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Artnet News
Nov. 11, 2008 

Museums need directors who are schooled in art and scholarship, more so than ever during a financial downturn when the inclination might be to turn to the business side. To this end, the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL), founded by Museum of Modern Art trustee Agnes Gund and curator Elizabeth Easton, has established its very own "stimulus package" to groom today’s top curators to take the reins at the nation’s major museums tomorrow.

Ten curators have received CCL fellowships for 2009: Valerie Cassel Oliver (of the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston); Gloria Groom (Art Institute of Chicago); Maxwell Hearn (Metropolitan Museum of Art); Robin Held (Frye Art Museum, Seattle); Eik Kahng (Walters Art Museum, Baltimore); Mary-Kay Lombino (Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Pougkeepsie, N.Y.); Kevin Salatino (Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Britt Salvesen (Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson); Rochelle Steiner (Public Art Fund); and Matthew Welch (Minneapolis Institute of Arts).

The winners are set to begin a two-week intensive course at Columbia University, starting Jan. 5, 2009, which will focus on "change management, decision making, strategy, negotiation and conflict resolution, finance, managerial accounting and endowment management." This seminar is to be followed by a one-week residency at an institution other than their current one in the spring, and another week of classes in June. Curators who successfully complete the course receive a leadership certificate from the CCL. More info at

Ten visual artists are among the 50 winners of the 2008 USA Fellows program from the Los Angeles-based United States Artists foundation, receiving unrestricted awards of $50,000 each. Selected by a panel of experts, the winners include both well-established figures and less-known artists: Terry Adkins; Michael Asher; Andrea Bowers; Deanna Dikeman; Barkley L. Hendricks; Tehching Hsieh; Rodney McMillian; Martha Rosler; Catherine Sullivan; and Kara Walker

The new headquarters of the Frost Art Museum at Miami’s Florida International University (named after generic drugs magnate Phillip Frost and his wife Patricia) is set to open its dramatic new headquarters on Nov. 29, 2008. Designed by Yann Weymouth of the firm hok, the $16 million, 46,000-square-foot facility includes 10,000 square feet of gallery space (up from 2,800 square feet in the old Frost Museum), and is specifically engineered to exhibit artworks under natural light. The new Frost kicks things off with six different shows, including "Modern Masters from the Smithsonian," Nov. 29, 2008-Mar. 1, 2009. It also hosts a "Breakfast in the Park" event during Art Basel Miami Beach, honoring sculptor Joel Shapiro. More info at

The scuttlebutt is that art lovers can expect less ambitious touring shows and more permanent collection showcases in 2009, as museums push to make do with less during the recession. Consequently, the initiative of New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel to share out their famous trove of art works couldn’t come at a better time for museums. Known for their sharp eyes and love of conceptual and minimal works, the Vogels are pushing ahead with a project to give pieces of their collection to institutions in literally every state of the Union -- a donation of some 2,500 works in all -- including pieces by Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Dan Graham, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Edda Renouf, Pat Steir and Richard Tuttle.

The initiative already has its own website,, and some 10 institutions have already received 50 artworks each from the Vogel collection this year: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Del.; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Ga.; the Indianapolis Museum of Art; the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Ky.; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.; Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, N.J.; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Tex.; and the Seattle Art Museum. Curators associated with the project are finalizing the list of works to be shared with other institutions, with 20 more to receive gifts by the end of 2008, and the final 20 gifts to be doled out in 2009.

On tap to benefit from the scheme are: the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Ala.; University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, Ak.; Phoenix Art Museum; Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Ark.; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center: Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.; Miami Art Museum; Honolulu Academy of Arts; Boise Art Museum; University Museum, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Il.; Cedar Rapids Museum of Art; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kan.; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Me.; Academy Art Museum, Easton, Mar.; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Min.; Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Miss.; Saint Louis Art Museum; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Mon.; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Neb.; Las Vegas Art Museum; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, N. H.; New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, N.M.; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, N.C.; Plains Art Museum, Fargo, N.D.; Akron Art Museum, Akron, Oh.; Oklahoma City Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum, Portland, Ore.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Penn.; Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.; Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, S.C.; South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings, S.D.; Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tenn.; Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Ut.; Robert Hull Fleming Museum, Burlington, Ver.; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Vir.; Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, W.V.; Milwaukee Art Museum;  and University of Wyoming Art Museum, Laramie, Wy.

German artist choreographer Tino Sehgal opens what is described as the most "ambitious and complete selection of his oeuvre to date" at the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan, Nov. 11-Dec. 14, 2008. Sehgal is known for staging simple performances that hover at the threshold between dance, theater and conceptual art, and for insisting that no photos be taken of his live projects. Works being restaged for the retrospective include Kiss (2002), for which two dancers interpret famous kisses from art history; Bruce and Dan and other things (2000), which has actors perform a ballet inspired by videos by Bruce Nauman and Dan Graham; and This is so contemporary (2005) -- familiar to art lovers from Sehgal’s outing at the German pavilion of the 2005 Venice Biennale -- for which museum guards chant the title phrase and jump around like puppets.

"Installed within the stucco and the golden framed mirrors of Villa Reale, Sehgal’s choreography takes on a ghostly presence but can also be read as carefully rehearsed conversation pieces of a new rococo," the press release trumpets. See for further information.

Artist Alison Saar is dedicating her new 13-foot-tall cast bronze monument to Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman this Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, already sited at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 122nd Street in Harlem. The monument depicts Tubman "not as the conductor of the Underground Railroad but as the train itself. . . the ruffle of her petticoat acting as a cattle guard pushing all resistance aside." The dedication coincides with the opening of an exhibition of Saar’s work at Phyllis Kind Gallery; bronze maquettes of the memorial, made in an edition of nine, are still available from the gallery.

The Oakland, Ca.-based Johansson Projects is doing its part to prime the pump of holiday art sales with "Collapsitalism: The Holiday Recession Sale," Nov. 15, 2008-Jan. 2, 2009. The show brings together work by 11 Northern California artists, priced to move, with all works at under $500. Participants include Andrew Benson, Alex Case, Nathan Cordero, Marci Erspamer, Susie Grant, Zach Houston, Eric Larson, Hunter Longe, Joan Moment and Carson Murdach. More info at

The Harvard Art Museum has completed its "American Art Campaign," raising some $10.5 million to endow two curatorial positions in its department of American painting, sculpture and decorative arts, as well as to fund ongoing operations of the department. At the same time, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, part of the consortium that makes up the Harvard Art Museum, announced that it has received a trove of more than 50 works of contemporary German art from the Germany-based, 240-member Friends of the Busch-Reisinger Museum. The "Friends Anniversary Collection," as it is called, includes works by Georg Baselitz, Boris Becker, Candida Höfer, Markus Lüpertz, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, A. R. Penck and Rosemarie Trockel. More info at

The Lower East Side gallery Rivington Arms, which was opened on Rivington Street in 2001 by two Sarah Lawrence classmates, Melissa Bent and Mirabelle Marden (daughter of Brice), is closing after its current show, according to a report in Bloomberg. The reason cited was differences between the two principals, who are said to be pursuing unspecified endeavors on their own. The two pledge to "remain close friends." Among the artists represented by the gallery were Matthew Cerletty, John Finneran, Leigh Ledare and Hanna Liden.

Helaine Posner has been named chief curator and deputy director of curatorial affairs at the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, N.Y. Posner is currently adjunct curator at the American Federation of Arts in New York, where she organized last year’s touring mid-career survey of Lorna Simpson, among other exhibitions. She begins her new duties Nov. 17, 2008.

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