March 17, 2017

Museums and Theaters Launch Nationwide Series of Films from Countries Affected by Travel Ban

Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman, 2016.

A coalition of movie theaters, community centers, and museums in the United States are taking part in “The Seventh Art Stand”—a nationwide series of films, screenings, and discussions that will showcase works from countries that are affected by President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Billed as “an act of cinematic solidarity against Islamophobia,” the Stand will take place in more than thirty locations in eighteen states this May. Organizers Richard Abramowitz, founder and president of Abramorama, a distributor of theatrical films, and Courtney Sheehan, executive director of the Seattle-based Northwest Film Forum, have partnered with a variety of institutions including the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, the Metrograph and Anthology Film Archives in New York, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and college campuses and theaters throughout the Midwest.

Among the films being featured are director Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar-winning The Salesman (Iran), Karama Has No Walls and The Mulberry House (Yemen), Fishing Without Nets (Somalia), and About Baghdad (Iraq). A short film program for youth as well as “Flight Path,” a narrative short film and media campaign to combat Islamophobia, will also be shown.

March 17, 2017

New Museum in Democratic Republic of Congo to Address Economic Inequality Through Art

Rendering of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s design for the new white cube museum in Lusanga, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A new museum focused on exposing worldwide inequalities will open on a former Unilever palm oil plantation in the Congolese forest in April. It will house the Lusanga International Research Center on Art and Economic Inequality (LIRCAEI)—a joint initiative between the Congolese Plantation Workers Art League (CATPC) and the Amsterdam-based Institute for Human Activities. The center’s mission is to transform former plantations into areas for “artistic critique, beauty, and ecological diversity.”

Dubbed “the repatriation of the white cube,” the arts space will be funded by profits that CATPC members make from selling their works in the art world. The goal is to funnel money back into their community, buy back land, and finance development projects. The center was designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture pro bono.

The inauguration of the center will include contributions from plantation workers and artists such as Sammy Baloji, Carsten Höller, Luc Tuymans, and Marlene Dumas. In a statement, the center said, “By establishing itself on the foundation of a new economic and artistic ecosystem, rather than through the existing market (many institutions in which, from the Tate Modern to the Van Abbemuseum to the Museum Ludwig, have been constructed in part with funds obtained through the exploitation of plantation workers), LIRCAEI and the new white cube museum represent a new way forward, through art, for disenfranchised communities.”

March 17, 2017

Washington’s National Gallery of Art Receives $1 Million Gift from Safra Foundation

Edmond J. Safra Photo: Edmond J. Safra Foundation

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has received a $1 million gift from the Edmond J. Safra Foundation in support of arts scholarship, Pac Pobric of the Art Newspaper reports. The donation will allow the institution to create a permanent professor position at the museum’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

Lily Safra, chair of the foundation and wife of the late banker and philanthropist Edmond Safra, said, “I know how proud my husband, Edmond, would be that his name will always be linked with truly exceptional scholarship.”

Prior to the gift, the center established the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professorship in 2002, which has been filled by fifteen historians over the years. Among the scholars who have worked at the center are Nancy Troy, Marc Fumaroli, and Hans Belting. The donation will allow the institution to make this position permanent.

March 17, 2017

FOS Awarded the 2017 Arken Art Prize

Arken director Christian Gether; travel grant winners Nina Beier and Marie Kølbæk Iversen; and the 2017 Arken Art Prize Winner FOS. Photo: Henrik Jauert.

Danish artist Thomas Poulsen, who works under the name FOS, has won the 2017 Arken Art Prize, which recognizes contributions to contemporary art. He will receive an award of $14,500. The prize’s two $7,200 travel grants went to Nina Beier and Marie Kølbæk Iversen.

Arken director Christian Gether said that FOS was recognized for his “critical social investigations of the ordinary life that unfolds between physical spaces and social situations. Based on his concept of ‘social design’ his experimental art disrupts our habitual thinking about what art is and should be.”

Known for works that explore the intersections between architecture, design, art, and performance, FOS has created projects such as Oslo Bar, a series of social events staged at various locations in Copenhagen in the late 1990s. The work was revived as a floating public space featuring a bar, auditorium, and radio station in 2010 and was then restaged at the Venice Biennale the following year. In 2006, the artist designed a shelter for men, Mændenes Hjem on Istedgade in central Copenhagen, in collaboration with Kenneth Balfelt.

March 17, 2017

Chad Alligood Named Chief Curator of American Art at the Huntington

Chad Alligood

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, has announced that Chad Alligood, curator of American Art at the Crystal Bridges Museum, has been named the Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art. He will take up the post at the end of April.

“We are thrilled to have Chad joining us at this time,” director Kevin Salatino said. “Chad’s ambitious accomplishments at Crystal Bridges, and the invaluable experience of working in such an extraordinary collection of American art, have prepared him well for the dynamic nature of our collections and programming at The Huntington. We look forward to having him bring that same level of energy and creativity here.”

After Alligood joined Crystal Bridges in 2013, he helped organize the exhibition “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” which was recognized with the 2015 Excellence in Exhibition Award from the American Alliance of Museums. More recently, he curated “Warhol’s Nature” (2015). He also spearheaded major acquisitions by women artists and artists of color and led the reinstallation of the postwar permanent collection galleries. Previously, Alligood completed a fellowship at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan and taught art history at Brooklyn College. He is currently a resident fellow at the Women’s International Study Center, where he is working on an essay for the upcoming monograph on Judy Chicago, to be published by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2019.

March 17, 2017

Sharjah Art Foundation Announces 2017 Biennial Prize Winners

Curator Christine Tohme takes visitors on a tour of the 2017 Sharjah Biennial.

The Sharjah Art Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Sharjah Biennial Prize. The thirteenth edition of the event runs through June 12, 2017. The biennial’s curator, Christine Tohme, invited seventy artists to respond to the keywords water, crops, earth, and culinary for this year’s exhibition. The jurors for the prize were Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand; Yousif Aydabi, the cultural advisor at the Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Centre for Gulf Studies in Sharjah; and N'Goné Fall, an independent curator and cofounder of GawLab Collective in Dakar.

The winners are Dineo Seshee, for the installation +/- 1791 (Monument to the Haitian Revolution 1791), 2017; İnci Eviner, for a pair of videos, one of which is Beuys Underground, 2017, a commission for this biennial; Uriel Orlow, for Theatrum Botanicum, 2016; and the late Ali Jabri, for his lesser-known series of collage works, such as “Untitled,” 1989–92. Each artist will be given funding for the creation of a new work. Jabri’s prize will go toward the preservation of his oeuvre.

The Sharjah Biennial has been introducing contemporary art to the UAE for more than twenty years. The biennial has commissioned, produced, and presented large-scale public installations, performances, and films since 1993, offering artists from the region an international platform for exhibition and experimentation.

March 17, 2017

Christie’s Pulls Painting from Dubai Auction over Ownership Dispute

Faeq Hassan, Untitled (Salah Al-Din, presumably Battle of Hattin), 1968. Photo: Christie’s

On Thursday, March 16, Christie’s announced that it removed a painting by late Iraqi artist Faeq Hassan from its upcoming modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art auction in Dubai because of a dispute over ownership, AFP reports. Iraqi authorities claim that the work belongs to the state.

Maysoon al-Damluji, Iraqi parliament member and head of the Commission for Culture and Information, said that the oil painting had been smuggled out of the country and that it was originally displayed in the officers’ club at the defense ministry. Christie’s has requested proof of ownership for the work.

“We have witnesses who say the painting was on display at the officers’ club,” al-Damluji said. “It is part of Iraqi heritage.” Christie’s had listed the work, which is estimated to be worth between $400,000 and $500,000, as one of the highlights of the auction.

Alexandra Kindermann, senior communications director at the auction house, confirmed that Untitled (Salah Al-Din, presumably Battle of Hattin), 1968, has been withdrawn.

March 17, 2017

Hendrikje Crebolder Joins Rijksmuseum’s Board of Directors

Hendrikje Crebolder

The Rijksmuseum has announced that Hendrikje Crebolder, head of the development department since 2009, will join its board of directors. As the new director of development and media, she will be responsible for fundraising, communications, and marketing.

General director Taco Dibbits, said, “Hendrikje Crebolder is a great asset to the management team. Bringing fundraising and audience development expertise to the board is essential for the museum’s operations and responds to the challenges the Rijksmuseum faces. With her international experience and expertise as a fundraiser, Hendrikje has successfully attracted many supporters to the museum.”

Prior to her tenure at the Rijksmuseum, Crebolder served as a lawyer at Baker McKenzie in Amsterdam, Kazakhstan, Paris, and Madrid since 1997. She began working at the Rijksmuseum in 2006 and set up its development department three years later. Crebolder said, “I’m very honored to be able to continue to work for this wonderful museum in this exciting new role. Since its foundation two centuries ago, the Rijksmuseum has existed thanks to the support and involvement of the Dutch public. Millions of people enjoy the museum every year. Developing and consolidating its unique relationship with visitors, sponsors, and donors is of paramount importance for the future of the museum.”

March 16, 2017

South African Court Convicts Artist Zwelethu Mthethwa of Murder

Zwelethu Mthethwa Photo: Deon Raath

The Western Cape High Court in Cape Town has found artist Zwelethu Mthethwa guilty of murdering twenty-three-year-old sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo, Jillian Steinhauer of Hyperallergic reports.

The artist has maintained his innocence since the trial began nearly four years ago but decided not to testify in court. His psychiatrist told the judge that Mthethwa does not recall any of the events that occurred on the night Kumalo was beaten to death on the street in Woodstock, a suburb of Cape Town, in April 2013.

Video footage presented as evidence at the trial shows Mthethwa’s car at the crime scene. As Judge Patricia Goliath delivered the verdict, she told Mthethwa that his memory loss was a “fabrication.” He will be sentenced on March 29.