State of the Arts NYC Edition

State of the Arts NYC Edition Weekly show on the creative arts industry in NYC and the forces that effect that sector hosted by Curator Savona Bailey-McClain heard on multiple platforms.

Operating as usual

07/05/2021

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Why are top jobs in Chinese museums going to white men?

Local professionals continue to be overlooked for highly paid leading roles

LISA MOVIUS
5th July 2021 10:04 BST
MORE
Going round in circles? Chinese museum staff are frustrated by the appointment of foreign bosses with minimal experience in the region
Going round in circles? Chinese museum staff are frustrated by the appointment of foreign bosses with minimal experience in the region ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy
While the layoffs and furloughs of the Covid-19 era have squeezed museum workforces in the US and UK, one place is actively hiring. After a momentary hiccup in early 2020, greater China’s museum juggernaut has roared back to life, as new and expanding institutions are recruiting, particularly abroad. Four of the country’s museums have recently announced Western appointees to senior positions; strikingly, all are white men with minimal experience in Asia and three are working remotely from overseas.
Hangzhou’s Renzo Piano-designed new private museum By Art Matters, backed by fashion brand JNBY and its founder Li Lin, opens at the end of this year under the remote directorship of US-based Italian super-curator Francesco Bonami, supported by an assistant director on site, Wu Tian. Hong Kong’s long-awaited mega-museum of visual culture, M+, appointed former Art in America editor William Smith as its head of digital and editorial content. UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, with locations in Beijing, Shanghai and Qinhuangdao, created the post of curator-at-large for Peter Eleey, who stepped down from MoMA PS1 in New York last autumn. And Shai Baitel, the Israeli co-founder of the Mana Contemporary venues in the US, joined Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai as its inaugural artistic director after guest-curating its 2019 Bob Dylan exhibition.
Chinese curators and museum workers feel unable to criticise the practice publicly, lest they get blacklisted, but there is widespread frustration. “In my opinion, China lacks cultural self-confidence, especially when it comes to [contemporary art],” says a Western-educated art manager, speaking anonymously. “Because the rules of the game have been set up by the Western world—China didn’t have this type of cultural institution until the recent century.” They emphasise, however, that the issue is not confined to China’s museum industry. “It’s the same in the West: the majority of staff working in museums are female, but the directors are white Anglo-Saxon men.”
From left: US-based Francesco Bonami is directing Hangzhou's new private museum By Art Matters; Peter Eleey is curator-at-large at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art and Shai Baitel is the artistic director of Modern Art Museum Shanghai
From left: US-based Francesco Bonami is directing Hangzhou's new private museum By Art Matters; Peter Eleey is curator-at-large at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art and Shai Baitel is the artistic director of Modern Art Museum Shanghai Bonami: Courtesy of By Art Matters. Eleey: courtesy of UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. Baitel: Nir Arieli
A default Eurocentrism has been an unfortunate side-effect of the “rapid development” of museums in China, says one administrator who has worked at several institutions with foreign directors. Yet a Westerner chosen by private backers, state authorities or sometimes overseas partners to put a new museum on the map is hampered in practice by needing every document and interaction translated into English. Effective leadership requires “strong communication, a warrior to negotiate all sides”, the administrator says. Without Mandarin language skills, foreign directors are but “puppets”: “They speak to the media, provide the face of the museum, and show that it’s international—but it’s always other people doing the real work,” they say.
Foreign leaders of Chinese museums "speak to the media, provide the face of the museum, and show that it’s international—but it’s always other people doing the real work"
Although the rapid pace of overseas appointments this year is notable, the practice of importing white male figureheads to lead Asian museums is not new. Spanish curator Bartomeu Marí became the director of South Korea’s state-backed Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2015 (until 2018) despite controversy over a censorship scandal in his previous role at Macba in Barcelona. French national Larys Frogier has run Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum since 2012, while Dutch-born Ole Bouman served as the founding director of Shenzhen’s Design Society in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum from 2015 until last year.
The phenomenon mirrors the tendency to recruit established Western—mostly white and male—curators to head Asian biennials and triennials, or the dominance of Western artists in China’s museum exhibitions and auction sales. In a parallel trend, Sotheby’s has in recent months replaced senior Asian staff members at its Hong Kong saleroom with specialists from its London and New York headquarters. Such imported appointments are distinct from the Mandarin-fluent sinologists who have for years worked within China’s art infrastructure. In the latter mould, UCCA’s other international recruit is Swiss-American Holly Roussell, an expert on Chinese contemporary photography and museology previously based in Suzhou.
Continental shift

In a twist brought about by the travel restrictions of Covid-19, the boom in teleworking has removed the traditional need—and possible deterrent—for a foreign director to move across the world and adapt on the ground. “This may be one upside of the pandemic: it now seems completely natural to have staff members based on other continents,” says UCCA’s Philadelphia-born director and chief executive Philip Tinari, one of the best-known art sinologists. “It’s great to have a curatorial colleague [abroad] who can see things and meet people that we can’t for the moment.” Another benefit of adding Eleey and Roussell to the in-house team, he adds, is their experience “in museums with longer histories than UCCA’s” that “allows us to gain useful insight into other institutional models”.
At MAM Shanghai, artistic director Baitel will continue working remotely even after China reopens its borders, though he is expected to spend “considerable amounts of time” visiting the country, says the museum’s director Derek Yu. Baitel’s appointment aligns with MAM’s “international outlook” and “mission to act as a cultural bridge between China and the rest of the world”, Yu says, adding that Baitel “has been invited to provide new perspectives and be provocative and challenging in his design of our exhibition programme”.
Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai appointed Israeli artistic director Shai Baitel as part of its “mission to act as a cultural bridge between China and the rest of the world”
Modern Art Museum (MAM) Shanghai recruited Israeli artistic director Shai Baitel, who is working remotely, to support its “mission to act as a cultural bridge between China and the rest of the world” Photo: Yu Jieyu
Far from blowback, Baitel says his new post “was met with excitement from my friends and peers within the industry” and that “there is not that much of a difference between working for MAM Shanghai and my previous institutional work”. Embracing his mandate to foster “diverse cultural dialogues”, he says: “Art and culture have the ability to enrich and expand our perspectives—most people who work within the arts believe that is possible and celebrate opportunities that provide a space for this to happen.”
‘Bamboo ceiling’

But while Western institutions face a reckoning over discrimination and a lack of diversity at their upper levels, the stereotype of professional authority as white and male still holds sway in China. The central casting of foreign bosses in television shows and advertisements is reflected in a real-word workplace dynamic where older white male directors are assisted by deputies—always Asian and often female—handling day-to-day operations for far less pay or credit.
The administrator who spoke to us anonymously says that they worked with a foreign museum director on a salary of “Rmb150,000 [$23,200] a month plus rent, children’s schooling, family insurance”—double what he was making in Europe and ten times what senior local staff earned. An assistant director at the time made Rmb20,000 [$3,100] a month, they say. The stark imbalance means that “smart, talented people leave the industry early—they feel it is a waste of time”.
Nor are there many cases of Asian curators forging globetrotting careers outside the continent. That there is only a handful of high-profile exceptions—such as Hou Hanru, the artistic director of MaXXI in Rome, and Wu Hung, the University of Chicago professor—could be seen as evidence of the so-called “bamboo ceiling”, a term coined to describe the under-representation of people of Asian descent in Western senior leadership roles.
What can be done to support Chinese museum staffers hoping to rise through the ranks? The current flurry of partnerships between Chinese and international museums could actually advance the career prospects for homegrown talent, the administrator argues, by “training the teams, using an apprenticeship model”. Better recognition and pay for local assistant directors and emerging curators would help, countering the brain drain. So would more programmes giving Asian professionals international exposure, such as Tate’s adjunct curator posts dedicated to greater China, sponsored by the Hong Kong-based Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation. “Museums need to see each other as comrades, not competitors,” they say.

https://www.sculpture-center.org/materials/13148/rindon-johnson-law-of-large-numbers-our-bodies This exhibition is avail...
07/02/2021
Rindon Johnson: Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies

https://www.sculpture-center.org/materials/13148/rindon-johnson-law-of-large-numbers-our-bodies This exhibition is available until August 2nd at Sculpture Center.

Law of Large Numbers: Our Bodies , Rindon Johnson’s first solo museum exhibition, includes newly commissioned sculptures, rawhide works, and video installed throughout the entirety of SculptureCenter’s ground floor galleries, lobby, and outdoor courtyard spaces. The New York presentation will be...

KLOMPCHING GALLERY is pleased to present Photos, Interrupted, a group exhibition curated by Darren Ching.In this exhibit...
06/23/2021

KLOMPCHING GALLERY is pleased to present Photos, Interrupted, a group exhibition curated by Darren Ching.

In this exhibition—selected from the gallery’s inventory—we draw attention to artworks in which the artist’s labor of the hand is evident. Here, we see how the artists have cut, crumpled, woven, dissected, scratched, stitched, painted, and layered the photograph to achieve an authorial and conceptual statement in their work.

The exhibition features the work of Samin Ahmadzadeh, Cara Barer, Antony Crossfield, Odette England, Doug Keyes, Diane Meyer, Helen Sear, Leah Schretenthaler and Krista Svalbonas.

Thanks to the Trust for Governors Island for supporting our event.
06/22/2021

Thanks to the Trust for Governors Island for supporting our event.

The West Harlem Art Fund invites you to a dramatic reading of Antikoni adapted from Sophocles' Antigone by Beth Piatote, presented in partnership with NY Classical Theatre and directed by Jen Olivares. This upcoming Sunday visitors will feel engaged and spark various questions throughout the reading. Reserve free tickets and visit the West Harlem Art Fund's exhibition space Nolan Park 10B on Governors Island. Find more information visit https://www.govisland.com/

Sign up for a FREE reading on Governors Island on June 27th in Nolan Park. A partnership between the West Harlem Art Fun...
06/04/2021

Sign up for a FREE reading on Governors Island on June 27th in Nolan Park. A partnership between the West Harlem Art Fund and NY Classical Theatre.

Antigone Summary -- Get to know this Greek tragedy before seeing our contemporary version on Governors Island.

Polyneices and Eteocles, two brothers leading opposite sides in Thebes' civil war, have both been killed in battle. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, has declared that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices disgraced. The rebel brother's body will not be sanctified by holy rites, and will lay unburied to become the food of carrion animals. Antigone and Ismene are the sisters of the dead brothers, and they are now the last children of the ill-fated Oedipus. In the opening of the play, Antigone brings Ismene outside the city gates late at night for a secret meeting: Antigone wants to bury Polyneices' body, in defiance of Creon's edict. Ismene refuses to help her, fearing the death penalty, but she is unable to dissuade Antigone from going to do the deed by herself.

Creon enters, along with the Chorus of Theban Elders. He seeks their support in the days to come, and in particular wants them to back his edict regarding the disposal of Polyneices' body. The Chorus of Elders pledges their support. A Sentry enters, fearfully reporting that the body has been buried. A furious Creon orders the Sentry to find the culprit or face death himself. The Sentry leaves, but after a short absence he returns, bringing Antigone with him. Creon questions her, and she does not deny what she has done. She argues unflinchingly with Creon about the morality of the edict and the morality of her actions. Creon grows angrier, and, thinking Ismene must have helped her, summons the girl. Ismene tries to confess falsely to the crime, wishing to die alongside her sister, but Antigone will have none of it. Creon orders that the two women be temporarily locked up.
Haemon, Creon's son and Antigone's fiance, enters to pledge allegiance to his father. He initially seems willing to obey Creon, but when Haemon gently tries to persuade his father to spare Antigone, the discussion deteriorates and the two men are soon bitterly insulting each other. Haemon leaves, vowing never to see Creon again.

Creon decides to spare Ismene and to imprison Antigone in a cave. She is brought out of the house, and she bewails her fate and defends her actions one last time. She is taken away, with the Chorus expressing great sorrow for what is going to happen to her.

Teiresias, the blind prophet, enters. He warns Creon that the gods side with Antigone. Creon accuses Teiresias of being corrupt, and Teiresias responds that because of Creon's mistakes, he will lose one child for the crimes of leaving Polyneices unburied and putting Antigone into the earth. All of Greece will despise him, and the sacrificial offerings of Thebes will not be accepted by the gods. The Chorus, terrified, asks Creon to take their advice. He assents, and they tell him that he should bury Polyneices and free Antigone. Creon, shaken, agrees to do it. He leaves with a retinue of men to help him right his previous mistakes. The Chorus delivers a choral ode on/to the god Dionysis, and then a Messenger enters to tell them that Haemon has killed himself. Eurydice, Creon's wife and Haemon's mother, enters and asks the Messenger to tell her everything. The Messenger reports that Haemon and Antigone have both taken their own lives. Eurydice disappears into the palace.
Creon enters, carrying Haemon's body. He understands that his own actions have caused these events. A Second Messenger arrives to tell Creon and the Chorus that Eurydice has killed herself. With her last breath, she cursed her husband. Creon blames himself for everything that has happened, and, a broken man, he asks his servants to help him inside. The order he valued so much has been protected, and he is still the king, but he has acted against the gods and lost his child and his wife as a result. The Chorus closes by saying that although the gods punish the proud, punishment brings wisdom.

Address

New York, NY
11217

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when State of the Arts NYC Edition posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to State of the Arts NYC Edition:

Videos

Category

Nearby media companies


Comments

HANDS & EARTH: Perspectives on Japanese Contemporary Ceramics currently on view at the Katonah Museum of Art through January 24, 2021. Drawn from the extraordinary collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, who are longtime clients and friends of Joan, HANDS & EARTH marks the first time that selections from the Horvitz Collection have been exhibited in New York, and the forty works on display are only a seductive taste. Built steadily with passionate dedication, theirs is now arguably the largest and most important collection of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics in private hands in the West. This exhibition was previously shown at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, Florida in 2018, the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas in 2019, and Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
HANDS & EARTH at the Katonah Museum of Art by art dealer Joan Mirviss. HANDS & EARTH: Perspectives on Japanese Contemporary Ceramics currently on view at the Katonah Museum of Art through January 24, 2021. Drawn from the extraordinary collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz, who are longtime clients and friends of Joan, HANDS & EARTH marks the first time that selections from the Horvitz Collection have been exhibited in New York, and the forty works on display are only a seductive taste. Built steadily with passionate dedication, theirs is now arguably the largest and most important collection of modern and contemporary Japanese ceramics in private hands in the West. This exhibition was previously shown at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, Florida in 2018, the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas in 2019, and Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Janet Borden, Inc. announces Martin Parr: World Tour, an exhibition of signature photographs by celebrated photographer Martin Parr. The show will run from 19 December 2020 – 30 January 2021. Lanka. Parr is a formally sophisticated, humorous, and astute documentary photographer. Whether he is photographing the Kentucky Derby or the beaches of Cannes, he treats the subjects as curious oddities. Many of Parr’s essential tropes, including vivid colors and a keen appreciation of the absurd, are on view in these photographs. The daylight flash, the dressing up and partying, the coincidental matching of patterns and colors in unlikely places, all commingle in this body of colorful and witty work. Pisa, Italy is a quintessential Parr. By photographing not particularly the leaning tower, but the tourists all in the same pose of holding it up, he engages the idea of both tourism and photography. The punk hair combined with the red telephone booth is another example of Parr's extraordinary ability to combine two simple clichés into a complex shorthand for British life in the 1990s. In a world limited by pandemic and economic concerns, these photographs are all the more revealing and poignant, In a world limited by pandemic and economic concerns, these photographs are all the more revealing and poignant, Martin Parr was born in Surrey, England, in 1952. He currently lives in Bristol. This British documentary photographer has worked on many photographic projects throughout the world, resulting in over 110 published books, including Bad Weather; The Last Resort; The Cost of Living; Common Sense; Think of England; The Last Parking Space; Martin Parr: Objects. His work is exhibited and collected throughout the world. Last year, Only Human, Parr's 13-room extravaganza of several hundred photographs and objects, was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, London. His fashion photography is the subject of an upcoming monograph by Phaidon. He created The Martin Parr Foundation to promote and preserve the history of British documentary photography.
https://stateoftheartsnyc.net/2020/12/09/higher-pictures-gallery-moves-to-dumbo/ New art gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn with a focus on photography.
https://level.medium.com/black-concert-trauma-5fa0459e5b3 Very good article. And it speaks to a real problem. People of color are constantly being told that they don't deserve a quality of life. Folks need to accept that POC have a variety of interests and there's no need to be afraid.