Monthly Archives: July 2017

Museums Have Been Spared Its Devastating Wrath

After battering the Caribbean and Florida last week and over the weekend, Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm, as it now moves inland toward parts of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Despite the terrifying strength of the storm—which has reportedly killed 40 people and left millions without power—art museums and organizations in Florida seem to have escaped relatively unscathed, early reports suggest.

Irma first made landfall in the continental US on Sunday morning as a category four hurricane in the Florida Keys. Museums in the Keys include the Key West Art & Historical Society, the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, and the Key West outpost of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium.

“Reports are very, very preliminary,” Key West Art & Historical Society executive director Michael F. Gieda told artnet News, noting that it was not yet safe to conduct a full inspection of the property. “Overall, the society’s museums appear to be okay and intact. Minimal damages to the buildings with the exception of some damaged windows.… Power is out so climate control is an issue.”

The storm made a second landfall later Sunday afternoon, on Marco Island, off the coast of Naples in Collier County. Irma then moved north toward Tampa, home to the Salvador Dalí Museum and the Tampa Museum of Art.

In an email, chief marketing officer Kathy Greif told artnet News that the Dalí Museum’s building had not been damaged. “As you can imagine, we had some minor damage to our gardens—some tall cypress trees were knocked down,” she wrote, noting that they will soon replant their fallen Wish Tree, full of wishes written on visitors’ admission wristbands. “The entire Tampa Bay area was really lucky to be spared; it could have been much worse.”

The Tampa Museum of Art plans to reopen Wednesday, with executive director Michael A. Tomor telling artnet News in an email that “the museum and our immediate downtown region never saw a power outage and the parks and properties surrounding the museum were spared downed trees and structural damages.”

Collier Country Museums has announced that all local institutions, including the Marco Island Historical Society, will be closed Monday and Tuesday, instructing the public to follow the county emergency website for additional updates. Artis—Naples, home of the Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, also closed in advance of the storm.

“Initial assessments are that Irma was kind to us, and we are grateful for all of the efforts made in our pre-storm preparations,” Artis—Naples CEO Kathleen van Bergen told artnet News in an email, noting that artist Arik Levy was able to personally oversee precautions taken to protect the work in his solo show, which opened September 5. “As far as we can tell after an initial assessment, the five buildings on our campus fared well. Until full power is restored, a complete inspection is not possible, nor is a return to our scheduled cultural activities.”

The storm was initially forecast to make landfall further east, which would have placed Miami directly in the path of the storm. Despite avoiding a direct hit, Miami was still subject to heavy flooding, particularly in the downtown Brickell neighborhood, where the streets became rushing rivers.

There was also flooding in the basement of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a historic mansion in Coconut Grove. “The good news is there are no art collections stored” in the affected areas, museum spokesperson Luis Espinoza told the Miami Herald.

As Hurricane Irma Moves Toward Florida, Museums Shutter Up and Prepare for the Worst

Ahead of the storm’s arrival in the US, artnet News checked in with the Bass Museum of Art, ICA Miami, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, all of which took precautions and closed their doors. The city and its arts institutions will play host to the international art world come December, during the annual Art Basel in Miami Beach art fair, the centerpiece of Miami Art Week.

“PAMM sustained no damage to the building, and suffered no flooding,” the museum’s associate director of marketing, Alexa Ferra, told artnet News in an email, noting that all PAMM employees were safe following the storm. “The roof held well, and there was no problem with the hurricane-resistant windows.  Surge from Biscayne Bay did not reach the building, even at high tide.”

“Safety and security are top priorities at PAMM, and storm preparation is something we focus on year-round,” added CFO Mark Rosenblum. “Every spring, we fine tune our policies and procedures, and implement training so we are ready for the hurricane season.”

Down in Miami Beach, Bass director Silvia Karman Cubiñá reports that “the museum is in the process of assessing the extent of Irma’s impact. We are thankful that our staff is safe and accounted for and our thoughts are with those who are still battling the aftermath of the storm.”

Although Miami appears to have escaped the worst of the devastation—as of press time the Norton and ICA had not returned artnet News’s request for comment—the hurricane carved a path of destruction earlier in the week, striking parts of the northeast Caribbean as a category five storm, the strongest ever seen in the Atlantic.

Irma ravaged the Bahamas, where the National Art Gallery of the Bahamasplans to reopen on Tuesday after it somehow “weathered the storm without incident,” according to chief curator Holly Bynoe.

In a turn of good fortune, the storm’s eye ultimately bypassed museum’s New Providence location, sparing it the worst. “Our national collection and all of our assets are in good order and good standing,” Bynoe wrote in an email to artnet News. “I am hoping that other institutions in the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Florida, fared as well as we did.”

Others local institutions include the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation National Museum of the Bahamas, the Heritage Museum of the Bahamas, and the Junkanoo World Museum & Arts Centre Ltd. Whether they fared as well as NAGB is still uncertain. Two of the museums could not be reached for comment, and the third did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

Leading Art Historians Flocked to Zimbabwe for a Landmark Conference

As the market for contemporary African art continues to grow apace, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) is bringing together more than 200 artists, curators, gallerists, academics, and affiliated figures from throughout the world for the second iteration of the International Conference on African Cultures (ICAC). Taking place in the country’s capital of Harare, the conference runs September 11–13, and is billed as part of a Southern Africa art tour—sandwiched between the Johannesburg Art Fair and the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA) in Cape Town.

The ICAC takes up a torch briefly lit in 1962, when the country hosted the first edition of the conference, drawing international figures including Alfred Barr, then director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art; Dadist Tristan Tzara; and Roland Penrose, co-founder of London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts to participate in the first-ever international forum on African art in the region.

Organized by Frank McEwen, British art historian and founding director of NGZ, the original conference was supposed to be the first of many. But, as NGZ chief curator and 2017 conference organizer Raphael Chikukwa told artnet News, “That was [during] the peak of the nationalist uprising and the revolution in the country.” Following years of conflict, the country achieved independence from Britain in 1980. ICAC never resurfaced during this period, but its vision continued abroad. “You might say that what happened in Zimbabwe inspired the World Festival of Negro Arts that happened in Senegal in 1966, as well as the first Triennial Symposium of African Art in Virginia in 1968,” Chikukwa explained.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Mapping the Future,” and in addition to hosting an array of panel discussions, ICAC will feature an exhibitions program, Harare’s inaugural Art Week (a showcase of the top galleries and art spaces in the city), and a group visit to the 11th-century Shona ruins known as the Great Zimbabwe. “Our push for this conference is to help the corporations of Zimbabwe to understand the role that culture plays in a society,” says Chikukwa. “We want them to see that people coming from abroad to see the culture of Zimbabwe brings something to the table for everyone.”

Panel topics range from market sustainability and new media conservation to issues of migration, urbanism, and repatriation. Participants include Bisi Silva, curator and founder of the Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos; eminent scholar Molefi Kete Asante; and contemporary artist Dineo Seshee Bopape, among many others.

The Problem Solving Stage in Art

Meet Artist Drew Price

The September Artist of the Month, Drew Price, loves problem solving. After placing in our student competition in the portrait category, he tried his hand at the Annual Art Competition. That’s where we saw his hauntingly unique painting Battle of the Bee and the Fly.

Read on for an inside look into how Price works with his problems instead of against them.

From Doodling to Graduating

I didn’t develop a serious interest in art until later in life. One day I picked up a pen, started doodling and realized how much I had always enjoyed creating and making images.

This random moment drove me to pursue art more seriously. So I enrolled in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and graduated with my BFA in the fall of 2015.

Giving Face to Meaning

My inspiration for Battle of the Bee and the Fly was how meaning is derived. I started this painting devoid of any preconceived ideas of what the painting was going to look like or what the subject matter and meaning would be.

Rather than consciously trying to come up with what to paint, I allowed the imagery to surface through a stream-of-consciousness type process. It was really exciting to work this way, and each stage presented me with new sets of problems to be solved. This made it easy to stay engaged the entire time.

Conversations and Problem Solving

The “study stages” of a painting, where the majority of problem solving takes place, is my favorite part of the process.

I allowed the exploration and problem solving to unfold directly on the canvas as part of the final painting. This way of working felt alive and like a conversation, rather than just a dictation of ideas.

Work Hard As Hell

Every successful artist I’ve met has a different perspective on things. But the common thread among them all was that the key to success boiled down to working hard as hell, developing thick skin and remaining tenacious. This is the best advice I have received, and the best that I can give.


Editors’ Picks: The things to See in New York This Week

Each week, we search New York City for the most exciting, and thought-provoking, shows, screenings, and events. See them below.

1. La Deliciosa Show: Poetry Readings on the High Line
Contemporary poets Steven Alvarez, Marie Buck, Karen Emmerich, Nicole Sealey, and Javier Zamora will read their work at Radamés “Juni” Figueroa’s site-specific High Line installation, La Deliciosa Show. The event is part of the High Line’s current open-air group show, “Mutations.”

2. “The Stone” at the Drawing Center
In 2005, American composer John Zorn founded the experimental music space The Stone on the Lower East Side. In anticipation of The Stone’s move to its new Greenwich Village home, at the New School for Social Research, the Drawing Center will host a series of performances by musical artists such as Marco Cappelli, Zeena Parkins, and Ikue Mori, among others.

3. “Arte Povera,” curated by Ingvild Goetz, at Hauser & Wirth
Arte Povera collector Ingvild Goetz explores this groundbreaking 20th-century Italian art movement, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, with this exhibition, which features more than 100 works by Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, and Michelangelo Pistoletto, among others. The artwork will be supplemented by rare materials from Goetz’s personal library.

4. “Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle” at Peter Freeman, Inc.
Pioneering gallerist Richard Bellamy helped launch and foster the careers of many artists beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, including such disparate figures as Donald Judd, Mark di Suvero, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Serra. Peter Freeman presents “Deadeye Dick: Richard Bellamy and His Circle,” an exhibition that shines a light on Bellamy’s little-known career, and features works from over 40 artists. The show is curated by the dealer’s biographer, Judith Stein, who recently published Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art.

5. Photoville at Brooklyn Bridge Plaza
A photography village pops up in Brooklyn, housed in more than 55 shipping containers that have been transformed into art galleries. Expect timely, politically charged work, like photographer Nichole Sobecki and journalist Laura Heaton’s “A Climate for Conflict,” a series documenting the devastating effects of drought in Somalia; Stephanie Keith’s photos of the protests at Standing Rock; and Kisha Bari’s “ReSisters: Behind the Scenes of the Women’s March.”

6. Kambui Olujimi, Where Does the Time Go… at Lincoln Center
Visual artist Kambui Olujimi’s short film “Where Does The Time Go…” chronicles the research of pseudo-scientist Ames C. Vera, who travels door to door across the multiverse conducting interviews about missing time. The film will feature a live score, and will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker.