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Artnet News

Shades of Jesse Helms! In a move that hasn't been seen since the waning days of the Reagan Administration, the National Endowment for the Arts has rescinded a $42,000 visual arts grant to support an exhibition of works by William Pope.L, the African American performance artist whose eccentric works have won him many fans in the avant-garde community. Though NEA is mum on the move, the decision -- taken by acting NEA chair Robert S. Martin -- is widely seen as pandering to fears that the NEA may once again become a political liability, especially considering the fact that President George W. Bush's nominee for NEA chair, Michael Hammond, awaits confirmation by the Senate. Pope.L told New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin, "By having these kinds of encounters, maybe a discussion can be engendered where we can find out what is the national cultural image our government wants for itself." Pope.L's show, "e-Racism," slated for the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Me., is going ahead as planned, with a scheduled opening on July 26, 2002.

The art world generally greeted news that Time magazine's veteran art critic, Robert Hughes, had been named curator of the 2003 Venice Biennale with disbelief. The notoriously cranky, Australian-born writer and TV personality, who has held the job at Time for 31 years, has never organized an exhibition before, and is generally viewed as someone with little taste for new art. His assault on a then-young Julian Schnabel and his "five fat thumbs," written in classical verse some 15 years ago for the New York Review, is the stuff of legend. Still, all is not lost -- Hughes has expressed admiration in the past for artists as varied as Bruce Nauman and Lucian Freud, Henry Darger and Roy Lichtenstein, Wayne Thiebaud and Sol LeWitt. At least Hughes is a critic rather than a curator and museum functionary, and can be expected to bring an unconventional eye to his task. Stay tuned.

The coming year should be a good one for lovers of Caravaggio and the Baroque. The Metropolitan Museum has dedicated the first show of 2002 in its second floor special exhibition galleries to "Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi: Father and Daughter Painters in Baroque Italy," Feb. 14, 2002-May 12, 2002. With ca. 50 works by Orazio and 35 by Artemisia, the show offers an unprecedented chance to view the output of two artists who had a tumultuous place in the history of the Renaissance. Needless to say, Artemisia, who broke the Renaissance mold for women artists, has long been a feminist touchstone.

The catalogue for the exhibition (Yale/Metropolitan, $60), authored by the show's curators, Keith Christiansen and Judith W. Mann, is out in time for the holidays. Its 496 pages feature 121 exceptional color plates as well as extensive black-and-white x-ray examinations of the paintings. The catalogue also includes new documentation of Artemisia's controversial rape case. The exhibition is currently on view at the Palazzo Venezia, Oct. 20, 2001-Jan. 20, 2002; after its appearance at the Met, it travels to the Saint Louis Art Museum, June 15-Sept. 15, 2002.

The Dahesh Museum of Art in New York needs a new director -- the much-respected founding director of the museum, J. David Farmer, has announced his retirement, effective Feb. 1, 2002. DMA associate director Michael Fahlund is to hold the fort until the position is filled.

The National Gallery of Art has posted its first online catalogue raisonné, featuring more than 1,900 images and in-depth entries relation to the current show, "Best Impressions: 35 Years of Prints and Sculpture from Gemini G.E.L." The NGA has held the archive of Gemini's print collection since 1981. The catalogue, which can be viewed at, is called "a work in progress."

New York City philanthropists Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman have given $1 million to the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y., to fund a new art-and-education curatorial post. The new Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator, Art and Education, at the Parrish is Katherine Crum, former director of the Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, Ca.

The shortlist has been announced for Britain's richest art award, the £65,000 Becks Futures Prize. It includes Tom Wood, 50, known for photographs of passengers on Liverpool buses, as well as a group of more typically younger artists: David Cotterrell, Toby Paterson, Kirsten Glass, Dan Perfect, Paul Hosking, Nick Relph and Oliver Payne, Neil Rumming, Rachel Lowe and Hideyuki Sawayanagi. The exhibition goes on view at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts in March.

Jasper Johns' Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc., recently announced nearly $350,000 in grants for 2001. Twelve grants of $24,000 were awarded to dancers, musicians, poets and performers -- and to the visual-arts group Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries in Seoul, Korea. A total of $61,000 was awarded to 40 arts organizations in amounts from $500 to $5,000; winners in this category range from Artists Space and Bomb Magazine to the New Museum and Performance Space 122.

Painter Mark Kostabi, who writes a special advice column for Artnet Magazine, has signed an exclusive contract making Stux Gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea district his New York dealer. An exhibition of 10 new works is slated for Jan. 12-Feb. 9, 2002.

As 2001 draws to a close, Artnet News surveyed the universe of U.S. museums to discover that the final major museum exhibition of the year is "Noncomposition: 15 Case studies," opening in the shadow of Christmas on Dec. 22 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. Organized by Wadsworth contemporary art curator Nicholas Baume, the show examines the flight from the subjective (and the concomitant embrace of everything from seriality to found images and chance processes) that characterized much advanced art in the 1960s. "Unlike the paintings of the preceding generation of Abstract Expressionists," Baume writes, "these works cannot be read as unmediated expressions of an 'inner life'." Over 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the Wadsworth collection are on view, by Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, John Baldessari, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Mel Bochner, Daniel Buren, Eva Hesse, Alfred Jensen, Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Lozano, Roman Opalka, Steve Reich and Andy Warhol. The show closes June 23, 2002.

Burnett Miller, 45, Los Angeles art dealer who showed Antony Gormley, Sigmar Polke, Charles Ray and a range of other artists, committed suicide at his home in Beverly Hills on Dec. 10, 2001. After graduating from USC in 1981, Miller worked first with New York dealer Marilyn Pearl and subsequently as a curator at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art before opening his own gallery in Los Angeles in 1985. In 1994, he moved to Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, closing his gallery there in 1997. He was a partner in Miller-Nordenhake gallery in Cologne, Germany, and also involved in the Campagne Premiere art venture in Paris.