June 3, 2017

Valerie Cassel Oliver Named Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Valerie Cassel Oliver. Photo: VMFA.

Valerie Cassel Oliver has been appointed the new curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She will begin her new role on July 7, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Mary Lee Clark. Clark notes that Cassel Oliver is filling the position left vacant by John Ravenal in 2014. Ravenal joined the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum as executive director two years ago.

Cassel Oliver has served as senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for the past sixteen years. Previously, she was director of the visiting artists program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a program specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first exhibit at the VMFA, scheduled for January 2019, will feature work by artist Howardena Pindell. The show, which Cassel Oliver cocurated with Naomi Beckwith, will first open next year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where Beckwith works as a curator.

The Donald Moffett show that Cassel Oliver curated while at Houston was previewed by David Velasco in Artforum’s September 2011 issue.

June 2, 2017

Tate Britain Plans to Rehang Its Entire Collection

Tate Britain

Tate Britain announced that it is going to rehang its entire collection thematically and increase the amount of wall texts accompanying the works in order to improve visitors’ experience of the museum, Hannah Furness reports in The Telegraph. Alex Farquharson, who became the head of Tate Britain when former director Penelope Curtis departed for Lisbon in March 2015, is spearheading the initiative.

The rehang will reverse Curtis’s decision to display the collection chronologically and to drastically reduce wall labels so that museumgoers would have to make their own interpretations of the works. While some museum professionals applauded her vision, Farquharson advocated for the return of the labels and criticized the chronological approach to exhibiting the collection, arguing that it requires visitors to have prior knowledge of art history to understand the works.

“We want to look at how social factors caused art to take the forms it did,” Farquharson said. “So there could be big themes, like London as an urban space in the eighteenth century or Britain in the postwar age of anxiety.” In 2018, the museum will mount the first exhibition of the work of pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones held in London in forty years, as well as “All Too Human,” which will present the “intense experience of life” through figurative painting by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, RB Kitaj, and Paula Rego.

June 2, 2017

Institute of American Indian Arts Receives Donation of Suzan Harjo Archives

David Bradley’s Portrait of Suzan Harjo is among the works Harjo gifted to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, announced that it recently acquired the archive and art collection of Suzan Shown Harjo, a Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee American Indian activist. The Suzan Shown Harjo Papers document her work as a Native lobbyist, broadcaster, and scholar from 1965 to the present.

“At some point in your life, you have to divest,” seventy-two-year-old Suzan Harjo said. “You never know what the future holds and what will happen in life. I decided IAIA is the appropriate place for the Harjo Family Collection as it is merely a continuation of a long-term relationship I have had with the institution, which has given me so much, including an honorary doctorate of humanities. It pleases me to give back to the institution and to be able to give to future students and researchers of the archives and collections of IAIA.”

Harjo has known the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts director Patsy Phillips for more than twenty years. Phillips called Harjo a “strategic visionary.” “For decades Suzan has worked for the advancement of Native arts, cultures, and policies. She could have chosen a number of other museums or institutions to donate her collection, but she chose IAIA,” Phillips said.

June 2, 2017

William Pope.L Wins 2017 Bucksbaum Award

Pope.L, Claim (Whitney Version), 2017. Photo: Whitney Museum.

The multidisciplinary artist Pope.L (also known as William Pope.L) has been named the recipient of the 2017 Bucksbaum Award, which recognizes an artist featured in the current edition of the Whitney Biennial. Previous winners include Sarah Michelson and Zoe Leonard.

Pope.L is a visual artist and educator whose practice of nearly four decades ranges across performance, painting, installation, video, sculpture, and theater. His performances and interventions in public spaces have variously explored language, gender, race, social struggle, and community, among other themes.

Director Adam Weinberg noted, “For almost four decades, Pope.L has challenged us to confront some of the most pressing questions about American society as well as about the very nature of art. We are thrilled that he is joining the illustrious group of American artists whom we have honored with the Bucksbaum Award.”

Pope.L’s work was featured on the cover of the February 2015 issue of Artforum, in the context of David Joselit’s essay on visual evidence and the case of Eric Garner. Joselit wrote of Pope.L: “His art does not represent but rather suggests an elusive alternate space for consuming information—not the ostensibly democratic sphere of the forum, but the much more slippery, biopolitical locus, or threshold, of the hole.” The artist was also interviewed by Zachary Cahill for a 500 Words on artforum.com the same month.

June 2, 2017

Lisson Gallery to Close Its Milan Space

“Spencer Finch” (2017) at Lisson Gallery in Milan.

Lorena Muñoz-Alonso of Artnet reports that after six years, Lisson Gallery has closed its Milan space. Its final exhibition, which showcased works by American artist Spencer Finch, closed on May 19.

“This decision has been difficult but one we feel reflects the future goals of the gallery,” Lisson said in a statement. The gallery originally moved to Milan in 2011 to create an external project space while expanding its international reach.

Founded in 1967 by Nicholas Logsdail, the gallery will now focus on its two London galleries as well as its New York locations. Lisson opened its second New York space, which presents single-work exhibitions and more intimate shows, on West Twenty-Fourth Street last March.

June 2, 2017

Frick Collection Expands Pay-What-You-Wish Hours

The Frick Collection in New York.

Starting in July 2017, the Frick Collection in New York will extend its pay-what-you-wish admission to every Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 6 PM. The new weekday offering will replace the Frick’s current pay-what-you-wish admission hours on Sundays from 11 AM to 1 PM, and extend the special ticketing period from two to four hours.

The Wednesday pay-what-you-wish program follows the October 2016 launch of First Fridays, a series of events that offers free museum admission and gallery programs from 6 to 9 PM on the first Friday evening of every month (except September and January).

“We’ve been thrilled by the response from those who have chosen to start their weekends at the Frick during our free First Friday events, including those New Yorkers who have never before visited,” director Ian Wardropper said. “By shifting our pay-what-you-wish period to Wednesdays, we hope to accommodate those audiences who aren’t able to take advantage of these free Friday programs.”

June 2, 2017

Art Basel Files Lawsuit Against Adidas for Trademark Infringement

Adidas’s Art Basel sneakers.

Art Basel is suing Adidas for distributing one thousand free pairs of limited-edition sneakers featuring Art Basel’s trademark during a promotional event at its Miami fair last year, David Ovalle of the Miami Herald reports.

In a federal lawsuit filed this week in South Florida US district court, the contemporary art fair company said that the sneaker giant did not have permission to stitch the words “Art Basel” to the tongue of its EQT shoe. Art Basel also said the sneaker “deliberately misrepresents an association, show partner, sponsorship or other affiliation” between the two companies.

While Adidas did not make any profit from the shoes at the time, the special-edition sneakers are now being sold on eBay, with some fetching up to $250. According to Joseph Englander, the legal representative for Art Basel Miami, the fair is demanding that Adidas destroy all remaining shoes and pay damages for “diluting” its trademark.

June 2, 2017

Chad Dawkins Named Director of Exhibitions at Southwest School of Art

Chad Dawkins

The Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas, has appointed Chad Dawkins, associate director of Texas State Galleries at Texas State University, as its new director of exhibitions. He succeeds Mary Mikel Stump, who stepped down in April after a two-year term. Dawkins will take up the post on July 5.

Dawkins worked as a studio technician at Artpace from 2010 to 2015 and served as the interim gallery director of Texas State Galleries from 2015 to 2016. His curatorial projects at the arts space include “2017 Joey Fauerso: Pretend This Is a Trap” and “2016 Monica Haller, Objects for Deployment / Veterans Book Project.” He also lectures at the Southwest School and Texas State, and writes for a number of publications including Glasstire and Art Lies, a quarterly magazine dedicated to contemporary art.

June 1, 2017

Germany’s Museum Schloss Moyland Embroiled in Legal Dispute

The Museum Schloss Moyland

The Museum Schloss Moyland, the modern and contemporary art institution and international research center dedicated to Joseph Beuys in northwest Germany, has been caught up in a legal battle over its management and artistic direction, Monopol reports.

The Landesarbeitsgericht (the State Labor Court) in Düsseldorf has announced that it is reviewing an appeal by the museum’s administration after Bettina Paust, the museum’s former artistic director, successfully sued them for wrongfully dismissing her.

Paust’s seven-year contract as artistic director expired in April 2016. Rather than renewing the contract, the museum reassigned Paust to her previous position as vice director. Since the Moyland Foundation did not hire a new artistic director, the regional labor court ruled that Paust’s employment contract was still valid and that its term-limit proviso did not apply.