Whitney 2017 artist list announced; Helen Marten wins the inaugural Hepworth Prize for sculpture


The new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York’s Meatpacking District, designed by Renzo Piano

The new Whitney Museum of American Art in New York’s Meatpacking District, designed by Renzo Piano

  • The Whitney Biennial has announced the 63 artists participating in the 2017 edition. Curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, the 2017 exhibition, which opens in March next year, is the first to be held at the museum’s new location in New York’s Meatpacking District and the first since the election of Donald Trump as president. Key themes for the biennial surveying contemporary art in the US will be the formation of the self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society. Artists include John Divola, William Pope. L, Dana Schutz, Tala Madani, Park McArthur and Anicka Yi.
  • Seoul Police have arrested three people suspected of forging around 40 of Korean artist Lee Ufan’s works. Husband and wife dealers identified as Kim and Ku, and a painter, Park, are suspected of creating and distributing counterfeits of Ufan’s ‘From Point’ and ‘From Line’ series between November 2012 and 2014. The dealers paid Park $260,000 for the fakes then sold them to a gallerist for roughly US$2.5 million. The case is unrelated to a similar investigation this summer into forgeries of Lee’s work where, in a bizarre twist, despite the suspect confessing Lee claimed some of the alleged forgeries were in fact his own works.
  • Helen Marten is the winner of the inaugural Hepworth Prize for sculpture, receiving GBP£30,000. Chair of the jury, Director of the Hepworth Wakefield Simon Wallis, called Marten ‘one of the strongest and most singular voices working in British art today.’ The shortlist for the prize included Phyllida Barlow, Steven Claydon and David Medalla. The award follows Marten’s well-received current solo at the Serpentine Galleries, London, which closes this weekend and her nomination for the 2016 Turner Prize.
  • German artist Anselm Kiefer has refused to endorse a major show of his work opening tomorrow in Beijing. In a statement, Kiefer said: ‘Throughout my career I have been heavily involved in all my major international exhibitions and it is a matter of deep regret and frustration that the organizers of my first show in China have seen fit to exclude me from this process.’ The Central Academy of Fine Arts’s website says that the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz and the Bell Art Center in Hamburg were involved in the planning of the exhibition, ‘Anselm Kiefer in China.’
  • Norwegian finance minister Siv Jensen has intervened in a three-month battle between Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard and customs officials, who confiscated 16 of his paintings after judging that they were ‘not art.’ The works were being sent from the artist’s New York studio to a gallery in Oslo when they were seized by the authorities who refused to return the canvases until Melgaard paid VAT on the works amounting to NKr1.3m (GBP£123,000). New legislation passed on 15 November meant  Melgaard’s paintings were reassessed, determined to be art, and released to the artist yesterday. Gard Eiklid of Oslo’s Rod Bianco Gallery, who represents the artist noted, ‘It's been an absurd fight.’
  • United States Artists has announced the 46 recipients of its 2016 Fellowship Awards. The honorees include Charles Atlas, Shirin Neshat, Laurie Jo Reynolds, and Stanley Whitney. Working across nine disciplines – architecture and design, crafts, dance, literature, media, music, theatre and performance, traditional and visual arts – the artists will receive USD$50,000 in support of their artistic practices. ‘By supporting American artists, USA is supporting creativity, free expression, and a strong diverse culture,’ Interim President and CEO Sunny Fischer said.
  • Anne Barlow has been appointed the new Artistic Director at Tate St. Ives. Leaving the directorship of New York’s Art in General where she has been since 2007, Barlow will oversee the reopening of the gallery following the completion of major expansion and refurbishment work. The museum, which has been closed for the past eighteen months, will reopen with two new exhibitions ‘The Sea’ and ‘The Studio,’ opening  31 March, 2017.

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