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ARTnews in Brief: Phoenix Museum, Leslie-Lohman Museum Name New Directors—and More from April 3, 2020 - March 30, 2020

Friday, April 3

Phoenix Museum of Art Names Director


The Phoenix Museum of Art in Arizona, which recently launched a new hand-translated website as part of its initiative to go fully bilingual, has named Timothy R. Rodgers as its new director and CEO. Since 2015, Rodgers has been the director of the Wolfsonian-FIU, a museum in Miami that is part of the Florida International University. During his tenure there he oversaw the creation of a $57 million capital campaign to expand the institution, of which he has raised $51 million. Prior to joining the Wolfsonian, Rodgers helped lead two other Arizona organizations; he was director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art for six years and also served as vice president of the Scottsdale Cultural Council.


Laura Raicovich Named Interim Director of Leslie-Lohman Museum


The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art said that Laura Raicovich would serve as the New York institution’s interim director while it searches for a permanent leader. The museum’s most recent director, Gonzalo Casals, announced he would step down last month to be the next Cultural Affairs Commissioner for New York City. Raicovich was most recently the director of the Queens Museum, but resigned in 2018 after clashing with the institution’s board. She will start in the post immediately.


[Read a conversation between Laura Raicovich and critic Aruna D’Souza.]


L.A.’s Natural History Museum Acquires Barbara Carrasco Mural

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County, a group of three science- and history-related institutions, has acquired the 80-foot, 43-panel mural L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective by Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco. Carrasco completed the mural, which presents different vignettes of the city’s history beginning with the indigenous perspective, in 1981 as part of Los Angeles’s bicentennial celebrations.


The piece was planned to be exhibited in the bustling downtown Union Station, but was censored by its commissioner, the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, when Carrasco refused to remove 14 images from the work that the agency had deemed controversial, including ones depicting Japanese internment, the Zoot Suit Riots, and the whitewashing of David Alfaro Siqueiros’s América Tropical (1932). Carrasco’s mural was on view at the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park from March 2018 until August 2019, and will be displayed in the forthcoming Welcome Center in the park. In a video accompanying the announcement, Carrasco said, “There’s different cultures that are represented in [the mural], different individuals that made an impact. This is my chance to show a lot of stuff that has been omitted from the history books.” —Maximilíano Durón


Indianapolis Contemporary Will Close


After reviewing its finances, the Indianapolis Contemporary art space will close. The news comes a little less than a year after the organization rebranded from the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, which was founded in 2001. In a statement Casey Cronin, the board’s president, said, “The impact of the coronavirus is certain to exacerbate economic hardships and reduce exhibition opportunities. We have concluded our operations are not sustainable. We are not alone as other arts institutions struggle in this crisis.” —Maximilíano Durón


Thursday, April 2


Alexander Gray Associates Now Represents Jennie C. Jones

Jennie C. Jones, who is known for her work in various mediums that consider the connection between minimal forms and sound, is now represented by New York’s Alexander Gray Associates gallery. Jones’s work frequently draws on the relationship between African-American art and high modernism. In a show that opened last month at the Arts Club Chicago, she focused on the idea of the constant structure, chord progressions of used in jazz that feature various tones that combine to create a whole. A faculty member at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, Jones will also be represented by Patron Gallery in Chicago; she will no longer show with her former New York gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co. —Alex Greenberger

New York Botanical Garden Postpones Kusama Exhibition to 2021


The New York Botanical Garden said that it will delay its planned blockbuster Yayoi Kusama exhibition until 2021. Titled “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature,” the show, which was to open May 9 and run until November 1, is to focus on the Japanese artist’s work and its relationship to nature. The exhibition was to include an “Infinity Room,” a greenhouse-themed “Obliteration Room,” and a new bronze sculpture of a pumpkin. In a statement, Kusama said, “Everyone, I hope you will wait. We aspire for endless love permeated with everyone’s hearts of human love, a wish for peace in the world, our dreams, and wonders of hope—it is our wish that this exhibition can offer these as its greatest gift. I hope you all can wait.”


National Trust for Scotland Names New Chief Executive

Philip Long will be the next person to helm the National Trust for Scotland, succeeding Simon Skinner who will retire in July. In 2011, Long was named the first director of the V&A Dundee, a design museum located in that Scottish city that opened in 2018. He was previously a senior curator at the National Galleries of Scotland, focusing on historic and contemporary Scottish and British art and design. In a statement, Long said, “The Trust is invaluable to our nation. The buildings and landscape in its care, which it makes accessible to millions of visitors every year, are truly world-class, defining our country’s heritage, culture and identity at its most outstanding.”


Getty Trust Adds Two Trustees

The J. Paul Getty Trust, which funds the Getty Foundation and its two Los Angeles museums and research institute, has added Kavita Singh and Anne Sweeney to its board of trustees. Singh is an art historian and professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. Her research focuses on the history of Indian painting and the politics of museums, particularly in India. Sweeney is an entertainment executive who was formerly president of the Disney–ABC Television Group. She has served on multiple boards, including those of Netflix, Hulu, the Mayo Clinic, and UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.


Wednesday, April 1


Helsinki Biennial Postponed Indefinitely Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

The inaugural edition of the Helsinki Biennial in Finland, which was to open on June 12 and run through September 27, has been postponed as a result of delays in construction and production for the biennial’s venues and commissioned artworks because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The exhibition, which is curated by Pirkko Siitari and Taru Tappola, was to bring together the work of 40 artists and collectives, with 75 percent of them being newly made for the show and its site, the Baltic island of Vallisaari. The biennial’s organizers did not immediately give new dates for the show, saying it could open either in August or be delayed until 2021. In an email to ARTnews, a spokesperson for the biennial said, “During this testing time when the world must collectively step back and support a wider need for social distance, Helsinki Biennial will offer alternative channels through which audiences can experience Vallisaari island’s remarkable location, and help further the dialogue between art and the environment.” —Maximilíano Durón


Border Biennial Announces Curatorial Team, Open Call for Artist Proposals

The 6th Border Biennial, which is co-presented by the El Paso Museum of Art in Texas and the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, will be organized by the museum’s senior curator Kate Green, who will be joined by curatorial advisors artist Rolando Flores and Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, an independent curator who co-organized the Hammer Museum’s acclaimed 2017 exhibition “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985.” The curatorial team will look to bring together the work of around 40 artists based anywhere within 200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border on either side, and focus on “the border and the body [and] the history, present, and future of the borderlands,” according to Green. As part of the exhibition, the biennial will also host an open call for the estimated 200 artists living in the two cities to submit proposals between now and April 15. More information on how to submit can be found here. —Maximilíano Durón


Juan Uslé Wins 2020 Contemporary Drawing Prize

Through their namesake contemporary art foundation, top French art collectors Florence and Daniel Guerlain have announced the winner of the 13th iteration of their annual Contemporary Drawing Prize. Spanish artist Juan Uslé has won 15,000 euros (around $16,400), and the foundation will offer to buy a work by the artist for the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. Uslé was chosen by a jury that included Clifford Davis, Davíd Samuelsson, Carlos Usandizaga, Carlo Boyl di Putifigari, Béatrice Charon, Thierry Gontier, Hervé Halgand, and the Guerlains. The other two shortlisted artists for the 2020 award were Callum Innes and Florian Pumhösl.


Tuesday, March 31


Dallas Art Fair Plans Online Preview of Postponed Fair

Earlier this month, the Dallas Art Fair said it would postpone its upcoming edition, scheduled for April 16–19, until October as way to stymie the spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19). Now, its organizers said they would launch an online viewing room called the Dallas Art Fair Online, which will allow collectors to preview and purchase works from galleries around when the fair was originally to take place. The online preview will run from April 14–23. —Maximilíano Durón


Longtime Yale Center for British Art Deputy Director to Retire

After more than 30 years at the museum, Scott Wilcox, the deputy director for collections at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, will retire. Since starting at the center in 1982, Wilcox has held a variety of positions, in the process transforming the museum’s photography holdings. Wilcox will officially retire in March 2022.


Monday, March 30

Hirshhorn Names Curator of Media and Performance Art

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., has hired Marina C. Isgro to be its associate curator of media and performance art. Isgro was the inaugural Nam June Paik Research Fellow at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she worked on the museum’s 2018 survey of the late video artist, titled “Screen Play,” and also helped the institution acquire two works by Paik for its collection.


At the Hirshhorn, Isgro will also hold the position of secretarial scholar, which is part of a Smithsonian-wide initiative to support the work of early-career curators. (Both positions are funded by D.C.-area philanthropists Robert and Arlene Kogod; Robert is on the Smithsonian’s board of regents.) In a statement, the Hirshhorn’s director Melissa Chiu said, “During a time when new media and performance art is increasingly activated as a vehicle to discuss issues of our generation, we are excited to bring in Marina Isgro’s perspective to help ensure these works are presented in thoughtful ways that challenge viewers to understand and connect with our world more broadly.” —Maximilíano Durón


June Art Fair in Basel Postpones Second Edition, Reveals Exhibitor List

On the heels of Art Basel‘s announcement that it would postpone its 2020 edition until September due to the coronavirus crisis, June Art Fair has rescheduled its sophomore exhibition in the Swiss city to run from September 14–20, coinciding with the larger fair. For its second edition, June will return to the Herzog & de Meuron–designed space at Riehenstrasse 90B, a short walk from Art Basel. Among the 15 exhibitors heading to June in the fall are Misako & Rosen (Tokyo), Green Art Gallery (Dubai), Document (Chicago), and Neue Alte Brücke (Frankfurt). The full list of participants can be found here.


Pop Artist Idelle Weber Has Died at 88

Idelle Weber, an artist associated with the Pop art and photorealism movements, has died at age 88. Weber’s works often feature black silhouettes of figures situated against vibrant backgrounds. In the 1960s, she exhibited in the group shows “Pop Goes the Easel” (1963) at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and “Contemporary Drawings” (1964) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and her work can be found in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and other institutions. The New York–based gallery Hollis Taggart, which began representing the artist in 2018, will continue to show Weber’s work.


College Art Association Names New Director

Isimeme Omogbai will be the next executive director of the College Art Association, a New York–based organization that facilitates art history scholarship. Omogbai takes the reins from David Raizman, who had been the CAA’s interim executive director, and she will oversee the organization’s strategy, grants programs, and publications. Omogbai was the first African-American to chair the American Alliance of Museums, and she was previously the board chair of the New Jersey Historic Trust and a trustee for the Newark Museum in New Jersey.

Château Shatto Now Represents Cécile B. Evans


The Los Angeles–based gallery Château Shatto has added Cécile B. Evans to its roster. Evans, who lives and works in London, creates films, installations, and performances about the relationships between capitalism, technology, and human behaviors. The artist has previously shown work at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, the Whitney Museum in New York, the 9th Berlin Biennale, and other venues.

Correction, April 2, 2020, 1: 45 p.m.: An earlier version of this article misstated where participants in the 6th Border Biennial can be based. They can be based in cities anywhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, not just in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. The post has been updated to reflect that. 

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