November 18, 2016

Artist Requests Reinstallation of Work in Whitney Museum Exhibition After the Election

Annette Lemieux, Left Right Left Right, 1995, thirty photolithographs, pine poles, dimensions variable.

The artist Annette Lemieux has requested that her work Left Right Left Right, 1995, currently installed as part of the show “Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, be reinstalled upside down in light of the recent US Presidential election, according to Cary Dunne of Hyperallergic. The piece comprises thirty photolithographs of raised fists mounted on pine poles. The museum consented to her request, stating: “Lemieux’s gesture suggests a commitment to individual agency, the continuing power of protest, and a feeling, in her words, that the ‘world has turned upside down.’”

Lemieux took the pictures of fists used in the work from newspapers and magazines dating from the 1930s to the 1950s. Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Nixon, Jane Fonda, and a Miss America contestant are among those depicted via the gesture, while others are anonymous.

November 18, 2016

Maya Lin and Frank Gehry Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Maya Lin.

Architect Frank Gehry and artist and designer Maya Lin are among the recipients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, which were awarded by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, according to John Chiaverina at Artnews. Other awardees include Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Diana Ross, and Bruce Springsteen.

November 18, 2016

American Institute of Architects Issues Apology for Statement in Support of Trump

Robert Ivy.

Andrew R. Chow reports in the New York Times that only a week after the American Institute of Architects pledged to work with President-elect Donald J. Trump, the organization is now walking back that statement with an apology. The president of the institute, Russell Davidson, said in a video with the organization’s chief executive, Robert Ivy, that “the message that went out was a mistake, and it should not have happened . . . We will continue to be at the table and be a voice for the profession, especially when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will advocate vigorously for our sustainability agenda, including the impacts of climate change.”

Their initial statement was sent out soon after Trump was elected, citing his call from last July to significantly increase infrastructure spending. The AIA’s statement read: “The AIA and its 89,000 members are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces, particularly strengthening the nation’s aging infrastructure.” This soon caused a backlash from local chapters, architecture organizations, and publications, with some even calling for Ivy’s resignation. The Equity Alliance, which promotes diversity and equality in architecture, posted an open letter to Ivy that reads: “Please recognize that, in word and in action, you perpetuated our profession’s white male privilege.”

In their video apology, Ivy recognized his initial statement as “tone deaf.” He and Davidson have announced that the institute will hold live events and listening sessions across the country in the coming months to promote dialogue. Davidson noted, “I sincerely hope we can begin to heal from this incredibly painful election season and the harm the AIA’s statement caused.”

November 18, 2016

Diana Balmori (1932–2016)

Diana Balmori

William Grimes reports in the New York Times that the landscape architect Diana Balmori––a teacher at the Yale School of Architecture and the Yale School of Forestry who is known for her environmentally conscious designs that created harmony between buildings and natural surroundings––died last Monday in Manhattan.

Born in 1932 in Gijón, on the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, Balmori fled with her father, a Spanish Loyalist, and the rest of their family to England in 1936 to escape political persecution during the Spanish Civil War. She later received a teaching position at the National University of Tucumán in Argentina. Balmori studied architecture at the university there but did not receive her degree, due to the government’s expulsion of her entire class after a student protest. She emigrated to the United States in 1952 with her husband, the architect César Pelli, whom she had met at the university.

Balmori moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and earned a doctorate in urban history at UCLA in 1973. A year later she began teaching at the State University of New York in Oswego, where she took an interest in the landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand and eventually coauthored the book Beatrix Farrand’s American Landscapes (1985), with Diane Kostial McGuire and Eleanor McPeck. In 1980, she joined her husband’s firm in New Haven—César Pelli & Associates—where she founded the department of landscape architecture. She worked with him on several projects, including the Winter Garden Atrium in the World Financial Center in Manhattan, where she planted sixteen palm trees.

November 18, 2016

Scotland’s Talbot Rice Gallery Appoints Tessa Giblin Director

Tessa Giblin

The University of Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery has named Tessa Giblin, former curator of visual arts at the Project Arts Center in Dublin, the institution’s new director. She succeeds Pat Fisher.

Chris Breward, principal of the Edinburgh College of Art, said that Giblin “has an impressive international reputation as a curator bringing art, science, and the humanities together. She is a very inspiring individual who will take the University’s Gallery in interesting and timely directions, building on the excellent work of Pat Fisher and her team.”

Giblin has worked at the Project Arts Center for more than a decade. She is commissioner of Ireland’s pavilion at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, which will present the work of artist Jesse Jones.

November 18, 2016

Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale Brings in $277 Million

Gerhard Richter, A.B., Still, 1986.

Thursday’s contemporary art evening sale at Sotheby’s rounded out a week of New York auctions by netting $277 million, surpassing its low estimate of $209 million, Nate Freeman of Artnews reports. The auction house sold sixty of its sixty-four lots, achieving a 94 percent selling rate.

“I thought tonight’s energy was extraordinary,” Oliver Barker, the European cochair and auctioneer who led the sale, said at a press conference. “We’ve clearly put to bed any rumors about the market.”

The sale kicked off with twenty-five lots of paintings and works on paper from the Steven Ann Ames collection. The grouping of work raised $122.7 million, which was $20 million more than the price Sotheby’s guaranteed earlier this year.

Fetching the highest price of the night, Gerhard Richter’s A.B., Still, 1986, sold for $34 million. The second most expensive work of the night was Andy Warhol’s Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986, which exceeded its low estimate of $20 million by bringing in $24.4 million. Artist records were broken for David Hockney, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Mark Grotjahn, and Mike Kelley.

“When the election happened we didn’t know what to expect,” Heinrich zu Hohenlohe, director of the Berlin branch of the art dealer Dickinson, told the New York Times. “But the week has ended on a high with the Monet and Phillips moving up a level and now this. There is still a market.”

November 17, 2016

Whitney Museum Announces Artist List for 2017 Biennial

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Whitney Museum announced today its full list of participating artists in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Among the sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established artists, are Jo Baer, William Pope.L, Dana Schutz, Henry Taylor, Jordan Wolfson, and Anicka Yi.

Curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, the 2017 exhibition is the first to be held at the museum’s new downtown location. Coinciding with an election year for the first time in two decades, the biennial will focus on the formation of the self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society. Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s chief curator and deputy director for programs, told the New York Times that “the discourse turns to who we are as a nation.”

Full List of Participating Artists:

November 17, 2016

South Korean Authorities Bust Lee Ufan Forgery Ring

Lee Ufan

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency announced that it has arrested three people who allegedly forged around forty of artist Lee Ufan’s works, Kwon Mee-yoo of the Korea Times reports.

Two dealers—a husband and wife identified as Kim and Ku—and a painter, whose surname is Park, are suspected of creating and distributing counterfeits of Ufan’s “From Point” and “From Line” series between November 2012 and 2014. The dealers paid Park $260,000 for the fakes then sold them to a gallerist for roughly $2.5 million.

A similar investigation resulted in the arrest of a Korean gallery operator in June, but the police said that the two cases are unrelated. The indicted gallerist, referred to by his surname Hyeong, made $1.1 million from selling three forgeries. When officers asked Ufan to confirm that the works were fakes, he refused. After a four-hour inspection of the canvases, Ufan determined that “the use of breath, rhythm, and color were all my techniques.” Despite Ufan’s claim that the works are his, Hyeong confessed to the crime at a hearing at the Seoul Central District Court in July.

The rise in forgery cases has resulted in a new law proposed by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism that will require art distributors such as galleries and auction houses to have licenses before they can sell artworks and that stipulate harsher punishments for forgery crimes.

November 17, 2016

Helen Marten Wins Inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture

Helen Marten

Hepworth Wakefield announced today that Helen Marten is the first artist to win the biennial Hepworth Prize for sculpture, which was established to support UK-based artists who have made significant contributions to the development of contemporary sculpture. Marten will receive more than $37,000.

Director Simon Wallis, chair of the jury, said, “Helen Marten is one of the strongest and most singular voices working in British art today. Her refined craft and intellectual precision address our relationship to objects and materials in a digital age. We believe that Marten is a fitting winner of the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture, which celebrates the legacy of one of Britain’s finest sculptors.”

Born in Macclesfield in 1985, Marten studied at the Ruskin School of Fine Art, the University of London, and Central Saint Martins in London. Her most recent solo exhibitions include “Parrot Problems” (2014) at Fridericianum in Kassel and “Plank Salad” (2012) at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. Her work was exhibited at the 2015 Venice Biennale and she is one of the four short-listed artists for this year’s Turner Prize.