FAITH RINGGOLD MUSEUM FOR HARLEM
Harlem is moving closer to having a new museum, the Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling, proposed to break ground in a few months and debut in 2012 on 155th Street and St. Nicholas in New York. Long in the works, the museum is to be designed by British starchitect David Adjaye, whose design resembles two rows of slightly staggered, stacked grey-purple boxes. The 18,000-square-foot museum is to house a permanent collection of Ringgold’s art as well as spaces for temporary exhibitions and children’s artwork. It also incorporates a performance space, a museum shop, a café and a media center/library.
The initiative is being spearheaded by a group called Broadway Housing, which works to provide affordable housing in the city. Consequently, it is being built as one component of a rather novel initiative, what is called an "affordable housing, educational and cultural arts mixed-use development" in the organization’s literature: The Museum will share space with a large-scale affordable housing complex, with some 124 apartments, as well as an early childhood center.
Ringgold, who has just opened a show at the Neuberger Museum of Art, as well as at the ACA Art Gallery, is known as being a pioneer of the ‘70s story-quilt revival, as well as for her own bestselling children’s book, Tar Beach. Born in Harlem, she sees the Faith Ringgold Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling as a contribution to the next generation of Harlem residents: "They need to have the opportunity to create their art at their great time of brilliance, which is when they are children," Ringgold told the Columbia Spectator late last year, at an event celebrating the initiative. "This museum will lend itself to seeing that that happens for many, many children that come there."
MORE ROB PRUITT AWARDS COMING
The Guggenheim Museum must have liked its association with artist Rob Pruitt’s wacky Annual Art Awards, which took place at the museum last fall as part of what was supposedly a fund-raising event. Along with Pruitt, Gugg curator Nancy Spector and White Columns director Matthew Higgs have begun assembling nominations for the 2010 awards from a select group of "more than 1,000 artists and art-world professionals." Winners are to be announced in a ceremony on Dec. 8, 2010, though this time it’s slated to be held at Webster Hall in the East Village rather than at the museum itself. In the meantime, the "lifetime achievement" award-winners for 2010 have already been selected: Jonas Mekas and Martha Rosler. The artist Marilyn Minter is the recipient of a new Artist-Educator Achievement Award for 2010.
NADA ARTIST BALL
Save the date: NADA -- that would be the New Art Dealer’s Alliance, the dealers group that puts on the NADA Art Fair every year in Miami -- has announced its first-ever NADA Artist Ball. To be held Oct. 31, 2010, at Eventi, a new four-star hotel located at 851 Avenue of the Americas in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, the Halloween-night costume event promises "to celebrate the artists that make our industry possible." On the schedule is an hour-long program of art films courtesy of the Big Screen Project, a new, gargantuan HD format LED screen used for showing art films, located at a plaza next to the hotel (see www.bigscreenproject.org). Details about the Ball are still coming together, but check www.newartdealers.org for info.
AD HACKS RIP OFF ARTIST
Maybe they thought that they could get away with it because it was in Jakarta. To promote UPS in the Indonesian capital, the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather produced a series of outdoor sculptures, depicting the figure of a UPS delivery man, abstracted into a series of angled wooden slats to evoke motion. Images from the campaign made it back to the States, where they were immediately identified as an unauthorized homage to New York sculptor Ryan Johnson (who had showed relevant works at the now-defunct Guild & Greyshkul gallery in 2008). Side-by-side comparisons with Johnson’s sculpture Pedestrian at the Fast Company design blog pretty convincingly illustrate a case of blatant corporate plagiarism. "[W]hat I find particularly gross," the blog notes, "is that they took it from someone small enough that few people would ever notice."
Imitation is the best form of flattery -- actually, royalty payments are better -- but Ogilvy & Mather has issued a rather absurd denial of the plagiarism charge, insisting that, "Any similarity between his work and our installation is coincidental," and, "Creative integrity is a fundamental value of our company and a non-negotiable requirement of our client, UPS" (the former statement would seem to contradict the latter!). The artist tells Fast Company that he had even previously been contacted by a German ad agency about the idea of using his sculptures in a promo for UPS rival DHL.
So, how did Johnson’s New York sculpture become the inspiration for some "Mad Men" half a world away? Fast Company suggests it was through being featured on Ffffound, the image bookmarking site which, it seems, has become a particularly hot avenue for ad designers to find what is euphemistically known as "inspiration." So artists, if you get "fffound," look out!
ART FOR TIBET FUNDRAISER
Students for a Free Tibet is getting set for its second-annual “Art for Tibet” fundraiser in NYC, this year with an honorary committee that includes actor Richard Gere, American Buddhist author Robert Thurman, street artist Shepard Fairey and Tibet-born art star Tenzing Rigdol. Over 100 artists contribute works for the cause, on view at the Union Gallery Annex at 353 Broadway, Sept. 21-25, 2010. The event kicks off with a panel discussion and reception featuring DJ sets and “live painting,” Sept. 25 at 5 pm, with proceeds from a silent auction of the art going to the cause (those who can’t attend can see the lots and bid now, online). See www.artfortibet.com for further details.