December 3, 2010

Gary Carrion-Murayari to Serve as Associate Curator at the New Museum

In October Massimiliano Gioni, director of special exhibitions at the New Museum, was named its associate director and director of exhibitions. Now, according to the New York Times’ Carol Vogel, Gioni is shoring up his team: This week he hired Gary Carrion-Murayari.

Carrion-Murayari, thirty, has worked at the Whitney Museum for seven years and is perhaps best known as a cocurator of the 2010 Whitney Biennial. The Times reports that he assisted its chief contemporary art curator, Chrissie Iles, on both the 2004 and 2006 biennials, and in 2007 organized his own show, “Television Delivers People,” which linked single-channel videos dating back to the 1970s to digital works by younger artists. When he starts at the New Museum on December 20, he will be associate curator.

“Gary is one of the most active curators in New York City,” Gioni said in a statement. “He has done an amazing job supporting and exhibiting artists of his generation.”

December 3, 2010

Hooded Thieves Steal Works by Picasso, Botero, and Chillida

According to the Associated Press, three hooded thieves stole a truck containing twenty-eight pieces of art including works by Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, and Eduardo Chillida, Spanish police said Thursday.

A police statement said the truck was taken from a warehouse near the town of Getafe on Madrid’s southern outskirts last Saturday. Officers went to the warehouse after an alarm sounded and found the door of the building had been forced open. On arrival, the owner told police that the truck was missing.

A police official said security camera recordings showed the robbery was carried out by three hooded persons and that the keys had been left inside the truck. He said the truck was not armored.

Police found the vehicle empty Tuesday in the nearby area of Alcorcon, southwest of the capital. The police statement said the stolen work included pieces by Picasso, Botero, Chillida, as well as by Spanish artists Gonzalo Gonzalez, Julio Gonzalez, and Antonio Saura and Slovenia’s Cveto Marsic.

December 3, 2010

Tate Britain Announces $70 Million Renovation Plans

Tate Britain said this week it would spend seventy million dollars on new walls, roofs, floors, improving its entrance, and rehanging its collection, according to Reuters.

Beginning next February, nine galleries in the southern and oldest part of the museum’s nineteenth-century building will be given new walls, roofs, and floors, while the domed atrium at the entrance of the gallery will be opened up, with a new spiral staircase leading down to the lower level.

Under the plans, the gallery’s Millbank entrance will become the public face of Tate Britain and—for the first time since 1927—visitors will also be granted access to the upper level of the building.

Visitor numbers at Tate Britain have swelled by 60 percent over the past ten years, placing high demand on the building’s facilities; with that in mind, a new cafe and learning studios are being designed. Almost two thirds of the project’s budget has already been raised, much of it from private donations. Gallery director Penelope Curtis expects the renovation to be completed by 2013.

December 3, 2010

High Museum of Art Appoints New Photography Curator

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has announced the appointment of Brett Abbott as the museum’s new curator of photography. Abbott currently serves as associate curator in the department of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and will join the High on April 1, 2011. As curator of photography Abbott will be responsible for the High’s collection of more than four-thousand prints, including works by George N. Barnard, Julia Margaret Cameron, Walker Evans, Richard Misrach, Emmet Gowin, and Sally Mann.

“In addition to his extensive knowledge of the history of photography and exciting repertoire of recent scholarship, Brett brings a fresh and energetic perspective to our curatorial team,” said David Brenneman, the High’s director of collections and exhibitions. “We look forward to welcoming him to the High and his stewardship of the museum’s robust photography collection, as well as introducing him to Atlanta’s thriving photography community.”

December 2, 2010

Ranjit Hoskote to Curate India's Venice Biennale Exhibition

For the first time in the history of the 115-year-old Venice Biennale, the Indian government will take a showcase of contemporary art to the event as an official entrant. India has been allocated space for the exhibition at the Arsenal—an old abandoned armory converted into an art gallery. Mumbai-based art critic, curator, and writer Ranjit Hoskote will curate the exhibition. Hoskote was cocurator of the 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008) in South Korea, collaborating on this project with Okwui Enwezor and Hyunjin Kim.

“This is first time India will be going as a nation to the Venice Biennale, one of the oldest art fairs. India artists and galleries had participated earlier. They were chosen by the biennale curator in individual capacities,” Ashok Vajpeyi, chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi, told the Indo-Asian News Service in an interview.

December 2, 2010

2010 Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Awards Go to Shary Boyle and Scott Watson

The Hnatyshyn Foundation yesterday announced the recipients of the 2010 Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Awards. The twenty-five-thousand-dollar prize for outstanding achievement by a Canadian artist is awarded to Shary Boyle of Toronto; the winner of the fifteen-thousand-dollar award for curatorial excellence in contemporary art is Scott Watson, director/curator of the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, in Vancouver.

Born in 1972 and based in Toronto, Shary Boyle graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1994 and has since traveled, lived, and performed throughout Canada, Europe, and the United States. Her practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance. Shary Boyle’s work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions including at the Power Plant (Toronto, 2006) and at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge, 2008). In 2009 her work was featured at the Fumetto Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland, and included in the exhibition “The Likely Fate of the Man that Swallowed the Ghost,” organized by the Center Pompidou at the Conciergerie in Paris. “Flesh and Blood,” a national touring exhibit of her work curated by Louise Déry of the Galerie de l’UQAM, will circulate from the Art Gallery of Ontario, to Galerie de l’UQAM in Montréal, and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver in June to August 2011. An Critic’s Pick of the show can be found here.

Watson is director/curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and professor in the department of art history, visual art, and theory at the University of British Columbia. He is also director and graduate advisor for the critical curatorial studies program, which he helped initiate in September 2002. Recent distinctions include the Alvin Balkind Award for Creative Curatorship in British Columbia Arts (2008), and the UBC Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts (2005).

December 1, 2010

David Wojnarowicz Video Pulled from National Portrait Gallery Exhibition

The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian in Washington removed a David Wojnarowicz video from one of its exhibitions and apologized for its contents after the video was criticized by the Catholic League and members of the House of Representatives for being offensive to Christians, the New York Times’s Dave Itzkoff reports.

Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, 1987, was being shown as part of an exhibition called “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.” The show, which opened on October 30, addresses issues of sexual and gender identity and bills itself as “the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in the making of modern American portraiture,” according to the museum’s website.

Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992. Among the imagery that he uses to depict the suffering of an AIDS patient is a scene of ants crawling on a crucifix. In an interview with The Associated Press, Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, an advocacy group, said A Fire in My Belly was “hate speech.”

David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in My Belly (Film in Progress), 1986–87.

“This is not the first time the Smithsonian has offended us,” said Donohue, who has criticized the institution for displaying works by other artists he considers anti-Catholic. “I’m going to cast my net much wider. Why should the government pay for this?”

The video was also criticized by several House Republicans. In interviews with Fox News, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia said it was an “outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season,” and Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia called it “in your face perversion paid for by tax dollars.”

Martin Sullivan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a telephone interview that the removal of Wojnarowicz’s work was the result of “a misperception that that video was about that artist intentionally wanting to do a sacrilegious piece on Christ or the crucifix or whatever.”

Sullivan added: “The piece, which was made in the late ’80s in Mexico, had much more to do with the reality of the suffering of the AIDS epidemic in Latin American culture, with that vivid, colorful imagery and sometimes shocking metaphors.”

December 1, 2010

Arts Writers Grant Program Announces Twenty Awards

The Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program has released its list of 2010 grantees. The 2010 cycle awards a total of $600,000 to twenty individual writers. The grants range from $8,000 to $45,000 in four categories—articles, blogs, books, and short-form writing—and support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences. Representing a range of genres from scholarly studies to self-published blogs, the twenty selected projects listed below are united by their dual commitment to the craft of writing and the advancement of critical discourse on contemporary visual art. Below is a list of grantees.

December 1, 2010

Joan Rosenbaum Announces Plans to Retire from the Jewish Museum in 2011

Joan Rosenbaum, who has led the Jewish Museum since 1981, has informed the full board of trustees of her intention to retire at the end of June 2011 from her position as Helen Goldsmith Menschel director of the museum. Over the course of her thirty-year tenure, she has expanded every aspect of the museum, as reflected in an annual operating budget that has risen from $1 million in 1981 to $15 million today.

Joshua Nash, chairman of the board of trustees, announced that the board had voted unanimously but with regret to accept Rosenbaum’s planned retirement.

“Joan Rosenbaum is the most influential leader this institution has had in its one-hundred and six-year history,” Nash stated. “She has served longer than any other director and has shaped the museum more than any other individual. As we carry forward this pre-eminent institution, where millennia of Jewish culture are made manifest through the arts for people of all backgrounds, we are profoundly grateful for Joan’s vision, skill, and dedication in building the internationally respected Jewish Museum we know today.”

In announcing her planned retirement, Rosenbaum stated, “I feel thirty years is a very good run for any museum director. I am now ready to take on new projects, having had the education of a lifetime at the Jewish Museum. I have learned from each new exhibition and acquisition and have gathered a world of invaluable experience from a wise and devoted board and a brilliantly talented staff. Now is the time for a new generation to build on the success we’ve achieved together.”