Rein Wolfs Announced as New Director of Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum

In further news: Seattle’s Frye Art Museum workers unionize; Dutch museum uncovers unknown ‘Waterlilies’

Rein Wolfs, 2019, photograph. Courtesy: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; photograph: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen

Rein Wolfs, 2019, photograph. Courtesy: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; photograph: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen

The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has announced Rein Wolfs as its next director. Wolfs, who has worked at the Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn since 2013, will take up the prestigious position in December. He has been praised for reviving the struggling Bonn museum, transforming it into a much-visited destination. Previously, Wolfs worked as artistic director of Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, head of exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and director of the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zurich. He curated the Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003. Wolfs will succeed Jan Willem Sieburg, who filled the role in interim after the previous director, Beatrix Ruf, stepped down after she was accused of partaking in work that could have created a conflict of interest. Ruf has since been cleared of wrongdoing by an independent inquiry.

Security workers at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum have formed a new union, Seattle-based newspaper The Stranger has reported. So far, eleven of twelve security guards have joined the union. Working under the name the Art Workers Union (AWU), the group have alleged that pay at the museum is too low to meet fair living standards in Seattle, widely considered one of the most expensive cities in America. Speaking to ARTnews, a member of the group said ‘I don’t think any of us have the ability to live on our own in Seattle. When I started at the Frye, I was making $14 an hour. It was not enough.’ The news comes after staff at a number of high-profile museums, including the New Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Tenement Museum, joined unions in recent months.

Experts at the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague have uncovered a previously unknown painting from Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ series (1897–1926) which was hidden underneath a painting of wisteria blossoms by the artist from a later date. The discovery was made after experts noticed shards of glass embedded in the painting’s stretcher and decided to x-ray the work to assess the damage. When the results came back, restorer Ruth Hoppe was astonished to find evidence of a hidden version of his ‘Water Lilies’ series. ‘It feels like we are building a new, small part of art history,’ said Doede Hardemanm, the Gemeentemuseum’s head of collections.

A group of art dealers, artists and arts professionals who live or work in New York’s Chinatown and the Lower East Side, are rallying against the construction of four luxury towers in the neighbourhood, The Art Newspaper has reported. Members of Art Against Displacement (AAD) are supporting a lawsuit filed by the Lower East Side Organized Neighbours (LESON) against the City of New York, who approved the building’s construction in 2018. Members of the group are protesting at Manhattan’s Supreme Court, where the hearing is taking place. The lawsuit, which is one of several, argues that the luxury towers would put undue pressure on the neighbourhood, threaten local housing for elderly people and encourage extreme hikes in rent.  

In further announcements: Omar Kholeif has been appointed director of collections and senior curator at Sharjah Art Foundation; David Kordanksy will represent sculptor Simone Leigh on the US West Coast; Allen Jones is now represented by Almine Rech in China, France and Belgium; Sanya Kantarovsky is now represented by Taka Ishii; Gavin Brown’s enterprise has closed its Lower Manhattan space; and South African Goodman Gallery will open a London space in the autumn.

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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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