Kara Walker to Create Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall Commission

In further news: Hermitage to curate Venice Biennale pavilion; Remai Modern CEO hit by harassment allegations

Kara Walker, ‘Song of the South’, 2005, installation view. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Spencer Weiner

Kara Walker, ‘Song of the South’, 2005, installation view. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Spencer Weiner

Kara Walker has been selected to create a new installation for the Tate Modern’s vast Turbine Hall, which will go on show in London on 2 October 2019 as part of the gallery’s Hyundai Commission series. The African American artist is known for her black-and-white paper cut-outs, whose silhouettes engage with the history and legacy of white supremacy and slavery in the US. Walker is no stranger to working on a monumental scale – in 2014 she installed a sugar-coated sphinx in New York’s derelict Domino Sugar Refinery for a Creative Time commission. Tate Modern director Frances Morris said: ‘Seeing her respond to the industrial scale of the Turbine Hall – and the wider context of London and British history – is a hugely exciting proposition.’ Following on from the Turbine Hall’s 2018 commission created by the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, Walker’s installation will run until 5 April 2020.

The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is to curate the Russian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale – becoming the first institution to oversee a national pavilion in Venice. Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky commented: ‘The idea of the project is to outline the influence a universal museum – as a keeper of world culture – has on a contemporary artist.’ Titled ‘Lc. 15: 11-32’, a reference to the biblical parable of the prodigal son, the pavilion will feature an installation by the filmmaker Alexander Sokurov and work by artist Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai, with further artists announced in May.

Remai Modern CEO Gregory Burke is under investigation by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission for alleged workplace harassment. Burke announced at the end of last year that he was departing the museum in Saskatoon, Canada, to take up the position of director at New Zealand’s Auckland Art Gallery – a replacement is currently being sought. The harassment claims against Burke were made by an anonymous female employee, dating back to Burke’s time at Mendel Art Gallery (the former incarnation of Remai Modern). ‘I am aware of an unproven allegation against me that dates back to 2013 and was filed in 2016’ Burke wrote in a statement. ‘I continue to cooperate fully and engage actively in the process.’

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, is to undertake a major redesign of its Sculpture Garden, in collaboration with Hiroshi Sugimoto. The artist and architect worked with the museum last year to redesign its lobby. A new entrance will create a ‘front door’ for the museum on the National Mall, board chair Dan Sallick commented. An underground passage connecting the building to the gardens, which has been closed for three decades, will be reopened as part of the redesign. The garden will be reorganized into spaces for modernist artworks, performances and new installations. Director Melissa Chiu said: ‘Many artists create work on a larger scale, and we want to create a space for performance and other interactive work.’

In prizes and appointments: artists Otobong Nkanga and Emeka Ogboh have been awarded the Sharjah Biennial 14 Prize; Daido Moriyama has won the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography; Bruno Nouril has joined ICA Philadelphia as director of development; and Eriola Pira has been named curator at the New School’s Vera List Center for Art and Politics in New York.

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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