April 14, 2017

Gillian Wearing to Create Statue of Suffragist for London’s Parliament Square

Gillian Wearing Photo: Linda Nylind for The Guardian

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that Turner Prize–winning artist Gillian Wearing will be the first woman commissioned to make an artwork for the UK’s Parliament Square, Mark Brown of The Guardian reports. The “milestone project” was endorsed by Prime Minister Theresa May earlier this month.

Wearing will create a statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett, who led the biggest suffrage organization, the NUWSS, from 1890 to 1919 in the UK, and played a key role in gaining women the right to vote there. The work will be installed alongside nine statues of men—Sir Robert Peel, Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Derby, Lord Palmerston, Field Marshal Jan Smuts, Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. The statue will be installed in 2018 during the centenary celebrations of women winning the right to vote in the UK.

Activist Caroline Criado-Perez launched a campaign to break up the male-dominated square in 2016. She started a petition that was signed by eighty-five thousand people. “Women make up more than half the population—but from looking at our public spaces, you would never know that,” Criado-Perez said. “Just 2.7 percent of British statues are of named women, and even these are mostly royals.”

April 14, 2017

Lorraine Pearce (1934–2017)

Lorraine Pearce, White House curator, with a visitor in the China room. Photo: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Lorraine Pearce, a decorative arts scholar who became the first curator at the White House, died in Charlottesville, Virginia, on March 14 at the age of eighty-two, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports.

Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy asked Pearce to help her restore the White House’s historic rooms, which were given a modern look during a restoration under president Harry Truman. Pearce created the curator position and then began working to revert the rooms to the style they were decorated in after the 1817 reconstruction.

Born in the Bronx on April 14, 1934, Pearce studied at the City College of New York before traveling to Strasbourg, France, on a Fulbright scholarship. She earned her master’s degree in early American culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware. Founder of the Winterthur Museum Henry Francis du Pont recommended Pearce to the Kennedys while serving as chairman of the White House Fine Arts Committee.

April 14, 2017

William Kentridge Establishes Johannesburg Art Center

William Kentridge at his independent art center in Johannesburg. Photo: Stella Olivier

After the closure of South Africa’s Johannesburg Art Gallery sparked concerns over dwindling funds for public art institutions, South African artist William Kentridge opened an independent art center, Cristina Ruiz of the Art Newspaper reports.

Located in the Arts on Main complex in central Johannesburg, which also houses Kentridge’s studio and other cultural organizations, the center opened in March with a series of performances, film screenings, and exhibitions. “Ideally, we would have double the space and double the money, but I think the small scale is also good,” Kentridge said. “As soon as it gets larger it gets lost in questions of committees and trustees, and suddenly everyone is having to write big proposals to justify their work before it is made rather than allowing the work to come from the very uncertainty around it.”

Kentridge is critical of nongovernmental organizations that support art projects because in order to receive funding artists must adhere to the NGO’s funding guidelines, which can restrict their vision for a work. He believes artists should be able to experiment and make work that isn’t successful without fearing repercussions, which is why the artist calls the venue a center for the “less good idea.” He wants it to be a “safe space for uncertainty, doubt, stupidity and, at times, failure.”

April 14, 2017

Phillips Appoints Lilly Chan Managing Director of Asia

Lilly Chan

Phillips has named Lilly Chan, Christie’s global managing director for Asian art, as its new managing director of Asia. Chan will take up the post in May and will be based in the company’s Hong Kong office.

Chan will be responsible for implementing and managing all strategic, procedural, and operational aspects of the company in Asia with a focus on realizing Phillips’ vision for building its brand. Prior to joining Christie’s, Chan worked at JP Morgan Treasury Services, where she was the head of new product marketing for the Asia-Pacific market.

“The importance of Asia to our overall international growth strategy cannot be overstated,” said Phillips CEO Edward Dolman. “The collecting of contemporary art, design objects, photographs, and jewelry in Asia has been growing at an exponential rate and we are seeing more Asian collectors at our New York and London auctions. A foremost priority for us has been to strengthen our presence in Asia and build relationships with collectors across the region—and a critical component in this ambitious plan is the appointment of an experienced managing director such as Lilly. I look forward to working with her and our entire Asian team to build our reputation as the most innovative auction house in the region.”

April 14, 2017

Pedro Lasch to Join Usdan Summer Camp as First-Ever Artist-in-Residence

Pedro Lasch

Usdan Summer Camp for the arts—an arts education initiative founded in 1968 that today serves more than fifteen hundred students each year—has announced that artist Pedro Lasch has been chosen as its inaugural artist-in-residence. Located in Wheatley Heights on Long Island, New York, the nonprofit program welcomes students from ages four to eighteen.

Beginning this summer, Lasch will launch a three-year art project in collaboration with Usdan’s students, faculty, and staff. “Dreaming in the Woods” will draw from the people, grounds, and resources at Usdan for inspiration in the creation of new works and will give students firsthand experience in making art.

“Often, collaborations with children are dismissed as not being ‘professional’ or ‘real art,’” Lasch said. “I’m excited to be doing this work at Usdan—a camp known for putting the student at the center and fostering creativity on all levels—as a way to challenge these typical perspectives and push towards a collaborative and innovative contemporary art engagement.”

April 13, 2017

Sculptor Sues Trinity Church for Moving His 9/11 Memorial Sculpture

Steve Tobin, Trinity Root, 2005.

Pennsylvania-based sculptor Steve Tobin is suing Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church for relocating his eighteen-foot-tall bronze memorial dedicated to the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, James Barron of the New York Times reports. Modeled after a massive Sycamore tree that grew in the churchyard until it was destroyed by debris from the Twin Towers, Trinity Root cost the artist more than $300,000 to make.

Last year, Tobin was shocked when he found out that the church had moved the sculpture to a site in Connecticut without telling him. He also claims that the work was damaged during transport. Tobin’s lawyer, Steven S. Honigman, filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan Federal District Court on Wednesday after attempts to work out the issue with the church were unsuccessful.

“This is about the solemn promise the church gave to Steve Tobin when he offered to create that sculpture,” Honigman said. “He offered to create it if the church would give it a permanent place in the courtyard. The church agreed.”

April 13, 2017

Knight Foundation Awards $250,000 to New Museum’s NEW INC

New Museum

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced that it will be investing $250,000 in the New Museum’s experimental initiative NEW INC. Now in its third year, the shared workspace and professional development program is expanding its scope and will investigate the impact technology has on the future of art museums.

“Museum professionals need new skills and resources to meet changing demands and grab audience attention in an increasingly digital world,” said Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation’s vice president for arts. “NEW INC will help advance this goal, providing them the skills necessary to embrace technology, innovate, and create lasting impact for their institutions and their communities.”

Based at the New Museum on the Lower East Side, NEW INC brings together more than one hundred cultural practitioners and creative entrepreneurs, including Rhizome and Columbia University’s GSAPP Incubator, on a twelve-month basis. With the additional funding, the New Museum will invite organizations focused on the experimentation, development, and adoption of new technologies that attract audiences to museums and engage visitors within the museum space. Five teams—up to ten people total—will receive fully subsidized memberships at NEW INC and will be eligible for up to $10,000 in seed funding.

April 13, 2017

Sculptor of Wall Street’s Charging Bull Calls for Removal of Fearless Girl

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with Fearless Girl. Photo: James Keivom for New York Daily News

Arturo Di Modica, the sculptor of the iconic Charging Bull statue on Wall Street, is petitioning the two companies that commissioned the popular Fearless Girl statue, which was installed facing his three-and-a-half-ton bronze bovine on March 7 for International Women’s Day, to remove the work, James Barron of the New York Times reports.

Claiming that it violates the Visual Artists Rights Act by illegally commercializing his statue, Di Modica sent a letter to Boston-based State Street Global Advisors, the advertising agency McCann New York, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio explaining that Charging Bull became wrapped up in an advertising campaign that he did not consent to.

The letter states: “We request that the Fearless Girl statue be removed and placed somewhere else and that damages be awarded to Mr. Di Modica for the violation of his legal, statutory rights.” During a press conference the artist held in Midtown Manhattan on Wednesday, he said that Fearless Girl was an insult to his work, which was meant to be a symbol of “freedom in the world, peace, strength, power, and love” when it was installed after the stock market crashed in the 1980s.

April 13, 2017

Carolee Schneemann Awarded Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Carolee Schneemann in Salzburg, 2015. Photo: Andy Archer

Carolee Schneemann will be awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale, “VIVA ARTE VIVA,” opening on May 13. The decision was made upon the recommendation of Christine Macel, the curator of this year’s exhibition, by the Biennale’s board of directors, chaired by Paolo Baratta.

“Schneemann has been one of the most important figures in the development of performance and body art,” Macel said in a statement. “She uses her own body as the prevalent material of her art. In so doing, she situates women as both the creator and an active part of the creation itself. In opposition to traditional representation of women merely as nude object, she uses the naked body as a primal, archaic force [that can] unify energies. Her style is direct, sexual, liberating and autobiographical. She champions the importance of women’s sensual pleasure and she examines the possibilities of political and personal emancipation from predominant social and aesthetic conventions. Through the exploration of a large range of media, such as painting, filmmaking, video art, and performance, Schneemann rewrites her personal history of art, refusing the idea of an ‘his-tory’ narrated exclusively from the male point of view.”

Born in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania, in 1939, Schneemann has been working for more than six decades. She has received a number of awards, including an Art Pace International artist residency in San Antonio, Texas, in 1999; Pollock-Krasner Foundation grants in 1997 and 1998; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993; a Gottlieb Foundation grant; and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She has also taught at institutions such as New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Bard College, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.