August 19, 2016

Curators Back New Affordable-Art Website

Olivier Varenne

Collectionair, a new art website billed as a platform where collectors can purchase works for under $10,000, has received support from museum professionals such as Jean-Hubert Martin, the former director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou, Gareth Harris of the Art Newspaper reports.

Cofounded by Olivier Varenne, the international curator at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, and Valerie Konde, an entrepreneur who previously worked for Google, the site produces online exhibitions each month that feature between twenty and thirty works created by emerging and established artists from underrepresented art scenes. Curators of the digital shows are selected by the company’s curatorial advisory board, which consists of Jean-Hubert Martin, Philippa Adams, the senior director of the Saatchi Gallery in London, and Adelina von Fürstenberg, curator of the Armenian pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

“Our advisors’ decision to join forces with Collectionair came as a commitment to help talented artists who do not have access to the right professional network shine globally,” Varenne and Konde said.

August 19, 2016

J. Michael Bewley Donates Twelve Works to the San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art has announced that it has received a gift of twelve artworks from collector J. Michael Bewley, a former trustee and longtime member of the museum’s acquisitions committee.

The gift includes works by Robert Arneson, Christopher Brown, Squeak Carnwath, Enrique Chagoya, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Lesley Dill, George Grosz, George Herms, Italo Scanga, and Fritz Scholder.

“For many years, Mike Bewley has been one of the most forward-looking, knowledgeable, and adventurous collectors of contemporary art in our community,” executive director Susan Krane said. “His passion for art dates back to his days as an undergraduate at Princeton University, when he frequented the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. It is no wonder that his art collection today reflects his core, humanistic ideals and his deep belief in social justice.”

August 19, 2016

Gerun Riley Named President of the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation

Eli and Edythe Broad

Eli and Edythe Broad have announced that Gerun Riley will lead the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation as president.

Eli and Edythe, who are now in their eighties, said that they have been searching for someone to take over the helm of their foundation. “We want our philanthropy to continue after we are gone. For some time, we have looked for someone whom we trust to work with us in overseeing our philanthropic activities, someone who shares our values and priorities. And the right person has been with us the whole time.”

Riley has worked for the Broads for thirteen years. She joined the organization in 2003 as an administrator. Since then, she has served as chief of staff, vice president, and, most recently, senior vice president. She has also worked on a number of initiatives including the Broad Prize for Urban Education and the architectural competition for and the construction of the Broad museum. Previously, Riley worked in the New York office of the legal firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, where she collaborated with senior partners to run the pro bono department.

August 19, 2016

DePaul Art Museum Received Gift of 114 Works by Chicago-Based Artists

De Paul Art Museum

DePaul Art Museum has announced that collector Chuck Thurow has gifted the institution 114 works by fifty-nine Chicago-based artists, including paintings by Jim Lutes, Phyllis Bramson, Candida Alvarez, and Philip Hanson; works on paper by Linda Kramer, Oli Watt, Richard Rezac, Mike Lash, Paul LaMantia, Eleanor Speiss-Ferris, Max King Cap, Karl Wirsum, and Sandra Perlow; and early work from Theaster Gates, Brian Calvin, and Marie Krane Bergman.

“Whether artists have spent their whole career here, studied here or were born here, we are interested in all of those scenarios in which Chicago is a touch point for artists,” Julie Rodrigues Widholm, director and chief curator, said. She added, “It is significant that this gift is from Chuck Thurow, who rallied support for artists in Chicago as director of the Hyde Park Arts Center and has played a significant role in the story of art in Chicago that we’re trying to tell.”

Thurow collected the artwork during his tenure as director of the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side, from 1998 to 2010. Throughout his career, Thurow said he worked to “make Chicago a great place for artists to live and work.”

August 19, 2016

Dealer Files $6 Million Lawsuit Against David Zwirner for Failing to Deliver Artwork

Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball (Centaur and Lapith Maiden), 2013.

Fabrizio Moretti, Italian Renaissance dealer and owner of London-based Blue Art Limited, is suing David Zwirner and his gallery for failing to deliver Jeff Koons’s Gazing Ball (Centaur and Lapith Maiden), 2013, which Moretti bought for $2 million, Dan Duray of the Art Newspaper reports.

Moretti originally asked the court to grant him a full refund for the work; however, his lawyers amended the complaint on August 17 after Zwirner called the lawsuit a “a case of buyer’s remorse.” Moretti upped the asking amount to $6 million. He cited breach of contract, fraud, and violation of the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law as reasons for seeking additional damages.

“I do not know why David has chosen to treat me in this manner,” Moretti said in a statement. “It is also unfair to the artist, whom I like and admire. It is no secret that I helped to bring the work of Jeff Koons to the Palazzo Vecchio in 2015. It is my hope that I can receive justice in a New York court.”

August 19, 2016

Ukraine Calls for Boycott of Moscow Museum Exhibiting Works by Crimean Artist

State Tretyakov Gallery

Ukraine’s culture ministry is urging international institutions to boycott Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery, claiming that it is exhibiting works that were illegally exported from Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, Sophia Kishkovsky of the Art Newspaper reports.

At the heart of the controversy is a retrospective of Crimean-born artist Ivan Aivazovsky, a nineteenth-century painter best known for his seascapes, that opened at Tretyakov Gallery on July 29 and is drawing up to five thousand visitors each day. Thirty-eight of the artist’s works are on loan from Aivazovsky National Art Gallery, located in Feodosia, a Crimean town on the coast of the Black Sea. Since the works are considered the cultural holdings of Ukraine, which doesn’t recognize Russia’s control over Crimea, Moscow needs state authorization to borrow them.

Ukraine’s ministry of culture said, “Due to the gross violation by the Russian Federation of all norms of international law, including those stemming from its occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine, our state is deprived of any kind of oversight over the preservation of cultural property on the temporarily occupied territories, especially those that are an integral part of the museum fund of Ukraine.”

August 18, 2016

Jacques Terzian (1921–2016)

Jacques Terzian

Jacques Terzian, sculptor and founder of the Point—an artists’ colony in San Francisco—died on August 6 at the age of ninety-four, Sam Whiting of SF Gate reports.

Terzian was prompted to lease the Hunters Point Shipyard, a former US Navy base, to create the Point after he and a group of artists were evicted from a San Francisco warehouse in the 1970s; developers demolished the building to create Levi’s Plaza. Terzian envisioned Hunter’s Point as affordable spaces for the artistic community and converted the naval base’s barracks into three hundred studios in 1984. It quickly grew into the largest artists’ colony in the US and currently hosts 250 artists.

“The shipyard arts community has lost the person whose inspiration, vision and love for the arts and artists brought it into being,” longtime tenant Scott Madison wrote on the Hunters Point Shipyard Artists’ website. “The person who was, for more than two decades, its animated and animating spirit.”

Born in Fresno, California, in 1921, the Bay Area–based artist was the son of Armenian immigrants. He learned to weld at a Navy yard in Richmond before working at Hunters Point Shipyard, where he repaired naval ships that were damaged in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Terzian served in the Air Force and earned his BFA from the University of California, Berkeley before studying at New York City’s Parsons School of Design. In 1974, Terzian established a found object–based industrial art and custom-furniture company named Patterns Ltd. He served as property manager of the Point until 2000, when he began to gradually retire.

August 18, 2016

UK Museums Ethics Committee Dismisses Allegations of Corruption in BP’s Sponsorships

Anti-BP protest at the British Museum.

The Museums Association Ethics Committee has announced that after investigating BP’s sponsorships of UK cultural institutions, the committee found no unethical behavior by any of the parties involved.

The committee was prompted by the Art Not Oil Coalition to look into whether BP exercised undue influence over the museums it was financially supporting.

In May, the coalition released internal documents including e-mails and company memos that were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Art Not Oil claimed that these documents were evidence of the problematic relationship between the oil giant and the British Museum, Tate, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Science Museum. The coalition published a forty-page report, which alleged that BP was involved in curatorial decisions; the planning of museum events, at which the oil company could make beneficial business contacts; and museum security matters.

In a statement, the Museums Association Ethics Committee said that it found no violation of the museums’ ethics code. It added that the actions of the museums’ staff members were “common practice” and that “none of the e-mails quoted in the report suggest anything other than polite correspondence and friendly working relationships.”

August 18, 2016

Harvard Launches Online Database of 32,000 Bauhaus Works

Catalogue of the 1930 Bauhaus exhibition, Harvard Society for Contemporary Art, Harvard University Archives, HUD 3298, Box 1.

Harvard Art Museums has released a massive online database of thirty-two thousand works related to the Bauhaus, Pac Pobric of the Art Newspaper reports. The collection features works by artists such as Mies van der Rohe, Bertrand Goldberg, Marcel Breuer, and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius.

“We wanted to create a central place to organize the Harvard Art Museums’ Bauhaus materials to help students, scholars, and the public find their way through the collections and discover new artists and objects,” Robert Wiesenberger, a curatorial fellow at Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum, said.

The digital collection is being released in anticipation of the German art and design school’s one hundredth anniversary in 2019. Harvard students organized the first exhibition of Bauhaus art in the US at the Fogg Museum in Cambridge in 1930. It was the only American survey of Bauhaus works held before the school was shuttered by the Nazis in 1933.