This is the second edition of BA’s new biweekly digest of Southern contemporary art news-in-brief. Submissions for items to be included in future editions may be sent to the editor.
BENTONVILLE, AR—The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced Pittsburgh-based artist Vanessa German as the 2018 recipient of biennial Don Tyson Prize, a $200,000 award for outstanding achievement in American art. Tyson Foods chairman John Tyson, along with Crystal Bridges founder and board chair Alice Walton and Crystal Bridges curator Lauren Haynes, presented the prize to German at the Art House in Pittsburgh on Monday, December 17.
“The Don Tyson Prize recognizes Vanessa for changing the way we experience art and exploring transformation through art and advocacy,” said John Tyson. “The impact she’s had and the work she’ll continue to do honors the memory of my father Don, for whom the prize is named. Like Vanessa, he believed in the power of art and in the American spirit.”
“I am honored to have been selected for the Don Tyson Prize,” said German. “Art has been transformational in my life, particularly in confronting and contending with the dimensional violence of racism. I create art works, experiences and spaces of social healing, connection, and expression. This award not only allows me to deepen my studio practice and anchor the Art House, but it also provides an opportunity to pay it forward and continue the work of my mother, Sandra German, who affirmed the lives, activism and creative power of those around her.”
One way German plans to use the award is through a project called the “Museum of Resilience.” German describes the project as “located within the community of the Art House, the museum will be a public place that draws on the concept of the Art House to celebrate the transformative power of creativity in the lives of black women, trans women, single mothers, and their children, while simultaneously resisting the violence of gentrification.”
SAVANNAH—On March 1, 2019, Robin Nicholson will join the Telfair Museums in Savannah, GA, as executive director and CEO. He will succeed the institution’s former director, Lisa Grove, upon leaving his current position as the director of the Frick Pittsburgh.
Ted Kleisner, chairman of the Telfair’s board of trustees, said in a statement, “In many ways the Frick—with its historic property, art museum, and expansive collection—and Telfair Museums bear close similarities in terms of scale, variety of buildings, collections, and audience; [Nicholson’s] experience and skills are perfectly aligned with the needs of Telfair Museums.”
While working as director of the Frick Pittsburgh, Nicolson managed a $7 million operating budget and a staff of over 120 people. He previously held positions as the head of exhibitions and deputy director for art and education at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
Nicholson said, “I am thrilled to be coming to Savannah, a city that I love, and to Telfair Museums, three unique museums with world-class architecture, great collections, and extraordinary potential and opportunity.”
NEW YORK—Funded anonymously until earlier this year, when a New York Times report revealed artist Susan Unterberg as the donor behind the awards, the Anonymous Was A Woman grant program has provided support for women artists over 40 years old since 1996, when the National Endowment for the Arts chose to stop funding individual artists. Winners are chosen by a group of women art historians, curators, writers, and past winners.
The 2018 grantees include Atlanta-based artist Rocío Rodríguez, as well as Deborah Roberts, who presented a solo exhibition at the Spelman Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta earlier this year. The other eight awardees are Dotty Attie, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Patty Chang, Beverly Fishman, Kate Gilmore, Heather Hart, Michéle Stephenson, and Betty Tompkins. Each will receive a $25,000 award for their work.
A 30-year retrospective of Rodríguez’s drawings is scheduled for next year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia in Atlanta, and Campos-Pons is organizing the forthcoming 2019 Havana Biennial.
ATLANTA—The Super Bowl Host Committee and the Atlanta-based arts and advocacy group WonderRoot recently released seven additional mural designs from their collaborative project “Off The Wall: Atlanta’s Civil Rights & Social Justice Journey.” This initiative aims to elevate and amplify Atlanta’s past, present, and future role in civil rights and social justice movements through murals, media, and community conversations.
This second round of sketches includes work from seven artists chosen for the initiative: Muhammad Yungai (Atlanta), GAIA (New York), Brandan “B-Mike” Odums (New Orleans), Ernest Shaw (Baltimore), Charmaine Minniefield (Atlanta), The Loss Prevention Arts (Atlanta), and Shanequa Gay (Atlanta).
Fifteen sketches of the final 30 murals are now available to the public. The murals will be installed by the artists leading up to Super Bowl LIII on February 3 and will remain a part of the City of Atlanta’s permanent public art collection.
LOS ANGELES—The first mid-career survey of works by American abstractionist Julie Mehretu will open next fall in Los Angeles. Featuring 65 works created from 1996 to the present, the survey will showcase her large-scale paintings alongside more intimate drawings and paintings and will will include at least two new works made by Mehretu in 2018 and 2019. The exhibition will be co-curated by Christine Y. Kim of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it opens in November 2019, and Rujeko Hockley of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where it will open in June 2020. The survey’s tour will then include stops at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Hockley said, “[Something] that I’ve always been inspired by in Julie’s work [is ]that you can have these multiple conversations. You can talk about history, capitalism, [or] corporations in the current era [while] also going back to the foundations of the financial systems that we live under. You can talk about color, art history, hard-edge painting, Renaissance perspective drawings.”
“There will be fresh work in the show that also really relates to this moment in time, socially and politically, and also just from me making,” Mehretu said. “The work has evolved and moved and changed and shifted so much so that new work will bookend, and offer a very different perspective from, the earlier work.”
Mehretu’s painting Mogamma (A Painting in Four Parts): Part 2 (2012) is currently on view at the High Museum as part of the recent reinstall of the museum’s permanent collection.
NASHVILLE—Work by Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiano will be on view February 2 through May 5, 2019 at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, TN. Organized by the Frist Art Museum’s executive director, Susan H. Edwards, “Claudio Parmiggiani: Dematerialization” will feature a selection of 15 two- and three-dimensional works that address the passage of time, mortality, absence, memory, and silence. Sometimes associated with movements including Art Povera and conceptualism, Parmiggiani was a participating artist in the Italian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.