march/april 2017: news page

from the mar/apr issue

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Southern Façade of the Hammer Museum on Wilshire Boulevard Photo: courtesy of MMA and the Hammer Museum
Southern Façade of the Hammer Museum on Wilshire Boulevard
Photo: courtesy of MMA and the Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum released details of a major multiyear renovation of the museum’s existing facility and 40,000 square feet of newly acquired space in the adjoining office tower. In addition to increased visibility along Wilshire Boulevard, the acquisition will expand the current gallery space by 60 percent with plans to construct two new exhibition spaces, a two-story expansion of the museum’s workspace, and provide 20,000 square feet of enhanced community spaces. The project is led by longtime Hammer partner, architect Michael Maltzan, who has worked on numerous projects with the Hammer, including the Billy Wilder Theater, the Lab and café, and most recently, the iconic John V. Tunney Bridge.

Also from the Hammer, it was announced that the museum’s senior curator, Anne Ellegood and independent curator Erin Christovale will curate the fourth iteration of museum’s 2018 “Made in L.A.” Biennial.

Frieze New York announced a group of international artists commissioned for 2017 edition of Frieze Projects, curated by director and chief curator of High Line Art, Cecilia Alemani. This year’s participating artists Dora Budor, Elaine Cameron-Weir and Jon Rafman will create a series of voyeuristic-themed site-specific installations for the event, Ryan McNamara and Adam Pendleton will stage new performance works alongside past projects by Giosetta Fioroni and Fabio Mauri.

Jay Sanders has been named executive director and chief curator of Artists Space. Sanders comes to the New York nonprofit from the Whitney, beginning his performance art-focused tenure in 2012 after co-curating the 2012 Whitney Biennial with the museum’s curator of photography, Elisabeth Sussman. Prior to working at the Whitney, Sanders served as the director of New York’s Greene Naftali gallery from 2005 to 2010.

Creative Time has announced the promotion of Nato Thompson to Artistic Director and Elvira Dyangani Ose as Senior Curator. Thompson joined Creative Time in 2007, and has presented some of Creative Time’s best-known projects, including works by Trevor Paglen, Paul Chan, Pedro Reye and Kara Walker’s sugar-coated installation A Subtlety (2014). Dyangani Ose joins the organization from Goldsmiths, University of London and the Thought Council at the Fondazione Prada.

The roster of 120 international artists participating in “Viva Arte Viva” for the 2017 Venice Biennale has been announced. Curated by Christine Macel, the invited artists hail from 51 countries, with 103 of the 120 artists participating for the first time. In the exhibition statement, Macel describes the mutli-generational approach of this 57th biennale: “VIVA ARTE VIVA [also] seeks to convey a positive and prospective energy, which whilst focusing on young artists, rediscovers those passed away too soon or those who are still largely unknown despite the importance of their work. These discoveries and recoveries give way, in each pavilion, to a communion of artists from several generations, offering perspectives on questions that were often broached as early as the 1960s and specially the 1970s.”

Throughout the month of March, the nonprofit Art+Feminism will hosts numerous Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons across the globe. The worldwide events focus on creating and updating Wikipedia entries related to notable women artists and art world figures, as well as training attendees how to edit, update, and add articles on Wikipedia. Twenty-eight venues, including California College of the Arts, MoMA NY in collaboration with the Professional Organization for Women in the Arts (POWarts), National Museum of Women in the Arts, New Mexico Museum of Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will hold events on March 11 in recognition of National Women’s Day.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has acquired 62 works by African American artists who lived and worked in the southern US from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation in Atlanta, made possible by the Fine Arts Museums’ funds and a gift from the foundation. The acquisition includes works in a variety of media by 22 contemporary artists, including Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Jessie T. Pettway, Mose Tolliver, Annie Mae Young, and Purvis Young. Maxwell L. Anderson, president of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, said of the exchange: “Our collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco on this historic acquisition is at the heart of our mission to make the work of these African American artists from the South accessible to the public and scholars alike.” The collection will go on view on June 3, 2017 at the de Young Museum in “Revelations: Art from the African American South,” curated by Timothy Anglin Burgard.

"Bars and String-Pieced Columns," 1950s, Jessie T. Pettway
“Bars and String-Pieced Columns,” 1950s, Jessie T. Pettway
Cotton, 95″ x 76″
Photo: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, museum purchase,
American Art Trust Fund, and gift of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation
from the William S. Arnett Collection.
© 2017 Jessie T. Pettway / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Vilcek Foundation has announced that the 2017 Vilcek Prize for the Arts has been awarded to New York-based artist, originally from Jamaica, Nari Ward. The Vilcek Prizes includes a $100,000 cash award, and $50,000 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise are awarded annually to immigrant artists in recognition of thier contributions to the arts and sciences. Ward, who immigrated to the US at the age of 12, is known for his his found-object assemblage art that explores topics such as race, immigration, and the Caribbean diaspora identity. Ward is the first visual artist to be awarded the arts category prize since 2006.

After a hiatus in 2015, Big Medium has announced an Open Call for artists and the return of the Texas Biennial in the fall of 2017. Mexico City-based, independent curator Leslie Moody Castro named as curator and artistic director for the sixth iteration of the event. In an earlier released by Big Medium director Shea Little, “The 2017 Texas Biennial will magnify the excellence and diversity of contemporary art being produced in the state through three lenses and exhibition layers.” The call is open to all artists working within Texas and within 10-miles of the state’s border.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver has been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish Animating Museums, a two-year leadership program for art museum professionals. The $400,000 grant will support the expansion of the museum’s professional development program, slated to begin this summer with 14 museum professionals from various US cities participating in a 1-day workship in Denver this summer.

Only 10 months after leaving her longtime position of nearly 30 years at the Guggenheim Museum to head the curatorial team at the Brooklyn Museum, Nancy Spector has returned to the Guggenheim as both chief curator and artistic director. The newly created position will oversee and unify the “artistic activities throughout its international constellation of museums and initiatives.” In an official statement, Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation said “During her many years at the Guggenheim, Nancy Spector shaped our institution in singular and significant ways. She is the ideal person to take on this new role working with the Guggenheim to realize and reimagine the radical purpose its founders gave it 80 years ago.”

Colby College Museum of Art, Maine, has received a $100 million gift from longtime art patrons Peter and Paula Lunder, bringing over 1,100 artworks to the museum’s collection. The gift includes works by over 150 artists, consisting of paintings, sculptures, photography, and works on paper, dating from the 16th to the 21st century. Among the artists represented in the donation are Mary Cassatt, Albrecht Dürer, Jasper Johns, Nina Katchadourian, Jacob Lawrence, Maya Lin, Julie Mehretu, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, Betye Saar, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Ai Weiwei, Fred Wilson, and James McNeill Whistler. The Lunders had previousy donated over 500 works from their personal collection to the college in 2007, and the lead gift for the Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion Building completed in 2013. The recent gift of artworks and funding will establish the Lunder Institute for American Art.