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museums

Beatrix Ruf Named Director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

rufAmsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, currently home to exhibitions of the work of Marcel Wanders and Jeff Wall (and book your flights now for September when the Marlene Dumas retrospective will occupy a circuit of 15 rooms), has found a new director in Beatrix Ruf (pictured), the current director of the Kunsthalle Zürich. She succeeds Ann Goldstein, who was artistic director at the Stedelijk for the past four years, and will jointly lead the museum with managing director Karin van Gilst. Ruf will start her involvement with the museum immediately and take up her new role on a full-time basis in November.

As director of the Kunsthalle Zürich since 2001, Ruf initiated and oversaw the completion of an extensive reconstruction and expansion, commissioned numerous installations, and initiated projects such as the survey exhibitions of Yang Fudong and Ian Wallace, among others. In 2006, she was the curator of the successful third edition of the Tate Triennial in London. “I feel very honored, and am very moved, to be entrusted with the opportunity to be director of the Stedelijk Museum and to lead its extraordinary exhibition history and its collection into the future, together with the entire Stedelijk team,” said Ruff in a statement announcing her appointment. “Its courageous and outstanding contemporary—as well as art historical—exhibitions and world-class collection of modern and contemporary art and design were always a beacon and example in my own professional thinking and in numerous discussions with artists and colleagues. The Stedelijk Museum is a museum that shows us how to live in the present and how the future can be built on tradition.”

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Judith Dolkart Named Director of Addison Gallery of American Art; Drawing Center Appoints Executive Editor

dolkartSpring has—finally, allegedly—sprung in the land of polar vortices and cultural institutions are in the mood for hiring. The Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the Andover, Massachusetts campus of Phillips Academy, has found its new director in Judith Dolkart (pictured), who currently serves as deputy director of art and archival collections and chief curator at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. She’ll begin in her new role at Andover in July, succeeding Brian Allen, who last summer joined the New-York Historical Society as vice president and museum director.

Also making a move is New York-based arts writer and editor Margaret Sundell. The Drawing Center has appointed her to the post of executive editor of the Drawing Papers. Her duties will include “recruiting writers, commissioning essays, editing the Drawing Papers, and maintaining the highest standards for all published institutional texts,” according to a statement released yesterday by the Soho institution.

MoMA Collaborates with Uniqlo on Pollock Tees, Warhol Totes, and More

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Cover yourself in Jackson Pollock‘s inky drips, schlep your stuff under the cover of Warholian camouflage, and wear the creative feats of Keith Haring on your feet—all for less than the price of admission to New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The institution has teamed up with Japanese fast-fashion chain Uniqlo on a line of wearables printed with images from works in the MoMA collection, including details from two of Pollock’s 1950 works on paper that have been transposed to cotton t-shirts, a tote bag covered in a collage of Basquiat drawings, and a bandanna featuring Warhol’s tomato-red can of Campbell’s soup from 1962. The Uniqlo at MoMA collection, part of the retailer’s SPRZ NY (“Surprise New York”) project, is now available at at the MoMA Store as well as Uniqlo. Nothing is over $50.

De Stijl Got It: President Obama Visits Mondrian Works in The Hague

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Smile and say “neo-plasticism”! President Obama, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte with Mondrian’s Victory Boogie Woogie. (Photo courtesy Gemeentemuseum Den Haag)

As the HQ of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court (among other globe-spanning, peace-making organizations), The Hague is known more for tribunals and arbitration than as a hotbed of art and design, but the Dutch city—the third largest in the Netherlands—is quite the trove of masterpieces and exquisite museums, and boasts a city hall designed by Richard Meier (and don’t even get us started on Scheveningen!). Those visiting this week for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit got a taste of the North Sea city’s charms. President Obama found time between defcon-themed discussions to pop into the Art Deco-style home of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, which owns the largest collection of work by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and took in the museum’s “Mondrian & De Stijl” exhibition. Joined by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel, and mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen, Obama admired Mondrian’s final painting, Victory Boogie Woogie (1944), and, according to the museum, declared it “fabulous.”

Different Strokes: Lichtenstein Sculptures Bound for Parrish Art Museum

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It was during a break in a college art history course discussion of Saussurean signifiers that we got to chatting up the dashing head teaching fellow, then in lukewarm pursuit of his Ph.D. After some good-natured banter about the arbitrariness of the sign, we ventured into more rational territory: “So, what are you writing your thesis about?” The color swiftly drained from his face and he stared at the ground before mumbling words that were only later discernible as “the sculptures of Roy Lichtenstein.” Everything turned out for the best, and the TF in question is now an associate professor at a leading research university, but to this day we can’t pass one of the Pop artist’s fiberglass houses or aluminum brushstrokes without feeling slightly queasy.

If anything can undo that association it’s the Parrish Art Museum. Next week the museum’s stunning new(ish) Herzog & de Meuron-designed home in Water Mill, New York will get its first long-term, outdoor installation in Lichtenstein’s Tokyo Brushtroke I & II (1994), part of a series of sculptures constructed mainly in the 1990s. The soaring, two-piece sculpture, made of painted and fabricated aluminum, tops out at 33 feet, taller than the museum itself: a monolevel extruded barn-as-studio made both rugged and stealth by cloudy concrete walls and a white corrugated metal roof. A temporary loan from collectors Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, Tokyo Brushtroke I & II will sit (in a cement brace) near Montauk Highway, acting as a colorful signpost of sorts for the Parrish.

Eight Years B.C.: Bill Cunningham Exhibit Opens at NY Historical Society

Intrepid blue-smocked street photographer Bill Cunningham turned 85 yesterday, and the New York Historical Society marked the occasion with a press preview of an exhibit of his photographs. We dispatched writer Nancy Lazarus—via bicycle, of course—to take in the architectural riches and fashion history of New York through Cunningham’s lens. The show opens to the public today.

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(All photos courtesy New York Historical Society)

billWhile his images don’t depict biblical times, Bill Cunningham did delve back to the Civil War, Victorian era, and Gilded Age for his eight-year-long project, Facades. From 1968-1976, the New York Times photographer who documented social, architecture, and fashion trends collected over 500 outfits and shot more than 1,800 locations around New York City. Editta Sherman, his friend, neighbor and fellow photographer, served as project collaborator and frequent subject.

Cunningham donated 88 black-and-white images from his photo essay to the New York Historical Society in 1976, and 80 gelatin silver prints and enlarged images are on display through June 15. Valerie Paley, NYHS historian and vice president for scholarly programs, curated the exhibit, and she said assistant curator Lilly Tuttle, found the photos in the museum’s archives. “We have so many undiscovered treasures, and we’re delighted to rediscover them,” said Paley.

Although Cunningham wasn’t on hand for yesterday’s preview, Paley said he was enthusiastic about the exhibit and had pitched in to locate details of specific photos. Many of his quotes accompany the exhibit highlights. The display is arranged by historic era, and additional photos in the collection are projected onto the walls of the museum’s side entrance rotunda.
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Getty Follows ‘Open Content’ Program with Virtual Library

getty library

The J. Paul Getty Trust is serious about sharing. The institution, which encompasses the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation, is following its “Open Content” program that set free some 5,000 high-resolution digital images for use, modification, and publishing with a virtual library. Translation: 45 years of art books for free. Among the 250 (and counting) of the Getty’s backlist titles now available to read online or download as PDFs are the 2004 catalogue of the first-ever exhibition of Cézanne’s watercolor still lifes (“a moving examination of this most subtle and luminous of mediums and genres,” according to Getty President and CEO James Cuno), the definitive English translation of Otto Wagner’s Modern Architecture, and books on globe-spanning conservation projects. We suggest igniting your winter reading list with Kevin Salatino‘s Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe.

City as Canvas: MCNY Explores Origins of Graffiti Art

Once upon a time, before Banksy murals were making the covers of auction catalogues, what many today know as street art was viewed as urban blight. Martin Wong saw creativity ripe for collecting. A new exhibition brings together works from his trove and traces the evolution of the New York graffiti art movement. We tagged writer Nancy Lazarus to take a sneak peek.

Untitled by Zephyr, 1984, MCNY
Pictured above, an untitled 1984 work by Zephyr, a key figure in the transition of the writing movement from trains to canvas. The below portrait of artist and collector Martin Wong was taken in 1985 by Peter Bellamy. (All images courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York)

Martin Wong by Peter Bellamy, 1985, MCNY“Street art has become the biggest art movement the world has seen,” said Sandra Fabara, the graffiti artist known as Lady Pink. She was one of the few female artists involved in the street scene of Manhattan’s Lower East Side during the 1970s and 1980s. That’s where Martin Wong, an avid collector, befriended and mentored a group of fellow graffiti artists.

“He was passionate, not just a patron,” said Christopher Ellis, aka Daze, one of many members of the group who paid tribute to the late Wong on Monday at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), which today opened an exhibition of works from Wong’s pioneering collection. On view through August 24, “City as Canvas: Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection” consists of nearly half of the 300 mixed media pieces that Wong donated to the museum in 1994, five years before he died of AIDS. Sean Corcoran, MCNY’s curator of prints and photographs, curated the show, and the artists helped to identify many of the pieces in the exhibition.
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Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute to Reopen as ‘Anna Wintour Costume Center’

anna_wIt all began in 1937 with the Museum of Costume Art, a wee institution that, within less than a decade, would be incorporated and renamed as the Costume Institute and become part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between then and now, the place has been transformed by forces including Diana Vreeland, the Brooklyn Museum (which transferred its costume collection to the institute in 2009), a little exhibition about Alexander McQueen, the generosity of Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, and of course, Anna Wintour. The Vogue editor-in-chief–and longtime Met trustee–will get her due when the space occupied by the Costume Institute reopens in May as the Anna Wintour Costume Center (with the Campbell-Bolton-Wintour Brit trifecta, just be grateful that they didn’t go with “Centre”). The Anna Wintour Costume Center will house the department’s exhibition galleries, library, conservation laboratory, research areas, and offices. Meanwhile, the curatorial department itself will continue to be called the Costume Institute.
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And Then There Were Five: Vancouver Art Gallery Announces Architectural Shortlist

vag siteWestern Canada’s largest art gallery—and with a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks, it’s firmly in art museum territory—is in expansion mode. Planning is underway for a bigger (310,000 square feet), better Vancouver Art Gallery, which will be located on a city-owned site in downtown Vancouver. The aim of the project is “to create an architecturally significant visual art museum that places prominence on artists and art and that celebrates the rich cultural context of Vancouver.” But who will design it? The gallery has narrowed a pool of 75 architectural firms from 16 countries to an all-star shortlist of five: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, KPMB Architects, SANAA, and Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. Will KPMB convert on the home-country advantage? Will Herzog & de Meuron ride their recent art-smart triumphs in Watermill and Miami to another commission? Will a field trip to Philly’s Barnes Foundation seal the deal for team TWBT? Stay tuned, art and design fans, the announcement of the winning firm is expected this spring.

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