Winston Wachter is pleased to announce that the piece “Fog” by Ann Gardner has been acquired by Corning Museum of Glass in New York.
Gardner was also the recipient of the Corning Museum’s 2011 Rakow Commission.
Thomas Kinkade, the self-described “Painter of Light” died April 6th at the age of 54. Kinkade, who claimed to be “America’s most-collected living artist,” was notable for the mass marketing, reproduction and licensing of his work. Kinkade’s work featured highly idealized “American” scenes and bucolic settings of nature, water, lighthouses, bridges, streets and cottages. Describing himself as a “devote Christian,” Kinkade’s work reflected what he considered to be “Christian ideals” and symbols.
Kinkade’s works are sold via television shopping channels, signature retail gallery franchises and also by mail order. He had numerous licensing and merchandising deals that included puzzles, greeting cards, calendars, Walmart gift cards, knickknacks and night-lights all with his imagery. Controversial in the fine art world not only for the mass commercialization of his idyllic works, Kinkade’s authenticity was often criticized as he would sell “original” works of art which were in fact prints of his work, touched up by “skilled craftsmen.”
Although the exact cause of his death will not be known for several weeks, recent reports suggest that Kinkade may have been drinking the night of his death and had recently struggled with alcoholism. At the time of his death, Kinkade was living with a girlfriend, his estranged wife and four daughters were travelling in Australia at the time of his death.
Internationally renowned Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei, known for his sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film projects, as well as his political activism and outspoken social criticism, has set up four live webcams at his home. In April of 2011, Ai was unexpectedly arrest by Chinese authorities and detained for nearly 3 months before being charged with tax evasion and release on probation. Ever since, Ai has been living with constant 24-hour police surveillance. Ai installed these webcams, including one above his bed, to draw attention to his situation, explaining to the AFP news agency, “In my life, there is so much surveillance and monitoring… our office has been searched, I have been searched, every day I am being followed, there are surveillance cameras in front of my house.” Ai also explained that by installing the cameras, he hopes to “encourage transparency from all side.”
Ai is currently fighting tax evasion charges that were brought against his company, Fake Cultural Development Ltd, when he was release from detention last year. So far Chinese authorities have upheld the earlier decision to force Ai’s design company to pay $2.4m in fines, imposed by the tax bureau for “back taxes.” Activists continue to argue that the charges are politically motivated and the fine is punishment for Ai’s forthright criticism of the Chinese government.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has hired Sheena Wagstaff for a newly created position of Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Working with colleagues across the Met’s 16 other curatorial departments, as well as making new art acquisitions, Wagstaff will expand the scope of the museum’s late-modern and contemporary art programming. This is part of a larger departmental restructuring and shift in the museum’s focus, to bring the museum’s encyclopedic collections up to date.
As a postgraduate student in the Whitney Museum of Art’s Independent Study Program, Wagstaff spent time in NYC and is no stranger the Metropolitan Museum of Art, it’s renowned reputation, or the immensity of the NYC art scene. After spending the last decade at the Tate Britain as head of Exhibitions & Displays and the Tate Modern as Chief Curator, Wagstaff is known for her key roll in transforming the former Tate Gallery into Tate Britain and devising a program strategy that embraces a more global account of contemporary art. She oversaw the Mark Rothko and Joan Miró blockbusters, as well as spearheaded the establishment of the hugely successful Turbine Hall commissions, central to Tate Modern’s mission to present projects that engage the public both critically and experientially. This series has included iconic installations such as Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas, Olafur Eliasson colossal indoor sun, Doris Salcedo’s 550-foot-long crack in the floor, Carsten Höller’s shiny slides, Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds, and the current installation by Tacita Dean.
Many see the hiring of a powerhouse curator like Wagstaff as a sign that the Met’s director, Thomas Campbell, intends to turn the museum into a serious player on the contemporary art scene. Skeptics point out that New York is already inundated with contemporary art institutions. However, Wagstaff explains that the Met is not looking to compete with other spaces like MoMA, the Whitney or the Guggenheim, but rather complement what they already offer to the public.
The Met’s push to enhance their contemporary programming, is not unlike the recent precedent set by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Louvre and the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, which have all expanded their programs in an effort to catch up with the 21st Century, boost audience attendance and attract more funding.