Daniel Birnbaum Leaves Stockholm’s Moderna Museet to Join VR Company Acute Art

In further news: the Met post record attendance despite new admission charge; New Museum Triennial 2021 curators announced

Daniel Birnbaum. Photograph: John Scarisbrick

Daniel Birnbaum. Photograph: John Scarisbrick

Daniel Birnbaum. Photograph: John Scarisbrick

Curator Daniel Birnbaum is departing his position as director of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, to lead VR company Acute Art. Birnbaum has directed the Moderna Museet since 2010 – he was artistic director of the Venice Biennale in 2009. Birnbaum described his move to the virtual reality and augmented reality production company as ‘move into an unknown territory’. Birnbaum said: ‘This move marks an adventure, a journey into the future.’ London-based Acute Art was founded in 2017 by the collectors Gerard De Geer and Jacob De Geer. Artistic projects for its website and an app so far include collaborations with Jeff Koons, Marina Abramović and Christo.

The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art has released record-breaking attendance figures despite its controversial decision to begin charging admission for non-New York residents in March. The museum reported a total of 7.35 million visitors across its Fifth Avenue, the Met Breuer, and the Cloisters locations over the past year – a 5% increase from the previous period. Nearly a tenth of the visitors came for the exhibition ‘Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer’. Since 1 March, the museum has replaced a policy of suggested donations with a USD$25 charge for anyone who lives outside the state of New York. Don’t miss Cody Delistraty writing for frieze on the problem with the Met’s ticket hike.

The Bayeux Tapestry is set to return to the UK in 2022, after the British and French governments finalized a deal. The UK’s former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock has signed an agreement with the French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen which will allow the UK to have the tapestry on loan: the 70-metre-long late-11th-century work depicts the Norman victory over the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. It is currently on permanent display at The Bayeux Museum in Normandy. Some historians believe that the embroidered tapestry was woven by nuns in England, but it has since been held in France – the new deal means that it will leave the country for the first time in 950 years.

David Chipperfield has called for Glasgow School of Art to be rebuilt following the devastating fire last month. The leading British architect has said that the school’s Mackintosh building should be declared ‘a monument of exceptional importance’. Speaking to The Architects’ Journal, Chipperfield proposed faithfully restoring the building ‘stone by stone’. Chipperfield also commented: ‘I have read with interest those calling for a new building […] and those who have promoted the more nuanced approach of working with the ruins […] but in this instance, I strongly reject both of these approaches.’ Don’t miss our survey of Turner prize winners and nominees on what made the School so magical.

Margot Norton and Jamillah James are to co-organize the New Museum Triennial 2021. Norton, who is a curator at the New Museum, and James who is a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will head up the fifth edition of the triennial, which focuses on young and emerging artists from around the world. The museum’s artistic director, Massimiliano Gioni, spoke of the pair’s history in supporting emerging artists and track record in showcasing exciting new work. ‘We are excited about this new bicoastal pairing of curators. I look forward to the new perspective they will bring,’ he commented.

A Blue English Heritage plaque honouring the Bauhaus artists Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy has been unveiled. The plaque is located on the Isokon building in Belsize Park, where the design pioneers lived and worked in the mid 1930s after the rise of Nazism caused them to flee mainland Europe. The building was granted Grade I status in 1974 and now operates as an exhibition space dedicated to the building’s history. John Allan, chairman of the Isokon Gallery Trust, told The Art Newspaper that the plaque ‘marks a significant milestone not only in celebrating these three giants of Modernism, but only giving further recognition to the building that was briefly their home and refuge.’

And finally, in gallery news: Cheim & Read partner Adam Sheffer is joining Pace Gallery as its new vice president – Cheim & Read recently announced that it was transitioning into a ‘private practice’; Regen Projects now represents Christina Quarles – the LA artist is set to have a solo exhibition at the gallery at the beginning of next year.

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