NEW ORLEANS—Last week, the Joan Mitchell Foundation announced the appointment of Toccarra A.H. Thomas as the director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Thomas previously served as the inaugural general manager of Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works and as the inaugural managing director of SPACE, a contemporary art organization in Portland, Maine. Thomas succeeds interim director Veronique Le Melle, who has served in that role since January 2019.
As director, Thomas will supervise the Joan Mitchell Center’s artist residency program and work with leadership at the Joan Mitchell Foundation to create artist-centered resources and programming.
“In concert with my own artistic practice, I have dedicated my career to elevating the practices of fellow creatives,” Thomas said. “Joan Mitchell’s vision to help support the generations of artists that have come after her is a powerful legacy to stand in, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
NEW YORK—With the 2019 edition of the survey still partially on view, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards have been announced as curators of the 2021 Whitney Biennial. Both curators are relatively recent additions the Whitney ranks: Breslin joined the museum in 2016 as curator and director of the collection after a stint at the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, and Edwards came to the Whitney in 2018 as a curator focused on performance, having previously worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Performa, New York’s performance art biennial. The museum’s recently opened survey of works by artist and musician Jason Moran originated during Edwards’s stint at the Walker. Breslin, who was recently named director of curatorial affairs at the Whitney, served as the juror for the Louisiana Contemporary prize awarded by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans earlier this year.
ASHEVILLE—The Asheville Art Museum—which is set to open in November—has announced that it has been awarded a “Save America’s Treasures” grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through its partnership with the National Park Service, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The nearly two-hundred-thousand-dollar grant will be used to support the conservation of the museum’s Black Mountain College collection, which features historical materials and creative works by students and teachers who attended Black Mountain College during its operation from 1933 to 1957.
Editor’s Note: Diana C. Stoll recently wrote about the legacy of the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College in Appalachia for this magazine.
NEW ORLEANS—As part of a program that has installed works of public sculpture along the corridor since 2013, five new sculptures were installed on Poydras Street in New Orleans earlier this month. Presented by The Helis Foundation in partnership with Sculpture for New Orleans, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The City of New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways, the Poydras Corridor Sculpture Exhibition now includes thirty-five sculptures along the street between Convention Center Boulevard and South Galvez. Recently added sculptures include works by self-taught artist Lonnie Holley (pictured) and Louisiana native Lynda Benglis.
ATLANTA—As part of its annual Collectors Evening on October 3, the High Museum of Art acquired two new works: Shirin Neshat’s film Possessed (2001) for the department of modern and contemporary art, and Barbershop Stand and Shelf (ca. 1940–1950), a handmade work by an unidentified self-taught artist, for the department of self-taught and folk art. The annual event invites guests to vote for works up for acquisition by the museum following a seated dinner and curatorial presentations.
The museum also recently announced it has been selected as a 2019 Bank of America Art Conservation Project grant recipient for a project to conserve artwork by renowned contemporary artist Thornton Dial. The High holds the largest public collection of Dial’s work, a cornerstone of the museum’s expansive self-taught and folk art collection.
ORLANDO —Last week, the Friends of the Mennello Museum of American Art in Orlando announced a twenty-million dollar expansion of the museum. Alongside the Orlando city government, MMAA plans to add 40,000 square feet in new exhibition space, a sculpture garden, redesigned event space, and a reimagined lakefront. The expected completion date for the expansion has not been announced.