July 14, 2017

Charles McGill (1964–2017)

Charles McGill, Watermelon Patch, Harlem, from “Playing Through” performance, 2001.

Sculptor and educator Charles McGill, who is best known for repurposing vintage golf bags by creating assemblages with their tempered plastic, steel, leather, vinyl, and hardware, died on Sunday, July 9, near his home in Peekskill, New York. The fifty-three-year-old artist’s passing was confirmed by Pavel Zoubok Gallery.

“I find the golf bag to be a very political object due to its historical associations with class . . . and racial injustice . . . It is both an object and subject that lends itself well to found object abstractions and assemblages that address these well-chronicled complexities,” McGill said.

McGill was originally trained as a figurative painter. He first studied at the School of Visual Arts and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture before earning his master’s degree in fine arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1989. McGill’s works have been exhibited at a variety of institutions, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, and the Norton Museum of Art. He received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2014 and the Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2015. In 2016, the Boca Raton Museum of Art staged his first solo museum exhibition, “Front Line, Back Nine,” curated by Kathleen Goncharov.

July 14, 2017

Turkish Police Arrest Director of Film Featuring President Erdogan at Gunpoint

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a ceremony marking the last year's failed coup, at the Bestepe People’s Culture and Congress Center in Ankara, on July 13, 2017. Photo: Adem Altan / AFP

Filmmaker Ali Avci was detained by authorities in Turkey on Thursday, July 13, for directing a controversial film that shows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under gunpoint during a bloodly coup d’etat, AFP reports. Avci is accused of being involved with the group that unsuccessfully tried to oust Erdogan last year. Another man, Fetullah Karabiber, who authorities found in Avci’s house, was also detained.

Titled Uyanis (Awakening), Avci’s film has not yet been released in theaters. Its trailer, which features the killing of Ergodan’s family, including his wife and son, in their house in Kisikli sparked the controversy. Avci previously produced Reis (the Chief), a biopic about Erdogan’s childhood and the beginning of his career in politics, which premiered in March, one month ahead of a referendum to boost Erdogan’s powers.

July 14, 2017

Kim Sun-Jung Appointed President of Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Kim Sun-jung.

Kim Sun-jung, director of the Art Sonje Center in Seoul, has been appointed the new president of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, Jia Dong of ArtAsiaPacific reports. She will serve a three-year term.

Prior to joining the foundation, Kim Sun-jung codirected the 2012 Gwangju Biennale, “Roundtable,” which featured ninety-two artists from forty countries. She served as the artistic director of Mediacity Seoul 2010, and commissioned the Korean Pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

Founded in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale strives to provide a dynamic platform for local and international artists. The exhibition drew criticism in 2014, when a Hong Seong-dam painting depicting family members of the children who died in the nation’s ferry disaster was removed following political pressure. The controversy prompted several Japanese artists from Okinawa to pull their works and led to the resignations of Yongwoo Lee, the president of the foundation at the time, and head curator Yoon Beom-mo.

July 14, 2017

Michael Auping, Chief Curator at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Steps Down

Michael Auping.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s director Marla Price has announced that chief curator Michael Auping will retire this summer after more than two decades at the museum, Glasstire reports. Auping plans to finish writing a book about his conversations with artists throughout his career, titled “Forty Years: Just Talking about Art,” once he leaves the institution.

“We are grateful to Michael for his enormous contributions to this organization, the Fort Worth arts community, and the art world over the past twenty-four years,” said Price. “His scholarship has elevated the [museum] to international status among modern and contemporary art institutions. We thank him for his dedication, and applaud the legacy he leaves.”

During Auping’s tenure at the museum, he organized a number of exhibitions including “Georg Baselitz: Portraits of Elke” (1997–98); “Philip Guston Retrospective” (2003); “Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth” (2005–2006); “Ed Ruscha: Road Tested” (2011); “Declaring Space: Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein” (2007–2008); and “Frank Stella: A Retrospective” (2016), which was co-organized with the Whitney.

July 14, 2017

Mali’s Rencontres de Bamako Biennial Announces Details for Eleventh Edition

Curator Marie-Ann Yemsi.

Mali’s African photography biennial, the Rencontres de Bamako, has unveiled the upcoming program for its eleventh edition, which will be held at the Musée National du Mali and at various locations across the city of Bamako from December 2, 2017, to January 31, 2018.

Curator Marie-Ann Yemsi established a curatorial advisory committee to select around forty African photographers and video artists from more than three hundred submissions to participate in the exhibition. Titled “Afrotopia,” the biennial aims to explore Africa’s attempt to establish itself as the center of its own worldview. The artists were asked to consider the meaning of Afrotopia, defined by Senegalese intellectual Felwine Sarr as “an active utopia, with a self-appointed mission to seek out and fertilize the vast spaces of possibility in the reality of Africa today.”

The curatorial advisory committee was made up of artist Sammy Baloji; architect and independent curator Olfa Feki; Rébecca Lamarche-Vadel, curator at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; artist and filmmaker Lekgetho James Makola, who is the head of the Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg; Aïda Muluneh, artist and founder/managing director of Addis Foto Fest and DESTA For Africa Creative Consulting PLC, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia; Azu Nwagbogu, founding director of the African Artists’ Foundation and LagosPhoto Festival and director and editor in chief of Art Base Africa, Lagos, Nigeria.

July 14, 2017

Oregon’s Newspace Center for Photography Closes

Newspace Center for Photography.

Newspace Center for Photography, the fifteen-year-old nonprofit in Portland, Oregon, permanently closed its doors on July 7, The Oregonian reports. News of the organization’s financial struggles came as a surprise to many of its supporters.

The center held a community meeting on July 10 to explain to the public its reasons for closing. Andrew Kaiser, a photography center donor and volunteer who attended the meeting, wrote on Facebook that he left the gathering with “far more questions than answers.” He said that the board members blamed a national trend toward lower-class enrollments and a decrease in donations as the reasons for the arts space’s financial difficulties and also claimed that the worsening financial situation “hit them out of nowhere.” His frustrations were echoed by other members of the community who wondered why the public wasn’t informed or engaged to help raise funds.

Board member Bob Hestand said, “We’re unable to fulfill our mission. Our expenses were outpacing our revenue.” Treasurer Steve G. Stegeman said that they ran out of money and that their debt to creditors and grant-giving organizations amounts to around $115,000. He added that the center, which was known for its monthly exhibition program and for its classes, workshops, and public discussions, had considered long-term solutions such as merging with other organizations and even hired a director of development, but that they ultimately did not have enough time to save the organization.

July 14, 2017

Pierrette Bloch (1928–2017)

Pierrette Bloch in Paris in 2016. Photo: James Caritey / Galerie Karsten Greve

The French postwar artist Pierrette Bloch, known for her formal abstractions for which she dripped and blotted ink on paper and used unconventional materials such as horsehair to “draw” in space, died in her home in Paris on July 7, at the age of eighty-nine. Galerie Karsten Greve confirmed her passing.

Bloch, whose career spans sixty years, had her first solo show at Mai Gallery in Paris in 1951. She was a student of André Lhote and Henri Goetz, and was later viewed as a forerunner to the short-lived French art movement that emerged in the late 1960s. Her work has been exhibited at a variety of institutions, including Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Musée Bellerive, Zurich; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels; MoMA, New York; and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan.

“Pierrette will be remembered for her courage, boldness, curiosity and adventurous spirit in her exploration of visual articulation as well as the deeply moving simplicity and expressivity inherent in her nuanced work,” Galerie Karsten Greve said in a statement.

July 13, 2017

Daniel LaRue Johnson (1938–2017)

Daniel LaRue Johnson at a school on behalf of the South Bronx Multi-Purpose Supplementary Educational Center, c. 1968. Photo: The Hammer Museum

American artist Daniel LaRue Johnson, best known for his large-scale public sculptures, including the fifty-foot stainless-steel monolith Peace Form One, which was erected across the street from the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan in 1980, has died, Pac Pobric and Sarah P. Hanson of the Art Newspaper report.

Born in Los Angeles in 1938, the painter, sculptor, and printmaker studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts) in the early 1960s. In 1964, Johnson was invited by John Weber to participate in “Boxes,” an exhibition at Dwan Gallery. In the show, he presented works from his “Black Box” series, assemblages of objects painted black that addressed America’s civil rights movement. One such work, titled Yesterday, an open-faced box containing a section of the American flag besides a headless doll, comments on the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating in 1965, Johnson received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship, which allowed him and his wife, artist Virginia Jaramillo, to live in Paris, where he studied with Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti, before settling in New York.

The artist’s return to the US coincided with a shift in the focus of his work. Johnson began creating colorful abstract paintings and Minimalist steel sculptures. He also worked on a series of public commissions, including Peace Form One, which commemorates Ralph Johnson Bunche, the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950. Previously, Johnson created the largest Corten steel sculpture in the world. Dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., the work was installed in a park in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1970.

July 13, 2017

German Gallery Share Program to Kick Off in September

Tanya Leighton (Berlin), which will be a visiting gallery at Rob Tufnell (Cologne) during the German gallery share project Okey Dokey in September.

Alex Greenberger of Artnews writes that Germany is launching a gallery share program this September—its own version of Condo, the large-scale collaborative exhibition program, which has recently been held in London and New York, that aims to build community among young galleries. The experimental exhibition model requires participating galleries to host out-of-towners by sharing their gallery space.

Organizers Ginerva Gambino, Jan Kaps, and Max Mayer will launch the gallery share project, called Okey Dokey, with its first edition running September 8 through 30. Nine spaces in Cologne and Düsseldorf will welcome seventeen visiting galleries.

The list of participating galleries is as follows: