Wrapping Up The Art World: Efforts Towards A More Inclusive Art World and A Bundled Up Bernie
Museo del Prado in 2016. Image courtesy of Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada via Flickr.
Participants of the 2019 Curatorial Intensive in Cape Town, South Africa, organised in collaboration with the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town. Image courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery.
Museo del Prado in 2016. Image courtesy of Emilio J. Rodríguez Posada via Flickr.
The Trump Baby inflatable balloon. Image courtesy of the Trump Baby World Tour Facebook page.
Poster for “World on a Wire” exhibition. Image courtesy of Rhizome and Hyundai Motor Company.
Centre Pompidou. Photo: Bertrand Gardel. Image courtesy of Getty Images.
In case you missed the news, here’s a roundup of headlines from the art world in the last two weeks.
TEXT: CoBo News
IMAGES: Courtesy of various
One Step Forward For The Art World
The art world seems to have grown a little more in its cultural and ethnical diversity in the past two weeks. On 13 January, Marian Goodman Gallery launched a new initiative to fund educational and research opportunities for early- and mid-career Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) curators, in honour of the late Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, who passed away in 2019.
Meanwhile, just three months after Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum former Artistic Director and Chief Curator Nancy Spector resigned amid charges of racism, the museum welcomed its first Black Chief Curator. Naomi Beckwith, who previously served as Senior Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), will be taking over as Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the prestigious art institution in June. In an interview with New York Times, Beckwith said her agenda includes bringing “greater diversity to museum collections and exhibitions.”
Less than a week after Beckwith’s announcement, Michael Darling, MCA’s Chief Curator for 10 years, also announced that he is leaving his position to join a startup called Museum Exchange.
Over in the commercial sector, on 21 January, Gagosian announced the appointment of a new Director and Curator. An art writer and critic based in New York City, 32 year-old Antwaun Sargent will be tasked with contributing to the gallery’s publication Gagosian Quarterly and planning exhibitions, including developing the gallery’s Black History Month initiative. Sargent tells New York Times that he wants to make sure artists of colour are represented within the gallery, and to promote discussions and acknowledgement of works created by groups that are under-represented in the broader art world. His first show, planned for the gallery’s Manhattan location later this year, will explore the idea of Black space on “an institutional level, a community level and a psychological level.”
Speaking of representations, Madrid’s Museo del Prado announced at a press conference on 20 January that it will restructure its permanent collection this year to include more women artists as well as art from countries outside of Europe, following demands from the public to diversify its offerings.
Finally, the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University rolled out the Asian American Art Initiative on 25 January as part of an effort to acquire, preserve, exhibit and research art related to Asian American and Asian diaspora artists and their practices. The initiative is anchored by the museum’s acquisition of 233 ceramic masks by Ruth Asawa and 141 artworks created by Asian American Artists between 1880 and 1996.
The Inevitable Decisions
TheArt Newspaper reported on 13 January the likelihood of documenta 15 in the German city of Kassel being postponed, despite not opening until 2022. The quinquennial art event is currently scheduled to take place from 8 June to 25 September 2022, curated by Indonesian art collective ruangrupa. General Director Sabine Schormann told radio channel Deutschlandfunk Kultur that the situation is still being monitored and evaluated, and a final decision will not be made until this summer.
September seem to be a new favoured month for Europe’s fairs. Announced on 21 January, Art Basel’s flagship Switzerland edition has been rescheduled from June to September. The 2021 edition of Art Basel will now take place at Messe Basel from 23 to 26 September. While the postponement didn’t come as much of a surprise, the decision shows that any return to physical events and normalcy for the art world is still far away. Barely a week after Art Basel’s less-than-surprising news, The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), announced on 27 January that it will postpone its in-person fair to 11–19 September, with preview days from 9 to 10 September.
And it’s not only visual arts events that are taking the plunge to delay. The world famous Cannes Film Festival, originally set to unfold at the French Rivera in May, confirmed on Wednesday that it will now take place from 6 to 17 July instead.
Goodbye Trump, Hello Biden
New York Times reported a surprising revelation from former US President Donald Trump’s tenure. Despite being the first president to make a formal proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal agency that funds and supports art projects in America managed to grow its budget, albeit slightly, from US$149.8 million in 2017 to $167.5 million budget for 2021, distributing more than 3,300 grants in 2020.
And right before US bid adieu to Trump and welcomed Joe Biden as the new commander-in-chief, the Museum of London announced that it has acquired the “Trump Baby”, the six-metre tall inflatable caricature of the former US president, which flew over Parliament Square in London during his visit to the UK in 2018, and has since become emblematic of Trump’s controversial term of office.
Almost a week has passed since Biden’s presidential inauguration, but we all know who the real star of the show was: Bernie Sanders—who was spotted in Capitol Hill dressed in practical and comfortable fashion—has now become 2021’s favourite meme so far. Not only did his olive green Burton jacket and mittens steal the hearts of the internet—which exploded with images of a bundled-up Sanders photoshopped into Edward Hopper paintings, the moon landing, and even Studio Ghibli films—a crocheted doll created by an artist inspired by the viral memes is now being auctioned off on eBay to support charity.
Lest We Forget The Supply Chain
Some good news came through in the past weeks for art and antique traders. France has revised its national system, making the process much easier for exporting cultural goods. The changes, which came into effect at the start of the month, entail a rise in the value thresholds at which an export license must be obtained for a variety of art, antiques, and collectibles. For example, most paintings more than 50 years old will no longer require a license unless they are valued at €300,000 or more, doubled from the original €150,000. The thresholds for other categories like tribal art, books, and coins, remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, over in Asia, following a collaboration with artists such as Antony Gormley and Tomás Saraceno on a global arts project launched last January, the world’s most popular Korean boy band BTS continues to make their mark in art. RM, one of the band’s members has been recognised by the state-run Arts Council Korea as “Art Sponsor of the Year” for donating US$90,400 to Seoul’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art last September.
New And Old
Despite the pandemic’s setback, some in the art world remain hopeful with plans full steam ahead in anticipation for the world when it eventually returns to normalcy. Announced on 20 January, digital arts organisation Rhizome is partnering with Hyundai Motor Company to support a series of new media exhibitions that will roll out in the next two years. The first exhibition of the series, “World on a Wire”, features projects based on technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and will be staged at Hyundai’s Beijing studio from 28 January.
On 20 January, the San Gimignano-based Galleria Continua unveiled a new space in Paris with an inaugural exhibition curated by French photographer and street artist JR. The 800-square-metre gallery stretches across two floors and is located a stone’s throw away from the Centre Pompidou who, in the same week, announced a major $240 million renovation plan. The iconic cultural institution, which was designed by a team including Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, will close for renovations from late 2023, and reopen in time for its 50th anniversary celebrations in 2027.