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Auction favorite Maurizio Cattelan, whose sculptures of the Pope hit by a meteor and two New York policemen turned upside down have stirred more than their share of tabloid controversy, is once more in hot water for a new artwork. The untitled sculpture, installed by the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milans Piazza XXIV Maggio, consists of mannequins of three barefoot young boys hanging by their necks from a branch high up in an oak tree. The piece had just gone on view May 5 and immediately sparked controversy, until a construction worker climbed the tree and cut down two of the figures less than a day later. The city removed the third mannequin, and is now expected to revoke the permit for the piece, according to spokesperson for the foundation.

In a story headlined Corporate Art Lovers Who Hate That Big Tax Bill, the New York Times Sunday Business section on May 9, 2004, reported that Whitney Museum board president Robert J. Hurst, the former vice chairman of Goldman Sachs and a Fifth Avenue neighbor of accused tax cheat Dennis Kozlowski, failed to pay New York sales tax on a large number of artworks he bought in New York. According to the story, Hurst had the art shipped to his Colorado home, and then flew it back to Manhattan on a private jet. Hurst paid the tax, the paper reports, after Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau confronted him as part of the wide-ranging investigation of art tax frauds that he launched in 2002.

The hot new commodity for art-world insiders is the 670-page catalogue for Art 35 Basel, the celebrated international art fair of new art that opens in the Swiss Rhine city, June 16-21, 2004. The new publication, which is lavishly illustrated with color reproductions of works by artists represented by the ca. 270 galleries who are exhibiting at the fair, is a practical guide to whos who in contemporary art. The catalogue was premiered at a party on May 11, 2004, following the Christies contemporary auction, on the roof terrace of Ian Schragers new Hudson hotel on West 58th Street in Manhattan. For more info on Art 35 Basel, see

New York art advisor Simon Watson has organized a show of young artists that he thinks are worth collecting, and the exhibition is timed perfectly to coincide with the May contemporary art auction feeding frenzy in New York. Dubbed The Collectors Cabinet: for Marsha, the exhibition is dedicated to the late art patron Marsha Kleinman and is on view at Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles, May 1-June 19, 2004. So whats the lineup? Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Ann Craven, Karen Heagle, Christian Holstad, Scott Hug, Terence Koh, Tim Lokiec, Hug & Magnan, Nick Mauss, Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, Chris Mir, Slava Mogutin, Wangechi Mutu, Joe Ovelman, Paul P., Adam Pendleton, Tyson Reeder, Aida Ruilova, Mickalene Thomas, Scott Treleaven, Leo Villareal, Kehinde Wiley.

Off the Canvas, a new hour-long documentary about nine New York women art dealers, produced and directed by Marcia Urbin Raymond and Joyce Zylberberg, had its premiere in New York City at Lincoln Centers Walter Reade Theater on May 10, 2004. The film profiles the late Holly Solomon -- a sentimental favorite -- as well as Mary Boone, Paula Cooper, Barbara Gladstone, Marian Goodman, Annina Nosei, Andrea Rosen, Ileana Sonnabend and Virginia Zabriskie. Several artists make appearances as well, including Joel Shapiro, Jeff Koons and Bill Wegman. The movie has been picked up by London independent film distributor TVF International, according to Zylberberg; for more info, see

American art scholar and former National Gallery of Art deputy director John Wilmerding has announced plans to donate his collection of 19th-century American art to the gallery. The group of 51 works is currently on view at the museum in American Masters from Bingham to Eakins: The John Wilmerding Collection, May 9-Oct. 10, 2004. Highlights include Fitz Hugh Lanes Western Shore of Gloucester, Outer Harbor (ca. 1857); Drifting (1875), the NGAs first watercolor by Thomas Eakins; Sparrow Hall (ca. 1881-82), an oil from Winslow Homers English period, and Frederic Edwin Churchs Newport Mountain, Mount Desert (1851), the first North American work by the artist to enter the museums collection.

The Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative has awarded 10 grants for 2004, five for exhibitions (totaling $802,220) and five for planning ($97,562). Exhibition grantees are the Abington Art Center ($122,490) for a site-specific public art project by J. Morgan Puett investigating the Quaker notion of the everyday as sacred; the Asian Arts Initiative ($200,000) for Chinatown In/Flux, a project involving seven contemporary artists; the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts ($161,730) for a site-specific installation by Ellen Harvey; the Philadelphia Museum of Art ($118,000) for the exhibition Pontormo, Bronzino and the Medici; and the University of Pennsylvania Architectural Archives ($200,000) for a survey of architecture and design by Antonin and Noemi Raymond.

PEI made smaller grants (between $18,000 and $20,000) to the Fabric Workshop and Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Philadelphia (for a group show exploring the influence of the late artist Martin Kippenberger), the Print Center, the Rosenbach Museum & Library and the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery (for a show about women Pop artists).

Brooklyns Williamsburg art district is losing one of its power galleries. Bellwether moves to a ground-floor space at 134 Tenth Avenue in Chelsea (next door to Cohan and Leslie and Alexander & Bonin), opening with a group show of more than 20 artists dubbed Hello, Chelsea, June 3-July 24, 2004. Bellwether founder Becky Smith originally opened her gallery in Greenpoint, and has been at 335 Grand Street in Brooklyn since 2001. For info, see

Another new stop to add to your Chelsea rounds -- Kiana Malekzadeh Gallery in suite 713 in the Chelsea Fine Arts Building at 526 West 26th Street. The gallery opens with a show of new works by artist Andrea Repole, May 20-June 24, 2004.