PROTEST HITS ARTS SPONSOR
Digital artist Paul Kaiser has mounted an understated protest to the Philip Morris sponsorship of "Bitstreams" at the Whitney Museum, on view Mar. 22-June 10, 2001. Kaiser, who has had four relatives die of cancer, doesn't accept funding from Philip Morris, and is participating in the show under the pseudonym P. Mutt. In a statement on his website, he notes that the tobacco company supports the arts "straight from its marketing budget, not from some nominally independent foundation."
The message of cigarette advertising, Kaiser writes, is simple but incredibly effective: "cool cats smoke." And recipients of Philip Morris largesse, he notes, can harbor no illusion about the fact that they are helping to promote cigarette smoking as a hip pastime, linked not with unsavory right-wing politicians like Jesse Helms but with bohemia and progressive arts institutions.
Kaiser also declined direct funding from Philip Morris for the costs of installing his work in the show, and sought to post a sign reading, "This artist does not accept funding from Philip Morris. Instead, funding for this individual installation was provided by the artist himself." The Whitney wouldn't allow it, however, and according to the artist, even speculated that Kaiser was seeking to draw attention to himself and increase the value of his work by stirring up the controversy.
Kaiser has collaborated with Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones and Robert Wilson, and founded Riverbed, a New York-based digital studio, in 1994. His two works in the Whitney Museum "Bitstreams" show, Flicker-track and Verge, are perhaps the most severely Minimalist pieces in a field still in its rococo phase, using simple shapes in white light in a dark room.
Kaiser told Artnet News, "I don't want to criminalize nicotine (in fact, I favor the decriminalization of all drugs), but rather to undercut its marketing. And so my hope is to encourage artists, museum trustees and the arts audience, as they're consuming culture, to see exactly what's at the end of their forks (as William Burroughs said in reference to Naked Lunch)."
WOLF KAHN RETURNS TO GERMANY
New York color painter Wolf Kahn, who fled Germany at age 12 in 1939, is returning to his native country next month for the first time in 62 years for an exhibition of approximately 60 pastels at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. Of particular interest is the location of the show within the museum: it is to be installed in the Spiegelsaal, or Hall of Mirrors, a large salon that was the reception hall of the Budge Palais, the home of Kahn's grandparents. A prime example of Belle Epoque architecture, this hall was transported to the museum after Kahn's grandparents were forced from their home and transported to Theresienstadt, where they later perished. The exhibition is on view Apr. 4-May, 8, 2001, in conjunction with an exhibition of larger paintings at Gallerie Brockstedt. Kahn exhibits in New York City at Beadleston Gallery.
GEORGE W. BUSH, ART PATRON?
President George W. Bush has proposed a $105-million budget for the National Endowment for the Arts for 2002, an increase from the current year of $7 million -- the first spending hike in eight years. The extra funding is earmarked for arts education. The National Endowment for the Humanities would receive $120 million, the same as 2001. Arts advocates caution that the right wing may still try to attack federal arts funding. Congressional budget hearings concerning the NEA start in early April. Stay tuned.
GIACOMETTI AT MOMA
The first museum show of work by Alberto Giacometti in almost 30 years comes to the Museum of Modern Art, Oct. 11, 2001-Jan. 2, 2002. The exhibition includes 90 sculptures, 40 paintings and 60 drawings, split more or less equally between the artist's early Surrealistic phase and his later "classic" period. The show is organized in collaboration with the Giacometti Foundation and the Kunsthaus Zurich, where it opens May 18, 2001.
MEADOWS MUSEUM MOVES
The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas moves into its new home on Sunday, Mar. 25. The new two-story, 66,000-square-foot red brick Georgian building, designed by Chicago-based firm Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge, is six times larger than the 1965 college museum it replaced. The facility includes an auditorium and restaurant as well as galleries for the museum's extensive collection of Goya etchings and its holdings of 670 works of Spanish art. The museum was endowed by oil tycoon Algur H. Meadows in 1962.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH ARTISTS
Artnet Magazine correspondent Adrian Darmon has completed work on his Universal Encyclopedia on Art and Judaism, a collection of 4,000 biographies in English and French of artists active from 1250 to 1850. The 450-page book, which includes a list of over 350 artists who perished in the Holocaust, is slated for publication by the E-Art-on-Web group in Paris in September 2001. The price is $69.
VALENCIA BIENNIAL ON THE WEB
The new Valencia Biennial, scheduled for June 13-Oct. 20, 2001, has established its own website at www.bienaldevalencia.com. The website includes a listing of the planned exhibitions as well as tourist information and news. The event, directed by Luigi Settembrini, is using many sites throughout the city, including the Atarazanas, the Hangars of the Port, the Carmen Convent, the Arts and Sciences, the Galleria and the Botanic Gardens.
Skowhegan, the summer art retreat on 300 acres in the Central Maine lake district, presents its annual honors at its forthcoming awards dinner at New York's Plaza Hotel on Apr. 26, 2001. The medals go to Pepón Osorio (sculpture), David Reed (painting) and Carolee Schneemann (performance art). Other winners are Eugene V. Thaw (arts patronage) and William S. Bartman (service to the arts).
-- compiled by Sherry Wong
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