September 10, 2017

Michael Friedman (1975–2017)

Michael Friedman

Composer and lyricist Michael Friedman has died, reports Broadway World. Friedman, an Obie Award winner, was responsible for musicals including Unknown Soldier, Pretty Filthy, The Fortress of Solitude, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. He also served as Encores! Off-Center Artistic Director at New York City Center and was an artist-in-residence and director of Public Forum at the Public Theater. His songs were featured in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook, as well as on the New Yorker Radio Hour.

Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, said, “Michael Friedman was one of the most brilliant, multi-talented theater artists of our time. He was also a miracle of a human being: loving, kind, generous, hilarious, thrilling.”

September 9, 2017

College Art Association Condemns Trump’s Decision to Rescind DACA

Activists lobbying to keep DACA. Photo: Deborah Cannon

The College Art Association released a statement denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), which protects more than eight hundred thousand undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The CAA called Trump’s plan to phase out DACA “a denial of the foundational beliefs of the United States of America.” It is now urging Congress to act in order to save the federal program. “Last fall, 689 college and university presidents signed a letter encouraging colleagues and other leaders across the business, civic, religious, and nonprofit sectors to uphold DACA,” the CAA said. “We stand with those higher education leaders today and stress how important it is for our members and all advocates to stand up for basic human rights in this country.”

A petition launched to save DACA on UnitedWeDream.com reads: “Holding up Donald Trump’s promises is an act of hate and strips immigrants from our humanity.” It was signed by more than 187,000 people.

September 9, 2017

Heavily Damaged Keith Haring Mural Restored in Paris

“Tower,” Keith Haring’s exterior-stairwell painting at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital in Paris’s 15th arrondissement. Photo: Jerome de Noirmont/Keith Haring Foundation, Noirmont Art Production, Paris

A nearly 89-foot-high mural that Keith Haring painted on the exterior of a pediatric hospital in Paris, which was damaged after years of being battered by weather, has been fully restored, Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times reports.

“I made this painting to amuse the sick children in this hospital, now and in the future,” Haring wrote in his diary. The American artist completed the work, titled Tower, with his former partner Juan Rivera in 1987. They painted it on the exterior of a stairwell at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital in Paris’s fifteenth arrondissement.

The mural was also previously threatened with demolition when the hospital was planning renovation work in 2011. Efforts to save the piece were led by gallerist Jérôme de Noirmont and the Keith Haring Foundation. Conservators William Shank and Antonio Rava, who also restored Haring’s Tuttomondo, 1990, in Pisa, kept Haring’s original brushwork by cleaning and varnishing the work and only adding more paint when necessary. The hospital is working on adding a 97,000-square-foot garden at the base of the mural.

September 8, 2017

Pierre Bergé (1930–2017)

Yves Saint Laurent (left) and Pierre Bergé (right) in a photograph from the documentary L’Amour Fou, 2010. Photo: Alice Springs via Sundance Selects

Pierre Bergé, the French businessman and longtime partner of the late Yves Saint Laurent, died in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, on Friday, Jonathan Kandell of the New York Times reports. The eighty-six-year-old’s passing was first announced by the Fondation Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent.

Born on November 14, 1930, on Ile d’Oleron off the Atlantic coast of France, Bergé is best known as the driving force behind the Yves Saint Laurent fashion empire, which he helped the designer build after he left Christian Dior in 1961. Bergé and Laurent ran the iconic brand together for decades, even after they split up in the 1980s, and eventually sold the Yves Saint Laurent group for $655 million to the French pharmaceutical giant Elf Sanofi in 1993. According to New York magazine’s the Cut, the label changed the way generations of women dressed and is credited with creating the women’s tuxedo and the iconic Mondrian dress, and with introducing the trench coat and peacoat into high fashion.

The company was also at the forefront of social change. Philippe Villin, a Paris banker and gay-rights campaigner, told Anne-Sylvaine Chassany of the Financial Times that “by displaying his relationship with Yves Saint Laurent and thanks to their amazing talent in creation, arts, and business, Pierre Bergé has given a place to gays and lesbians in French society.”

September 8, 2017

Rhizome Announces 2017 Microgrant Awardees

Patternist, the digital platform and grant recipient created by Kei Kreutler with Lina Bondarenko, Martin Byrne, Holly Childs, and Jelena Viskovic.

Rhizome, the nonprofit dedicated to new-media art that is housed by the New Museum in New York, has revealed the winners of its 2017 microgrants. The eleven grantees had answered an open call for projects related to the theme of “digital citizenship.” They will each receive a grant between $500 and $1,500.

Among the projects that were recognized are Patternist, a demo of an augmented-reality location-based platform that allows users to conduct urban research on alternative economies; Home School, a free popup art school in Portland that will help students engage with contemporary art and its issues; and Caroline Sinders’s digital archive of memes produced by the alt-right. Commenting on the project, Sinders said, “It’s essential in fighting fascism to study and contextualize memes as propaganda and language.”

The recipients of the 2017 microgrants are as follows:

September 8, 2017

New Art Dealers Alliance Welcomes New Members

Arcadia Missa (London).

The New Art Dealers Alliance, the nonprofit dedicated to fostering collaboration and community among dealers working with contemporary art, has announced that sixteen new galleries from four countries have joined its ranks. Its new members include Arcadia Missa (London), KAYOKOYUKI (Tokyo), Lulu (Mexico City), Temnikova & Kasela (Tallinn, Estonia), and Five Car Garage (Los Angeles).

Founded in 2002, the professional group comprises both galleries, including nonprofits, and individuals such as independent curators and other arts professionals. A full list of NADA’s new members is as follows:

September 8, 2017

Joan Colom (1921–2017)

Joan Colom.

Spanish photographer Joan Colom, best known for capturing the urban lives of marginalized people in his hometown of Barcelona, died on Sunday at the age of ninety-six, reports El Mundo.

Born in 1921, Colom was a self-trained photographer who worked as an accountant until his retirement in 1986. In 1957, he joined the Photographic Association of Catalonia, where he quickly learned the technical skills that helped him advance his career. He was heavily influenced by photographers Oriol Maspons, Xavier Miserachs, and Ramón Masats, and in 1960, he cofounded the avant-garde artist group El Mussol.

Concerned with remaining discreet and breaking with the aesthetic traditions of his predecessors, Colom began photographing without aiming the camera—a practice that culminated in a series of photographs of the residents of Barcelona, mainly around the Raval neighborhood, a red-light district that is known today as “Barrio Chino.” After around five hundred of his black-and-white photographs were showcased in his first exhibition, “El Carrer” (The Street), which debuted in 1961 at the Sala Aixelá, Colom became a leading figure among the Spanish photographers of his generation. Reflecting on his work, Colom said, “I didn’t know I was doing social photography at that time. I just took photographs and went after pictures I found exciting. I’ve sometimes used the term to describe my work, but to me it just means I don’t do landscapes or still lifes. I work the street. I try, through my photographs, to be a kind of notary of an age.”

September 8, 2017

Lynn Zelevansky to Step Down as Director of Carnegie Museum of Art

Lynn Zelevansky.

Lynn Zelevansky announced today that she will step down from her position as director of the Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) in Pittsburgh, which she’s held since 2009. The date of her departure will be determined as part of a transition plan developed by the museum.

“Carnegie Museum of Art is a great institution, and I’m extremely proud of the many significant contributions we’ve been able to make over my eight years here,” Zelevansky said. “I am most appreciative of the hard work of the fabulous CMOA team and I wish everyone the best of luck going forward.”

During Zelevansky’s tenure, the museum launched the Hillman Photography Initiative, an incubator for exploration of the photographic image; introduced a series of new public programs, including the museum’s popular Third Thursdays; co-organized major touring exhibitions, including “Paul Thek: Diver” (2010) and “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” (2016); and presented the widely praised 2013 Carnegie International. In a review of the exhibition Lauren O’Neill-Butler of artforum.com wrote that it was “a special show that doesn’t put on any special airs, which is no small feat given the International’s status as the oldest, grandest, most august exhibition of contemporary art in the US.”

September 7, 2017

Clark Art Institute Names Lisa Saltzman Director of Its Research and Academic Program

Lisa Saltzman.

The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, announced today that art historian Lisa Saltzman has been appointed the director of its Research and Academic Program. Saltzman is currently the chair of the department of the history of art at Bryn Mawr College and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Chair in the Humanities.

“Lisa Saltzman brings exceptional qualifications and tremendous energy to her new role as the leader of our Research and Academic Program, and I am confident that she will enhance RAP’s leadership in visual arts scholarship, engaging diverse voices and sparking global conversations that will broaden its influence,” said Olivier Meslay, director of the institute.

In her new role, Saltzman will lead the program’s international agenda of intellectual events and collaborations while overseeing the Clark’s residential fellows program, all on the institute’s 140-acre campus.