AUSTRIAN ARTS TOWER IN THE BIG APPLE
The new Austrian Cultural Forum, a 24-story-tall glass and concrete needle skyscraper designed by Austrian-born architect Raimund Abraham at 11 East 52nd Street (down the block and around the corner from the Museum of Modern Art) , officially opens on Apr. 18, 2002. Sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, the new tower has exhibition galleries, a theater, a library, classrooms and meeting spaces and an open-air loggia at the tower's pinnacle. The building's space-age design is compared to guillotine and an Easter Island totem, and one could add that the facade looks a little like the Marvel Comics character Magneto. Inside, the five public levels are connected by an uninterrupted, New York-bluestone-paved "floating" stairway.
The forum's director, 41-year-old Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, is presenting a three-month-long inaugural arts festival called "Transforming Modernity" to showcase new and senior talents from Austria. Events include an eight-hour musical marathon by Klangforum Wien, a new environment designed by Granular Synthesis, a monumental light installation by Erwin Redl, a symposium titled "Mediations: Archaeologies and Transformations in the Electronic Sphere," an eight-day-long electronic music festival called phonoTAKTIK, an architectural exhibition titled "TransModernity:Austrian Architects," a two-week-long classical music festival titled "Transforming the Sound of Music," and an exhibition and associated events called "Transforming Literature." For more info -- and a virtual tour -- go towww.acfny.org.
PEEPSHOW ON TOUR
With "Surrealism: Desire Unbound" at the Metropolitan Museum in New York proclaiming the centrality of love, desire and sexuality to modern art, it should be no surprise that the West Coast might get into the act. And so, "Peepshow 28: Sexuality, Voyeurism, Eroticism & Gender in Contemporary Video Art" opens at a pair of real peep-booth parlors, the Lusty Lady in Seattle, Feb. 7-21, and a sister facility in San Francisco, Sept. 14-28, 2002. The "Peepshow 28" program features 64 short videos by artists, and runs on a separate channel among the many others offering more standard porno fare. "We were interested in exploring the way that context effects the viewing experience," said the organizers, a New York-based group called No Live Girls and including Linda Ganjian, Kristine Marx, Jean-Paul Maitinsky, Jillian Mcdonald, Saul Robbins and Diana Schlesinger.
The videos are pretty hot stuff: some of the titles, gleaned from the website www.nolivegirls.org, are Kissed by Jenn Chin ("cradling the camera in her hands, she smothered the lens with kisses"), Peep Show by Atom Egoyan ("fantasies of a young man in a photo booth"), Voracious Appetites by Jonathan Flinker ("a young woman's noodles have appetites of their own") and Gaa by Christina Vantzos ("Jane Fonda and her friends in candy-colored aerobic wear exercise to a sexy soundtrack"). Even the press kit was sexy -- it included a crisp one-dollar bill.
WARHOL RETRO FROM LONDON TO L.A. Guardian art critic Adrian Serle might call him "a Pop art geek in a ridiculous wig," but Andy Warhol is getting his due in London with "Andy Warhol Retrospective," a major new exhibition of over 150 works that has just opened at the Tate Modern in London, Feb. 2-Apr. 1, 2002. The show was organized for the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin by Heiner Bastian and curated at the Tate by Donna De Salvo -- the museum's only native American curator. Though admission to Tate Modern is free, tickets for the special Warhol show are £10, and can be booked in advance through Ticketmaster. Once the show has finished its run in London, it appears at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, May 25-Aug. 18, 2002.
While all the masterpieces are touring the world, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pa., offers "Possession Obsession: Objects from Andy Warhol's Personal Collection," Mar. 2-May 19, 2002, boasting an unparalleled array of 300 items of Art Deco jewelry, Native Americana, Fiestaware, cookie jars and assorted kitsch that the Prince of Pop once owned. And the museum has organized a special "Art Play Get-Away" tour package for two adults, covering admission fees, a one-night stay at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel and entry to additional local attractions (like the Mattress Factory art center) for just $217. Phone 1 (800) 927-8376 or go to www.VisitPittsburgh.com.
ROMBERGER MAPS THE EAST VILLAGE
Legendary East Village cartoonist James Romberger, who opens a solo show of new pastels at Gracie Mansion Gallery this week, also has an outside project -- an illustrated street map of the East Village, complete with over 60 thumbnail color images of local celebrities and landmarks. Done with his wife and collaborator, Marguerite van Cook, the 18 x 24 inch, two-sided map ranges from "Alan Ginsberg Slept Here," with six addresses, to Andy Warhol's first New York apartment on Avenue A, from the 1950s-era Tanager Gallery at 90 E. 10th Street to CBGB's at 315 Bowery. The back features an annotated and cardiac arresting walking tour with over 60 attractions. The map is available from Ephemera Press in a folded format for $8.95 and as an unfolded poster on heavy paper for $16.95.
CALIFORNIA ART, HERE WE COME
The new $3-million, 30,000-square-foot Pasadena Museum of California Art, founded by Pasadena art collectors Robert and Arlene Oltman, opens with "On-Ramps: Transitional Moments in California Art," June 1-Sept. 1, 2002. Designed by Johnson Favaro Architecture and Urban Design (and including a private 5,000-square-foot residence for the Oltmans), the three-story museum (located at 490 East Union Street) has a 10,000 square foot garage for parking on the ground floor, a pair of exhibition galleries on the second and a 4,000-square-foot terrace on the third. "On-Ramps" features some 100 works ranging from Impressionism to Bay Area Conceptualism. Subsequent shows are "Capturing Light: Masterpieces of California Photography, 1850-2002," Sept. 14-Nov. 24, 2002, and a "California Design Biennial" scheduled for March 2003.
NEW CHERRY TREES SLATED FOR BROOKLYN
The Brooklyn Museum hastened to apply balm to the alarming news that 42 cherry trees at the museum had been cut down to make way for the new $55-million entryway. The trees, more than 50 years old, were examined by arborists and found to be too ill to be transplanted. Instead, new cherry trees are to be planted as part of the construction, with a grove slated for near the subway and additional groupings by the west façade and at the east side of the museum.
NEW SMU CURATOR Mark A. Roglán has been named curator of the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and adjunct professor of art history at the school. Roglán, 30, is a Madrid native who has worked at the Prado and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard; he organized the Meadows' current show of Goya prints. The Meadows opened a new building last year, and is currently searching for a successor to director John Lunsford, who resigned in December.
RETRENCHING AT BELLEVUE MUSEUM
The Bellevue (Wash.) Art Museum has a new $23-million building and a new director, Kathleen Harleman. It's also got some financial problems, according to a report in the Seattle Times, and has laid off seven of its 44-person staff. What's more, museum curator Brian Wallace said he is on is way out. The museum, which has moved its collection of Northwest art to the Tacoma Art Museum, has not met its attendance goals with its new program. "I'm looking to push cross-disciplinary exhibitions," Harleman said. "Design, architecture, puppetry, fashion. That's one way of increasing the hook for people who aren't necessarily interested..."
NEW GALLERIES IN NEW YORK
Second-generation art dealer Dominique Chanin unveils her new 2,000-square-foot gallery, Haim Chanin Fine Arts, at 210 11th Avenue in New York's Chelsea art district with a show of 15 new oil paintings on paper by Catalan artist Soledad Sevilla, Feb. 9-Mar. 30, 2002. Coming up is a show of large pastels from 1985 by Roberto Matta, Apr. 3-May 4, and a show of wood, bronze and marble sculptures by the late Cuban artist, Augustin Cardenas, May 12-June 29.
On the Upper East Side, Sydney-born sisters Eugenia McGrath and Julia Coleman are opening their new McGrath Galleries with a show of atmospheric abstractions by Charlie Sheard, Feb. 21-Mar. 12. Located on the ground floor of a 1890s townhouse at 9 East 77th Street, the1,000-square-foot space has two galleries and a sculpture terrace. Forthcoming are shows by James Marshall McGrath, Mar. 21-Apr. 21, and Joe Gaffney, May 1-23, 2002.
INDUSTRIAL RENDERINGS AT RICCO MARESCA
Those indefatigable Outsider Art experts, Frank Ricco and Roger Maresca, are debuting a new collection at their West Chelsea gallery, Ricco Maresca. Called "Industrial Modern: Renderings of a Future Past," Feb. 14-Mar. 23, 2002, the show features a group of 20 anonymous industrial renderings done over a 20-year period beginning in the early 1930s, all made by an employee of the American Machine and Metals Company in Iowa and signed H. Wood Miller. The objects illustrated range from vanities to vacuum cleaners, from compressors to car seats. The works are priced at around $3,000 each.