July 29, 2017

Metropolitan Museum of Art Announces New Senior Staff Appointments

The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has announced five senior staff appointments that went into effect this month.

Quincy Houghton was promoted to deputy director for exhibitions; Dita Amory was named curator in charge and administrator of the Robert Lehman Collection; Kim Benzel was appointed curator in charge of the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art; Jayson Dobney was promoted to curator in charge of the Department of Musical Instruments; and Janina Poskrobko has been tapped as the new conservator in charge of Textile Conservation.

“It is an honor to announce these appointments, all of which are extremely well deserved,” said Weiss. “This is a group of dedicated, talented, and experienced individuals who bring an impressive level of expertise to their positions. In addition to being collaborative colleagues who care deeply about this institution, they also exemplify the high standard of excellence that is at the core of the museum.”

July 29, 2017

Mitch Cairns Wins $80,000 Archibald Prize

Mitch Cairns, Agatha Gothe-Snape, 2017. Photo: Mim Stirling for AGNSW

Sydney artist Mitch Cairns was awarded this year’s $80,000 Archibald Prize for a stylized portrait of his artist partner, contemporary artist Agatha Gothe-Snape. “I composed this portrait with love. Agatha and I share everything in our lives; our two-year-old son; our work as artists; and our day-to-day lives,” Cairns said. Cairns is a four-time Archibald Prize finalist.

The oil, which pays tribute to Henrí Matisse’s works from the early 1900s, began as a series of drawings. Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales’s board president David Gonski said, “There were many great Archibald contenders this year, but it was the skill and sensitivity of Mitch’s portrait which left a significant impression on us all.”

The Archibald prize is awarded each year to a portrait “preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics.” The gallery’s board of trustees, who served as the jury, said that the award received 822 submissions, from which forty-three finalist portraits were selected.

July 28, 2017

Whitney Museum Receives Major Gift of Archival Materials Related to Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced that it has received a major donation of archival materials relating to the life and career of artist Edward Hopper. The materials, to be known as the Sanborn Hopper Archive at the Whitney Museum of American Art, were gifted by the Arthayer R. Sanborn Hopper Collection Trust. The archive will be housed at the Whitney’s Frances Mulhall Achilles Library.

“The Sanborn Family has stewarded this collection and Hopper’s legacy for decades,” director Adam D. Weinberg said. “We are delighted that the family has chosen the Whitney—home to the largest collection of Edward Hopper works in the world—as the site for these fascinating and informative materials, and I am deeply grateful to the Sanborn family for entrusting us to establish this archive.”

The gift consists of about four thousand items, including more than three hundred letters and notes from Hopper to his family, friends, and colleagues; twenty-one notebooks in Hopper’s own hand; ninety notebooks by Hopper’s wife, Josephine Nivison Hopper; and extensive archival material relating to Hopper’s artistic career and personal life, such as photographs, personal papers, and dealer records.

July 28, 2017

Artist Pension Trust Faces Backlash over Storage Fees

Marina Kappos, a member of the Artist Pension Trust, working in her studio in 2007.

Artists who signed up to participate in the Artist Pension Trust, a mutual assurance fund that was established to provide long-term financial security for artists, are up in arms over a new monthly storage fee. The trust’s announcement that, beginning in September, it will charge $6.50 per month for each work that members stored has some threatening to pull out of APT.

In the Facebook group “APT Artist Solidarity,” which was started by Los Angeles artist Kristin Calabrese, members of the trust are airing their grievances. “I originally understood that that APT was developed to protect artists and their futures. It makes me sad that it has become increasingly clear that it is about making a profit,” wrote New York artist Marina Kappos.

Kirsten Hassenfeld said the move was “a breach of trust and a tactic to mitigate financial pressure on APT while transferring the burden to the artists themselves.” Since the artists only have until August 11 to decide whether they will agree to the trust’s new policy, many are concerned that there is not enough time to make other arrangements for storing their works. Some are even considering destroying works that they cannot afford to transport.

July 28, 2017

Cleveland Museum of Art Extends Director William Griswold’s Contract

William M. Griswold.

The Cleveland Museum of Art’s board of trustees has approved a seven-year contract that will allow William M. Griswold, who became the ninth permanent director of the institution in May 2014, to continue serving as the museum’s director through December 31, 2024.

“Bill has done an incredible job and demonstrated exceptional leadership during a pivotal time in the museum’s history,” said board chair Peter E. Raskind. “He combines a lifelong dedication as an esteemed scholar and curator with a strong sense of commitment to the community we serve and a visionary mind for the future. He is uniquely qualified to continue to lead the museum and build further on the distinguished foundation we have established in the past three years.”

Under Griswold’s leadership, the museum successfully campaigned to raise funds for its historic renovation and expansion, and organized a yearlong centennial celebration in 2016 featuring a wide variety of community events and special exhibitions. These achievements led the board to propose an extension to the term of his original agreement with the museum, which would have expired in 2019.

July 28, 2017

Inaugural South American Biennial to Kick Off in September

Still from French artist Christian Boltanski's new video installation, Misterios. Comprising recorded sounds and visuals of whales during their annual breeding season by the sea in Bahía Bustamante, in Chubut, Patagonia, the video work will be exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires.

The first International Biennial of Contemporary Art of South America, dubbed BienalSur, will launch across thirty cities in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia in September, Gabriella Angeleti of the Art Newspaper reports. While based in Buenos Aires, the biennial strives to promote cultural exchange between countries.

Aníbal Jozami, the director of the large-scale exhibition, said, “The biennials that we are now acquainted with were born at different historical times as a consequence of certain social groups attempting to boost their city or region, as was the case with the political leaders of northern Italy after reunification, when they established the Venice Biennale in the late-nineteenth century. In view of this context, together with Diana Wechsler [the artistic director of the biennial] and Marlise Ilhesca [the biennial’s advisor], we felt the need to rethink the current formats—conversely, this biennial does not respond to any city in particular.”

Organized by the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero of Argentina, BienalSur will feature 379 projects that are not required to adhere to any specific theme. Among those participating are South American artists Paulo Nazareth, Cildo Meireles, Iván Navarro, Oscar Muñoz, Voluspa Jarpa, and Marcelo Brodsky, as well as international artists Katsuhiko Hibino, Angelika Markul, and Abdellah Karroum.

July 28, 2017

Pat Brassington Awarded Inaugural $50,000 Don Macfarlane Prize

Pat Brassington (Left) and Melissa Macfarlane (Right).

The Don Macfarlane Prize, a new $50,000 award that will be given annually to senior Australian artists in recognition of their ongoing cultural contribution, leadership, and commitment to mentorship, has named photographer Pat Brassington as the prize’s first recipient.

A statement issued by the prize calls Brassington “one of Australia’s most significant and influential artists” and praises her “genre-defining contribution to the field of visual arts, her breathtaking conceptual work, and her commitment to the sector as a gallery administrator and mentor to many artists.”

Known for her interests in surrealism, feminism, and psychoanalysis, and for creating ambiguous photomontages that play on narratives of sexuality, memory and identity, Brassington was also recently named the winner of the 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize. She was the subject of a major survey, “Pat Brassington: A Rebours,” which started at the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2012 and then toured Australia and New Zealand until 2016.

July 28, 2017

Houston Awards Nearly $3.5 Million in Arts and Cultural Grants

Houston’s Project Row Houses.

Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner has approved a total of $3,463,217 in grants that will be awarded to local nonprofit organizations for the 2018 fiscal year. The grants are funded through a portion of the Hotel Occupancy Tax, which makes up 55 percent of the Houston Arts Alliance’s budget. The financial support will allow eighty-five local organizations to provide a range of programming, including public performances, festivals, and exhibitions.

“Houston’s diverse arts and cultural offerings provide tremendous service to our community, attract visitors and set Houston apart from other cities,” said the mayor. “Each dollar the city invests sparks social and economic returns to the city and is a big reason why Houston has grown its creative talent and opportunity.”

The grantees include the University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery, Art League Houston, Box 13 Artspace, Fotofest Inc., the Houston Center for Photography, the Houston International Dance Coalition, Preservation Houston, the University of Houston’s Blaffer Art Museum, Project Row Houses, and the Ensemble Theatre. A complete list of grant recipients can be found on the Houston Arts Alliance’s website.

July 28, 2017

MCA Chicago Adds Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi to Its Board of Trustees

Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has announced that Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, has joined its board of trustees, Carolyn Twersky of Artnews reports.

“He brings an incredible expertise as a leader in global art, culture, and philanthropy and through his work at the Barjeel Art Foundation, he is an important collector of contemporary art,” Anne Kaplan, the chair of the museum’s board, said in a statement.

Al Qassemi will also act as a cochair of the Global Vision Initiative, which aims to support contemporary art and artists from the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The project began as a pilot program in 2016. Since then the museum has acquired several works by Middle Eastern artists such as Marwan and Jumana Manna, which will be included in a group exhibition, curated by Omar Kholeif, that is scheduled to open in 2019.