CHATTANOOGA—The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) has announced the appointment of curator Rachel Jobe Reese as director and curator of its Cress Gallery of Art, beginning January 2020. Reese comes to UTC from the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia, where she has been since 2015.
According to the university, its Fine Arts Center—which houses the Cress Gallery—is currently undergoing a major capital renovation through the fall of 2020. During this period, Reese will “develop the vision and new strategic initiatives around the growth of the exhibitions program and the gallery’s new mission, vision and identity. This new identity will require major fundraising planning and development, rebranding initiatives, as well as deep campus and city-wide engagement.” Additionally, Reese will “lead the transition and growth of the gallery, its relationship with the student body, Chattanooga publics, and the larger Tennessee communities with the goal of sharing and advancing interdisciplinary contemporary art practices in the Southeast.”
In this role, Reese will also oversee the care, maintenance, and management of the university’s permanent collection of art and will teach one undergraduate course per year.
Reese said, “I’m excited to get on campus and engage with the energetic faculty artists and students. It’s a very exciting time for contemporary art in Tennessee and Chattanooga. I’m thrilled to bring my passion for contemporary art and artists in the Southeast to UTC through artist-driven conversations, and I’m looking forward to joining new colleagues in the city and state that already share artist-centric missions. As before, the Cress remains free and open to all, and I’m encouraging visitors old and new, local and from afar, to stay tuned to what we are working on.”
Reese previously served as editor of this magazine in 2013.
DULUTH, GA—Known for his monochromatic paintings, conceptually driven video installations, and other works investigating cultural and visual associations with the color black, Atlanta-based artist Paul Stephen Benjamin was recently named the 2019 recipient of the Hudgens Prize, awarded annually to a Georgia-based artist by the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning. Totaling $50,000, the prize is one of the largest awards given to an individual artist in the United States.
Benjamin is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Hambidge Fellowship (2019), the Southern Prize (2018), MOCA GA’s Working Artist Project Fellowship (2017) , an Artadia award (2014), and, most recently, a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2019).
Benjamin’s first solo exhibition in New York, Pure, Very, New, was on view earlier this year at Marianne Boesky Gallery, and his work is on view through January 5 in the group exhibition Great Force at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond.
DURHAM—Sarah Schroth has announced her retirement from her role as director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. She will step down in May 2020 after twenty-five years at the school. She has served as the Nasher’s director since June 2013, following more than a year as interim director. Schroth, whose achievements as the museum’s director include the opening of its sculpture garden this past September, recently worked with Duke professor Esther Gabara to shape her scholarship on Pop art in Latin America into the exhibition Pop América: 1965 to 1975, which originated at the Nasher last fall before traveling to Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, where it remains on view through December 9.
CHARLESTON—The Gibbes Museum of Art has announced the six finalists for the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art: North Carolina-based painter Damian Stamer, Georgia-based ceramicist Donté Hayes, South Carolina-based installation artist Herb Parker, North Carolina-based multimedia artist Martha Clippinger, Georgia-based multimedia artist Michi Meko, and and Louisiana-based multimedia artist Stephanie Patton. One of these artists will be presented a $10,000 cash prize and have one selected artwork exhibited in the contemporary and modern galleries for the duration of 2020.
FLORENCE—Atlanta-based choreographer Lauri Stallings and her movement-based performance group glo have received the Lorenzo il Magnifico, the first-place jury prize, for performance at the twelfth edition of the Florence Biennale, curated by Melanie Zefferino. For their performances for the biennale, Stallings and glo adapted the choreography maps they developed earlier this year in Supple Means of Connection at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art for Florence’s Fortezza de Basso.
NEW ORLEANS—The Ogden Museum of Southern Art recently announced that it has acquired a suite of dye-transfer photographs by artist William Christenberry, titled Ten Southern Photographs. Taken between 1978 and 1981 in Hale County, Alabama, the suite represents Christenberry’s first substantive photography series produced in large-scale format. The acquisition of the suite coincides with the Ogden Museum’s survey of the artist’s work, Memory is a Strange Bell, which features more than 125 works from across his career and is on view through March 1, 2020. Ten Southern Photographs joins thirteen photographs and two screen prints by Christenberry already in the museum’s collection.
The Ogden Museum has also acquired iHome (2012) and Sleepy Church (2014), two archival pigment prints by acclaimed photographer, cinematographer, and director RaMell Ross. The prints are part of Ross’s seven-year project South County, AL (A Hale County), which resulted in a photography series and a documentary film—Hale County, This Morning, This Evening—that was nominated for an Academy Award and recently screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Ross also recently contributed an essay to the catalogue for Memory is a Strange Bell.) iHome and Sleepy Church mark the first works by Ross to enter the museum’s collection and precede a major solo exhibition of his work that will open at the Ogden Museum in October 2020.Other recent acquisitions mentioned in the announcement include Measure of Equity (2019), a mixed-media work by Cuban American artist Luis Cruz Azaceta, a C-print by Tennessee photographer Aaron Hardin called Snake (2015), and a selection of drawings and sculptures from the estate of New Orleans artist Eugenie “Ersy” Schwartz.
ATLANTA—Working with the organization Living Walls, artists Jasmine Nicole Williams and Joe Drehrer completed two new murals in the Summerhill neighborhood during October. Williams’s mural grew out of her participation in community listening sessions with local residents, and Drehrer’s mural memorializes Leo Frank, a Jewish Summerhill resident who was lynched in 1915. An existing mural by 3ttman was also restored by Living Walls.
Just over a mile away, near Atlanta City Hall, artist Eric Mack also recently completed a mural on the exterior of the new offices of the City of Atlanta’s Department of City Planning.
NEW YORK—Adam Yokell, founder of the connective art platform Foundwork, recently announced Chicago-based artist Edra Soto as the winner of the inaugural Foundwork Prize. According to Yokell, “Soto creates conceptually rich installations and audience-responsive project” that include “re-situating architecture from San Juan, inviting participants to decorate liquor bottles gathered on the streets of Chicago, or welcoming neighbors to play dominos in a Harlem gallery… [embodying] a sort of poetic sociology that makes a lasting impression on those fortunate to experience it.”
Finalists for the award included artists Christian Ruiz Berman, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., and Julie Shenkelberg. The jury for the award was comprised of members of Foundwork’s advisory board: artist DeWitt Godfrey; Becca Hoffman, director of the Outsider Art Fair and a former director at Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York; Tod Lippy, the founding editor of ESOPSUS; Manuela Paz, director of development and strategic planning at Independent Curators International (ICI); and Helen Toomer, co-founder and artistic director of the Stoneleaf Retreat in upstate New York.