October 29, 2017

Linda Nochlin (1931–2017)

Linda Nochlin.

Linda Nochlin has died at the age of eighty-six. Nochlin was a pioneering scholar of feminist art history––her groundbreaking 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” prompted arts professionals to change the way art was researched, recorded, taught, and exhibited.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 30, 1931, Nochlin graduated from Vassar College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1951 and earned her master’s degree in English from Columbia University in 1952. She completed her doctoral work in art history, focusing on realism and the French nineteenth-century painter Gustave Courbet, at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1963. She began working as a professor at Vassar shortly after.

In 1969 Nochlin started teaching one of the college’s first art history courses on women, “The Image of Women in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.” In an interview with Maura Reilly for Artnews, Nochlin said she was inspired to write her landmark essay after an incident that took place during a commencement ceremony at Vassar College in 1970. The dealer and gallery owner Richard Feigen told her that he wanted to show more women artists, but that he couldn’t find any good ones. “Why are there no great women artists?” he asked. The question would serve as the cornerstone of Nochlin’s mission to expand the art-historical canon by identifying societal challenges that women have faced and attempting to tear them down.

October 29, 2017

David Vaughan (1924–2017)

David Vaughan.

Dance historian and archivist David Vaughan, best known for his archival work for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, died on October 27, at the age of ninety-three, Dance Magazine reports.

Born in London on May 17, 1924, Vaughan began learning ballet at the age of twenty-three. After receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet in 1950, he relocated to New York City where he met the revolutionary American choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Vaughan worked as Cunningham’s secretary when the avant-garde dancer opened his own studio in 1959. Vaughan organized the company’s world tour in 1964 and became its first official archivist in 1976. The archival position, which at the time was unusual for a dance company, was created with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. “He paved the way for so many of us,” Norton Owen, the head of archives at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, told Siobhan Burke in a 2015 interview.

October 27, 2017

NYC Launches Survey on the Role of Public Monuments

The Theodore Roosevelt statue outside of the American Museum of Natural History after it was defaced on Thursday, October 26. Photo: Scott Heins for Gothamist

On Wednesday, October 26, New York City launched an online survey asking for the public’s input about the role of public art. Mayor Bill de Blasio established the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia—which was organized in protest of the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee—ended in violence earlier this year. The commission will use the data collected to inform its decision about the handling of controversial monuments.

“Responses will play a critical role in shaping the commission’s work of developing guidelines that can be applied broadly to art on city property, with the ultimate goal of putting forth a thoughtful way to promote more inclusive, welcoming public spaces for all New Yorkers,” Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of cultural affairs, said in a statement.

The survey comprises seven questions that allow residents to address specific landmarks and what role they play, what factors the city should consider when reviewing them, and how to properly convey their historical and contemporary contexts. The survey is open until November 27.

October 27, 2017

David Chipperfield Architects Tapped to Revamp Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) announced Thursday that it has hired London-based David Chipperfield Architects to renovate its campus. The firm will be charged with creating a master plan with a focus on enhancing visitor experience. It will also include improved parking facilities and additional art storage and public gathering spaces. It will spend the next twelve months surveying the museum’s needs and will present a final plan by fall 2018.

“This is the first step in a long-term strategy to update and improve the visitor experience in the museum and to ensure we have the infrastructure to support continued growth,” director and president Kaywin Feldman said in a statement. “Museum attendance has doubled in recent years, and we need to update our facilities to meet the new demands of our growing audience. One of the many reasons we are excited to work with David Chipperfield is that the firm understands how museums function, from back of house to the front and from the basement to the roof.”

The firm’s other recent museum projects include the St. Louis Art Museum; the Menil Collection, Houston; the Neues Museum, Berlin; the Royal Academy of Arts, London; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; and the Anchorage Museum in Alaska.

October 27, 2017

Yves Bouvier Sells His Art Storage Company

Yves Bouvier.

Geneva art dealer Yves Bouvier has sold Natural Le Coultre (NLC), his family’s company that specializes in the storage, packaging, and transportation of art, to the French shipping business André Chenue for an undisclosed amount, Roland Rossier of Tribune de Genève reports. André Chenue beat out a number of American buyers who bid for NLC.

The business was founded in 1859 by Etienne Natural. In 1901, after Albert-Maurice Natural partnered with Emile-Etienne Le Coultre, it became A. Natural, Le Coultre & Cie. The Bouvier family bought the company in 1983, and in 1997, Bouvier narrowed its focus to the handling of art and sculpture. It is currently the largest tenant at the Genevea Free Ports. According to NLC director Franco Momente, the ownership transition will not result in job cuts. “We need everyone,” he said.

Bouvier is currently embroiled in legal troubles. He has been accused of overcharging Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev for several artworks by artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Mark Rothko, and Leonardo da Vinci. In 2015 a Paris court also charged him with concealing the theft of two works by Pablo Picasso, which he also sold to Rybolovlev. According to the Art Newspaper, the Russian collector maintains that he was swindled out of $1 billion.

October 27, 2017

Seattle Art Museum Receives $3.5 Million Challenge Grant

Seattle Asian Art Museum.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Seattle Art Museum a $3.5 million challenge grant in support of a new Asian Paintings Conservation Center. The grant stipulates that the institution will have to raise at least $2.5 million in matching funds over the next four years in order to endow the center.

“We are honored by this generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, and grateful for their stewardship and guidance as we’ve developed plans for the center,” SAM director and CEO Kimerly Rorschach said. “This is a significant step forward for this exciting project.” Chief conservator Nicholas Dorman added that the center will “fill a critical need for the field.”

The new facility will be part of a $45 million expansion project led by LMN Architects. The revamp will add 7,500 square feet of space to its Asian Art Museum, to be used for exhibitions, education initiatives, and art storage, as well as for updates to the 1933 building’s infrastructure.

October 27, 2017

Painting from Gurlitt Collection Identified as Nazi Loot

Thomas Couture, Portrait de jeune femme assise, 1850–55. Photo: Mick Vincenz / Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH

Thanks to the scrupulous note-taking of an informant for the French Resistance, researchers have confirmed that a painting from Charles Gurlitt’s trove was stolen by the Nazis. The informant, Rose Valland, was an art historian employed by the Nazis at the Jeu de Paume in Paris, where the party stored their looted art. Her notes regarding the repair of the canvas helped the Gurlitt Provenance Research Project identify the work.

Titled Portrait de jeune femme assise (Portrait of a Seated Young Woman), 1850–55, by Thomas Couture, the painting was originally owned by the French Jewish politician Georges Mandel. According to Catherine Hickley of the Art Newspaper, Mandel was imprisoned by the Nazis and murdered by French militia in 1944. This painting is the sixth work from the Gurlitt collection that the German Lost Art Foundation has determined was stolen. Gurlitt’s hoard of fifteen hundred works, which he inherited from his father, an art dealer who worked for the Nazis, was confiscated by the German authorities in 2012. The works have since been bequeathed to Switzerland’s Bern’s Kunstmuseum.

 “The fact that the researchers managed to identify this painting as Nazi loot with scholarly meticulousness and persistence shows how important it is to persevere with provenance research,” Monika Grütters, the German culture minister, said in a statement. Grütters hopes to have the painting returned to Mandel’s descendants.

October 26, 2017

Artforum Staff Condemns Magazine’s Management of Allegations

We, the undersigned staff of Artforum and Bookforum, condemn the way the allegations against Knight Landesman have been handled by our publishers and repudiate the statements that have been issued to represent us so far. We are committed to gender justice and to the eradication of sexual harassment in the art community and beyond. We are now gravely aware of the work that needs to be done at our own publication, and call on the publishers to work with us to create radical and lasting change. There is much more to be said, and in the future we will be addressing these events in greater depth. Our intent right now is to state our position unequivocally.

Annie Belz
Paige K. Bradley
Jessica Butler
Elliot Camarra
Jonathan Campolo
Matthew Carlson
Lauren Cavalli
Dawn Chan
Canada Choate
Tyler Considine
Simone Conway-York
Constanza Armes Cruz
Mira Dayal
Maegan Dolan
Keke Du
Isabel Flower
Maggie Foucault
O.K. Fox
Jashin Friedrich
Alex Garner
Jeff Gibson
Chandra Glick
Elizabeth Grosser
Juan Guo
Miranda Hughes
Leah James
Alex Jovanovich
Lina Kavaliunas
Bitsy Knox
Kate Koza
Alexander Lesy
Sabrina Mandanici
Michael Miller
Melissa Mudry
Jackie Neudorf
Louise O’Kelly
David O’Neill
Lauren O’Neill-Butler
Prudence Peiffer
Alfredo Perez
Julian Rose
Chloé Rossetti
Elizabeth Schambelan
Markee Speyer
Andrew Steinmetz
Shannon Timms
Ylenia Tripodi
David Velasco
Emma Weinman
Lloyd Wise 
Eric Wrenn
Courtney Yoshimura
Hanlu Zhang
Sirui Zhang


October 26, 2017

Far Right Storms Contemporary Art Exhibition in Istanbul

Ron Mueck’s sculpture Man Under Cardigan, 1998, in the fireplace of the Abdülmecid Efendi Mansion (left), and photographs of security guards restraining protesters who raided the exhibition (right). Photos: Diken

A group of men invaded an exhibition in Istanbul featuring businessman Ömer Koç’s contemporary art collection on Saturday, October 21, H. G. Masters of ArtAsiaPacific reports. Angered over a sculpture of a naked man crouching on the ground while holding a garment over his head, the protesters assaulted a security guard and may have damaged the artwork before they were forcibly removed from the show.

The artwork that incensed the conservatives, Man Under Cardigan, 1998, by Australian artist Ron Mueck, is part of the exhibition “Doors Open to Those Who Knock.” Curated by Melih Fereli and Karoly Aliotti, the show is currently on view at the Abdülmecid Efendi Mansion in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district. Organizers believe that the right-wing group may have mistaken the fireplace for a mihrab, the semicircular niche in a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca, or a minibar, the pulpit where the imam stands to deliver sermons.

Led by Mahmut Alan, a former leader of the nationalist Great Union Party, the mob shouted, “Is this secularism?” and “This country has come to this because of you!” as they attempted to disrupt the show. In response, visitors at the venue defended the exhibition, saying, “If you don’t want to see this, don’t come here!” and applauded once the men were kicked out.