Guggenheim Declined Van Gogh Loan to White House, Offered Cattelan’s Gold Toilet
In further news: Stedelijk explains why it cancelled Ettore Sottsass retrospective; US National Gallery of Art cancels Chuck Close and Thomas Roma exhibitions after sexual misconduct claims
The Guggenheim Museum refused to loan Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting Landscape with Snow after the White House requested it for the Trumps’s private quarters – instead, the curator Nancy Spector offered to loan the presidential couple Maurizio Cattelans’s 18-carat gold toilet America (2016). In an email obtained by the Washington Post, the curator apologized that 'we are unable to participate in this loan since the painting is part of the museum's Thannhauser Collection, which is prohibited from travel except for the rarest of occasions’. But Spector wrote that Cattelan’s bawdy artwork was available for loan 'should the President and First Lady have any interest in installing it in the White House’. Spector is a noted critic of the Trump presidency. In a blog posted last year on the Guggenheim website, titled ‘Maurizio Cattelan’s Golden Toilet in the Time of Trump’, Spector wrote: 'Cattelan’s anticipation of Trump’s America will, perhaps, be the lasting imprint of the sculpture’s time at the Guggenheim.’
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has cancelled forthcoming exhibitions by Chuck Close and Thomas Roma. The gallery will no longer show ‘In the Tower: Chuck Close’ – the artist was accused of sexual misconduct last December by several women who posed for him in his studio. An exhibition by Roma has also been cancelled by the gallery – the photographer was accused of sexual misconduct by several women last year. 'Given the recent attention on their personal lives, we discussed postponement of the installations with each artist,’ the gallery’s chief of communications Anabeth Guthrie told the Washington Post, 'All parties involved acknowledged that it is not the appropriate time to present these installations.’
Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum has explained the cancellation of its retrospective of Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, after disagreements over the planned exhibition with Sottsass’s widow Barbara Radice and the withdrawal of loans and permissions by the estate’s gallery, Galerie Mourmans, Maastricht. In a statement sent to frieze today, the museum commented: 'Our opinions on how an exhibition is made differ. The Stedelijk Museum has a tradition of research-based exhibitions that offer new perspectives on ostensibly well-known topics.’ The disagreements between the museum and the designer’s heirs appear to stem from the Stedelijk’s decision to plan its exhibition thematically rather than chronologically, and the institution’s discomfort about being dictated to over its curation. 'The motto question, do not confirm is always at the fore within our institution. We spoke extensively with the heirs, but the alteration of our exhibition concept was an absolute condition for their further collaboration. This was a condition we simply could not accept,’ the Stedelijk said in its statement to frieze. In an extraordinary joint statement released earlier this week, Radice and gallerist Ernest Mourmans said: 'The development is symptomatic of recent events at the Stedelijk Museum, during which it became evident that both managerial and curatorial leadership have been amiss in recent years’.
After a two-year hiatus, London’s Hayward Gallery has returned – a major retrospective of the Dusseldorf School photographer Andreas Gursky inaugurates the newly refurbished gallery. The gallery’s director Ralph Rugoff spoke with us about the gallery’s future, and read what we made of the Gursky exhibition here.
A decision by The Mauritshuis in The Hague to remove a bust of its founder has sparked debate this week over confronting the legacy of the Netherlands’s slave-trading history. Count Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen was governor of the Dutch colony in Brazil in the early 17th century, embedded in the slave trade, and founded the Mauritshuis from the profits. The Netherlands’s prime minister Mark Rutte initially dished out a sharp warning to the museum for ‘judging the distant past through today’s eyes’. The museum later clarified that the removed bust was a copy of an original sculpture which is now housed in a newly opened gallery dedicated to its founder. Last year we reported that Rotterdam institution Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is planning a name change in 2018 to remove reference to the 17th-century Dutch naval officer Witte Corneliszoon de With, who led violent expeditions for the Dutch East India Company.
Meanwhile, a South Korean appeals court has jailed the country's former culture minister Cho Yoon-sun for two years. Cho created a blacklist of 10,000 artists considered critics of the disgraced former president Park Geun-hye. Cho had originally been acquitted in July 2017, leading prosecutors to appeal. The blacklist included writer Han Kang and director Park Chan Wook, and was part of a major corruption scandal that triggered the impeachment and removal from office of Park Geun-hye last year.
The city of Kassel and Olu Oguibe have launched a fundraising campaign to keep the Nigerian artist's Monument to Strangers and Refugees in the city’s Konigsplatz. They are looking to raise EUR€600,000. The artwork is a 16-metre-high obelisk carrying a verse from Matthew 25:35 – ‘I was a stranger and you took me in’ – engraved in gold in German, English, Arabic and Turkish. It was part of 2017’s documenta 14 exhibition, for which Oguibe was awarded documenta’s Arnold-Bode Prize. Oguibe's artwork was at the centre of a political controversy last year when a member of the xenophobic right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland and Kassel city councillor Thomas Materner called the piece ‘ideologically polarizing, deformed art’.
In gallery news: Thomas Dane Gallery has opened its new Naples space, located in the restored first floor of the 19th century Casa Ruffo in the city’s Chiaia district, with the inaugural exhibition ‘Naples: Mostra inaugurale’. The show features five artists – Bruce Conner, Steve McQueen, Catherine Opie, Caragh Thuring and Kelley Walker – engaging with the idea of Naples. And New York’s Alexander Gray Associates now represents the painter Frank Bowling, who is also represented by Hales Gallery in London. Read our interview with the artist where he talks about improvisation, ‘poured painting’ and getting advice from Clement Greenberg.
In prizes news: the Warsaw-based artist Zuza Golińska has been awarded the inaugural ArtePrize by social sharing platform ArteVue (entries to the award were required to be submitted via an app). Golińska receives a cash award of USD$15,000 and a three-month residency at the Delfina Foundation, London; New York’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts, founded by John Cage and Jasper Johns, has awarded its grants for 2018: the biennial John Cage Award has gone to Japanese compose Toshi Ichiyanagi, and grantees include Anne Boyer and Fred Moten. Robin Rhode has been awarded the Zurich Art Prize 2018 which comes with a cash prize of CHF20,000 (GBP£15,000) and a CHF80,000 (GBP£60,000) production budget for a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv. Amsterdam-based artist Song Sanghee has been named winner of the 2017 Korea Artist Prize – now in its sixth edition – presented by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea and the SBS Foundation. And the David Adjaye-designed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has been named Design of the Year for 2017 by the Beazley Designs of the Year 2017 competition (organized by London’s Design Museum).
In recent appointments: Prospect New Orleans triennial has announced Nick Stillman as its new executive director. Stillman is currently president and CEO of the Arts Council of New Orleans, and prior to that, was managing editor of Bomb magazine. He will begin in the new role on 2 April. (Read our review of the current fourth edition here). The Hungarian curator and director of Leipzig’s Museum for Contemporary Art Franciska Zólyom has been appointed to organize the German pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, which is scheduled to open on 11 May 2019.
Work on the headquarters of a new auction house and art centre, China Guardian Auctions, has been completed – designed by Büro Ole Scheeren, the flagship space will open in Beijing’s Wangfujing district later this year: the complex will include large salerooms, a hotel and restaurants.
And finally, after a Financial Times investigation into a men-only fundraising dinner in London, organized by the Presidents Club, sparked a major harassment scandal in the UK, with hostesses claiming several incidents of sexual misconduct by guests, the Guardian newspaper has published a guestlist of invitees to the controversial dinner event (though the newspaper could not confirm all attended). Included on the guestlist was chief executive of the fund manager Tamares Group (and notable art collector and philanthropist) Poju Zabludowicz, former chairman of Sotheby’s Europe Henry Wyndham, deputy chairman of Sotheby’s UK auction house Lord Dalmeny and private fine art dealer Jamie Gourlay.