The Met Introduces Compulsory Admission Charge for non-New Yorkers

In other news: Betty Woodman has died aged 87; Christoph Büchel calls for border wall prototypes to be classed as land art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue, New York

The Metropolitan Museum in New York is changing its 50-year-old ‘pay-as-you-wish’ admission policy to charge out-of-State visitors a mandatory USD$25. Effective 1 March, the ‘pay-as-you-wish’ policy will now only be available to New Yorkers and students living in Conneticut and New Jersey. The plan brings it in line with other art museums in the city such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney which all charge admission, and the ticket can be used for three days to gain admission to all three of the Met's venues  the uptown Cloisters collection of medieval art and architect, the Breuer building on Madison Avenue as well as its flagship location on 5th Avenue. While attendance to the museum has gone up in the past 8 years by 40% to more than 7 million visitors across the Met’s three venues, the move aims to offset the dwindling number of people who pay the full suggested donation (USD$25), which has fallen from 63% of visitors in 2004 to 17% today. It also comes as the museum works to eliminate a $10m budget deficit by 2020. Depending on how much the museum makes from admissions, the city will reduce it’s funding on a sliding scale up to USD$3m – the Met currently receives only 8% (USD$26 million) of its budget from public funds. According to Met figures, 37% of visitors are from outside the US, while 31% are New York City residents. Another 6% are from other parts of New York State, and the remaining 26% are from other US states.

Betty Woodman has died, at the age of 87. Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, in 1930, and working for more than six decades, the sculptor is best known for her colourful ceramics and ceramic tableaux, influenced as much by ancient Etruscan, Italian Renaissance, Persian and Chinese styles as well as reacting to the male-dominated painting-led art of the ’60s and ’70s. Woodman became the first living female artist to be given a retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006 – the institution’s first for an artist working with ceramics. Her work was the subject of a UK retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London in 2016. She and her husband, the painter and photographer George Woodman (who decorated her early pots, until she took over, in around 1970), lived between New York and Antella, a small town in the hills outside Florence, Italy. Read Deputy editor Amy Sherlock’s 2016 interview with the artist, discussing her career and influences, here

Christoph Büchel has called for eight government-commissioned prototypes of the border wall between Mexico and the US to be recognized as land art. The Swiss-Icelandic artist has started a petition calling for the prototypes, which have been erected outside of San Diego, to be preserved and protected: ‘My political position, that’s not interesting in this context,’ he told The New York Times. ‘When you look at it here, and you see everything, it’s quite a strong conceptual impact. Visually it is really striking. That’s why this should be preserved, because it talks so much about our history.’ Six companies were contracted to build the prototypes, from concrete or other materials, designed to withstand intense heat and repeated impact and to be ‘aesthetically pleasing.’ Not shy of controversy, in 2011 Büchel converted Hauser & Wirth’s entire Piccadilly space into a local community centre and hit headlines for turning a deconsecrated Venetian church into a mosque for the city’s Muslim community for his contribution to the Iceland Pavilion as part of the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Chinese humas rights activist Wu Gan, has been found ‘guilty of subversion’ and sentenced to eight years in prison. Known for helping to organize protests outside of government offices to support plaintiffs accusing government officials of abusing their power, Wu used caustic mockery on social media to spread his message – going by the online name Super Vulgar Butcher. The court in Tianjin, near Beijing, where Wu was tried and convicted, said that he had ‘used “rights defense” and “performance art” as a ploy’ to ‘seriously harm national security and social stability.’

Thomas Roma, director of the photography program at Columbia’s School of the Arts in New York, has been accused of sexual misconduct by five women in The New York Times. A photographer himself Roma’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others. The professor’s lawyer said that the artist denies the allegations but Roma has since resigned from his role at the university.

Andrea Fraser has been named chair of the UCLA Department of Art in the university’s School of the Arts and Architecture. The artist, writer, and current UCLA professor takes over from Hirsch Perlman, who has served as chair of the department since 2013. Known for her performance work enagaging with Institutional Critique in the ’90s, as well as at UCLA Fraser has taught at the Maine College of Art, Vermont College, the Whitney Independent Study Program, Columbia University School of the Arts, and the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Engineers Arup will reconfigure the brutalist Sheffield housing estate Park Hill it designed 60 years ago into a GBP£21m arts centre. The 13-storey structure will include live-work flats and studios for artists, a research institute, an archive, shop, cafe and a permanent home for charity S1 Artspace, designed by architect Carmody Groarke.

Finally, in awards news: Richard Long receives a knighthood in the Queen’s New Years Honours list with gallerists Victoria Miro and Jane Hamlyn of Frith Street Gallery becoming CBEs. Fiona Bradley, the director of Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery receives an OBE. Berlin-based artist Nevin Aladağ has been awarded the Ernst Rietschel Art Prize for Sculpture, receiving EUR€15,000 and an exhibition at the Albertinum in Dresden in March 2018. Vibeke Tandberg has won Norway’s largest art prize, the Lorck Schive Kunstpris, receiving EUR€56,000 during a ceremony at the Trondheim Kunstmuseum.

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