NEW YORK—Standing almost three stories tall, Kehinde Wiley’s new work, Rumors of War, is an imposing monument. Cast in bronze, the sculpture features a black male figure, pony tail full of braids, wearing a hoodie and ripped jeans. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Wiley first conceived of the sculpture while visiting the Virginia museum for the opening of his exhibition “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic” in June 2016. He was struck in particular by a statue of General J.E.B. Stuart and its evocation of Lost Cause ideology, which holds that the Confederate states were the noble targets of Northern aggression.
“I’m a black man walking those streets,” he said at the unveiling on Friday, recalling his visit to Richmond. “I’m looking up at those things that give me a sense of dread and fear.””
Rumors of War will move to Arthur Ashe Boulevard to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art on Arthur Ashe Boulevard after its stint in Times Square.
ATLANTA—In a press release announcing their upcoming exhibit The Life and Death of Charles Williams, executive director Veronica Kessenich explained their new curatorial direction. “With The Life and Death of Charles Williams, Atlanta Contemporary announces our new curatorial direction,” says executive director, Veronica Kessenich. “Over the course of the next 18 to 24 months, we will work solely with independent curators. We intend to uphold the highest standards of artistic and programmatic excellence while providing a community-focused environment that fosters inclusivity. By working with Phillip March Jones for our first exhibition in 2020, our audience and members experience exhibitions and programs relevant to contemporary culture in concert with our motto, Changing the Way We All See Art. A subsequent announcement will be forthcoming with the 2020-2021 curators.” Phillip March Jones is curator and director at Institute 193 in Lexington, Kentucky.
ATLANTA—Tina M. Dunkley was honored last month by Hammonds House Museum for her work as an artist, curator, and Director Emerita of the Clark Atlanta Art Museum. While at Clark, she successfully rehoused the entire collection, integrated the museum into the academic courses and published In the Eye of the Muses: Selections from the Clark Atlanta University Art Collection, which recounts the Atlanta Art Annuals from 1942 – 1970, which built Clark’s collection. Dunkley’s exhibit, Sanctuary for the Internal Enemy, is now on view at the Auburn Avenue Research Library until October 13th.
EGYPT, NC—The multidisciplinary artist Mel Chin, who resides in North Carolina, received the MacArthur Genius grant earlier in the month, one of the largest unrestricted prizes in the world. Making art around issues of gender, the environment, and war, Chin has collaborated with botanists, architects, and other artists to make work that crosses mediums. For his ongoing Fundred / The Hundreds project, thousands of children and families have participated in making their own paper currency envisioning a lead free future.
SARASOTA—After several years of delays due to extensive repairs, the Sarasota Art Museum will open in their new home — a century old Gothic high school. Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design, said Thursday that construction is expected to be completed by May on the major renovations to the historic building on U.S. 41. After raising 22 million dollars in 2014, the expected open date was projected to be 2016. Construction crews restored the outside of the old high school, and had to make far more extensive repairs to the damaged interior. The first exhibit will be a survey of Vik Muniz.
ASHEVILLE—The renovation, expansion, and addition to the Asheville Art Museum is set to open it’s doors to the public on November 14, with the inaugural exhibition Appalachia Now! In a press release, the museum describes the exhibit as “[it] explores the amalgamation of tradition and present-day perspectives extant in contemporary artistic representations of life in this region. Appalachia Now! situates artists within a regional and national dialogue that spans time and socio-economic status.”
BENTONVILLE—Crystal Bridges continues to expand its permanent collection with additions of work by people of color and women. Along with the Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror the museum purchased earlier in the year, including The Reader by Atlantan Emma Amos, The Good Shepard by Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Portrait of a Florentine Nobleman by Kehinde Wiley. Crystal Bridges also acquired contemporary pieces from Loie Hollowell and Jordan Casteel.
DOTHAN, AL—In a press release, Wiregrasss Museum of Art in Dothan, Alabama announced they had been awarded a 10,000$ grant to fund the museum’s youth program and a new exhibition by Alabama artist Jenny Fine. In the announcement, the museum said, “WMA provides opportunities for working artists to build new skills, connect with new audiences, and produce new work. This includes providing space for artists to exhibit their art, experiment and explore new ideas, and to work directly with our students and visitors. ASCA’s continued support of museum programs allows us to explore contemporary studio practices and to produce innovative educational programs, with artists at the core,” said Dana-Marie Lemmer, WMA’s executive director and curator.
NEW YORK—After over seventy members voted to strike this week, the New Museum and UAW Local 2112 (which the museum’s union is organized under) avoided a strike and agreed to a contract through 2024. One of the newest organized art institutions, the New Museum’s dealing with the UAW is seen as precedent setting for other institutions and their dealings with fledgling unions, and for those currently attempting unionization in their own cultural workplaces.