April 6, 2017

Victoria Miro to Open New Gallery in Venice

Victoria Miro Photo: Thierry Bal

Victoria Miro gallery has announced that it will open a new space in Venice this May. Located in the San Marco district, the gallery will be Miro’s fourth location—she currently has venues in Mayfair and Wharf Road in London.

Miro will take over a seventeenth-century building from Galleria il Capricorno, which was founded by Bruna Aickelin in 1971. Galleria il Capricorno is known for showing twentieth-century artists such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Cy Twombly, and Robert Rauschenberg. The gallery has also staged exhibitions by several of Miro’s artists, including Hernan Bas, Verne Dawson, NS Harsha, Chantal Joffe, and Wangechi Mutu.

“Peggy Guggenheim, Ileana Sonnabend, Paula Cooper, Barbara Gladstone, Lisa Spellman, Sadie Coles, and Victoria Miro are some of the pioneering women gallerists whom I have had the great fortune to know and work with over many years,” Aickelin said. “Our lives are forever woven together, and I feel privileged to hand over the baton of my gallery to Victoria.”

April 5, 2017

New York Public Library Acquires Joffrey Ballet Archive

Photograph of Twyla Tharp in Deuce Coupe, 1973, a ballet commissioned by the Joffrey Ballet. Photo: Herbert Migdoll

The archive of Joffrey Ballet, a Chicago-based dance company founded by Robert Joffrey in New York in 1956, has joined the collection of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The gift, which spans the entirety of the company’s history, coincides with the company’s first performances in New York after twenty-two years.

“The Joffrey Ballet’s collection already feels at home at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, where many of Robert Joffrey’s papers and the footage of the company are already housed and enjoyed by researchers, dancers, students and the public,” Greg Cameron, the company’s executive director, said. Comprising 575 linear feet, the archive includes six boxes of 8mm and 16mm film as well as over sixty boxes of beta and VHS and will be processed over the next year at the Library Services Center in Long Island City.

Joffrey Ballet is known for being the first ballet company to perform at the White House, the first to appear on television, and the only company to appear on the cover of Time magazine. It was also the first to commission a Twyla Tharp ballet. The Company, a movie composed of stories from Joffrey Ballet dancers, choreographers, and staff and starring actual dancers as well as actors Malcolm McDowell and James Franco was released in 2003.

April 5, 2017

Okwui Enwezor Receives 2017 Folkwang Prize

Okwui Enwezor

The Museum Folkwang in Essen has announced that Munich-based curator, critic, and art historian Okwui Enwezor, currently the artistic director of the Haus der Kunst, has been awarded the 2017 International Folkwang Prize. The $26,600 award recognizes individuals and institutions that have made a special contribution to contemporary art. The official award ceremony will take place on October 9.

During the award announcement, Ulrich Blank, Museum Folkwang’s chair, said Enwezor is being honored for raising “a global awareness of art beyond the Euro-American canon.” He added, “This makes him one of the world’s most influential disseminators of contemporary art in the last decades. And in this way he is wholly in keeping with the spirit of [Folkwang founder] Karl Ernst Osthaus.”

Enwezor has been the head of the Haus der Kunst since 2011. Previously, he served as artistic director of the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale in 2015 and Documenta 11 in 2002. Prior winners of the award, which was established in 2010, include Neil MacGregor, then-director of the British Museum; art collector and business magnate Reinhold Wrth; and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.

April 5, 2017

Rubin Museum Executive Director Patrick Sears to Step Down

Patrick Sears

Patrick Sears, executive director of the Rubin Museum of Art, announced today that he will retire from his position at the end of the year or when a replacement is found. Prior to serving as executive director for five years, Sears was the Rubin’s chief operating officer for six years.

“I was given the opportunity to join the Rubin while it was still in development. Since we opened in 2004, it’s not only West 17th Street that has been transformed, but the cultural landscape of the city, as well as the expectations of visitors,” Sears said. “I’m fortunate to have had a hand in shaping the Rubin Museum experience for our almost two million visitors to date.”

Board president Bob Baylis said, “Patrick’s leadership, commitment, and vision have unlocked the potential for the Rubin Museum’s growth, and he will leave behind both tremendous groundwork and a legacy for the next director to build upon. . .From the annual Dream-Over, where visitors sleep and dream under works of art, to exhibitions with provocative titles like ‘Remember that You Will Die,’ Patrick has led a team that has not shied away from taking risks for the museum, and visitors in turn have reaped the rewards.”

April 5, 2017

Egypt’s Cultural Initiatives Resume Six Years After the Country’s Revolution

Visitors taking in an ancient copy of the Qur'an at the Museum of Islamic Art. Photo: Amr Nabil/AP.

The 2011 revolution in Egypt during the Arab Spring put a halt to many of the country’s major museum projects. It seems, however, that Egypt has recently picked up where it left off, reports Hannah McGivern and Aimee Dawson of the Art Newspaper. The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization, or NMEC, which started construction in Cairo’s al-Fustat neighborhood in 2004 and still remains unfinished, opened a temporary exhibition space in February. Heavily damaged by a bomb attack from a nearby police station, the Museum of Islamic Art reopened in January. The Grand Egyptian Museum, GEM, plans to unveil its first exhibition of objects from the Tutankhamun collection next year—the museum was originally scheduled to open in 2011.

Though there is a great deal of enthusiasm to see these institutions up and running, there is little in the way of money to fully support them. During a speech for the opening of NMEC’s provisional space, the country’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, linked the success of the country’s museums to the government’s efforts against terrorism. Tourism in Egypt has been suffering since 2011, causing more financial strife. Khaled al-Anani, Egypt’s antiquities minister, said that about $110 million is needed to reopen twenty provincial museums that have been shut down since the revolution.

Foreign governments have stepped in to help the country. Japan provided a $300 million loan to GEM in 2006—another was given to the museum last fall for $450 million. The UAE gifted $26.6 million to the Islamic museum in 2015, in addition to funds given prior. Tarek Tawfik, the director of GEM, wants to create an “international friends” plan for funding as well as an endowment for the museum. GEM is hoping that the exhibition of its five-thousand-piece Tutankhamun collection will bring in about five million visitors annually (thus far, only a fraction of the collection has been made available to the public at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square). The GEM, which will have more than 305,000 square feet of exhibition space, will be the world’s biggest museum dedicated to a single culture when it opens. Since it began construction in 1992, however, its budget has nearly doubled, from $550 million to $1 billion. It is hoped that the museum will be ready and open by 2023, the one-hundred-year anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

April 5, 2017

Hermitage Museum Increases Security After Subway Bombing

The State Hermitage Museum.

After the April 3 subway bombing in Saint Petersburg that killed fourteen people, Russia’s State Hermitage Museum has decided to increase its security by brokering a deal with Russia’s new national guard, Rosgvardia, created by President Vladimir Putin last year, writes Sophia Kishkovsky of the Art Newspaper. In a statement posted to its Facebook account yesterday, the museum said, “All visitors are being inspected, which surely might cause inconvenience for the museum’s guests.”

The Hermitage’s general director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, said that guards paid for by the state will return to the museum after budget cuts were made in 2015, affecting museums all over Russia. Meanwhile, the institution’s deputy director, Mikhail Novikov, is currently under house arrest in connection with charges of fraud.

Smaller Russian arts venues and exhibitions were often vandalized or shut down by right-wing factions last year, though larger institutions, for the most part, remained safe. From August 1 to September 30, the Hermitage reported that it dealt with twenty false bomb alarms due to bags, strollers, and packages that were left untended.

April 5, 2017

Arts Advocates Across the US Mobilize Against Cuts to Cultural Funding

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at the Rally to Save the Arts in front of City Hall on Monday.

Arts institutions, cultural leaders, artists, educators, and Americans who enjoy the arts have been up in arms ever since initial reports of the Trump administration’s plan to eliminate the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities began to surface in January. After the President turned their fears into a reality in March, when he released the proposed federal budget plan for 2018, which defunded the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Institute of Library and Museum Services in addition to the endowments, thousands have been prompted to act.

On Monday, April 3, more than four hundred arts advocates gathered in front of City Hall in New York City to participate in the Rally to Save the Arts, organized by the city council’s Democratic leader, Jimmy Van Bramer. “Just as the President assaulted healthcare for millions of Americans, he’s now assaulting the arts, culture, humanities, and libraries, and seeking to deprive hundreds of millions of Americans the right to experience and express themselves through art and culture,” Bramer said. “We want to have the same kind of resistance movement against Trump’s assault on the arts.”

Councilmen from Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens; members of organizations such as the Actors’ Equity Association; and supporters of dance, theater, and the visual arts were in attendance. Wielding signs that read, “Save the NEA,” “New Yorkers for Dance,” “Save the Arts so the Arts Can Save You,” and “Even Cavemen Valued Art,” protesters spoke of the benefits of the arts, including the jobs that the industry provides. “Trump talks about ‘making America great again,’” Bramer said, “but you don’t make a country great by crushing its soul.”

April 5, 2017

Documenta 14 Opens in Athens

Rebecca Belmore, Biinjiya’iing Onji (From Inside), 2017.

After five years, Documenta returns with its fourteenth edition—the first to be hosted by two cities, Athens and Kassel. Opening in the Greek capital on Saturday, April 8, and featuring 160 artists, “Learning from Athens,” will be staged at forty public venues, including the Athens Conservatorie, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Athens School of Fine Arts. The second part of Documenta will open in Kassel on June 10.

In an interview with Artforum’s editor in chief Michelle Kuo, artistic director Adam Szymczyk said that the strict austerity measures currently in place in Greece inspired organizers to hold Documenta there. “One of the reasons to work in Athens in parallel to Kassel is precisely to make the exhibition in a place where you can see how problematic things are at the moment, and how much worse they may soon become—though not, naturally, to simply induce passive spectatorship.” Szymczyk added that the exhibition “emphasizes an idea of active exchange” and is an ongoing process that “would ideally produce knowledge about conditions within and far beyond Athens, conditions that are themselves constantly evolving.”

The largest Documenta exhibition in Athens will be hosted by EMST, which will also loan works from its collection to the Fridericianum in Kassel. At a news conference in March, EMST director Katerina Koskina said, “We believe that Documenta 14 comes to Athens just in the right moment. Despite the crisis and its impact on our everyday life in Greece, there is a vivid reaction expressed through a great interest for creation and culture especially from the younger generation. This is a turning point for EMST and both a challenge and an opportunity for the Greek artists. Believe me, they deserve it.”

April 5, 2017

Richard Parry Appointed Director of Glasgow International

Richard Parry

Richard Parry has been appointed the director of Glasgow International. The eighth edition of this biennial is scheduled to open on April 20, 2018, and will run through May 7. More details about the festival’s program will be announced this fall. Parry will be replacing Sarah McCrory, who oversaw the 2014 and 2016 biennials.

Since 2013, Parry has been the curator-director of the Grundy Art Gallery, organizing more than twenty-five exhibitions for the space. He received an Art Fund New Collecting Award for the gallery’s 2015 exhibition “Sensory Systems.” In 2016, he curated “Neon: The Charged Line,” the largest presentation of neon works to date in the UK.

“It is fantastic to welcome Richard Parry as the new director of Glasgow International,” said Jill Miller, director of cultural services at Glasgow Life, one of the organizations that support the biennial. “His fresh perspective and inspiration will drive forward the festival as it continues to lead the way in presenting the very best in contemporary visual art. Glasgow International is at the heart of the city’s hugely successful contemporary art scene and its growing reputation throughout the world, and I look forward to the festival going from strength to strength under Richard’s leadership.”