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The Revolving Door

Guggenheim’s David van der Leer Named Director of Van Alen Institute

David van der Leer, who with Maria Nicanor developed and headed the curatorial team of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, will take the helm at Van Alen Institute beginning May 6. The NYC-based nonprofit architectural organization, whose mission is “to promote innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life,” selected van der Leer as executive director after an international search. He will succeed Olympia Kazi, who stepped down last May. Since then, Jeff Byles has served as interim director.

“David van der Leer represents a new type of commitment to the public realm that makes urban issues accessible to architecture and design professionals and everyday urban citizens alike,” said Stephen Cassell, chairman of the Van Alen’s board of trustees, in a statement issued Tuesday. “Van Alen Institute welcomes his initiative to develop more national and international competitions, studies, and programs relevant to the understanding of contemporary urban life.”

Alessandra Facchinetti Named Creative Director of Tod’s

Good news for those who are still stalking eBay in search of the amazing yet underappreciated work Alessandra Facchinetti did during her brief stint at Valentino: she’s been appointed creative director of Tod’s women’s collections. Facchinetti will begin her new role in March. “Her passion for detail and her dedication to the research of materials and manufacturing make her perfect for our brand,” said Tod’s Group president Diego Della Valle in a statement issued today.

The appointment comes about a year after Derek Lam announced his departure from Tod’s, where he served as creative director since 2006. Before taking the creative helm for ready-to-wear and couture at Valentino, Facchinetti spent seven years at Miu Miu, served as design director and then creative director at Gucci, and later worked on Moncler’s Gamme Rouge line. In 2011, she launched Uniqueness, a collaboration with Italian label Pinko.

In Brief: Alexander Wang to Balenciaga, Magnus Berger Joins WSJ., Awards Roundup


Rucci Redux. Looks from Alexander Wang’s spring 2013 collection.

• Wake the kids and phone the neighbors: Alexander Wang is taking the creative helm at Balenciaga. Look for the PPR-owned house to make it official next week, according to WWD. Wang will replace Nicolas Ghesquière, whose departure was announced earlier this month and becomes effective today. Wang’s brand has soared in recent years, staking out a lucrative turf between contemporary and designer pricing. His spring 2013 collection ripped off borrowed liberally from the design signatures–if not the technical prowess–of Ralph Rucci, a true innovator in the mold of Cristobal Balenciaga himself.

Paula Scher and Seymour Chwast are the recipients of this year’s Collab Design Excellence Award, bestowed annually by a collaboration of design professionals supporting the modern and contemporary design collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Past winners of the award include Zaha Hadid, Alberto Alessi, and Philippe Starck. Scher and Chwast receive their award tomorrow at the museum, where they’ll inaugurate an exhibition of their work that opens to the public on Sunday.

• Fans of The Last Magazine will be particularly excited to learn that the publication’s co-founder Magnus Berger is headed to WSJ. as the magazine’s new creative director. Look for his fresh look to debut with the February 16 issue.
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Curators Named for 2014 Whitney Biennial, Last for Museum’s Breuer Building

Artists and gallerists, here’s the trio you want to make sure is at the top of your holiday card mailing list: (pictured, from left) Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner, the freshly crowned curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Opening in early March of next year, it will be the seventy-seventh in the Whitney Museum’s ongoing series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions and the last to fill its Marcel Breuer building. The Metropolitan Museum of Art will take over the building in 2015 when the Whitney moves into its new downtown digs designed by Renzo Piano.

The Whitney is looking to leave its Brutalist beacon on a high note, with a new curatorial structure that places the Biennial in the hands of three curators from outside the museum. “By flinging open the museum’s doors metaphorically, we hope to create a platform in which voices from outside the Whitney can enliven the conversation around contemporary art in the United States,” said Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator and deputy director for programs, in a statement issued by the museum late yesterday. “Hailing from Chicago, Philadelphia, and London, each curator will bring a personal approach to the process, creating an exciting mix of emerging and established artists that is the Biennial’s hallmark.”
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Scott Dadich Named Editor-in-Chief of Wired

With Chris Anderson leaving the Condé Nast camp to spend more time with his robots (as CEO of 3D Robotics), Wired didn’t have to look far for its next editor-in-chief: it is Scott Dadich, who served as creative director of the magazine from 2006 through 2010 before ascending to the role of iPad Whisperer (a.k.a. vice president for Condé Nast digital magazine development). “Scott has been at the forefront of the company’s digital innovation for the past three years, developing the design for a digital magazine that has become an industry standard,” said Condé Nast editorial director Tom Wallace, in a statement issued Friday announcing the appointment. “His return to Wired…will ensure that it continues its pace-setting growth.” Wired recently announced a 2013 rate base increase from 800,000 to 825,000, marking the magazine’s eleventh consecutive year of rate-base growth.

Previously on UnBeige:
Seven Questions for Scott Dadich

Museum Moves: Endeavour Battles LA Traffic; New Faces and Places at the Getty, New Museum, MoMA


(Photo: Lawrence K. Ho for the Los Angeles Times)

• “Wow. I didn’t realize it was so…big.” Such was the gobsmacked refrain of people all across Los Angeles this weekend, as the space shuttle Endeavour battled traffic to arrive fashionably late at a party held in its honor last night at the California Science Center. “In a city whose residents are accused of disdaining public space, the orbiter’s tour led Angelenos to crowd sidewalks 10 or 12 deep as well as drawing thousands of people who live north of the 10 Freeway to boulevards south of it,” writes Christopher Hawthorne in today’s Los Angeles Times. “It packed gas stations and strip-mall parking lots with crowds.” It’s like a brain-searing Bruce Wagner subplot come true!

• In other left coast museum moves, Thomas Kren (who is not to be confused with Thomas Krens) has been appointed associate director of collections for the Getty Museum. Stepping into his previous role as senior curator of manuscripts is Elizabeth Morrison. Both have plenty of experience in their new roles. Kren, who joined the Getty Museum in 1980, has been serving as acting associate director for collections since January 2010. Morrison, who joined the manuscripts department in 1996, has served as its acting senior curator since January of this year.

• Back in New York, Johanna Burton has been appointed Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Engagement at the New Museum. Beginning January 2, 2013, she will oversee all of the museum’s educational, interpretive, and theater initiatives, including the Fifth Floor Education Center and the Museum as Hub global partnership. Burton is currently director of the Graduate Program at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and was formerly associate director of the Whitney Independent Study Program. She succeeds curator Eungie Joo, who has decamped to rural Brazil to serve as director of art and cultural programs at the contemporary art museum Xanadu of Inhotim.
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George Eastman House Appoints New Director

The search for a worthy successor to Anthony Bannon has concluded, and Bruce Barnes (pictured) is the new director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York. He’ll take the helm of the world’s oldest museum of photography and one of the largest motion-picture archives next week. Barnes, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, is the president of American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation, a private foundation based in New York that works to foster understanding and appreciation of American decorative art from the period around 1900. Before founding ADA1900, he served as CEO of Rochester-based online education company Element K.

“Having devoted most of the last seven years to collaborating with major museums across the country and furthering art scholarship, I am eager to apply my strategic and management skills to leading George Eastman House,” said Barnes in a statement announcing his appointment. “The house and a great many of the museum’s objects fall precisely within my longstanding interest in American art, decorative art, and architecture of the period from 1876 to 1940. My background in innovative online education will be invaluable to the creation of a virtual museum that will provide global access to its superb collections.” Barnes succeeds Bannon, who retired from George Eastman House earlier this year after 16 years in the position.

Gap Names New Creative Director, Head of Design

Big news at Gap Inc., which has tapped Rebekka Bay (pictured) as creative director and executive vice president for Gap global design. Beginning October 1, she will be responsible for product sold online and in the nearly 1,600 stores in 42 countries in which Gap operates. No pressure. News of the appointment comes more than a year after Patrick Robinson was sent packing.

Bay knows fast fashion. She conceptualized, developed, and launched COS, the “timeless modern tactile functional” brand of H&M parent Hennes & Mauritz. Since 2011, Bay has served as creative director at Copenhagen-based Bruuns Bazaar, overseeing the design of “contemporary, edited, and precise” women’s and men’s apparel. “Over the past 17 years, a passion for design and a deep understanding of what consumers want have driven Rebekka Bay’s thriving career,” said Art Peck, president of Gap’s North American division (and Bay’s new boss, along with Gap International President Stephen Sunnucks), in a statement announcing the appointment. “Her designs are timeless and covetable.” Bay will be based in New York, managing design teams there and at the 1969 office in Los Angeles, and will work closely with Pam Wallack, who leads the Gap Global Creative Center.
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American Folk Art Museum Names New Director

The embattled American Folk Art Museum will continue working to right itself under the direction of newly appointed director Anne-Imelda Radice (pictured), the New York institution’s board of trustees announced this week. Radice, who holds a doctorate in art and architectural history (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) as well as an MBA (American University), recently served as the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent U.S. federal agency that supports museums and libraries of all types. Her experience also includes posts at the Humanities Endowment, the United States Department of Education, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Having served as both a director and a curator, I have long been impressed with American Folk Art Museum’s collection and its presentation,” said Radice in a statement issued by the museum. “The work the Board and staff have done to re-chart the Museum’s course has been gutsy and inspiring, and I am honored to join and have the responsibility of leading their team.” Radice replaces Maria Ann Conelli, who stepped down last year shortly after the museum sold its Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed building to the Museum of Modern Art for $31.2 million. Devoted to “the aesthetic appreciation of traditional folk art and creative expressions of contemporary self-taught artists from the United States and abroad,” the museum moved to its current Lincoln Square location in July 2011.

Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, Stella McCartney Nominated for British ‘Designer of the Year’


Fall 2012 looks from Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou, and Stella McCartney.

As London designers wait in the wings for their turn on the global fashion stage, the British Fashion Council has announced the nominees for this year’s British Fashion Awards, which will be presented at a ceremony on November 27. In another across-the-pond fashion news, Net-a-porter’s Natalie Massenet has just been appointed chairman of the British Fashion Council. She’ll replace departing chairman Harold Tillman on January 1. “My experience is in merging extraordinary creative content with innovative global commerce,” said Massenet, who will retain her position as executive chairman of Net-a-porter. “From January, together with Caroline Rush [CEO of the British Fashion Council] and her team, I aim to apply these lessons to my new role, a role I take incredibly seriously.” And now for those nominees:

Emerging Talent Award – Ready-to-wear: J.W. Anderson, Michael van der Ham, Simone Rocha

Emerging Talent Award – Accessories: Dominic Jones, Jordan Askill, Sophie Hulme

Emerging Talent Award – Menswear: Agi & Sam (Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton), Jonathan Saunders, Lou Dalton
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