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VMFA receives more than 8,000 photographs from the Aaron Siskind Foundation

The gift represents the largest single donation of photographs in VMFA’s history; VMFA will take over the administration of the Aaron Siskind Fellowship Prize.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been given a gift of more than 8,000 photographs by Aaron Siskind (1903–1991) from the Aaron Siskind Foundation in New York. Established by the artist in 1984, the foundation’s mission has been to preserve and protect Siskind’s artistic legacy, as well as to foster knowledge and appreciation for photography through research, publications, exhibitions and an annual fellowship prize for individual artists.

The foundation recently decided to dissolve its operations and transfer the collection to an American art museum that would be willing to administer the annual fellowship prize and care for, interpret, and display the foundation’s core collection of Siskind’s photographs. VMFA was awarded this major gift thanks to the museum’s demonstrated commitment to photography and its outstanding fellowship program. The transfer of the collection to VMFA took place on January 1, 2020.

“After a thorough search of the major art institutions across the country, the Aaron Siskind Foundation was delighted to find that the visionary leadership, ambitious plans for the future, and commitment to carrying on Aaron Siskind’s legacy made VMFA the ideal choice as the new and permanent home for the collection and administration of the Siskind Prize,” says Victor Schrager, President of the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

“With this remarkable donation from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts owns what Siskind and his colleagues considered to be the finest prints of every important work he ever made,” says VMFA Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “Comparable to the key sets of Paul Strand’s photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Alfred Stieglitz’s photographs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., this gift also allows VMFA to become an important center for the study and appreciation of Siskind’s life and work, as well as photography in general.”

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Siskind was born and raised in New York City and graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1926. Three years later, Siskind received a large-format view camera as a wedding gift when he married Sidonie Glatter. He took his first photographs with this camera on their honeymoon in Bermuda in 1930. Siskind later joined the Film and Photo League in New York. Inspired by the social documentary photography that he saw at the Film and Photo League, Siskind spent the next decade working as a street photographer, most notably producing his acclaimed Harlem Document series. In the early 1940s, he shifted to more abstract and symbolic work, often based on found objects.

Siskind supported himself by teaching in the New York public school system until 1949, when he resigned and briefly tried to earn his living as a freelance photographer. Unable to do so, Siskind moved to Chicago at the invitation of fellow photographer Harry Callahan, whom he met in the summer of 1950 at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, where they both taught photography. Siskind went on to teach photography at the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago from 1951 to 1970.

By the 1950s, his work had become widely associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement thanks to his acclaimed photographs of the walls of buildings, whose flat, variegated surfaces enlivened by peeling paint or the remnants of torn posters provided a visual counterpart to the work of Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and other painters of the New York School. Siskind’s photographs were shown alongside the paintings of these artists in a series of exhibitions at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York between 1947 and 1951. At a time when photography rarely achieved equality with painting as a fine art, Siskind’s success in the broader New York art scene signaled an important advancement for the medium.

In 1971, Siskind was appointed as a professor of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), a position he held until his retirement in 1976. He spent the next two decades traveling extensively, including extended trips to Italy, Morocco, Mexico and Peru. In 1975, he made an acclaimed series of abstract compositions in Peru based on the tightly packed stone wall at Sacsayhuamán which, with its geometric patterning, continued the artist’s interest in finding visual equivalents for contemporary abstract painting in his stark black and white compositions. When Siskind died in 1991, he held a pre-eminent place in the history of the medium thanks to his career-long dedication to the idea that photography can be an abstract form of expression and an aesthetic end in itself.

The gift includes the core collection of 4,062 photographs that represent the artist’s finest works from every series and period of his career. VMFA will also receive approximately 3,900 duplicate prints which it will donate to other museums, including those in cities and places where Siskind lived and worked, as well as countries he visited at the end of his career. The museum has also agreed to take on the responsibility of administering the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, which provides cash grants to artists working in photography and lens-based media. Siskind established this grant to assist independent photographers to pursue personal projects without bias to any particular form of the medium. VMFA is in an excellent position to administer this annual prize due to its Visual Arts Fellowship Program that has supported Virginia artists for the past 80 years.

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‘World’s largest surf park,’ first on East Coast, coming to Chesterfield County

“Named simply, The Lake, the proposed 105-acre project reflects the lengths developers are going these days to compete for a generation of renters for whom just a pool and gym no longer cuts it. The development has been drawn up to incorporate 150,000 square feet of retail and entertainment, 100,000 square feet of office space, a 170-key hotel, 750 apartments, a 13-acre artificial Wake Lake, an amphitheater and a six-acre water park, capable of generating artificial waves large enough to surf.”

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The first surf park on the East Coast – and supposedly the largest of its kind in the world – is coming to Chesterfield County, we’ve learned this morning. The 105-acre project, to be known as “The Lake,” would be a entertainment, retail, and tourism magnet, once developed.

From CoStar, who has the exclusive on the story:

A Virginia developer is planning a new mixed-use project in Richmond where the main attraction will be the first surf park on the East Coast and, upon its completion, the largest in the world.

Named simply, The Lake, the proposed 105-acre project reflects the lengths developers are going these days to compete for a generation of renters for whom just a pool and gym no longer cuts it. The development has been drawn up to incorporate 150,000 square feet of retail and entertainment, 100,000 square feet of office space, a 170-key hotel, 750 apartments, a 13-acre artificial Wake Lake, an amphitheater and a six-acre water park, capable of generating artificial waves large enough to surf.

Flatwater Cos., a firm that counts a real estate development veteran, an investment banker, and a construction manager as its principals, hopes to turn The Lake into a local and regional destination, hosting more 200 events per year.

“We’ve been working on [this development] for a handful of years, going through the permitting process, zoning entitlements,” Brett Burkhart, Flatwater’s director of project development and operations, told CoStar News. “Our firm was started with this project in mind.”

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Axe-throwing chain set to open near The Circuit Arcade Bar in Scott’s Addition

The venue will open in the former Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building at 3100 W. Leigh Street in the heart of the neighborhood.

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From Richmond BizSense:

After its first attempt to get into the Richmond market fell flat, a Canadian axe-throwing bar is back with a location coming to Scott’s Addition.

Bad Axe Throwing is preparing to open at 3100 W. Leigh St. in a 5,000-square-foot space in the old Nicholson Sprinkler Corp. building.

Based in Ontario, Bad Axe has nearly 50 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K. In 2018, it began planning a Richmond location on West Broad Street, across from the forthcoming Whole Foods in Sauer Center.

But those plans fell through last spring. Bad Axe owner Mario Zelaya said there was an issue about the amount of parking available at that location, which caused them to scrap the plans.

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Artist Jacob Daley and RAL Team Up with Portraits for Paws

Jacob Daley is partnering with Richmond’s oldest no-kill shelter, Richmond Animal League, to raise funds for their 1,700+ a year dogs and cats.

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Local Richmond artist, Jacob Daley, is a 2015 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Communication Arts. Daley works full-time doing branding and marketing for local small businesses with Nudge Advertising. After struggling with chronic anxiety and depression he went back to his roots of Fine Art with Daley Dots.

Jacob creates unique works of art by stippling or layering a series of four different colored (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) dots in order to create an entire spectrum of color. He developed this style to alleviate anxiety and depression through mindfulness and the meditative like state when creating his portraits. Daley relaunched his art career in August 2019 and has stippled pet portraits and human portraits. This relaunch was extremely successful and led to dozens of commissions in a short time.

Those pet portraits inspired Jacob to team up with Richmond Animal League for Portraits for Paws to raise funds for the shelter and its animals. Daley is donating 15% of the proceeds from all Pet Portraits created during the year of 2020. He chose RAL for their emphasis on providing top-tier medical treatments to all the animals that they house as well as a high-quality clinic and veterinary services.

Richmond Animal League is Richmond’s oldest no-kill shelter and has helped, on average, 1,700 animals per year. Daley’s fundraising will contribute to and improve on the shelter’s ability to provide safe living conditions, quality medical care & procedures, and overall morale of all the puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats that pass through RAL each year. The RAL representative, Lauren Decker, says, “Richmond Animal League is excited to partner with Jacob from Daley Dots! Any and all donations received will provide hope, help, and homes to animals in need. We are incredibly thankful for all the support from Daley Dots and this new partnership!”

Daley says, “I value my art for its ability to alleviate anxiety/depression, but if I can help those without a voice feel some equivalency to the joy I feel creating Pet Portraits, why not? Our pets are only temporary in our lives, but we are forever in theirs, let’s make their time on this planet enjoyable. ”

The partnership between Daley and RAL will involve an initial weeklong Facebook event, sponsored by Richmond Animal League, starting on January 14th 2020.

 

Daley and RAL will be doing a special kick-off Live Stream on Instagram and Facebook on the afternoon of January 14th, 2020 at 2:00 pm to help answer any questions and raise awareness. This collaboration will continue from January 14th through December 30th, 2020 and will feature quarterly weeklong Facebook events.

Pet Portraits can be ordered anytime from January – December 2020 to have a portion of the proceeds donated to RAL. Portraits start at $114.

Contact Jacob at daleydots@gmail.com, or his website daleydots.com, to order a pet portrait. He can also be found on Instagram @daleydots and on Facebook at Daley Dots.

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