November 26, 2016

Pauline Oliveros (1932–2016)

The groundbreaking composer, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros died yesterday at age eighty-four. Her death was reported on social media by the flutist Claire Chase and confirmed by friends on her Facebook page. Oliveros was the founder of the Deep Listening Institute and a professor of music in the department of arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.

Oliveros was born in Houston on May 30, 1932. She studied at the University of Houston, and at twenty years old, brining only her accordion and three hundred dollars in cash, she went to the Bay Area, where she studied at San Francisco State University and met Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Loren Rush, and others. Oliveros played an essential role in the San Francisco Tape Music Center during the early 1960s. She later developed a distinctive brand of slow-moving improvisation built on the rhythms of the human breath. “Some of her early music consisted of conventionally notated concert works, involving traditional orchestral or chamber instruments, and others involved tape or electronic processing. Still others were in the tradition of American experimentalism, calling for unusual performative elements,” writes Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oliveros’s work changed in 1989 when she and trombonist Stuart Dempster and vocalist Panaiotis descended into a vast cement cistern in Port Townsend, Washington. The improvisations they performed there, captured by the San Francisco music label New Albion, marked the beginning of “deep listening.” She later founded the Deep Listening Institute, an institution connected to RPI, and the Deep Listening Band, which has made several subsequent recordings devoted to long drone-based music.

Oliveros worked diligently until the very end of her life. In a 500 Words interview for artforum.com, she told Lauren O’Neill-Butler in April 2012: “Turning eighty has been fantastic. Forty years ago, people weren’t so familiar with performance, and they certainly didn’t know my work very well. But now esteemed groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble play my compositions, and it’s very heartening. Receiving this year’s John Cage Award was a total and welcome surprise, too. I thought this would be a relaxing time in my life—a time to retire! I was wrong.”

November 25, 2016

Salem State University Shuts Down Exhibition Responding to US Presidential Election

Installation view of “State of the Union.”

An exhibition at Massachusetts’s Salem State University featuring works by artists responding to issues that surfaced during the 2016 presidential election season was closed temporarily after it was heavily criticized for displaying works depicting Ku Klux Klan members and Nazi concentration camps, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports.

Titled “State of the Union,” the show opened on November 9, the day after Donald Trump became President-elect of the United States. Curator Ken Reker said, “With this contentious election and the difficult dialogues that were going on, I wanted to create a show that lifted some of those hopes and concerns for people in the art world.”

People responding to the show on social media called for faculty suspensions and questioned why artworks showcasing hate were included in the exhibition. Artist Garry Harley’s canvas of the Ku Klux Klan caused some gallerygoers to say that the show supports and may perpetuate racial inequality in America.

Reker cited a lack of transparency as the reason for all the complaints. The theme of the exhibition was only explained in a gallery guestbook. He said, “When the objections began to flood into our diversity coordinator, over this past weekend, I printed the same statements (that artists had submitted in the guestbook) and attached them next to the works on the walls.”

More than fifty people attended an open forum on November 21 to talk about the exhibition, which concluded with the organizers’ decision to shut down the show temporarily to “let things cool down a bit.” An on-campus meeting with faculty and students, which will determine whether the exhibition will be reopened, is scheduled for Monday, November 28.

November 25, 2016

Joseph Shatoff Named Deputy Director and COO of the Frick Collection

Joseph Shatoff

The Frick Collection has announced that Joseph Shatoff, currently the senior manager for strategy and capital projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will lead the institution as its new deputy director and chief operating officer. He will take up the post on December 6.

Shatoff said, “From the intimate character of its galleries, to the great masterpieces it preserves and shares with the public, the Frick is a one-of-a-kind destination that contributes greatly to the cultural fabric of our city. I’m pleased to be joining the Frick’s leadership team at this exciting and pivotal moment in the institution’s history as it seeks to further build upon its legacy.”

During his tenure at the Met, Shatoff managed the launch of Met Breuer by overseeing the renovation of the Madison Avenue building, developing the museum’s master planning, and coordinating its twenty-year infrastructure plan. Previously, Shatoff was associate director for administrative services at Yeshiva University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and his MBA from Fordham University.

November 25, 2016

Norman Foster Selected for Prado Museum Expansion

View of the new South entrance.

British architect Norman Foster will work with Spain’s Carlos Rubio to renovate a seventeenth-century house that will serve as an extension of the Prado Museum, AFP reports.

Estimated to cost roughly $32 million, the refurbishment of the Hall of Realms will increase the institution’s exhibition space. Located a short distance from the main museum in Madrid, the building will feature an atrium as its new south entrance.

In a statement, the museum said Foster and Rubio’s proposal “respects and values what is already there, adjusting it to the necessities of our times.” Its new roof will consist of solar cells that will provide natural light to the galleries bellow.

The Hall of Realms is one of the last buildings of the Buen Retiro palace––which was commissioned by Spain’s King Felipe IV––that still stands.

November 25, 2016

Gabi Ngcobo Appointed Curator of the 10th Berlin Biennale

Gabi Ngcobo

The Berlin Biennale has announced that Gabi Ngcobo has been named curator of its 2018 exhibition.

The South African curator recently helped organize the Thirty-Second São Paulo Bienal in Brazil and “A Labour of Love” (2015) at the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt. She has worked at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town and the Cape Africa Platform, where she cocurated the Cape07 Biennale in 2007. Ngcobo is also a founding member of the Johannesburg-based collaborative platforms NGO (Nothing Gets Organized) and the Center for Historical Reenactments. In addition, she has taught at the University of Witswatersrand’s Wits School of the Arts in South Africa since 2011 and currently lives and works in Johannesburg and São Paulo.

The biennial issued a statement that reads: “With the selection of Gabi Ngcobo, the Berlin Biennale continues its mission of serving as an experimental platform for exploring and expanding the format of the exhibition and a curatorial agenda as well as for examining current global discourses and developments in relation to Berlin as a local point of reference.”

November 25, 2016

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Announces $16 Million Renovation

Design rendering of the Commons, a new performance/workshop place, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has revealed plans for a $16 million renovation project that will convert 12,000 existing square feet into public gathering spaces.

In a statement, the museum said that the project will make the building a “livelier, more creative space that will engage audiences and be activated by living artists.” Led by Los Angeles–based architects Johnston Marklee, the interior redesign will include a new restaurant, a social engagement space, and a floor dedicated to education initiatives.

According to the New York Times, chef Jason Hammel, the founder of Chicago’s Lula Cafe, will head the new restaurant, which will feature a site-specific mural created by Turner Prize–winning artist Chris Ofili. The work will be the Trinidad-based artist’s first museum commission in the United States. A flexible performance and workshop space called the Commons, designed by Pedro y Juana, will include custom furniture that can be flattened and hung on the walls to make room for programming, as well as lamps shaped like plants and actual foliage that will hang from the ceiling.

“Bigger is not always better,” director Madeleine Grynsztejn said. She added that the project will help the museum to find “new ways to bring art, learning and food together, reflecting how people like to experience culture today.”

November 23, 2016

Architecture Firm OMA Appointed Creative Mediator of Manifesta 12 Palermo

Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. Photo: OMA and Fred Ernst.

The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been appointed the creative mediator of the twelfth edition of Manifesta in Palermo, scheduled to take place in 2018. Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, the OMA partner who will lead the team, said, “We are honored to work with the city of Palermo for the next Manifesta. In the current political climate, Palermo’s history and character make it the ideal laboratory to reimagine, from a Mediterranean perspective, the liberal values we share, and to address crucial issues for the present and future of the European city. On a personal level, being Italian- and Sicilian-born, but like many of my generation having worked abroad for many years, I feel particularly privileged to contribute to this edition of Manifesta.”

OMA will create an interdisciplinary group from the fields of music, contemporary art, sociology, architecture, and cinema to research Palermo’s governance and examine how cities today are affected by climate change, tourism, migration, and gentrification.

November 23, 2016

Major Events Planned for 2019 Bauhaus Centenary Throughout Germany and Beyond

A 1924 Bauhaus celebration in the Ilmschlösschen restaurant near Weimar. Photo: Louis Held, 1924.

Two new museum openings in Dessau and Weimar—cities where the Bauhaus was once located—along with jubilee exhibitions, an opening festival set to take place in Berlin, and a “Grand Tour of Modernism” that will travel throughout Germany are all scheduled to coincide with the Bauhaus’s centenary, reports Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper.

The new Bauhaus Museum Weimar, designed by the Berlin-based architect Heike Hanada, will be erected on the edge of the city’s Weimarhallenpark; while the Dessau museum, designed by Barcelona’s Gonzaléz Hinz Zabala, will offer more than 22,000 square feet of exhibition space for the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation’s massive collection. The Bauhaus Association, the group in charge of the centenary, said that the current museum has “long since reached [its] limits in terms of space given increasing visitor numbers, growing collections, and the demands of contemporary museum work.”

The opening festival scheduled to take place in early 2019 in Berlin will celebrate theater, music, and performance art inspired by a number of Bauhaus figureheads, such as Lászlό Moholy-Nagy, Lyonel Feininger, and Oskar Schlemmer. The “Grand Tour of Modernism,” which will travel to one hundred “Bauhaus-relevant” locations in Germany—and serves as an introductory event for the “Route of Modernism” festival scheduled for 2020 that will go all over Europe—will include a printed guidebook and an app to help audiences navigate the “Grand Tour of Modernism” via bike, car, or train. Prior to the centenary, there will be Bauhaus-themed shows in Moscow, Mumbai, Kyoto, Lagos, Boston, Hangzhou, and Sao Paulo in 2017 and 2018.

November 23, 2016

Camden Arts Center’s Jenni Lomax Steps Down as Director

Jenni Lomax. Photo: Hugo Glendinning.

Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper writes that Jenni Lomax, who’s been director of London’s Camden Arts Center for the last twenty-six years, has decided to step down from her post come July 2017. During her tenure, she has given a number of artists their first solo exhibitions in the UK, such as Marlene Dumas, Sophie Calle, and Valie Export.

Lomax was in charge of overseeing the center’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations, which coincided with a fundraising auction sponsored by Christie’s to help support its residency programs and artist-run projects. Artists who donated works to the auction included Kerry James Marshall, Wolfgang Tillmans, Glenn Ligon, and Martin Creed. Said Lomax, “With the [fiftieth] anniversary and auction, I feel it’s a good time to leave. There’s money in the bank and I am [exiting] the place in good nick.” The center, however, does not receive any funding from local government, and vigilance is required in keeping it solvent, especially considering the recent cuts to arts funding. “The world is in a very precarious place, and now more than ever we need these creative minds. The capital is going to become depleted of that energy if we are not careful,” stated Lomax.

Prior to the Camden Arts Center, Lomax, with Nicholas Serota, aided in establishing the Whitechapel Gallery’s community education program. Though Lomax studied art, she ended up devoting her energies to arts education and administration.

The institution will start searching for a new director early next year.