December 8, 2021

By December 08, 2021
aerial view of red clay memorial on green landscape
Architect David Adjaye will be lead designer of the Barbados Heritage District. Image courtesy Adjaye Associates.

Dia Art Foundation Names Humberto Moro as Deputy Director of Program

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The Dia Art Foundation has named Humberto Moro as its next deputy director of program, a new position to oversee all elements of programming for the organization based in New York and active in satellite locations including the Hudson Valley, New Mexico, Utah, and Germany. Moro has previously worked as deputy director and senior curator at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and as an adjunct curator at the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. He also recently completed a Center for Curatorial Leadership Fellowship that included a residency at Dia.

In a statement, Dia director Jessica Morgan said, “As we look to tell a more comprehensive and inclusive narrative of the period of art history Dia has historically been focused on—the 1960s and ’70s—as well as extending this thread through our contemporary commissioning program, publications, and public engagement, Moro’s expertise will be vital. In this newly created role, Moro will be a thought leader, overseeing all programmatic aspects of the institution. His voice will be crucial in guiding Dia’s uniquely artist-centric, experimental ethos.”

from Andy Battaglia at ARTnews

The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant announces 2021 grantees, Tiona Nekia McClodden, TK Smith, and Erina Duganne among recipients

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On Wednesday, December 1, the Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant announced its 2021 grantees. The program supports writing about contemporary art and aims to ensure that critical writing remains a valued mode of engaging the visual arts. In its 2021 cycle, the Arts Writers Grant awarded a total of $695,000 to twenty writers. Ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 in three categories—articles, books and short-form writing— these grants support projects addressing both general and specialized art audiences, from short reviews for magazines and newspapers to in-depth scholarly studies.

“The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant supports a vital component of the visual arts ecosystem– writers. These critics and scholars do the important work of chronicling, contextualizing, and complicating our contemporary moment as it is expressed by artists,” states Joel Wachs, President of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “The Arts Writers Grant recognizes the rigorous and generous engagement arts writers have with artists and their work and celebrates their ability to illuminate artistic interventions into the structures that govern our contemporary cultural moment.”

To learn more about the grantees’ proposals, read here.

Greg Tate, influential critic, essayist, and chronicler of the Black avant-garde, dies at 64

Greg Tate, an incisive and influential critic and essayist who focused on matters related to music, art, and other realms of culture, has died at the age of 64. 

Tate made his name early on as a studious and stylish writer about music and art for publications including the Village Voice, Vibe, and Spin. He was one of the most observant and important early chroniclers of hip-hop in the 1980s, in terms of music as well as all the elements of street art and fashion that continue to surround it.

In an outpouring of grief among followers and peers on Twitter, the jazz writer Adam Shatz wrote that Tate was “to avant-Black music what Clement Greenberg was to Abstract Expressionism, a pioneering critic, canon-builder, curator, astronaut-explorer of planets unknown to most of his peers.” Doreen St. Félix, a writer for publications including the New Yorker, wrote, “The first step to it is mimicry and who we are all mimicking is Greg Tate…the greatest…and the kindest, so generous with his time and that brain.”

Books by Tate include In Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience, a book about Hendrix from 2003. He also authored Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (1992), Everything But the Burden: What White People Are Taking From Black Culture (an anthology he edited in 2003), and Flyboy 2: The Greg Tate Reader (2016). He was a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition and the “conducted-improv big band” Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. His work also extended into the field of curating when, last year, with Liz Munsell, he organized the exhibition Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation for the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

from Andy Battaglia at ARTnews

Afghan artists make plea to U.S. and European leaders for refuge: ‘a dark future awaits’

In an urgent effort to flee persecution, a group of anonymous Afghan artists penned an open letter to President Joe Biden and other European political leaders seeking evacuation from the country following the Taliban regime’s takeover.

Artists at Risk, a global nonprofit organization founded as an affiliate of the Finnish arts platform Perpetuum Mobile to aid artists in conflict zones, delivered the letter on Monday to Biden. The letter’s other recipients included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In lieu of signatures, the anonymous writers—which included journalists, poets, and painters—provided photographs of themselves holding up signs that named their occupations in order to shield their identities.

Fearing for their rights, the signatories wrote, “Artists of our generation have become bloodied symbols of artistic integrity, abjuring extremism, upholding freedom, democracy and human rights. We have continued to fight against their [Taliban’s] dark mentality…Many artists, cultural workers and journalists are in the gravest danger at Taliban hands and are stranded in Afghanistan,” they wrote. “There is no future for them in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Instant death will be the inevitable result of defiance and to remain is to be forced to forswear our working vocations.”

The signatories urged foreign countries to send help quickly because of the possibility of future tragedy. Acknowledging the dire perils the country now faces, including famine and pending economic collapse, the authors continued, “A dark future awaits.”

from Angelica Villa at ARTnews

Barbados, newly freed of British oversight, has tapped David Adjaye as lead designer of a new heritage district

Barbados, which last month swore in Sandra Mason as its first-ever president and severed ties with the U.K. as a member of the Commonwealth, has tapped Ghanian-British architect David Adjaye to design its Barbados Heritage District as a testament to the island nation’s culture and identity. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the plan, which is to include a memorial, a global research institute, and a museum that will tell the story of slavery’s impact on Barbados and its inhabitants.

In a statement, Adjaye said the memorial will include an information center inside a monolithic dome pavilion made from red laterite earth; an oculus opening up to the sky; and an aquifer connecting to a water source running beneath the memorial, completing a triumvirate of elements. A circular mound at the highest point of the memorial will feature 570 timber beams capped by brass plates to commemorate the individuals buried there. “Drawing upon the technique and philosophy of traditional African tombs, prayer sites, and pyramids, the memorial is conceived as a space that contemporaneously honors the dead, edifies the living, and manifests a new diasporic future for Black civilization that is both of the African continent and distinct from it,” Adjaye said in a statement.

from Caroline Goldstein at ARTnet

Charlottesville’s Divisive Robert E. Lee Statue Will Be Melted Down to Create New Public Artwork

The fate of a controversial statue of Robert E. Lee that once stood in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the site of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally has finally been decided. In an unanimous decision, the City Council voted to donate the statue to the local Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which will melt it down and use it as raw material for a new public artwork, the New York Times reports.

The only local proposal considered was that by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which offered to pay for the Lee statue to be melted into bronze ingot blocks and transformed into a new work of art. “Our aim is not to destroy an object, it’s to transform it,” the center’s executive director, Andrea Douglas, told Charlottesville Tomorrow. “It’s to use the very raw material of its original making and create something that is more representative of the alleged democratic values of this community, more inclusive of those voices that in 1920 had no ability to engage in the artistic process at all.”

The project is a coalition of Charlottesville organizations including the University of Virginia’s Memory Project, the artist-run gallery and studio space Visible Records, and the state humanities council.

from Caroline Goldstein at ARTnet

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