September 18, 2016

Don Buchla (1937–2016)

Don Buchla

Don Buchla, a pioneer of electronic music and inventor of the synthesizer, died on September 14 at his home in Berkeley, California, at the age of seventy-nine, Jon Pareles of the New York Times reports.

Buchla was an experimental musician and composer who built his own instruments in order to create new sounds. He conceived of the voltage-controlled modular synthesizer in 1963 at the same time as Robert Moog, who came out with his own device in 1964.

“He invented a whole new paradigm for how you interface with electronics––much more human, and a whole new thing,” Buchla’s friend Morton Subotnick told The Guardian.

Born in South Gate, California, in 1937, Buchla grew up in New Jersey, where he learned to play the piano and build radio sets. While studying at the University of California, Berkeley, he worked for NASA. Buchla collaborated on developing the controls for the Gemini space capsule. Studying music and astronomy, he earned his degree in physics in 1959.

September 17, 2016

Edward Albee (1928–2016)

Edward Albee

Edward Albee, a celebrated American playwright who has won numerous Tonys and three Pulitzer Prizes for his dramas, died on September 16 at his home in Montauk, Long Island, at the age of eighty-eight, Bruce Weber of the New York Times reports.

Born in Virginia in 1928, Albee was put up for adoption in Manhattan at three weeks old and was placed with Reed Albee, a businessman who owned several vaudeville theaters, and his wife, Frances. By the time he turned eight, Albee knew he was gay and that he wanted to be a poet. At the age of fourteen, Albee wrote his first play, which he described as a “three-act sex farce,” that his mother threw out. “They didn’t want a writer on their hands,” he said about his parents. “Good God, no.”

Albee attended Trinity College in Hartford but was expelled in 1947. He moved to Greenwich Village, where, he said, “I found myself surrounded by people who were creative, painters and sculptors and composers and writers. A lot of experimental theatre was going on, so you could educate yourself. That was a feast.”

September 17, 2016

Laura Sparks Is the First Woman to Be Named President of Cooper Union

Laura Sparks

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art has announced that Laura Sparks, executive director of the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, has been elected president. She will be the first woman to lead the institution. Her tenure begins on January 4, 2017.

In a statement, Sparks expressed her enthusiasm for working with the college’s students and faculty and said she plans to “identify a route to restoring full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduates.” She added, “I am confident that together we can reaffirm our sense of mission, stabilize Cooper’s finances, and rebuild the trust of our constituents.”

Cooper Union came under fire in 2014 when the historically tuition-free school decided to start charging undergraduate students for the first time as a way to prevent insolvency. Besides student protests, this resulted in an investigation into the school’s financial decisions by New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Litigation against Cooper Union ended in September 2015 after the school agreed to have an independent monitor keep track of its finances and to establish a committee that would explore ways in which the college could return to being tuition-free. In the October 2015 issue of Artforum, a roundtable, featuring Cooper Union’s faculty member Mike Essl and graduate Jory Rabinovitz, was organized to address the challenges facing art schools.

As head of the William Penn Foundation, Sparks refocused the foundation’s $115 million grant budget on social and environmental concerns, including the improvement of urban education for economically disadvantaged children, the protection of water resources, the development of urban parks and trails in underserved communities, and the cultivation of a vibrant cultural sector. Prior to her work at the foundation, Sparks served as senior vice president for community development at Citigroup, where she developed programs to increase affordable housing.

“We are so fortunate to have identified a new leader who brings substantial executive-level experience from the nonprofit sector as well as industry,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., trustee and cochair of the presidential search committee. “We wanted someone who valued Cooper as a first-class, unique educational institution, and also had significant experience leading a large, complicated organization through challenging financial circumstances. Laura Sparks has both skill sets.”

The Cooper Union’s board of trustees, advised by a search committee, chose Sparks from a pool of three hundred applicants.

September 17, 2016

NASA to Collaborate with Artist to Document Climate Change

A photograph of glacial ice taken by Justin Guariglia during a NASA flight over Greenland.

According to Hilarie M. Sheets of the New York Times, NASA is officially collaborating with artist Justin Guariglia to document climate change and explore ways to present the earth’s changing landscapes to the public.

The collaboration was announced at the Global Exchange Summit on art and science at Lincoln Center on September 16. Guariglia will be the first artist to be embedded on a NASA Greenland mission. The partnership, which NASA clarified is not a residency program, will be funded by private grants through 2020.

Guariglia, who began to photograph Greenland’s melting glaciers last year when he persuaded NASA to let him accompany officials on a military transport plane that flew at extremely low heights in the troposphere, said, “We’re not used to computing the scale of a 100,000-year-old piece of ice the size of California that’s going to break off from an ice sheet.”

Josh Willis, the lead scientist for the Oceans Melting Greenland mission, referred to as the OMG mission, said that harnessing the emotional charge of art to the scientific facts “seems like the most powerful way to help people understand just how radically we are reshaping earth’s climate.”

Over a five-year campaign, OMG will try to assess how much of Greenland’s ice is melting by observing changing water temperatures on the continental shelf surrounding the country and how marine glaciers react to the presence of the warmer and saltier water of the Atlantic.

September 17, 2016

Winners of 2016 Jerwood Drawing Prize Announced

Solveig Settemsdal won the first prize for her video Singularity.

The Jerwood Drawing Prize, established to promote and celebrate the drawing practice of contemporary artists in the UK, has announced its 2016 award winners.

The first prize of $10,400 has been awarded to the Norwegian artist Solveig Settemsdal for her video Singularity, which explores the medium of drawing as an almost sculptural process through the suspension of ink in cubes of gelatin. Based in Bristol, Settemsdal graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2010 and since then she has been working with sculpture and photography.

Anna Sofie Jespersen was honored with the second, $6,500 prize for her work Sid in Bathtub. Drawn with a ballpoint pen on tracing paper, the work depicts a man lying fully clothed in a bathtub. The Danish artist is currently earning her fine art degree at the Chelsea College of Art in London.

Jade Chorkulard and Amelie Barnathan each received student awards with a $2,600 prize.

September 16, 2016

Los Angeles’s Ibid Gallery Announces New Partner

Gina Olivia Edensvard

Los Angeles’s Ibid Gallery announced today that Gina Olivia Edensvard has joined the organization as a new partner. Edensvard has worked as a private dealer between LA, New York, and London for the past decade.

Edensvard’s husband, Magnus Edensvard, originally established Ibid Gallery in London in 2003. He met Olivia in 2014, when she was overseeing his Los Angeles–based project space, and they were married this year.

Magnus Edensvard said, “Once I made the decision to stay in Los Angeles and find a permanent space for Ibid, it only felt natural to merge our personal and professional lives.” He added, “Gina is part of the fabric of Los Angeles and I truly look forward to bringing her passion, leadership, and expertise into this new venture and partnership. She is an invaluable addition to our growing team.”

Last week, Ibid Gallery announced that it will open a new 9,000-square-foot space in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles on September 25, as previously reported.

September 16, 2016

Socrates Sculpture Park Releases Design of Its First Permanent Home

Design rendering of Socrates Sculpture Park’s The Cubes.

In celebration of its thirtieth anniversary, Socrates Sculpture Park has released design renderings for the Cubes, its new 2,640-square-foot two-story home. The building will provide space for the park’s educational and public programming, exhibitions, and administrative offices.

Located at the main entrance to the park, at Vernon Boulevard, the Cubes will be the park’s first permanent structure. Designed by the local architectural firm LOT-EK, the flexible and sustainable space incorporates a 720-square-foot structure made up of six shipping containers originally commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art. It served as temporary offices for the institution during its transition from the Marcel Breuer building to its new location downtown. The institution donated the structure to Socrates Sculpture Park when it no longer needed the extra space.

LOT-EK will add twelve additional shipping containers to the recycled structure, embracing the park’s belief that reclamation and revitalization are essential for the environment and referencing its industrial roots. Historically, the park has repurposed shipping containers as temporary storage units, open-air artist studios, and education areas.

September 16, 2016

Japan Society Gallery Receives $2.5 Million Gift

Japan Society

The Japan Society has announced that the Minnesota-based Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation has approved an additional $2.5 million grant supporting the gallery’s exhibition program and public and educational initiatives.

The foundation awarded the gallery $2 million earlier this year. Totaling $4.5 million, the largest gift the gallery has received for the visual arts from a single donor in the past decade, the grants will be used to establish a permanent endowment fund for the organization.

Gallery director Yukie Kamiya said, “Together, these two grants ensure that we can realize an ambitious and forward-looking exhibition program for the twenty-first century, a broad range of innovative gallery improvements, and a suite of robust, original educational programs that will bring the best of Japanese art and culture to audiences of all ages from New York and around the world.”

September 16, 2016

Artadia Announces 2016 San Francisco Award Winners

Josh Faught, Attachments, 2016.

Artadia announced today that Josh Faught and Ruth Laskey have been selected as the 2016 San Francisco Artadia awardees. The artists will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds and are eligible for the inaugural National Artadia award that will be presented at the end of 2016.

From a pool of 490 submissions, five finalists were selected by a jury consisting of Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of sculpture and paining at SFMoMA; Lauren Haynes, associate curator of the permanent collection at the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Brian Sholis, curator of photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Ceci Moss, an independent curator, joined the jury for the second round of evaluations to help determine the award winners.

“For a place like San Francisco that has a rich history in craft and textiles, it’s perhaps not surprising that both Artadia awardees use a loom, albeit for very different purposes and results,” Gheith said.