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Artists Celebrate “Scenes for a New Heritage” at MoMA

“It’s like Chinese Mario,” the young man said, his Red Army avatar hurdling over pixilated, orange flames that expanded across two parallel gallery walls. On Monday night, a small crowd at the Museum of Modern Art gathered around as — mostly men — took turns playing Feng Megbo’s “Long March: Restart,” 2008, which pits the Chinese Communist Party against the Nationalists. The hundred or so tony guests and a handful of artists gathered at the museum to inaugurate the rehanging of the contemporary wing, which has geared itself toward a broader, more global story of art today. (Cue New York Times critic Holland Cotter to rejoice.)


Iturbide, Fink, and Frazier Among ICP Award Winners

The International Center of Photography (ICP) has announced its annual Infinity Award winners. While the honorees utilize a wide range of image-making tools, from drones to Rolleiflex cameras, they are united often by their commitment to social change. The winners will be honored at a gala — ICP’s biggest fundraiser — on April 30 at Manhattan’s Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers.

stARTup Art Fair Creates Space for SF’s Independent Artists

Held up to juggernauts like Basel, the fairs produced by artMRKT Productions, now in New York, Miami, Houston, Seattle, and San Francisco, feel like playful, hip alternatives (see: Williamsburg food trucks shipped out to the Hamptons). But this year, running parallel to artMRKT San Francisco’s fifth outing, a new local effort makes its own outsider debut: the stARTup Art Fair, a showcase for independent artists, which runs from May 1 to 3 at the Hotel del Sol. By allowing artists to represent themselves — and thereby keep 100 percent of their profits — the fair seeks to give a boost to local talent, especially given the current state of the city’s art scene.


ICP Chief Curator Brian Wallis to Step Down

International Center of Photography deputy director and chief curator Brian Wallis will leave his post at the end of February, the museum reports. “Brian Wallis has had a long and distinguished career at ICP. He came on board before our renovated Midtown galleries opened in 2000 and has been instrumental to our success over the last 15 years,” executive director Mark Lubell said in a statement. In its future move to the Bowery, ICP will continue to build on the foundation Wallis has laid, Lubell added. (more…)

Met Curator Killed in Metro-North Crash

Walter Liedtke, curator of European paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was killed last night in the Metro-North train crash in Valhalla, New York. He was 69. In an email to staff, the Met said it still awaited official confirmation. Met director Thomas Campbell, however, wrote about the death in an Instagram post this afternoon.


Photographer Lisa Oppenheim Joins Tanya Bonakdar

Lisa Oppenheim has joined Tanya Bonakdar, the gallery reported last night. For some time, Bonakdar has followed the career of the experimental photographer and filmmaker, the gallery says. Over the past year, however, Bonakdar became more closely acquainted with the artist through visits to her Brooklyn studio. “Lisa is committed to process: looking at the historic roots of photography, all the way back to Henry Fox Talbot, analyzing them, and then pushing those ideas forward into contemporary photography, with her innovative use of materials that combine the traditional with the new, the historic with the unconventional,” said Shawna Cooper, the gallery’s associate director.


Thomas Collins Leaves PAMM for Barnes Foundation

Five-year Pérez Art Museum Miami director Thomas Collins (better known as Thom) will now return to his native Philadelphia as the new director of the Barnes Foundation. He’ll be taking over for COO and CFO Peg Zminda, the acting director after the 2013 departure of Derek Gillman — who recently announced his new position at Christie’s as chairman and senior vice president of Impressionist and Modern art. “Thom is a national leader in the visual arts and is recognized for his expertise and breadth of knowledge in education and art history,” Joseph Neubauer, chairman of Barnes’s board of trustees, said in a statement. ”His track record in museum leadership, community outreach, and development makes him the right choice to lead the Barnes Foundation at this time.” Before PAMM, Collins worked for five years as director of the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York — and before that, he held posts at Baltimore’s Contemporary Museum, Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery, and MoMA. “With its world-class collection, critically acclaimed new building, award-winning programs, growing membership and engaging array of courses in art and horticulture, the Barnes has become increasingly accessible to a more diverse audience than ever before,” Collins said in a statement. “It will be a privilege to lead the Barnes Foundation in its next chapter.”


Helen Mirren Fights Nazis For Art in “Woman in Gold”

Just in time for the holidays we have the sparkling trailer for “Woman in Gold,” the uplifting film starring Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, known for her successful lawsuit filed in 2000 against the Republic of Austria forcing them to return work by the painter Gustav Klimt which fell into the hands of the Nazis after the annexation of Austria in 1938.


Confessions of a Towel Person: Performing with Freeman/Lowe

I became a towel person thanks to the dying battery of an electric golfcart-taxi and the sudden onslaught of torrential Floridian rain. The original plan for last night was to take in Ryan McNamara’s “MEƎM 4 Miami,” which proved impossible due to that pair of obstacles, not to mention Miami’s anemic traffic creep. We instead hid out from the elements at the Edition, the just-opened luxury hotel on Collins Avenue that has been hosting approximately 78% of the after parties for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. It was the location for a performance later that evening by gonzo artist duo Freeman/Lowe, entitled “Shadow Pool: A Natural History of the San San International.” My travel companions — a writer who penned a Modern Painters cover story on Freeman/Lowe, and an artist who has previously worked with them — mentioned that the pair was still looking for performers to round out the evening’s cast. It seemed like a more interesting proposition than standing on a lawn taking selfies with new John Baldessari sculptures, and so we got sucked into the slightly chaotic, albeit well-staffed, production of “Shadow Pool.”


Overheard at Pulse: David Magnusson on His “Purity” Series

Among the solo presentations at Pulse’s new beachfront tent is Bloomington, Indiana’s Pictura Gallery, who have lined their booth with David Magnusson’s solemn, pale-toned photographs of fathers and daughters posing prom-style before vast expanses of desert. We caught up with Magnusson to ask him about the story behind the striking works — and his response was so good, we just had to quote it in full:

“These are pictures of young girls with their fathers who participated in Purity Ball ceremonies arranged by conservative Christian organizations in the south and southwest. A Purity Ball is a ceremony where the girls promise to stay pure and remain abstinent until marriage, and their fathers promise to protect their daughters in their decisions. Coming from Sweden, which is one of the most secular countries in the world, I just had the picture of crazy American fathers sitting on porches with big shotguns, prepared to do whatever it took to protect their baby girls — but I was fascinated by the use of symbolism from marriage ceremonies, so I started to read everything I came across.