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Posts about Galleries

Walker Art Center names two new curators

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: February 6, 2014 - 4:09 PM

Fionn Meade @ Guillermo Riveros

Walker Art Center has hired two new curators including a Senior Curator of Cross-Disciplinary Platforms, a new post designed to reflect the center's focus on artists who work in many fields ranging from film, video and music to dance and such stationary visual arts as painting, printmaking or photography. That post will be filled by Fionn Meade starting May 5.

Meade is presently a curator, writer and faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Columbia University in New York City. His expertise is in film, performance and museum practice. He will also be Interim Head of the Walker's Visual Arts Department while a search continues for someone to replace Chief Curator Darsie Alexander who is leaving to become executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art in suburban New York City.

Meade's first task will be to oversee the presentation of Radical Presence, an exhibition about black performance in visual art from the 1960s to the present. One of his future shows will focus on the work of visual artists who collaborated with choreographer Merce Cunningham whose archive the Walker owns.

He previously worked as a curator at the Sculpture Center in New York City and at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. He has a M.A. degree in creative writing from Columbia and a M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard.

Isla Leaver-Yap, photo provided by Walker Art Center

The second appointee is Isla Leaver-Yap who will take the new post of  Bentson Visiting Film Scholar starting March 3. Presently living in Glasgow, Scotland she is expected to do research on the Walker's Ruben/Bentson Film and Video Collection which has a high concentration of avant garde films dated from 1943 - 1985. She will report to Meade but also work closely with Sheryl Mousley, the Walker's film curator.

Leaver-Yap has extensive experience with film groups in London and New York. She has an MA in art history and English and a MSc in Art History Research from the University of Edinburg, Scotland.

Securian Financial gives Tony Smith sculpture to Weisman Art Museum

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 16, 2014 - 3:24 PM

Securian Financial Services, a St. Paul-based company, has given a three-piece Tony Smith sculpture to the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum. The company commissioned the sculpture from Smith in 1979 for an indoor plaza at its then-new corporate headquarters at 6th St. and Robert in downtown St. Paul.

The company now has other plans for the plaza and so is giving the sculpture to the Weisman which owns 55 sculptures that are displayed on the grounds and in buildings throughout the University's Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. The Smith piece will be installed this summer or fall on the plaza outside the McNamara Alumni Center on the University's East Bank Minneapolis campus.

Tony Smith (1912 - 1980) was an internationally known American artist whose sculptures are featured in public parks, museums and private collections throughout the United States. He envisioned the parts of the Securian commission scattered in the atrium "as if tossed like dice by the hand of a god."

Called "One, Two, Three," the sculpture consists of three abstract, geometric forms in graduating sizes. They were "based on Smith's concept of 'mathematical continuance,' in which each individual piece derived from the previous one," Securian said in a statement, adding that "the concept appealed to Securian, where math is integral to its financial services businesses." 

Before the 2,700 pound steel sculpture is placed outside, its bronze-toned surface will be treated so it will not be damaged by exposure to rain, snow and other potentially damaging weather.

For an online tour of 25 of the Weisman's sculptures on the University campus, go here.

Walker Art Center director to be interim leader of curatorial department

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 15, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Olga Viso, Star Tribune staff photo by Tom Wallace

Walker Art Center's director Olga Viso will oversee the contemporary art center's curatorial affairs in the interim following the departure of Chief Curator Darsie Alexander who is leaving for a new post as executive director of the Katona Museum of Art in New York. 

"All of us at the Walker are very excited about Darsie's new appointment and I am delighted to have a new colleague among the museum director ranks," Viso said in a statement. "I look forward to overseeing curatorial affairs at the Walker in the interim as we search for new curatorial talent for the team."

Trained as a curator, Viso has continued to organize exhibitions since taking the Walker post in 2008. Her book "Unseen Mendieta," about the pioneering feminist artist Ana Mendieta, was published the year she arrived in Minneapolis, and her exhibition "Guillermo Kuitca: Everything," opened in 2010. Next month she will open a new exhibition "Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take," the first U.S.survey of the poetic sculptures and mixed media work of the American artist from whom the Walker commissioned a major outdoor sculpture in 2013. 

The Walker's curatorial departments include visual art, performing arts and film. 

Previously Viso served 13 years at the Hirshhorn Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., starting as an assistant curator and rising to be deputy director in 2003. 

Van Gogh Museum issues $35,000 replicas of artist's work

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 11, 2014 - 6:08 PM

Vincent Van Gogh's "Wheatfields Under Thunderclouds," (1890)

In a reproduction art scam potentially worth more than $36 million, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has apparently approved the reproduction of five of the Dutch master's popular paintings in "limited editions" that, if all sold, would unleash more than 1,000 full-scale copies into the market.

What's unusual about the museum's collaboration is that the reproductions violate typical museum standards for assuring that no one could confuse the fakes for the real things.

When art museums authorize reproductions of work in their collections, their standard practice is to make clear that the reproductions are just that, copies with no pretense of originality. So images of paintings are done up as posters, or cards, or even on t-shirts or mugs. If they are, for whatever reason, reproduced on canvas similar to that of the original, the copy is usually smaller so that the difference is obvious. And prices of the reproductions and souveniers are low.

In violation of that standard behavior, the Van Gogh Museum  has apparently authorized the fabrication of more-or-less exact copies of five of Van Gogh's most popular pictures:

"Almond Blossoms" (1890); "Boulevard de Clichy "(1887); "The Harvest," (1888); "Sunflowers" (1889); and "Wheatfield under Thunderclouds" (1890).

Since all five paintings are well known and remain in the collection of the museum, only naives would be fooled into imagining that any of the copies was the real thing if they were to encounter one in a swank hotel lobby, boardroom, or private apartment. But the world is filled with impressionable innocents readily bamboozled by glitzy fakery. Perhaps that is the audience to whom the Van Gogh Museum and its "partners" are marketing the "Van Gogh Museum Edition" of these pictures.

Fujifilm Belgium invented the "reliefography" technology and 3-D scanning used to make the copies. The processes enable the reproduction of the artist's famous thick-paint surfaces with their frosting-like swirls and daubs of pigment. In addition the reproductions copy the backs of the pictures right down to the stickers and stamps that show where and when the paintings have been loaned to other museums and galleries around the world. Buyers get a "museum quality" frame for their fakes, too.

The reproductions come in "limited editions" of 260. The museum plans to keep 50 pieces from each edition for "educational purposes" including possibly letting the blind or visually impaired stroke them. That puts 210 of each of the five reproductions on the market, or a total of 1,050 reproductions for sale. If all 1,050 were to sell at their $35,000 asking price, the project would generate $36,750,000.

All this is enthusiastically endorsed by Willem van Gogh, the great, great grandson of Theo van Gogh, the artist's brother and most stalwart supporter throughout his tumultuous and tragically brief career. Willem van Gogh is an "advisor" to the museum's board of directors. The intent, clearly, is for these repros to increase in value just as the originals have. As a press release announcing the project coyly noted, "For a limited time, the starting price for each piece in the limted edition is $35,000.00."

Who gets the money was not explained.

Former Russian princess to speak at The Museum of Russian Art

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 10, 2014 - 6:03 PM

Katya Chavchavadze Redpath, a former Russian princess turned commoner

Family heritage would make Katya Chavchavadze a princess in the Republic of Georgia, but she gave up any claims to a royal title with her marriage to John Redpath of St. Paul. Still, the links to royalty are enough to earn her a date at The Museum of Russian Art where she will recount family tales in conjunction with the museum's sparkling and tragic exhibition The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost.

Chavchavadze Redpath will give two talks at TMORA. The first, 7 p.m. Jan 29, is sold out. Tickets are still available for the second,  7 p.m. Jan. 30, $9. (The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Av. S., Mpls. Diamond Lake Rd. at Hwy 35 W. Call 612-821-9045 or www.tmora.org)

A descendant of the Romanov's Chavchavadze Redpath has a family history that combines fairytale glamor with surreal encounters and "suspense, espionage and kidnapping," according to her sister-in-law Kate Redpath.

Among her tales is one of an 1854 kidnapping of a relative who was snatched by a Muslim warlord and held for ransom in Dagestan. The woman and her children were imprisoned for months with the warlord's harem.

Katya's great grandparent's fled from Russia during the Bolshevik revolution, escaping with enough jewels to enable her grandmother to sell some in order to purchase property on Cape Cod. Her father worked for the American CIA during the Cold War.

And somewhere along the line, Katya met and married St. Paul native John Redpath, a graduate of Cretin High School and the University of Minnesota. Katya and John have two daughters and divide their time between New York City and Vermont where they are launching an organic farm.

The must-see exhibition "The Romanovs: Legacy of an Empire Lost," is a touching, dramatic and tragic show featuring memorabilia --letters, paintings, china, photos and clothing -- belonging to the Romanov family whose dynasty began 400 years ago this year, and ended with the Bolshevik revolution of 1917-18. The show runs through March 23.


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