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Artnet News

The financially beleaguered Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has officially canceled plans to build a $950-million, 572,000-square-floot titanium-clad building on the East River in Manhattan's Wall Street district, according to an email sent to reporters in the quiet pre-holiday hours on Dec. 30, 2002. "We couldn't raise five cents," said museum chairman Peter Lewis, the auto-insurance magnate who recently bailed out the museum's endowment with a $12-million gift [see "Artnet News," Dec. 10, 2002]. Lewis told Bloomberg News reporter Nina Siegal that he had pledged $250 million in a one-to-one match towards the project, but that the museum hadn't managed to raise any funds at all. "My commitment is over," he said. "It's done. It doesn't exist."

Meanwhile, press reports in Scotland note that the Guggenheim's financial problems have dumped cold water on local hopes to host a Guggenheim satellite operation in Scotland. Edinburgh architect Jamie McFarlane has drawn up a design for a pair of buildings on the waterfront in Edinburgh that would house a new European Gallery of Contemporary Art as well as international art from the Guggenheim collection. The Gugg has never officially committed itself to the project.

Plans by the Mexican company Godven International to introduce a perfume for women named after Frida Kahlo and another scent for men inspired by Diego Rivera have raised something of a stink among Mexican art lovers. "To vulgarize Diego and Frida in perfumes is a perverse act," said art critic Raquel Tibol. "The National Council for Culture and Art should intervene, since the work of these artists is considered national patrimony." The Frida Kahlo perfume, packaged in a box with a reproduction of her painting, Self-Portrait with a Necklace of Thorns, is a floral mix that includes rose, peach and strawberry, while Diego Rivera uses the artist's painting Nude with Gannets and has a more masculine scent including sandalwood. The Rivera-Kahlo Trust, headed by Jose Luis Perez Arredondo and overseen by the Bank of Mexico, reportedly okayed the deal, and receives unspecified royalties towards operation of the Frida Kahlo Blue House and Rivera's Anahuacalli Museum. The perfumes are to be priced at about $65 -- but don't seem to have made it yet to East Coast markets.

On May 15, 2003, Chelsea dealer Max Protetch opens a new enterprise-- the Beacon Sculpture Garden -- up on the Hudson River in Beacon, N.Y. The ca. five-acre site, located along Beacon's main street next to the Tallix sculpture foundry, includes an industrial building that is to be used for storage and exhibitions. First up is an installation of artworks by Scott Burton, Mel Chin, Sol LeWitt, Marc Quinn and Betty Woodman along with functional objects by architects Ben van Burkel, Zaha Hadid, Greg Lynn and Thom Mayne. The sculpture garden opening coincides with the debut of the Dia Art Foundation's Dia Beacon, a new museum in a renovated 300,000-square-foot former printing factory (for more info, see

How to make your invite stand out from the flood of mail received by art-world insiders? Design it to resemble an IRS W-2 form, as did The Project for the next show at its Harlem gallery, "Pink Slips and Golden Parachutes," Jan. 5-Feb. 2, 2003. The gallery reports several alarmed calls from collectors, accountants and other people on the gallery mailing list, who all thought they'd mistakenly been reported to the IRS as having received some taxable income from the gallery in 2002. Blame gallery archivist and show curator Lori Salmon, who came up with the idea at the last minute, including the official-looking envelopes. The show features works by seven artists who have held administrative jobs at the Project during its seven-year history: Ramdasha Bikceem, Cathy Blanchflower, Giovanni Garcia-Fenech, Jeff Gauntt, Songmi Huff, Jason Phillips and Jessica Rankin. As Andy Warhol put it, "Employees make the best dates. You don't have to pick them up and they're always tax-deductible."

A petition opposing the sale of the massive personal collections of French Surrealist Andre Breton is being circulated online, and can be found at two websites, and "Surrealism in the Netherlands". The auction of the material, approximately 4,000 lots including 500 paintings, 1,500 photos, 3,500 books and 700 manuscripts, is scheduled for Apr. 1-8, 2003, at Drouot-Richelieu in Paris, and is to be managed by the auction firm CalmelsCohen. Opponents of the sale call it "the shame of the French government," and say that the government should act to preserve the collection, built up by Breton over 40 years and left basically untouched since his death in 1966.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced its first exhibition devoted (almost) exclusively to artworks by foreign artists. "The American Effect," which is slated to open in July 2003 and organized by chief curator Lawrence Rinder, explores how America is seen by artists around the world via works by approximately 40 artists from 20 countries. Participating artists include Sergei Bugaev Afrika (Russia), Gerard Byrne (Ireland), Andrea Geyer (U.S. and Germany), Bodys Isek Kingelez (Congo), Andreja Kuluncic (Croatia), Ane Lan (Norway), Mark Lewis (England), Makoto Aida (Japan), Bj°rn Melhus (Germany), Zoran Naskovski (Yugoslavia), Miguel Angel Rojas (Colombia), Ousmane Sow (Senegal and Paris), Hisashi Tenmyouya (Japan), Zhou Tiehai (China), JosÚ Toirac (Cuba), Saira Wasim (Pakistan), Miwa Yanagi (Japan) and Yongsuk Kang (South Korea).

One of the most-anticipated events of the 2003 art season is the arrival at MOMA QNS of the trans-Atlantic blockbuster "Matisse Picasso," Feb. 13-May 19, 2003. The museum has already announced that admission is by "advanced timed ticket" only, a pricey $20 ducat available either through Ticketmaster or at the museum in Queens or at its two design stores, in SoHo and on West 53rd Street. The current plan calls for about 300 admissions every 30 minutes. Meanwhile, San Francisco Chronicle critic Kenneth Baker has already expressed some misgivings about the show. "Could any exhibition design make MOMA QNS a fit venue for the exhaustive 'Matisse Picasso'?" he asked. Apparently, the critic feels that the museum's "rangy, windowless single-story warehouse redesigned as an exhibition space . . . induces the queasy feeling that one may be looking at exhibition copies" rather than the real thing. An online version of the show, which premiered at the Tate Modern last summer and is ending its stay at the Galeries nationals du Grand Palais in Paris on Jan. 6, 2003, can be viewed on a special website.

This spring the National Gallery of Art premieres "Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1880-1938," Mar. 2-June 1, 2003. The first big show of work by the celebrated Expressionist to appear in the U.S. in more than 30 years is co-organized with London's Royal Academy, where it appears in somewhat different form, June 28-Sept. 1, 2003. The exhibition is organized by Andrew Robison and funded by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation at the NGA; in London the organizers are independent curator Jill Lloyd, BrŘcke-Museum, Berlin, director Magdalena Moeller and RA exhibitions chief Norman Rosenthal. The catalogue is published by Abrams. On view in the show is the NGA's newest big acquisition, Kirchner's 1913 primitivist bust of his "lifelong companion and muse," Erna. The sculpture was offered at auction at Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg in New York on Nov. 4, 2002, but didn't make its undisclosed reserve, which was presumably somewhat less than the presale low estimate of $800,000.

The New York-based AIDS activist group Visual Aids has teamed up with Cleveland's Art Action Aids and the online HIV/AIDS site to promote AIDS awareness online with a new series of personalized "e-cards" using provocative designs from the online archive and the Cleveland group. The 10 colorful cards feature the message "Express Yourself, Protect Yourself" and include designs by Anna Arnold, Brother 2 Brother, Frank Moore, Luna Luis Ortiz and others.

Art dealer and print publisher Stephanie Theodore has gone online with her print publishing operation, Pointie Dog Press. Dog lovers will appreciate the jpgs of art-world dachshunds, including Misha, muse of Pointie Dog Press; art lovers can peruse new prints by Elizabeth Cooper, Stephen Ellis, Jane Fine, Pamela Harris, Alison Kelly, Elizabeth Lemoine, Melissa Meyer and Deborah Roan.

GLEN SEATOR, 1956-2002
Glen Seator, 46, sculptor known for his installation of Whitney Museum director David Ross' office -- tilted at a 45 degree angle -- in the 1997 Whitney Biennial, died on Dec. 21 at his home in Brooklyn. Seator was working on the chimney of this three-story house when he fell to his death, according to the New York Times. Seator was a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2000 and 2001, and exhibited at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles in 1999, transforming the fašade into that of a barrio check-cashing store.

PAUL KANTOR, 1919-2002
Paul Kantor, 83, Los Angeles art dealer who launched the Kantor Gallery in 1952, died of complications from Parkinson's Disease in Los Angeles on Dec. 23. Kantor, who closed his gallery in '63, exhibited works by Diebenkorn, Motherwell and Rothko, among others. His son Niels Kantor currently operates a gallery on Melrose Avenue in L.A.