Cooper Hewitt Director Hired, MFA Boston Returns Looted Objects to Mali, and More: Morning Links for February 9, 2022

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The Headlines

THE LEADERS. The new director of the Cooper HewittSmithsonian Design Museum in New York is Maria Nicanor, who has led the Rice Design Alliance at Rice University’s School of Architecture in Houston for more than four years, Robin Pogrebin reports in the New York Times. Nicanor fills a position that has been vacant since Caroline Baumann was forced out in 2020 after an investigation determined that she violated conflict-of-interest rules, allegations that she has disputed. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s vice president of film and strategic programming, Gina Duncan, has been tapped to lead the arts institution, Matt Stevens reports in the Times. And, also in the Times, Jori Finkel profiles Cameron Shaw, the Pelican Bomb founder now running the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Her “sense of purpose comes in making space or creating platforms for others,” she said.

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THE BUILDERS. Israel’s $100,000 Wolf Prize for architecture has gone to Elizabeth Diller, of New York’s Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Momoyo Kaijima, of Tokyo’s Atelier Bow-Wow, the Associated Press reports. An accompanying statement praises Diller for her “influential work connecting architecture to artistic practice.” Over in Seoul, architect Kim Won is selling some 50 artworks from his art collection at a Seoul gallery to raise money for a nonprofit he directs that helps vaccinate children in North Korea, the Korea Herald reports. And the pioneering California architect Julia Morgan (1872–1957), whose projects include Hearst Castle in San Simeon and the Riverside Art Museum, is the subject of a new biography by Victoria Kastner that Chris Vognar terms “handsome and comprehensive” in Datebook.

The Digest

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has returned two terracotta objects that are believed to have been looted to Mali. The MFA received the pieces, which date to between the 13th and 15th centuries, as part of a 2013 gift, but never added them to its collection because of their provenance issues. [The Boston Globe and WBUR]

Canadian Senator Patricia Bovey has staged a show of Black artists in the Senate building, and said that Black artists’ work is “neither well enough known or adequately celebrated.” Bovey, who previously directed the Winnipeg Art Gallery, is the first art historian to be appointed to the body. [CBC]

Elaine KwokChristie’s director of 20th- and 21st-century art in Hong Kong, has joined Hauser & Wirth gallery as managing partner of Asia, a newly created position. [ARTnews]

After a more-than-five-year closure to complete a £68.3 million (about $92.5 million) renovation, the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, Scotland, said that it will reopen in late March. The project has increased its gallery space by more than a third. [BBC News]

The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation gave $1 million to the Shaker Museum, in Chatham, New York. When Kelly died in 2015, the collection of Shaker objects that the artist collected with his partner, Jack Shear, were donated to the institution, which announced plans for an expansion last year. [The Architect’s Newspaper]

Writer and academic Yxta Maya Murray—whose most recent novel, Art Is Everything (2021), was reviewed in ARTnews last year—has written three new poems about art that include mentions of Julie MehretuJay DeFeoRaphael, and more. [November]

Artist Sterling Ruby provided the cover art for rapper Pusha T’s latest single, “Diet Coke.” [Genius]

The Kicker

A LONG-TERM PROJECT. In 2001, fans of experimental composer John Cage got together to create a performance of his piece Organ²/ASLSP (1987) on a single organ in Halberstadt, Germany. “ASLSP” in its title stands for “as slow as possible,” and their plan is for it to run for a cool 639 years. On Saturday, for the first time since 2020, it shifted to a new note, columnist Nicholas Goldberg writes in the Los Angeles Times , describing the project as a “reminder that sometimes there’s a value to moving slowly.” Not everyone is a fan of this venture, though. “What they’re doing goes against every single thing John Cage stood for,” Times classical-music critic Mark Swed told Goldberg. “This is a marketing gimmick. Everything about it is fraudulent.” And he goes on from there! [LAT]


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