January 12, 2020

By January 12, 2021
A bust of former President Zachary Taylor was defaced with a red substance that appeared to be blood. Image by Jason Andrew for The New York Times.

Curators assess damage to artworks in US Capitol

Re:Focus a photo exhibition on view at Swan Coach House in Atlanta through October 27

WASHINGTON, D.C.—After last week’s insurrection by pro-Trump partisans at the US Capitol, curators are taking stock of artworks that were damaged, stolen, or in any other way altered during the siege. Among the works stolen, damaged, or defaced are a nineteenth-century marble bust of Zachary Taylor, the twelfth president of the United States, who died in office in 1850; an evacuated picture frame found lying near the bust suggests that the image once contained within was removed; additionally, video posted to social media outlets by participants in the mob shows one man jamming a framed photograph of the Dalai Lama into a backpack, and another tearing up what appears to be a scroll bearing Chinese characters. A full inventory of damaged works is due in the coming weeks. 

New Smithsonian museums honoring women’s history and Latinos approved by Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Previously blocked by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) during a December 10 vote, Congress has now moved forward with the creation of new museums on the National Mall honoring women and Latinos in the United States. The bill was sponsored and voted on by a bipartisan coalition. (Lee has argued that the museums were “divisive” and suggested that women’s history and Latino heritage were sufficiently honored by existing Smithsonian museums.) In a statement, the bill’s cosponsor Senator Bob Menedez (D-NJ) said, “With this vote, Latinos and Latinas across our nation will finally have their stories, struggles and impact on our country validated by the United States Congress. As a first-generation Cuban American, I know what it’s like to feel invisible in a nation where Latinos are seldom celebrated.” Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), who sponsored the effort to establish a museum of women’s history, said, “For too long, women’s stories have been left out of the telling of our nation’s history, but with this vote, we begin to rectify that.”

Carved diorama of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his 1933 cabinet by artist Moise Potvin. Image courtesy of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

High Museum of Art receives over one hundred sculptures by self-taught artists through collectors’ gift 

Kelly Taylor Mitchell: Kin, Spirit, Seed on view at Westobou Gallery, Augusta

ATLANTA—Connecticut-based collectors Anne and Robert Levine have bequeathed over one hundred wooden sculptures from self-taught artists dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. The museum has noted that many of the artists are unidentified, but some of the works are known, such as works by Vestor Lowe of Tennessee, Joe Hrovat, and Millie “The Chisler” Miller. “I’ve never seen anything quite like the Levines’ collection before, and it really is a perfect fit for the High,” says Katherine Jentleson, Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art. “It not only adds strength to our holdings of traditional folk art forms, such as whirligigs and trade signs, but also provides interesting points of connection with our historical holdings of American art. More than ever before, we’ll be able to represent a greater range of artistic ingenuity in the United States across the centuries within our collection.” 

CAC New Orleans receives Mellon grant for multidisciplinary arts and cross-sector engagement

NEW ORLEANS—The Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans has announced that it is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for Interdisciplinary Curatorial Practice. The  three-year grant supports the development of new work and interdisciplinary programming for visual and performing arts through 2023. Presenting and producing multidisciplinary arts programming since 1976, the CAC is directing the Mellon funding towards Inter[SECTOR], a multidisciplinary program focused on cross-sector engagements among visual and performing artists and our community, specifically in areas of carceral justice, the environment, and healthcare. 

a marker on top of pebbles that reads Mexican Hat, Utah. Date of Closure: July 20 1994. Dry tons of Tailings: 4,400.00. Radioactivity : 1,800 Curies: RA-226
Will Wilson, from his series Connecting the Dots. This exhibition will be mounted at SECCA with support from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.

SECCA receives grant from Ellsworth Kelly Foundation in support of Will Wilson exhibition 

WINSTON-SALEM, NC—The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) has been awarded a special grant from the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, administered by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (FCA), to support an upcoming exhibition by Diné (Navajo) photographer and community-engagement artist Will Wilson. In a statement, Jack Shear of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation said,  “In a year when both museums and artists are struggling to survive, the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation will support two other future exhibitions of underrecognized contemporary artists, the Cranbrook Art Institute’s Sonya Clark survey and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art’s Will Wilson exhibition.” Bill Carpenter, executive director of SECCA stated, “For sixty-five years now, SECCA has connected underrecognized and emerging artists with broad, diverse audiences, emphasizing the importance of risk-taking, dialogue, and collaboration. We are pleased to be able to continue that work with the generous support of the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.” The date of the Will Wilson exhibition is forthcoming. 

Ariella Wolens named as inaugural Bryant-Taylor Curator at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE—NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale (a division of Nova Southeastern University Florida) has announced the appointment of Ariella Wolens as its first Bryant-Taylor Curator. She comes to NSU Art Museum from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art in Savannah, where she held the position of Assistant Curator, and will begin her new position on January 19. Wollens, who was born and raised in London, received her BA in Art History from University College London and a Master’s from Columbia University in Curating and Criticism of Modern Art. Her writings have appeared in publications such as Art in America, Flash Art, Elephant, Gagosian Quarterly and Spike Art Magazine, as well as catalogs of artists Stu Mead and Wong Ping.

“I am thrilled to be joining the esteemed team at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, whose outstanding collection and inspiring leadership under Bonnie Clearwater has seen this institution become a touchstone for critical scholarship and visionary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in South Florida,” Wolens said.  “It is an honor to have the opportunity to assist in the development of their program, contribute to the education of the students of Nova Southeastern University, and devote myself to ensuring the posterity of their historic CoBrA collection, along with their holdings of pioneering American artist William J. Glackens, and ongoing dedication to supporting the visionary artists of today.”

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