September 13, 2017

Bellevue Arts Museum Appoints Benedict Heywood as Executive Director

Benedict Heywood.

The Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington has named Benedict Heywood as its next executive director. He will take up the post on September 18. Heywood is currently the project director at North American Indians and Edward S. Curtis. He founded the nonprofit art space the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, and relocated to the Seattle area two years ago to lead Pivot Art + Culture for collector and philanthropist Paul Allen.

The museum also recently promoted Eileen Herbert, currently the curator of learning and public programming, to the role of director of advancement. “These organizational changes will help the museum build upon our successes over the past year,” said outgoing executive director Karin Kidder. “The museum is an essential part of a growing and dynamic downtown Bellevue and the work it does has tremendous impact both locally and nationally. I am very proud to have been a part of it for over three years.”

September 13, 2017

London’s Stuart Shave/Modern Art Opens Second Venue

Stuart Shave/Modern Art gallery’s Helmet Row location. Photo: Maris Mezulis.

London’s Stuart Shave/Modern Art gallery, located at 4–8 Helmet Row, is opening a second venue on Vyner Street. The new space will be 6,000 square feet. While work by the Austrian painter Martha Jungwirth will open October 2, 2017 at the Helmet Row gallery, the American artist Josh Kline will debut his show “Civil War” at the Vyner Street location on October 3, around the opening of Frieze London.

September 13, 2017

Documenta Loses Money, Asks Local Government for Help

Antonio Vega Macotela’s The Mill of Blood, 2017, installed in the Orangerie for this year’s Documenta exhibition.

Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper writes that the organization that runs the massive German quinquennial Documenta is reportedly facing a deficit of about $8.3 million. Its managers are seeking financial assistance from the city of Kassel and the state of Hesse. This year, two cities played host to Documenta: Kassel, which has been presenting the exhibition since its inception in 1955, and Athens, Greece, a new site.

A local newspaper said that Kassel and Hesse have agreed to take on loan guarantees of around $4.2 million. A spokesperson for Kassel announced that Documenta’s books would need to undergo a thorough review before any further details are made public, and that exact figures could not be revealed. Kassel’s mayor, Christian Geselle, was informed of the exhibition’s financial issues on August 28, and quickly called together a meeting with its supervisory board to discuss the problems only two days later. “Documenta is inextricably linked with Kassel. We want Documenta to continue in Kassel as a world-ranking exhibition of contemporary art,” said Geselle.

The local paper wrote that part of Documenta’s financial problems stemmed from miscalculations by the exhibition’s management team, including the high costs of transporting art between Athens and Kassel, and the amount of electricity used for air-conditioning the show in Athens, as the temperatures in the Greek capital were extremely high. But the exhibition has enough funding to keep going until it closes on Sunday, September 17. “As shareholders,” Geselle said, “the city of Kassel and the State of Hesse have agreed that the company’s liquidity must be secured beyond that.”

September 13, 2017

Florida Museums Prepare to Reopen After Hurricane Irma

The Perez Art Museum Miami suffered minimal damage from Hurricane Irma.

After Hurricane Irma hit Florida and continued to churn north into Georgia, causing even more destruction, the Sunshine State’s arts institutions begin to plan repairs and reopenings. The category-five hurricane, which recorded wind speeds of 185 miles per hour, was one of the strongest storms to ever traverse the Atlantic basin. While it wreaked havoc in the Caribbean, leaving at least thirty-eight dead, it was downgraded to a category one storm by the time it landed in Florida, where at least sixteen storm-related deaths were reported.

Institutions such as the Perez Art Museum Miami, which is located on Biscayne Baye, weathered the storm fairly well. A PAMM spokesperson told the Miami New Times that it “sustained no damage to the building, and suffered no flooding. The roof held well, and there was no problem with the hurricane-resistant windows.” Because the museum was built on the waterfront, it was constructed with extreme weather in mind. The building stands on a raised platform to help protect it from storm surge and its windows were tested against category-five winds. The staff apparently felt the museum was so sturdy that fourteen employees chose to ride out the storm there. While there was some damage to its garage and landscaping, it plans to open its doors to the public on Thursday, September 14.

Elsewhere in Miami, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an historic 1914 mansion located on Biscayne Bay, had serious flooding in its basement. The Bass Museum and ICA Miami, which are both currently under construction, were not able to immediately assess any damage because of a city-mandated curfew. “We are thankful that our staff is safe and accounted for and our thoughts are with those who are still battling the aftermath of the storm,” Bass’s executive director Silvia Karman Cubiñá told the Art Newspaper.

September 13, 2017

Albright-Knox Art Gallery Names Cathleen Chaffee Chief Curator

Cathleen Chaffee.

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced the promotion of Cathleen Chaffee to the position of chief curator. She succeeds Douglas Dreishpoon, who stepped down in April 2014 after sixteen years at the museum.

Chaffee first joined the institution as curator in January 2014 and was promoted to senior curator in June 2015. During her tenure, she has facilitated many acquisitions of new works for the permanent collection and has curated numerous exhibitions, including the mid-career survey of the work of Joe Bradley, which runs through October 1; “Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford” (2016); “Erin Shirreff” (2016); “Eija-Liisa Ahtila: Ecologies of Drama” (2015–16); and “Looking at Tomorrow: Light and Language from The Panza Collection, 1967–1990” (2015–16). Currently, Chaffee is organizing the first museum survey of Tony Conrad’s artwork, “Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective,” which will be staged at the Albright-Knox and the University at Buffalo Art Galleries in March 2018.

Her writing on contemporary art has been featured in various publications including Artforum, Frieze, Contemporary, Art Asia Pacific, and Manifesta Journal.

September 12, 2017

Participants Announced for 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale’s US Pavilion

Visitors to the US pavilion during the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The participants for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale’s US Pavilion have been announced. They are Amanda Williams & Andres L. Hernandez (Chicago, IL); Design Earth (Cambridge, MA); Diller Scofidio + Renfro (New York, NY); Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman (San Ysidro, CA); Keller Easterling (New Haven, CT); SCAPE (New York, NY); and Studio Gang (Chicago, IL).

“These seven teams represent the breadth of design practice today: from social to speculative; technical to theoretical,” said the biennale’s curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara. “They are united by researched-based methodologies and the drive to use that research to push boundaries—formal, disciplinary, and political.” The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago have been appointed the US pavilion’s co-commissioners. The curatorial team for the US pavilion is made up of Niall Atkinson, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Mimi Zeiger, an independent critic, editor, curator, and educator; and Iker Gil, a faculty member at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, director of MAS Studio, and founder of the design journal MAS Context.

September 12, 2017

Micky Schubert Closes Berlin Gallery, Cofounds New Brooklyn Project Space

Art dealer Micky Schubert.

Henri Neuendorf of Artnet reports that Berlin’s Galerie Micky Schubert has closed. The space opened eleven years ago in the city’s Kreuzberg district. Among the artists Schubert represented were Lydia Gifford, Maximilian Zentz Zlomovitz, Thea Djordjadze, Scott Olson, Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili, and Sue Tompkins. In 2014, artforum.com contributor Melissa Canbaz reviewed a show by Tompkins at the gallery for a Critics’ Pick. The writer called the artist’s work “luminous, enigmatic, and isolated.”

Schubert does have future plans: With Janine Foeller, the cofounder of Wallspace—a New York gallery that closed two summers ago—she is working to launch GrandArmyCollective, a Brooklyn-based project space that will open on September 22. GrandArmyCollective’s website notes it “fosters community and supports a network of peers and artists by providing flexible and affordable exhibition platforms that encourage sustainability, risk-taking, and curatorial rigor . . . . It’s about reigniting the camaraderie, diversity and experimentation that was once so integral to the overall health of the art world.”

September 12, 2017

Brazilian Cultural Center Closes Queer Art Exhibition, Following Conservative Outcry

Installation view of “Queermuseu: Queer Tactics Toward Non-Heteronormative Curating” at Santander Cultural in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Photo: Gaudêncio Fidelis

On Sunday, September 10, Santander Cultural Center in Porto Alegre, Brazil, shut down the country’s largest exhibition dedicated to queer art after right-wing critics launched a scathing attack of the arts space on social media. According to Elisa Wouk Almino of Hyperallergic, people accused the show of promoting blasphemy and pedophilia.

Curated by Gaudêncio Fidelis, “Queermuseu: Queer Tactics Toward Non-Heteronormative Curating” showcased eighty-five artists, including Lygia Clark, Cândido Portinari, and José Leonilson, and 263 artworks. Sponsored by Santander Bank, the space announced its decision to close the show a month early on Facebook. “We heard the complaints and understand that some of the works in the exhibition ‘Queermuseum’ disrespected symbols, beliefs, and people, which is not in line with our view of the world,” Santander Cultural Center said in a statement. “When art is not capable of being inclusive and generating positive reflection, it loses its greatest purpose, which is to elevate the human condition.”

Following the exhibition’s opening, one of Santander’s buildings was vandalized, tagged with the phrases “The Santander bank supports pedophilia,” and “They are antichrists.” Yet Fidelis was surprised by the cultural center’s decision since, up until last week, he was not aware of anyone protesting the exhibition. However, on Wednesday, September 6, the controversy surrounding the show escalated when members of Movimento Brasil Livre, a group that describes itself as a nonprofit which “aims to mobilize citizens in favor of a freer, more just, and prosperous society,” began visiting the exhibition in order to take pictures, which they posted to their Facebook page with text that read: “Pedophilia, zoophilia, and the sexualization of children definitely do NOT represent the LGBT universe.” The group is known for organizing demonstrations to demand the impeachment of leftist president Dilma Rousseff.

Among the works that critics found the most offensive were a 1994 painting by Adriana Varejão, which depicts gay and interracial sex; a 2011 work by Antonio Obá, Et Verbum, portraying communion wafers that feature the words vulva, tongue, and asshole; and paintings by Bia Leite from a series called “Criança Viada” (Gay Children).

For Fidelis, Santander’s response was unacceptable. “We’ve closed off dialogue,” he said. “During the time of the dictatorship we had all sorts of problems—censorship, etc.—but nothing quite on this scale, all done in one stroke.” More than thirty-four thousand people have rallied to the show’s defense by signing a petition calling for Santander to reopen the exhibition.

Santander Cultural Center’s full statement is as follows:

September 12, 2017

Frank Bernarducci to Open New Gallery in Chelsea

Frank Bernarducci.

Frank Bernarducci, a longtime Fifty-Seventh Street art dealer, has announced that he will open a project space in Chelsea on October 3. Located at 529 West Twentieth Street, the gallery will specialize in precisionist realism. An exhibition featuring artists Ester Curini, Hubert DeLartigue, Max Ferguson, Park Hyung Jin, Sylvia Maier, Sharon Moody, and Nathan Walsh, among others, will inaugurate the new venue.

“I am looking forward to launching this next step of my career, and to creating a high-profile environment to more prominently exhibit the artists I have been championing for decades,” said Bernarducci. “Chelsea continues to be a burgeoning center of the contemporary art world, and I’m excited to create a space for these new precisionist painters in such a vibrant part of the city. The artists we are working with are at the pinnacle of their artistic output and this move will maximize our ability to exhibit these extraordinary, highly detailed works to a wider audience.”

Following in the footsteps of his father, Frank Bernarducci Sr., a painter and student of the Hans Hofmann School of Art who helped found the Phoenix Gallery in 1958, Bernarducci opened his first arts space, the Frank Bernarducci Gallery, across from Andy Warhol’s Union Square Factory in 1984. In the late 1980s, Bernarducci relocated to SoHo on Broadway and Prince Street, where he primarily continued showing emerging artists. Throughout the 1990s, he worked as director of Tastischeff and Co. and Fischbach Gallery, and in 2000 he opened Bernarducci Meisel Gallery with Louis Meisel, where they worked to establish and elevate the careers of numerous photorealist artists and other painters.