July 25, 2008

Seattle's New Search Committee; China Delays Shows; a Library Sells Its Art

The Seattle Art Museum has announced the members of the search committee charged with finding a replacement for outgoing executive director Mimi Gates, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The committee will be chaired by Charles Wright, a SAM trustee since 1995. Other committee members include Tom Barwick, Susan Brotman, Richard Cooley, Barney Ebsworth, Lyn Grinstein, Betty Hedreen, Christine Nicolov, Brooks Ragen, Constance Rice, Jon Shirley, Curtis Wong, and Virginia Wright. Gates, who joined SAM in 1994, will leave on July 1, 2009.

Eugene Tang reports for Bloomberg that Chinese censors are forcing some art galleries to delay shows, including one with works by Andy Warhol and another with pieces depicting the Dalai Lama, as the government tries to control the capital's appearance during the Olympic Games. Galleri Faurschou said it postponed this weekend's show of Warhol's art because censors deemed it inappropriate to exhibit foreign works during China's biggest public event. Xin Beijing Art Gallery said it scrapped a weekend display of Ma Baozhong's work because censors found fault with his oil paintings of the Dalai Lama and former president Jiang Zemin. “There was a view at the cultural ministry that, with more than forty heads of states visiting Beijing during the Olympics, it'd be better to show works by Chinese artists,” Faurschou's director Kai Heinze said by phone today.

In other news, the board of trustees of the Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque, Iowa, has accepted a half-million-dollar offer for its lauded Curtis Collection of art, reports the Associated Press via the Chicago Tribune. The board voted unanimously on Thursday to sell the collection to the Dubuque Cultural Preservation Committee, which has promised to turn it over the Dubuque Museum of Art. The vote came after the board deadlocked on accepting a $1.1 million offer to sell the collection to a museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The board went with the local offer after city officials assured them they would add to a $3.6 million commitment to renovate the library.

July 24, 2008

Indian Artist Joins Hauser & Wirth; New Funding for Sir John Soane's Museum

Zurich and London dealers Hauser & Wirth will be representing Indian artist Bharti Kher, said Roger Tatley, the gallery's head of communications, in a telephone interview with Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn. “One of our directors is working with her in India this week,” said Tatley. “We've been talking to her for months. We're looking to build a long-term relationship.” Kher is best known for her abstracts made out of colored bindi beads. Tatley said the gallery will represent Kher in London and Zurich. Her first exhibition is scheduled to be shown in London in early 2010.

In other arts-related news from Bloomberg, Farah Nayeri reports that charitable trusts endowed by the late Simon Sainsbury and Paul Getty are giving $2.2 million to the Sir John Soane's Museum, bringing the London attraction closer to its fund-raising goal of $12 million after the UK Lottery refused a grant request. The Monument Trust, funded by Sainsbury, has pledged $2 million toward the museum's planned revamp, which would open up rooms and boost visitor access, the museum said in a press release. The J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust has given $250,000 for stained-glass refurbishment. “It may not be large and trendy, but this most British and eccentric of all house museums has a special place in the hearts of all who know it,” said Tim Knox, the Soane's director.

July 24, 2008

New Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA; Architect Wins Ho-Am Prize

According to the New York Sun, Juliet Kinchin will join the staff of the Museum of Modern Art as a curator in the department of architecture and design. Kinchin comes to MoMA from the Glasgow School of Art, where she was a senior lecturer of art and design. She has also taught at the Bard Graduate Center for study in the decorative arts and was a curator of decorative arts in several Glasgow museums and art galleries and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her specialty is nineteenth- and twentieth-century art and design. At MoMA, her role will encompass the organization of exhibitions, management of the collection, and acquisition of works related to the history of modern design.

The Sun also reports that Kyu Sung Woo will be the first architect to receive the Ho-Am Prize in the Arts, an award that recognizes ethnic Koreans who have made noteworthy contributions to arts and culture through their creative endeavors. The Ho-Am Prize, which honors five Koreans each year for achievement in science, engineering, medicine, community service, and the arts, is sometimes called the Korean Nobel. The prize, endowed by Samsung, includes a two-hundred-thousand-dollar cash award. Woo is a Korean-born American architect whose firm, Kyu Sung Woo Architects, is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The firm's completed projects include the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, the graduate-student housing at Harvard University, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and the Arts of Korea Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The firm is currently working on the Asian Cultural Complex in Gwangju, Korea.

July 23, 2008

Renovation Details for Royal Academy of Arts Unveiled

Charles Saumarez Smith, secretary and chief executive of London’s Royal Academy of Arts, has outlined architect David Chipperfield's plans to renovate, by 2012, the academy's Burlington Gardens annex. As Farah Nayeri reports for Bloomberg, Chipperfield will be responsible for building a lecture theater, refurbishing the upstairs gallery spaces, and opening a ground-floor restaurant. The architect was chosen from among seven candidates for his philosophy of “light-touch conservation,” he said: “understanding the necessary balance between retaining the fabric and character of the existing building, but making it adventurous and interesting as an exhibition space.” Chipperfield has recently worked on Berlin's Neues Museum and on three American institutions: the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa; the Anchorage Museum in Alaska; and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Saumarez Smith also announced that artist Anish Kapoor will get a stand-alone exhibition in late 2009. The show of Kapoor's work, filling all of the main-floor galleries, will look back at the evolution of the Turner Prize winner's career.

July 22, 2008

Hildy Beyeler (1922–2008)

Hildy Beyeler, who together with her husband, Ernst, established a foundation to house the art collection they built up over fifty years, has died. Catherine Hickley reports for Bloomberg that Beyeler died at home in Riehen, near Basel, on July 18 after a long illness, according to Catherine Schott, a spokeswoman for the Fondation Beyeler. The Beyelers were art dealers who kept some paintings that they didn't want to sell to decorate their home. Artists represented in their collection of about two hundred works include Max Ernst, Francis Bacon, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso. The Fondation Beyeler, designed by Renzo Piano, opened in 1997 as a public museum to house the collection.

July 22, 2008

Guernica Pronounced Too Fragile to Move

Fiona Govan reports in the Daily Telegraph that art experts, after an exhaustive study, have concluded that Pablo Picasso's famous masterpiece, Guernica, is in “stable but serious” condition. The monochrome canvas that epitomizes the horror of modern warfare had “suffered a lot and requires special care,” said the head of restoration at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid. The conclusions made following the first detailed examination of the artwork in ten years will disappoint those in the Basque country who hoped that the iconic artwork would one day be returned to its spiritual home. As Artforum.com previously reported, officials in the Basque region have argued that the piece, which depicts the destruction of the Basque village of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, should be displayed locally. But Reina Sofia curators have declared that its state is so fragile that any attempt to move it from its current location at the museum would be impossible. Even more restoration on the canvas would risk further damage.

July 21, 2008

International News Digest


Sabrina van der Ley, the former artistic director of Berlin’s Art Forum fair, has been appointed director of the Galerie der Gegenwart (Gallery of the Present) at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Till Briegleb reports, van der Ley replaces Christoph Heinrich, who has moved on to the Denver Art Museum. According to Briegleb, candidates included Stephan Berg from the Kunstmuseum Bonn and Julian Heynen from K21 in Düsseldorf. Van der Ley will be working for kunsthalle director Hubertus Gaßner. “The position as curator under Gaßner was offered with an accordingly low salary, not a penny for exhibitions, not even a secretary, and no resources,” writes Briegleb, who adds that van der Ley worked successfully with a low-to-no budget for Art Forum Berlin. Is this appointment part of a wider trend? After all, Samuel Keller, the former head of Art Basel, left the fair to direct the Fondation Beyeler. “Yet this only underscores the trend that the interests of the art market are increasingly expanding to museums,” writes Briegleb.


Next year, the international fair Art Forum Berlin will be taking place at the same time as the new Berlin art fair ABC (Art Berlin Contemporary). As the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, in 2009 ABC—an initiative of the Berlin dealers behind the spring Berlin Gallery Weekend—will be taking place the first weekend of September in the halls of the old Post Train Station. Far from announcing a fusion, representatives from Art Forum and ABC emphasized the difference between the two events. ABC, which this year runs September 4–7, will present statements by seventy-four artists as part of an exhibition curated by Ariane Beyn. The coordination of the fairs has been agreed on for international visitors. The Art Forum and ABC teams hope to avoid scheduling conflicts between their respective openings and parallel events. According to the report, this year, the forty-four Berlin galleries participating in ABC will also open new exhibitions in their own spaces. Thus, in essence, the Berlin Galley Weekend has added a new fall date to its traditional spring run.


The Frieder Burda museum in Baden-Baden, Germany, has announced a new initiative with Paris’s Centre Pompidou. As Agence-France Presse reports, the agreement—called “A Window in Baden-Baden”—will allow the Frieder Burda to exhibit works from the Pompidou’s permanent collection, as well as the works of young French artists selected by the Pompidou. Returning the favor, the Frieder Burda museum will be able to present works in its collection at the Pompidou, including pieces by Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter. Both the president of the Pompidou, Alain Seban, and the director, Alfred Pacquement, have approved the cooperation. Frieder Burda, who inherited a German publishing empire, is the first and only German on the Pompidou’s acquisitions committee. The Frieder Burda museum, which was designed by Richard Meier, was inaugurated in 2004.


Several works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol have been stolen from the Lasse Aaberg museum in Baalsta, a Swedish town northwest of Stockholm. As Agence-France Presse reports, the thieves broke into the museum at night and took three drawings by Lichtenstein and two by Warhol, including Superman and Mickey Mouse. According to the museum’s director, Carina Aaberg, their estimated worth is $510,000. The museum, which is named after its founder, the Swedish actor and artist Lasse Aaberg, possesses a large collection of modern art, especially prints and caricatures.

Jennifer Allen

July 21, 2008

Aspen Art Museum Chooses Architect Shigeru Ban; Tate Modern’s New Plans Revealed

Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, director and chief curator of the Aspen Art Museum (AAM), has announced the selection of Shigeru Ban Architects (SBA) to design a new thirty-thousand-square-foot facility for the AAM. SBA was the unanimous choice of the AAM’s Architect Selection Committee. The entire cost of designing, building, and operating the new facility will be completely supported by private funds from museum donors. Ban has received more than thirty-five awards for his inspiring contributions to the architecture and design world, including an MIPIM Award in 2007. He is widely known for structures that incorporate paper and for his singular development of paper-tube technology. His dual concerns and commitments to both environmental and humanitarian efforts drove him to design and implement temporary shelters for victims of Kobe, Japan’s 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake.

In other news, several renderings of the substantially revised plans for a new wing of Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron can be found on Archinect. As Artforum.com reported on Friday, the building in the newer design will use 40 percent less energy and 35 percent less carbon than building regulations require.

July 21, 2008

Philadelphia Adds New Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy

Philadelphia shed its status as the biggest city in the country to lack a cultural-affairs office on Friday, as Mayor Michael Nutter issued an executive order creating the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, reports Patrick Kerkstra in the |www.philly.com/philly/news/20080718_New_Philaarts_culture_agency_to_be_announced_today.html|Philadelphia Inquirer|. Nutter also named Gary Steuer, a New Yorker with extensive experience in the world of nonprofit cultural organizations, as the city's chief cultural officer. Steuer will be a member of Nutter's cabinet and report directly to the mayor. “We are very serious about arts and culture and the creative economy here in Philadelphia,” said Nutter. “Art and culture are not just about pretty pictures and performances. . . . It is also an economic-development tool, a tremendous asset for the city.”