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The White House announced last week that Robert Sidney Martin, director of the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Women's University in Denton, Tx., and new head of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, has been named acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. He takes charge when current NEA chair Bill Ivey leaves at the end of September. A Houston native, Martin, 52, served under then-Texas governor George W. Bush as director and the librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission from 1995 to 1999. No word yet from President Bush on Ivey's full-time successor. In the meantime, check out Martin's webpage at

London dealer Anthony d'Offay is retiring and plans to close his London exhibition space by the end of the year. One of the world's top contemporary galleries, d'Offay represents a long roster of artists who range from Maurizio Cattelan and Martin Maloney to Joseph Beuys and Ellsworth Kelly. He opened the gallery in 1965; his final show, which ended this summer, was devoted to Rachel Whiteread's project for Trafalgar Square.

The 2001-02 art season has begun -- time to leave town. The 11th Tirana Biennale kicks off at the National Gallery and the Chinese Pavilion in Tirana, Albania, Sept. 14-15, 2001. Co-organized by Flash Art eminence Giancarlo Politi, the exposition boasts over 213 young and emerging artists selected by 36 international curators in "a real art exhibition without budget." The theme is "The Escape," and the show is to be documented in a $50, 500-page catalogue (published by Giancarlo Politi Editore, naturally -- contact Among the curators are Daniele Balice, Vanessa Beecroft, Nicholas Bourriaud, Maurizio Cattlean, Paulo Colombo, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Massimiliano Goni, Jens Hoffmann, Helena Kontova, Miltos Manetas, Anna Matveyeva, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Paul Quiñones, Wolf-Günter Thiel, Oliviero Toscani and many others. For more info, go to

Abstract Expressionist painter Lee Krasner's former studio in Springs, Long Island, has been sold -- and not to the adjacent Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, either, according to a report in Long Island Newsday. Study Center head Helen Harrison had hoped to acquire the converted barn and integrate it into the center's programming to help bring attention to Krasner as an artist in her own right. Instead, the structure was bought at auction for $455,000 by Richard Hammer, an East Hampton assistant town attorney. Jackson Pollock acquired the 100-year-old structure in 1954 and turned it into a studio for Krasner, who used it until Pollock's death two years later, at which point she moved into his studio. After Krasner's death in 1984, the building was inherited by Krasner's nephew, Ronald Stein, who used it for his own studio until his death at 69 last year. In his will, the house went to Cooper Union, where he had gone to school.

After a $4-million, summer-long seismic retrofit, the Berkeley Art Museum -- complete with a series of new concrete and steel buttresses -- reopens on Sept. 12 with a posthumous retrospective of Korean American conceptual artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), and the traveling survey of sculptor Martin Puryear, whose hand-crafted works are inspired by his experience with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone back in the 1960s.

Galerie Lelong opens its new Chelsea space with a show of paintings by Jane Hammond, the final works in a collaboration with poet John Ashbery, who was commissioned by the artist in 1994 to produce a series of titles for her works. It is the painter's first show at the gallery, and is slated to open at 526 W. 26th Street on the ground floor on Sept. 29. For more info contact Anne-Claudie Coric at (212) 315-0470

Another addition to the Chelsea art tour is now the Viewing Room at 114 West 17th Street, opened by East Village art dealer Margaret Bodell with Outsider Art Show producer Caroline Kerrigan. Inaugural exhibition is "Up Up & Away," Sept. 6, 6-9, featuring works by Susan Daboll, Eric Wolf, Joseph Copeland, many others.

A new gallery opens in Brooklyn's DUMBO district -- Metaphor Contemporary Art, at 70 Washington Street, Suite 1113, with "Poetic Information" on Oct. 3. For more info contact Rene Lynch, Julian Jackson at

The American Academy in Rome invites applicants for the 2002 Rome Prize. Deadline is Nov. 15, 2001, for up to 20 fellowships awarded annually through juried competition in architecture, design, historic preservation and conservation, landscape architecture, visual arts and other fields. Fellowships range from six months to two years, and include stipends up to $20,000 plus studios and room and board. For guildelines and further info, see

Hungry for candid snapshots of chic young artists partying on an impoverished West Indies island? Then the new hardcover book, 6th Caribbean Biennial, by Italian bad-boy artist Maurizio Cattelan and his sidekick, Jens Hoffmann, is your meat. The colorful if confusing tome documents Cattelan's prank of late November 1999, for which he invited a group of artists for a week's vacation at the Golden Lemon resort on St. Kitts, all under the pretense of partaking in a global "biennial" of contemporary art. Among the participants were Vanessa Beecroft, Olafur Eliasson, Mariko Mori, Elizabeth Peyton, Tobias Rehberger, Pipilotti Rist and Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose considerable talents as artists were set aside here in favor of tropical tourism. And thank goodness, though the book makes a few gestures towards being a critique of the international art system, it's more like In Style magazine for the hipster art set. Pictures aren't captioned nor are essays signed, but the tome has at least one major pleasure -- the amusing report on the event written by Hollywood star Ann Magnuson and originally published in Artnet Magazine as Caribbean Castaway. 6th Caribbean Biennial, which is edited by Bettina Funke, can be purchased for $35 at the Dia Bookshop.