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    Steven Zucker Named Chair of Pratt’s History or Art and Design Department

    Steven Zucker, a scholar in the art of the post-World War II era, has been named chair of the institute’s History of Art and Design department. Zucker, who is currently dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), will begin his appointment July 1, 2010. Zucker was formerly the chair of FIT’s Art History department and Development Research Coordinator for The Museum of Modern Art, New York. As chair, Zucker will be responsible for leading Pratt’s History of Art and Design department, which is part of the institute’s School Art and Design.. “We welcome Steven as chair of History of Art and Design,” said Pratt School of Art and Design Dean Concetta M. Stewart. “His work is on the cutting-edge of the field and his expertise and leadership experience will be a tremendous asset to the department and to Pratt.” Zucker holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and painting from Bard College; a master of arts degree in art history from Hunter College, The City University of New York; and doctor of philosophy and master of philosophy degrees in art history from Graduate School and University Center, The City University of New York.
  • 28

    Huntington Library Raises $243 Million

    Karen Wada for the Los Angeles Times reports that the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens announced that it has raised an estimated $243 million, surpassing its target of $175 million, during a six-year campaign that was the most comprehensive in its history. Money from For Generations to Come, the campaign for the Huntington goes toward annual operating and capital expenses and endowments to support collections and programs. In addition, the San Marino institution says it has received more than $100 million worth of donations of other types, including works of art and rare books, what president Steven S. Koblik calls “more gifts to our collections than in any period since the death of our founder, Mr. Huntington.” Koblik says the campaign, which began in July 2004, demonstrates how the Huntington, once known as a bastion of arts and letters, is repositioning itself as a collections-based research and education institution. “We’ve made great progress toward addressing our financial concerns, but this is not just about raising money. It’s about creating a culture.”
  • 23

    Walt Disney Co. Donates $250,000 to Art Classes

    Mike Boehm for the Los Angeles Times reports that the Walt Disney Company is donating $250,000 to Ryman Arts, a twenty-year-old nonprofit that provides free intensive weekend drawing and painting courses to area high school students who compete for 165 openings each semester. Ryman Arts, which uses studio space donated by USC, announced Tuesday that it had independently raised $130,000, exceeding the $100,000 minimum in outside funding Disney required as a match to activate its own pledge. The combined $380,000 creates an endowment whose earnings are expected to cover the cost of one of the ten classes Ryman Arts sponsors each semester, said Diane Brigham, the organization's executive director. Overall, she said, Ryman Arts needs to raise about $750,000 annually to fund its programs, which it is hoping to expand. Brigham said applications have risen as economically pinched school districts have reduced their own art offerings.
  • 22

    Major Jewish Collection Moves to UC Berkeley

    The University of California, Berkeley will soon be home to one of the world's most extensive collections of Jewish history and culture according to the ... Associated Press. University officials said the 10,000-piece collection will be transferred to UC Berkeley this summer from the Judah L. Magnes Museum, which is in south Berkeley. The collection of precious music, art, rare books, and historical archives will be housed in a newly renovated building in downtown Berkeley starting this fall. The move and renovation is being paid for by $2.5 million in donations from philanthropists Warren Hellman, Tad Taube, and the Koret Foundation. The Magnes's Western Jewish History Archives will move into the university's Bancroft Library.

    John Hedgecoe (1932–2010)

    The Telegraph reports that professor John Hedgecoe, who died on June 3 aged seventy-eight, was a photographer who took the portrait of the Queen which is used on British postage stamps; as such he is credited with the planet’s most reproduced image, which has so far sold more than 200 billion copies. “Queen was a great shop window for me, so it was relatively easy to also get freelance work on other publications, including the magazines of the Sunday Times, Observer, and Telegraph,” he said. While contracted to shoot everything from fashion spreads to architectural features, Hedgecoe particularly impressed with his portraits. His subjects included Francis Bacon, Ted Hughes, Agatha Christie, John Betjeman, and David Hockney. In 1965, Hedgecoe approached the Royal College of Art to suggest he set up a photography department. When the RCA agreed, he was plunged into an academic world in which he revelled for the rest of his career. He had a strong didactic streak and a natural ability to make the technical aspects of photography clear and comprehensible, usually with just a single explanation. He became Professor of Photography in 1975 and published a highly successful series of manuals on photographic technique, starting with the _Book of Photography_ (1976). Most recently he released the _Art of Digital Photography_ (2006) after a research voyage around more than two dozen countries. When not on the road, Hedgecoe enjoyed restoring both buildings and gardens. He replaced a previously-demolished wing of his sixteenth-century house in Oxnead.
  • 21

    National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts to Renovate Building

    Robin Pogrebin reports for the New York Times that the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts will close its Beaux Arts museum building on Fifth Avenue on Sunday for a renovation of its exhibition galleries and the creation of a new visitor center and a school studio gallery. The project, to be announced on Tuesday, will modernize the existing galleries for the first time in more than one hundred years, providing dedicated space for the semi-permanent exhibition of works from the academy’s collection of more than 7,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures by American artists and architects. The academy has revised its constitution, expanded its board of governors and established, with the help of outside consultants, a new financial and strategic plan. “There is a lot of work that has been done on programming and financial stability to become a more outward-facing, more engaging institution,” said Carmine Branagan, the academy’s director, “and to ensure we will be able to maintain best policies and practicies.” During the renovations, expected to be completed in September 2011, the academy will continue to host its evening roundtable discussion, “The Review Panel,” and the school will maintain a full class schedule, both on the premises.
  • 17

    Mark Bradford Collaborates with Getty on Public Lesson Plans

    Artist Mark Bradford developed a set of free lesson plans for K-12 teachers that makes its debut on the Getty website today, reports Jori Fink for the Los Angeles Times. The Getty invited Bradford a year ago, shortly before he received the MacArthur “genius” award, to do a project of his choice with its education department. He chose teachers rather than students as his primary audience, noting that “they need all the resources they can get, especially today.” He brought ten other artists on board. Abstract painter Amy Sillman asks students to go “on a color tour” of their hometown by noting uses of color in pedestrian things like stoplights. The rather conceptual sculptor Michael Joo asks students to create a prothesis out of everyday materials, after defining the term. Bradford has students drawing a floor plan of their school cafeteria. On top of that, on another sheet of paper, he asks students to map the social groups using the space. His idea is encouraging students to use art as a tool for exploring personal or social issues that matter to them. “What happens so often is you take these multifaceted, savvy kids and give them glitter and macaroni and crayons for an hour, and that seems to them like a hobby, not part of their identity,” Bradford says. New York artist Kara Walker offers a lesson that has students collaborating on a story by exchanging text messages. And Los Angeles photographer Catherine Opie asks students to make a self-portrait with any camera available, “even a cell phone.” Toby Tannenbaum, assistant director of education at the Getty, says this use of “nontraditional art materials” is new for the museum. “So much of our work is object-based, drawing from our own collection. But these lessons are really inspired by the artist’s own practice,” she says. “It helps expand our notions of what can be considered art.”

    William J. Mitchell (1945-2010)

    William Grimes for the New York Times reports that William J. Mitchell, an architect and urban theorist who envisioned the modern city as an electronically interconnected network of systems and who, while serving as dean of the school of architecture and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, enlisted top architects to carry out an ambitious expansion of the M.I.T. campus, died Friday in Boston. He was sixty-five and lived in Cambridge, Mass. Mitchell, who led the Smart Cities research group at the M.I.T. Media Lab and was a professor of architecture and media arts and sciences, was an architect by training but an urban visionary by avocation. Early on, he saw the application of computers to architectural design. “A lot of what is taught about design and computation in architecture schools today comes from the way that Bill set the subject up,” said George Stiny, a professor of computation at M.I.T. “If he hadn’t been there to inaugurate computer-aided architectural design, architects would probably still not be doing it. Remember, in 1977 it was hard to draw a line on a computer. Bill really had a sense of how much architects could take, gave them a little more, and made it possible for them to take the next step.” Mr. Mitchell’s interests evolved beyond buildings to the technical and social problems presented by cities in the digital age, which he believed could be reconfigured to promote sustainability, efficiency, and social equity. Transportation was a particular interest. In 1970, Mr. Mitchell began teaching at the graduate school of architecture and urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was in charge of the architecture and urban design program from 1980 to 1986. After teaching at the graduate school of design at Harvard, he was named dean of M.I.T.’s school of architecture and planning, a position he held until 2003, when he became head of the media arts and sciences program at the Media Lab. In 2003 he established Smart Cities, one of about thirty research groups in the Media Lab. As architectural adviser to Charles M. Vest, the president of M.I.T., Mr. Mitchell played a pivotal role in the $1 billion expansion of the campus that unfolded over the last decade.
  • 16

    SVA Picks Jeffrey Nesin as Provost

    Jeffrey D. Nesin, president emeritus of the Memphis College of Art (MCA), has been named provost of the School of Visual Arts (SVA). “I am pleased to be able to work with Jeff again as we plan for the next decade of growth at SVA, strengthen the institutional structure, and continue to advance the faculty and curriculum,” said SVA president David Rhodes. “At SVA I had the great privilege of working each day with faculty who were at the forefront of their fields," said Nesin. “Nothing in education is as important as that, and it will be wonderful to be part of the SVA community again.” Nesin, whose appointment begins July 1, succeeds Dr. Christopher J. Cyphers, who served as SVA’s provost before leaving to become president of the New York School of Interior Design in 2008. Jeffrey D. Nesin grew up in New York City, where he attended the Manhattan School of Music and the Bronx High School of Science. After graduation from Hobart College, he studied at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he earned advanced degrees in English Literature and American Studies. He joined the faculty at SVA in 1974, teaching in the department of humanities and Sciences, and then served as advisor in the BFA fine arts department. In 1982 he was appointed assistant to the president, a post he held simultaneously with that of director of special programs and chairman of the presidential staff. He worked closely with president Rhodes to develop institutional and governmental relations and establish the graduate programs. Nesin left SVA in 1991 to become president of MCA, a position he held until December 2009.

    CDU Casuarina’s New Chancellery Wins NT Architecture Awards

    The new seventeen-million-dollar Chancellery at Charles Darwin University’s Casuarina campus has received two major awards at the 2010 NT Architecture Awards. The CDU Chancellery won both the Peter Dermoudy Award for Public Architecture, and the Tracy Memorial award that recognizes the “top building” in the Territory. The awards are the result of a three-year collaboration between HASSELL and CDU. CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover said the university was delighted that its investment in Casuarina campus had been recognized. “The new public spaces have already been used extensively in the building’s short life, admirably satisfying the needs of the university,” Professor Glover said. The Chancellery, which contains a purpose-built art gallery, establishes a new civic presence for CDU—one that welcomes students, staff, and visitors, and showcases CDU’s commitment to excellence in art, culture, and education. “Our response to the brief was to create a place that reflects the unique qualities of CDU and those of the Northern Territory more broadly—its education excellence, location, and culture,” HASSELL Principal and design team leader Brenden Kelly said.
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    Michelle Rein (1966–2010)

    Bonnie Cook reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer that wherever Michelle Rein went, Taz, her black Chihuahua, went, too. Taz was trained to nudge her mistress and offer emotional support when bouts of disabling pain washed over her. On Friday, at the Bryn Mawr train station, Rein reacted as one who considers a dog as family. Taz had become agitated and strayed onto the tracks, and Rein stepped off the platform. Before she could cradle the dog and stand up, the train was on her, a witness said. Rein, forty-four, died instantly of massive injuries, police said. Rein did research, lectured, and traveled widely. Her specialties were Islamic art and women’s traditions in Morocco, said Holly Pittman, chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's art history department, who was her mentor. Rein’s most recent assignment, in the fall of 2008, was that of adjunct professor in the history department at Villanova University. She taught a course called Women in the Middle East, said university spokesman Jonathan Gust. “She was such a wonderful presence around the department,” Pittman said. Rein graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1989 with a degree in art history. She earned a master’s degree in 1997 in Islamic Indian architecture and epigraphy from the university of Pennsylvania’s Department of History. In 1998, she began work on a doctorate about Islamic art and architecture, and had passed qualifying examinations when “her disease got the best of her,” Irwin Rein said. Rein spoke Arabic and had trained in the Moroccan and Berber dialects, her father said. From 1998 to 1999, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in Morocco toward her dissertation. In 2002 and 2003, she studied under a Woodrow Wilson fellowship keyed to religion. She lectured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at a Congress of the History of Art in London, and at the State University of New York. Her publications included entries in the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures.
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    New Chairman for Kansas City Art Institute’s Board of Trustees

    L. William Zahner, CEO of A. Zahner Company, Architectural Metals, has been elected chairman of the board of trustees of the Kansas City Art Institute, succeeding Gary Gradinger, CEO of Golden Star Inc. Also joining the board July 1 are Pat McCown, CEO of McCownGordon Construction; Allan Gray, director of community relations and cultural affairs at Truman Medical Centers; and George Turbovich of George Turbovich Designs. Herb Kohn, partner at Bryan Cave LLP, rejoins the board.

    Milwaukee’s 3rd Ward Building to Lease Space to Art Institute

    In a new Milwaukee-based real estate deal, the Gardner Family Trust—with a loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp—will invest $4.8 million to convert storage space into the Art Institute of Milwaukee, reports Tom Daykin in the Journal Sentinel. The project will generate property tax revenue for the city and help create about fifty jobs within two years, according to MEDC. The Art Institute of Milwaukee will be one of more than forty-five Art Institute campuses operated by Pittsburgh-based Education Management. The schools offer classes in such areas as graphic design, fashion design and culinary arts. The Milwaukee center will use 35,000 square feet of offices, classrooms, and kitchen labs at the Dye House, and will open in September.
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    Bowdoin College Museum of Art Receives Over 1500 Prints

    The Bowdoin College Museum of Art has announced an gift to its permanent collection from long-time friend and generous donor Charles Pendexter of Brunswick. Totaling more than 1500 prints and eight drawings, the Pendexter collection increases Bowdoin’s print holdings by 20 percent. The significant gift includes masterpieces by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Édouard Manet, and Giorgio Morandi, among many others, and multiple works by Hendrick Goltzius and Honoré Daumier. Highlights include rare first editions of Francisco de Goya’s “Disasters of War” and “Proverbios” series, both from the early nineteenth century. Pendexter says his gift was prompted by the museum’s commitment to the collection and study of prints, an area of focus cultivated by previous directors Katharine Watson and Katy Kline, and continued by current director Kevin Salatino, who was previously the curator of prints and drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “Charles’s prints join rich holdings of works on paper at Bowdoin, now made exponentially richer by the generosity of one remarkable man,” says Salatino. “This truly outstanding gift is an exemplary act of selflessness that recognizes that a great collection is greatest when kept intact, and when shared with the largest possible audience.”
  • 09

    The Guardian Names Top University for Art and Design

    University College London is the best British university for art and design, according to The Guardian, in the paper's annual university league table. Oxford University today tops the list for the sixth year running, with archrival Cambridge holding onto second place. Warwick comes third and St Andrews fourth – the pair have switched positions from last year. University College London, Lancaster, Imperial College, London School of Economics, Loughborough and York are in the top ten.

    Lester Johnson (1919–2010)

    Lester Johnson, an admired artist whose expressionist brushwork lent vigor and force to the human figure—isolated and embattled, or alive with the joy of movement in crowds—died on May 30, according to the New York Times. He was ninety-one. The Times’s William Grimes writes that Johnson, a maverick associate of the Abstract Expressionists in New York, found his subject matter in the joys and sorrows of ordinary people on the street. His boxy figures of the 1960s, somberly painted in thick impasto, their features often scratched into the surface, faced the viewer squarely with an air of stoicism or grim defiance. Some were self-portraits. Others, like Bowery Patriarch, 1963, and Three Men Sitting, 1969, enlisted the stumbling, broken men he saw on the Bowery from his second-floor studio window. “If there is such as thing as the poetry of congestion, Johnson invented it,” John Russell wrote in the New York Times in 1977. “The people in his painting just love company. They can’t get enough of it. No matter how he packs them in we feel that both he and they would gladly find room for someone else.” In 1964, Jack Tworkov, the chairman of the graduate art department at Yale, recommended Johnson for a job. He taught figure drawing at Yale until his retirement in 1989, and from 1969 to 1974 was the director of studies for the graduate painting program. The James Goodman Gallery in Manhattan surveyed his work in 2004 in the exhibition “Lester Johnson: Four Decades of Painting.” In 2005, the University of Connecticut in Storrs mounted a fifty-year retrospective of his work, “People Passing By: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Lester Johnson,” at the William Benton Museum of Art.