Have a minute? Get caught up with art news people are talking about. In this edition, the art and design worlds mourn the loss of Wendell Castle, a Dennis Oppenheim public sculpture is destroyed in South Korea without notice, a proposed Jeff Koons memorial is protested in Paris and more art news to know.

Wendell Castle, a furniture designer who blended sculpture with industrial design, died on January 20, 2018 at his home in Scottsville in Upstate, NY, reported the New York Times. He was 85 years old. Castle is considered one of the most important postwar furniture designer.

Trained as industrial designer and possessing an MFA in sculpture, he was part of the American studio craft movement with his designs placing a premium of intriguing forms versus comfort. Later, he was a forerunner to the radical design and was known for unconventional structures and lyrical lines. His later work made use of a new process called “stack lamination” which allowed him to work large-scale and follow his muse, where it led, according to his gallery, Friedman Benda in New York.

Ever restless as a designer, his work continually pushed boundaries and he was in the process of a new body of work when he died, according to Friedman Benda. Castle’s work are held in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. In 2014, he received the Visionary Award by the Smithsonian Craft Festival.

Castle taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology and was an artist in residence there until his death. He has been represented by Friedman Benda in New York since 2006. His last solo show, “Wendell Castle: Embrace Upheaval” was held at Friedman Benda in summer 2017. Click here to see the work.


Wendell Castle. Courtesy of Friedman Benda.


A public sculpture by Dennis Oppenheim was destroyed in South Korea as "an eyesore" and without giving notice to the artist’s estate, who owns the intellectual property rights, according to the South China Morning Post. The steel and plastic sculpture, Chamber, was unveiled for the 2010 Busan Biennale “Living in Evolution” in South Korean in March 2011. One of the final artworks by Oppenheim, the sculpture was unveiled two months after the artist died of cancer, according to ArtForum. Chamber was damaged by a 2016 typhoon and began to rust. It was destroyed abruptly by Haeundae District officials after receiving complaints about its appearance, according to South China Morning Post. Dennis Oppenheim was a pioneer in Land Art and worked in many movements throughout his career. He was based in The Hamptons and New York City for the latter part of life.

NADA (New Art Dealers Alliance) announced it has established an acquisition fund for the Bronx Museum of the Arts to select works for its permanent collection. Museum curators will purchase art from its upcoming New York art fair in March 2018 with acquisition funds for its permanent collection. Last year, NADA established a similar fund for its Miami Beach fair with PAMM selected as the museum recipient.

Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, has named Chana Budgazad Sheldon as its new executive director, reported the Miami Herald. Sheldon replaces former executive director Babacar M'Bow who was fired after accused of sexual harassment (M'Bow has denied the claims). Sheldon was the executive director of Locust Projects in Miami and was most recently the director and national program advisor for the non-profit ProjectArt, according to the Miami Herald.

A proposed Paris memorial by Jeff Koons to commemorate the victims of the November 13, 2015 terror attacks in the French city is being protested by artists and French cultural figures, according to ArtNews. The proposed memorial, Bouquet of Tulips, is being fabricated now in Germany and depicts a large hand holding pastel flowers. The sculpture was donated by Jeff Koons to the city of Paris as a gift from the United States to France and was spearheaded by the U.S. Ambassador to France and the mayor of Paris, according to ArtNews. Protests against the work are cited for aesthetic and practical reasons in an open letter published in the French newspaper Libération. which calls for plans for the memorial to be scrapped.

"Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Design" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been seen by over 500,000 visitors in the nine weeks it has been on view, according to the museum. The exhibition has been attracting around 7,000 per day with the attendance figure representing over one-third of the total attendance at the museum for the time period. The exhibition continues on view through February 12, 2018.


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