MET SMEARED IN ENRON BANKRUPTCY
The next time you visit the Robert and Renée Belfer Court for early Greek art at the Metropolitan Museum, you might be forgiven for thinking about the billions of dollars lost and thousands of employees laid off in the Enron bankruptcy scandal, the largest corporate failure in American history. Belfer, 66, is a director of Enron, and seems to have cashed in more than $50 million of Enron stock in the last three years before the company went into the tank. Lawsuits have been flying, as have charges of insider trading. The Belfers gave an estimated $6 million for naming rights to the gallery, according to press reports, and are big collectors of ancient glass, along with homes on Fifth Avenue, Southampton and Palm Beach.
KOOLHAAS FOR LACMA REDESIGN
Rotterdam architect Rem Koolhaas has been selected to design new facilities for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, currently housed in a group of six separate buildings that are considered rigid, inefficient and limited, resulting "in a disconnected and disorienting experience for the public." Koolhaas' design, which goes on view at the museum on Dec. 16, 2001, features a single new building of three levels, with a lower level housing offices, a plaza level for lobbies, exhibition space, theaters, shops and restaurants, and an upper level devoted to the permanent collection of nearly 100,000 items. A translucent, ribbed roof on a "lithe" metal frame envelopes and consolidates the eclectic mix of buildings currently on the LACMA campus. The new design "breaks the mold of the typical art museum of the 19th and 20th centuries," said LACMA president and director Andrea Rich, and will also "present Los Angeles with an extraordinary civic landmark." Koolhaas has also designed the Guggenheim Museum Las Vegas and is at work on a major addition to the Whitney Museum.
MATHER FOR VIRGINIA MFA
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has selected London-based American architect Rick Mather to design its $79-million expansion and renovation, which will add more than 100,000 square feet to the existing 65-year-old, 380,000-square-foot building. The new museum will include a three-acre sculpture garden on its 13-acre site. Mather has recently completed major expansion and renovation projects at the Dulwich Picture Gallery and the Wallace Collection in London, and is currently developing a master plan for the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford.
STRAY IN CHICAGO
Remember when Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would say, "Hey, let's put on a show!" and then stage a song-and-dance extravaganza in their backyard? Something like that comes to mind with "The Stray Show," an ad-hoc art fair of 15 hip Chicago galleries opening this weekend, Dec. 7-9, 2001, in a warehouse space at 1465 West Hubbard Street in Chicago, organized by Thomas Blackman Associates. "The Stray Show" is designed to emphasize the independence and resourcefulness of contemporary art "by straying from current models and methodologies of mainstream galleries." Participants are Bodybuilder & Sportsman, Deadtech, deluxe projects, Dogmatic Gallery, FGA, Julia Friedman Gallery, Joymore, Law Office, mn gallery, moniquemeloche, NFA SPACE, Seven Three Split, STANDARD, The Suburban and Suitable Gallery. For more information contact Heather Hubbs at (312) 587-3300 or visit www.stray-show.com.
THAT BENEFIT THING
Savvy art collectors are checking in with the third contemporary art benefit auction at The Thing, the online art supersite that celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Works by Christoph Draeger, Daniel Pflumm, Momoyo Torimitsu, Miltos Manetas, Thom Merrick, Dike Blair, Anton Vidokle, Craig Kalpakjian, Simone Huelser, Rudolf Stingel, Matthew McCaslin, Noritoshi Hirakawa, Max Schumann, Rainer Ganahl, Vuk Cosic and many more go on sale now through Dec. 16, 2001, at http://auction.thing.net.
AGNES MARTIN AT THE MENIL
The Menil Collection is presenting "Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond," Feb. 1-May 26, 2002, an exhibition of approximately 35 canvases from the past decade. The show, which honors the artist on her 90th birthday, is organized by Ned Rifkin, the Menil director who was recently appointed to head the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. The Houston Museum will be the show's only venue.
STRUTH IN DALLAS
German photo-fave Thomas Struth, celebrated for his large-format portraits, landscapes, interiors and street scenes, is having his first U.S. retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art, May 12-Aug. 18, 2002. Nearly 100 photos are included, some as wide as 11 feet, selected by DMA curator Charles Wylie. The show travels to LACMA, the Met and the Chicago MCA.
PENN AT THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum will kick off 2002 with an exhibition of nudes by fashion photographer Irving Penn. "Earthly Bodies: Irving Penn's Nudes, 1949-50," Jan. 15-Apr. 21, 2002, features 60 silver and platinum prints in the first exhibition of this work organized by a major museum. Called "sisters of Titian's and Rubens' Venus," these photos are said to be "charged with powerful physical and sexual energy, yet... somehow chaste." The show is organized by Met curator Maria Morris Hambourg, who also wrote the accompanying catalogue.
CHRISTOS AT THE NGA
The first U.S. survey of work by Christo and Jeanne-Claude goes on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Feb. 3-June 23, 2002. The exhibition, "Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the Vogel Collection," presents 61 works from the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, which the museum acquired in 1991. The show is organized by NGA curator Molly Donovan and travels to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Sept. 22, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003.