Hirshhorn Museum Receives 50 Marcel Duchamp Works, and Birmingham Museum Repatriates 12th-Century Indian Sculpture

HYPERALLERGIC September 2018

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has been gifted 50 major historical works by Marcel Duchamp from Washington, DC collectors Barbara and Aaron Levine. The Levines are also donating more than 150 books on Duchamp, dating from the late 1930s through the present. Included among these books are first editions and rare catalogues. “We have been collecting conceptual art for a good part of our lives and have been involved with the Hirshhorn for nearly 20 years,” said Barbara and Aaron Levine. “This donation of art gives the public access to our collection of Duchamp works that we have lived with and loved.” These works will be on display in the fall of 2019 in an exhibition “examining [Duchamp’s] artistic evolution,” according to the press release. [via email announcement]

The Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, England has acquired six works by contemporary Young British Artists (YBAs) Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Peter Blake, Rachel Whiteread, Gavin Turk, and Michael Craig-Martin. The works were gifted by Frank and Lorna Dunphy through the Cultural Gifts Scheme, which was launched by the UK Department for Culture, Media, & Sport in March 2013 as a way to encourage arts philanthropy. The Dunphys’ donated works were initially bought for display in their homes, and Frank Dunphy said, “We love our connection with Pallant House Gallery and the fact that we can come and see the works when they are on show. There is nobody more deserving. We prefer to give to a smaller gallery than one of the nationals where half of it will never be shown. We’re so happy to make this gift … really proud.” [via email announcement]

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) was gifted the Ursula von Rydingsvard sculpture “Bowl with Folds” from museum supporters Janis B. and William M. Wetsman. The piece will be installed in the Josephine F. Ford Sculpture Garden, on long-term loan to the College for Creative Studies (CCS). “Acquisitions like these are not always within our means,” said DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons. “[These acquisitions] have extraordinary artistic value and elevate our collection in significant ways.” On October 16 in CCS’s F. Ford Sculpture Garden, von Rydingsvard will give a free talk about her work at the museum.

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) announced today the gift of over 1,300 photographs from the private collection of Tina Freeman. Freeman was curator of photographs at NOMA from 1977–1982. NOMA’s press release describes the new collection as “particularly strong in work by women photographers,” including Frances Benjamin Johnston, a photojournalist known for her work in the American South during the first half of the 20th century. 23 works from Freeman’s gift will be on display in the exhibition Past Present Future: Building Photography at the New Orleans Museum of Art beginning September 7. A catalogue of the full collection will be produced in the coming years. [via email announcement]

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London has acquired an Xbox Adaptive controller as part of its Rapid Response Collecting program. The controller is the first adaptive controller designed and manufactured at large-scale by a leading technology company “and demonstrates how design can be harnessed to encourage inclusivity,” according to the V&A press release. The controller was developed by Microsoft in consultation with players that have limited mobility and with multiple charities in an effort to improve on the lack of well-designed and affordable equipment available for gameplayers with disabilities. This acquisition coincides with the opening of the V&A’s new exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, opening on September 8. Currently, the controller is on display in the Rapid Response Collecting gallery.

The Cooley Gallery at Reed College has acquired an installation of 12 linen paintings called “Untitled Arrangement” (2016) by Portland artist Kristan Kennedy. The installation was acquired through an art acquisition grant funded by The Ford Family Foundation, managed by the Oregon Arts Commission. The work will be on display in a painting exhibition opening at the gallery in the spring of 2020, curated by director Stephanie Snyder.

Sotheby’s online sale of Original Film Posters brought in a total of £609,850 (~$787,000) on September 5. The sale’s top lot, the “world’s first film poster,” Cinématographe Lumière, sold for £160,000 (~$207,000).

The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) has repatriated a stolen stone sculpture to India in a formal ceremony on September 4. The sculpture was of the Hindu deity Shiva, which was discovered and stolen out of India “as a part of a $100 million international smuggling racket organized by art dealer Subhash Kapoor,” according to the BMA. The sculpture, titled “Lingodhbhavamurti (Shiva Manifesting within the Linga of Flames),” was purchased from Kapoor in New York by the Art Fund of Birmingham in 2008 — three years ago it was discovered to be stolen. “The Birmingham Museum of Art follows a strict code of ethics to ensure that objects acquired for our collection are not among those stolen from protected sites of religious and/or cultural significance,” said Graham C. Boettcher, the R. Hugh Daniel Director of the BMA. “As soon as we learned of the unlawful provenance of this sculpture, we set out to return it to the nation and people of India. It is unquestionably the right thing to do, and we are happy to know this important cultural treasure will soon be in its rightful home.”

On August 30, the MacKenzie Art Gallery announced two major gifts to the museum. They have received a $25 million (CAD; ~19 million USD) gift from an anonymous donor, the largest in the Gallery’s history. In a new endowment, through the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation (SSCF), the gift will provide an average of 25% of the Gallery’s annual operating budget. The Gallery also received a six-figure gift from local collector and philanthropist Lyn Goldman, which will be split between the acquisitions fund and programming and organizational needs. Anthony Kiendl, the Gallery’s Executive Director and CEO, said, “This visionary and anonymous donation comes at a pivotal moment for the Gallery, as we expand our range of exhibitions and public programs and improve our onsite facilities.”


Marcel Duchamp, “The Box in a Valise/Boite en Valise (Series E) From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy [de ou par Marcel Duchamp ou Rrose Sélavy]” (1963), green leather valise containing miniature replicas, photographs, and color reproductions of works by Duchamp, valise 15 7/8 x 14 7/8 x 3 5/8 in. (image courtesy Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA / Gift of Anne W. Harrison and Family in memory of Agnes Sattler Harrison and Alexina “Teeny” Sattler Duchamp / Bridgeman; © Association Marcel Duchamp / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2018Photo:
Ursula von Rydingsvard, “Bowl with Folds” (image courtesy Galerie Lelong)Photo

Kristan Kennedy, installation shot of Untitled Arrangement (2017) at CANADA gallery for the exhibition Tomorrow Tomorrow (image courtesy Reed College Art Gallery)

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