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Jul 23 2021

Full Glory: Weekly News Roundup

by The Editors

Portrait of SUZANNE COTTER. Copyright Marion Dessard / MUDAM, Luxembourg. Courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney.

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Names New Director

On July 22, the board of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) appointed curator and scholar Suzanne Cotter as MCA’s new director, effective January 2022. Cotter will replace Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, who is returning to the United Kingdom after her 22-year tenure. Currently the director of Luxembourg’s Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM), Cotter has more than three decades of experience in the art field. She has previously held leadership roles at Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto and Modern Art Oxford, as well as curatorial positions at Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York, and Hayward Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery in London. Additionally, she is the secretary general of the board of International Committee for Modern and Contemporary Art Museums (CIMAM). On Cotter’s appointment, the chairman of MCA’s board of directors Lorraine Tarabay stated, “She brings to the MCA an outstanding network of connections and international best practice in contemporary art museum management, programs, thought leadership and curatorial excellence. She is incredibly well placed to advocate for Australian art and artists on the global stage.”

Installation view of the digital remake of JOE NAMY’s The Curtain of the Sky (2021) at the 2021 Borås Art Biennial. Photo by Anna Lonquist. Image via Instagram.

Vandalized Artwork Gets Digital Remake

Artist Joe Namy re-installed a newly recreated version of The Curtain of the Sky (2021) in the Swedish town of Borås after vandals torched the fabric work one month ago during a night of violence against public artworks. The reprised Curtain is a digitized version of the original patchwork design, which had been hand-sewn by a group of textile workers from an adult education program for new immigrants. The gradient in the new curtain represents how the original’s “colors fused together from the heat and hate of the flames,” according to the artist’s post on Instagram. The revamped installation also features the original soundtrack of poems with an additional three minutes and three seconds of silence representing the Swedish Eurovision song that hooligans allegedly sung while they set Namy’s artwork on fire.

Photo of (left) SUNGEUN LEE, director of the Korean Cultural Centre Canada in Ottawa, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and (right) JOSH BASSECHES, director and CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum. Courtesy Royal Ontario Museum.

Royal Ontario Museum Joins Partnership with South Korea’s Cultural Department

The Royal Ontario Museum received USD 1 million from South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as part of their five-year partnership. The fund will go toward public initiatives and research programs, as well as a permanent curatorial position for Korean art and culture at the Museum, the first among Canadian museums. Along with boosting public awareness of Korean culture, the curator will also oversee the Museum’s Korean art collection, the largest in North America, and engage with Toronto’s significant Korean community. The Museum had previously accepted funds from the Korean government to develop Korean-language audio guides and maps.

Portrait of APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL. Copyright Kick the Machine. Courtesy Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong / Shanghai.

Asian Directors Win at Cannes

The 74th Cannes Film Festival ended on Saturday July 17 with several directors from the Asia-Pacific region winning accolades. Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul was joint winner of the Jury Prize for his film Memoria (2021), which is about an English expat in Colombia who begins to hear mysterious sounds in the sky. Weerasethakul had previously won the Palme d’Or in 2010 with Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010). Meanwhile, Hong Kong filmmaker Tang Yi’s 14-minute film All the Crows in the World (2021) was named best short film. Funded by Hong Kong Arts Development Council, the film, based on Tang’s real life experiences, tells the story of an 18-year-old girl who ends up forming an unlikely friendship at a seedy dinner party. Finally, filmmaker Hamaguchi Ryusuke and screenwriter Takamasa Oe took home the best screenplay award for Drive My Car (2021) adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story that digs into the psyche of a widowed director who finds solace in the company of his young female chauffeur.

Image via official website.

China National Arts Fund Now Fully Open to SAR Residents

The China National Arts Fund is now open to applications from Hong Kong- and Macau-based art industry workers and organizations, with applications for the 2022 edition running from July to September. Previously, since 2018, only Hong Kong and Macau art workers based in mainland China could apply. The change follows a proposal by Hong Kong legislator and National People’s Congress representative Ma Fung-kwok. A statement from the Hong Kong SAR government explained the latest change in relation to China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which, according to its official outline published this March, conveyed Beijing’s wish to develop Hong Kong into a conduit for arts and cultural exchange between China and the globe.

Portrait of KELLY HUANG. Image via Instagram.

Gold Art Prize Launched for AAPI Artists

On July 20, the Gold Art Prize announced 32 finalists for its first edition, which includes Kelly Akashi, Patty Chang, Candince Lin, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Cindy Ji Hye Kim, among others. The biennial prize aims to highlight works of artists who are Asian American, Pacific Islander, or from Asian diasporic groups. The five final winners will be announced in December, with each receiving USD 25,000. The international jury comprises industry professionals such as Miyoung Lee, vice chair of the board of trustees at Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as collector Komal Shah and renowned celebrities like actress Gemma Chan. The award was established by art advisor and ex-Gagosian co-director Kelly Huang together with Gold House, a California-based nonprofit that focuses on uplifting pan-Asian leaders and cultural figures.

Rendered image of a’strict’s media art installation Whale #2 (2021) at 1535 Broadway, New York. Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist and Kukje Gallery, Seoul / Busan.

a’strict’s Whale Spotted in New York’s Times Square

For their United States debut, Korean media art unit a’strict brings two site-specific works into New York City’s Times Square. Their video installation Whale #2 (2021) is currently being screened daily, once every hour, above the main pedestrian plaza through July 27. Transforming a 1,400-square-meter screen into a hyper-realistic whale on an undulating ocean, Whale #2 illustrates a’strict’s impressive integration of art and technology. Their second work, Waterfall-NYC (2021), a 102.5-meter-tall installation consisting of four screens, will be screened from July 27 through August 2. The one-minute video of a cascading waterfall continues the water imagery and echoes a’strict’s first public art project, WAVE (2020), which was screened last year on a huge billboard in Seoul.

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