Marshall McKay, the first Indigenous board chair of the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, has died at age 68. The Los Angeles Times reported that the cause of death was complications from Covid-19.

A former chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, McKay, who was of Pomo-Wintun heritage, is known for his role growing the tribe’s land holdings in Yolo County, California, and his work establishing its economic autonomy. He was also a founding member of the nonprofit Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, a member of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change, a board member of the UC Davis Foundation, and a board member of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. McKay also served on the California Native American Heritage Commission.

McKay joined the Autry’s board in 2007 and became chair in 2010, finishing his term in 2016. He … Read the rest

Monday, January 4

Six Philadelphia Cultural Institutions Announce 2021 Reopening Dates
Following temporary closures that have been in effect just before the Thanksgiving holiday, six institutions in Philadelphia have made plans to reopen in 2021. The Franklin Institute will reopen to the public January 6, and the Barnes FoundationPhiladelphia Museum of Art, and Academy of Natural Sciences will reopen January 8. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will reopen January 21, while the historic Eastern State Penitentiary will reopen in March.

Amanda Coulson Departs National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
Amanda Coulson, who has served as executive director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas for nine years, will leave her post in May to join Nassau’s new TERN Gallery as founding director. The recently opened enterprise will foreground Bahamian and Caribbean art, and its first exhibition, titled “Inherited Values,” will feature work by … Read the rest

Critic Barbara Rose died on December 25 at age eighty-four. We’re sharing the full text of her 1965 essay “ABC Art,” which identified a common sensibility in experimental dance, film, sculpture, painting, and literature. Rose discussed the downtown New York scene of ’60s and the conditions of the essay’s publication in a 2015 interview marking the text’s fiftieth anniversary. —Eds.

On the eve of the first World War, two artists, one in Moscow, the other in Paris, made decisions which radically altered the course of art history. Today we are feeling the impact of their decisions in an art whose blank, neutral, mechanical impersonality contrasts so violently with the romantic, biographical Abstract Expressionist style which preceded it that spectators are chilled by its apparent lack of feeling or content. Critics, attempting to describe this new sensibility, call it cool art or idiot art or know-nothing nihilism.

That a new sensibility … Read the rest

At first look, Raymond Pettibon’s exhibition “Pacific Ocean Pop” seemed sparse. Though the show contained dozens of recent drawings and collages by the prolific draftsman and satirist, known for layered, enigmatic, and often humorous portmanteaus of text and image—an illustrated checklist ran to twenty-eight pages—Regen Projects’s white box space was left almost entirely open, and the gallery was empty of other visitors due to pandemic protocol. Organized into thematic clusters surrounded by vast expanses of white wall, the works revolved around pop cultural references and motifs that the artist has employed for decades, including golden age comic book superheroes, Major League baseball, the clay animation character Gumby, and film noir. The semiotic open-endedness of the individual drawings was tempered by their arrangement into well-spaced groupings, offering navigable pathways for interpretation.

The thematic core of the installation was the ocean, with large drawings of waves anchoring neighboring clusters … Read the rest

The Queen’s New Year UK Honors list for 2021 has been released, revealing which British individuals have been honored for their services to the arts.

Stephen Deuchar, former director of Tate Britain who served at the helm of the UK’s Art Fund  for ten years, has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Deuchar stepped down from his position at the Art Fund this March, following his tenure as Tate Britain’s first director from 1998 to 2010. His time at the charity was fruitful; under his direction the organization doubled its membership, allocated more than $50 million to UK museums for the acquisition of artworks, and commissioned new contemporary artworks including Rachel Whiteread’s Tree of Life for the Whitechapel Gallery and Katrina Palmer’s Coffin Jump at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Christopher le Brun, who stepped down as president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London last year, was

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One recent morning in Hong Kong, while in the last hours of his quarantine, the New York–based artist Taro Masushio recounted a visit he made to a vast, little-seen archive of homoerotic photographs by Jun’ichi En’ya, who had worked as a photo-technician in Osaka, Japan. “I had just never seen anything like it,” Masushio said on a video call, as he recalled flipping through hundreds and hundreds of En’ya’s analog prints. “It was this very surreal and visceral experience.”

En’ya distributed his pictures of men clandestinely, and was known as Uncle from Osaka. He had a wife and daughter, and died in 1971, the same year that the first gay men’s magazine became easily accessible in Japan. “When I first got this glimpse of these objects, and this figure behind the objects, I became completely obsessed,” Masushio said. “I wanted to work with this and try to understand what … Read the rest

For some fifteen years, Matthias Weischer, has been internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of the New Leipzig School of German representational painters, which includes Neo Rauch, Tim Eitel, David Schnell, Tilo Baumgärtel, Rosa Loy, Ulf Puder, and others. It is surprising, then, that “Stage,” this impressive exhibition of recent oil-on-canvas paintings, is Weischer’s first US solo.

The artists associated with the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts—once one of East Germany’s premier schools for Socialist Realism—have merged the traditional techniques of painting and drawing that were for decades the Academy’s focus, with avant-garde innovations of Western contemporary figuration and abstract art. Soon after graduating at the age of thirty in 2003, Weischer established a reputation for refined interior scenes and ambiguous spatial relationships—unpopulated living rooms and bedrooms, with intricate details and a consistently hushed, eerie atmosphere. Sometimes they recall the serene  domestic spaces of the Danish painter Read the rest

In a year that left institutions around the world shuttered for months on end, public art took on a new resonance in many cities and provided safe experiences for those seeking a bit of visual relief from quarantine. Public artworks created in 2020 often took up urgent political and social issues, and the very notion of monuments—of which figures were being elevated and how they were rendered—figured in protest movements, opinion pages, and beyond. The guide below represents a survey of some of the year’s most notable projects, controversies, and events involving public art, many of which have already changed the ways we view and think about our histories and environments.

A mural of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Murals emerged amid protests surrounding systemic racism and police brutality.
Protests following the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis in May took place around the world this year, and art … Read the rest

Barbara Rose, a critic and curator whose writings and exhibitions changed the way historians told the story of postwar art in the U.S., has died. She was 84. Phyllis Tuchman, an art critic and a friend of Rose, confirmed Rose’s death and said she had been suffering from cancer.

Rose is closely identified with the New York art scene of the 1960s, whose artists she regarded with suspicion because they so severely diverged from traditions laid out in the years before. But she had a more diverse set of interests, having advocated in particular for painting—a medium which many at the time claimed was dead—for a large part of her career.

For many, Rose’s defining piece of writing is “ABC Art,” which appeared in a 1965 issue of Art in America. In it, she endeavored to pinpoint a new artistic trend—a “sensibility,” not a style—that was … Read the rest

On Wednesday afternoon in Seoul, a dozen people waited outside the Keumsan Gallery to see a solo exhibition that has become a flashpoint of controversy, while a couple protesters waved flags nearby on the sidewalk. The issue at hand: the artist responsible staging the show, Moon Joon-yong (문준용), the son of South Korean president Moon Jae-in (문재인), had received a grant from a government relief fund set up to aid artists affected by the economic fallout from the coronavirus.

“If you are a president’s son, shouldn’t you give a chance to other artists or give it up to someone else even if you were selected through the process?” Kim Geun-sik, a Kyungnam University professor who is a member of the conservative People Power Party, wrote on Facebook, according to the Korea Herald. (The president’s Democratic Party is a liberal-leaning centrist group.) The grant is for up to 14 … Read the rest