The Met Names Max Hollein as Next Director—and the 9 Other Biggest News Stories This Week
01 The Met has appointed Max Hollein, previously of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, as its new director.
Hollein, 48, will oversee “the artistic side of the museum — exhibitions, acquisitions, programming,” according to the New York Times, when he formally assumes the directorship this summer. Daniel H. Weiss, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s president and CEO, will remain in charge of its business and operations. It is the first time in 60 years the venerable New York institution has not appointed someone from within its own ranks, the Times reported. Before moving to San Francisco in 2016, Hollein directed several institutions in Frankfurt over the course of 15 years, including the Städel Museum, which is known for its
02 Chris Dercon resigned from Berlin’s Volksbühne, ending his controversial tenure as director.
Dercon and Berlin’s culture senator Klaus Lederer agreed the embattled director should depart from the city’s cherished progressive performance space, according to a statement from public Berlin broadcaster RBB, which first reported the story on Friday. Criticism of Dercon, which began as soon as his appointment was announced in 2015, marred the former Tate Modern director’s tenure at the Volksbühne. Opponents charged he was planning to take the beloved space in a more corporate direction and his debut program last month was met with a middling reception in the city. The debate often veered into personal attacks on Dercon, whose door was smeared with feces on a near-daily basis in August 2017, even before his official September start date. Weeks after Dercon did take the reigns, protesters occupied the performance space for six days, with nearly 40,000 signing a petition in opposition to Dercon’s tenure. In announcing Dercon’s departure, Lederer called the personal attacks “unacceptable,” reported DW, adding they were “unworthy and devoid of any culture.” Klaus Dörr, the Volksbühne’s managing director, will temporarily take charge of the institution until a permanent successor is found.
03 A Marc Chagall painting was recovered nearly 30 years after it was stolen from an Upper East Side home.
(via the FBI)
The painting was recovered last year from a man in Maryland who had contacted the FBI’s Washington office after a suspicious local gallery owner, who declined to buy the
04 The Lucas Museum bought Norman Rockwell’s Shuffleton’s Barbershop from the troubled Berkshire Museum.
The cash-strapped museum in western Massachusetts sparked controversy when it proposed deaccessioning some of its most prized paintings, including several by iconic American painter reported that “the museum’s founder, George Lucas, of ‘Star Wars’ fame, is already known as the leading private collector of Rockwell’s work,” and owns “dozens” of Rockwells, most of which will eventually go to his museum.
05 Art collector Victor Pinchuk has been ensnared in the U.S. Special Counsel’s Russia investigation by a $150,000 payment to the Trump Foundation.
Three sources told the New York Times that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is investigating a $150,000 donation that Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate, gave to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in September 2015. The probe comes amid a broader investigation into foreign money going to then-candidate Trump in the years leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The payment was solicited by Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, and was given in exchange for a 20-minute appearance, via video, that Trump made at a conference in Kiev. The Mueller investigation has primarily focused on connections between the campaign and Russia, but the money from Ukraine is significant because, as a former IRS officer Marcus S. Owens told the Times, “it comes during a campaign and is from a foreigner and looks like an effort to buy influence.” He also argued that $150,000 was “an unusual amount of money for such a short speech.” The Victor Pinchuk Foundation said in a statement that it reached out to Trump to foster “enduring ties between Ukraine and the West” and that, in 2016, “it was by no means assured that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee.” Pinchuk is also one of Ukraine’s biggest art collectors, known for displaying large-scale work by Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, and in 2009 launched the Future Generation Art Prize, which is awarded biannually to artists under 35. (The total winnings are $100,000.)
06 The touch of an overly-curious visitor shattered a Jeff Koons “Gazing Ball” on display in Amsterdam.
A sharp sound echoed through the Nieuwe Kerk church in Amsterdam on Sunday, the last day of a reported in 2015, due to what the publication described as a “metal rod coming up through the center of each ball.” But the shattered silver insides of the orb strewn across the floor of the Amsterdam church prove at least some are easier to dislodge. While the value of the artwork has yet to be released, Hyperallergic reported that the church is currently working with Koons’s studio to “assess the damage, as well as the possibility of repair.”
07 France and Saudi Arabia have agreed to a $20 billion tourism plan to develop the famed cultural site Mada’in Saleh.
(via The Art Newspaper)
Under the arrangement, reported by The Art Newspaper, France would help Saudi Arabia develop a museum, research center, university, and hotels, along with other cultural amenities and infrastructure in the Al-Ula region, which includes the ancient architectural site of Mada’in Saleh. Saudi Arabia’s government is footing the project’s bill, according to one source who spoke with the publication. That same source billed the planned museum on Arab history as being “two to three times bigger than the Louvre Abu Dhabi,” the success of which reportedly prompted Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to raise the idea of a cultural partnership with French president Emmanuel Macron. The pair signed off on the 10-year agreement this week. Mada’in Saleh is the home of a dazzling but difficult-to-access array of architectural wonders carved directly into the cliff face by the Nabataeans, whose kingdom spanned the fourth century BC to the first century AD.
08 An art collector who was part of Andy Warhol’s scene died when a fire broke out in his Trump Tower apartment last weekend.
A blaze on the 50th floor of the apartment building in midtown Manhattan on Saturday injured four firefighters and claimed the life of 67-year-old Todd Brassner, a collector of art, watches, cars, and vintage guitars. Brassner, who in recent years struggled with health problems and bankruptcy, began collecting and dealing art after being introduced to
09 The U.S. Holocaust Museum is aiming to raise $1 billion in five years after surpassing its previous funding goal.
(via the Washington Post)
The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., celebrated its 25th anniversary on Monday with the announcement of a new goal: raising $1 billion by 2023. The museum set the ambitious figure after raising $715 million—$175 million above its target—from 366,000 donors for a campaign was supposed to end this year but will now continue. “We see that we have all this momentum that we really want to seize,” museum director Sara J. Bloomfield told the Washington Post. Raising $1 billion would be a coup for an institution with the relatively small operating budget of just $116 million. The Holocaust Museum has welcomed 43 million visitors, 15 million of which were students, since opening in 1993. The fruits of this final fundraising effort will go to expanding the museum’s educational impact and supporting its mission of inspiring people to “confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity” at a global scale. The vice chairman of the museum’s board, Allan Holt, who is the son of two Holocaust survivors, told the Post that the museum is not only a tool for remembrance: “It is education, prevention of genocide. There’s no shortage of work to be done to continue to carry the message,” he said.
10 Toronto police are looking for a museum visitor who allegedly stole a pricey stone from a Yoko Ono exhibition.
(via the Toronto Star)
“Yoko Ono: The Riverbed,” currently on view at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, invites visitors to hold, meditate, and stack stones, some of which the artist has inscribed with phrases like “dream,” “wish,” and “remember.” But one visitor took the interactive exhibition too far when she walked out of the museum with a stone reading “Love Yourself” on March 12th. While the phrase itself is extremely common––gracing the advertisements of countless body wash campaigns and titling a hit song by Justin Bieber––this stone is not. The object, which Ono hand-painted, is estimated to be worth $17,500. The Toronto police are now searching for the alleged thief, according to the Toronto Star, which first reported the stone’s disappearance. The police have released security footage of the suspect and are seeking help in identifying the 55- to 60-year-old woman who was caught on camera in a black ensemble with a red scarf.
Cover image: Max Hollein at the opening of the Monet exhibition in the Städel Museum in 2015, during his tenure as Director of Schirn Kunsthalle, Städel Museum and Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.