November 11, 2017

Shannon Michael Cane (1974–2017)

Shannon Michael Cane

Curator and editor Shannon Michael Cane has died. He was the founder of the queer art and culture zine They Shoot Homos Don’t They?, and the fairs and editions curator for Printed Matter, a New York nonprofit devoted to the collection and distribution of artists’ books and ephemera.

Cane joined the organization in 2008. In addition to putting together the Printed Matter Art Book Fairs in New York and Los Angeles, he curated and produced its fundraising editions, produced several of its artists book publications, and curated a number of exhibitions for the space.

“Shelley and I join with the Printed Matter family and the entire artist publications community in mourning the sudden and devastating loss of our friend and colleague Shannon Michael Cane,” said Phil Aarons, Printed Matter board chair. “His unparalleled passionate commitment to helping artists bring their printed materials to the public was crucial to Printed Matter and so many others. Vibrant, fearless, and larger than life, he will be profoundly missed.”

“Shannon was a truly remarkable being, full of vitality and charisma, tough, warm, irreverent, funny, kind, sassy, and generous. He had a tremendous presence in Printed Matter and its extended community and we are devastated by his loss. We will do our best to keep his energy and his spirit alive,” said Max Schumann, Printed Matter’s executive director.

November 10, 2017

Karl Katz (1929–2017)

Karl Katz.

Karl Katz, an arts professional who helped shape museums across the United States and Israel, died in Manhattan on Wednesday, November 8, at the age of eighty-eight, Sam Roberts of the New York Times reports.

Born in Brooklyn on October 22, 1929, Katz was inspired to study art history after he attended a lecture by art historian Meyer Schapiro. He earned his bachelor’s degree in art history and Semitic studies, as well as his master’s degree in fine arts and archaeology, from Columbia University in New York. He completed his doctoral thesis, which focused on early Hebrew manuscripts from Yemen, but did not receive a Ph.D., as he did not fulfill his language requirement after refusing to study German following the Holocaust.

Katz was an educator, curator, filmmaker, and archeologist who led a number of prominent cultural institutions. He was first recruited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1953 to work as an educator during its exhibition “From the Land of the Bible.” He then traveled to Israel to work on excavations and serve as the founding curator of the Israel Museum. He returned to New York in 1968 to direct the Jewish Museum and joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art as chairman for special projects in 1971. He also served as the inaugural director of the Met’s office of film and television from 1980 to 1991.

November 10, 2017

New York Judge Gives Modigliani Lawsuit a Green Light

Amedeo Modigliani, Seated Man with a Cane, 1918.

The Nahmad family is once again battling over Amedeo Modigliani’s Seated Man with a Cane, 1918, worth an estimated $25 million. A New York appellate court ruled on November 2 that Phillip Maestracci—the grandson of Parisian art dealer Oscar Stettiner—can proceed with his 2015 lawsuit to reclaim the work, which was ostensibly taken from his grandfather by the Nazis.

Maestracci first sued dealer Helly Nahmad and his Manhattan gallery over the painting in 2011. Maestracci initially withdrew his lawsuit after the Nahmads informed him that the painting was actually owned by the International Art Center, in Panama.

In 2014, Maestracci filed a second complaint in state court and named both the International Art Center and David Nahmad, Helly’s father, as defendants, but it was dismissed by a lower court after Maestracci couldn’t prove he was the representative of Stettiner’s estate. The controversy was revived when the Panama Papers were leaked in 2016, revealing that the Nahmads have owned the International Art Center since 1995.

November 10, 2017

DePaul University Receives $100,000 Grant for Education and Exhibition Programs

DePaul University.

The Terra Foundation for American Art announced that it has awarded several new grants in support of education and exhibition programs related to Art Design Chicago, a city-wide initiative organized by the foundation that will explore Chicago’s art and design legacy throughout 2018. Among them is a $100,000 grant for the Center for Urban Education at DePaul University. The funds will be used to enable schools in low-income neighborhoods to visit a range of cultural organizations participating in Art Design Chicago, and provide professional development opportunities for teachers and educational materials for students.

“We are particularly excited to spearhead and support a program that will engage young people in Chicago’s long legacy of creativity and innovation,” said Amy Zinck, executive vice president of the Terra Foundation. “The exhibitions and programs of Art Design Chicago highlight the incredible diversity and accomplishments of artists and designers, who have lived and worked across Chicago’s many neighborhoods. It is equally important to support access to these programs for students, teachers, and families, and to spark engagement and dialogue about the role Chicago’s creative communities have played in shaping our city—a conversation we hope will continue well beyond next year.”

Other grant recipients include the DePaul Art Museum, in support of the upcoming exhibition “Barbara Jones-Hogu: Resist, Relate, Unite 1968–1975,” and the Rebuild Foundation, for its show “A Johnson Publishing Story,” organized by Theaster Gates.

November 10, 2017

Jury Finds Developer Illegally Destroyed Graffiti Artists’ Work in New York

The plaintiffs of a lawsuit against 5Pointz developer Jerry Wolkoff outside of a federal district court in Brooklyn. Photo: Jerry Rotondi Courtesy: 5Pointz

On Tuesday, November 7, a Brooklyn jury found that a New York real estate developer broke the law when he whitewashed the graffiti art on the exterior of the 5Pointz complex in Queens in November 2013. If the presiding judge, Frederick Block, agrees with the jury’s verdict, the ruling could set a precedent for providing legal protections to street artists.

“The advisory verdict from the jury—after four years of stress and pain—is a big step for visual artist rights in this country and all over the world,” Marie Flageul, one of the artists who tried to save the 5Pointz graffiti, said in an interview with Hyperallergic. “The message sent by the jury is that the whitewash of our artwork was a cruel and spiteful act.”

While 5Pointz owner Jerry Wolkoff had allowed artists to paint on the Long Island City buildings for more than twenty years, transforming the complex into a tourist destination, he claims he had been clear about his plans to eventually tear the buildings down.

November 10, 2017

Nominees Speak Out Against Problematic Aspects of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie Prize

Jumana Manna, Sol Calero, Iman Issa, Agnieszka Polska. Photo: David von Becker

The four short-listed artists for this year’s Berlin Nationalgalerie Prize have issued a statement regarding their concerns about the award’s practices. Sol Calero, Iman Issa, Jumana Manna, and Agnieszka Polska noted that the prize focuses too much on their nationalities and gender rather than their art, and does not include a monetary prize, and that more emphasis is placed on the sponsors than the artists during the award ceremony.

“We believe that all exhibitions, including the exhibitions of the short-listed nominees, should include an artist fee. Furthermore, artist talks, panels or public discussions should also include fees. Artists contribute greatly to the prestige of this prize, and their labour, like all forms of labour, needs to be compensated proportionately,” the statement reads.

It also denounces the prize’s “use of diversity as a public relations tool.” The artists declare that commitments to diversity need to be visible throughout every level of an organization or institution and should not just be highlighted at high-profile events.

The artists urge the museum, its sponsors, and all relevant stakeholders, including past nominees, to engage in conversations about the issues they laid out and how the prize could be improved for the next group of artists.

The Preis der Nationalgalerie is a biennial award that honors Berlin-based artists under forty years of age. Agnieszka Polska was named the winner of this year’s prize in a ceremony on October 20. Previous recipients of the prize include Omer Fast, Cyprien Gaillard, and Anne Imhof.

The complete statement is as follows:

November 10, 2017

Scholar Jane Kallir to Launch New Foundation Dedicated to Catalogues Raisonnés

Egon Schiele Life and Work, 1990, the catalogue raisonné by Jane Kallir that will be updated by the new Kallir Research Institute.

Jane Kallir, the codirector of the Galerie St. Etienne in New York and a renowned expert on Austrian Expressionism, has announced that she is establishing a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of catalogues raisonnés and related art research.

The Kallir Research Institute, which is named after Kallir’s late grandfather, Otto Kallir, a champion of the works of Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Richard Gerstl, and other Expressionists, will be housed at the Galerie St. Etienne, located at 24 West Fifty-Seventh Street. Kallir announced the initiative at the opening of the Egon Schiele Symposium at the Leopold Museum in Vienna on Thursday, November 9.

“At a time when rising art prices have greatly magnified the economic ramifications of forgeries, it is very important to have a reliable and readily accessible means of identifying authentic art works,” Kallir said. “In addition, the digital format allows us to include much more related information about provenance, collectors, and exhibitions, as well as links to original documents.”

November 9, 2017

Rutgers Zimmerli Art Museum Gifted $34 Million Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art

Installation view of “Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017,” on view at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, from October 14, 2017, to February 18, 2018. Photo: Peter Jacobs. Courtesy: Zimmerli Art Museum.

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Jersey announced today that it has received a donation of 17,300 works of Soviet nonconformist art—the largest single gift in its history. The $34 million collection was donated by Nancy Ruyle, the widow of Norton Dodge, an economics professor who, during the Cold War, amassed the world’s largest holdings of Soviet dissident art.

Created by more than one thousand artists, the works date from 1956—the year that Nikita Khruschev gave a “secret speech” to the Twentieth Party Congress, denouncing Stalinism and initiating a cultural thaw—through 1991, the end of the Mikhail Gorbachev era.

The gift “makes the museum the world’s principal site for studying and exhibiting the most vital, diverse, and daring strains of art produced throughout the USSR over four decades,” Thomas Sokolowski, director of the Zimmerli, and Nevin Kessler, president of the Rutgers University Foundation, said in a statement. These works join four thousand other Soviet nonconformist works that Nancy Ruyle Dodge and her late husband gave to the institution in 1991.

November 9, 2017

Studio Museum Announces 2018 Artists-in-Residence

Tschabalala Self, Bodega Run, 2015.

The Studio Museum in Harlem announced today that Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith will be its 2018 artists-in-residence. Since the institution is planning to close next year in order to break ground on its new home, designed by Adjaye Associates, the artists will work from studios located in a street-level space at 429 West One Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Street.

“Our artist-in-residence program has been at the heart of this institution’s mission since our founding in 1968,” director and chief curator Thelma Golden said. “It is the embodiment of our commitment to supporting emerging artists of African descent, and is at the center of our work to bring artists together with the Harlem community. I am thrilled that Allison, Tschabalala, and Sable—three outstanding artists, each of whom has already developed her own distinctive practice—will be with us during our anniversary year, at the beginning of an exciting transition.”

Former artists in residence include David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, and Kehinde Wiley. Works by Hamilton and Smith are currently on view at the museum in the exhibition “Fictions,” which highlights the use of narrative in works by artists of African descent. Self’s work was recently showcased in the Studio Museum show “A Constellation” (2015–16).