Briefing

Crowdfunding campaigns launched in memory of artist Khadija Saye; the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion opens; plans for a new Documenta Institute 

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Khadija Saye, Sothiou, silkscreen print on paper, 2017, installation view, Tate Britain. Courtesy: Jealous Gallery, The Studio of Nicola Green, Tate Britain

Khadija Saye, Sothiou, silkscreen print on paper, 2017, installation view, Tate Britain, London. Courtesy: Jealous Gallery, The Studio of Nicola Green, Tate Britain

Two crowdfunding campaigns have been launched to commemorate the artist Khadija Saye, killed in the tragic Grenfell blaze in London on 14 June. Artists Dave Lewis and Nicola Green – both included in the Diaspora Pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale along with Saye  – as well as the director of London art space PEER, Ingrid Swenson, are raising funds for a Khadija Saye Memorial Fund in support of young artists. ‘Khadija was a true artist with a sensitive and generous singular vision, and will be missed by everyone who knew her,’ Green and Lewis said in a statement. And Creative Access, the non-profit that aims to place black, asian and minority ethnic young people in cultural organizations (and which secured Saye a paid internship at PEER gallery in 2015) is launching another appeal to create the Khadija Saye Internship Fund, fundraising for two six-month paid internships. Meanwhile, in remembrance of the victims of the Grenfell fire, London’s Tate Britain has put the silk-screen print Sothiou (2017) from Saye’s ‘Dwelling: in this space we breathe’ series on view in a memorial gallery.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced ‘New York Works’ last week, a jobs plan focused on countering economic inequality and keeping pace with technological developments. The initiative aims to create 100,000 well-paying private-sector jobs over the next ten years, in tech and creative industries; the plan includes 10,000 jobs in the cultural sector. ‘To help creative New Yorkers thrive, we need a diverse set of jobs and affordable places to present and create art,’ said cultural affairs commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. ‘This plan will strengthen the entire cultural ecosystem’. The proposal includes plans to create 63 artist workspaces at the Brooklyn Army Terminal leased from local artist workspace operator Artopolis, and new studios on Governor’s Island in a new arts centre in collaboration with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Other plans include investing USD$136 million in Bush Terminal for a creative campus, Made in NY, which will specialize in the fashion, film and television industries.

Jeff Koons’ sculpture Bouquet of Tulips, in memory of the victims of the 2015 Paris terror attacks, has become caught in controversy even before its installation. Koons gifted his sculpture – of a hand holding aloft a bouquet of tulips, referencing the Statue of Liberty – to France last November: ‘flowers…are a symbol that life goes forward’, he said. But a lack of construction funding (Koons has not donated the money for construction and installation, only the work itself) and weak foundations in the plaza between the Musée d’Arte Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Palais de Tokyo mean the project has been beset by delays. The gift has not been without its critics – Isabel Pasquier, an art critic at Radio France Inter, commented: ‘Jeff Koons is a businessman, and we quickly understood that he was offering Paris to himself as a present’.

A new Documenta Institute is in the works after Kassel’s city council voted in favour of a plan for the USD$27.7 million centre. Kassel has hosted the documenta exhibition every five years since 1955. The Institute will aim to ‘keep alive the concept and experience of Documenta in the years between exhibitions’ through academic research and documentation of the exhibitions, the city council said in a statement. The research centre will be managed by the documenta organizers, Kassel city council and the Fridericianum. You can read our recent coverage of the Kassel leg of documenta 14 over here, including our overview of the exhibition and editors’ impressions.

The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion has been unveiled by Diébédo Francis Kéré. Born in Burkina Faso, Kéré is the first African architect to have been invited to design the Pavilion. His edition draws inspiration from a tree in his hometown: the site of meetings for the community. You can read Jack Self writing in frieze on Kéré’s socially-committed architecture over here: ‘Kéré is a master of lean architecture with a strong social agenda.’

White Rainbow – the London gallery specializing in contemporary art from Japan – has announced the closure of its exhibition programme and gallery. ‘We thank all of our artists, who have challenged, inspired and motivated us throughout,’ the gallery said in a press statement. ‘The gallery would be nowhere without them.’ White Rainbow presented its inaugural exhibition in October 2014 with a show of work by Aiko Miyanaga featuring her trademark cracked ceramic glazing. You can read Chris Fite-Wassilak in our latest Dispatch from London, commenting on the recent closures of art spaces across the capital.

London's The Sunday Painter is relocating to Vauxhall from its Blenheim Grove, Peckham location, the gallery announced in a press statement. The Sunday Painter opened in Peckham in 2010, cofounded by artists Will Jarvis and Harry Beer. It was initially an artist-run project space, before transitioning to a commercial gallery in 2014. The new 195-square-metre space in Vauxhall is designed by Sanchez Benton architects – it will open on 30 September 2017 with a show of new work by US artist Cynthia Daignault.

New York gallery Envoy Enterprises, on the Lower East Side, will close its doors this August. The gallery’s final show will be called ‘So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu’, featuring artists shown at the gallery over the last decade. Envoy Enterprises owner Jimi Dams set out his decision in a sharply-worded letter to friends of the gallery: ‘I have no interest in being part of an art industry where eyes have been replaced by dollar signs’, he wrote.

The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art was hit by mass resignations last week, triggering a crisis at the Colorado institution. Five full-time staffers, seven contract support staff and educators, and at least two part-time visitor-services workers have resigned. The argument originally dates back to 11 March, when a letter was delivered to the board accusing executive director David Dadone of breaking labour laws, misapplying funds intended for educational programmes, being abusive to employees and failing to deliver on programmes promised to donors. The board then hired lawyer Gwyneth Whalen to look into the allegations. Whalen submitted a report on 6 June concluding that ‘there is no basis to the allegations concerning labor law violations and mistreatment of staff’, according to a board statement. The New York Times has the story.

Fossil-fuel-free campaigners at the research group Culture Unstained have made a formal complaint to London’s National Portrait Gallery, arguing that its sponsorship relationship with British Petroleum (BP) means that the gallery is in breach of its own ethics policies. The complaint calls for the severing of ties with the oil company because of its dealings with governments abroad which have problematic human rights records. The National Portrait Gallery’s fundraising policy does state that there may be occasions when it is not in the best interests of the gallery to accept donations, ‘where the supporting source is known or suspected to be closely associated with a regime known or suspected to be in violation of human rights’. The complaint was timed to coincide with the announcement of the winner of the 38th annual BP Portrait Award.

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