NEA HONORS FOLK ARTISTS
The National Endowments for the Arts has awarded 2001 National Heritage Fellowships to 13 traditional and folk artists. Winners of the $10,000 honor include several musicians as well as Puerto Rican santos-carver Celestino Avilés, African-American quilter Mozell Benson, Apache basket weaver Evalina Henry, oud-maker Peter Kyvelos and rug-weaver Dorothy Trumpold.
In a very un-traditional twist, however, NEA has received funding for the program from an outside corporate sponsor. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, a chain of 441 restaurants and stores based in Lebanon, Tenn., has given $250,000 to sponsor the award ceremony for the next five years (the 2001 event is slated for late September in Washington, D.C.). "The concept of heritage is at the heart of Cracker Barrel," said company CEO Dan Evins.
EDIE IN PITTSBURGH
While much of the art world was overseas at Venice and Basel, Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum opened the scintillating "Edie Sedgwick: Silver Hill to Silver Screen," June 9-Sept. 2, 2001. The exhibition features over 90 photographs and film stills, plus assorted memorabilia, from Edie Sedgwick's days as Warhol's favorite superstar. Curated by Warhol Museum archivist Matt Wrbican, the show includes photos by Stephen Shore and Billy Name, plus videotapes of five of Sedgwick's feature films (Poor Little Rich Girl, Kitchen, Outer and Inner Space, Restaurant and Lupe) and all three of her Screen Tests.
LESTERS SELL ART FAIRS
Leading art fair organizers David and Lee Ann Lester have sold their Florida-based International Fine Art Expositions, which operates three art fairs in Palm Beach and a fourth in Dallas, to the British trade-show giant DMG World Media for $19 million, according to a report in the New York Times by Brook S. Mason. In what is more of a partnership than an outright sale, however, the Lesters (and their staff) are heading up an expanded art-fair division of the British company, which also publishes the Daily Mail in London. The Lesters anticipate continuing to run the existing expositions and are investigating expansion into additional markets -- New York, London and Hong Kong, according to Mason's report. The Lesters sold their Miami Art Fair -- a regular January fest now facing new competition from Art Basel Miami Beach -- to Andvanstar Communications in 1999.
CAPELLAZZO TO CHRISTIE'S
Art advisor Amy Capellazzo, curator at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, was named head of contemporary art at Christie's last month, in charge of the house's biannual sales of contemporary art in New York. She succeeds Philippe Ségalot, who continues to work on special projects with Christie's and its owner, François Pinault. Capellazzo is completing work on a survey of work by Fred Tomaselli, slated to open in December at the Palm Beach ICA.
SAN JOSE MUSEUM, FREE OF CHARGE
Time for a bit of good news from Silicon Valley. The San Jose Museum of Art now has free admission, thanks to funding from seven major donors. The museum began charging for entry in 1991, after 20 years of gratis entrance. The museum also announced its largest single gift ever, a $2 million dollar donation from the Oshman Family Foundation to the museum endowment.
AMENOFF HEADS NAD
Painter Gregory Amenoff has been elected president of the National Academy of Design in New York, replacing painter Raoul Middleman, president since 1998. Amenoff is represented by the Salander O'Reilly Gallery and teaches art at Columbia University.
CARNEGIE'S NEW MICHALS ARCHIVE
The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh has acquired the archive of photographer Duane Michals, a trove that includes approximately 300 works of art covering his 40-year career. The holding is to be transferred from the artist to the museum over a span of 11 years, beginning in June 2001.
SACK OF JERUSALEM BUILT ROMAN COLOSSEUM
The Roman Colosseum was erected with the spoils of the sack of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, according to new exhibition going on view in Rome, June 22, 2001-Jan. 9, 2002. Archeologists working on "Blood in the Arena," the first exhibition in the modern era on the history of the Colosseum to be mounted in the monument itself, discovered an ancient Latin inscription on a large stone that translates as "The Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war." "There is no doubt what war this was, the sack of Jerusalem," said Cinzia Conti, the director of surface restoration at the Colosseum, in a report carried by the London Telegraph. Jerusalem was sacked in AD 70 -- carvings on the Arch of Titus near the Colosseum show Roman soldiers making off with booty from the temple -- and work on the Colosseum, officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, began in AD 72.