8456 - MCA Chicago announces creative design team for MCA building redesign


Conceptual drawing for Commons by Pedro y Juana.
Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, has announced the names of the creative team that will reimagine many of the MCA's public spaces as part of an architectural redesign of the building, led by the Los Angeles architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee. The team includes renowned Turner Prize-winning British painter Chris Ofili, who will create the restaurant environment; Mexican design duo Pedro y Juana who will design the Commons, a new social engagement space; and Chicago chef Jason Hammel, who will be the new chef for the restaurant. Grynsztejn says, "We are thrilled to bring together this world-class artistic team for a new concept that interweaves art, food, design, and learning throughout the MCA's public spaces. These creative artists represent both local and global perspectives-their collaboration and mutual inspiration will produce unparalleled encounters for our visitors."
The major redesign of the MCA building begins this fall, converting 12,000 square-feet of the building into public spaces that is free and accessible, from day to night, all while staying within the existing footprint. This will create three important public offerings: a destination restaurant on the ground floor that connects to a new engagement space on the second floor, and a new third floor with classrooms and a flexible meeting space that puts learning at the physical center of the museum. Grynsztejn says, "This project efficiently re-uses the current space to fuel the vital connection between artists and audiences. Every space and service the museum offers should create a meaningful social and cultural experience, and with this redesign, we are positioning the museum to connect with a wider audience that is even more diverse and inclusive."

International artist Chris Ofili will create an environment for the newly redesigned restaurant at the MCA to include at its heart a permanent, large-scale, site-specific artwork-his first museum commission of this kind in the United States.

Chris Ofili's work combines painterly and cultural elements to play on ideas of beauty while carrying messages about black culture, history, and exoticism. His is a highly seductive art of braided connections that draws on a wide range of sources-including jazz and hip hop music, the Bible, and the works of artist and poet William Blake-and works on many levels, physically and metaphorically.

Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England, in 1968, and currently lives and works in Trinidad. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea School of Art in 1991 and his MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art in 1993. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented internationally, including recent shows at the New Museum, New York (2014); The Arts Club of Chicago (2010); and the Tate Britain, London (2010 and 2005). The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005), and the Serpentine Gallery, London (1998). He represented Britain in the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and won the Turner Prize in 1998. His exhibition Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic opens at the National Gallery, London, in April 2017.

The chef of the new restaurant is celebrated Chicagoan Jason Hammel, the Executive Chef and owner of award-winning Lula Café in Chicago's Logan Square community. Known for his trailblazing, creative seasonal cuisine, Hammel made Lula Café a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, of which he was an original voice. Hammel was one of the first chefs to source local, organic ingredients and build close relationships with Midwestern farmers, emphasizing freshness and seasonality and adding creative new dishes every week.

Hammel says, "Before I discovered cooking, I used to think of myself as a young, urban artist, a seeker in the world. Visiting the MCA, I found something beyond the galleries-a creative community of people who continually test ideas and the imagination. This is now the space where my team will open a restaurant and take-away counter where, through food, design, and hospitality, we can speak in a way that is inventive and alive, presenting something real, delicious, and contemporary."

Hammel was born in Connecticut and graduated from Brown University, after which he traveled extensively throughout Italy, which made a lasting impact and presaged his career as a chef. He returned to get a MA in English from Illinois State University and then opened Lula Café in 1999. He splits his time between the restaurant and the non-profit food education group he co-founded called Pilot Light, which develops classroom lessons that weave food and nutrition into subjects such as English, math, social studies, and science.

Pedro y Juana is an architecture and design studio in Mexico City, founded by Ana Paula Ruiz Galindo and Mecky Reuss. Together, Galinda and Reuss create dynamic interior spaces, accessible public installations, and smart design objects.

They have been commissioned by the MCA to design the Commons, a multi-use engagement space in the center of the museum. Galindo says, "Our design will create a learning environment that opens up new possibilities to engage and think about the fundamental social, political, and critical framework of art. We are working on translating these ideas into a social typology of a third space, a place that you frequent outside of home or work. We imagine the Commons as an egalitarian space in constant motion, that is flexible and creates a sensation where all kinds of things-even those that are unexpected-can and will happen at all times."

Pedro y Juana are best known in Chicago for Dear Randolph (2015), their distinct interior environment at the Chicago Cultural Center that featured a network of movable lamps, rocking chairs, tables, and a wall tapestry for the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Other recent projects have included Anastasia (2016), a courtyard installation of lanterns for the Hammer Museum's Gala in the Garden; the exhibition display for The Natural Order of Things (2016) at the Jumex museum DF/Mexico; and Hotel Palenque Is Not in Yucatan (2014), in which Pedro y Juana worked in collaboration with Montserrat Albores Gleason to produce an exhibition and architectural intervention that was the site of Little Pig Session (Sesiones Puerquito 2012-15) during which they had a roast to prompt a social and conversational experience among attendees.

The award-winning architectural firm Johnston Marklee, who were recently named the Artistic Directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, re-imagined the layout of the museum in a new master plan. The firm is recognized for projects in which they collaborate with contemporary artists as well as chefs. Their clients include art and cultural institutions, commercial developers, and private clients such as the Hammer Museum, Harvard University, University of California, and the Menil Foundation. Of the appointment, Madeleine Grynsztejn says, "Johnston Marklee understands the strength of our Josef Paul Kleihues-designed building, and they carry a deep respect of history throughout their architectural practice. Their legacy of stellar work-increasingly referenced as a leader in the field-resonates strongly with our interest in making thoughtful interventions to our building. With this re-design, our distinctive space will become even more welcoming to our audiences."

Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee are long-time collaborators and were recently named the United States Artists Fellow in 2016 and received an A.I.A. Emerging Practice Award, Los Angeles Chapter, in 2013. They are active participants within the architectural education community-they teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. They lecture and exhibit extensively throughout the United States and Europe.


8455 - Rubell Family Collection to move in 2018 to new museum in Miami’s Allapattah District


Rubell Family Collection. New museum in Allapattah District of Miami designed by Selldorf Architects. Courtyard view. Courtesy Rubell Family Collection.
The Rubell Family Collection announces a planned move in 2018 to a new 100,000-square-foot museum set on a 2.5-acre campus in Miami’s Allapattah District. The planned move comes after 23 successful years in the RFC’s current, legendary 40,000-square-foot museum space in Miami’s Wynwood District. The new museum is designed by Selldorf Architects and is slated to open December 2018.
The Rubell Family Collection’s move is motivated by the desire to exhibit a greater proportion of the collection and expand the Collection's programming. Juan Valadez, Director of the Rubell Family Collection, stated, “The new museum will allow us to concurrently present four thematic exhibitions which will highlight historical works from the Collection as well as the Collection’s most recent acquisitions. In the new museum we will also greatly expand our education, research and studio residency programs.” The new museum will include 40 exhibition galleries, a research library, lecture hall, event space, visible storage facility and sculpture garden with plants native to South Florida, plus a restaurant from one of Miami's most significant food pioneers.

Annabelle Selldorf, the Principal of Selldorf Architects, states, “This project is unique in its collaborative approach between Selldorf Architects and the Rubell family. Our collective goal in the design was to define a space in which proportion and circulation are paramount to the essence of viewing and experiencing art. We strived to create rooms where our collective memory allowed us to say that these are great rooms to view art.”

Mera Rubell states, “As a family, we enjoy the process of discovery, whether it's new artists or emerging neighborhoods. The Wynwood neighborhood — which was factories and warehouses when the Collection moved here 23 years ago — has become a major cultural destination populated by art galleries and institutions, restaurants and boutiques.” She adds, “It is time for us to reimagine our Foundation in a very exciting emerging neighborhood. We've purchased the new property, completed plans, and will begin construction shortly, with the goal of opening in time for Art Basel in Miami Beach 2018.”

The Rubell Family Collection will sell their current 40,000-square-foot building—a former DEA warehouse for confiscated goods—in order to prepare for the move to the future space. The new museum, designed in collaboration with Allapattah-based McKenzie Construction, will act as a catalyst for an emerging cultural, fashion, and culinary neighborhood. “We look forward to working with various stakeholders in the area toward making this an authentic destination that seamlessly integrates into this vibrant community,” states Jason Rubell in discussing the future location.

Beginning Wednesday, November 30th through Sunday, December 4th, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. a scale model of the new facility along with renderings of the buildings will debut at the Rubell Family Collection, 95 NW 29 St, Miami, Florida.


8454 - Art Stage Singapore announces Collectors' Stage 2017


Art Stage Singapore returns in 2017 with a strong emphasis on innovative fair content, redefining the Fair’s identity beyond the framework of the art market. In line with this, Art Stage Singapore presents Collectors’ Stage 2017, a special exhibition of works from the private collections of Singapore-based collectors. With Collectors’ Stage 2017, Art Stage Singapore re -establishes the highly successful and defining exhibition concept which the Fair had first conceptualised in 2011 for its inaugural edition.  

Collectors’ Stage 2017 is also a continuation of the Collectors’ Show, a highlight exhibition of the first edition of Art Stage Jakarta. Like the show in Jakarta, Collectors’ Stage 2017 in Singapore is curated by Enin Supriyanto around the title, Expose. The exhibition draws from the diverse private collections of six Singapore-based collectors – Hady Ang, Jim Amberson, Michael Tay and Talenia Phua Gajardo (MT Collection), Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson, Kenneth Tan and a sixth collector who wishes to remain anonymous. Collectors’ Stage 2017: Expose is presented in partnership with The Artling.

The collections of the six participating collectors feature artworks by established and emerging artists from around Asia and the world in various media, reflecting the openness and inter-connectivity of Singapore, the city-state where they are based. The exhibition Collectors’ Stage 2017: Expose captures this very essence of their collections with a selection of artworks ranging from installation, photography, video art and new media by an international group of artists. The exhibition aims to foster an undertanding about art collections and reveal the thought processes and motivations behind cultivating a coherent personal collection. The exhibition shows that art collecting is not simply about accumulating art pieces but about a dedication to bring artworks in dialogue with each other, allowing each collection to find its own way and its own character.

“Art Stage Singapore is honoured to work with some of the top collectors based in Singapore to present Collectors’ Stage 2017: Expose. In an environment where the opening up of private collections for public viewing is extremely rare, I would like to thank our six collectors for their generosity in sharing their collection with us for the public to enjoy and appreciate. The exhibition presents a wonderful opportunity for audiences to reflect upon the meaning of an art collection and we hope that it would inspire many to embark on a fulfilling relationship with art as collectors. It is by presenting exhibition content such as this that Art Stage Singapore will continue to play a pivotal role in contributing to the discourse on contemporary art in Singapore and the region, ” says Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President, Art Stage Singapore.

“Private collections generally reflect the personal taste of the collector. Yet, it must also be recognised that the six collectors have taken risks in their collecting activities. They have supported emerging talent, commissioned new works and have waited patiently to acquire pieces that would complement their collection. Their role as collectors can be seen as crucial to the development of contemporary art in this region. They contribute positively towards the growth of the art eco-system that creates the necessary conditions for contemporary art to flourish,” says Enin Supriyanto, Curator.

Collectors’ Stage 2017: Expose features a total of 19 artworks by artists from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, USA and Zimbabwe. Artists in the exhibition include Martha Atienza (Philippines), Leslie de Chavez (Philippines), Kawayan de Guiya (Philippines), Lee Friendlander (USA), Faisal Habibi (Indonesia), Jenny Holzer (USA), Rashid Johnson (USA), Steve McQueen (United Kingdom), Francis Ng (Singapore), Aditya Novali (Indonesia), Handiwirman Saputra (Indonesia), Albert Yonathan Setyawan (Indonesia), Vasan Sithiket (Thailand), Eddy Susanto (Indonesia), Moffat Takadiwa (Zimbabwe), TROMARAMA (Indonesia), Ronald Ventura (Philippines), Asim Waqif (India) and Wong Hoy Cheong (Malaysia).

"Since our inception, The Artling has been committed to nurturing and supporting art collectors in Singapore and beyond and we are extremely excited to be part of Collector's Stage at Art Stage Singapore 2017. It will be an interesting glimpse into these private collections, usually hidden behind closed doors, of various locally-based collectors and will also be the first time that they are all shown together," says Talenia Phua Gajardo, Founder, The Artling.

"I believe that artists do not create compelling works of art with the intention that they will only be seen in my living room; therefore it is a pleasure to show a couple of works from my collection at Art Stage Singapore. The majority of works in my collection are by artists from Southeast Asia but I am hoping that the works by Moffat Takadiwa from Zimbabwe and Asim Waqif from India that will be part of the exhibition will open up differing views or broader perspectives of geography, materiality and engagement with contemporary art in Singapore private collections," says Jim Amberson, Art Collector.

Collectors’ Stage 2017: Expose is a special exhibition of Art Stage Singapore 2017. The Fair is the anchor event of the Singapore Art Week and takes place from 12 to 15 January 2017 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The Main Partners of Art Stage Singapore 2017 are Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Kingsmen Creatives and Le Freeport. Official Partners of Art Stage Singapore 2017 are UOB and Ruinart. Official Logistics Partners are Agility and Helutrans. Strategic Partners of Art Stage Singapore 2017 include Economic Development Board (EDB), Singapore Tourism Board (STB), National Arts Council (NAC), the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and the National Gallery Singapore.



8453 - TASCHEN publishes an unprecedented collection of artists' record covers from the 1950s to today


Art Record Covers. Francesco Spampinato. Hardcover, 11.5 x 11.5 in., 448 pages.
Since the dawn of modernism, visual and music production have had a particularly intimate relationship. From Luigi Russolo’s 1913 Futurist manifesto L’Arte dei Rumori (The Art of Noise) to Marcel Duchamp’s 1925 double-sided discs Rotoreliefs, the 20th century saw ever more fertile exchange between sounds and shapes, marks and melodies, and different fields of composition and performance.
In Francesco Spampinato’s unique anthology of artists’ record covers, we discover the rhythm of this particular cultural history. The book presents 500 covers and records by visual artists from the 1950s through to today, exploring how modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art, postmodernism, and various forms of contemporary art practice have all informed this collateral field of visual production and supported the mass distribution of music with defining imagery that swiftly and suggestively evokes an aural encounter.

Along the way, we find Jean-Michel Basquiat’s urban hieroglyphs for his own Tartown record label, Banksy’s stenciled graffiti for Blur, Damien Hirst’s symbolic skull for the Hours, and a skewered Salvador Dalí butterfly on Jackie Gleason’s Lonesome Echo. There are insightful analyses and fact sheets alongside the covers listing the artist, performer, album name, label, year of release, and information on the original artwork. Interviews with Tauba Auerbach, Shepard Fairey, Kim Gordon, Christian Marclay, Albert Oehlen, and Raymond Pettibon add personal accounts on the collaborative relationship between artists and musicians.

Francesco Spampinato is a writer and historian of contemporary art and visual culture currently doing his PhD at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. He lectures on art, design, and media and was also Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, and Performance Art at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, U.S., from 2011 to 2015. In 2015 he authored Come Together: The Rise of Cooperative Art and Design (Princeton Architectural Press) and Can You Hear Me? Music Labels by Visual Artists (Onomatopee).

Julius Wiedemann studied graphic design and marketing, and was an art editor for digital and design magazines in Tokyo. His many TASCHEN titles include Illustration Now!, Logo Design, Jazz Covers, and Information Graphics.


8452 - Art Brussels announces 2017 exhibitor list for 35th edition


Art Brussels 2016. © David Plas.
Art Brussels announced the participants of its 35th edition in 2017, which brings together 142 galleries from 28 countries in three main sections. Art Brussels’ International and Discovery Committees have selected a total of 33 newcomers.
PRIME will comprise 109 established galleries representing internationally known artists. Exciting newcomers to the section include Gallery Baton (Seoul), David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles), Pearl Lam Galleries (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore), ProyectosMonclova (Mexico City) and Skopia Art Contemporain (Genève) next to important returning galleries such as Bernier/Eliades (Athens), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins and Havana), dépendance (Brussels), Xavier Hufkens (Brussels), Galerie Lelong (Paris, New York), KOW (Berlin), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna), Galleria Massimo Minini (Brescia), New Art Centre (Salisbury), Almine Rech Gallery (Paris, Brussels, London, New York) and Tina Kim (New York).

In line with the fair’s ethos From Discovery to Rediscovery, the Committees play a significant role in developing Art Brussels’ existing ‘discovery profile’. Joining the Committees are two new members appointed by the fair, each with a curatorial background: Tania Doropoulos, Artistic Director at Timothy Taylor in London and New York, and Eva Birkenstock, Director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf.

DISCOVERY will feature 27 galleries showing recently created work (2014-2017) from artists that are not yet known to a wider public, including Babak Golkar (Edel Assanti, London); Erika Hock (Cosar HMT, Düsseldorf); Masimba Hwati (SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Johannesburg); Stanislas Lahaut (Dauwens & Beernaert Gallery, Brussels); Annaïk Lou Pitteloud (Barbara Seiler, Zürich); Jana Schröder (MIER Gallery, Los Angeles); Monika Stricker (Clages, Köln); and Emmanuel Van der Auwera (Harlan Levey Projects (Harlan Levey Projects Gallery, Brussels).

REDISCOVERY will feature 9 galleries. It will be dedicated to art from the period between 1917 and 1987 and present important artists from the historical avant-garde that have been under-estimated, overlooked, or unduly forgotten. Artists such as Alfred Basbous (Sophia Contemporary Gallery, London); Jean Messagier (Bernard Ceysson, Luxembourg, Paris, Genève, St-Etienne); Ryuji Tanaka (Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, Hong Kong); Raoul Ubac & Reinhoud d'Haese (Laurentin Gallery, Brussels, Paris); and Léon Wuidar (Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels) will be put in the spotlight.

Art Brussels continues to place emphasis on the individual presentation of artists, with 17 galleries each presenting a single artist in the SOLO section. Exhibitors include Xavier Hufkens (Brussels) with David Altmejd; Galerie Daniel Templon (Brussels, Paris) with Omar Ba; Meessen De Clercq (Brussels) with Benoît Maire; Ron Mandos (Amsterdam) with Mohau Modisakeng; David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles) with Jon Pestoni, Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Brussels - Paris) with Laure Prouvost; and Sorry We’re Closed (Brussels) with Josh Sperling.

Anne Vierstraete, Managing Director of Art Brussels says: “The applications to Art Brussels this year have been of an exceptionally high standard: exclusive, original and highly distinctive, in other words, wholly in line with our concept for the fair. We were delighted to see a high level of renewal within the list of galleries who applied, and to have already experienced such high enthusiasm for the fair ahead of our promising 35th edition.”

For the second time, the fair takes place at the historical location Tour & Taxis, bathed with natural light and situated in Brussels’ inner city area. The scenography of the fair, together with an optimised floor plan will again be entrusted to Tom Postma Design.

A new brand profile from international firm Base Design offers the fair a refreshed visual identity for its 35th edition. Created in close collaboration with Art Brussels team, it re-affirms the fair’s positioning as a driving force and facilitator for culture in Brussels. More than simply a new logo, the new identity includes a unique typeface made for Art Brussels and will be present in all print and digital communication tools and on site. More details are to be announced soon in 2017.

Base Design is a leading international branding firm specializing in brand strategy and identity. Base was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1993 and maintains studios in New York, Brussels, Geneva and Los Angeles.


8451 - Earliest watercolour of Henry VIII's Nonsuch palace by Joris Hoefnagel saved for the nation


Nonsuch Palace from the South, Joris Hoefnagel, 1568, Watercolour © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The Victoria and Albert Museum announced the acquisition of the earliest and most detailed depiction of Henry VIII’s famed lost palace of Nonsuch that once stood in Cheam, Surrey. This signed and dated watercolour by the celebrated Flemish painter Joris Hoefnagel was made in 1568. Subject to a temporary export ban earlier this year, it has now been saved for the nation. Purchased with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and the Art Fund, the watercolour – the most faithful of only six surviving depictions of the palace – joins the national collection of British miniatures and watercolours at the V&A. It will go on display in the Museum’s British Galleries.
Called Nonsuch, as no other palace could compare with it, this ambitious building was commissioned by Henry VIII in 1538. Its towered façade decorated with elaborate plasterwork in a Franco-Italianate style sought to rival Fontainebleau, the residence of Henry’s arch competitor, the French king François I. Its lavish stucco reliefs and carved slate decoration, all portrayed by Hoefnagel in exquisite detail, made the palace one of the most important buildings of the English Renaissance. Still unfinished at the king’s death in 1547, it was purchased from Mary I in 1557 by Henry Fitzalan, 12th Earl of Arundel (1512-80), who completed the palace and most likely commissioned Hoefnagel’s watercolour. The palace was later acquired by Elizabeth I in 1592 and became one of her favourite residences. It stood for nearly 150 years, but was demolished between 1682 and 1688 by Charles II’s mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland, who sold its raw materials to pay off her gambling debts.

Mark Evans, Senior Curator of Word and Image at the V&A, said: “Painted in 1568 by the last of the great Flemish illuminators and a foremost topographical artist of the day, this is a rare and beautiful work of outstanding importance. Among the earliest surviving English landscape watercolours, it brings to life one of the greatest monuments of the English Renaissance, now lost to us. We are delighted to acquire a picture of such quality and historical importance for our visitors to enjoy.”

Sir Peter Luff, Chair of NHMF, said: “The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set-up to protect the UK’s most precious heritage at risk. And on the cusp of being lost abroad we felt it essential that this rare and beautifully detailed artwork, documenting one of our most important lost palaces, stay in the UK for us all to enjoy.”

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director, said: “Given the exceptional rarity of this work and its depiction of such a celebrated architectural monument, it would have been very sad to see it sold abroad. So we’re really pleased it will remain here in the expert hands of the V&A, where it can now be shared with a wide public.”


8450 - Het Noordbrabants Museum acquires exceptional watercolour by Vincent van Gogh


The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen with curator Helewise Berger.
Het Noordbrabants Museum  recently acquired from a private collection The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890). The work of October-November 1885 is the last known watercolour Van Gogh produced in Nuenen and occupies a special place in his oeuvre. This acquisition – the most important purchase ever made by Het Noordbrabants Museum – underlines our ambition to offer a representative overview of Van Gogh’s Brabant period by means of original works by the artist. The purchase of The garden of the vicarage at Nuenen was made possible by the generous support of the BankGiro Lottery, the Mondriaan Fund, the VSB Foundation, the Friends of Het Noordbrabants Museum, the Renschdael Art Foundation and Coen Teulings. The BankGiro Lottery donated almost half of the total purchase price of over 1 million euros.
Its importance to Dutch cultural heritage
Vincent van Gogh lived with his parents in the vicarage at Nuenen for nearly a year and a half. The garden behind the vicarage was one of his favourite spots, and he produced a number of works there, some of them very ambitious indeed. This watercolour occupies an important place in Van Gogh’s oeuvre for a variety of reasons. In a letter to his brother Theo, Vincent wrote: ‘I’ve also made another autumn study of the pond in the garden at home. There’s definitely a painting in that spot.’ In fact, Van Gogh did make a large painting based on this drawing, but it was lost in the Second World War and is known only from black-and-white reproductions. The watercolour drawing gives a rough idea of the palette of the lost painting. Both works were intended to be used as examples for a well-conceived, complex figure piece, the kind of picture that Van Gogh had been wanting to make from the beginning of his artistic career. It is, moreover, his first experiment with a subject that he would also depict in Paris and Arles: strolling figures and couples in an attractive garden or a poetic park setting. As one of his last Nuenen works (and the only drawing), this sheet displays the brighter colours that Van Gogh began to use after visiting the Rijksmuseum in early October 1885. Studying the Old Masters there had made him realise that he had gone too far in his preference for a dark palette. Back in Nuenen, he immediately set to work, bearing in mind his new insight; this resulted in the appealing (and well-preserved) coloration of this work. The watercolour was presumably acquired in 1903 by the renowned art critic and lecturer H.P. (Hendrik) Bremmer, who later became adviser to Helene Kröller-Müller; after Bremmer’s death in 1956 it became the property of his heirs. Around 1969 the work ended up in the collection from which it was recently acquired through the art dealer Ivo Bouwman.

Its importance to Noord-Brabant
In ‘Van Gogh Brabant’, five cultural heritage institutions in the province of Noord-Brabant – the Van Gogh Village in Nuenen, Vincents Tekenlokaal in Tilburg, the Van Goghkerk in Etten-Leur, the Vincent van Gogh House in Zundert and Het Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch – have joined forces to preserve and share Van Gogh’s cultural legacy in Brabant. There is increasing collaboration with ‘Van Gogh Europe’, a joint Dutch, Belgian and French venture, the goal of which is to preserve and promote Van Gogh’s legacy in this international context. The purchase of the watercolour also fits in with the intention of the province of Noord-Brabant to pursue a more active policy in the coming years to link Van Gogh more explicitly to Brabant. Interestingly, the new acquisition actually depicts one of the Van Gogh cultural heritage sites in Brabant.

Van Gogh in Het Noordbrabants Museum
Het Noordbrabants Museum is the only museum in the southern part of the Netherlands to exhibit original works by Vincent van Gogh. They are on display in Het Verhaal van Brabant (The Story of Brabant): to be exact, in a pavilion devoted to Van Gogh and his Brabant period. In addition to the one painting in its possession (Peasant Woman Digging), the museum has, among others, two works on permanent loan from the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed (Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands) and several works on temporary loan from the Van Gogh Museum. The new acquisition will be added to the display in the Van Gogh pavilion. Owing to its fragility, the watercolour will now be shown only until 19 March 2017. After a few months of rest, it will return to a specially built display case, where it can be viewed for longer periods.

Van Gogh Examined – presentation of research results
Between 1884 and 1888, Van Gogh re-used his canvases with some regularity. Het Noordbrabants Museum wishes to know more about what is beneath the paint layer of a number of works in the permanent display. For this reason, five paintings will be examined by means of X-radiography, infrared photography, infrared reflectography and raking light photography. The exhibition Van Gogh Examined (24 June 2017 – 21 January 2018) will present the results of this research.


8449 - Gemeentemuseum Den Haag presents first complete biography of Piet Mondrian


In 1942 Piet Mondrian began work on a painting he thought might well be his last – and which has since become world-famous under the title Victory Boogie Woogie. The new biography by Hans Janssen, Mondrian expert and curator of modern art at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, discloses previously unpublished photographs of Mondrian at work on the painting. Hans Janssen: ‘For the first time we can see the technique Mondrian used to paint his final masterpiece.’

The hitherto unknown photographs, one of which adorns the cover of the new book, have turned up recently in the archive of the National Gallery of Art in Washington and show Mondrian at work in his New York studio. The painting now known around the world as Victory Boogie Woogie lies flat on the table in front of him. In his right hand the artist holds a narrow paintbrush; in his left are a rag and a flat-ended brush in which the bristles have been replaced by a sharp-bladed object or scraper for use in controlling the paint being applied to on the canvas.

The photographs are part of a series of three taken by an unknown photographer. Two of them have never been published before. The discovery was made by Nancy Troy, a Mondrian specialist attached to Stanford University, who shared her momentous find with Janssen.

Hans Janssen: ‘As soon as I saw the photos I knew this was something big. It had always been thought that there were no pictures of Mondrian at work on Victory Boogie Woogie.’

Pivotal points
Janssen’s biography Piet Mondriaan. Een nieuwe kunst voor een ongekend leven is to be issued this December by Dutch publishing house Hollands Diep. Referring both to Mondrian’s paintings and to photographs, letters, diary extracts and reported conversations/interviews, the author reconstructs a series of pivotal points in the life and work of an artist who changed the world once and for all. The book discusses Mondrian’s Amsterdam, Laren, Paris, London and New York periods, his loves and friendships, the genesis of his key works and the social change movements with which he was involved.

Janssen decisively refutes the image of the artist as a misogynistic recluse and offers new insights into his wide-ranging and progressive approach to life.

Hans Janssen: ‘Mondrian is often portrayed as a passionless puritan. A hermit who shut himself up in his studio to work undisturbed on his paintings. But the historical facts point to precisely the opposite. The artist spent his hey-day in Paris, was a well-known figure in New York and spent time and money in bohemian artistic circles, going out and enjoying the company of women.’

The biography is a historical collage with romantic elements. Based on solid primary source research, it interrelates the subject’s life and work to shed new light on an artist who was crazy about jazz, had a freethinking attitude to love and marriage, but ultimately entertained only one real passion – for painting.

100 years of Mondrian and De Stijl
Piet Mondriaan. Een nieuwe kunst voor een ongekend leven is the fruit of many years of research on Mondrian’s life and work. The book is being issued jointly by Dutch publishing house Hollands Diep and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, possessor of the greatest Mondrian collection anywhere in the world. With its ongoing programme of research on the artist and on the conservation and restoration of his works, the museum is the leading international centre of expertise on Mondrian.

The book is a prelude to the year of celebrations taking place nationwide in 2017 to mark the centenary of the birth of the international De Stijl movement (of which Mondrian was a member). As its contribution to the Mondrian to Dutch Design.100 years of De Stijl celebrations, the Gemeentemuseum plans to hold no fewer than four different Mondrian exhibitions, including a major overview of his oeuvre showing his development from a conventional landscape painter to a pioneer of abstract art.



8448 - Cincinnati Art Museum's redesigned African art gallery opens

Agunna of Oke Igbira (d. circa 1930), Yoruba culture, Nigeria, Veranda Post, early 20th century, wood, pigment, Museum Purchase, Lawrence Archer Wachs Fund, 2003.271.

The reinstallation of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s permanent collection of African art was unveiled on December 10. African artifacts, including masks worn by ritual performers, the tools of healers, objects of status used by community leaders, textiles and other decorative items used in the home, have gone on view, some for the first time.
The new African art gallery includes an updated exhibition design and layout for visitors to experience these pieces through the lens of thematic groupings, revealing a cultural and historical context. The new location, in Gallery 103, on the first floor near the Rosenthal Education Center (REC), allows easy access for visitors.

Cincinnati Art Museum’s African art collection has a rich history that started in 1889, just three years after the museum opened its doors, with an exhibition featuring artwork collected by Carl Steckelmann.

The Steckelmann collection of nearly 1,300 objects was purchased in 1890, making the Cincinnati Art Museum one of the first to acquire a major collection of African art. Steckelmann’s personal story and his collection are featured in the new gallery space. Some objects are on display in visible storage drawers, revealing the depth and breadth of this impressive and extensive collection.

The museum has continued to expand its African art collection over the years with the help of donors and patrons, widening its geographic reach beyond central and western Africa—the areas most traveled by Steckelmann.

The reinstallation was led by Cincinnati Art Museum Chief Curator Cynthia Amnéus. Nichole Bridges, associate curator for African art at the St. Louis Museum of Art, and local scholar William Hommel lent their expertise to this project, choosing works of the highest aesthetic merit.

“We are very excited to reintroduce our African collection reinstalled in a new gallery with a new interpretation,” said Amnéus. “The museum has an important and historical connection to African art in the Carl Steckelmann collection. Accompanied by other important pieces, this gallery will bring African art to life and make it relevant for all ages. Some of the objects in the gallery are light sensitive, requiring that they be rotated off view from time to time. This will give us the opportunity to bring additional objects out of storage and we encourage visitors to return again and again to engage with the objects created by these accomplished African artists."

In line with the Cincinnati Art Museum’s strategic plan and just over a year after the reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection of Western antiquities was unveiled, the new African gallery helps expand the museum’s diverse, encyclopedic collection on view.

“We are immensely proud to open our new African art gallery at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Our African collections are an early part of the museum’s collecting history and are evidence of the deep, rich and complex story of a diverse continent. It is my hope that our new African gallery will link people and perspectives across cultures and history at the Cincinnati Art Museum,” said Cameron Kitchin, the Louis and Louise Dieterle Nippert Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum.



8447 - 1,300 British Library Hebrew manuscript treasures now online


Biblical scenes in miniature paintings, illuminated in gold and striking colours. The Golden Haggadah, Catalonia, c. 1320 CE (Add MS 27210).
A major project to digitise some of the British Library’s most spectacular Hebrew manuscripts has just completed its first phase. Generously funded by The Polonsky Foundation, the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project aims to provide free online access to the Library’s collection of Hebrew manuscripts – one of the finest anywhere in the world. 
Among the many highlights are the lavishly illustrated 14th century Golden Haggadah and a 16th century Pentateuch scroll 52 metres in length.

The project has involved the photographing, description and, where necessary, meticulous conservation of 1,300 items ranging from illuminated service books to Torah scrolls, from scientific and astronomical treatises to great works of theology and philosophy. They bear witness to the full flowering of culture, thought and artistry in the Eastern and Western Jewish communities across more than a thousand years.

The project makes complete manuscripts available online via the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website, and is now being accessed by scholars across the UK and around the world, in locations ranging from Cork to Haifa, from Toronto to Berlin.

“The British Library’s collection of Hebrew manuscripts is one of the finest and most important anywhere in the world,” said Ilana Tahan, the Library’s Lead Curator of Hebrew and Christian Orient Collections. “It spans all major areas of Hebrew literature, with Bible, liturgy, kabbalah, Talmud, Halakhah (Jewish law), ethics, poetry, philosophy and philology particularly well represented. Its geographical spread is vast and takes in Europe, North Africa, the Middle and Near East, and various countries in Asia, including Iran, Iraq, Yemen and China. This project makes 1,300 codices and scrolls freely available to scholars and researchers around the world as never before, with items fully searchable by date, place of origin, scribe and keyword.”

Dr Leonard Polonsky, Chairman of The Polonsky Foundation, said: “I am delighted to see the Library making this rare collection available to scholars worldwide and, through the new Hebrew Manuscripts web space, to extend access to the wider public also.”

The resource has been promoted via the Library’s social media platforms using the hashtag #HebrewProject, and through blog posts and tweets on topics ranging from the largest and smallest items (a 52 metre long leather Pentateuch scroll and a scroll of the Book of Esther just 50mm wide) to the processes of conserving both the scrolls themselves and, in the case of some Torah scrolls, the often elaborate embroidered covers that have protected them for centuries.

“Social media is a powerful tool for raising awareness of these remarkable treasures far beyond the research audience,” said Adi Keinan-Schoonbaert, digital curator (Polonsky Fellow) for the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project. “By sharing spectacular images from the manuscripts, as well as going behind the scenes on the work of digitisation, we want to encourage people to find out more and explore online manuscripts that they would previously only have been able to access on microfilm or by visiting our Reading Rooms at St Pancras.”

A second phase to the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project was announced last year, in partnership with the National Library of Israel. The second phase of digitisation – currently underway – will see at least a further 860 manuscripts photographed and made available online.


8446 - The Philadelphia Museum of Art receives gift of five sculptures from Cy Twombly Foundation


Cy Twombly, (American, 1928 2011), Anabasis (Bronze), 2011. Bronze, 46 1/16 x 19 1/8 x 19 5/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 39 × 26 1/4 × 26 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced today the acquisition of five major sculptures by Cy Twombly, one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century. This generous gift of the Cy Twombly Foundation will make these works, which were initially selected for exhibition at the Museum in 2011 by the artist himself, a permanent part of the Museum’s collection.
These bronzes including Untitled, Rome, 1980; Rotalla, Zurich, 1990; Untitled, Rome, 1997; Victory, conceived 1987, cast 2005; and Anabasis (Bronze), 2011, were chosen by Twombly because they complemented his masterful Fifty Days at Iliam, 1978, a suite of 10 monumental canvases that the Museum acquired in 1989. Varied in size and shape, with richly textured surfaces, these works, although fundamentally abstract, are informed by a classical sensibility and clearly reflect the artist’s sustained engagement with the art of the ancient world. On November 19, 2016, the sculptures will be placed on view in galleries 184 and 185, alongside related loans and works by Twombly from the collection.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, stated: “The Museum is deeply grateful to the Cy Twombly Foundation for this extraordinary gift. Like the artist’s Fifty Days at Iliam, this remarkable group of sculptures evokes the timeless themes sounded in Homer’s account of the Trojan War and offers a profound meditation on both classical history and the nature of modernity. They represent an enormously important addition to our holdings of work by this great artist, who is a key figure in the history of contemporary art. They will be united with a sixth sculpture by the artist, which is a promised gift of Keith L. and Katherine Sachs, and two important paintings from the bequest of Daniel Dietrich.”

Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said: "For more than 25 years our Museum has dedicated a gallery to the display of Twombly's work. The generous gift of this extraordinary group of sculptures deepens even further the strong connection between Philadelphia and the work of an artist whose influence and legacy are more than ever strong and alive."

Nicola Del Roscio, President of the Cy Twombly Foundation, stated: "I am happy that the Foundation was able to make this gift as I know how happy Cy himself would have been."

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will lend Fifty Days at Iliam for the first time, to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, where this cycle of paintings will serve as one of the keystones of a major retrospective of Twombly’s work that will be presented from November 30, 2016 through April 24, 2017. When these works return to the Museum, they will be installed together with the Twombly sculptures for several months.

Cy Twombly (1928–2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947-49), Art Students League, New York (1950-51), and Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1951-52). He lived much of his later life in Rome.

His work has been the subject of numerous retrospectives at venues such as Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (1988), the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1994), Tate Modern in London (2008), and Art Institute of Chicago (2009). In 1995, the Cy Twombly Gallery opened in Houston, exhibiting works made by the artist after 1954. His sculptures were the subject of a retrospective exhibition in 2001, presented at the Kunstmuseum in Basel, the National Gallery in Washington and the Menil Collection.

After reaching a maturity in his early sculpture, created from 1946 to 1959, Twombly returned to working in three dimensions in the mid-1970s and continued to cast new works until his death.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art contains one of the country’s most important collections of Cy Twombly’s works. In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art became the first public institution in the United States to devote a room to the permanent display of Twombly’s art with Fifty Days at Iliam. From April 2012 until March 2016, a selection of six sculptures, including the five works recently given to the Museum, was placed on view in the Atrium Gallery of Perelman Building.


8445 - Columbia Museum of Art receives landmark art donation from Columbia Donors George and Chee Chee Walker

Henri Le Sidaner (French, 1862-1939) Les Iles Borromées, 1909. Oil on canvas. Framed: 28.5 x 39.5 inches. Gift from the Estate of George and Chee Chee Walker CMA 2016.4.1
The Columbia Museum of Art received ten works of art from the estate of George and Chee Chee Walker. Informed and enthusiastic art collectors, the couple were dedicated patrons of the CMA for decades. Their generous gift to the community consists of seven paintings, two watercolors, and a bronze sculpture by internationally recognized British, European, and American artists. Le Sidaner’s Les Iles Borromées (The Borromean Islands), the star of the bequest, will be on display in the CMA Collection starting November 21.
“George and Chee Chee were ideal friends,” says Executive Director Karen Brosius. “They will be missed, and their traditional blend of elegance and erudition not replaced. We are most grateful to them, and to their family, for this remarkable gift of art. Having their art on view will be a memorable artistic legacy for all to enjoy, and their spirit will live on inside of the Columbia Museum of Art.”

In recent years, George Walker initiated conversations with the CMA about which works from the Walker Collection would be significant to the museum. His wishes led to several long visits with Chief Curator Will South, where they discussed how this gift could best fill gaps or add to the strengths of the museum’s collection. Emblematic of their unbounded generosity, the Walkers made it clear that anything in their extensive collection could come to the CMA.

The Walkers were dedicated to the museum’s mission and its place of excellence in the community. George Walker served on the CMA Collections Committee and was the committee chair for many years. This committee, comprised of past and current board members, art scholars and specialists, and museum staff, has the task of bringing high-quality works into the collection and refining it so that it best reflects the museum’s artistic vision. As proprietor of the G. Walker Gallery, focusing on fine art, antiques, and framing, George Walker fostered a collection with an international focus unconstrained by artistic style or time period. A true connoisseur with a discerning and distinctive eye, George Walker also purchased works for his and Chee Chee’s own enjoyment in their Blythewood home.

“The Walker Gift elevates the entire institution in quality and thus the quality of our subsequent programming, and, ultimately, it elevates the quality of the visitor experience,” says South. “People come to museums to see the best of what the human imagination can achieve in the arts, and to demonstrate that achievement we need art of the highest caliber.”

Though the museum has received numerous donations of art from the Walkers over the years, their bequest is particularly transformative. Spectacular in both color and composition, these works of art beautifully illustrate the story of Western art in the early 20th century.

Among the 10 gifts received is Henri Le Sidaner’s Les Iles Borromées (The Borromean Islands), a major new acquisition. A well-known highlight of the collection, Claude Monet’s The Seine at Giverny has been the museum’s sole representative of impressionism for decades. The Le Sidaner serves as a fitting pendant to the Monet and enhances the visitor’s understanding of one of the most important movements in the history of art.

Geoffrey Tibble’s Interior Scene with Three Women emphasizes flat planes of color and sharp design wrapped around a set of figures that do not interact with each other, creating a quiet but tense image. This modern work of art strengthens the CMA’s growing 20th-century European collection.

Hilda Belcher’s Scarlet and Blue is a tender portrait of mother and child painted with tremendous confidence and panache. The painting is featured in the museum’s new children’s book I See Art! that will be given to families participating in the CMA partnership program with Richland County First Steps, an early childhood education outreach initiative.

“It is not an overstatement to say that museums exist only because great art exists,” continues South. “Our role is to preserve and present it, to help interpret it, and to keep it forever accessible to our community. George and Chee Chee’s gift is both the reason for those efforts and a validation of them.”


8444 - J. Paul Getty Museum begins reinstallation of antiquities collection at the Getty Villa - Los Angeles


Once completed, the new display will allow visitors to follow the historical development of classical art.
Beginning January 3, 2017, the process of reinstalling the antiquities collection at the Getty Villa will start, shifting from its current thematic organization to a largely chronological, art historical presentation. The Villa will remain open with normal operating hours throughout the reinstallation, which has been planned so that at least half the galleries will stay on view at any given time. The reinstallation will be complete in spring 2018.
Regular public programming and gallery, garden and architecture tours will continue throughout the reinstallation, and be adjusted as needed to accommodate the work. Beginning in March, the Museum will offer special daily events and activities highlighting life in ancient times.

Once completed, the new display will allow visitors to follow the historical development of classical art, and understand the evolution of styles within and interactions between the Etruscan, Greek, and Roman cultures from the Bronze Age through the Late Roman Empire (ca. 3,000 BC– A.D. 600). This arrangement will allow the extraordinary artistic quality of the most important objects in the collection, such as the Statue of a Victorious Youth, to become more visually apparent in the context of other material of similar date and style.

Explains Timothy Potts, director of the Getty Museum. “Greek art evolved from its ‘geometrical’ beginnings to the first fully naturalistic style of representation in the Hellenistic period, and how the Romans adopted and adapted this legacy in the first centuries A.D., forming the basis for much of later European art and architecture up to the present day. You can’t understand why an object is the way it is unless you understand how an artist may have been influenced by what came before, and how style, iconography, and technology evolved.”

Potts adds, “Another important part of understanding the ancient Mediterranean world is to recognize the exchanges and influences that passed between the various cultures and neighboring civilizations. The new installation will include a gallery dedicated to presenting the ‘Classical World in Context,’ showcasing long-term loans, primarily from other museums, of objects from the Middle East and other cultures that engaged with ancient Greece and Italy. In this way our visitors will be better able to appreciate both the distinctive achievements of the classical world and the role played by these interconnections.”

With almost 3,000 square feet more gallery space, the new installation will feature a number of large and important objects that have been in storage for many years. Highlights include first-century AD frescoes from the Villa of Numerius Popidius Florus at Boscoreale, many more large-scale Roman sculptures, including the Getty’s Statue of a Female Figure, which will have been reunited with its head, acquired by the Getty in June of this year, and a treasure of jewelry and silver from ancient Bactria (modern-day eastern Iran and Afghanistan).

The Villa will also feature a larger Family Forum and upgraded lighting and WiFi. The outer peristyle pool, which has been emptied to conserve water during California’s drought, will undergo maintenance and again be filled with water in fall 2017.

Throughout reinstallation, visitors can plan their trips to the Villa by visiting www.getty.edu/villa2018, which will provide updates on the accessible galleries and garden areas.

Beginning in the spring, the Villa will feature special daily programs focusing on everyday life in ancient times. Activities will take place throughout the site and will include hands-on experiences, music, art-making, and more. Look for an announcement of upcoming events early in the year.


8443 - Autograph Media: A new photographic agency specialising in race and cultural diversity


GREAT BRITAIN. London. 1966. Muhammad Ali being driven to pre-fight training. © Thomas Hoepker / Magnum Photos / Autograph Media.
Launched 7 December 2016, Autograph Media is the new photography licensing agency specialising in all aspects of race and cultural diversity. Initially serving the UK, USA and other English-speaking markets, the agency will host a growing collection which provides rare, new and alternative perspectives on both historical and contemporary people and events.
Autograph Media’s carefully curated collection is the result of partnerships with prominent individual photographers and established agencies including Magnum Photos, Africa Media Online and Getty Images. The agency’s collection covers a wide range of subjects , from the abolition of slavery to the recent refugee crisis. It offers the opportunity to discover images and stories of the most influential people in politics, social justice, music, film, sport, TV and youth culture.

Autograph Media is targeting media publishers, broadcast and film industries. Steve Blogg, formerly a senior director at Getty Images and Dr Mark Sealy MBE, director of Autograph ABP, a leading visual arts organisation with a gallery based at Rivington Place in Shoreditch, spearhead the new agency.

Mark Sealy comments, “Today’s launch is truly historic. No one else does what we’re doing. We will be providing content that enables new and different perspectives on global events to emerge.”

“At Autograph Media we want to ensure that it doesn’t take decades for people and their stories to be recognised by making the very best images of them easily accessible. People like Bessie Coleman, an American, who in the 1920s became the first black woman to qualify as a stunt pilot. Such stories aren’t widely known and form part of our offer entitled ‘Missing Chapters’.”

Hamish Crooks, Global Licensing Director at Magnum Photos says, “When Autograph Media approached us, we knew instantly that it was something we wanted to be a part of. We hope this partnership will show audiences a different side of Magnum and highlight some of our amazing photography that they may not have already seen. We’re delighted to be a part of this industry-leading initiative.”

Award-winning photographer Gideon Mendel says, “I’ve spent my career travelling the world photographing the struggle of the human spirit against a variety of difficult circumstances, from apartheid to HIV/AIDS and global flooding. I believe Autograph Media will become the destination for discovering images like mine and the stories of new and inspirational people who are underrepresented in mainstream media publications.”

The website is also home to Document, a blog which confronts important cultural, political and socio-economic issues and provides inspiring alternative perspectives to known chapters, from the past to the modern day.


8442 - Kunsthaus Zürich acquires new work by Edvard Munch


Edvard Munch, Portrait of Hanni Esche, 1905. Oil on canvas, 81 x 70.5 cm. Kunsthaus Zürich, deposited by the Herbert Eugen Esche Foundation, 2015.
The Kunsthaus Zürich is staging a special presentation on ‘Edvard Munch and the Esche Family. The Portraits – The Collection’. Leading works by Edvard Munch and other artists owned by the Esche family of industrialists in Chemnitz are reunited at the Kunsthaus Zürich. New addition is the ‘Portrait of Hanni Esche’ (1905). 
In 1905 Edvard Munch painted six portraits of the family of Chemnitz textile industrialist Herbert Esche, most of which, centred around the large group portrait of the children, have since 1997 been part of the Herbert Eugen Esche Foundation, housed at the Kunsthaus Zürich, and have hung as part of the collection there. Now the Foundation has been gifted the portrait of mother Hanni Esche as well, the counterpart to the children’s portrait and a milestone in the development of Munch’s strongly coloured mature style. This 'Portrait of Hanni Esche' (1905), which now enhances the collection of the Kunsthaus Zürich on permanent loan, is positively radiant. Against a glowing yellow background the lady’s pure, pale blue robe appears like a great wave, above which her eyes gaze brightly out of her pink face at her children and at the viewer. The portrait’s arrival at the Kunsthaus and its reunion with the rest of the Esche family likenesses (the portrait of the mother returns to that of her two children) is to be celebrated with a little exhibition reconstructing the creation of the work.

The paintings hung originally in the imposing villa built for Herbert Esche by Henry van de Velde, but when Herbert Esche moved in with his daughter in Küsnacht in 1945, they were moved to the dining room there, also appointed by van de Velde. This is the situation the exhibition reconstructs, accompanied by documentation of the ground-breaking building and an account of how Munch’s group came to be, and supplemented by some ten additional paintings from the family collection – among them works by Theo von Rysselberghe, Signac, Cross, Vuillard and others. Together they constitute an ensemble emblematic of the avant-garde taste of the turn of the 20th century, such as is rarely seen.

Hanni and Herbert Esche were already successful textile entrepreneurs in 1902 when they commissioned Henry van de Velde, the founder of Jugendstil, to build them a villa. It was van der Velde‘s first significant commission and laid the foundation for his activity and reputation as an architect. Every detail was meticulously designed – not only the appointments but even the villa’s artistic ornaments. But the Esches, who were well acquainted with colour and form and had a predilection for pointillist painters, chose Edvard Munch for their family portraits. Hanni Esche wrote to him and invited him to the villa, and he was not long in accepting: 'I like to paint children, since I really love them.' On 30 September 1905 the artist telegraphed, 'In Chemnitz tomorrow --- Munch.' Living room, bedroom and bathroom were prepared at the villa; a bottle of cognac was positioned on a little side table with instructions that it be replaced daily. Since the end of his turbulent relationship with Tulla Larsen, which had concluded dramatically on 12 September 1902 with the firing of a pistol, Munch‘s condition was very labile, and was to culminate in a catastrophic nervous breakdown in 1908. After dining with the family, the taciturn guest would go into town, mostly to the Café Stadt Gotha. It went on like that for about three weeks, and just as Esche was beginning to become uncomfortable, van de Velde stopped by and Munch finally asked for paints, brushes and canvas, and in four days painted seven or eight pictures: two of Esche; the large children’s portrait; the little close-up of Erdmute; a view of Chemnitz from the villa; Mrs Esche and another portrait of the children with their governess, which however he found not to his liking and cut into two; one of Erdmute with her doll and the other of Hans-Herbert with the governess. On Sunday, 29 October, Munch, Mr and Mrs Esche and Ernest Thiel, a Swedish collector, were invited to luncheon at the van de Veldes in Weimar, and it was there that Munch began his Nietzsche portrait for Thiel.

When the Kunsthaus removed the 'Portrait of Hanni Esche' from its packing crate and placed it, in the presence of her granddaughter, next to the 'Portrait of Children. Erdmute and Hans-Herbert Esche' (1905), it came as a surprise that for all their differences the two paintings complement each other – the burgeoning dialogue between mother and children is palpable. It is an ensemble composed as such, virtually a group portrait in two parts. The small format of the half-figure portrait is coerced into energetic balance with the more extensive, full-length double portrait by its greater chromatic and painterly density: the significantly livelier mama presents her two rather pale, rather shyly posing children. It is cause for celebration that the paintings have now been reunited after such a long separation, and restores to both masterpieces their original aura.

The special presentation was organised by Christian Klemm, former Collection curator at the Kunsthaus and member of the board of the Herbert Eugen Esche Foundation. Edvard Munch himself had viewed the venue chosen for the event, the historic wing of the Kunsthaus appointed in late Jugendstil, on the occasion in 1922 of an exhibition devoted to his work. The Kunsthaus Zürich holds the largest collection of pieces by Edvard Munch outside of Norway. Almost all of the paintings are on permanent display in the second upper level of the museum built in 1910 by Karl Moser. In 1952, 1987 and 2013 there were additional major exhibitions of the work of the best-known Nordic Expressionist.


8441 - Emerson College's new visual arts gallery in Boston officially opens - 14.12.2016

NO ONE will tell me who I am is curated by Emerson College undergraduate students as part of the What Is Contemporary Art? Visual and Media Arts course
On Wednesday, December 14, a new exhibition titled NO ONE will tell me who I am will premiere at the recently opened Emerson Urban Arts: Media Art Gallery. The exhibition explores the current generation’s desire to construct new and diverse identities that defy the rigidity of social, cultural, and situational uniformity. Free and open to the public, the exhibit will show through Saturday, February 18, 2017 (note: it will be closed during the holidays from December 18, 2016 to January 18, 2017). Located at 25 Avery Street, Boston, the Emerson Urban Arts gallery is open Wednesday–Saturday, 2:00–7:00 pm.
NO ONE will tell me who I am is curated by Emerson College undergraduate students as part of the What Is Contemporary Art? Visual and Media Arts course. Students in the class conducted studio visits at the graduate studios of Boston University School of Fine Arts, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and selected a group of 11 young artists for the exhibition.

“Curating an exhibition gives students an opportunity to understand what makes their generation unique through the eyes of their contemporaries in the visual arts,” said Joseph Ketner, the Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art Theory and Practice and distinguished curator-in-residence, who teaches the Visual and Media Arts class.

“I knew, and everyone knew, when we signed up for this course that there was something very special in the way the course was structured, what it required from students, and the unique hybridization of a seminar class and production work,” said Visual and Media Arts student Josh Samuels ’17. “The experience has been extraordinary—whenever you start to deal with identity, it inherently becomes personal. These featured artists are pouring themselves into their work, and we’re pouring ourselves into the gallery.”

In today’s politically unstable and globalized world, the NO ONE will tell me who I am exhibit follows the current generation in its hunt for ipseity. The 11 featured artists constructed and documented their own unique identities, aiming to uncover where they fit in a diverse and changing society. Some invoke the haziness of memory in order to construct contemporaneous insights on the self throughout time. Others focus on their culture, seeking to take ownership of the mingled heritages and ethnicities of a globalized society. Others still construct identity around the misconceptions of popular stereotypes. Utilizing various mediums, all the artists react to the inflexible social categories, projecting the idea these categories can and should be bent out of shape into something entirely their own.

In the words of Lennon Walcott, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, “I am the creator of my story… I am the authority of my culture.” Homa Sarabi, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, describes her work as “happening in the moment and reproducing present and past.”

“It’s a special opportunity to look into the graduate studios of today and see the work that will be the voice of the emerging generation of artists. It is always new, changing, and invigorating,” said Ketner.