PHILLY AT WORK ON CALDER MUSEUM?
No one's saying much, but the Philadelphia Museum of Art seems ready to name Japanese architect Tadao Ando to design a new museum devoted to the work of Alexander Calder, reports Inga Saffron in the Philadelphia Inquirer. According to unnamed sources, New York's Calder Foundation has theoretically agreed to move a portion of its comprehensive collection to Philly, the artist's birthplace, on the condition that the city build a distinguished museum to house it. The choice of Ando, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, would presumably demonstrate that commitment. After two years of courting the foundation (competing cities were New York and San Francisco), museum and city officials are so confident in the plan that they have already picked a site across from the Rodin Museum and intend to unveil the architect's design in mid-February. The U.S. already boasts several museums dedicated to individual artists, including the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Andy Warhol Museum.
ART MIAMI 2001
Wondering why the cold, damp streets of Chelsea look so empty this week? It's because modern and contemporary art lovers are off to enjoy the sun at Art Miami 2001, where 135 galleries from 24 countries are displaying their wares, Jan. 18-22. Now in its 11th year, the fair takes place at its regular quarters at the Miami Beach Convention Center in South Beach. New director Ilana Vardy, former head of Art Chicago, has added about a third more galleries than last year, and continued the "Project Rooms" series of individually curated solo exhibitions. Other attractions include "MEGA Fino," an up-to-the-minute survey of cutting-edge artists organized by Milwaukee's Institute of Visual Arts director Peter Doroshenko; and "The Art of Design," a discussion exploring the blurred boundaries between art, architecture and design led by New York Times design editor Pilar Viladas. Tickets for the fair are $10.
In addition to the fair, art lovers can take advantage of their trip and check out the city's many art institutions. The Miami Art Museum features Haitian multi-media artist Edouard Duval Carrié's "Migrations," through Jan. 21, and the celebrated "Annie Leibovitz: Women," through Mar. 4. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami is presenting "Making Art In Miami: Travels In Hyperreality," celebrating the museum's fifth anniversary and featuring 22 emerging Miami artists, through Jan. 28. The Wolfsonian-Florida International University is showing "Print, Power and Persuasion: Graphic Design in Germany, 1890-1945," through Apr. 29 and "Dreams and Disillusion: Karel Teige and the Czech Avant-Garde," through Apr. 1. And let's not forget the Rubell Family Collection's ongoing exhibition, which currently includes works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel and Cindy Sherman.
THE ULTIMATE G.O.P. COLLECTIBLE
Just in time for the inauguration of President George W. Bush on Jan. 20, 2001, Sotheby's New York has sold an elephant-form inkwell once owned by President Ulysses S. Grant for $26,050 on Jan. 18 to Seth Kaller of Kaller's America Gallery in New York. The pachyderm, which is thought to be the inspiration for the Republican Party emblem, sports a gilt metal blanket, which lifts to reveal a brass and glass inkpot. For an image of the elephant, see Americana in Command by Brook S. Mason.
FBI WANTS TO BURN "WINDSLOW" HOMER
The FBI wants to burn or permanently deface 292 suspected fakes that were to be sold in an auction in Pompano Beach, Fla., after seller Dewey Lane Moore's confession that one of the pieces -- Sleeping Maiden by Latin American artist Francisco Zuniga -- was a forgery, reports the Miami Herald. The aborted 1997 auction at the now-closed C.B. Charles Galleries Inc. raised eyebrows in the art world with such suspicious offerings as Mother and Child by Picasso for the bargain price of $40,000, a BrancusiBird in Flight carved in wood -- the artist is not known to have sculpted any of the series in wood -- and a Winslow Homer with a signature reading "Windslow." The feds want to destroy the works to stop them from trickling back into private hands, but have not received the necessary consent from Moore, who claims he spent more than two decades compiling the collection from flea markets around the country. Art Dealer's Association of America vice president Gilbert Edelson, who originally tipped the FBI to the auction, suggests that the works be labeled forgeries to be used by art historians as an educational resource. Meanwhile, Moore has been arraigned in federal court on a charge of mail fraud and faces up to a year in prison.
SAN FRANCISCO AWARDS $230,000 IN RENT AID
San Francisco's ArtHouse, a collaboration between the San Francisco Arts Commission and the California Lawyers for the Arts to administer aid to art spaces, has awarded the first installment of $230,000 in rent subisidies for art groups at risk of losing their leases. The money comes from a $1.5-million fund established this year by the city to deal with the crisis in artist's housing precipitated by the invasion of cash-rich internet companies into San Francisco's famed Mission District and Potrero Hill arts district.
PORTICOGATE CONTINUES FOR BRITISH MUSEUM
Despite applause from the critics for its £100-million Great Court development, the stonemasonry scandal connected with the new portico continues to dog London's British Museum. A report commissioned by trustees declares that the museum was deceived by the masonry company when it used a cheaper type of stone for the museum's south portico that differs in color and texture from the rest of the building, but indicates that officials should have acted sooner to make adequate checks, according to the London Times. The report also says that there is no evidence of a cover-up attempt, but it criticizes the museum board for waiting weeks to address the switcheroo. The London Borough of Camden is considering legal action and the Heritage Lottery Fund is still trying to decide whether to deny the more than £1 million it has been withholding since the scandal broke.
CANYON SUITE ROUNDUP
The Kansas City Star is featuring "The Selling of the Canyon Suite," a two-part report on the now-infamous set of 28 watercolors once thought to be by Georgia O'Keefe sold to art patron R. Crosby Kemper Jr. in 1993 for $5 million that went on to become the centerpiece of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. The newspaper is running the article by Steve Paul and Mike McGraw on two Sunday editions, and you can find the first part online, including images and analysis of all the works.
SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN CO-FOUNDER RESIGNS Savannah College of Art and Design chancellor Richard G. Rowan has resigned his position 22 years after co-founding the school, reports the Savannah Morning News. Rowan, who served as president of the college from its inception in 1978 until April of last year, has given no reason for the resignation. Three members of SCAD's board of trustees have also quit, including chairman Bernie Casey and longtime members Hugh M. Dorsey and William L. Grainger.
NEW DIRECTOR FOR FRESNO ART MUSEUM Museum of Art at Washington State University director Dyana Curreri-Ermatinger has been named director of California's Fresno Art Museum, effective Mar. 5, 2001. She replaces Sam Gappmayer, who left two years ago.
MUNA TSENG AT PICA
The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art presents "Ambiguous Ambassador: Slut for Art," choreographer Muna Tseng's homage to her late brother, photographer and peformance artist Tseng Kwong Chi, Feb. 9 and 10, at PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center. Tseng Kwong Chi became an iconic figure in the 1980s East Village art scene for his Chinese dignitary persona, complete with Mao suit, dark glasses and an identity tag stamped "Slut for Art," and for his documentation of Keith Haring's subway drawings, club happenings and street art. He died of AIDS in 1990.
FIRST STEPS AT THE GREY GALLERY New York University's Grey Art Gallery is holding the third installment of "First Steps," a biennial competition dedicated to emerging Japanese artists, Feb. 16-Apr. 14. The winners, selected by an international jury of art professionals from a pool of 100 finalists, include Sayaka Akiyama, Noriaki Hayashi, MMM Project, Yuki Okumura, Risa Sato, Hiroko Shimizu and Kenji Ueda.
COMINGS AND GOINGS Catherine Moore Fine Art is closing its doors on its West 30th St. space and headin' South. The gallery is officially closed after this weekend, but Moore will continue dealing, curating shows and consulting at her new location at 2870 Peachtree Road #255, Atlanta, Ga. 30305, beginning Feb. 1.
Brooklyn's artiest neighborhood has yet another gallery joining its ranks -- Southfirst opens in Williamsburg with a solo exhibition by painter Donna Lindo, Jan. 19-Feb. 18. The gallery is located at 326 Wythe Ave.; call (718) 599-2500 for more info.