ARTnews in Brief

ARTnews in Brief: Honolulu Museum of Art Names New Director—and More from October 31, 2019

Halona Norton-Westbrook.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Honolulu Museum of Art Names New Director
Halona Norton-Westbrook will take the helm of the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii starting in January. She currently serves as director of curatorial affairs and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, which she joined in 2013 as the Andrew W. Mellon leadership fellow. Norton-Westbrook also co-led a $2.25 million renovation and reinstallation for the TMA’s main building. (Diane C. Wright, senior curator of glass and decorative arts at Toledo Museum, will work as interim director of curatorial affairs while a search is conducted for Norton-Westbrook’s replacement.) In a statement announcing her departure and new start, Norton-Westbrook said, “The Toledo Museum of Art has been enormously influential in my museum career trajectory, offering priceless guidance and grounding in museum practices and an extraordinary array of professional opportunities. As I move on to the directorship in Honolulu, I look forward to leveraging these experiences and fostering engaging exhibition, education and outreach programs for a new set of audiences and communities.”

Phillips rendering by Markus Dochantschi, studioMDA, for new headquarters at 432 Park Avenue, New York.

A rendering of the new location for the Phillips auction house’s New York headquarters at 432 Park Avenue.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

MoMA Names New Associate Publisher
The Museum of Modern Art’s publications department has added Curtis R. Scott as its new associate publisher. Scott joins the freshly renovated museum from the Princeton University Art Museum, where he worked for seven years in various leadership roles. Scott has previously held various editorial roles at universities and museums across the country, including the Clark Art Institute, the Princeton University Press, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Phillips Auction House Plans New Headquarters in New York
Architect Markus Dochantschi’s firm studioMDA has been selected to design the new 55,000-square-foot headquarters for the Phillips auction house at 432 Park Avenue in New York. The new space will be open for business in spring of 2020. Dochantschi previously ran the office for Zaha Hadid Architects for seven years before opening his own shop, which has designed spaces for numerous galleries, including Kasmin, Anton Kern, and the new Andrew Kreps space in Tribeca. In a statement, Dochantschi said, “Having worked on numerous cultural spaces, I believe we can create a new kind of auction house with a more exciting relationship to the city to present Phillips’ ever-changing exhibitions.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

MASP Promotes Curator
The Museu de Arte de São Paulo has promoted Isabella Rjeille to the position of curator. Rjeille was previously an assistant curator at the museum and the head of its editorial department, which she will continue to oversee in her new role. Rjeille joined MASP in 2016 and has since worked on solo exhibitions of Tunga, Djanira da Motta e Silva, Lucia Laguna, and Tracey Moffatt, as well as the museum’s current “Histórias Feministas: Artists After 2000.” She is currently at work on staging “Senga Nengudi: Topologies,” which will travel from the Lenbachhaus in Munich, where it runs until January 2020.

Uniqlo Teams Up with Museum of Modern Art for Carmen Herrera Garments
Uniqlo, the multinational clothing retailer that has hawked shirts with art by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and KAWS, has added a new artist to its roster: Carmen Herrera. New T-shirts will be emblazoned with stark geometrical shapes inspired by two works that the 104-year-old artist has in MoMA’s collection, Equilibrio (2017), and Verde y Negro (2017). The new pieces are for a clothing collection called “Color & Rhythm”, that also features designs inspired by Lygia Pape and Hélio Oiticica. Everything is under $30—Herrera’s work has sold for more than $2 million at auction—and it’s available online and in select stores.

Alma Allen, 'Not Yet Titled,' 2016, bronze

Alma Allen, Not Yet Titled, 2016, bronze.


Alma Allen Heads to Kasmin Gallery
Kasmin gallery in New York has added sculptor Alma Allen to its roster, and will open a solo exhibition of the Tepoztlán-based artist’s work on January 23. In addition, it is organizing a career-spanning monograph with Blum & Poe, which also represents Allen. For his biomorphic, abstract sculptures, the artist selects materials from the quarries and landscapes around his studio, frequently using stone, wood, and bronze. His process combines pre-industrial carving techniques and 21st-century technologies. His work appeared in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and he has exhibited at the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, California, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and the Palm Springs Art Museum in California.

V-A-C Foundation Announces Opening Date, Site-Specific Project
The V-A-C Foundation, which organizes exhibitions, live performances, arts publications, and other programming in Moscow and Venice, will open its new home at the GES-2, a decommissioned power station in the Russian capital, in September 2020. The art complex, which will be designed by the firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop, comprises 20,000-square-feet, and will be inaugurated by a site-specific performance by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson. Kjartansson’s project will incorporate exhibitions, film screenings, music programs, and educational activities surrounding Santa Barbara, the first American telenovela to be broadcast on Russian television. The artist will use a makeshift stage to film reenactments of episodes of the soap opera that aired in Russia between 1992 and 2002.

New Cultural Partners Join Renewed IDNYC Program
Beginning next year, five new cultural partners will participate in the IDNYC program, which offers New York City residents discounts and other benefits at cultural institutions across the five boroughs. The Apollo TheaterBargemusicNational Sawdustthe Shed, and the Whitney Museum are the latest additions to a list of over 50 arts venues, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, that participate in IDNYC. On the occasion of IDNYC’s fifth anniversary, which will bring with it the expiration of the first set of cards, mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a new card design and a citywide advertising campaign. In a statement, de Blasio said, “Over the last five years, IDNYC has become the largest and most successful municipal ID program in the nation because of this commitment to accessibility and inclusion, and this new expansion will ensure even more New Yorkers can participate.”

Online Platform Awards Inaugural $10,000 Artist Prize
Chicago-based artist Edra Soto is the first recipient of the Foundwork Artist Prize, a new juried grant from Foundwork, an online platform designed to connect artists with gallerists and curators. Soto was chosen from a pool of U.S.-based artists with profiles on Foundwork, and was selected by a jury that included artist DeWitt Godfrey, Outsider Art Fair director Becca Hoffman, Esopus magazine’s editor Tod Lippy, IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair director Helen Toomer, and Manuela Paz, the co-founder and director of Embajada gallery in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and director of development at Independent Curators International (ICI). As part of his winnings, Soto will receive $10,000 and a studio visit with each of the jurors. Three artists were also shortlisted for special mention: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Christian Ruiz Berman and Julie Schenkelberg. All four artists will be featured in “Dialogues”, a new artist interview series that Foundwork has launched in conjunction with the prize.  Paz, one of the jurors, said of Soto’s work in a statement, “She has an amazing ability to reflect deeply on social patterns, creating cross-cultural experiences that resonate with her audiences.”

Monday, October 28, 2019

Newark Museum Names New Deputy Director of Education and Audience Engagement
Silvia Filippini Fantoni has joined the Newark Museum in New Jersey as deputy director of education and audience engagement. Fantoni has been the director of programs and audience engagement at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh for the past two years, and she also has experience working at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (now known as Newfields) in Indiana, the British Museum, and the Sorbonne. In her new post, Fantoni will develop educational and community programs. “Community engagement, especially in the museum industry, is my personal and professional passion,” she said in a statement, “and I cannot wait to contribute my skills, ideas, and energy at this wonderful institution.”

Jessica Bell Brown

Jessica Bell Brown.


Baltimore Museum of Art Hires Two Curators of Contemporary Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland has appointed Jessica Bell Brown and Leila Grothe as associate curators of contemporary art. Brown most recently worked as the consulting curator at Gracie Mansion Conservancy in New York, where she organized the ongoing exhibition “She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919-2019.” Brown has previously served as the museum research consortium fellow in the department of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and she has also held positions at the nonprofit Creative Time and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She is currently completing her Ph.D. on “post-war abstraction in the post-civil rights decade” at Princeton University. Grothe has been associate curator at the Wattis Institute at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco since 2014, working with artists like Rosha Yaghmai, Yuki Kimura, and Melanie Gilligan. She has also held the position of director for curatorial affairs at the 500 Capp Street Foundation in San Francisco, and managed the Alexandra Bowes collection and the Joyner/Giuffrida collection. Both Brown and Grothe will join the BMA on November 18.

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