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  • Jun 04, 2021

Up Next: Weekly News Roundup

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Upcoming festivals are warming up with freshly launched public programs and teasers of their participant lists. Artists around the world won commissions and prizes, while new appointments were made in public and commercial art sectors. Here’s a look at the news this week.

On May 31, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) revealed the two winning teams for the 2021 edition of Project Hashtag, an annual open call for innovative visual art plans that engage with diverse fields such as design, game, architecture, science, and computer programming. The group “After New Order...” (Yoon Choong-geun, Ki Ye-rim, Nam Seon-mi, Lee So-hyeon, Lee Jisu) proposes seven projects exploring ethical issues pertaining to internet usage, such as the proliferation of fake news. Meanwhile, “The Duck Among Us” (Shin Hee-jung, Lee Ga-Young, Son Jung-Ah, Jeong Man-Keun, Shin Dong-Hui) will produce a work involving pixelated duck avatars that stand in for marginalized members of society. The two teams are each awarded KRW 30 million (USD 27,000) for the realization of their proposals, as well as a three-month residency at MMCA’s Changdong studio and a final exhibition at MMCA Seoul. The winners were selected by MMCA Chief Curator Gim Jun-gi, senior curator Lee Chu-young, and curator Hong Leeji following a final interview round led by artist Hito Steyerl and new-media theorist Lev Manovich.

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Episode 1: The Executive from the SAMSUNG MEANS REBIRTH series, 2021, still from video: 3 min 44 sec. Courtesy the artists and Seoul Mediacity Biennale.

The 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale “One Escape at a Time,” hosted by the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), launched its new digital portal on May 31 ahead of its September 8 exhibition opening. The “Online Channel” section on the festival’s website is a platform for documentations, digital events, and projects by selected participants, such as the currently featured SAMSUNG MEANS REBIRTH (2021), a satirical video series by web-art duo Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. The Biennale also announced “Echoes,” a public program of talks, workshops, digital initiatives, and other on- and off-site activities scheduled to start in August; more details can be expected in July. The recipients of the SeMA-Hana Media Art Award, which recognizes artistic vision and contributions to the Biennale, will be selected in October. Directed by Yung Ma, the 11th edition was postponed from September 2020 due to Covid-19. It is scheduled to run to November 21 this year.

Installation view of AYESHA GREEN’s All of my Lovers are Immigrants (Smooth my Pillow), 2020, acrylic on canvas, 270 × 200 cm each, at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2020. Courtesy the artist and Tauranga Art Gallery.

On May 28, Tauranga Art Gallery, in partnership with Seeds Trust, conferred the 2021 Rydal Art Prize to Ayesha Green. The painter, who is of Kāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu ancestry, was selected for her diptych All of my Lovers are Immigrants (Smooth my Pillow) (2020), in which two couples embrace under botanical quilts against a stark, black background. The work references the colonial history of interracial marriages between Maori women and European sealers and whalers. Green will receive NZD 25,000 (USD 18,050) and the chance to mount an exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery in 2022. Established by the Gallery in 2019, the biennial award honors exceptional contributions to contemporary painting in New Zealand.

Portrait of TOM IRVINE. Courtesy Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T

Tom Irvine will commence his role as deputy director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki on July 5, overseeing operations across “finance, HR, security, capital projects, maintenance and systems improvement” according to the institution’s statement on June 3. As the outgoing chief operating officer for Auckland nonprofit Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, he has led tribal community development projects. In 2020 he was also appointed to the Gallery’s Advisory Committee by cultural agency Auckland Unlimited. “After being recently involved in supporting the Gallery in its framework surrounding Māori outcomes, I’m thrilled to take on a role to further the vision and values of Toi o Tāmaki,” said Irvine. 


The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) announced on June 1 the first batch of artists for the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10), scheduled to open on December 4. APT10 will feature 69 projects by over 100 global artists, collectives, and filmmakers. New commissions include the latest monumental painting by Australian artist Gordon Hookey for his MURRILAND! series (2015– ), which depicts history from Indigenous perspectives, and a new site-specific work by multimedia artist Salote Tawale that alludes to bilibili, a Fijian bamboo-based raft. Among the international participants are sculptor Kaili Chun, threadwork artist Sumakshi Singh, and ceramic artist Kimiyo Mishima. According to QAGOMA director Chris Saines, APT10 will focus on engaging the community and representing the island nations of Northern Oceania.

Portraits of CINDY LIM and MARCELLO KWAN. Courtesy Bonhams Hong Kong.

Bonhams publicized on June 1 the appointments of Marcello Kwan as head of Modern and Contemporary Art, Asia and Cindy Lim as the department’s senior specialist and head of sale. Both will be based in the Hong Kong office. Kwan was previously vice-president of Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie’s Hong Kong, curating selling exhibitions including “Collect Them All!”, a 2018 showcase of toy-inspired work by Hong Kong artist Michael Lau. Lim joins from Hong Kong gallery Tang Contemporary Art, where she served as the sales and marketing associate director from 2019 to 2021.

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