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  • May 14, 2021

Expanded Realm: Weekly News Roundup

Exterior view of Fort Hill Building in Hannam-dong district, Seoul. Courtesy Thaddaeus Ropac, London / Paris / Salzburg / Seoul.

Despite travel bans, goods and ideas are still circulating across the ever-evolving art world. Some platforms are launching new spaces and projects overseas while others are sending artifacts back to their rightful homes. Here is a look at the key announcements of this past week.

On May 13, the gallery Thaddaeus Ropac announced that it will launch a new branch in Seoul, extending its footprint from London, Paris, and Salzburg. Scheduled to launch in October, the gallery’s first space in Asia will have a 750-square-meter floor area and will be located on the first level of the Fort Hill Building in the Hannam-dong district, neighboring other cultural destinations such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA); the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art; and the Amorepacific Museum of Art. Kyu Jin Hwang, the gallery’s Asia director, will head the Seoul operation. In 2007, Thaddaeus Ropac had worked with the MMCA to mount an exhibition of works by George Baselitz; that same year, it began to represent the seminal South Korean artist Lee Bul. In 2009, it presented its first solo exhibition for Korea-born sculptor and painter Lee Ufan at its Paris location.

International gallery Lehmann Maupin will temporarily occupy part of the Kimpton Hotel Da An in Taipei’s Da’an District with two exhibitions, from June 26 through to mid-August. The gallery currently operates spaces in New York, London, and Seoul; in late 2020, the Hong Kong branch vacated its premise in the Peddar Building in Central. Lehmann Maupin has recently co-organized two shows in Taiwan, including Erwin Wurm’s solo exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2020 and Tony Oursler’s survey, currently on view at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts. It is also scheduled to launch a pop-up space in Palm Beach in late 2021.

Instagram post by SIMRYN GILL for

On May 13, Manila’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), launched an online group exhibition titled “do it (MCAD Manila),” in collaboration with New York’s Independent Curators International. Unfolding primarily on social-media platforms, the show comprises a series of written instructions from participating Filipino artists, including MM Yu, Madge Reyes, Lourd de Veyra, and Manix Abrera, as well as international artists Liam Gillick, Cao Fei, and Robert Ashley, among others. Audiences are invited to interpret and carry out the instructions and share the results online. “Do it” began with curator Hans Ulrich Orbist’s conversation with artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier in Paris in 1993 about a "more flexible and open-ended” exhibition format. Over the past two decades, “do it” has traveled to over 50 institutions across the world, and MCAD will carry its debut appearance in the Philippines.

Photo of (left) Ron Gerstenfeld, deputy chief of mission at the Embassy of Israel; and (right) Craig Ritchie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, looking at the stone artifacts returned from Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Image via Twitter.

Nearly 2,000 Indigenous artifacts have been sent back to Australia under the Return of Cultural Heritage project, launched by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in 2018. Among the items are 1,848 stone ax heads, scrapes, and chopping tools that were kept in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum for more than 50 years. These objects will remain at AIATSIS to be identified and catalogued before they are returned to Indigenous communities across Australia in the coming months. Led by chief executive Craig Ritchie, AIATSIS has identified over 100,000 Indigenous artifacts in public overseas collections, and has since received objects from organizations such as the Illinois State Museum and Manchester Museum.

THE PROPELLER GROUP’s Volatile Landscapes (2021), shown on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, as part of “Sunset Spectacular.” Courtesy Orange Barrel Media.

A new video series by Los Angeles-based collective The Propeller Group is on view at 8775 Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles until June 30. Examining unexploded artilleries left in Vietnam after the Vietnam War and stressing the conflict’s continuing impacts, the work, titled Volatile Landscapes (2021), is the inaugural project of “Sunset Spectacular,” a digital billboard and public-private initiative by the media group Orange Barrel Media and the City of West Hollywood. The billboard, designed by architect Tom Wiscombe, comprises two exterior digital display platforms, as well as interior spaces for cultural events and public art.

Portrait of REUBEN PATERSON. Photo by Jennifer French. Courtesy Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T

On June 17, New Zealand artist Reuben Paterson (Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Tūhoe, Tūhourangi) will reveal a crystal waka (canoe) sculpture at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Commissioned by the Gallery and Edmiston Trust, the ten-meter high sculpture comprises 611 iridescent crystals. It will hover above the Gallery’s forecourt pool, casting a galaxy of refracted light, and creating a bridge from Papatūānuku (mother earth) to Ranginui (heaven). Paterson drew inspiration from the folktale of a phantom waka that emerged at Mount Tarawera ten days before it erupted in 1886. His work will welcome visitors and “complete the entrance to our much loved Gallery,” said director Kirsten Lacy.

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