Kate Fowle to Head New York’s MoMA PS1

In further news: global fund to preserve significant landmarks in war zones; New Museum to double exhibition space

Portrait of Kate Fowle, 2019. Courtesy: MoMA; photograph: James Hill

Portrait of Kate Fowle, 2019. Courtesy: MoMA; photograph: James Hill

Kate Fowle has been appointed as the next director of New York’s MoMA PS1. Fowle moves from Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, where she had, until recently, been working as chief curator. Fowle, who was born in Britain, had been dividing her time between Moscow and New York, where she served as director-at-large at Independent Curators International. The directorship at MoMA PS1, a contemporary-art focused museum in Queens associated with Manhattan’s MoMA, has been left vacant since its former director Klaus Biesenbach took a role at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in 2018. In a press statement, Fowle said: ‘It’s an honour to take the helm of MoMA PS1 at this juncture in its rich history. I look forward to working with the team and board to create a generative environment where our outlook is transformed through artists and their perspectives on the world.’

A global fund based in Geneva that aims to protect historically significant landmarks in war zones has announced USD$6.3 million in funding for 14 projects worldwide. USD$2 million has been set aside for efforts to preserve the Minaret of Jam, a UNESCO world heritage site in western Afghanistan which has been repeatedly attacked by the Taliban and is in serious threat from erosion. A further USD$85,000 has been assigned to the Raqqa Museum in Syria, which sustained significant damage during the Syrian Civil War. The fund, named Aliph, is financed by the governments of France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Morocco, Luxembourg and China as well as private donors. Further funding announced in this latest round will go toward digitally preserving Iraq’s written cultural history; restoring the Mosul Museum, which was severely damaged by Daesh in 2015; and creating a virtual reconstruction of the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, which was completely destroyed in 2015, amongst other projects. In a statement on the Aliph Foundation website, Dr. Thomas S. Kaplan, Chair of the Aliph Foundation Board said: ‘the foundation has quickly become a major actor for the protection of cultural heritage in conflict areas – accompanying local organizations, governmental authorities, and international NGOs to implement complex and urgent operations, which are, quite simply, necessary for the survival of our common heritage’

New York’s New Museum has announced plans to construct a new building on the Bowery, doubling its exhibition space. The building, designed by OMA/Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, will replace the museum’s existing 50,000-square-foot building at 231 Bowery, which was acquired in 2008. The new 60,000-square-foot building will reach seven stories high and will include three floors of galleries as well as additional space earmarked for community and education programmes. In a statement released by the museum, director Lisa Phillips said: ‘We are thrilled to work with OMA to address our current and future needs, and selected them for their exceptional response to our brief, their civic passion, and future thinking.’

Art workers at New York’s Guggenheim museum have voted ‘yes’ to joining a union, while New Museum workers protest over contract delays. On Thursday, installers, maintenance workers and art handlers at the Guggenheim voted in favour of an affiliation with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 30. The vote comes after a months-long campaign and a series of protests in which the workers sought higher wages and benefits. Following the vote count, Guggenheim museum released a statement which said: ‘The Museum is committed to maintaining a fair, respectful, and positive work environment for all Guggenheim employees, whether or not they chose to be represented by a union. We recognize and appreciate the contributions of the talented staff who bring our mission to life every day.’ Earlier this week, around 50 New Museum employees and its newly formed union, protested outside the institution on the opening night of their summer exhibition. According to ArtNews, they handed out badges and leaflets and chanted: ‘What do we want? Contracts! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut it down!’ The protest was in response to the New Museum ‘disparaging’ the union’s health care and wage proposals.

In gallery news: Hauser & Wirth will now represent Brussels-based Nicolas Party; Melanie Keen has been appointed as the new Director of London’s Wellcome Collection and will take the role up in autumn 2019; and Timothy Taylor Gallery have announced that they will open a new global headquarters in a five-story townhouse at 15 Bolton Street in Mayfair this summer.

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