News

Jane Farve of MIT’s List Visual Arts Center Retires

Jane Farver, director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, has announced her retirement at the end of a nearly twelve-year tenure distinguished by the presentation of nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions and a remarkable increase in public art throughout the campus. Farver has collaborated with a distinctive mix of artists, including emerging artists receiving their first significant visibility as well as prominent artists who otherwise might not have exhibited in the Greater Boston area.

“I have loved working with MIT’s wonderful faculty, staff, and students, and with the advisory committee of the List Visual Arts Center,” stated Farver. “It is hard to imagine there is a staff more dedicated and capable than that of the List Center, and I will be grateful to them always. It has also been a real privilege to work with the many curators, writers and––in particular––artists that I have encountered in my eleven years at MIT; I owe them all so much.”

Farver personally organized numerous exhibitions at the List, including solo exhibitions and projects by Mel Chin, Michael Joo, Paul Pfeiffer, Runa Islam, Kimsooja, John Coplans, Adel Abdessemed, and Tavares Strachan. She also organized group exhibitions, often with colleagues at MIT and leading cultural institutions elsewhere, including Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950––1980 and Sensorium: Parts I & 2 – Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art. She assembled a dedicated staff of museum professionals at the List Center and also brought in distinguished outside curators and exhibitions, such as Cameron Jamie, organized by Philippe Vergne of the Walker Art Center, and Y E S Yoko Ono, organized by Alexandra Munroe with Fluxus scholar Jon Hendricks. During a public talk a few weeks after September 11, 2001, Farver and Ono recreated the artist’s Bag Piece (1964)

During Farver’s tenure, the List Visual Arts Center organized presentations for two international art biennials: the 9th Cairo Biennial, where she was co-commissioner for the American representative (Paul Pfeiffer), an exhibition that traveled to Athens for the 2004 Olympic Games, and the 49th Venice Biennale where Fred Wilson filled the U.S. Pavilion with newly created works.

MIT Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History Philip S. Khoury remarks, “Jane Farver has been a stalwart advocate for the arts, working ceaselessly to bring cutting-edge art to the Boston area and educate the MIT community about its importance. Her efforts will be sorely missed.

November 23, 2010

Margaret Burroughs (1925–2010)

Artist and educator Margaret Burroughs died at her home in Chicago at ninety-five, relatives said. Her death Sunday elicited comments from President Obama, who praised her for her contributions to education, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“Michelle and I are saddened by the passing of Dr. Margaret Burroughs, who was widely admired for her contributions to American culture as an esteemed artist, historian, educator, and mentor,” Obama said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Burroughs’ family and loved ones. Her legacy will live on in Chicago and around the world.”

Burroughs and her husband, the late Charles Burroughs, co-founded the nationally recognized DuSable Museum of African American History in their living room in south Chicago nearly fifty years ago.

Burroughs was one of several artists and supporters who started the South Side Community Art Center seventy years ago, and she taught at DuSable High School for more than twenty years. She recently received the Legacy Award from the Art Institute of Chicago. She had been appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the National Commission on African-American History and Culture.

Burroughs was born in St. Rose, Louisiana, and moved to Chicago as a child. Her husband died in 1994. She is survived by a son, Paul Burroughs, and several grandchildren.

November 22, 2010

University of Illinois Caves After Two-Day Grad Strike

Illinois- Graduate employees wrapped up a two-day strike at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after the university agreed to the union’s key demands. Strikers said it shows that assertive unions can turn back the erosion of conditions on campus. Graduate employees wrapped up a two-day strike Tuesday at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after the university agreed to guarantee tuition waivers. After nearly seven months of negotiations, the administration had offered language that would protect tuition waivers only for in-state students—a minority of the 2,600-person bargaining unit. The Graduate Employees Organization (GEO-Illinois Federation of Teachers Local 6300) struck to receive protection for all waivers.

The union argued that revoking or reducing tuition waivers for teaching assistants was like asking them to pay to work, and that tuition waivers are central to the land-grant mission of the University of Illinois, which includes providing higher education regardless of economic background. If the university were to change its practice to only cover in-state tuition, GEO members would have paid as much as $13,000 per year. About 23 percent of undergraduate classroom hours are taught by graduate students at the school, which enrolls about 31,000 undergraduates. Teaching and graduate assistants were called to withhold all teaching-related labor, and four major buildings on the Liberal Arts and Sciences quad were targeted for picket lines. Some international graduate students, however, were made fearful of participating in the strike. Amber Cooper, a volunteer from the University of Michigan GEO, received a phone call from an international student who’d been threatened with deportation. Other international students came to the GEO office after receiving similar threats.

In addition to winning protection for tuition waivers through the strike, GEO secured an additional two weeks of unpaid parental leave and increases to the university’s contribution to health care premiums, upped from 50 percent to 75 percent in the third and final year of the contract. The deal also included raises to the minimum salary that total 10 percent over three years. Minimum annual salaries for half-time assistants are $13,430 currently, and the union says 58 percent of members make less than its living-wage estimate, $16,000. At the other end of the spectrum, Chancellor Richard Herman—who recently stepped down after an admissions scandal—gets to keep his $395,000 salary through June and enjoy a year’s sabbatical at a tenured faculty member’s $244,000 rate.

November 19, 2010

Students clash with police at ‘yeshiva law’ rally

Tel Aviv: Hundreds of students gathered Wednesday outside the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, demanding that the government stop discriminating against students attending higher education institutions. The demonstrators protested against a bill aimed at bypassing a High Court ruling and allowing the government to allocate funds to yeshiva students.
Student union chairman Itzik Shmuly said that students traded blows with police, adding that “this expresses the great frustration by young students in Israel and the State’s indifference towards them.” Many students were bruised during the clashes and several protestors were held for questioning. A police cruiser at the site announced over its speaker system that the students were holding an illegal rally and urged them to clear the road.

At the beginning of the month, some 6,000 students attended a mass rally in Jerusalem. The protesters marched from the prime minister’s residence to Zion Square in the capital and chanted “Bibi wake up” and “We are also hungry for bread.” Earlier, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar met with haredi and secular students from the Ono Academic College and asked them to maintain restraint.

November 18, 2010

Huntington Library Receives Gift Exceeding $100 Million

Now that the late Frances Brody’s other heirs have received their shares of her fortune, the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens has a much clearer idea of its own windfall from the L.A. art patron’s estate: a gift expected to easily exceed $100 million.
This represents by far the largest cash gift in the history of the Huntington, which was previously $21 million from Charles and Nancy Munger in 2002. It could even surpass the original endowment created when railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington died in 1927, which is roughly $107 million if adjusted for inflation. 
“A number of museums have received significant gifts when you value the art and cash donations together,” says Steven S. Koblik, president of the Huntington. “But as a pure cash gift, this has very few equivalents––except for the founding gifts that create institutions.”

Tim Seiler, one of the directors at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, agrees. “It’s an extraordinary gift, especially for the cultural sector. A $100 million gift more typically goes to a school or university, and it’s often a naming gift.”

The few comparables tend to come from New York. In 2005, David Rockefeller made a $100-million pledge to the Museum of Modern Art, which ranks as its largest-ever cash gift. In 2008, Leonard Lauder’s art foundation gave $131 million to the Whitney Museum of American Art, also its largest.

Brody died in November 2009 at age 93, leaving behind a wealth of artwork––including Giacometti bronzes and Matisse paintings––that she had acquired with her husband, Sidney, a real-estate developer who had died more than two decades earlier. The value of this art directly affected the size of her gift to the Huntington, where she was a board member for 20 years.

This October, the institution received $15 million in cash intended by Brody to improve the botanical gardens, one of her most passionate concerns as a board member.

November 17, 2010

Karan Singh Receives Dayawati Modi Art, Culture and Education Award

Former ambassador to the United States Karan Singh will be conferred the Dayawati Modi Art, Culture and Education Award, a statement said Saturday. The award which carries a cash prize of Rs.201,000, a scroll of honour and a silver shield will be given away by vice president M. Hamid Ansari.

Singh has written twenty books on subjects ranging from poetry to politics. He is currently the chairman, ethics committee, of the upper house of parliament. He also heads the governing body of the Auroville Foundation and is president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

The award is given by the Modi group in the memory of its founder’s late wife Dayawati Modi.

November 15, 2010

British-Columbian Ministry name-change leaves artists concerned

Globe & Mail -What’s in a name? A lot, say some B.C. artists, and they’re worried.

In Monday’s cabinet shuffle, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts disappeared, replaced by a Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. That makes British Columbia the only Canadian province or territory without a culture ministry. Sure there’s “culture” in “cultural development,” but that distinction makes some people in the arts community extremely apprehensive.

NDP Culture Critic Spencer Chandra Herbert said on Monday that he was worried about the ministry’s name change, especially on the heels of what he called “huge” cuts in arts funding.

“To me, it’s a bit of an insult to everybody who supports arts and culture in the province, and seems to point to a further de-prioritization of arts and culture from this government. When you eliminate ‘arts’ out of the title, that does send a signal that, to government, it’s not very important. Certainly by their actions in terms of major cuts in arts investment they’ve shown that, and now they’re just confirming it.” Conversely, Gillian Wood, executive-director of the arts council, said it will be business as usual under the new ministry and minister.

November 12, 2010

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei put under house arrest

BEIJING CNN —Chinese authorities placed Ai Weiwei, one of the country’s most famous artists and activists, under house arrest Friday in the latest sign of a broad crackdown on political dissent since Liu, who is serving an eleven-year jail sentence for subversion, won the prize.

Ai has been a longtime critic of the Chinese government, and he is increasingly in the international spotlight. In Ai, a prominent political activist and famous artist, recently produced a video interview with the family of a girl who was allegedly run over and killed by the son of a senior police officer in northern China.

Ai told The Wall Street Journal he had been placed under house arrest to prevent him from attending a party on Sunday to mark the demolition of his studio in Shanghai by local authorities, which he says is punishment for his political activism.

November 11, 2010

Students Protest in London, Conservative HQ attacked

London, England (CNN) –A group of demonstrators broke into the headquarters of Britain’s governing Conservative Party in London on Wednesday, setting off flares before being forced out of the building.

The violence came during a largely peaceful protest by students against government plans to allow universities to increase tuition fees. The National Union of Students said 40,000 demonstrators were on the streets. Extra police officers were sent to deal with the violence, and eight people suffered minor injuries in the protests and were taken to hospitals, police said. The injured included both police and protesters.

National Union of Students president Aaron Porter said in a statement before the demonstration, “We will not tolerate the previous generation passing on its debts to the next, nor will we pick up the bill to access a college and university education that was funded for them”. Students and university staff are protesting against government plans to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 (about $14,500) per year in tuition fees–a substantial rise from the current cap

November 10, 2010

UAE Pavilion Venice Biennale Launches Internship

A specialized internship program is being launched to recruit Emiratis and long term residents of the United Arab Emirates to manage the UAE’s national pavilion at the Venice Biennale from May 31 to November 27, 2011. Interns will have the opportunity to work alongside curator Vasif Kortun and the team of the UAE Pavilion office in Dubai in the lead-up to the Biennale. A select group will then go on to Venice to serve in the national pavilion as exhibition managers while engaging in a comprehensive art educational program based on the art and cultural institutions in Venice and the temporary exhibitions of the Biennale.

“The Venice Internship will allow interns a unique opportunity and unrivaled experience in the making and caring for an international exhibition.” Vasif Kortun, curator of the UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2011.

Venice Internship will formally debut at Abu Dhabi Art from the 4th to the 7th of November. An information booth will set up whereby interested parties may engage with staff and volunteers to find out more about the opportunity for Emiratis to spend up to five weeks each in Venice from May to December 2011.

November 9, 2010

Laura Lynch Appointed Director of Education at Nassau County Museum of Art

The Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA), announced that Laura Lynch has been appointed the museum’s director of education.

Lynch brings extensive experience in art education and administration to her new responsibilities at NCMA. For ten years she served Queens Museum of Art (QMA) in a variety of roles, including and most recently as the senior manager of school, youth and family programs. At QMA, she created and implemented programs for children, schools, educators, and family groups and also was responsible for a program of encouraging English language proficiency in ESL students using visual literacy. At NCMA Lynch will oversee all public educational programming for adults, children, and school groups and all aspects of the museum’s educational outreach to the community, including the development of the museum’s new Art Space for Children. She will also oversee the training of the museum’s approximately fifty docents.

Lynch said: “I look forward to joining the fine staff of Nassau County Museum of Art. It is my goal to continue the outstanding work that occurs at the museum on a daily basis while providing additional opportunities for creative enrichment utilizing the museum’s outstanding resources.”

November 8, 2010

Somerset County Art Grants Cut

Artists expressed anger today after Somerset county council voted to cut all its direct grants to arts organisations, raising fears that groups could fail, that the most underprivileged would lose access to the arts, and that the move might spur other local authorities to follow suit reports Steven Morris for the Guardian.

The Tory-controlled council voted to end £160,000 of direct grants to ten organisations, including theatres and a film production company, as part of a £43m programme of cuts across the services.
Charlie Dearden, director of Bridgwater Arts Centre, said 25,000 people were participating in arts and media projects in the county of Somerset, half of them located in deprived areas.

Dearden added: “Research shows that participation in arts has a high impact on health, educational attainment, confidence and quality of life. These cuts will have a knock-on effect on the NHS budget and the school budgets. Cutting the arts development budget, especially in a rural county, will impact on more vulnerable members of our society, resulting in widening inequality.”

The Bridgwater centre receives £10,500 from the council. Dearden fears she will now have to lose a member of staff and is concerned that other sources of funding will take their lead from the council, putting the future of the arts centre at risk. She said: “And the danger is that other councils across the country will look at Somerset and do the same.”

Somerset’s £43m of cuts was voted through by a majority of seven. Apparently, some councillors have been frustrated that so much attention has focused on the arts budget cuts when the council was struggling to save “more vital services”. More than 700 staff could leave the council by April, either through voluntary or compulsory redundancies, with a further 800 posts expected to be lost over the next three years.

November 7, 2010

University of New South Wales Struggles with $2 Million Art Education Gift

The academic board at the University of New South Wales will review the wider impact on teaching, scholarship, and research freedom of a $2 million gift from Brian and Gene Sherman reports Heath Gilmore for the Sydney Morning Herald. The gift from the Shermans has sparked concern among a small number of staff and students that future gifts could entrench the influence of corporations or individuals over academics.

The Shermans’s gift, which helps boost the $48 million federally funded College of Fine Arts project at Paddington, has taken on greater significance because of how the university hierarchy formally acknowledged the philanthropic gesture. Concern has centred on the decision to rename the School of Art History and Art Education at the college after the Shermans. It is the first time a school at the university will be named after individuals. A gallery inside the new college building also will carry the Sherman name. Gene Sherman, who ran a prestigious commercial gallery and oversees the not-for-profit Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, has been given an honorary position, adjunct professor.

The president of the academic board, Janet Chan, said the issue would be discussed, with presentations by the university fund-raising arm, the UNSW Foundation, as well as the college’s management. Professor Chan said the gift had been the subject of widespread conjecture within the university. However, it had been surrounded by much misinformation, she said.

A spokeswoman for the vice-chancellor said the Shermans’s gift and the renaming of the School of Art History and Art Education were discussed at the last meeting of the university council and no objections were raised.

November 1, 2010

CCS Bard
Vermont College of Fine Arts
SFAI
Royal Academy of Art, The Hague
SCIARC
St. John\'s University