Peter Brant to Relaunch Interview Magazine Despite USD$3.3M Owed to Former Employees
In further news: Simone Leigh commissioned for High Line Plinth; Seoul Museum of Art director suspended over harassment claim
Interview magazine is expected to relaunch in September after being repurchased by its previous owner, just three months after filing for liquidation. In May of this year, the Andy Warhol-founded publication ceased operations following financial struggles. Now owner Peter Brant is reportedly relaunching the title, despite owing USD$3.3 million to hundreds of former employees and freelancers, which he is no longer obliged to pay. The magazine had filed for bankruptcy, but a memo sent out days after the filing revealed Brant was attempting to acquire the magazine’s intellectual property and relaunch with a September issue under the roof of a newly founded holding company, Crystal Ball Media. Brant’s offer of USD$1.5 million to buy the title’s assets out of bankruptcy has been approved by a New York bankruptcy court. He originally bought the magazine for USD$10 million in 1989. A memo announcing the magazine’s revival noted that publicity generated from the bankruptcy case had added 15,000 new followers on Instagram and ‘likely introduced the brand to a whole new audience of young people,’ according to Artnet News’s reporting.
A controversial statue of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been removed from Germany’s Wiesbaden Biennale following security concerns. The four-metre golden sculpture had been graffitied with the words ‘Turkish Hitler’ and ‘Fuck You’ and had to be eventually lifted with a crane by firefighters on Tuesday night from the town square where it was installed. Organizers hoped the artwork would trigger debate around the biennale’s theme of ‘bad news’ but it instead sparked a violent clash between Erdoğan’s supporters and critics, with around 100 police officers securing the site prior to its removal.
Artworks created from casts of relics destroyed by Islamic State will go on show at the Iraqi ambassador’s residence in London. Artist Piers Secunda’s ‘Cultural Destruction Paintings’ displays casts of Assyrian reliefs similar to those damaged by IS fighters, contrasting complete reproductions with those damaged by bullet holes and power tool marks. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Kurdish Regional Government’s representation in London and the Iraqi embassy, in an attempt to improve relations between both sides. ‘Part of the intention in making the works for this exhibition was to document, in some small way, the unprecedented swathe of cultural destruction carried out by Isis in the Middle East,’ Secunda told The Art Newspaper.
In New York, artist Simone Leigh has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the High Line Plinth. Leigh’s monumental bronze bust of a black woman will be installed on the Manhattan elevated walkway’s new section dedicated to art. Brick House, named after a song by disco-funk band Commodores, will be on show from April 2019 until September 2020. In a statement, the director and chief curator of High Line Art, Cecilia Alemani commented: ‘The sculpture’s majestic poise will cast a sense of calm determination over the plaza and buzzing streets below.’
Seoul Museum of Art’s director Choi Hyo-jun has been suspended following a sexual harassment complaint filed by a female museum employee. According to local media outlets, Choi sent a member of staff an inappropriate video. The woman then reported the incident to the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Human Rights Centre who launched an investigation. Earlier this year, Choi had also been told by the museum’s union not to contact female employees at late hours using the messaging service KakaoTalk, according to ArtAsiaPacific. Choi’s name has since been removed from the 2018 Seoul Mediacity Biennale’s list of co-curators.
Helsinki’s new subterranean Amos Rex museum has opened to the public. The USD$60 million private museum designed by architectural firm JKMM is located under the Lasipalatsi, a former entertainment and retail complex. The vast underground museum features a flexible exhibition space complete with columns, spiral staircase and spherical glass light fittings. On the exterior, white domes emerge from the ground. The futuristic venue will put on exhibitions of contemporary art, 20th century modernism and ancient works, and will also hold the late patron Amos Anderson’s collection of 21st century Finnish art. It will be inaugurated with a series of installations by the Japanese collective teamLab.
In gallery news: Burning in Water Gallery is to open two new spaces in New York, located in the Chelsea neighbourhood – part of the new High Line Nine building, with an solo exhibition by Jesse Krimes opening across both spaces on 13 September; and New York’s Jeff Bailey Gallery is to close after 15 years in operations, for reasons that are ‘personal, not economic,’ according to ArtNews.
In awards news: Lauren Halsey wins the Hammer Museum’s USD$100,000 Mohn Award, given to a participating artist in the Made in L.A Biennial; Nancy Chunn has been named as the recipient of the USD$25,000 Artists’ Legacy Foundation 2018 Artist Award, which celebrates painters and sculptors for whom ‘evidence of the hand is a significant factor in making art’; and Canada’s MacKenzie Art Gallery has received an anonymous USD$25 million gift, which will go towards building expansions, a new director of programming and a commissioned piece by Duane Linklater.