in News | 22 MAY 18

Andy Warhol-Founded Interview Magazine Folds After Nearly Five Decades

In further news: white supremacist vandals attack Rothko Chapel; Israeli minister bans art produced in solidarity with Palestinian victims

in News | 22 MAY 18

Justin Bieber on the cover of Interview magazine, 2015. Courtesy: Interview magazine

Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, has folded after nearly 5 decades in operation. The news follows several years of financial problems and lawsuits faced by the magazine. Its closure first emerged when staffers tweeted about it. According to reports, staff were told that the magazine was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The magazine is famous for its sprawling conversations with art world and pop culture celebrities, often interviewing each other, and was once nicknamed ’the Crystal Ball of Pop’. In a 1977 interview, Warhol claimed that when he was drunk, ‘I tell everyone they can be on the cover of Interview.’ Recent years have been less kind – the magazine was unceremoniously locked out of its New York offices in February for its failure to pay rent, and former COO Deborah Blasucci filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against current owner and billionaire art collector Peter Brant (who bought the magazine in 1989) alleging wrongful termination. The troubles didn’t stop there. Editorial director Fabien Baron departed in April and then later sued claiming unpaid invoices, while creative director Karl Templer left in the same month (Templer has been accused of sexual misconduct in a Boston Globe report; he denies the claims). Interview Inc. said in a statement: ‘The Company has been operating at a financial loss, and had been funding its losses and costs of its operation through loans obtained from its secured lender. The losses, however, continued to mount, and the Company did not believe its financial condition would improve in the foreseeable future.’

Houston’s Rothko Chapel was hit by vandals last Friday 18 May, in what its executive director David Leslie is describing as a ‘hate incident’. According to reports, white paint was left at the entrance and in the reflection pool containing Barnett Newman’s sculpture The Broken Obelisk (1963–67), which is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr., while flyers were left around the area that read, ‘It’s okay to be white’. A police investigation has been launched. The chapel and sculpture have not been permanently damaged. The chapel, with contains 14 murals painted by Mark Rothko, was built in the early 1970s by collectors John and Dominique de Menil. It aims to offer a ‘sacred space open to all people’. Leslie commented: ‘we were replenished by the powerful response of support we received from visitors and the community.’

An Israeli minister has banned artwork produced by students at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design from display at an international science conference. The students produced the work in solidarity with the many Palestinian protesters who have been killed in violent incidents at the Gaza border – at least 60 protesters have been shot dead by Israeli solders during recent demonstrations. The artworks included posters with the names of those killed. Newspaper Haaretz reported that Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said that he was ‘always in favour of freedom of expression and creativity’ but ‘will not permit freedom of humiliation.’ In a statement, the school defended its students: ‘The academy at Bezalel is a safe zone for freedom of speech in Israel, and it enables the students to engage in free, critical and creative discourse in the various subjects that interest them.’

The French Ministry of Culture has named multidisciplinary artist and Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost to represent France at the Venice Biennale 2019, which will run from 11 May to 24 November next year. The pavilion selection committee said Prouvost was a ‘reflection of the dynamism of the French art scene.’ Meanwhile, the artist will open a solo show, ‘Ring, Sing and Drink for Trespassing’ at Paris’s Palais de Tokyo next month, which runs from 22 June to 9 September. The exhibition ‘Laure Prouvost: They Are Waiting For You’ at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, runs until 2 September. Don’t Prouvost's Questionnaire for frieze magazine: Q What is art for? A To be shocked by what surrounds us, to make us question, to admire complexity, criticize, laugh, cry and taste delicious things ...

In gallery news: Marianne Boesky Gallery and R & Company now represent twin designers, the Haas Brothers; Alexander Gray Associates represents Cuban artist Ricardo Brey – with a solo show in New York planned for 2019.

In awards news: the winners of this year’s Herb Alpert Award in the Arts have been announced – recipients of the unrestricted USD$75,000 award are composer Courtney Bryan, playwright Robert O’Hara, choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili and artists Arthur Jafa and Michael Rakowitz – the prize, initiated in 1994, recognizes work by mid-career artists; British-Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum has won the USD$24,000 Ruth Baumgarte prize; and nonprofit Artadia has named Francis Almendarez, Rabea Ballin, Natasha Bowdoin, Dana Frankfort and Angel Oloshove as finalists for its 2018 Houston awards.

In appointments news: Head of culture for Bristol City Council, Laura Pye, has been appointed director of The National Museums Liverpool. She will be responsible for overseeing eight of the city’s museums and galleries, including the Walker Art Gallery, the Museum of Liverpool, and the Lady Lever Gallery, and will take up the post in August.

Finally, art triennial Prospect New Orleans has named Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi as curators for its next edition, set to open in 2020. Keith is currently deputy director and chief curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles and Nawi is an independent curator in Los Angeles. Executive director Nick Stillman commented: ‘Naima and Diana are thoughtful and daring curators with an exciting rapport and history of working together.’