Briefing

Beijing’s UCCA sold to investors; anti-Columbus Day tour descends on American Museum of Natural History; David Geffen's USD$150 million gift to LACMA

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012. Courtesy: UCCA; Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012. Courtesy: UCCA; Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2012. Courtesy: UCCA; Photograph: Wikimedia Commons

Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is to be turned over to investors but remain as a nonprofit. Originally founded in 2007 by the collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, the space (situated in the Chinese capital’s 798 art district) has now been bought by a Chinese investment group led by private equity firm Lunar Capital. The founders announced the search for new owners a year ago, as well as the sale of the majority of their contemporary Chinese art collection. Current director Philip Tinari will remain in place, with the UCCA now registering as a foundation to attract new donors. The UCCA is expected to reopen in summer 2018 with an inaugural Xu Bing exhibition. The news offers a measure of stability after a year of intense uncertainty for the institution, which approaches its 10th anniversary this November. The South China Morning Post has the details. And don't miss Ingrid Chu from the latest issue of Frieze Masters magazine on the new possibilities and pressures for China’s museum boom.

An anti-Columbus Day tour brought hundreds to the American Museum of Natural History, New York, in a decolonization protest on 9 October. Organizers from the group Decolonize This Place provided tour guides who led groups around the museum’s galleries, drawing attention to the inappropriate identification of museum pieces, as well as the display of human remains without the authority of their descendants. In a statement, Decolonize This Place demanded that Columbus Day be renamed ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Day’, as well as the removal of the Theodore Roosevelt statue at the entrance of the museum: ‘A stark embodiment of the white supremacy that Roosevelt himself espoused and promoted, the statue is seen as an affront to all who pass it on entering the museum, but especially to African Americans and Indigenous Americans.’ The museum has acknowledged that the statue requires addressing, but has also pointed out that it is public property, maintained by the city’s Department of Parks.

The international art prize Kaiserring of the City of Goslar, Germany, has this year been awarded to Isa Genzken. The sculpture and installation artist, born in 1949, has gone on to represent Germany at the 2007 Venice Biennale and her work has been shown several times at documenta and Skulptur Projekte Münster. Genzken has an accompanying exhibition at the Mönchehaus Museum, Goslar, which runs until 28 January 2018.

Local residents are working with artist Nicole Eisenman to build a more durable version of her fountain for Skulptur Projekte Münster – her Sketch for a Fountain (2017) has become the victim of several instances of vandalism over the course of this year’s exhibition (which closed on 1 October), and last month it was sprayed with a swastika. Part crafted out of plaster, it was not meant to be a permanent piece, but locals are collecting funds for a new, durable version. The Art Newspaper has the story.

Media mogul and philanthropist David Geffen is to donate USD$150 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It’s the single largest cash gift from an individual in the history of LACMA, and comes as the institution embarks on its new Peter Zumthor-designed building project – which will be named the David Geffen Galleries when it opens in 2023, in honour of the pledge. 'That this watershed gift is happening in Los Angeles is a testament, not just to LACMA, but to all of Los Angeles as a cultural centre,’ museum director Michael Govan told the LA Times. The donation news follows on from an announcement by New York’s Lincoln Center that it is scaling back its half-billion-dollar renovation plan for the David Geffen Hall (formerly the Avery Fisher Hall) due to insufficient fundraising – to which Geffen had pledged USD$100 million.

H Queens is a new 24-storey gallery complex set to open in Hong Kong’s central district – David Zwirner, Pace, Hauser & Wirth, Pearl Lam Galleries and Tang Contemporary Art Gallery, have already signed up as tenants in the tower, which is expected to open this winter.

Marina Abramović has cancelled plans for a performance art space in a building she bought in Hudson, New York state – she says that the half a million dollars raised through Kickstarter did not meet the requisite funding of USD$31 million for the conversion of the property into a space for viewing long duration performances. In a talk at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Abramović revealed that she will ‘probably sell’ the space, despite the ‘absolutely beautiful’ plans by Rem Koolhaas for the project.

New York’s International Center of Photography is moving from the Bowery neighbourhood of the city. The centre only relocated to a new USD$23.5 million exhibition space in 2015, but it has announced that it will now shift to Essex Crossing, in a space that will unite its museum and school. It is set to open the museum in its new location in early 2019, at 242 Broome Street, with the school moving later in the year.

Munich’s Haus der Kunst has apointed Stefan Gros as a commercial managing director to help the institution with its long-running financial problems. The museum lost its main sponsor in 2014. Gros will run the museum alongside director Okwui Enwezor.

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