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|DUNG AT THE TATE|
A disgruntled artist has dumped a wheelbarrow full of manure on the steps of the Tate Gallery in London to protest the awarding of the Turner Prize to painter Chris Ofili, who often attaches clods of elephant dung to his canvases. Ray Hutchins, 66, plopped the pile on Dec. 10 and planted a sign titling the poop Modern Art is a load of bullshit. "A real artist who can paint should have won the Turner Prize," said Hutchins, who specializes in detailed renderings of military diagrams.
MAYNARD DIXON IN TUCSON
CHICAGO MCA HIRES
The appointments "complete the curatorial and management teams" of new MCA director Robert Fitzpatrick, who also announced several new exhibitions for the MCA. Opening on Jan. 30, 1999, is "Unfinished History," a show co-curated by Bonami for the Walker Art Center; also promised are shows of Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Heinecken, Katharina Fritsch, William Kentridge, Sol LeWitt and H.C. Westermann.
SCHAEFER TO GETTY
NEW RECORDS AT SOTHEBY'S LONDON
POLKE AT MOMA
ALICE NEEL ONLINE
MARLBOROUGH BOCA RATON
SEATTLE'S MEYERSON & NOWINSKI TO CLOSE
MUSEUM ATTENDANCE REVIEW
GETTY TRUSTS PRESERVATION
NEW RESTAURANT AT NGA
FAX JAM FOR MAX
"We wish to express our opposition to your treatment of curators Thelma Golden and Elisabeth Sussman. The recent restructuring of the curatorial departments at the Whitney Museum of American Art is indicative of a managerial approach that has been slowly developing in a number of major art museums. Beyond our wish to show support for fellow curators Golden and Sussman, we see your recent actions as signals of a pervasive disrespect for curatorial practice, and as signs of aversion to some of the most esthetically and intellectually challenging experiments in contemporary art.
"Curators at many institutions today are caught in a kind of double bind. Art museums pride themselves on their proximity to an academic environment, positing scholarship as one of their highest goals. Yet due to shifts in the infrastructure of funding, museums have also adopted corporate management models - with the corollary effect that curators are treated as expendable workers. Contrary to both of these models, curators do not have the job security and intellectual support enjoyed by professors in the university system, nor do they enjoy salaries comparable to corporate employees. As a result, they are forced to stand on increasingly shaky ground, while serving as the primary source of ideas for their institutions' exhibition programming. The door is then open to all kinds of abuses.
"We find your actions in regard to these particular individuals to be a form of intellectual gentrification, if not censorship. The fact that Thelma Golden and Elisabeth Sussman presided over the controversial 1993 Biennial Exhibition, one of the most stimulating and contentious contemporary art exhibitions presented after the gutting of the National Endowment for the Arts, or that Golden then went on to curate "Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art," are coincidences that hardly escape us. Since when did exhibitions that set attendance records and raise genuine intellectual questions become a failure? Of course no one is required to subscribe to the esthetic options of these two curators, but to admit that they are part of an important debate, itself linked to a vibrant focus of artistic experimentation, is surely necessary for a public institution that seeks to represent artistic practice today. To sidestep this debate over politics and identity in a multicultural, globally integrating society is to set a timid, unproductive, yet perhaps more easily manageable agenda for the Whitney. This troubling direction reflects a broader conservative trend, the mistaken return to an outdated conception of cultural history.
"We feel it is imperative to mark our opposition to your actions, lest they be misperceived as the innocuous restructuring of an organization like any other in the private sphere. Curating is an eminently public activity and must remain so, if the visual arts are to continue to generate the curiosity, the enthusiasm and the commitment that sustain our efforts as professionals in this field."
(Signed) Mónica Amor, Zdenka Badovinac, Bart de Baere, Wayne Baerwaldt, Carlos Basualdo, Daniel Birnbaum, Francesco Bonami, Dan Cameron, Christophe Cherix, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Lisa Corrin, Jordan Crandall, Amada Cruz, Okwui Enwezor, Robert Fleck, Douglas Fogle, Jesús Fuenmayor, Bettina Funcke, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Hou Hanru, Susan Hapgood, Jens Hoffmann, Brian Holmes, Udo Kittelmann, Aleksandra Kostic, Maria Lind, Rosa Martinez, Laurence Miller, Viktor Misiano, Akiko Miyake, Louise Neri, Michelle Nicol, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Kathrin Rhomberg, Liisa Roberts, José Ignacio Roca, Yukiko Shikata, Nancy Spector, Barbara Vanderlinden, Peter Weibel, Octavio Zaya.