February 14, 2017

Commissions Announced for Frieze Projects 2017 in New York

Cecilia Alemani on the High Line.

The artists commissioned for this year’s edition of Frieze Projects, curated by High Line Art’s director and chief curator Cecilia Alemani—who is also organizing the Italian pavilion for the 2017 Venice Biennale—are Dora Budor, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Jon Rafman, Ryan McNamara, and Adam Pendleton. A series of voyeuristic site-specific installations will be created by Budor, Cameron-Weir, and Rafman, while McNamara and Pendleton will be making new performance works. The exhibitions and performances will coincide with the 2017 Frieze art fair on Randall’s Island, scheduled to take place from May 5 to 7, 2017.

Frieze Projects is also paying tribute to the Galleria La Tartaruga, an experimental arts space active in Rome during the middle of the twentieth century. There will be a restaging of two projects included in the gallery’s influential 1968 exhibition “Il Teatro delle Mostre” (Theater of Exhibitions) by the late artist Fabio Mauri and Giosetta Fioroni.

“For the sixth edition of Frieze Projects in New York, we have invited a group of international artists to create installations, performances, and subtle actions that play with the relationship between the act of seeing and being seen,” said Alemani. “There isn’t a better place than the fair to look at people and art—and to be looked at in return. This year’s projects make us aware of this dynamic, revealing the tension between exhibitionism and voyeurism.”

February 14, 2017

Pamela Joyner Named Trustee of J. Paul Getty Trust

Pamela Joyner

Charles Desmarais of SF Gate writes that San Francisco philanthropist and art collector Pamela Joyner has been named a trustee of the J. Paul Getty Trust. Joyner is well-known for her collection of works by African American artists and artists of the African diaspora.

“[Joyner] brings financial expertise and sensitivity to our educational role,” said James Cuno, the Getty Trust president. “She understands the Getty as a ‘small university.’ She also has a deep understanding of the value of a research library. She’s put together a sizable research library of her own and she understands how such libraries are built. We are thrilled.”

Joyner is also a member of the Tate International Council, the Modern and Contemporary Art Visiting Committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Director’s Circle of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In addition, she serves as a trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Getty Trust oversees the Getty Foundation, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, which includes the Getty Center and the Getty Villa in Los Angeles.

February 14, 2017

Exhibition Celebrating Religious Diversity Is Vandalized and Looted

Russell Haines working on a damaged triptych.

A show celebrating religious diversity has been looted and vandalized, writes Vanessa Thorpe of The Guardian. “Faith,” an exhibition by artist Russell Haines, opened at the eleventh-century Gloucester Cathedral in January. In addition to thirty-seven paintings by the artist, “Faith” also features filmed interviews with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Christians—subjects of Haines’s paintings. Christian groups were deeply critical of the show when it opened, as it featured Islamic imagery and allowed for a Muslim prayer to be read within the church. Since the show’s opening, many of Haines’s paintings, along with audiovisual equipment from the exhibition, have been stolen. And Haines’s painting of Jesus giving the finger has been defaced, as have other exhibited works. Online, the artist and members of the church clergy have been called blasphemers and threatened with death.

“The point of this project was to show and to emphasize what we all have in common, precisely not to tell people what they ought to think. I never thought this would happen, although I knew some people would not like it,” said Haines. More than one thousand visitors attended the opening of the exhibition and were served foods from around the world. Imam Hassan from Gloucester’s Masjid-e-Noor mosque recited the Muslim call to prayer. A Jewish prayer was also recited, and a white witch spoke on behalf of smaller, alternative religions. Haines said the opening was “wonderfully surreal.” Only a couple of days later, however, the problems started. The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Gloucester Cathedral’s dean, said, “We are proud to be holding the exhibition and would encourage everyone to visit to learn more about people of different faiths.” “Faith” runs through February 26.

February 14, 2017

Boston University Students Halt Art Theft

From left: Chris Savino, Mackenzie Thompson, Galerie D’Orsay owner Susan Hirshberg, and Jesse Doe.

Mackenzie Thompson, Chris Savino, and Jesse Doe, students at Boston University, stopped a man trying to steal five artworks from Boston’s Galerie D’Orsay last weekend, reports Rich Barlow of BU Today.

According to Thompson, the trio saw a man walking out of the gallery: “I thought to myself, Oh, he might be an employee just working there. But once we got right in front of the store, we heard the alarm, we saw the smashed glass, and he comes out with the paintings.” They chased after the man. Once they apprehended him, they were able to get the attention of a police officer. The area surrounding the gallery was rather empty because of the Super Bowl. Among the items taken were works by Joan Miró, Rembrandt, and Marc Chagall. The pieces are worth about $45,000 in total.

The thief, Jordan Russell Leishman, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court yesterday and was ordered held without bail for a prior assault case.

February 14, 2017

Demonstrations in Dresden Continue as Nationalist Group Protests Art Installation Dedicated to Refugees

Lampedusa 361, 2017, at Theater Square in Dresden. Photo: Arno Burgi

The unveiling of Lampedusa 361, the second pro-immigration art installation in Dresden, has sparked another week of far-right protests, Monopol reports. The new piece, part of a commemoration of Dresden’s destruction in World War II, is a symbolic cemetery comprising ninety photographs of drowned refugees’ graves in Sicily that are mounted on Styrofoam tombstones at Theaterplatz in front of the Semper Opera. The art project is a joint effort between the city and the Friends of Dresden Germany organization.

“This ‘cemetery’ is difficult to bear, but we have to bear it,” mayor Dirk Hilbert said at the Lampedusa 361 opening. He added that the photographs are a remembrance of the suffering of those who died during their escape from violence and misery. “It is a memorial at the right time in the right place.”

Last week’s opening of Monument, a re-creation of three burnt Aleppo buses erected in front of the Frauenkirche cathedral, provoked a mass demonstration by PEGIDA (the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West)—a German nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right political group. Mayor Hilbert was shouted down by the right-wing protestors at the Monument opening and has received several death threats. The demonstrators claim that these memorials symbolize the commemoration of the Dresden bombing victims.

February 14, 2017

Curator of Anselm Kiefer Show in China Speaks Out Against Artist’s Criticism of Exhibition

Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Daniel Roland.

Beate Reifenscheid, the chief curator of “Coagulation,” an exhibition of Anselm Kiefer’s work that opened at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum last November—which Kiefer and his gallerists did not support, as the artist says he was not involved in the show’s organization—has spoken out against the artist and his galleries, writes Georgina Adam of the Art Newspaper.

As artforum.com reported in November 2016, Kiefer criticized the exhibition in a statement: “Throughout my career I have been heavily involved in all my major international exhibitions and it is a matter of deep regret and frustration that the organizers of my first show in China have seen fit to exclude me from this process.” Reifenscheid says that the artist’s comments violate curatorial freedom: “Curators must respect the artist but also be able to work for the wider public’s benefit. If all artists and their art dealers could control when, where, and why their art is displayed in museums after it’s sold, the public interest would not be fully served.” One of Reifenscheid’s colleagues, the critic and curator Klaus Honnef, stated, “I am convinced that the so-called global players in art dealing threaten not only curatorial freedom . . . They work hand-in-hand with private and allied collectors. Nearly all important artists, meaning those with high commercial potential such as Kiefer, are represented by these powerful art dealers . . . who are protecting their financial interests. This is the real background to the problems with the CAFAM exhibition.”

CAFAM enlisted the help of Bell Art—an organization based in Hamburg that encourages cultural exchange between Europe and China—when it put the show together. Eighty of the eighty-seven works in the exhibition belong to Chinese collector Maria Chen Tu, who lives in Germany. Five others were on loan from private collections to the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz, which Reifenscheid directs (she was, however, not paid for coordinating the Kiefer show while working for Bell Art).

February 14, 2017

Francesca von Habsburg Agrees to Loan TBA21 Collection to Prague

Salm Palace. Photo: Jiri Thyn.

Francesca von Habsburg, founder of Vienna-based Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, and Jiří Fajt, general director of the National Gallery in Prague, have signed a cooperation agreement that involves moving the most representative pieces from the TBA21’s collection to Prague, where they will be on long-term loan, displayed at the Salm Palace, one of several locations of the National Gallery.

In addition to the five-year permanent loan, several new installations and interventions will be commissioned and installed in the grand hall of the Trade Fair Palace. Among the works that will be on view as early as June 2018 are pieces by Olafur Eliasson, Janet Cardiff, Ernesto Neto, Ai Weiwei, and Ragnar Kjartansson.

Czech Republic’s minister of culture, Daniel Herman, said, “I am very proud of this cooperation between the National Gallery and TBA21. In the times we live in we should build bridges between countries and nations. Culture can unify and bring people together and I am sure this project will do so.”

February 14, 2017

Hundreds of South Korean Artists Sue Impeached President over Blacklist

Protest in Cheonggye Plaza calling for impeached President Park Geun-hye to step down last fall.

Hundreds of South Korean artists have filed a lawsuit against impeached President Park Geun-hye and her former aides for denying them financial support and other resources by including their names on a cultural blacklist because of their political beliefs, Jeongeun Lee and Choi Jiwon of Reuters report.

Lawyers representing the artists said that Park and her administration violated the artists’ right to free speech and expression and their right to privacy by collecting their personal information. “Public servants and those who were aware of the existence of the blacklist must be held accountable,” Cho Young-sun, a member of the liberal Lawyers for a Democratic Society group, said. Four hundred and sixty-one artists out of the nearly ten thousand who were blacklisted are currently plaintiffs in the suit. Since South Korea does not award punitive damages, the artists are seeking 1 million won ($873) each.

The culture ministry issued a public apology last month acknowledging the list and its plan to systematically silence artists who have been critical of Park. Former presidential chief of staff Kim Ki-choon and former culture minister Cho Yoon-sun have been charged with abuse of power, coercion, and perjury. A spokesman for the special prosecutor’s office, Lee Kyu-chul, said that both officials have denied all charges.

February 13, 2017

Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale to Curate Hammer Museum’s 2018 Made in L.A. Biennial

Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale

The Hammer Museum announced today that Anne Ellegood, a senior curator at the museum, and Erin Christovale, an independent curator, have been selected to curate the fourth edition of the Made in L.A. biennial, opening June 2018.

“Anne Ellegood and Erin Christovale are both fierce champions for artists, and we are excited to see the fresh perspectives and discoveries that these two will bring forward in Made in L.A. 2018,” Hammer director Ann Philbin said. “Our biennial changes with each iteration, and the combined talents of Anne and Erin promise to reveal new dimensions of both Made in L.A. and Los Angeles.”

The Mohn awards will also be presented in conjunction with the biennial. Funded by collectors Jarl and Pamela Mohn, the prizes include the $100,000 Mohn award as well as the $25,000 career achievement and public recognition awards.