January 26 | Christo calls off project in protest against President Trump
Christo abandons his major project in outrage at Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the winners of the Robert Rauschenberg and Merce Cunningham awards are announced.
Christo stands against Trump
Christo, the Bulgarian artist famous for his “wrappings” of public monuments, has abandoned his current Over the River project in protest against Donald Trump’s presidency.
The project would have been one of Christo’s most ambitious yet, the intention being to suspend six miles of silvery fabric over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado. The artist had already invested $15 million of his own money in the installation, which was expected to cost $50 million in total. Christo expressed deep shock at Trump’s election. “The decision speaks for itself,” he said. “I use my own money and my own work and my own plans because I like to be totally free. And here now, the federal government is our landlord. They own the land. I can’t do a project that benefits this landlord.” More information via Artforum.
Christo, Over The River, Project for Arkansas River, State of Colorado #141, 2011, collage, courtesy Gallery Guy Pieters
FCA announces grants and awards
The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1963 by John Cage and Jasper Johns, has announced the recipients of its annual awards.
Sculptor and poet Jimmie Durham has been named winner of the fifth annual Robert Rauschenberg award, and performance artist Linda Austin will receive the biennial Merce Cunningham Award. In addition, 14 selected artists will receive grants of $40,000 each. The recipients in the visual arts category are Andrea Fraser, Aki Sasamoto, A. L. Steiner and George Trakas. The Foundation has also announced the new annual Dorothea Tanning Award, which this year goes to poet Liz Waldner, and is supported via a $1 million endowment from the Destina Foundation. ARTnews has further details.
Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi (born 1970) is now represented by Lawrie Shabibi gallery in Dubai.
Fatmi, who is based in Paris and has work in a number of leading collections worldwide, will have his first solo show at Lawrie Shabibi this March. Fatmi’s work spans video, installation, painting and sculpture, and attempts to break down some of the prevailing dogmas of the present day. More via The National.
Mounir Fatmi, Les Assassins, 2010. Installation View; Courstesy of the artist and Galerie Hussenot
Altruistic initiative at Venice Biennale
American abstract painter Mark Bradford is beginning a six-year collaboration with Venice-based social cooperative Rio Terà dei Pensieri, which aims to help incarcerated people in Venice enter back into society by providing them with employment opportunities.
Titled “Process Collettivo,” the initiative will coincide with Bradford’s US Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Over the course of the project, Bradford and Rio Terà dei Pensieri hope to spread awareness of the shortcomings of the penal system, and help reintegrate ex-prisoners in a sustainable way. Bradford will help to create a venue in the Frari district where artisanal goods made by inmates can be sold. More information via Artforum.