The future of Bergamot Station has been the subject of heated debate since the opening of the Expo Line extension and with leases ending for many in the art complex in the not-so-distant future. The most visible casualties to the site were the exodus of Track 16 in 2012 to make way for the new station and the departure of the Santa Monica Museum of Art in 2015, which recently re-opened downtown as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In response to various proposals put forth by the city and developers, an association of the galleries has formed, known as the Bergamot Union, to put forth a collective vision and give greater voice to the concerns of the galleries who reside at the station. Originally the site of a Trolley Station, dating back to 1875, the complex hosted its official opening as an arts destination on September 17, 1994 and now hosts over 30 galleries and an estimated 600,000 visitors annually.
Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion has announced the donation including over 5,000 original architectural drawings, renderings from the mid-1950s to late-1990s in addition to six models, and 184 slides from noted local architect Hugh Kaptur. Included in the gift are drawings for the Steve McQueen residence, Palm Springs Swim Complex, Palm Springs Fire Stations No. 3 and 4, Casa Blanca (now Musicland Hotel), and the Selzer Residence.
Bill Berkson, influential San Francisco-based poet, art critic, and professor emeritus of the San Francisco Art Institute where he taught writing and art history courses from 1984-2008, died Thursday, June 16. Born in New York City in 1939, Berkson was affiliated with the New York School of poets and artists, including the likes of Frank O’Hara and Philip Guston, before moving to the Bay Area in 1970, where he first taught in the California Poets in the Schools program.
AWARDS & GRANTS
The University of Chicago has announced artist Kerry James Marshall the recipient of 2016 Jesse L. Rosenberger Medal in recognition of the Chicago-based artist’s achievement in the arts and his contributions to the larger community.
The 18th annual Baloise Art Prize was presented at the Statements sector of Art Basel 2016 to Canadian-born Sara Cwynar and Mary Reid Kelley, both active in the USA. Each artist was awarded a cash prize of CHF 30,000 ($31,000) and a selection of their work will be donated to Frankfurt’s Museum für Moderne Kunst and the MUDAM museum in Luxembourg.
The 2016 Prix Canson Prize was awarded to Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby in a ceremony at New York’s Drawing Center last night. The Los Angeles-based artist was selected from an international jury led by Brett Littman, executive director of the Drawing Center, to receive the sixth edition of the award from an international field earlier narrowed down to five finalists. Crosby is best known for her large-scale works on paper that investigates themes including wealth, race, identity, literature and assimilation. In addition to the award, Crosby will be offered a residency at the home of former President of the Jury, renowned Brazilian artist Tunga, who passed away just three weeks before the prize was awarded.
The Renaissance Society recently announced the receipt of three leading gifts to its Next Century Fund, a $5 million campaign launched during the Centennial celebrations, fall 2015. The total gift of $1.5 million, the largest collective gift in the institution’s 100-year history, comes from: The Edlis Neeson Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and the Zell Family Foundation, each pledging $500,000.
The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced that the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has been awarded a matching grant of $100,000 to be distributed to MOCAD over a two-year period in support of a series of community based exhibitions and free public programs in full-scale replica of Mike Kelley’s childhood home, known as Mobile Homestead.
In related news, LA-based Moran Bondaroff gallery opened its inaugural exhibition in an abandoned cathedral in Detroit launching its year-long gallery residence in the 50,000-square-foot space. After the opening, the gallery hosted a fund-raising event for MOCAD’s annual fundraiser, “Interchange.”
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has announced photographer/sculptor Mary Beth Heffernan as an artist-in-residence funded by a $10,000 grant from Photographic Arts Council/Los Angeles (PAC/LA). The Los Angeles-based artist will spend several months working with the Huntington’s extensive holdings, which will culminate with a new artwork to be acquired by the institution.
The Menil Collection has announced a major gift of 110 modern and contemporary drawings from from the collections of trustees Janie C. Lee and Louisa Stude Sarofim. The gift brings 55 works from each collection and contains works from the likes of Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg. The donation is among the largest in the museum’s history, was announced three weeks after the institutions confirmed the appointment of Rebecca Rabinow, who comes from a leadership role at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to serve as the Menil’s new director.
The first public artwork to be commissioned by the City of Lancaster for the Art and Public Places Program, “Astral Challenger” by Shana Mabari, was unveiled to the public on May 2016. The 20-foot tall sculpture memorializes the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, and is located is at the intersection of Challenger Way and Avenue L, the former route used to haul space shuttles from Air Force Plant 42 to the Edwards Air Force Base.
The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego‘s (MCASD) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Kathryn Kanjo as The David C. Copley Director and CEO. Kanjo has served in numerous capacities at the museum, most recently as Deputy Director of Art and Programs, will take on her new role at MCASD in October. Current director, Hugh Davies, will continue at the museum in the role of Campaign and Expansion Director until his retirement in late 2018. The Board also voted Dr. Paul Jacobs as next Board President, succeeding current President Matthew Strauss. Nearby, at the San Diego Museum of Art, Diana Y. Chou, PhD, has been appointed for the newly created role of Associate Curator of East Asian Art at the museum.
The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) has named Manuela Well-Off-Man, PhD, as Chief Curator, who brings over 15 years of curatorial experience including her previous appointment as Associate Curator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Dr. Marcelle Polednik has been named the new director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The museum also recently announced the largest gift in its history of $8 million from longtime donors Donna and Donald Baumgartner to the museum’s endowment. Polednik recently served as director and chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, Fl.
Additional appointments: Hunter O’Hanian as executive director of the College Art Association (CAA); Clément Chéroux as senior curator of photography at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art LA has announced art collector and co-founder of the Hard Rock Café, Peter Morton, to its board of trustees.