Comings and Goings

This month:


Jean-Jacques Aillagon staying put at Versailles

Contrary to recent French press reports that former minister Xavier Darcos was set to be appointed director of the Palace of Versailles, current incumbent Jean-Jacques Aillagon has been awarded a new three-year contract to remain in the post. Aillagon reportedly “did himself justice” and “put up a good fight” in his interviews, say sources at the French culture ministry. He told French newspaper Le Monde earlier this year that “the quality of my achievements and my collaborating partners’ confidence fully justify [reappointment]”, citing 2009 visitor figures of 5.4 million at the chateau. Aillagon, a former culture minister, has initiated a high-profile contemporary art programme at the 17th-century site that launched in 2008 with a show by US artist Jeff Koons, leading to accusations of conflict of interest (The Art Newspaper, April 2010, p65). Aged 63, Aillagon will need to seek special dispensation to continue working after the age of 65 when French civil servants are obliged to retire.

Miguel López Remiro moves from Bilbao to Navarra

Miguel López Remiro, associate director of curatorial and research at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, has been named as the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Navarra. He takes up his post starting 1 July. The museum was founded in 2008 from the collection of contemporary art donated to the university by collector Josefa Huarte Beaumont, which includes works by Jorge Oteiza, Antoni Tàpies, Pablo Palazuelo, Picasso and Rothko. Also house in the museum is the bequest of José Ortiz Echagüe, considered one of the most important photographic collections in Spain.

Nick Mitzevich becomes director of the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide

In Australia, Nick Mitzevich is leaving the University of Queensland Art Museum in Brisbane to become director of the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide. Mitzevich has more than 15 years experience managing and directing public art museums but at 40, he is the youngest person to lead the 129-year-old institution in its history. In Queensland, Mitzevich improved attendance to the museum, started an award-winning publication programme and developed an Indigenous art collection. He also curated exhibitions on Australian painter Margaret Olley and Russian art collective AES+F. Before that, he was director of the Newcastle Region Art Gallery for six years. He takes up his new post in late July.

MoMA hires Sabine Breitwieser as head of department of media and performance art

MoMA has found another European replacement for Klaus Biesenbach, who stepped down as chief curator of the department of media and performance art last year to head affiliate art space PS1 in Long Island Queens and serve as MoMA curator-at-large. The museum has now hired independent curator, author, and lecturer Sabine Breitwieser to lead the department, starting in October. Breitwieser joins the museum with some serious art credentials under her belt, having served as founding director and curator of the Generali Foundation contemporary art museum in Vienna from 1988 to 2007. While there she built the institution’s programmes and distinctive collection. She is also Secretary and Treasurer of CIMAM—the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art.

Ben Borthwick appointed chief executive and artistic director of Artes Mundi

Tate Modern curator Ben Borthwick has been appointed chief executive and artistic director of Artes Mundi—the UK’s largest art prize. Borthwick has worked as assistant curator at Tate for the past seven years and curated exhibitions on Gilbert & George, Rodchenko and Popova as wellas the Turbine Hall sound installation by Bruce Nauman, Raw Materials. In 2007-08, he devised an exhibition programme that presents emerging artists on Tate Modern’s small Level 2 Gallery.

Site Santa Fe welcomes new director Irene Hofmann

As it opened its eighth international biennial last month, Site Santa Fe also welcomed a new director, Irene Hofmann. She takes over from Laura Steward, who served as director of the art space since 2005. Hofmann comes from the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore where she served as executive director for the past five years. While there, she improved the museum’s management by introducing best practices, drafting bylaws and conflict of interest policies, and motivating the board to develop fundraising initiatives. Speaking to The Art Newspaper, she says that one of the new initiatives she will be overseeing is an expansion of the institution’s artist residencies and commissions programme. “It allows not only for exciting new work to be produced but for the creation of a community.” Eager to move to Santa Fe itself, Hofmann says, “It’s a city with some wonderful cultural organisations—operas, ballets, performance spaces—that could be great collaborative partners.”

Steven Evans is new executive director and curator of Linda Pace Foundation

The San Antonio-based Linda Pace Foundation has named Steven Evans as its new executive director and curator. He joins the foundation from the Dia: Beacon in upstate New York. During his 20-year tenure at Dia, Evans was responsible for a range of projects including an exhibition of 1960s and 1970s Sol LeWitt drawings. In addition to managing the 500-strong collection of contemporary art assembled by the late philanthropist Linda Pace, Evans will oversee the Texan foundation’s support of various initiatives such as Artpace—an independent art laboratory.

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