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|SITE SANTA FE|
Tout l'avant-garde descends upon Santa Fe, N.M., for the grand opening of the third international Site Santa Fe biennial, July 8-11, 1999. Dubbed "Looking for a Place," the show is curated by Rosa Martínez and promises an exploration of "the multiple meanings of place today, from psychical sites to public spaces, from mythical dreams to scientific mappings, from ecological interventions to cosmological views." Among the approximately 30 participants are Janine Antoni, Monica Bonvicini, Louise Bourgeois, Cai Guo-Qiang, Diller + Scofidio, Greenpeace, Mona Hatoum, Carsten Höller, Shirin Neshat, Gabriel Orozco, Pipilotti Rist and Miwa Yanagi.
In addition to its main site (the 18,000-square-foot former Coors beer warehouse renovated by Richard Gluckman Architects in 1994), the biennial also has components in several additional locations, including the Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery, the New Mexico State Capitol Building and the Sandoval Municipal Parking Garage. Other attractions of the opening weekend include a performance by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, a benefit concert by the band Sonic Youth and a panel discussion titled "Who's Afraid of Biennials?" with Martínez, Venice Biennale curator Harald Szeemann and Documenta XI director Okwui Enwezor. The show is on view till Dec. 31, 1999.
If that's not enough, visitors to Santa Fe can also drop in on Art Santa Fe 1999, July 8-11, 1999, the international art fair held at the Hotel Santa Fe. Exhibitors range from far afield, and include I-20 from New York, Braunstein/Quay from San Francisco, Galerie Bourbon-Lally from Haiti and Galerie Roesch from Karlsruhe. Also on view at local museums and galleries: Fred Sandback at the Lannan, "Artists of the Stieglitz Circle" at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum; Robert Kelly at Linda Durham Contemporary Art (in Galisteo) and Michael Scott at Gerald Peters Gallery, to name only a few.
SALES TAX ON ART TO DOUBLE IN BRITAIN
Britain has lost its battle to block a European Union requirement to double the Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported works of art from 2.5 percent to five percent. The tax is levied on all works of art brought in from outside the EU unless they are immediately exported to non-EU countries such as America and Switzerland. The rate hike is expected to have a drastic impact on London's art market, currently estimated to total $3.5 billion a year.
In an effort to lighten the blow, the government cut the VAT rate on contemporary art from 17.5 percent to five percent. Until four years ago, no VAT was charged on works of art imported into Britain except for those created since 1973, on which 17.5 percent was levied. But in 1994 the EU harmonized VAT and fixed a minimum rate of five percent.
Imports of pictures dropped by 37 percent between 1994 and 1997, according to one survey, and Britain moved from being a net importer of art and antiques to being a net exporter. One estimate said that the imposition of VAT will cost the British art market 5,000 jobs and $1.1 billion a year.
The EU decided to push ahead with the VAT rise despite evidence in a report by its own consultants that the tax was harming Britain and helping the New York art market. Anthony Browne, chairman of the British Art Market Federation, said: "We are disappointed that the EU has ignored the evidence of its own recent survey."
POPE WANTS MORE RELIGIOUS ART
"Artists of the world, may your different paths lead to that infinite ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy," wrote Pope John Paul II in his recent edict appealing to contemporary artists to create more religious pictures. The Pope also told artists that "the close alliance that has always existed between the Gospel and art means that you are invited to use your creative intuition to enter into the heart of the mystery of the Incarnate God and, at the same time, into the mystery of man." The Electronic Telegraph pointed out that Damien Hirst's new set of 13 screen-prints (based on pharmaceutical box designs) is called The Last Supper and that Gary Hume has painted images of the Madonna. We just hope His Holiness will grant a dispensation to Andres Serrano for Piss Christ.
CANADIAN TOP TEN
On the occasion of Canada's 132nd birthday and the impending 21st century, the Toronto Globe and Mail has come up with a list of the ten Canadians who were the most influential in the arts during this century. They are, beginning with number one: pianist Glenn Gould; media pundit Marshall McLuhan; rock poet Leonard Cohen; lit critic Northrop Frye; Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery; architect Frank O. Gehry and novelist Margaret Atwood (tie); writer Alice Munro; silent movie star Mary Pickford; rocker Neil Young; and opera star Teresa Stratas.
KENO TWINS INK $1 MILLION BOOK DEAL
Warner Books is believed to have paid $1 million for Hidden Treasure, a book by twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno, according to the New York Post. The book will feature anecdotes from the PBS hit, The Antiques Road Show. Leigh Keno has his own antiques gallery at 980 Madison while Leslie heads Sotheby's American furniture and decorative arts department.
$20 MILLION IN ART IN CHICAGO SCHOOLS
The Chicago public school system owns 7,600 paintings, prints, sculpture and other works worth $20 million, according to the first-time-ever inventory of some 565 facilities. The holdings include a $10-million collection of Works Progress Administration murals, a $500,000 mural by Keith Haring; a collection of Salvador Dalí works on paper valued at $50,000 and several valuable 19th-century paintings. "It is a major revelation," Chicago school board president Gery Chico told the Chicago Tribune. "It's very significant because it shows that art is really part of the landscape of the schools." Chico said he is considering including the school system in the city's "percent-for-art" ordinance, which would require the board to spend 1.33 percent of a new school's construction cost on artwork. The board is in the middle of a $600 million to $700 million program to build new schools.
VIETNAMESE SHOW ON DESPITE PROTESTS
The controversial exhibition of Vietnamese art, "A Winding River: The Journey of Contemporary Art in Vietnam," has opened unchanged at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana, Ca. Members of the local Vietnamese community had protested and even picketed the show, claiming it included sympathetic depictions of Communist Vietnam. The exhibition first made news after the museum decided to remove a painting of a female North Vietnamese soldier, a decision that museum director Peter Keller reversed after what he termed "the tremendous outpouring of calls from members of the community" who wanted to see the show uncensored. The exhibition presents about 75 works from 53 artists (only a few have content that could remotely be called political), and was sponsored by the Washington-based Meridian International Center. The show has been touring the U.S. for the past 18 months.
A WEALTH OF ARTISTS' BOOKS
"Bucher der Kunstler: Thirty Years of Artists' Book Publishing in Germany" opens at Brooke Alexander Gallery, July 9-Sept. 18, 1999. Featuring 651 works from 239 artists, the huge exhibition is curated by Michael Glasmeier, and organized by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. Bound & Unbound, the Goethe-Institut New York/German Cultural Center and Printed Matter have also collaborated on the project. A 271-page exhibition catalogue is available for $35.
MORGAN GETS $10 MILLION CONSERVATION CENTER
The Morgan Library has received $10 million from the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust for a range of conservation activities, including a new facility to be called the Thaw Conservation Center. The world-class lab is to be headed by Margaret Holben Ellis, who will continue as chairman of the conservation center at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts. New York architect Samuel Anderson will design the center, which will occupy the entire 5,600-square-foot fourth floor of the Morgan House, doubling the size of the current conservation department. "Soon, we will systematically undertake conservation of the nearly 300,000 objects in the library's collection," said library director Charls E. Pierce, Jr. Construction begins this fall.
In addition, the Morgan has announced plans to open a new drawing study center in early fall 1999. Designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, the center is located in a former stack space next to the existing print room on the second floor of the library's 1928 annex. The new facility will help to accommodate the library's collection of drawings and prints, which now numbers approximately 15,000 works.
The Whitney Museum of American Art announced acquisitions of new art that include Andy Warhol's 1964 Mott's Box (Apple Juice), the museum's first Warhol sculpture. Other acquisitions include a 1999 photo by Janine Antoni, a 1998 crushed-velvet sculpture by Polly Apfelbaum, a monumental 1979 drawing by Jasper Johns, a wall drawing in color ink wash by Sol LeWitt, a "Memento" series painting by Kerry James Marshall, a 1997 painting by Frank Moore, 12 photos by Vik Muniz and the booth from Lee Mingwei's 1998 "Letter-Writing-Project" in the museum's lobby gallery.
NEW CHIEF AT QUEENS MUSEUM
Laurene Buckley, director of the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Conn., has been appointed executive director of the Queens Museum of Art. A scholar in late 19th-century and early 20th-century American art, Buckley has written on Albert Bierstadt, the Roycrofters and John Henry Twachtman.
LARRY AWARD TO PAULA COOPER
New York gallerist Paula Cooper is the 1999 recipient of the Larry Award from the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Conn. The award, named for Aldrich Museum founder Larry Aldrich, honors individuals for their "willingness to take risks in the presentation and support of contemporary art." Other 1999 Aldrich award winners are Janine Antoni, who receives the $25,000 Larry Aldrich Foundation Award and Bonnie Collura, who wins the $3,000 award for an emerging artist.
LAUDER GETS MEDAL
Collector Leonard A. Lauder has been selected to receive the first annual Duncan Phillips Medal in honor of his activity as a collector and patron. A trustee of the Whitney Museum since 1977 and its current chairman, Lauder is also a member of the trustees council of the National Gallery of Art and has served on the visiting committee of the J. Paul Getty Museum.