ART WORLD BIG SPENDERS
It's the list every artist and dealer wants to have -- ARTnews magazine's annual ranking of the top 200 art collectors, now out in the magazine's summer issue. The top ten -- billed as "the art world's biggest spenders" --are New York investment banker Leon Black and his wife Debbie, Sunamerica CEO Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, Gap CEO Donald Fisher and his wife Doris, chemical conglomerate International Specialty Products chairman Samuel Heyman and his wife Ronnie, KKR's Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée, Estée Lauder board chairman and Whitney Museum chairman Leonard Lauder and his wife Evelyn, his brother and Museum of Modern Art chairman Ronald S. Lauder and his wife Jo Carole, Christie's owner François Pinault, retired Microsoft CEO Jon Shirley and his wife Mary, and Las Vegas casino developer Stephen A. Wynn.
The full list includes headline-grabbing businessmen like Paul Allan, Bill Gates and Ronald O. Perlman, billionaire habitués of gossip columns like the Sultan of Brunei, and celebrity rockers like David Bowie, Elton John and Steve Martin.
A breakdown by country shows the U.S. is home to the largest number of collectors -- 96 -- while 16 live in Germany, 14 in Switzerland, 13 in England, 12 in France, six in Canada and the Netherlands, and five in Spain, Argentina and Italy. The magazine is a bargain-priced $6, but don't get your hopes up -- no mailing addresses are given.
POLESTOCK FEST HITS MIDWEST
The good people of Loveland, Oh., are girding themselves for a theatrical hootenanny this Sunday afternoon, July 22, 2001, as PoleStock gets underway with a festival of art happenings, performances and music. Site for the get-together is a huge open-air "sculptural environment" called Poles, built back in 1967 out of discarded telephone poles by a team of volunteers and a then-little-known theater director named Robert Wilson. Sited in a field at Grailville, a 300-acre communal farm in Loveland, Poles includes a proscenium arch of telephone poles and amphitheater seating, but had fallen into disrepair -- perhaps because its nontraditional design had the audience facing away from the stage towards an open field.
Now, after a two-year refurbishment, Poles is ready for action. Participating artists at the festival include the Art Academy Shouting Choir, Michelle Bump, the Cultural Machine Complex, David Dillon, Karen Dunphy, Dan Dutton and the Secret Commonwealth Ensemble, Diane Fishbein, Mark Fox, Gary Gaffney, Stacy Huber, Kirk Mayhew, Patrick Mills, Holly Price, Jill Rowinski, Tim Schwallie and Sue Spaid.
In conjunction with the festival, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center is showing a program of videotapes of Wilson works, including Deafman Glance (1981) and documentaries on Wilson's Hamlet (1995) and his Civil Wars (1985). The program runs through the summer; for more info, contact the CAC online at www.spiral.org.
J.M. WHISTLER, ARMS SMUGGLER?
American painter James McNeil Whistler is suspected of having smuggled sea mines to Chile to raise a little extra money, according to a report in the London Daily Telegraph. A trip that the artist made from Britain to South America in 1866 was originally believed to have been a vacation away from his mother, who had come to live with him. Now, Glasgow University professor Nigel Thorp has uncovered diary entries and letters that suggest that Whistler smuggled torpedoes to Chile for use against a Spanish blockade. Whistler had contacts in the Chilean Confederate Army, Thorp says. "I think it came down to money in the end."
LISSITZKY HEIR SUES BEYELER FOUNDATION Jen Lissitzky, son of the Constructivist pioneer El Lissitzky and Sophie Küppers-Lissitzky, has filed suit against the Beyeler Foundation in an effort to recover Wassily Kandinsky's Improvisation No. 10 (1910). Lissitzky claims that the work is one of 13 seized by the Nazis in 1937, and sold to Beyeler in 1951 by Ferdinand Möller, a dealer who worked closely with the Nazis. So far, the foundation, headed by the celebrated Basel dealer and collector Ernst Beyeler, has refused to surrender the painting. Lissitzky has succeeded in recovering two other works from his family's collection, a Louis Marcoussis from a Cologne museum and a Paul Klee watercolor from the Kiyomizu Sannenzka Museum in Kyoto. El Lissitzky died in 1941; Küppers-Lissitzky was exiled to Siberia under Stalin and died there in 1978.
NAZI LOOT IN AUSTRALIA'S NATIONAL GALLERY National Gallery of Australia director Brian Kennedy says the Canberra museum could have as many as 24 works in its collection that were plundered by the Nazis during World War II. Though no conclusions have yet been reached, those works had passed through the hands of dealers who were suspected of trading with the Nazis. "It's likely there's something, given the scale of it," he told the Canberra Herald Sun. Almost 100 works in Australian museums have suspicious wartime gaps in their provenances, including 24 works in the National Gallery of Victoria and a nativity by the Master of Frankfurt in the Queensland Art Gallery.
BIKINI MADONNA STAYS ON VIEW Museum of New Mexico director Thomas H. Wilson has declined to remove the controversial digital collage of the Madonna in a floral bikini from the exhibition "Cyber Arte: Tradition Meets Technology." The work, Our Lady by Alma López, had drawn the ire of some Catholics for its nontraditional imagery. The show stays on view till Oct. 28, 2001.
NEW HEAD FOR WOMEN'S MUSEUM
The National Museum of Women in the Arts has named Ellen D. Reeder as its new director, replacing Nancy Risque Rohrbach. Reeder has been deputy director for art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and from 1984-99 was curator of ancient art at the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.
HOCKNEY PIX OPEN AT MOCA
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles unveils "David Hockney Retrospective: Photoworks," July 22-Oct. 21, 2001. The full-scale photo survey, which was organized by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and traveled to several other European venues, is making its only American appearance at MOCA. The show features Hockney's photocollage composite pictures from the 1970s that he called "joiners," Polaroid grid pictures from the '80s, plus experiments in faxes, laser prints and color copies as well as photos of friends and his own paintings. "I'm interested in all kinds of pictures, however they are made, with cameras, with paint brushes, with computers, with anything," said Hockney. "All of them are artifice."
COWBOYS IN OKLAHOMA
America's two most beloved cowboy artists, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, are the subject of a major exhibition at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oct. 5-Dec. 9, 2001. "Remington, Russell and the Language of Western Art" features 67 celebrated paintings and sculptures on loan from 42 public and private collections. Rarely exhibited drawings, photographs, letters and other documents will also be on view. "This in-depth and though-provoking comparison of the work of Remington and Russell is long overdue," notes Jones museum director Eric M. Lee. The exhibition curator is Peter Hassrick.
Get out your rolodexes: Sears-Peyton Gallery has moved to 210 11th Avenue, Suite 802, between 24th and 25th Streets in New York's Chelsea district. The phone is the same -- (212) 966-7469 -- and the fax is (917) 305-1910. On view is a show of recent monoprints by Peter Zaleski.
SM'ART IN PARIS
The first art fair in Europe devoted to furniture and design from 1950 to 2000 opens at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2001. Dubbed Sm'Art, the salon plans to limit the participants to 20 European galleries in its first year. For more info check out the website, www.artparis.fr.
CERAMICS IN NEW YORK
The third annual New York Ceramics Fair, featuring displays by 50 dealers, is slated to open at the National Academy of Design, Jan. 17-20, 2002 -- at the same time as the Winter Antiques Show at the Seventh Avenue Armory. The special exhibition at the Ceramic show is planned to be the debut exhibition of a collection of 18th- and 19th-century American glass recently acquired by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass.