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#A Place 4 The African Art

05-12-2020
by Wilfred Kenneth

These Blog posts are in line with our 3rd mission 

  • A PLACE FOR THE AFRICAN ART' PROGRAMME –  Catering for the preservation, safe and secure storage of African Art inventory and alongside Marketplace Visibility. '


A Place For The Art' is an ongoing initiative, which began in 2018, that presents tightly focused exhibitions that feature newly emerging and established international artists, curating Mini Displays in both the public and private space.  

Related contribution can be submitted to info"artmazon.com or use the hashtag  #APlace4TheAfricanArt on social Media

Antwaun Sargent Named New Director & Curator - GAGOSIAN

06-02-2021
by Wilfred Kenneth

Antwaun Sargent, a critic and author, plans to work with artists who are thinking about contemporary issues around identity, desire and representation.

Gagosian, the global gallery known for ambitious exhibitions, has added a 32-year-old director and curator, Antwaun Sargent, whose first show will examine what he calls “notions of Black space.”

Sargent, who will be based in New York City, is joining the gallery after a decade as a writer and a critic whose work has been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times and other outlets.

 

PHOTO: JARED SISKIN/PATRICK MCMULLAN VIA GETTY IMAGES

Sargent has lectured and participated in public conversations with artists at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Brooklyn Museum, as well as at Harvard and Yale universities. He wrote the book “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” and edited the book “Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists.”

“It’s a wonderful platform,” Sargent said on Wednesday of Gagosian, where he will be one of about 30 directors worldwide. “It’s a place where you come and view art, but it’s also a place where discussion happens.”

At Gagosian, which has more than a dozen locations in the United States and other countries, Sargent will create exhibitions; contribute to the gallery’s publication, Gagosian Quarterly; and organize panels and symposiums. He said he plans to work with artists who are thinking about contemporary issues around identity, desire and representation and who are rethinking photography, painting and artistic practices.

Sargent wants to make sure that artists of color are represented within the gallery, he said, and to promote discussions of art that include acknowledgment of works created by members of groups that have often been overlooked or under-represented in the broader art world.

“I have always been interested in the ways in which we can reframe the conversation around some of the voices that have been left out,” he said. “I’m also interested in notions of community and how artists work within communities and how works are informed by their links to community.”

Sargent will be among those working on a Black History Month initiative at Gagosian that will look at Black history through art, programming and discussions. His first exhibition is planned for the gallery’s West 24th Street location in Manhattan later this year.

That show is expected to include several artists who will explore the idea of Black space on “an institutional level, a community level and a psychological level,” Sargent said.

“It really thinks about this question of space,” he said. “Which is another way to say power.”

A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 23, 2021, Section C, Page 3 of the New York edition with the headline: Gagosian Names Antwaun Sargent as a New Director and Curator. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Guggenheim Names First Black Deputy Director and Chief Curator

28-01-2021
by Wilfred Kenneth

Naomi Beckwith, who succeeds Nancy Spector, comes from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and will help the museum work toward a more equitable work environment.

Naomi Beckwith is joining the Guggenheim Museum as its deputy director and chief curator. Credit...Nathan Keay/MCA Chicago


Three months after Nancy Spector stepped down as artistic director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Museum amid charges of racism, the museum named Naomi Beckwith, who is Black, to the position of deputy director and chief curator.

“If you look out over the cultural landscape — particularly in the U.S. — she is quite obviously one of the outstanding leaders of today with a huge potential as well,” said Richard Armstrong, the museum’s director. “She’s very adept at issues of identity and, particularly, multidisciplinary art. We have to think about the Guggenheim’s growth over the next few years, so it needs to be a person with enormous capacity.”

Ms. Beckwith, 44, who since 2018 has served as senior curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, will oversee collections, exhibitions, publications, curatorial programs and archives in her new position, which starts in June. She will also provide strategic direction, the museum said.

In an interview, Ms. Beckwith said her work will include bringing “greater diversity to museum collections and exhibitions.”

Ms. Beckwith comes to the Guggenheim even as the museum is working through a difficult chapter. In 2019, the guest curator of the museum’s Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition, Chaédria LaBouvier, who is Black, accused the Guggenheim of racist treatment.

The museum subsequently hired its first full-time black curator, Ashley James, though the Guggenheim said the appointment was not a response to Ms. LaBouvier’s experience.

Last June, a letter signed “The Curatorial Department” demanded wholesale changes to “an inequitable work environment that enables racism, white supremacy, and other discriminatory practices.” In response, the Guggenheim announced a two-year plan to create policies for reporting discrimination and developing diversity programs.

An independent investigation in October found no evidence that Ms. LaBouvier “was subject to adverse treatment on the basis of her race." But the museum simultaneously announced that Ms. Spector, who is white, was leaving after 34 years with the Guggenheim “to pursue other curatorial endeavors and to finish her doctoral dissertation.”

While some might see Ms. Beckwith as an effort by the Guggenheim to find a quick fix for its recent turmoil, Mr. Armstrong said, “it’s not about any of that.”

“It’s about the future of the institution,” he continued. “What’s promising is that our staff and our board have committed to that kind of change. So it’s not Naomi alone; it’s Naomi in concert with a large group of people.”

Ms. Beckwith also said she did not see herself as a Band-Aid. “I would not have taken this position if I did not feel the museum wasn’t doing that healing work, which they are,” she said. “What I heard clearly from Richard is they are doing the work themselves. They’re simply looking for a partner in that.”

At the MCA, where Ms. Beckwith has held curatorial posts since 2011, she has focused on issues of identity and multidisciplinary practices through exhibitions like the first major survey of the African-American artist Howardena Pindell and the legacy of the Black avant-garde in “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now” and “Homebodies.” She has also developed a project with the British-Nigerian sculptor Yinka Shonibare, whose work explores race, colonialism and cultural identity.

Ms. Beckwith — who received her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and her master’s from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London — was previously an associate curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem. She has served on the jury for the Guggenheim’s 2020 Hugo Boss Prize and as a member of the curatorial team for “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America,” which opens in February at the New Museum.

Calling her “an integral part of the Guggenheim’s executive leadership” in its news release, the museum said that Ms. Beckwith’s purview will include advising on global arts initiatives; partnering with the curatorial teams at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice; and collaborating on the development of the future Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi.

Ms. Beckwith said she looks forward to being part of the Guggenheim’s efforts at transformation. “We preserve art history for future audiences,” she said. “Now it’s clear that a museum’s job is not to just preserve art history, but to preserve multiple art histories.”

A Spotlight on Ethiopian Art - Cromwell Place speaks to Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Arts - On view at Cromwell Place from 3-13 December.

05-12-2020
by Wilfred Kenneth

Addis Fine Art's latest exhibition, Tadesse Mesfin, Pilars of Life, is on view at Cromwell Place from 3-13 December. Photography from Lucy Emms.

 

Cromwell Place speaks to Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art about the enduring modernist influence on artists practicing in Ethiopia.

Over the last decade Ethiopian artists have become more widely recognised by the global art market. Despite being historically overlooked, the country has a thriving art market – especially in the capital, Addis Ababa. Still, those working within the Ethiopian art market would be the first to admit that it hasn’t always been that way. 

When we launched, there was a distinct lack of Ethiopian art spaces – especially ones which actively engage with the wider international contemporary art world,” says Rakeb Sile, who co-founded the capital’s Addis Fine Art gallery alongside Mesai Haileleul in 2016. “After three years of art consulting, we decided to open a gallery emerging from a local space in the heart of Ethiopia's capital.”

The idea behind Addis was simple – to provide a platform for contemporary artists from Ethiopia and its diasporas. Now in their fourth year and working across both Addis Ababa and London, the pioneering gallery is an important voice not only in Ethiopian art but in art from the wider region, as well as the Ethiopian diaspora worldwide.

“I consider Addis Fine Art to be a regional specialist, where collectors can explore the diverse artistic practices from Ethiopia, and eventually the wider Horn of Africa region, in depth,” Rakeb explains. There’s no-one better to shed some light on Ethiopian art from a collector perspective – including everything from its historical groundings to the modernist-influenced practices which set the region’s art apart right now.

Rakeb Sile, Co-Founder of Addis Fine Art. Photography by Bandele Zuberi.

 

London's £20m Cromwell Place gallery hub to open on 10 October

30-09-2020
by Wilfred Kenneth

Cromwell Place in South Kensington will house 14 galleries with a large exhibition space available to hire Courtesy of Cromwell Place.

After more than four years in the making, London’s £20m Cromwell Place gallery hub will finally open to the public on 10 October.

Cromwell Place, situated across five Grade II listed townhouses in South Kensington, was due to open in May but the launch was delayed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Owned by a company called Corylos (whose shareholders include Toby Anstruther and Scott Murdoch) and housed in buildings belonging to South Kensington Estates, Cromwell Place will have 14 gallery spaces including a large exhibition space which can be hired by members for between two to six weeks at a time, offices, viewing and meeting rooms and storage, plus a members club (opening next year).

Addis Fine Art Founders Rakeb Sile and Mesai Haileleul.(London and Addis Ababa)

Members that have joined so far include: Lehmann Maupin (London, Hong Kong, Seoul and New York), Addis Fine Art (London and Addis Ababa), 
Alexander Gray Associates (New York and Germantown), Gallery Wendi Norris (San Francisco), Ingleby Gallery
(Edinburgh) and Lawrie Shabibi (Dubai). “London remains one of the largest art markets and an important location for us as a business," says David Maupin of Lehmann Maupin's decision to take a space. "We are very fortunate to have strong leadership in London in our senior director Isabella Icoz, a loyal network of clients who have supported the gallery for years, and the opportunity to pursue ambitious projects with our artists while deepening our relationships with the city’s museums and cultural community.”

“We had initially planned a big double-headed opening in May and June, with lots of exhibitions and a party, but that had to be scrapped in March due to the lockdown,” says Preston Benson, Cromwell Place’s managing director. “Over the summer it became clear from talking to galleries that there was still a demand to open but in a pared down way—instead of focusing on a party, we have to make the most of the fact that the building is a safe, discreet place to view art and is perfectly set out for social distancing.” The building has not had to be refitted to comply with government requirements, Benson says, but while the member’s hot desk space is still available, “we’re not seeing a lot of demand for it right now”.

As many galleries are increasingly questioning the wisdom of spending considerable rent on permanent bricks-and-mortar premises—which they were unable to access during the lockdown—Cromwell Place’s time-share model is seeming more appealing to some. “As terrible as the past six months have been, Covid has accelerated existing trends—it has moved things ahead three to five years, we’re now living in a state that was expected in 2023 or 2024 with the death of the high-street and growth of online shopping,” Benson says. “A lot of galleries don’t see the value of paying 100% of their rent, 100% of the time, so we’ve had more enquiries.”

Although the official public opening date is 10 October, there will be a week of VIP events the week before (5-9 October) to coincide with “Frieze Week”, such as it is this year without the fair itself. “Frieze or no Frieze, it’s still a week that is ingrained in the minds of collectors as a key point in the calendar,” Benson says. Visitors can book time slots to visit and will have to register on arrival and follow a one-way system through the building.

Cromwell Place managed to secure one of the UK government’s Future Fund loans, a scheme designed to support innovative businesses through the pandemic. While Benson says he cannot discuss the sum granted due to the terms of the scheme, he says: “When six to eight weeks before the opening, all of our revenue disappeared because we could not open, we had to look at what support was available to us. It’s great as it has given us breathing room to see us through the next six to twelve months.” Cromwell Place has also used the government’s furlough scheme, but all staff have now returned to work, Benson says. To help its itinerant members, Cromwell Place has also secured Temporary Admission status, allowing members to import works of art from outside the UK without paying duty and import VAT for up to two years. Its NIRU-approved status also means art and antiques can be brought in for non-selling exhibitions free of duty and VAT.

The collector David Roberts, founder of DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation), has joined the Cromwell Place board as a non-executive director. The Club Room, with food by the Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous, will open next year.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Africa's first modern art museum opens to both fanfare and criticism in Cape Town

19-10-2017
by Wilfred Kenneth

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, Cape Town, South Africa.

This weekend, a stunning new museum opens in Cape Town, South Africa. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art -- also known as the Zeitz MOCAA -- is Africa's first modern art museum. While the breathtaking structure with its 80 galleries is considered groundbreaking by some, others find it elitist.

From its glittering opening in Cape Town to its jaw-dropping atrium and special blessing by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, there is nothing ordinary about the Zeitz MOCAA, reports CBS News' Debora Patta.

British architect Thomas Heatherwick has transformed the city's nearly 100-year-old grain silo complex into an awe-inspiring concrete-cave-like architectural wonder.

"If you knock it down and just build a spaceship that feels like it's landed from somewhere else in the world, there was a risk that people would come, look at the outside, take a photograph of themselves, buy a postcard and go home and say they saw the museum. So we got interested in how you could make the inside the super memorable thing," Heatherwick said. 

Memorable it is. Instead of destroying the structure, Heatherwick cut through the silos inspired by the building's original purpose, grain storage.

"We found a store with some of the original corn that had been stored in the building and we got one of those grains and we digitally scanned it so we had the exact shape and enlarged it to be 10 stories high and that's what you see here," Heatherwick said. 

Artist Athi-Patra Ruga's work has never been displayed in museum before, and he cannot forget that just over two decades ago black South Africans were not allowed into art galleries in this country.

"There is that memory when it comes to architecture and public spaces in South Africa. There is an invisible 'for whites only' sign. So, I feel that a new building which is literally carved from the past somehow has a democracy in it," Ruga said.

Whilst the museum has opened up exciting possibilities for African artists, it has also raised some contentious issues.

Cape Town is often seen as a playground for wealthy locals and international visitors, which is why the decision to locate the museum at the waterfront -- a popular tourist attraction -- has been met with some criticism.

"The art world, like everything else in South Africa, we need to kind of be cognizant of the fact that like everything else it happened around racial lines and those remnants are still there right now," said art historian Dr. Same Mdluli. 

She is painfully aware of the fact that even though the museum might be free for a couple of hours a week, it's located miles away from poor black communities.

"If you're building a museum that is in an area where -- that is not accessible to people of a certain class, and a certain race, then there are questions," Mdluli said.

They are uncomfortable questions, but the museum has ready answers, saying education will be key, starting with plans to regularly bus in school children. 

"My passion is the public experience, the experience we share together. Not people's private realms and private galleries," Heatherwick said. 

Heatherwick believes this is the start of transforming the art world in Africa into a space that is no longer just for a privileged elite.

 

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Mini Exhibition Ideas

31-08-2016
by Wilfred Kenneth

The Shard Arcade Kiosk  - London Bridge, London

The Shard Arcade Kiosk  - London Bridge, London

London Bridge Station is currently the capital’s 4th busiest transport hub. And since opening in 2013, the iconic Shard building has strengthened this part of the city's reputation as a thriving business district. A corridor of shops, bars and restaurants now connects the two zones: introducing The Shard Arcade.  

This listing offers kiosk space inside the Arcade. With secure shutters and a window onto one of London’s most affluent business quarters, it's a unique retail opportunity. Thousands of people walk pass this spot daily, so make the most of the footfall. Other brands including Waterstone's and a florist are moving in soon, and there are shared staff facilities available.

Long and narrow, this space would be best suited to ideas that don’t require much storage, ready to serve a busy crowd on the go.

From £71 per day, an ARTMAZON Artist or Collector can use this space as a platform to showcase and market their collections and ideas to a large audience. ARTMAZON in collaboration with our Network of Corporate sponsors can also help with a significant amount of the funding required for space and logistics.

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