November 14, 2017

Ballroom Marfa Appoints Laura Copelin as Executive Director

Ballroom Marfa in Texas announced today that Laura Copelin was named executive director. Copelin first joined the nonprofit as associate curator in 2014 and has served as its interim director since April 2017.

“Laura’s curatorial vision is already setting new standards for Ballroom’s programming; combining a keen eye with a deep understanding of the social, political, and environmental issues that are driving the conversation in our culture today,” Fairfax Dorn, the artistic director and cofounder of Ballroom Marfa, said in a statement.

Copelin organized the arts space’s group exhibition “Tierra. Sangre. Oro.,” which is on view until March 18, 2018, with artist Rafa Esparza, and she is currently curating the upcoming exhibition “Hyperobjects” in collaboration with Timothy Morton, opening April 13, 2018. She has also helped realize the 2016 Marfa/Dialogues/Houston symposium and the following exhibitions: “Sam Falls” (2015), “Äppärät” (2015), “After Effect” (2016), and “Strange Attractor” (2017).

November 14, 2017

Laura Owens Responds to Protests of 356 S. Mission Rd.

The artist Laura Owens has released an official statement about the art space 356 S. Mission Rd. in Los Angeles. It comes in the wake of a recent protest of her midcareer survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in which activists called attention to the complicity of Mission Rd. with forces of gentrification.

Owens’s statement is in full below:

November 14, 2017

Olga Viso Steps Down as Executive Director of Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

Olga Viso and Sam Durant at a press conference regarding the sculpture Scaffold. Photo: Evan Frost for MPR News

The board of trustees of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has announced that Olga Viso is stepping down from her post as the institution’s executive director. The board will create a search committee for a new executive director.

“We are grateful for Olga’s leadership and celebrate her significant contributions to the Walker Art Center during the past ten years,” said Monica Nassif, board president. “She led the organization through a major capital campaign to fund the vision and redesign of our entire campus, including the new Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. In addition, she championed experimental and underrepresented artists throughout her tenure, while bringing many noteworthy exhibitions to the Walker, such as ‘Merce Cunningham: Common Time, International Pop,’ and groundbreaking exhibitions like ‘Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950,’ one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Cuban art to be organized in the US in decades and currently on view. We wish her well for her next career opportunity. As we look beyond this transition, the Walker Board is focused on fully activating the new campus, proceeding as a global artistic leader, continuing our commitments to be a more inclusive organization, and being responsive to community perspectives and political realities of this time."

Viso and the artist Sam Durant faced a great deal of backlash from the Dakota Nation and other members of the American Indian community earlier this year over the installation in the Walker’s Sculpture Garden of Durant’s Scaffold, 2012, a two-story work partially inspired by the gallows where thirty-eight Dakotas were hanged in Mankato in 1862—the largest mass execution in US history. Viso and Durant apologized to the Dakota people for not consulting them about the sculpture and worked with the tribe on a solution for Scaffold. Over a series of talks, Dakota elders decided to dismantle the work and bury its pieces in an undisclosed location.

November 14, 2017

Joan Mitchell Foundation Awards $625,000 in Grants to Artists

Pamela Council, Ring Holder, 2016, clay, ring holders, 10 x 3 x 3".

The Joan Mitchell Foundation has announced that twenty-five artists have received unrestricted Painters & Sculptors grants of $25,000 each. The grand total of funds awarded for the 2017 cycle is $625,000. The recipients represent a wide range of artistic practices and demographics. They range in age from twenty-seven to sixty-two and come from twelve states throughout the United States. Eighty percent of the grantees identify as nonwhite.

“In a time when artists’ voices are so crucial for the health of our society, but unrestricted grant funding is so scarce, the Foundation’s Painters & Sculptors Grants provide essential resources to a wide spectrum of today’s working artists,” said Christa Blatchford, the chief executive officer of the Joan Mitchell Foundation. “Our vision, rooted in Joan Mitchell’s generous embrace of other artists, is to provide the necessary supports for artists to continue to innovate in their practices and create ambitious new work that inspires, engages, and fosters dialogue, as an important element of community-building. We look forward to continuing our relationships with the exceptional artists who are receiving grants this year.”

This year’s grant recipients are:

November 14, 2017

McNay Art Museum in Texas Receives Collection of John M. Parker Jr.

McNay Art Museum

ArtDaily reports that the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, has received the art collection of John M. Parker Jr., a gift of more than 160 pieces of art (paintings, sculptures, photographs, prints, and drawings) by seventy-four artists, including Zoe Leonard, Frank Stella, Alice Aycock, Robert Rauschenberg, and Donald Judd. “John Parker is a very sophisticated collector. His gift exemplifies the McNay’s commitment to artistic excellence and community impact. He now joins a group of collectors who were inspired by the legacy of our founder, Marion Koogler McNay, and through their own very generous spirits have enriched the collection of the first modern art museum in Texas,” said Richard Aste, the museum’s director.

“John M. Parker Jr. was introduced to art collecting at the McNay in the 1980s. He spent the following decades collecting contemporary art in a thoughtful, diligent, and prescient way,” said Lyle Williams, the McNay’s curator of prints and drawings. “His donation of masterpieces of Minimal printmaking and Conceptual German art is among the most important gifts in the McNay’s history.”

November 14, 2017

Franz von Stuck Painting Stolen from Hitler to Be Sold at Auction

Franz von Stuck, Portrait zweier junger damen (Portrait of two young girls), n.d.

An undated painting by Franz von Stuck, Portrait zweier junger damen (Portrait of Two Young Girls)––which was stolen from Munich’s Führerbau, the Nazi party’s headquarters, on April 30, 1945, the day Adolf Hitler killed himself––is being put up for sale by the Cologne auction house Van Ham, writes Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper. The painting was meant for the collection of the Führermuseum in Linz, an art museum planned for Hitler’s hometown that was never erected. The work was taken after crowds raided the Führerbau the day Hitler died.

The painting, estimated to be worth as much as $35,000, will be auctioned off on November 17. Its provenance is listed as being from a private collection in Cologne. Markus Eisenbeis, the managing director and owner of Van Ham, said, “We deliberately didn’t give the full provenance. I don’t want to attract a kind of public that is interested because of its provenance.” But the piece is still listed on the German Historical Museum’s register of art taken in by the Linz Special Commission. Legally, it is considered property of the German government, since it is the Nazi regime’s successor. The German government, however, does not want to claim the painting.

Further research shows that the Stuck picture was acquired from Walter Schnabel of Wiesbaden in 1944. Jacqueline Bessé, a spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues, says that Schnabel was not Jewish. Though Van Ham’s investigations did not reveal any new information about the previous owners of the work, it cannot safely determine that the painting wasn’t looted from a Jewish family. “My view is that the government should intervene and purchase the painting at a moderate price, then do the provenance research. They shouldn’t just act as though it has nothing to do with them,” said Stephan Klingen of the Central Institute for Art History, a German art-historical research organization.

November 13, 2017

Laura Owens Exhibition at Whitney Museum Met with Protests

Members of Defend Boyle Heights and Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement protesting the Laura Owens exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Ameican Art, in New York, on Wednesday, November 8. Photo: Benjamin Sutton

During the VIP opening of the midcareer survey of Laura Owens at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York on Wednesday, November 8, protesters gathered outside the institution and in its galleries, Benjamin Sutton of Hyperallergic reports.

The activists contend that the Los Angeles–based nonprofit 356 S. Mission Rd. is unwelcome in the downtown area adjacent to the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Established in 2012 by Owens, Gavin Brown, and Wendy Yao, the founder of Ooga Booga bookstore, the arts space is one of several institutions that have been targeted by activists who argue that they will cause property values within the neighborhood to rise, forcing out working-class communities.

November 13, 2017

Stolen Photographs Are Mailed Back to MoMA PS1

The woman captured in this surveillance footage is currently wanted for questioning by the New York City Police Department. Photo: DCPI

Two Carolee Schneemann photographs valued at $105,000 that were taken from MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, New York, have been returned, Alison Fox of AM New York reports. The museum noted that the works were mailed back to the institution on November 3, four days after they were stolen.

Through the course of its investigation, the New York City police department discovered that a young woman is connected to the theft. A video recorded at a shipping store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, captured footage of her with the photographs. She was wearing dark clothing, a hat, and glasses, and appears to be in her twenties. The NYPD has asked for the public’s assistance in identifying the woman who is wanted for questioning.

The photographs were part of the institution’s exhibition “Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting,” which is on view until March 11, 2018. According to the police, when MoMA PS1 employees realized the works were missing on October 30, there was no sign of a break in at the museum and no alarm had been triggered.

November 13, 2017

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Announces 2017 Emerging Artist Grantees

Allison Janae Hamilton, still from the two-channel video A Balm for the Living, 2016.

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation, a New York–based organization that supports cancer patients as well as emerging artists, has announced that eight artists were selected to receive $10,000 grants for their critical work and commitment to advancing contemporary art: Allison Janae Hamilton, Antone Konst, Diamond Stingily, Dylan Vandenhoeck, Grace Metzler, Maia Ruth Lee, Matthew Schrader, and Sable Elyse Smith.

Since 1996, the foundation has recognized emerging artists working in the greater New York area. The jury that selected the 2017 grantees included Gary Carrion-Murayari, a curator at the New Museum in New York; Susan Hort, cofounder of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation; David Humphrey, an artist and professor at Columbia University; Jane Panetta, an associate curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Erin Somerville, deputy director and curator of White Columns.

A ceremony celebrating the artists will be held at the foundation’s annual Buy What You Love Benefit on Thursday, November 16.