‘Our Times Are Intolerable’: Lorde Wears Jenny Holzer to Grammys
In other news: Laura Raicovich steps down from Queens Museum after differences with the board; Seattle University removes Chuck Close work
While several musicians carried a badge or white rose on the red carpet in support of the Time’s Up movement, Album of the Year nominee Lorde turned up to Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards wearing a quotation from a text by the conceptual artist Jenny Holzer sewn into the back of her gown. The words came from Holzer’s project Inflammatory Essays (1977-82), originally a series of posters displayed anonymously around New York – ‘Rejoice! Our times are intolerable,’ it reads, ‘The old and corrupt must be laid to waste before the just can triumph’. Lorde’s Holzer accessory followed reports that the show had declined to offer her a solo performance, although they had to the other male Album of the Year nominees. Another phrase by Holzer, ‘Abuse of power comes as no surprise’ was referenced widely last year during the launch of the Not Surprised movement against sexual harassment in the art industry.
Laura Raicovich, president and executive director of New York’s Queens Museum, has resigned after disagreements with the institution’s board. Her tenure at the museum has been a troubled one: according to the New York Times, one particular source of tension between Raicovich and the board was her decision to close the museum on 20 January 2017 to mark the J20 Art Strike, a day of art-institution protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump. Raicovich’s vision of the museum as a sanctuary space for immigrants ‘was not something that was of interest’ to the board, she told the Times – Raicovich has often made her support for undocumented immigrants clear on Twitter. An additional incident last year was another source of controversy for the museum, after Raicovich vetoed the use of the museum by Israeli officials to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding – after a backlash, the museum allowed the event to proceed. Before taking up her role at the Queens Museum, Raicovich was director of global initiatives at New York nonprofit Creative Time, and deputy director of Dia Art Foundation. 'I wish the Board, staff, and everyone who has participated in the life of the museum well,' Raicovich said in a statement.
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Institutional responses to allegations of sexual misconduct against Chuck Close by several women who posed for him in his studio continue, after last week’s decision by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. to cancel a forthcoming exhibition. Now Seattle University is to remove his work Self-Portrait 2000 from its Lemieux Library lobby – but the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia has declined to pull its current show of Close’s photographs, deciding instead to hold another exhibition next month which will respond to the allegations, drawing from the institution’s permanent collection.
Last week artists and gallerists signed an open letter calling for the city of Paris not to install Jeff Koons’s sculpture Bouquet of Tulips (2016), intended as a monument to the 2015 terror attacks in the city – the letter argued that the artwork was inappropriate and financially reckless. Now the production company, noirmontartproduction, responsible for the project has responded to the complaints, stating that ‘the work is not imagined as a memorial but as a message of hope to deliver to the present and future genererations’ and defending the proposed installation site in front of the Palais de Tokyo. It concludes: 'Conceived as a gesture of friendship and union, the Bouquet of Tulips of Jeff Koons cannot become a symbol of discord!’
Norway’s city of Oslo is the latest to join the art biennial circuit, with its own launching in May 2019. Ole G. Slyngstadli will be executive director, while Eva González-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk have been named as curators for the inaugural edition, which will foreground public art. Both were involved in the research project Oslo Pilot, where they began to research placing art in public spaces as a model for a future biennial exhibition – González-Sancho was formerly director of Spain’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León and Eeg-Tverbakk was director of the Kunsthall Oslo. Oslo’s vice mayor of culture and sport Rina Mariann Hansen commented: 'By unfolding in public spaces, the biennial will activate the city and merge with its daily life in a way that will inspire and challenge both the art and its audiences.’
The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, has passed away at the age of 91. The furniture chain, well known for its self-assembly flat-pack designs, paid tribute to ‘one of the greatest entrepreneurs of the 20th century’. Kamprad grew up in a small farm in southern Sweden, and founded Ikea in 1943, with its first mail-order catalogue appearing in 1951. Kamprad’s links to fascist activism were exposed in the 1990s – he had joined an extreme right-wing group in his youth, and continued as a donor during the 1950s. The revelations about the fascist affiliations did not hinder Ikea’s success – Kamprad was worth an estimated USD$58.7 billion, making him the world’s eight-richest person at the time of his death. In 1996, Daniel Birnbaum wrote for frieze on Kamprad’s elaborate moral philosophy as outlined in his 1976 text The Testament of a Furniture Dealer: 'It is easy to forget that Kamprad's highly-strung manifesto concerns a furniture company, and not some religious or political movement hoping to save mankind from the temptations of worldly evil.’
In awards and grants news: the College Art Association has announced its 2018 awards for distinction, with Pepón Osorio taking the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achivement, and other awardees including art historian Kellie Jones and artist Lynn Hershman Leeson (the full list is here); Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra has won the Spectrum prize, awarded by the Saxony Foundation, which comes with a EUR€15,000 cash prize; the Rubin Foundation has awarded grants amounting to USD$777,000 to 60 organizations in New York through its Art and Social Justice initiative, with awardees including the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay & Lesbian Art and Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.); Delaware Art Museum has been gifted USD$15 million in a pledge by the philanthropists Gerret and Tatiana Copeland – it’s the largest donation to the museum in three decades; the Paris-based Turkish artist Nil Yalter has won the outstanding merit award for Prix AWARE 2018 – the award from the Archives of Women Artists, Research, and Exhibition (AWARE) recognizes contemporary female artists and comes with a cash prize of EUR€10,000 and a show of work at Paris’s French National Archives; and nominations are open for the Sobey Art Award until 2 March 2018 – the prize is for Canadian artists under 40, and this year comes with a doubling of the top award from CAD$50,000 to CAD$100,000.
In gallery news: Los Angeles’s Cherry & Martin is to close after 12 years, with cofounder Mary Leigh Cherry leaving the gallery in what her business partner Philip Martin described as an ‘amicable’ departure – Martin will now run Philip Martin Gallery with the same artist roster, opening in March; New York’s Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe gallery will rename itself Miles McEnery Gallery and will reopen in its expanded space on West 22nd Street space next month; Pace Gallery is opening a space in Geneva (its ninth location) on 20 March with an inaugural show of work by Louise Nevelson, Sol LeWitt and Adam Pendleton.
Conceptual artist Christo is to bring a large-scale floating installation to London’s Serpentine lake this summer – the ‘Mastaba' sculpture in which 7,506 oil barrels are arranged in the form of an ancient Egyptian tomb will be part of the artist’s show at the Serpentine Galleries, which will run from 20 June to 9 September.
And the international arts organization Art Jameel will open a new three-storey complex Hayy: Creative Hub in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2019 – the architecture firm ibda design is signed up to the project, situated in the city’s Al Mohamadeyah district. The organization is also set to open the Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai this year.