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Hellos and Goodbyes
Embracing transitions: from farewells to new beginnings. As Pooh once said, "How lucky I am to have ...
Art Stuff 09 Apr 2024

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” pondered Pooh, shedding light on the profound significance of farewells. Indeed, amidst the ebb and flow of our lives, goodbyes often reveal hidden blessings, disguised as endings.

As we bask in the glow of a new month and navigate the playful antics of April’s Fool’s Day unscathed, we find ourselves amidst a whirlwind of events. The recent conclusion of the vibrant Art Basel Hong Kong, bustling with over 240 international galleries, signals a return to pre-pandemic vibrancy. Yet, amid the anticipation of the upcoming 60th Biennale di Venezia, shadows lurk with cancellations like the Moroccan Pavilion. And let’s not forget the seismic shift in the fashion universe, as Dries Van Noten stepped down from the helm of his esteemed label, marking a poignant moment in the industry’s history. But fear not, for within this tapestry of arrivals and departures lies the heartbeat of our collective narrative—an ever-unfolding saga of anticipation and discovery. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the most significant news of the past two weeks:

1. Valentino Confirms Alessandro Michele as New Creative Director.
Valentino just announced their newest creative maestro: Alessandro Michele! Yep, the mastermind behind Gucci’s wild ride is now steering the ship at the Rome-based couture house. Get ready for some fashion fireworks, folks! With Michele in charge, expect the unexpected—think maximalism meets gender-fluid fabulousness. It’s like putting a disco ball in a classic museum: bold, brilliant, and bound to turn heads. Hold onto your hats, fashionistas, ’cause Valentino’s about to get a whole lot funkier!

2. New Director, Fresh Beginnings: Nicholas Cullinan Takes the Reins at the British Museum.
Nicholas Cullinan, known for his tenure at London’s National Portrait Gallery, is set to lead the British Museum. With a track record of museum redevelopment and landmark acquisitions, Cullinan faces the challenge of navigating the fallout from missing items and debates over repatriation. Amidst controversies like sponsorship ties to fossil fuel corporations, his appointment signals a new chapter for the museum. As Cullinan steps in, the art world awaits his innovative solutions to the museum’s complex issues.

3. Haus der Kunst Welcomes Xue Tan as Chief Curator.

Munich’s Haus der Kunst has named Xue Tan, known for her innovative work at Hong Kong’s Tai Kwun Contemporary, as its next Chief Curator. Tan’s expertise in the Asian art scene and her knack for groundbreaking exhibitions are poised to inject new energy into the renowned German institution. With Tan’s vision, Haus der Kunst is set to explore uncharted artistic territories and captivate audiences with fresh perspectives and engaging experiences.

4. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung: A New Chapter for São Paulo Biennial.

Prepare for an artistic revolution as Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung steps into the spotlight as the chief curator for the 2025 Bienal de São Paulo. Ndikung, renowned for his bold approach and global perspective, brings a wealth of experience from his role as director and chief curator at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt. With a doctorate in medical biotechnology and a penchant for breaking boundaries, Ndikung promises to infuse the biennial with fresh energy and thought-provoking exhibits. São Paulo’s 36th Biennial is poised to be a platform for innovative dialogue and transformative artistry under Ndikung’s guidance.

5. Gallery Galore: Jaqueline Martins and Sé Join Hands to Form Martins&Montero.

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Brazilian art dealers Jaqueline Martins and Maria Montero are teaming up to establish Martins&Montero, a dynamic new venture. Renowned in their own right—Martins of Galeria Jaqueline Martins and Montero of Sé Galeria—both will close their individual spaces in São Paulo to launch a unified gallery, which will also incorporate Jaqueline Martins’ existing location in Brussels. With a shared vision to promote art from the Global South, the merger aims to tackle social and political issues through various mediums. Their São Paulo headquarters, nestled in a vibrant gallery hub, will serve as a welcoming public space, fostering community engagement.

6. Curatorial Powerhouses: Bardaouil and Fellrath to Lead 14th Taipei Biennial.

TFAM is over the moon to unveil the tag team of Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath as the dynamic duo behind the 14th Taipei Biennial, kicking off in November 2025. With a quirky blend of art history, theater, economics, and political science, these Lebanese-German curators bring a fresh breeze to Taiwan’s art scene. As directors of Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof and founders of “Art Reoriented”, get ready for a burst of creativity with a side of cultural fusion! Brace yourselves for a Taipei Biennial like never before!

7. Fashion Icon Dries Van Noten Steps Down.

In a seismic shift for the fashion universe, Belgian designer extraordinaire Dries Van Noten, renowned for his opulent palettes and daring styles, reveals his departure from the helm of his esteemed label. With the curtains closing after Paris Fashion Week’s menswear extravaganza in June, Van Noten leaves an indelible mark on the industry he helped shape. As whispers of his departure echo through the fashion echelons, admirers brace for a new chapter while acknowledging his continued influence in the wings. Anticipation brews for the dawn of a new era as fresh talents prepare to chart the future of Van Noten’s illustrious legacy.

8. Goodbye, Hello: Armory Show Director Nicole Berry Steps Down for New Adventures.
Nicole Berry, the esteemed Executive Director of the Armory Show for the past eight years, gracefully transitions to a new role as Senior Director of Donor Engagement at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. As Berry embarks on her next chapter, the Armory Show’s team prepares to welcome fresh horizons. Here’s to Berry’s next journey—a delightful turn filled with excitement and promise

9. Fashion’s Maestro: Designer Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Exit from Valentino Marks End of an Era.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, the mastermind designer behind Valentino’s illustrious journey for 25 years, says goodbye. His departure, announced on Instagram, evokes reflections on timeless tales woven with love and beauty. From accessories designer to creative director, Piccioli’s legacy is etched in Hollywood glamour and red-carpet perfection. As he embarks on new adventures, Valentino acknowledges his profound influence, signaling the end of an era. Yet, as one chapter closes, the fashion world eagerly awaits the next masterpiece from this creative force.

10. Remembering Richard Serra: A Man of Steel and Substance.
The art world bids farewell to Richard Serra, the maverick sculptor whose monumental rolled-steel works reshaped Minimalist art. From his days in the mills to his towering creations that dared viewers to rethink sculpture, Serra’s journey was as unconventional as his art. Despite rustling feathers with pieces like “Tilted Arc,” his colossal structures stood tall, challenging norms and inviting debate. Serra leaves behind a legacy as robust as his material, forever etched in the annals of art history.

11. Erwin Kessler Departs MARe: A Transition in Bucharest’s Art Landscape.
Erwin Kessler’s exit from the Museum of Recent Art (MARe) in Bucharest marks a turning point in Romania’s contemporary art scene. MARe, Romania’s newest museum, opened in 2018 and quickly became a focal point for modern art in the country. With its extensive collection spanning the past 50 years of Romanian art and hosting exhibitions of renowned international artists, MARe represents a significant step forward in Romania’s cultural landscape. Kessler, as the museum’s Director, leaves behind a legacy of promoting Romanian modern and contemporary art on a global stage. His departure raises questions about the museum’s future direction and the continued advancement of Romanian art in the international arena.

12. Morocco’s Rollercoaster Ride at Venice Biennale: Pavilion Cancelled, Mystery Prevails.
What started as a hopeful tale for Morocco’s debut Venice Biennale pavilion has turned into a perplexing saga. After a last-minute swap of exhibitors, Morocco now completely cancels its participation, leaving lingering questions. The exhibition’s sudden demise has left artists and curators bewildered. While promises of reimbursement and future showcases provide some solace, the reasons behind the abrupt cancellation remain shrouded in mystery. As the plot thickens, Morocco’s presence in the art world’s premier event takes an unexpected turn.

13. The Genderless Fashion Revolution: Trendsetter or Trend Chaser?
In a swift turn of the fashion tide, genderless fashion emerges as a key player, but is it a true revolution or just a strategic brand move? From Marc Jacobs’ polysexual “Heaven” capsule to Balenciaga’s daring collections, major fashion houses embrace gender neutrality. Japan’s avant-garde legacy, led by Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto since 2016, sets the stage. Meanwhile, Essentiel Antwerp joins the fray with its debut gender-neutral collection, defying norms with colorful outerwear and loose-fitting pants. Italian label EDITHMARCEL has been quietly reflecting on the theme of gender as a study of forms, volumes, and lengths since 2015. As the fashion world tiptoes into this new era, the question lingers: Is this a genuine revolution or a fleeting trend driven by economic forces? Stay tuned as we navigate this fashion frontier, where saying hello to the future may also mean bidding farewell to outdated norms.

Text by Maria Nitulescu

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