December 10, 2010

New Art Dealers Association for Miami

Aiming to replicate the prowess of the prestigious Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), a group of thirty Miami galleries recently hatched the nonprofit Miami Art Dealers Association (MADA), reports Brook Mason in Artnet. “This new association fills a vital gap by representing a group of distinctive dealers to promote South Florida as a year-end destination,” says Eric Charest-Weinberg, whose eponymous gallery is located in the Wynwood Arts District.

The new dealer association also promises to support standards of connoisseurship and awareness of the visual arts, advocate ethical practices, and develop joint marketing programs while lobbying governmental agencies. Negotiating fees for advertising and other expenses is on the MADA docket.

In addition to Charest Weinberg, MADA members include Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, Alejandra Von Hartz Gallery, Calix Gustav Gallery, Dina Mitrani Gallery, and Chelsea Gallery. Among MADA sponsors is Lee Ann Lester, who with her husband David Lester founded the Miami International Art Fair.

December 10, 2010

Peter C. Marzio (1943–2010)

Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, died last night, according to the Houston Chronicle's Douglas Britt. He was sixty-seven years old.

The museum’s longest serving director, Marzio joined the MFAH in 1982 after serving as director and chief executive officer of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, from 1978 to 1982. Under his leadership, the MFAH’s permanent collection more than quadrupled in size, growing from about fourteen thousand artworks to sixty-three thousand.

The collection’s rapid growth was accompanied by many other milestones under Marzio’s tenure. The MFAH added the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by artist Isamu Noguchi, in 1986; and a European decorative arts center after Harris Masterson III and his wife, Carroll Sterling Masterson, donated their home and 4.5-acre estate, Rienzi, in 1991. The Audrey Jones Beck building, designed by architect Rafael Moneo, opened in 2000, and at the time of his death, Marzio was working toward the goal of a third building for modern and contemporary art, which he envisioned as presenting a global view of art movements in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Aiming to make the MFAH a broad encyclopedic museum, Marzio launched the MFAH’s Asian art department in 2000 and a Latin American art department and its research arm, the International Center for the Art of the Americas, in 2001.

December 10, 2010

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Appoints Curator of Landscape

Carol Stocker reports in the Boston Globe that the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has announced the appointment of landscape scholar and educator Charles Waldheim as the museum’s new consulting curator of landscape, effective January 2011.

Charles Waldheim is a thinker, educator, and scholar in the field of landscape architecture. Waldheim coined the term “landscape urbanism” to describe emerging design practices at the intersection of landscape and contemporary urbanism, which is his primary research focus. He has written extensively on the topic, and has lectured across North America, Europe, and Asia. Waldheim is John E. Irving professor of landscape architecture and the current chair of the department of landscape architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Waldheim is a licensed architect and a principal of Urban Agency.

December 10, 2010

Cornell University’s Johnson Museum Director to Retire

After serving as the Johnson’s director through nineteen years and an estimated three hundred to four hundred shows—not to mention hundreds of additional shows he worked on during sixteen years at other art museums—Robinson has announced his plan to retire next summer, according to the Cornell Daily Sun’s Jeff Stein.

Robinson’s initial retirement plans were interrupted in 2008, when the financial crisis prompted a 30 percent cut in Uuiversity funding for the Johnson. Robinson said it was “very important to me to not leave [the Johnson] a mess,” so he remained director until now. “Now looked like a pretty good time to hand it over to someone else,” after the museum had recovered from the funding cutback, Robinson said, through donations, grants from foundations, and the laying off of four staff members. Robinson added he wanted to see the Johnson through the construction of its new wing, which is scheduled for completion in 2011.

Robinson said the museum has received nearly $22 million in funding for the wing—which, he said, would expand the Johnson’s gallery size by 25 percent and approximately double the number of works on display. The funding came entirely from outside sources. He added that the wing also has a $3 million endowment for staff and upkeep, “so it’s not a burden for the future.”

Robinson previously served as director at the art museums of Williams College from 1975 to 1979 and that of the Rhode Island School of Design from 1979 to 1992.

December 9, 2010

Guggenheim Announces Winners of Rob Pruitt's 2010 Art Awards

At an awards ceremony and dinner last evening, the Guggenheim Museum announced the winners of Rob Pruitt’s 2010 Art Awards, the second annual celebration honoring notable individuals, exhibitions, and projects that made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art during the past year. Awards in fifteen categories were presented. A list of the winners follows:

December 9, 2010

Lawsuit Claims Cezanne Wrongly Acquired by Met

A man claims a Paul Cezanne painting at New York’s Metropolitan Museum was stolen from his great-grandfather during the Russian Revolution. The Wall Street Journalreports that Pierre Konowaloff has sued the museum in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday. The work is called Madame Cezanne in the Conservatory.

A collector bequeathed the work to the Met in 1960. The museum said in a statement that it believes it has good title to the painting and will fight the lawsuit. Konowaloff, who lives in France, filed a similar suit against Yale University last year over a work by Vincent Van Gogh. Yale says it is the rightful owner. Konowaloff says he is the great-grandson of industrialist and aristocrat Ivan Morozov. More on Konowaloff’s suit against Yale can be found on Artforum.com here.

December 9, 2010

Loridans Foundation Gives over $400,000 to Fifteen Atlanta Museums and Arts Groups

The Charles Loridans Foundation has given early holiday presents to metro Atlanta arts organizations, awarding $444,500 in grants to fifteen groups, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

The recipients of the largest grants are the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia ($107,500), Georgia State University’s Rialto Center for the Arts ($100,000), and the museum of Design Atlanta ($50,000).

The new funding to small and mid-size arts institutions is on top of grants totaling $147,130 that Loridans bestowed earlier this year, bringing the foundation’s 2010 giving total to nearly $600,000.

December 9, 2010

Museum of Arts and Design Launches Center of Olfactory Art

The nose rarely figures in the sensory experience of a museum visitor. According to the Associated Press, that is about to change at the Museum of Arts and Design today, which is launching the Center of Olfactory Art, dedicated to scent as an art form.

“What we’re going to be able to do... with the center is place scent directly in the mainstream of art history and demonstrate that it is the equal of paintings, sculpture, architecture, and all other artistic media,” said Chandler Burr, the former fragrance critic of the New York Times whom the museum said it hired as its—the nation’s—first curator of olfactory art.

More a curatorial department within the museum than a separate entity, the museum created the new center because “scent is a really interesting part of the world of design,” museum director Holly Hotchner told the Associated Press. It fits the institution’s DNA as a “sensuous, sensory-orientated museum” where patrons can touch and feel many of the objects. And of course, smell is as much a part of the senses,” she added.

The center will present its first exhibition, “The Art of Scent, 1889–2011” next November, examining the reformulation and innovation of olfactory works by some of history’s best-known perfumers through ten seminal scents.

December 8, 2010

David Wojnarowicz Video Showing in New York and Los Angeles

Kate Taylor reports for the New York Times that the New Museum is now showing artist David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly, in its lobby. The video, which Wojnarowicz made in 1986 and 1987, partly in response to the death of his close friend and fellow artist Peter Hujar from AIDS, contrasts black-and-white scenes from the streets of Mexico with color images, including one of ants crawling over a crucifix. A four-minute excerpt of the video was recently pulled from an exhibition, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” at the National Portrait Gallery.

After the head of the Catholic League and some House Republicans attacked the work as anti-Catholic and its display as an “outrageous use of taxpayer money,” G. Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian secretary, last week ordered the video removed from the show, prompting a flood of criticism. A nonprofit gallery in Washington, Transformer, showed the video in its storefront window for forty-eight hours and organized a protest march by local arts activists.

The New Museum gave Wojnarowicz his first US retrospective in 1999, seven years after he died of AIDS. The museum decided over the weekend to display the video, its director, Lisa Phillips, said, because it felt “the need to speak up and be firm in supporting freedom of expression.”

The video will also be played in Los Angeles at the CB1 Gallery according to David Ng for the Los Angeles Times. The gallery said in an e-mail this week that it will display Wojnarowicz’s video during Thursday’s downtown art walk and continuing through the weekend.