North American Museum News

BY Katrina Kufer / Jun 4 2017 / 19:23 PM

Expansions, custom-created curator roles and acts of racism at continental USA art and culture museums

North American Museum News
Image courtesy MoMA and Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Rendering of the north/south section-perspective of the new gallery spaces at MoMA looking east along 53 Street

MoMA reveals expansion designs
The final designs for the $400 million expansion to the Museum of Modern Art (New York) were revealed on Thursday. Led by architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, work began in February 2016 thanks in part to a $100 million donation from David Geffen. The first phase of construction, which includes two galleries on the third floor, a lounge on the first floor and the extension of the historic Bauhaus staircase to ground level, has already been completed. Intended to add 30 per cent more gallery space, 25 per cent more public space, street-level galleries that will be free of charge, as well as revamp the main lobby, “It’s a rethinking of how we were originally conceived,” director Glenn D. Lowry told The New York Times. “We had created a narrative for ourselves that didn’t allow for a more expansive reading of our own collection, to include generously artists from very different backgrounds.”

While each floor currently displays separate mediums, the expansion will also lead the way in curatorial shifts as the hangings veer more chronological or thematic, and include a heavier rotation of minority and female artists.

SFMoMA appoints Eungie Joo curator of contemporary art
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) has named Eungie Joo its first curator of contemporary art, effective July. This follows her most recent role as artistic director of the fifth Anyang Public Art Project (Anyang, Korea), as well as notable posts including curator of Sharjah Biennial 12 (Sharjah, UAE), New Museum Keith Haring director and curator of education and public programmes (New York, USA), and commissioner of the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale (Venice, Italy).

Of the tailor-made role, deputy museum director of curatorial affairs Ruth Berson stated, “Eungie’s arrival signals a deepening of SFMoMA’s commitment to contemporary art. Her international experience in Asia, the Middle East, South America and beyond positions her to convene important conversations and create innovative projects that will help define the art of our time in the broadest sense.”

National Museum of African American History and Culture has second racially-driven noose incident
Marking the second incident in a week at the Smithsonian museum complex in Washington, visitors found another noose on Wednesday afternoon. Left in the hall of permanent exhibition Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876-68, the noose was placed on the floor in front of works addressing African American ambivalence towards the First World War (the war to “make the world safe for democracy”) when they lacked freedom in their own nation, as well as referencing white terrorism against black communities in the 1920s, reports The Art Newspaper.

This follows the discovery of a noose hanging from a tree outside the Hirshhorn Museum mere days beforehand. “The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity,” David J. Skorton, secretary of the Smithsonian, allegedly wrote in an email to the institution’s staff, reported the Times.

At this time, no suspects have been identified.