ArtAsiaPacific. Kortun said that an official announcement with further details will be made by the end of the year.

“Kortun is an unabashed power broker on the Istanbul scene,” Kaelen Wilson-Goldie wrote upon the inauguration of SALT’s Beyoğlu space in 2011. Kortun was the founding director of the Project Istanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, and in 2001 he established the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center. He served as the chief curator and director of the Third Istanbul Biennial and codirector of the Ninth Istanbul Biennial. From 1994 to 1997, Kortun worked as the founding director of the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. He also curated the Turkish pavilions for the 1994 and 1998 editions of the São Paolo biennial as well as for the 2007 Venice Biennale.

Founded in 2011 with the support of Garanti Bank, SALT was the brainchild of the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, the Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Center, and the Garanti Gallery, resulting in the new contemporary art venue, which is spread across three locations—SALT Beyoğlu, SALT Galata, and SALT Ulus.

Among other changes at the institution, SALT may be reopening its Beyoğlu building as early as mid-2017. The government shuttered the space in January due to “technical reasons,” one of which may have included a complaint filed against the renovation of the historical nineteenth-century building. It is currently undergoing construction that will bring it up to code.

October 24, 2016

Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Receives Grant to Digitize Collections

Robert Sperry at work, 195- / unidentified photographer. Robert Sperry papers, 1951–2002. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

The Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art announced today that it will receive a challenge grant of up to $900,000 from the Walton Family Foundation in support of the digitization of the archive’s collections. The grant will be distributed over the course of three years and in three installments of up to $300,000.

“The task of digitizing the archives’ vast collections for broad accessibility requires a dedicated team of experts and time,” director Kate Haw said. “This challenge grant from the distinguished Walton Family Foundation allows us to expand both our technical and staff capacities to ramp up our pace beyond what we could have imagined. We look forward to getting underway to achieve our ultimate goal of making our collections available to anyone, anytime, anywhere and stimulating understanding and appreciation of American art worldwide.”

The grant will allow the archives to double the number of images it’s able to digitize each year, resulting in an additional 240 linear feet of archival material that will available online by September 2019.