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Artnet News
3/19/02


STAR WARS IN BROOKLYN
Over 30 mannequins costumed as Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia and the rest of the Star Wars gang fill two floors of gallery space when "Star Wars: The Magic of Myth" comes to the Brooklyn Museum, Apr. 5-June 7, 2002. From huge photomurals of the Death Star to original miniature models of young Anakin Skywalker's podracer from The Phantom Menace to scads of concept drawings and storyboards -- and even a life-size model of Jabba the Hutt on his palanquin -- the show features all the choice items from the Lucasfilm archives. Brooklyn is the final U.S. stop for the traveling exhibition, organized by SITES and premiering at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where it drew over 1,000,000 visitors. The show has already been seen in San Diego, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston and Toledo, Ohio; it next appears at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. Accompanying the installation in Brooklyn is "The Myth of the Hero and Heroine," a selection of approximately 25 objects from the collection organized by ancient art department head Richard Fazzini. Tickets are required (and can be purchased at www.brooklynart.org); adult admission is $10 ($15 with audio guides).

PHAIDON PUBLISHES WARHOL CATALOGUE
At bookstores tomorrow is volume I of the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, featuring 546 paintings and sculptures made during the heroic Pop years 1961-63 -- comprising sources, data and anecdotes as well as reproductions of the comic strips, Marilyn, Liz, Elvis and Campbell's Soup series. Published by Phaidon in collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the hefty, 512-page horizontal tome comes in a cardboard box printed in red like one of the artist's early sculptures -- and costs a handsome $250. Profits go towards the foundation's programs of support for the visual arts. Neil Printz and Georg Frei collaborated on editing the book, which was initiated in 1977 by the late Zurich dealer Thomas Ammann (and continued by his sister Doris Ammann); MoMA curator Kynaston McShine and NYU art historian Robert Rosenblum also consulted on the publication. Five more volumes are expected, covering all 15,000 works produced by Warhol between 1948 and '87.

OLDENBURG ON THE ROOF
A 21-foot-tall safety pin, a huge garden trowel, two giant pieces of blueberry pie with ice cream and an enormous handkerchief (modeled on the one Mies van der Rohe wore in his breast pocket), all fashioned in metal and fiberglass by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, take their place on the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum this summer, opening May 1-Nov. 17, 2002. None of the sculptures have been shown in New York before. Real snacks are available as well at the rooftop sandwich bar.

KINKADE, THE NOVEL
Thomas Kinkade, the millionaire painter of happy kitsch scenes that are marketed to avid customers through a network of Kinkade Signature Galleries, is branching out into fiction. According to Publisher's Weekly, the painter's first novel is titled Cape Light, the name of his fictional town. At least two additional novels are in the works, co-written with Katherine Spencer and published by Berkley. "His paintings are of beautiful places," said book producer Jane Stine. "This was a marvelous opportunity to people his world." Kinkade's Media Arts print publisher had 2001 revenues of $130 million, and retail sales of Kinkade licensed goods, including gifts, furnishings and even a housing development, are said to exceed $400 million. Cape Light is priced at $16.07 on Amazon.com, which has also posted an excerpt.

CHRISTIE'S TAKES AUCTION LEAD. . .
Christie's has reported total 2001 auction revenues of $1.8 billion, beating out Sotheby's, which reported $1.6 billion in auction sales. But both houses had a drop in total sales from the preceding year, 23 percent from $2.1 billion at Christie's and 16 percent from $1.9 billion at Sotheby's. The drop in business was attributed to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Sotheby's net loss improved, from $41.7 million in 2000 to $19.1 million in 2001; Sotheby's president William Ruprecht said he expects the company to return to profitability next year, and attributed the fourth-quarter decline to "irrational competition" from boutique auctioneer Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, which is widely thought to have paid excessive amounts to consignors to obtain top-notch art for its sales.

. . .AND SOTHEBY'S RAISES COMMISSIONS
In its most aggressive move to haul its celebrated auction business out of the red, Sotheby's has announced an increase in its buyer's commission to 19.5 percent for items selling for up to $100,000. Previously, the commission was 20 percent on the first $15,000 and 15 percent on sales between $15,000 and $100,000. Christie's rates remain the same.

But in a setback for Sotheby's, on Monday Moody's Investors Service cut its ratings for Sotheby's bonds, which are already at junk levels. Moody's noted that though Sotheby's had $107 million in cash as of December, the company may not generate enough operating cash to run its business and meet bank payments over the next 12 to 18 months. A surprise decision by a U.S. appellate court on Mar. 13 has also damaged Sotheby's prospects by raising the possibility that the company may have additional liabilities to foreign customers in its antitrust case.

LIBERA OPENS IN NYC
Polish artist Zbigniew Libera, whose "Lego concentration camp" is one of the media highlights of the controversial "Mirroring Evil" exhibition at the Jewish Museum, opens his first New York solo show after the contretemps at the American-European Fine Art at 1100 Madison Avenue on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2002. Called "Correcting Devices: 1994-2000," the show (done with Priska C. Juschka Fine Art in Williamsburg) features Libera's trademark toys, including photographs of a toy prison, along with a piece called Placebo Suppositories (1995) and You Can Shave the Baby (1996). An 11-photo portfolio called "A different kind of prison...," produced in an edition of 12 and including a photo of the Lego concentration camp, is $5,000. The provocative sculpture concentration camp Lego boxes, by the way, is in an edition of three, with one copy in the collection of the Jewish Museum and another in a German historical museum. The third copy was offered at the Armory Show in February for $100,000.

BENEZRA TO SAN FRANCISCO MOMA
Neil Benezra has been appointed director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, filling a post that has been empty for seven months since the departure of David Ross. Benezra has been deputy director and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and was previously curator at the Hirshhorn Museum. A Bay Area native, Benezra began his career as curator of the Anderson Art Collection there.

SMITH TO NATIONAL GALLERY, LONDON
Charles Saumarez Smith, 47, currently director of London's National Portrait Gallery, is expected to be appointed director of the National Gallery in London. He succeeds Neil McGregor, who was named head of the British Museum late last year. Under Smith's leadership, the Portrait Gallery has built a popular and successful expansion, and enlivened its exhibition with a range of contemporary art, including a portrait by yBa Mark Quinn that contains real DNA.

FINKELPEARL TO QUEENS MUSEUM
Tom Finkelpearl has been named executive director of the Queens Museum of Art. Finkelpearl is currently deputy director of P.S. 1 in Long Island City, and former head of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs percent-for-art program. At the Queens Museum, Finkelpearl is to oversee a new expansion designed by Eric Owen Moss.

NEW RECORD FOR POUSETTE-DART
A sale record was set for a painting by Richard Pousette-Dart when Knoedler's sold the artist's Figure (1944-45) for around $900,000 at the 14th annual Art Dealers Association of America Art Show in New York, Feb. 21-25, 2002. The work, which was included in the Pousette-Dart retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum, is on its way to a top American museum, according to a report in the Artnewsletter for Mar. 5.

DIM VIEW IN D.C. OF BROAD COLLECTION
What does a top-flight contemporary art collection, not to mention a fortune of $5 billion, get from D.C. art critic Blake Gopnik? Lots of wisecracks, for one thing. After "Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collection," the touring survey of works owned by supercollector Eli Broad, opened this weekend at the Corcoran Gallery, Gopnik called the show "a kind of paean to art-shopping skills" in the Washington Post. "The only larger lesson you're likely to come away with," he writes, "is that you have a preposterous amount of money, some skilled advisors, a love of art and a determined will to buy it, you can accumulate an impressive pile of pictures." Gopnik goes on to give a more straightforward review of the impressive pile.

LIBERTY RUGS FROM HARING FOUNDATION
The Keith Haring Foundation and ABC Carpet and Home have reissued the "Liberty Carpet" designed by the late graffiti artist Keith Haring for the Statue of Liberty Centennial in 1985. Net proceeds of sales of the carpet, which is $3,000 in a limited edition of 30, are to be distributed to downtown arts organizations for their educational outreach programs. Funds are earmarked for Artists Space, the Drawing Center and Art in General, among others. The carpet, handmade in Nepal, can be purchased at ABC Carpet and Home; contact (212) 473-3000, ex. 300.

DESIGN FOR THE DOGS
Calling all dog-loving artists, architects and designers. The first annual Urban Doghouse Design Competition invites entries -- drawings or models (no larger than 2 x 2 x 2 feet), plus a written description, to the White Box nonprofit space at 525 West 25th Street. The entries go on view May 25-June 1, 2002, with the winning design to be commissioned. Jurors include author Anthony Haden-Guest, critic Eleanor Heartney, artist Dennis Oppenheim and White Box director Juan Puntes. Entries in the competition require a $50 tax-deductible fee. For more info, contact whitebox@earthlink.net.

RESTORE BERLIN'S LUXEMBURG MEMORIAL?
The touring retrospective devoted to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has convinced former Hamburg Kunshalle director Werner Hofmann that Mies' Monument to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, destroyed by the Nazis in 1933, should be reconstructed. Writing in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, Hofmann notes that the famed modernist structure is "a monument to the nameless, a visual metaphor for the multiplicity of democratic voices," commemorating the many revolutionaries buried in the Friedrichsfelde cemetery. Made of brick rubble, measuring 40 feet long and 20 feet high and faced with a steel Soviet star with a hammer and sickle, the monument was erected in 1926 in memory of Luxemburg and Liebknecht, the founders of the German Communist Party, who were assassinated in 1919. It was destroyed in 1933 as soon as the Nazis came to power.

LUXE ON 57TH STREET
The newest gallery on Manhattan's 57th Street gallery strip is Luxe, opened in the gallery building at 24 West 57th Street by Felicity Hogan and Stefan Stoyanov. The inaugural show, "Peculiarly Pink," Apr. 17-May 11, 2002, features works by Odili Donald Odita, Sabina Ott, Debora Warner and others. For more info, contact (917) 864-0606.

KREMENTZ PHOTO JOURNAL GOES ONLINE
Photographer Jill Krementz has teamed up with society columnist David Patrick Columbia to produce a new photo journal on Columbia's website, NewYorkSocialDiary.com. So far, installments have included visits to the Central Park launch of the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the "Renaissance Tapestries" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum and the premiere of Edward Albee's new play, The Goat.



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