Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Artnet News
The Museum of Modern Art unveils "Making Choices," the second part of its three-part, 18-month-long blockbuster series of shows from its permanent collection, on Sunday, Apr. 30, 2000. The huge exhibition, jointly organized by photo curator Peter Galassi, painting and sculpture curators Rob Storr and Anne Umland, is a tour de force of fresh works in lucid installations. The four-floor extravaganza is divided into no less than 25 themed shows in color-keyed galleries -- many boasting sweetly colored pastel walls. Newer entries (some shows opened a month ago) include "Anatomically Incorrect" (works by Hans Bellmer, Giacometti, Picasso, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, others) on pink and "Ideal Motif: Stieglitz, Weston, Adams and Callahan" on dove gray. "Paris Salon," which occupies the three floors of mezzanine-type spaces facing the escalator, has walls of robin's egg blue. "Seeing Double" (a postmodernist look at reflections, multiple views, transparency, open structure and superimposition) and "How Simple Can You Get" (monochromes) are on classic modernist white. And in the garden, a giant arching lattice made of shellacked paper tubes by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.

But visitors to the exhibition may have to cross a picket line thrown up by the MoMA workers union, the 250-member-strong Professional and Staff Association of the Museum of Modern Art. At issue are what PASTA-MOMA calls healthcare givebacks, blatant union-busting, job security and substandard wages that start at $17,000 a year for full-time work. "Museum officials cry poor at the bargaining table," reads a union flyer, but "ante up for themselves, with management salaries ranging up to $300,000." The union's members have been working without a contract for seven months.

Francis Warin, who represents the heirs of Jewish art collector Alphonse Kahn, is pressing the Museum of Modern Art over title to Pablo Picasso's Still Life: Job (1916). Warin thinks that the Picasso, which is cited as having incomplete provenance on the museum's website, may have been looted by German troops from the collector's home in Paris in 1940. According to the New York Times, both Warin and the museum admit the evidence is inconclusive. The heirs have a photograph showing the work on the wall of Kahn's home in St.-Germaine-en-Laye outside Paris in the late 1920s. MoMA originally received the work in 1979 as a gift from Nelson A. Rockefeller, who bought it from the Carstairs Gallery in New York in 1950. Before that, the painting belonged to Rolf de Maré, a Swedish dance director and art collector who lived in Paris from 1926 to 1942, but it is not clear how he acquired it or when he sold it. The questions surrounding the Picasso were reported on last fall in Adrian Darmon's Report from Paris.

An unidentified Lucien Freud painting has been accidentally destroyed at Sotheby's London after workers put the painting's protective wooden box in a crusher -- not realizing the work was still in it. London's Evening Standard reports that the mistake was discovered by searching security videos. Sotheby's refuses to divulge details of the incident, saying only that the collector will be reimbursed in full. According to the Standard, Sotheby's valued the crushed canvas at £150,000. Freud's auction record is $5,832,500, paid at Sotheby's in 1998 for Large Interior W11 (after Watteau) (1981-83).

The College Art Association has scheduled its 89th annual conference for Chicago, Feb. 28-Mar. 3, 2001. Some of the likely panels include:
  • Martin Berger's "Painting Whiteness: the Other Race in American art," which explores whiteness as a racial construct, countering the tendency to understand race as a category applicable only to nonwhites.

  • Gavin Butt and Jonathan Katz's "What's in a Name?," which uses contemporary queer theory and performance studies to address the dangers of labeling identities.

  • George Creamer and Laura Newman's "Subliminal Narratives," which examines undivulged story lines artists might keep in mind during the creation of a work.

  • Johanna Drucker and Brad Freeman's "The Function of Criticism: Artists' Books," which aims to explore whether artists' books can benefit by the development of a critical discourse within the field, or whether criticism threatens the genre's open-ended creativity.

  • Paul Krainak and Claire Wolf Krantz's "The Anecdote Resurected: Artist-Writers and the Effect of Random Events in Criticism," which features artist-writers relating anecdotes which unexpectedly altered their perception of an artwork, with the intent to question how meaning is assigned in art.

  • Katy Siegel's "What Are Critics For?," which asks the function of criticism in a climate in which critics have lost power and a sense of purpose, and in which negative reviews are unusual. We can hardly wait!

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has decided to pull all images of Andy Warhol's Four Marilyns (1962) from its website and from a New York Times ad promoting its upcoming "Andy Warhol: Social Observer" exhibition, the Philadelphia City Paper reports. The unexpected move resulted after PAFA received a last-minute warning from the Artists Right Society (ARS) in New York that the academy would have to get the approval from the California agency that represents the Monroe estate to use images of the work, despite having paid ARS approximately $7,000 for the copyright package for several Warhol images.

The "fair use" provision of U.S. copyright law allows the reproduction of artworks for charitable and educational purposes, though increasingly museums and other nonprofit organizations are paying stiff fees to collection agencies like ARS rather than face legal action over their rights to the images. At any rate, the loan of Four Marilyns fell through at the last moment, and has been replaced by another Monroe piece, Blue Marilyn (1962), from the Art Museum at Princeton University. The exhibition runs June 17-Sep. 21.

Sport artist Rick Rush's publishing company, Jireh, has won the first round of a lawsuit filed by a company created to market golfer Tiger Woods' name and likeness opposed to the artist's use of Woods' image on a serigraph. ETW Corp. had claimed the series of prints caused "consumer confusion" and violated the golfer's trademark. An Ohio judge dismissed the case, holding that Rush's paintings were protected by the First Ammendment and ruling that the use of Woods' image was not trademark infringement and the use of the athlete's name constituted fair use.

Woods had previously won a lawsuit against the Franklin Mint over an unauthorized souvenir featuring his likeness; the suit was settled in 1998 with the golfer receiving a permanent injunction barring the company from using his name and likeness.

The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture presented its annual awards for 2000 at the Plaza Hotel on Apr. 25. Yale University School of Art dean Richard Benson awarded Lee Friedlander the medal for photography, artist Tom Otterness awarded Kiki Smith the medal for sculpture, gallerist Allan Stone awarded Wayne Thiebaud the medal for painting, Public Theatre producer George C. Wolfe presented the Governors Award to Camille Billops and James Hatch and Art Institute of Chicago director James N. Wood presented Sara Lee Corp. chairman John H. Bryan with the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Award.

The New-York Historical Society presents an exhibition, May 2-Oct. 1, celebrating New York's renowned nightclub the Stork Club, where the famous and the infamous mingled from the Prohibition era through the Cold War. The exhibition on the notorious rendezvous is based on owner Sherman Billingsley's family's extensive private collection of memorabilia, including photographs of guests, an assortment of menus and table accessories, telegrams and letters from customers such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and J. Edgar Hoover, and film footage from the 1950s. The exhibition is time to coincide with the release of New York Times culture critic Ralph Blumenthal's Stork Club: America's Most Famous Nightspot and the Lost World of Cafe Society (Little, Brown & Company, May 2000).

The International Fine Art Fair comes back to New York, featuring some 65 dealers offering art from the Renaissance to the 1960s at the Park Avenue Armory, May 12-May 17. The show opens with a preview May 11 to benefit the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, with tickets ranging from $250 for supporters to $1000 for sponsors; call (212) 744-0522 to order. Regular admission to the fair is $15; call (212) 472-0590 for more info.

The Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut presents "the Art of Bloomsbury," the first comprehensive exhibition of the extraordinary body of work produced by the group's most vivid artists and personalities, focusing on Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Roger Fry, May 20-Sep. 3. The show features sculptures, works on paper, decorative objects and 120 paintings, as well as rarely seen photographs of Virginia Woolf by Julia Cameron and Man Ray. Call (203) 432-2800 for more info.

Whitney Museum director Maxwell Anderson kicks off the "Whitney Dialogues" series with multimedia artist Laurie Anderson, May 2, at Columbia University. The dialogues involve the museum director in conversations with intellectual and cultural luminaries. Tickets are $15; call 1-877-WHITNEY to purchase in advance and for more information.

Gregory Gillespie, 62, celebrated realist painter known for his self-portraits and technical prowess, died Apr. 26 at his home in Belchertown, Mass., an apparent suicide. Gillespie, who had a major retrospective in 1977 at the Hirshhorn Museum in D.C. and another 20 years later at the Georgia Museum of Art at Athens, has been represented by the Forum Gallery since his first exhibition in 1966.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech