NEW VERSION OF "PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION"
Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes and South African artist Robin Rhode have teamed up for a new version of Musorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, the celebrated suite of ten virtuoso piano pieces composed in 1874 to commemorate architect Viktor Hartmann, who died suddenly from an aneurysm at age 39. Titled Pictures Reframed, the composition premieres at Lincoln Center in New York on Nov. 13, 2009, and is scheduled to tour the East Coast before traveling to Europe and, in 2010, Beijing and Abu Dhabi. The program, which is still in development, is expected to last about 80 minutes, and feature Andsnes performing in the midst of a video installation designed by Rhodes. For more info, see www.picturesreframed.com
NASHER SNAPS UP STRICK
One person who doesn’t seem to have trouble finding a job in this recessionary climate is Jeremy Strick, much praised director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, who was forced out of his job in December 2008 after his poor fiscal management suddenly came to light. Strick is headed for the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, where his head for numbers presumably won’t be an issue -- the Nasher’s endowment is reported to be $100,000,000. One interesting footnote from Carol Vogel’s New York Times story on the appointment is the news that Strick had been negotiating to jump ship in early 2008, long before MOCA’s budgetary troubles came to light.
FURTHER LOSSES AT L.A. MOCA
Meanwhile, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, is facing losses on several fronts. In order to save $4.4 million, the museum has announced plans to eliminate 16 full-time and 16 part-time jobs, which amounts to a 20 percent staff cut. No curators or senior staff are among the laid off employees. The museum staff now numbers about 130 people.
What’s more, according to Culture Monster, the Los Angeles Times culture blog, nine of MOCA’s 35 trustees -- an admittedly ineffectual bunch -- have resigned. Among the departing trustees are Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Peter Morton, Guess jeans magnate Maurice Marciano, developer Douglas R. Ring and former A&M Records exec Gil Friesen.
MONTREAL MUSEUM CELEBRATES "BED-IN" ANNIVERSARY
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the 40th anniversary of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s world-famous peace demonstration from 1969 -- the week-long "Bed-In" at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal -- with a special exhibition, "Imagine: The Peace Ballad of John and Yoko," Apr. 2-June 21, 2009. Organized by Centre Pompidou curator Emma Lavigne and Thierry Planelle, sound consultant to Jean Paul Gaultier and Hermes, the show ranges from the couple’s original meeting in 1966 through their life in New York in 1971-72, and also includes two installations by Yoko, The Wish Tree and Ex it, a suite of 100 coffins with a tree protruding from each. For more info, see www.mmfa.qc.ca
STASI AGENT HEADS PHILLIPS DE PURY
Phillips de Pury & Co. has appointed a former Stasi agent to its top job, according to a report on the Bloomberg News. Bernd Runge, vice-president of Conde Nast International and the new CEO of Phillips, reportedly worked as a spy codenamed "Olden" for the East German secret police between 1981 and ’89. The Moscow-based luxury retail company Mercury Group, which owns the TSUM department store in Moscow, purchased a controlling stake in Phillips in October 2008. The auction firm’s founder, Simon de Pury, remains as chairman of the company.
DALLAS MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS
The Dallas Museum of Art has acquired works by Marlene Dumas, Jim Hodges and Yayoi Kusama with its DMA/amfAR Benefit Auction Fund, a unique fundraising effort that has raised over $21 million for both art purchases -- some 70 works to date -- and AIDS research. The new acquisitions include Dumas’ 2008 portrait of Ingrid Bergman, titled For Whom the Bell Tolls; Hodges’ and still this (2005-08), a gold-leaf painting that extends across ten canvases that surround the viewer in a semicircle; and Kusama’s 1962-64 Accumulation, a sculpture featuring a chair covered with hundreds of the artist’s signature bulging forms.
BONNARD MUSEUM SET FOR ARTIST’S HOMETOWN
The city of Le Cannet near Cannes on the French Riviera -- where Pierre Bonnard settled for the final years of his life -- has announced plans to establish a museum dedicated to his works. According to Le Cannet mayor Michèle Tabarot, the museum is to be housed in the Villa Hotel Saint-Vianney. Renovation is planned to begin in June 2009.
ILLUSTRATION CENTER AT ROCKWELL MUSEUM
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., has launched a special center for illustration, housed within its 36-acre, Robert A.M. Stern-designed facility. The Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, which is headed by curator Joyce Schiller, is billed as the nation’s first research institute devoted to American illustration art. The new center plans to build an illustration collection, and support scholarship in the field.
ART MATTERS GRANTEES FOR 2009
The nonprofit foundation Art Matters has announced 16 grants to artists for projects focusing on communication and collaboration across national borders. Grants range from $5,000 to $10,000. Winners are Mathieu Borysevicz, Matthew Buckingham, Nicole Cherubini, Felipe Dulzaides, Amy Franceschini, Victoria Fu, Ken Gonzales-Day, Dinh Q. Le, Kalup Linzy, James Longley, Michael Queenland, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Randy Regier, Emily Roysdon, Xaviera Simmons, and Jeff Sonhouse. For more info, see www.artmattersfoundation.org
PATTY ORTIZ TO SAN ANTONIO
Patty Ortiz, director of the Museo de las Américas in Denver for the last four years, has been appointed head of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, Tx.