Culture Watch: Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Announces Short List for the 2020 Hugo Boss Prize

Six artists have been short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020, the biennial award for significant achievement in contemporary art. The short list is selected by a panel of international curators and critics in recognition of artists whose work is transforming the field. Since its inception in 1996, the prize has consistently functioned as a platform for the most relevant and influential art of the present, and has become a cornerstone of the Guggenheim’s contemporary programming.

On the occasion of the thirteenth Hugo Boss Prize, I’m delighted to announce the finalists for the 2020 cycle,” said Nancy Spector, Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and jury chair. “After a rigorous examination of today’s artistic landscape, the jury identified a group of artists whose practices are beacons of cultural impact. While diverse in their approaches and themes, they each exemplify the spirit of experimentation and innovation that the prize has always championed.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York logo

The Hugo Boss Prize recognizes the achievements of both emerging and established artists, and sets no restrictions in terms of age, gender, nationality, or medium. The winner, who will receive a $100,000 honorarium, will be announced in the fall of 2020 and will present a solo exhibition at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in spring 2021.

Since its inception in 1996, the Hugo Boss Prize has been awarded to twelve influential contemporary artists: American artist Matthew Barney (1996); Scottish artist Douglas Gordon (1998); Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrč (2000); French artist Pierre Huyghe (2002); Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004); English artist Tacita Dean (2006); Palestinian artist Emily Jacir (2008); German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann (2010); Danish artist Danh Vo (2012); American artist Paul Chan (2014); American artist Anicka Yi (2016); and American artist Simone Leigh (2018). The related exhibitions have constituted some of the most compelling presentations in the museum’s history.

Previous finalists include Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Cai Guo-Qiang, Stan Douglas, and Yasumasa Morimura in 1996; Huang Yong Ping, William Kentridge, Lee Bul, Pipilotti Rist, and Lorna Simpson in 1998; Vito Acconci, Maurizio Cattelan, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, Tom Friedman, Barry Le Va, and Tunga in 2000; Francis Alÿs, Olafur Eliasson, Hachiya Kazuhiko, Koo Jeong-A, and Anri Sala in 2002; Franz Ackermann, Rivane Neuenschwander, Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, Simon Starling, and Yang Fudong in 2004; Allora & Calzadilla, John Bock, Damián Ortega, Aïda Ruilova, and Tino Sehgal in 2006; Christoph Büchel, Patty Chang, Sam Durant, Joachim Koester, and Roman Signer in 2008; Cao Fei, Roman Ondák,Walid Raad, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2010; Trisha Donnelly, Rashid Johnson, Qiu Zhijie, Monika Sosnowska, and Tris Vonna-Michell in 2012; Sheela Gowda, Camille Henrot, Hassan Khan, and Charline von Heyl in 2014; Tania Bruguera, Mark Leckey, Ralph Lemon, Laura Owens, and Wael Shawky in 2016; and Bouchra Khalili, Teresa Margolles, Emeka Ogboh, Frances Stark, and Wu Tsang in 2018.

The following artists are finalists for the Hugo Boss Prize 2020:

  • Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran)
  • Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.)
  • Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • Elias Sime (b. 1968, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  • Cecilia Vicuña (b. 1948, Santiago, Chile)
  • Adrián Villar Rojas (b. 1980, Rosario, Argentina)

The Hugo Boss Prize is our most prestigious engagement in the field of arts,” said Mark Langer, CEO and Chairman of HUGO BOSS AG. “We are excited about this diverse and distinguished short list for 2020 and looking forward to the announcement of the winner next fall.

HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2020 SHORT LIST

Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971, Isfahan, Iran) lives and works in Berlin. In an oeuvre that probes the boundaries between the decorative, the utilitarian, and the art object, Baghramian has illuminated new possibilities for sculpture. The artist’s disarming biomorphic forms, made with a range of materials including steel, silicon, resin, and leather, elicit various unexpected art-historical and sociopolitical references, reimagining the workings of the body, gender, and public and private space.

Nairy Baghramian, Stay Downers: Nerd, Fidgety Philip, Dripper, Truant, Backrower and Grubby Urchin, 2017. Various media, dimensions variable
Installation view: Déformation Professionnelle, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2017–18. Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery. Photo: Timo Ohler

Baghramian’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions such as Privileged Points, Mudam Luxembourg—Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (2019), Breathing Spell (Un respire), Palacio de Cristal del Retiro, Madrid (2018); Déformation Professionnelle, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2017); S.M.A.K. Museum of Contemporary Art, Ghent (2016); Nairy Baghramian: Scruff of the Neck (Supplements), Zurich Art Prize, Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich (2016); Hand Me Down, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2015); Fluffing the Pillows, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Mass. (2013), and Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); and Class Reunion, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2012).

Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Va.) lives and works in New York. Working at the intersection of sculpture, installation, and performance, Beasley constructs revelatory formal and sonic experiences. In works that embed found objects in substances such as resin, foam, and tar, or incorporate unconventionally manipulated audio equipment, he amplifies the cultural resonances of his materials to excavate personal and shared histories of class, race, and institutional power.

Kevin Beasley, Your face is / is not enough, 2016. Performance view: Liverpool Biennial, July 14, 2018. © Kevin Beasley. Photo: Pete Carr, courtesy Casey Kaplan, New York

Beasley has presented and performed in solo exhibitions such as ASSEMBLY, The Kitchen, New York (2019); a view of a landscape, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2018); Kevin Beasley, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2018); Movement V: Ballroom, CounterCurrent Festival, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Houston (2017); Hammer Projects: Kevin Beasley, Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2017); Rubbings, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, Latvia (2017); and inHarlem: Kevin Beasley, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2016).

Deana Lawson (b. 1979, Rochester, N.Y.) lives and works in New York. Her large-format photographs channel vernacular, art-historical, and documentary traditions within the medium, in compositions that valorize black diasporic culture. Picturing individuals she encounters over the course of her everyday life within carefully staged domestic settings, Lawson choreographs every nuance of scenery, lighting, and pose to create tableaux that powerfully evoke the agency of her subjects.

Deana Lawson, Mama Goma, Gemena, DR Congo, 2014. Pigment print
35 x 44.125 inches (88.9 x 112.1 cm). © Deana Lawson, courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago

Lawson’s work has been presented in solo exhibitions including Deana Lawson, Huis Marseille, Museum voor Fotografie, Amsterdam (2019); Deana Lawson: Planes, The Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Deana Lawson, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018); Deana Lawson, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2017); Deana Lawson, The Art Institute of Chicago (2015); and Corporeal, Light Work, Syracuse, N.Y. (2009).

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This Just In!: David Breslin And Adrienne Edwards Will Curate The 2021 Whitney Biennial

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that its 2021 Biennial, the 80th edition, will be co-organized by two brilliant members of the Museum’s curatorial department, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards. The 2021 Whitney Biennial exhibition will open in the spring of 2021 and is presented by Tiffany & Co., which has been the lead sponsor of the Biennial since the Museum’s move downtown.

Image credit: Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin. Photograph by Bryan Derballa

Alice Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg noted: “The central aim of the Biennial is to be a barometer of contemporary American art. Each Biennial is a reflection of the cultural and social moment as it intersects with the passions, perspectives, and tastes of the curators. David and Adrienne will be a great team. They are inquisitive, curious, and are acutely attuned to the art of the current moment. No doubt they will bring fresh outlooks to this historic exhibition and reinvent it for these complex and challenging times.”

With a long history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial is the Museum’s signature survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States. The Biennial, an invitational show of work produced in the preceding two years, was introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, and it is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the country to survey recent developments in American art.

Initiated by founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Whitney Biennial is the longest-running survey of American art. More than 3,600 artists have participated, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Lynda Benglis, Frank Bowling, Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, David Wojnarowicz, Glenn Ligon, Yvonne Rainer, Zoe Leonard, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Mike Kelley, Lorna Simpson, Renée Green, Wade Guyton, Julie Mehretu, Cecilia Vicuña, Mark Bradford, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Ellen Gallagher, Rachel Harrison, Wu Tsang, Nick Mauss, Sarah Michelson, Laura Owens, Postcommodity, Pope.L, Jeffrey Gibson, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden.

The biennials were originally organized by medium, with painting alternating with sculpture and works on paper. Starting in 1937, the Museum shifted to yearly exhibitions called Annuals. The current format—a survey show of work in all media occurring every two years—has been in place since 1973. The 2019 Biennial (still on partial view on the Museum’s sixth floor until October 27) was organized by two Whitney curators, Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley. It featured seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound.

David Breslin was recently named the DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, a role he will assume this month. Since joining the Museum in 2016 as DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, Breslin has spearheaded the Museum’s collection-related activities, curating a series of major collection exhibitions and overseeing acquisitions. Working closely with his curatorial colleagues, he has organized or co-organized four timely and thematized collection displays, including Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960, An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017, Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s, and The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965, which is currently on view on the Museum’s seventh floor. In 2018, he co-curated (with David Kiehl) the landmark retrospective David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night.

Breslin came to the Whitney from the Menil Drawing Institute, where he created an ambitious program of exhibitions and public and scholarly events and helped to shape the design of the Institute’s new facility. He also oversaw work on the catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns and grew the collection. Prior to the Menil, Breslin served as the associate director of the research and academic program and associate curator of contemporary projects at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; he also oversaw the Clark’s residential fellowship program and taught in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art. Breslin co-edited Art History and Emergency: Crises in the Visual Arts and Humanities (Yale University Press, 2016), a volume that grew from a Clark Conference he organized with art historian Darby English.

In 2018, Adrienne Edwards was named Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney. Previously, she served as curator of Performa since 2010 and as Curator at Large for the Walker Art Center since 2016.

At the Whitney, Edwards curated Jason Moran, the artist’s first museum show, now on view on the Museum’s eighth floor. She originated the exhibition at the Walker in 2018; it previously traveled to the ICA Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts. The exhibition features a series of performances, Jazz on a High Floor in the Afternoon, curated by Edwards and Moran. She organized the event commencing the construction of David Hammons’s Day’s End, featuring a commission by composer Henry Threadgill and a “water” tango on the Hudson River by the Fire Department of the City of New York’s Marine Company 9. Earlier this year, Edwards organized Moved by the Motion: Sudden Rise, a series of performances based on a text co-written by Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten, which presented a collage of words, film, movements, and sounds.

For Performa, Edwards realized new boundary-defying commissions, as well as pathfinding conferences and film programs with a wide range of over forty international artists. While at the Walker, she co-led the institution-wide Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative, an effort to expand ways of commissioning, studying, collecting, documenting, and conserving cross-disciplinary works. Edwards’s curatorial projects have included the critically acclaimed exhibition and catalogue Blackness in Abstraction, hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. She also organized Frieze’s Artist Award and Live program in New York in 2018. Edwards taught art history and visual studies at New York University and The New School, and she is a contributor to the National Gallery of Art’s Center for the Advanced Study in Visual Art’s forthcoming publication Black Modernisms.

Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, said, “David and Adrienne truly represent the best spirit and ideals of the Whitney. Not only are they devoted to—and beloved by—living artists, but they bring to the art of our time a deep historical and scholarly awareness. The most recent editions of the Biennial have reaffirmed its vitality and relevance, and I look forward to discovering how another pair of Whitney curators will lend their voices to our signature exhibition.”

Publishing Giant Condé Nast Announces New Global Leadership Structure

U.S./New York-based Condé Nast and London-based Condé Nast International Are Integrated as One Global Team. New Consumer Marketing Function to Bring Focus on Direct-to-Consumer Efforts With Unified Commercial Team to Better Serve Global Clients’ Holistic Needs

New Leadership Structure is Expected to Help Further Turn the Financial Ship Around As Company Moves Beyond Closing and Selling Off Magazine Titles, Layoffs and Consolidation of Workforce Across All Titles

Long expected, Condé Nast yesterday appointed a new global leadership team designed to accelerate the company’s evolution into a 21st-century media company. The new organizational structure, which combines Condé Nast and Condé Nast International into a unified global team, was created with several guiding principles in mind, including the preservation of local editorial voice and authority, an enhanced focus on the consumer, unification of the company’s ad and commercial sales functions to reflect clients’ local and global needs and the development of new ways to share capabilities and best practices across the company.

Condé Nast is a global media company, home to iconic brands including Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour, AD, Vanity Fair, and Wired, among many others. The company’s award-winning content reaches 84 million consumers in print, 367 million in digital and 379 million across social platforms, and generates more than 1 billion video views each month. The company is headquartered in London and New York and operates in 32 markets worldwide including China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico & Latin America, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S., with local license partners across the globe. Launched in 2011, Condé Nast Entertainment is an award-winning production and distribution studio that creates programming across film, television, social and digital video and virtual reality.

One of my top priorities has been to define our organizational structure so that we can take full advantage of our unique growth opportunities and exceptional content around the world,” said the recently-appointed CEO of Condé Nast, RogerLynchI’m confident that our new global structure will better enable us to collaborate across teams and markets and, ultimately, deliver unparalleled experiences for our consumers and clients.

The new structure is as follows:

Global Content Functions:: Anna Wintour, U.S. Artistic Director, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue U.S. and (newly-appointed) Global Content Advisor, will continue in her role as U.S. Artistic Director and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue U.S., and will add Global Content Advisor and oversight of Vogue International to her responsibilities. In her expanded role, Wintour will advise the executive leadership team on global content opportunities and act as a resource to editors-in-chief and editorial talent worldwide.

Oren Katzeff, President of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE), will expand the company’s digital video, film and television operations to create best-in-class video content experiences for audiences worldwide. The company has been increasing its focus on video content and currently generates 1.1 billion video views per month. Under Oren’s leadership, CNE will now be the core of our global network of video teams, supporting the growth of our video businesses in all markets.

David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of The New Yorker, will also continue to report directly to Lynch.

Global Operations Organization: Wolfgang Blau, President, International & Chief Operating Officer will oversee all non-U.S. markets, as well as selected global strategic functions, including Product & Technology, Data, Licensing, Global Editorial Operations, Business Development, and Delivery & Business Transformation. This organization will ensure day-to-day operational excellence and capability sharing across the business.

Global Commercial Organization: Pamela Drucker Mann, Global Chief Revenue Officer & President, U.S. Revenue, will lead a new global revenue organization that brings together the company’s U.S. and international ad sales, creative and agency, B2B marketing and client service capabilities. Jamie Jouning, promoted to Chief Client Officer, will report to Drucker Mann and oversee key global accounts, multi-market deals, and central digital ad operations. Drucker Mann will define ad sales and ad product strategies globally, and work closely with Jamie and the central team and commercial leads in the company’s worldwide markets to drive overall ad, agency, and B2B revenue and share best practices.

Consumer Marketing Organization: Condé Nast is creating a new consumer marketing organization that will be led by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and will bring added focus to the company’s direct-to-consumer efforts. As the company expands its consumer offerings, this team will be charged with developing best-in-class capabilities and consistency across consumer experiences on every platform. The team will also be responsible for consumer revenue, with a core focus on subscriptions and memberships. In addition, the team will have responsibility for global brand management, consumer research, and insights and global audience development, ensuring a data-driven approach to the company’s efforts. The search for a CMO to lead this new organization will begin immediately.

Corporate Functions: The company is also globalizing its three corporate functions to leverage skills, expertise and standardize processes and best practices: People, Finance and Communications. The company will begin an immediate search and selection process for these and other open roles. Until new leaders are identified, teams will maintain their existing reporting lines and responsibilities.

We’re bringing added focus to our direct-to-consumer efforts and will build a new consumer marketing function that will be charged with developing best-in-class subscription and membership capabilities, and maintaining the authenticity of our iconic global brands,” Lynch continued. “And by transforming our sales organization into a unified global team, Condé Nast will be better positioned to serve the holistic needs of our clients around the world and make it easier for them to do business with us.

The new structure and appointments take effect immediately.

Immigrant Contributions To American Society Recognized With 2017 Vilcek Prizes

Visual Artist Nari Ward And Biophysicists Lily And Yuh-Nung Jan Receive $100,000 Vilcek Prizes

Winners Of Vilcek Prizes For Creative Promise Each Receive $50,000 Awards

The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Vilcek Prizes, recognizing outstanding immigrant contributions to the American arts and sciences. The Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science will be awarded jointly to Chinese-born Lily and Yuh-Nung Jan, a collaborative research duo and professors of molecular physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. The Vilcek Prize in the Arts recognizes Jamaican-born Nari Ward, a New York-based visual artist known for found-object assemblage art. Each prize includes a $100,000 cash award. The prizewinners were selected by panels of experts in each field; they will be honored at an awards gala in New York City in April 2017.1083773.jpg

Like all great artists and scientists, these immigrant prizewinners challenge our very perceptions of the world,” said Rick Kinsel, president of the Vilcek Foundation. “Their works are attempts to understand fundamental questions and concepts in American society, from the neurological underpinnings of the self to the institution of democracy.”vilcek_logo_black_xsmall

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation, to honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to foster an appreciation of the arts and sciences, was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers to this country. The foundation awards annual prizes to prominent immigrant biomedical scientists and artists and manages the Vilcek Foundation Art Collections, a promised gift from its founders.

This year, the Vilcek Prize in the Arts is awarded in the fine arts, marking the completion of an 11-year cycle through various disciplines in the arts and humanities. The recipient, Nari Ward, was born in Jamaica and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12. He is known for found-object assemblage artworks that invite both a public conversation and an intimate dialogue with the viewer around topics of race, immigration, and the Caribbean diaspora identity. His usage of found objects aims to highlight the history of a place and the urgency of the moment; his installation Naturalization Drawing Table features a large desk—built out of Plexiglas bodega barriers—covered with dense linear drawings made over copies of Immigration and Naturalization Service applications. On select days during the exhibition, viewers are invited to “apply” for naturalization by lining up and filling out an application, giving them a taste of the bureaucratic process of applying for citizenship. Ward has won several prestigious art prizes, including the Joyce Award, the Rome Prize, a Bessie Award, and several other awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Lily and Yuh-Nung Jan were both born in China and raised in Taiwan. They came to the U.S. as graduate students of physics at the California Institute of Technology but switched their focus to biology, in part inspired by their mentor, the renowned biophysicist Max Delbrück. Over the course of a collaborative career spanning over four decades, the husband-and-wife team has made many significant discoveries in the field of neuroscience, with far-reaching clinical implications. They isolated the gene encoding a protein that shuttles potassium ions across cell membranes, enabling the characterization of a molecular player important to functions as vital as maintaining heart rate and controlling muscle movement. Today, this type of ion channel is implicated in diseases such as epilepsy, ataxia, and hypertension. Simultaneously, the Jans identified genes and principles underlying the processes by which neurons acquire distinct identities, burgeon into thickets, and establish precise circuits; their work in this area may help unravel human diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. Currently, professors of molecular physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, the Jans have been honored with membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences, as well as with Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator awards.

The Vilcek Foundation also awards the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise, given to younger immigrants who have shown substantial talent and ability early in their careers. Each prize includes a $50,000 cash award. The winners in the fine arts are the following:

Iman Issa, born in Egypt, a conceptual artist, creates objects and installations in an attempt to address complex philosophical questions. Her original area of study was phenomenology, a branch of philosophy that examines the structures of consciousness that organize subjective experience—or, put another way, how we take meaning from things we individually experience. Later, Issa realized that art allowed for nuanced exploration of those topics, and continued her philosophical questioning through art. She is particularly interested in monuments and memorials—aesthetic forms tasked with a function that holds a shifting relevance based on their location in time and relationship to history. Her work has been shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the 8th Berlin Biennial, and the New Museum, and she has received the DAAD 2017 Artist in Residence Award, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, and the HNF-MACBA Award.

Meleko Mokgosi, born in Botswana, is a slow, considered painter; behind every painting he produces are hours of research, reading, and conversations with people. Mokgosi is interested in depictions of Africa and its people; he believes that the widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans has done a violence to the people of the continent, and through his art he attempts a representation that is fair and just. He is deeply concerned with politics and seeks to understand and illuminate the relations of power that shape people, families, villages, regions, and nations. Mokgosi has been named the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters Grant and the Jarl and Pamela Mohn Award, and he has shown his work at Art Basel, the Armory, the Hammer Museum, and the Whitney Museum. Continue reading

Celebrate Culture and the Arts During Seattle’s Third Annual Seattle Museum Month

Downtown Seattle Hotel Guests Receive Half-Price Entry to Region’s Museums and Cultural Institutions in February 2017

February Is The Best Time To Save On Admission To More Than 40 Participating Museums Throughout Seattle And The Surrounding Region.

Visit Seattle‘s third annual Seattle Museum Month – returning February 1-28, 2017 – offers hotel guests half-price admission at more than 40 participating museums throughout Seattle and the region.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass. (Photo Credit: Terry Rishel)

Seattle Museum Month , a program created to encourage travelers to visit Seattle in February and celebrate the incredible arts and culture scene present in the region, is produced by Visit Seattle and funded by the Seattle Tourism Improvement Area (STIA), a dedicated marketing fund assessed from guests at the 61 downtown Seattle hotels.

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Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. (Photo Credit: Benjamin Benschneider)

For visitors and locals alike, Seattle Museum Month offers an immersive way of experiencing Seattle’s art, history, music, design and culture. Since its inaugural year in 2015, Museum Month has been an exciting cultural complement to Seattle during a mid-winter vacation.

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Seattle Art Museum. (Photo Credit: Benjamin Benschneider)

Seattle’s major museums have returned for this year’s offer – including Seattle Art Museum, Museum of History & Industry, Museum of Flight, Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Two internationally renowned glass art museums are included – Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. The Flying Heritage Collection and the Suquamish Museum are new participants this year.

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Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) (Photo Credit : Brady Harvey)

Furthermore, many exhibitions of note are timed during the month-long promotion. Epicureans can indulge themselves at Edible City: A Delicious Journey at Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), a new exhibit highlighting Seattle’s natural resources, cuisine, famous chefs and its role in the culinary industry.

Also on display in February is part three of the Day in the Life of Bruce Lee: Do You Know Bruce? exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum of the Pacific Asian Experience – the only museum outside Hong Kong to present an exhibition about Bruce Lee. Additionally, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds at MoPOP commemorates the 50th anniversary of the famous science fiction series and is offered to Museum Month pass holders at a discount.

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Seattle Asian Art Museum. (Photo Credit: Benjamin Benschneider)

Visitors can enjoy natural scenery while indoors at Seeing Nature: Landscape Photography from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection, opening February 16 at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), or familiarize themselves with Puget Sound sea life during Octopus Week Feb. 18-26 at the Seattle Aquarium. Dance Theatre of Harlem: 40 Years of Firsts will be on display through Black History Month at the Northwest African American Museum. Continue reading

2017 Whitney Biennial, The First To Take Place In The Museum’s Downtown Building, To Open March 17

The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial, opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art on March 17, 2016 and running through June 11, 2017. Curated by the Whitney’s Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator Christopher Y. Lew and independent curator Mia Locks, this will be the first Biennial held in the Whitney’s (still new) home in the Meatpacking District. The country’s preeminent survey of the current state of American art, this is the seventy-eighth in the Museum’s ongoing series of Annuals and Biennials, initiated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932.unnamed-1

Lew and Locks named the sixty-three participants (see complete list below), whose works will fill two of the four main gallery floors of the Whitney (including the 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries on the fifth floor) and numerous other spaces throughout the Museum. The participants range from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.

Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, said, “Since we opened our new building, we’ve reignited our emerging artist program with venturesome solo premieres and ‘snapshot’ shows of new tendencies. This Biennial, the largest ever in terms of gallery space, marks the capstone of these efforts. Chris and Mia have done an amazing job scouring the country to discover new talents, while creating lively connections to senior figures and our roiling social landscape.”

Lew commented that, “Throughout our research and travel we’ve been moved by the impassioned discussions we had about recent tumult in society, politics, and the economic system. It’s been unavoidable as we met with artists, fellow curators, writers, and other cultural producers across the United States and beyond.” Locks noted: “Against this backdrop, many of the participating artists are asking probing questions about the self and the social, and where these intersect. How do we think and live through these lenses? How and where do they fall short?

Rothkopf is leading a team of advisors who are working closely with Lew and Locks to help shape the exhibition. They include: Negar Azimi, writer and senior editor at Bidoun, an award-winning publishing, curatorial, and educational initiative with a focus on the Middle East and its diasporas; Gean Moreno, curator of programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami and founder of [NAME] Publications; Aily Nash, co-curator of Projections, the New York Film Festival’s artists’s film and video section, and Film and Media Curator at Basilica Hudson; and Wendy Yao, a publisher and founder of both the exhibition space 356 South Mission Road and Ooga Booga, a shop with two Los Angeles locations that specializes in independent books, music, art, and clothing. Nash, together with the curators, is co-organizing the Biennial film program, which will screen in the Whitney’s third-floor Susan and John Hess Family Theater.

The 2017 Biennial will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, designed by Olga Casellas Badillo of San Juan-based Tiguere Corp., which includes essays by the curators as well as Biennial advisors Negar Azimi and Gean Moreno, a conversation between the curators and Scott Rothkopf, and a roundtable with filmmakers moderated by Aily Nash. The book will also feature individual entries on each of the sixty-three participants in the exhibition along with reproductions of their work. It will be published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

The full list of artists are as follows: Continue reading

Television: Curtain Going Up On the 2015 Award-Winning London Production of Gypsy on PBS

Starring Imelda Staunton on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances Friday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on the PBS Arts Fall Festival

Jonathan Kent‘s award-winning production of the classic musical Gypsy – a record-breaking sellout during its acclaimed London run – comes to THIRTEEN‘s Great Performances, Friday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on PBS on the PBS Arts Fall Festival. (Check local listings.) Gypsy first appeared in 1959 on Broadway under the title Gypsy: A Musical Fable.

Great Performances: Gypsy

Rose (Imelda Staunton) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

The first London production to be seen for 40 years, the musical opened at England’s Chichester Festival Theatre before moving to the West End‘s Savoy Theatre. A London production had not been seen in the West End since 1973. This critically acclaimed West End production features Imelda Staunton as Rose (The role of Rose is often called the ‘King Lear’ of the musical theatre canon).

Great Performances: Gypsy

Herbie (Peter Davison) and Rose (Imelda Staunton) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

Following a run at the Chichester Festival Theatre, which won the Critics’ Choice Theatre Award for Best Musical in 2014, a West End revival of Gypsy opened at the Savoy Theatre on April 15, 2015, in a limited run through November 28. Directed by Jonathan Kent with choreography by Stephen Mear and set and costume design by Anthony Ward, the production starred Staunton as Rose, Peter Davison as Herbie, Lara Pulver as Louise, Gemma Sutton as June, Anita Louise Combe as Tessie Tura, Louise Gold as Mazzeppa and Julie Legrand as Electra. The London production was nominated for eight Laurence Olivier Awards at the 2016 ceremony, winning four, including Best Actress in a Musical (Staunton) and Best Musical Revival, the most awards won by a single production in that year

Great Performances: Gypsy

Louise (Lara Pulver) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

Gypsy is considered by many to be one of Broadway’s all-time triumphs. It tells the story of ambitious showbiz mother Rose, who treks across the country with her daughters Baby June and Louise in search of success with their homespun vaudeville act. As times change, Rose is forced to accept the demise of vaudeville and the rise of burlesque, as well as her daughters’ quest for autonomy.

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Baby June (Isla Huggins-Barr) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

With a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the show was suggested by the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee. The musical was initially a project of producer David Merrick and actress Ethel Merman (who starred as the original Rose). Merrick had read a chapter of Lee’s memoirs in Harper’s Magazine and approached Lee to obtain the rights. Jerome Robbins was interested, and wanted Leland Hayward as co-producer; (Merman also wanted Hayward to produce her next show.) Merrick and Hayward approached Laurents to write the book. As he relates, Laurents initially was not interested until he saw that the story was one of parents living their children’s lives. Composers Irving Berlin and Cole Porter declined the project. Finally, Robbins asked Stephen Sondheim, who agreed to do it. Sondheim had previously worked with Robbins and Laurents on the musical West Side Story. However, Merman did not want an unknown composer, and wanted Jule Styne to write the music. Although Sondheim initially refused to write only the lyrics, he was persuaded by Oscar Hammerstein to accept the job.

Great Performances: Gypsy

Mazeppa (Louise Gold) in “Gypsy” Credit: ©2014 Johan Persson

The score features songs that have since become show standards, and helped launch the career of Sondheim. “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together, Wherever We Go” and of course “Rose’s Turn” are among the musical highlights. Continue reading