The Weekly Shuffle: Sydney Biennale Debacle, the Smithsonian Gets a Secretary, and More

This week's professional art world shuffle also includes the Met, Documenta, London's Royal Academy, Saatchi Art, MFA Houston, and the Venice Biennale.

new-smithsonian-secretary
Dr. David Skorton, 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Courtesy Cornell University Photography.

As of July 1, 2015, the new head of the Smithsonian Institution will be David J. Skorton, a cardiologist and, since 2006, the president of Cornell University. G. Wayne Clough, who has held the post—the official title is secretary—since 2008, announced his retirement in September of last year.

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, chairman of the Sydney Biennale, has resigned following widespread opposition to the exhibition stemming from the involvement of sponsor Transfield Holdings. Now that the Biennale has severed ties with Transfield, it remains to be seen if the planned March 21 opening will take place as scheduled.

University of Warwick chancellor Sir Richard Lambert has been selected to be the next chairman of the British Museum. He will begin his four-year term on July 4, taking over from chairman of eight years Niall FitzGerald KBE. A longtime editor at the Financial Times who launched the paper’s US edition in 1997-98, Lambert has been the chancellor of the University of Warwick since 2008.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has appointed Beatrice Galilee as an associate curator of architecture and design in the modern and contemporary department. Formerly the architecture editor of Icon magazine, Galilee curated the 2013 Lisbon Design Triennale.

Bernd Leifeld will retire as CEO of Documenta, effective July 1. He will be succeeded by Annette Kulenkampff, who has served as director of the German arts publishing house Hatje Cantz for the past 10 years.

Marko Daniel, the convenor of public programs at Tate Modern and Tate Britain, has been appointed to be the curator of the eighth edition of the Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, which runs May 16-August 31. The biennale’s theme has also been announced: “We have never participated.”

After more than 10 years at London’s White Cube, critic and broadcaster Tim Marlow is leaving the gallery for a job with the Royal Academy, also in London. There, he replaces former director of exhibitions Kathleen Soriano, and will assume the new title director of artistic programs.

Rebecca Wilson is trading London for Los Angeles as she transitions from director of Saatchi Gallery to chief curator and director of artist development at Saatchi Art, formerly Saatchi Online. Joining Wilson in the expanding online venture is Bridget Carron, who will be the website’s associate curator and art adviser. Carron has previously worked at Blum & Poe and Kayne Griffin Corcoran, both in Los Angeles.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson, chief curator and director of artist development at Saatchi Art.
Photo: courtesy Saatchi Art.

Monaco’s Francis Bacon Foundation a new foundation scheduled to open this fall, has appointed Katharina Günther as its first scholar in residence. From April onward, the London-based art historian will spend a year working with the foundation’s extensive collection, which includes artworks spanning the artist’s entire career, a photographic archive, documents from Bacon’s studio, rare pieces of furniture that the artist designed, and a well-appointed library. The brainchild of Monaco-based real estate magnate Majid Boustany, the Francis Bacon Foundation is intended to be a center of research dedicated to the artist’s work, and particularly the time he spent living in Monte Carlo and the South of France. Its mission also includes the support of young artists as well as the organizations of seminars and projects centered on the Bacon legacy. It will be open by appointment from October 2014, and will be housed in a villa on the Boulevard d’Italie, in the center of Monte Carlo.

Citing family issues, Stacie Lindner is stepping down as managing director of the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC), a post she has held since 2008. Her planned March 14 departure follows on the heels of the February resignation of ACAC artistic director Stuart Horodner.

The United Arab Emirates has pegged Sheikha Hoor bint Sultan Al-Qasimi to curate the country’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale next year. Al-Qasimi is president and director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, the chair of the advisory board for the University of Sharjah’s College of Art and Design, and served as co-curator of the 2003 Sharjah Biennial.

Caroline Goeser is joining the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as head of its department of learning and interpretation, and of the museum’s Glassell School of Art. Goeser was previously professor at the University of Houston and the head of education at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has named Claudia Keenan its executive director of the foundation and deputy director for resources and visitor experience. Keenan comes to the VMFA from Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, where she has been vice president of external relations since 2008.


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