October 14, 2016

Tania Bruguera Announces 2018 Bid for Cuban Presidency

Tania Bruguera Photo: Sam Horine for Creative Time

On October 14, in a video that was released at the Creative Time Summit—a conference that focuses on art and social change in Washington, DC—Cuban artist Tania Bruguera announced that she would run in Cuba’s 2018 presidential race “to change the culture of fear.”

Since Bruguera’s bid cannot be realized––presidential candidates can only be elected by the National Assembly––the video is more of a performance than the start of a presidential campaign.

“Let’s use the 2018 elections to build a different Cuba,” Bruguera said, “to build a Cuba where we are all in charge and not only the few.” In the ninety-second video, she urges Cubans to imagine themselves running for office and asks them to upload videos in which they talk about their platforms. “Let’s start thinking, What if we actually had that power,” she said. “Who would we be? What would we do?”

Known for producing controversial works that often explore the intersection between art, activism, and politics, Bruguera was arrested several times in 2014 and 2015 for attempting to reenact her performance Tatlin’s Whisper (#6), in which individuals were invited to talk about freedom of speech in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución.

In a 500 Words with artforum.com, Bruguera said, “Most frequently, artists denounce or visualize problems, make art a tool to build small-scale prototypes of a different society, or directly challenge the status quo by generating a political situation. From my perspective, it is a misrepresentation when the mere use of an image of a politician or of a political event is automatically deemed ‘political art.’ Political art is uncomfortable knowledge. It is not art of the past or of the present but of the future.”

October 14, 2016

UK Cuts Art History from High School Curriculums

Godalming College students studying for the AS level history of art exam, Surrey, 2014. Photo: Graham Turner

According to Maev Kennedy of The Guardian, in 2018 AS- and A-level art history courses will be dropped from high school curriculums across the UK. Artists, historians, and academics have spoken out against the decision, which is part of a wider plan of educational reforms spearheaded by former education secretary Michael Gove.

For high school students in the UK, General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (also known as A-level) courses are usually required for admission into universities. A spokeswomen for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) said, “Our decision has nothing to do with the importance of the history of art, and it won’t stop students going on to do a degree in it as we’re not aware of any universities that require an A-level in the subject.” The AQA cited the low number of students taking the exam, the high cost of offering the test, and a lack of teachers for the subject among the reasons why it will be cut. Eight hundred and thirty nine students took the A-level exam this summer.

A petition that was launched on 38 Degrees on October 13 has more than seven thousand signatures calling for a reversal of the decision to eliminate the subject. It states: “By cutting access to the study of art history before university, fewer prospective students will think about enrolling for such a minority subject. Over time this will lead to a dearth of expertise and interest in the visual arts and heritage, vital for continuing to protect the UK’s rich cultural history.”

Caroline Osborne, art history teacher and founding trustee of the Art History in Schools campaign group, called the decision to drop the A-level “crazy, completely crazy.”

Anthropology and creative writing are among the other subjects that will be culled in order to make way for more “more challenging” subjects.

October 14, 2016

Gaurav Bhatia Named Managing Director of Sotheby’s India

Gaurav Bhatia

Sotheby’s has announced that Gaurav Bhatia has been appointed managing director of Sotheby’s India. Bhatia will be based in Mumbai and will work with the auction house’s international team to their growing client base.

Previously, Bhatia served as the head of marketing at Moët Hennessy India. He has seventeen years of marketing and communication experience in India and in the US; he began his career in 1999 working for the advertising firm Young and Rubicam in New York.

“I’m delighted to be joining Sotheby’s dynamic and highly experienced team at such an exciting moment for the art market in India,” Bhatia said. “Sotheby’s was the first international auction house to hold a sale in India and continues to build on this legacy—evident most recently through the opening of a Mumbai office alongside an ever expanding calendar of events.”

October 14, 2016

James Mellick and Stacey Kirby Win $200,000 ArtPrize Awards

Stacey Kirby, The Bureau of Personal Belonging, 2016

ArtPrize has announced the winners of $500,000 in awards at its eighth annual awards ceremony. The $200,000 grand prizes were given to James Mellick, whose work Wounded Warrior Dogs, 2015, was chosen by public vote, and Stacey Kirby, who was selected by a jury for The Bureau of Personal Belonging, 2016.

“Together, the ArtPrize public vote and juried award winners ultimately reflect issues that both unite and divide us,” ArtPrize executive director Christian Gaines said. “Whatever your views on war, patriotism, identity, or belonging, both works drew you into an immersive and profound experience.”

Eight artists received $12,500 each for the category awards. For the list of those selected by public vote and by jury for the two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based, and installation categories, see below.

October 14, 2016

Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo to Represent the Philippines at 2017 Venice Biennale

Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo

The Philippines’s National Commission for Culture and the Arts has announced that artists Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo will represent the Republic of the Philippines at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which will be held from May 13 to November 26, 2017. Joselina Cruz, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila, will curate the pavilion.

Titled “The Spectre of Comparison,” the winning proposal will explore Filipino political leader and nineteenth-century author José Rizal’s notion of cross-cultural comparisons. “The exhibition looks at both artists as emblematic of the experience of Rizal’s devil of comparisons,” Cruz said. “The exhibition proposes a reading of both the Philippines and the West through their works.” The devil of comparisons is a reference to Rizal’s seminal novel Noli Me Tangere (1887), in which the protagonist returns to Manila from Madrid with a changed perspective on his home after experiencing modernized European cities.

The jury consisted of Eugene Tan, director of the National Gallery Singapore; Florentina P. Colayco, president of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila; artist Luis E. Yee Jr.; Felipe de Leon Jr., NCCA chairperson and Philippine pavilion commissioner; and Senator Loren Legarda.

October 14, 2016

Hala Wardé and HW Architecture Win Competition to Design Beirut Museum of Art

Architectural model of the Beirut Museum of Art, expected to open in 2020. Courtesy: BeMA

Lebanon’s Beirut Museum of Art has announced that HW Architects, led by Hala Wardé, has been selected to design the new institution, which is slated to open in 2020.

The design features a four-hundred-foot-high central campanile tower that will have space for workshops, performances, and artists-in-residence. The museum will also boast a public garden, where site-specific installations will be installed, and an amphitheater.

Chaired by Peter Palumbo, also the chairman of the Pritzker Prize for architecture, the jury consisted of curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Dame Julia Peyton-Jones; architects George Arbid, Farès el-Dahdah, Rodolphe El-Khoury, Rem Koolhaas, and Lord Richard Rogers; artist Lamia Joreige; and APEAL president Henrietta Nammour. Zaha Hadid was also active on the jury before her recent death.

In a statement, the jury said that the design was selected for “the way it creates a succession of varied landscapes and spaces where art and society can come together. The connections between garden, amphitheater, exhibition spaces, and roof garden have been well considered and offer a continuous visitor experience that lends itself to both exhibiting art and engaging with the community.”

October 13, 2016

University of Southern California’s Fischer Museum of Art Receives Gift of 700 Works

Carlos Almaraz, Greed, 1989.

The University of Southern California has announced that collector Eugene Rogolsky has donated seven hundred works, including photographs, prints, paintings, and sculptures, to its Fischer Museum of Art.

The gift includes works by Jiří Anderle, Laura Aguilar, Jonathan Borofsky, Charles Bragg, Jo Ann Callis, Judy Chicago, Elsa Flores, Dan McCleary, Frank Romero, Peter Shire, George Tooker, and Jerome Witkin. Fifty-five of the works are by artist Carlos Almaraz, who was friends with Rogolsky.

Curator Tim Wride said, “His holdings of Almaraz’s work span the breadth of the artist’s career—from graduate school to his too-early death at the age of forty-eight. Through Almaraz, Gene became acquainted with Carlos’ wife, Elsa Flores, as well as other members of the East LA and Otis School of Art and Design communities. Works by these artists form another cornerstone of the Rogolsky collection.”

October 13, 2016

Google to Feature Digital Tours of 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale

Turkish Pavilion, “Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel,” 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, 2016. Photo: Photo by Andrea Avezzù

The Venice Biennale has renewed its partnership with Google to feature the fifteenth edition of the International Architecture Biennale, “Reporting From the Front,” on Google Arts and Culture—a Google Cultural Institute platform that digitizes materials such as images and archives of artworks, exhibitions, and museum collections in order to make them available to the public for free.

More than 3,700 images of the main exhibition, curated by Alejandro Aravena, three special projects, forty-three pavilions, and eleven collateral events are available online as of today.

The biennial is on view until November 27.

October 13, 2016

Hong Kong Collector Donates Works to M+ Museum

L.N. Tallur, Colonial Sisters, 2008.

The M+ Museum has received a gift of five works by South and Southeast Asian artists from Hong Kong–based collector Hallan Chow. The grandson of a Chinese antiques collector, Chow supports Asian art, exhibitions, and educational initiatives through his philanthropy.

“My donation of the selected artworks aims to help M+ build a truly diversified collection,” Chow said. “I hope to also inspire other local and regional collectors to share important works by regional artists with M+.” The donation consists of works by Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, L. N. Tallur, Sopheap Pich, Jompet Kuswidananto, and Eko Nugroho.

The twentieth- and twenty-first-century art museum located in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District is slated to open in 2019.