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Artnet News
12/21/01


STELLA GOES UP AT NGA
After being held up since the summer by technical difficulties, the installation of Frank Stella's Prinz Friedrich von Homburg, Ein Schauspiel, 3X at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., within sight of the Capitol, has been completed. The swirling abstract structure, which the artist says has shapes inspired by a cutout white Styrofoam beach hat and computerized images of smoke rings, is constructed of stainless steel, aluminum, fiberglass and carbon fiber, and measures 34 feet tall and weighs just under 10 tons. The work's title refers to a play by the German writer Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811), and is meant to indicate "a psychological reflection on the inner conflict between reason and emotion. " The acquisition -- the first monumental Stella work in a U.S. public commission -- was made possible with funds from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

PISANELLO IN NEW YORK ... BOOKSTORES
Renaissance art lovers who have been unable to make the trip to London's National Gallery to see its current exhibition, "Pisanello: Painter to the Renaissance Court," Oct. 24, 2001-Jan. 13, 2002, can now have the second best thing -- the newly published 260-page catalogue to the exhibition (Yale, $50). Pisanello (ca. 1394-1455) worked in Mantua and Ferrara (rather than Pisa, as his name curiously suggests), and very few of his painted works survive -- only four panel paintings and three frescoes. His subject was 15th-century courtly life, and his works are rich in detail about the wealth and military preoccupations of the Italian aristocracy. He was first to flatter his patrons by making portrait medals for them in imitation of antique coins, which the show contains many examples, as well as drawings from his hand and the workshop. The catalogue, written by the exhibition's organizers, National Gallery curator Dillan Gordon and British Museum curator Luke Syson with NG associate curator Susanna Avery-Quash, is the first monographic study of the artist in English since 1905. The show is sponsored by ExxonMobil.

FREUD COMPLETES PORTRAIT OF QUEEN
Iconoclastic British realist Lucian Freud has completed his portrait of Queen Elizabeth, and the result is bound to make history. The small picture, measuring ca. 24 by 15 centimeters, is a gift from the artist to the Royal Collection, which his held in trust for the nation by the Queen. Her reaction to the painting, which she first saw on Dec. 20, 2001, has not been made public.

NEW GALLERIES AT CLEVELAND MUSEUM
In time for the holiday season, the Cleveland Museum has unveiled a newly reinstalled Art of the Ancient Americas gallery, with more than 170 objects by Aztec, Maya, Inca and other pre-Columbian peoples on display. Curator Susan Bergh has installed the museum's exceptional collection of stone sculptures of a ballgame from ancient Mexico, as well as a group of 16 gold ornaments and a flute from Peru. Cleveland has also opened its first gallery of Asian art featuring Chinese art from the Neolithic period to the Han Dynasty.

SUPER DESIGN SHOW AT WEXNER CENTER
The Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Oh., is kicking off the new year with a major exhibition of art and design, dubbed "Mood River," Feb. 3-May 26, 2002. The show, which is organized by Wexner curators Jeffrey Kipnis and Annetta Massie, features nearly 2,000 objects by 200 artists and designers from 12 countries, ranging from E.V. Day and Siobhán Hapaska to Issey Miyake and Elsa Peretti. Among the items included are toothbrushes, lamps, shoes, furniture, paintings, a model of the Stealth fighter and a working skateboard bowl. From Apr. 23-May 26, 2002, the show includes Paint-ball Robot by Fabian Marcaccio, an interactive computer that allows visitors to throw paintballs onto a giant, ever-changing painting. The installation is designed by architect Jose Oubrerie with lighting by John Bohuslawsky; the exhibition is sponsored by Battelle.

FASHION DESIGNER GETS WEXNER RESIDENCY
The Wexner Center has named the Cyprus-born, London-based designer Hussein Chalayan as its first residency artist in the field of fashion design. Chalayan is celebrated for an unconventional approach to fashion, to say the least -- he has made a dress of candy, garments that turn into kites and a skirt that doubles as a wooden table. A specially commissioned work is being unveiled as part of "Mood River."

TURNER PRIZE LIKE AN OLD JOKE: CRITIC
Turner Prize winner Martin Creed's work is "as boring for the viewer as hearing an old joke retold," writes editor Anna Somers Cocks on Artnewspaper.com. Reacting to Tate director and Turner Prize jury chief Nick Serota's claim that Creed's work is difficult because it's "innovative," Cocks asks if the 33-year-old artist has never heard of John Cage's revolutionary "silent" piece, 4'33", which was originally performed almost 50 years ago, in 1952. Claiming that Creed simply "got lucky," Cocks reminds her readers that even the originator of the avant-garde gesture, Marcel Duchamp, once counseled, "Beware of too many ready-mades."

NEW FOLK ART MUSEUM IS BIZARRE: CRITIC
Not everyone is 100 percent enamored of the new American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on West 53rd Street in Manhattan. Calling the museum "erratic" and "marginal" in its earlier incarnation, veteran critic Hilton Kramer writes in this week's New York Observer that the new museum building is "rather bizarre." The 30,000-square-foot, eight-level structure, which resembles a "vertical maze or labyrinth," Kramer says, "at every turn calls insistent attention to itself rather than the objects on exhibition" and "is trophy architecture of a kind that artists have every reason to despise." He likes the art, though, and notes that there "are many wonderful things to be seen" in the opening show, "Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum."

BOHEN FOUNDATION GIVES ART TO GUGGENHEIM
The Guggenheim Museum and the Manhattan-based Bohen Foundation have announced the Bohen's donation of its $6-million collection of 275 works by 45 artists, including Pierre Huyghe, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Diana Thater and Sam Taylor-Wood, to the museum. The deal was first announced in the New York Times, which noted that the Bohen Foundation's longtime director, Fred Henry, had been made a Guggenheim boardmember this year. Art-worlders with longer memories than the newspaper of record will remember the American Center scandal, in which Henry first took over the much-beloved but financially wobbly American Center in Paris, fresh in a new building designed by Frank O. Gehry, and then liquidated its endowment and shut the institution down in 1996.