August 25, 2017

Biennale de Montréal Cancels 2018 Edition

Installation view of the 2016 Biennale de Montréal 2016 with works by Janice Kerbel and Isa Genzken Photo: Alison Slattery

Due to a deficit of more than $160,000, the Biennale de Montréal has decided to scrap its upcoming edition. Board chair Cédric Bisson told Victoria Stapley-Brown of the Art Newspaper that despite artistic successes, the board had to cancel the event after it was given “inaccurate figures by the management team” during last year’s exhibition.

According to Bisson, former artistic director Sylvie Fortin allegedly contributed to the biennial’s financial difficulties. However, in an interview with La Presse, he said that the board was also responsible for its current situation. Commenting on Fortin and her team, he said, “General management was not their forte.” When asked to elaborate on the matter, Bisson said that three factors were to blame for the exhibition’s mounting debt: unsuccessful fund-raising campaigns, unforeseen costs, and management issues.

While the exhibition attempts to get out of the red, it is also facing criticism from local artists and vendors who claim that they still have not been paid by the biennial for participating in the 2016 iteration. The biennial has faced a number of challenges over the years, including its decision to sever ties with its founding institution, the Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal; frequent changes in leadership; and the postponement of its 2013 edition.

August 25, 2017

Portuguese Photographers Pledge to Boycott Israeli Cultural Institutions

Demonstrators fighting for Palestinian rights.

More than forty Portuguese photographers have vowed to boycott Israeli cultural institutions that they believe are complicit in the country’s occupation of Palestinian territories. Among those who are supporting the pledge are João Pina, the winner of the 2017 Prémio Estação Imagem Viana do Castelo—Portugal’s only photojournalism award—travel photographer Nuno Lobito, and photographer, educator, and historian José Soudo.

“We support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” they said in a statement issued to Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)—a Palestinian-led movement modeled after the South African anti-apartheid boycott campaign. “In response to the call from Palestinian photographers, journalists, and cultural workers for a cultural boycott of Israel, we pledge to accept neither professional invitations to Israel, nor funding, from the Israeli state and to refuse to collaborate with Israeli cultural institutions linked to its government until Israel complies with international law and respects the human rights of Palestinians.”

According to BDS, Palestinian artists are being refused visas by the Israeli military, detained at checkpoints, and arrested. Signatory João Henriques, the winner of the 2015 FNAC New Talents Award, said, “To participate in this solidarity initiative for Palestine is to believe in the power of photography to provide testimony, to create conscience, and to have empathy for the Other.”

August 25, 2017

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation Announces First Edition of Creative China Festival

Still from Cai Shangjun’s The Conformist, 2017, featured in Creative China Festival’s film series.

The Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF)—the only publicly funded foundation and cultural think tank in China for the development of contemporary art and humanities—has announced that this fall it will launch the inaugural edition of the Creative China Festival, a curated program of events in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles that aims to bring Chinese contemporary art to American audiences.

Across three cities, the festival’s program will include six sections: public forums, a film series, public art exhibitions and an arts residency, design exhibitions, live music performances, and a guest city program with more than ten collaborating institutions, including Asia Contemporary Art Week, China Institute, Columbia University, and Metrograph, that will help bring the culture from Nanjing—the first guest city—to New York through Nanjing Week, which will run from September 7 to September 13.

“In alignment with our innovative global work in recent years, the festival will support a new generation of Chinese creative forces and enhance the long-term collaboration of cultural institutions between China and the US,” said Cui Qiao, president of BCAF. “In the complex and diverse world that we live in, it is important to learn how to observe, think, and retain our ideas and values, learn and understand from cultures, and contribute positively to society. The Creative China Festival aims to encourage and continue such thought processes with our global counterparts.”

August 25, 2017

The Bessies Reveal 2017 Lifetime Achievement and Outstanding Service to the Field Awardees

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Eva Yaa Asantewaa.

The New York Dance and Performance Awards, known as the Bessies, have announced that Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the choreographer and founding artistic director of Urban Bush Women, will receive the 2017 award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance, and writer Eva Yaa Asantewaa will be honored with this year’s award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. The two prizes will be presented at the thirty-third annual Bessie Awards ceremony on Monday, October 9, at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

“I am thrilled that the Bessies Selection Committee has chosen to honor these two outstanding women,” said Lucy Sexton, executive director of the Bessies. “Jawole Willa Jo Zollar has created groundbreaking dance with her company Urban Bush Women for more than three decades. In addition, her revolutionary insight into curating and her dedication to nurturing dance artists, particularly women choreographers of color, continues to transform and expand the dance landscape. Eva Yaa Asentewaa’s illuminating writing and her multifaceted and engaged support for the wide range of dance artists in the city are truly a service to our field, and we are so excited to be celebrating her.”

August 25, 2017

President of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design to Retire After Twenty-Five Years

After twenty-five years as head of the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, Mary Colleen Heil, announced that she will step down from her role as president in June 2018. “I’m proud of what we’ve all done here,” she told Lindsey Blest of LancasterOnline.

“She’s taken the school from a small certificate-granting institution to a nationally recognized bachelor of arts–granting college,” said Bob Brandt, the college’s board chairman. Located on the corner of North Prince and West Chestnut in downtown Lancaster since 1987, the college earned its accreditation and more than tripled its architectural footprint during Heil’s tenure. It also increased its enrollment by 22 percent over the past three years.

August 25, 2017

Masatoyo Kishi (1924–2017)

Masatoyo Kishi, Opus No. 60–145, 1960.

Abstract sculptor and painter Masatoyo Kishi, best known for mixing elements of traditional Japanese culture with Western abstraction, died in Grass Valley, California, at the age of ninety-three. Hackett Mill, the San Francisco–based art gallery that represents him, confirmed his passing.

Born in Sakai, Japan, in 1924, Kishi studied physics and mathematics at the Tokyo University of Science. “As a Japanese artist in the 1950s in Tokyo, I didn’t go to art school,” Kishi said. “Japanese artists studied literature, economics, science; then you explored art.” After graduating, he pursued a short career as a mathematics teacher before he began exhibiting with Tekkei Kai, a group of abstract painters associated with the Kyoto Museum of Art.

From the late 1950s to the 1960s, he created his Opus paintings, which feature softly dripped pigments and sweeping brushwork. Using large brushes, Kishi painted his works by laying canvases horizontally and using wooden sticks to drip paint onto them, which he said created “an orderly conversation between me and the canvas.” The works reflect the artist’s interests in Zen Buddhism, Taoism, seventeenth-century Japanese architecture, and Western classical music. In 1960, Kishi moved from Japan to San Francisco, where he lived until 1988. Over the course of nearly thirty years there, he transitioned from primarily painting to sculpting. He taught at Holy Names College in Oakland and the Dominican College in San Rafael.

August 25, 2017

Bronx Council on the Arts Names Viviana Bianchi Executive Director

Viviana Bianchi.

The Bronx Council on the Arts has announced that Viviana Bianchi has been appointed its new executive director. An arts development leader, Bianchi will serve as BCA’s fifth executive director since the organization’s founding in 1962. She will begin her post on September 5.

Bianchi has worked extensively in the development field. She is joining the BCA from the Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx, where she is assistant executive director for external affairs. Previously, she held leadership positions at City Year New York, the Inter American Press Association, and People for the American Way Foundation in Miami. She is also the cofounder of Pegasus Solutions, a management and consulting firm that provides development, strategic planning, and communications and marketing services to media and cultural organizations, as well as individual artists. Bianchi has been involved in cultural endeavors for most of her life as an actress and film-festival producer in Buenos Aires, New York, and Miami.

“Viviana Bianchi has the verve and experience to build on BCA’s fifty-plus years of serving artists and the arts in the Bronx,” said Charles Rice-González, co-chair of the Bronx Council on the Arts. “Her passion for artists and the arts will elevate BCA’s voice as a resounding advocate for the arts in the Bronx.”

August 24, 2017

MoMA Makes Two New Staff Appointments

Rob Baker and Leah Dickerman.

The Museum of Modern Art announced today that it appointed Rob Baker as director of marketing and creative strategy, and Leah Dickerman as director of editorial and content strategy. They will assume their responsibilities heading MoMA’s creative team in October.

“I am delighted to welcome Rob, who brings to MoMA his formidable marketing and communications leadership experience, and congratulate Leah, who has been a thought leader, curator, and scholar, and will now apply those extraordinary talents in new and different ways,” MoMA director Glenn Lowry said. “They are both uniquely qualified for the vital roles they are about to play at MoMA as it looks to the future. Together they will provide leadership across the organization to develop a compelling strategy that is creative, thoughtful, and inclusive, and brings together voices within and from outside MoMA.”

With more than fourteen years of marketing experience, Baker comes to MoMA from Tate London, where he served as chief marketing officer. Dickerman has been a curator in MoMA’s Department of Painting and Sculpture since 2008. Projects she organized include “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” (2017), “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North” (2015–16), “Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925” (2012–13), and “Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art” (2011–12), among others.

August 24, 2017

NYC’s First Poster Museum Will Open in 2018

Michael Halsband, Palladium / Warhol-Basquiat, 1985. Photo: Poster House

New York City’s first art museum solely dedicated to posters, called Poster House, is set to open in late 2018. The upcoming arts space aims to present the impact, culture, and design of posters, both as historical documents and methods of contemporary visual communication. Located in a 15,000-square-foot space in Chelsea, the venue will occupy what was formerly TekServe, the precursor to the Apple store in New York City.

The institution will temporarily stage pop-up exhibitions until its official opening. “Gone Tomorrow,” a month-long show of posters from New York City venues that have shut down—a nod to Tekserve, which rented 119 West Twenty-Third Street for twenty-six years before it permanently closed its doors last summer—will inaugurate the space.

According to Artnet, the institution’s financial backers “wish to remain anonymous to let the organization stand on its own.” The unnamed group has promised $6 million toward the refurbishment of the interior of the building and $9 million for operating costs through 2019. After renovations, the museum will feature exhibition galleries, a screening room, a gift shop, a café, and an on-site preservation facility.