DESIGN MIAMI FOUNDER EXITS
Ambra Medda, co-founder and director of Design Miami and its sister show Design Miami Basel, is leaving that fair venture this June. She announced her departure privately during the Milan Salone, where the Miami fair’s exhibition, "Design Vertigo," was staged. "In June, we will announce a new director," says Susan Ainsworth, fair spokesperson. Medda co-founded the fair with Miami developer Craig Robins in 2005.
The news came as a shock to the art-and-design community, given Medda’s considerable successes. During the Salone less than two weeks ago, W Hotels announced their sponsorship of the fair’s Designers of the Future Award. The luxury hotel chain is expanding the award and will place winners’ works in their hotels. Past winners have included Maarten Baas, among others.
In addition, Medda has built a formidable dealer roster of 32 participants for Basel. New dealers she snared include Perry Rubenstein of Chelsea and Didier Aaron of Paris, while David Gill of London is returning after a hiatus. Her 2009 Miami fair only had 15 dealers.
Medda, who secured a Williamsburg apartment more than a year ago, will make New York her base.
BANKSY DOES $200K BAND BACKDROP
Everyone’s talking about the Banksy-directed film, Exit through the Gift Shop, which showed at the Sundance Film Festival and tracks the antics of street artist Mr. Brainwash. Also getting some press: the London band named Exit through the Gift Shop, which has understandably benefited from some free publicity. The similarity in names was apparently a coincidence, with the band having been founded a few years ago out of the "midlife crisis" of band member, 41-year-old web developer Simon Duncan.
Call it a happy coincidence though. According to the Guardian, Duncan’s band started receiving "hilarious emails from someone saying he was Banksy," asking for them to change their name. Soon, in return for changing his band’s name to Brace Yourself, a white van delivered to Duncan a giant new Banksy painting -- "the size of a double bed" -- depicting a grim reaper driving a bumper car, with the words "Brace Yourself" written on the front.
A Sotheby’s appraiser estimated that the work is worth a cool $200,000, and has taken the original into storage. Brace Yourself plans to play in front of a full-sized replica of the Banksy at a gig this week.
EUPHRAT MUSEUM FIRES, HIRES DIRECTOR
The Euphrat Museum at De Anza College in Cupertino, Ca. has become an unexpected symbol of the inhumanity of the budget cuts sweeping the California college system, as it has laid off its long-time director Janet Rindfleisch, only to attempt to hire her back as a temporary contract employee, at 60 percent of her previous pay. According to the Silicon Valley Mercury News, Rindfleisch has served with the Euphrat since 1978, and is credited with giving the small community college a museum whose programming draws some 10,000 visitors a year. With the board of trustees seeking to slash $4.8 million from the school’s budget, however, her position was eliminated. A De Anza spokesperson said that the museum's nonprofit foundation will pay Rindfleisch to stay on after June 30 on a temporary one-year basis at the new reduced salary, doing the same work as before, along with the added brief of using "some of the year looking for ways and money to hire her permanently."
RAFAEL FERRER AT EL MUSEO
El Museo del Barrio presents "Retro/Active, The Work of Rafael Ferrer," June 8-Aug. 22, 2010, the first museum exhibition to provide an in-depth look at the work of the influential Puerto Rican artist (b. 1933). The show is organized by Deborah Cullen, director of curatorial programs at El Museo, and is expected to travel. It includes approximately 100 works ranging from the 1950s to the present, and including paintings, collage, photography and mixed-media works. The exhibition is sponsored by JP Morgan.
BRITISH ART NOW AT SAATCHI GALLERY
British supercollector Charles Saatchi is at it again, with another survey of new British art. "Newspeak: British Art Now, Part I" June 2-Oct. 17, 2010, promises to feature "some of the most exciting artists" who have come to light in the last few years (a selection from the show premiered at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg last fall). The artists are Hurvin Anderson, Karla Black, Pablo Bronstein, Steven Claydon, William Daniels, Matthew Darbyshire, Tim Ellis, Anne Hardy, Sigrid Holmwood, Iain Hetherington, Scott King, Alastair MacKinven, Goshka Macuga, Rupert Norfolk, Mark Pearson, Peter Peri, Ged Quinn, Clunie Reid, Barry Reigate, Daniel Silver, Fergal Stapleton, Clare Stephenson, Phoebe Unwin and John Wynne.
ACRIA "UNFRAMED 2010" BENEFIT
The 20th installment of the celebrated Unframed art benefit for ACRIA, the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America, takes place on Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010, 6-9 pm at Manhattan House at 200 East 66th Street. Participating artists range from Lizzi Bougatsos and Dan Colen to Nate Lowman and Rashaad Newsome; the installation has been curated by Neville Wakefield. The special benefit preview is Apr. 28, with tickets at $250; admission on Apr. 29 is $20 at the door.
JOSÉ BERNAL, 1925-2010
Jose Bernal, 85, Cuban modernist who made his home in Chicago after being exiled from his home country after the Bay of Pigs Invasion, died from Parkinson’s disease at his home in Skokie on Apr. 19, 2010. Bernal made paintings, assemblages and sculptures, and taught extensively, first in Cuba and then in the Chicago public schools, with a brief stint (1964-69) doing interior design displays for Marshall Field & Co. He was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 1993, and in 2004 donated 300 of his artworks to the National Parkinson Foundation for auction to benefit its fight against the disease.