ART FAIRS GO WEST
Art-fair mavens are heading to California this week, as a pair of art fairs opens simultaneously on the Left Coast. Photo L.A. 2004, Jan. 15-18, 2004, presents 80 dealers in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Now in its 13th year, the fair is organized by Stephen Cohen Gallery; its gala reception on Jan. 15 is hosted by photographer and Lord of the Rings superstar Viggo Mortensen and benefits the L.A. County Museum (Mortensen's own recent photos, which were exhibited at Cohen, are panoramic images of a Lakota Ghost Dance designed as a "delirious remembrance" of a ceremony originally performed by members of Chief Big Foot's band on Dec. 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota). In addition to gallery booths by Apex Fine Art, Howard Greenberg, Paul Kopeikin, Laurence Miller, Yancey Richardson and many other top dealers, the fair boasts three "collecting seminars" (reservations required) and lectures by several top photographers, including Harry Benson, Susan Meiselas and Joel Peter-Witkin. For more info, see www.photola.com -- where plans for Cohen's new Photo New York, Oct. 14-17, 2004, are also announced. [Click here to view a list of artnet galleries participating in the fair.]
Up north, the San Francisco International Art Exposition, Jan. 16-19, 2004, gets under way at Fort Mason Center with about 100 exhibitors on hand. Dealers range from Alexandre Gallery, John Berggruen Gallery and Charles Cowles Gallery to M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Tandem Press and Stephen Wirtz Gallery -- and include Artnet Magazine's own art dealer-writer, Richard Polsky. The opening night preview on Jan. 15 is hosted by the San Francisco Art Institute and has been called "the toniest party of the year." For details, see www.sfiae.com.
MARK OF MINIMALISM IN 9/11 MEMORIAL
After suffering from years of bad press thanks to the "culture wars" of the 1980s and early '90s, the fine art world is at long last back on the good side of public opinion. With the selection of Michael Arad's striking design for a 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero -- a pair of deep voids in the footprints of the twin towers, surrounded by a grove of trees -- the front pages of the nation's newspapers are carrying articles by architecture critics extolling the Minimalist esthetics of the winning design. The New York Times noted that the pair of "striking voids. . . movingly recall the work of the sculptor Michael Heizer," and also pointed out that the final proposal is similar to a sketch for the site made in 2001 by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer and 9/11 memorial jury member Maya Lin. It also seems likely, according to story in the New York Post, that the final design will preserve traces of the north tower's steel columns and the building's bedrock footprint, as suggested by in a Times op-ed piece by Eric Fischl and others. In addition to Lin, the memorial jury included sculptor Martin Puryear and Studio Museum in Harlem director Lowery Stokes Sims.
BISHOP SCULPTURE OBSCENE: PROTESTORS
A bronze sculpture of a bishop by Jerry Boyle, sited on the campus of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, has drawn protests and a lawsuit. According to press reports, protestors led by biology professor Thomas O'Connor say the bishop's mitre resembles an erect penis, and have filed suit claiming that the sculpture is anti-Catholic and seeking to have it removed. The sculpture was installed last fall by a local campus beautification committee. As of Jan. 12, 2004, the local U.S. District Court has decided that the jolly clergyman can remain on campus for the time being.
EXTREME OXFORD'S ART STAR
Art-world insiders were agog this month to discover, via the pages of the Gwyneth Paltrow issue of Vanity Fair, that one of their beloved figures had a touch of Dadaist daredevilry in his past. For in the article "Extreme Oxford," writer Brett Martin's investigation of the student-sponsored Dangerous Sports Club of the 1970s, there are images of Warhol Foundation art expert Tim Hunt in a tuxedo sitting at a table (which is perched on a sled that is speeding down a snowy slope) and riding a bicycle-built-for-two in an annual ski race. For details, see the February issue of the magazine.
POSTER RECORD AT SWANN GALLERIES
Swann Galleries in New York reports that its sale of Art Nouveau posters on Dec. 18, 2003, included a nearly 10-foot-wide poster, La Rue (1896) by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, which sold to an anonymous Boston collector for a record $59,700, including buyer's premium. Other top lots included Alphonse Mucha's The Seasons, a set of four prints on silk, that sold for $39,100 and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec's Divan Japonais (1893), which sold for $17,250.
BEST OF SHOW FROM NEW ENGLAND CRITICS
The New York chapter of the International Association of Art Critics isn't the only group of critics bestowing awards for 2003 (see "Artnet News," 12/23/03). The Boston chapter also announced its awards last month, and the list provides a notable sampling of the often-overlooked art offerings in New England.
"Best monographic museum show" went to "John O'Reilly: Assemblies of Magic," organized by Klaus Kertess at the Addison Gallery of American Art; second place went to "Joseph Kosuth: Artist, Curator, Collector: James McNeil Whistler, Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner -- Three Locations in the Creative Process," organized by Pieranna Calvacchini at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
"Best thematic museum show" went to "After the Beginning and before the End, the Gilbert and Lisa Silverman Collection," organized by Jon Hendricks and Gunnar B. Kvaran at MIT List Visual Arts Center; Second place went to "Prelude to a Nightmare: Art, Politics and Hitler's Early Years in Vienna, 1903-1913," organized by Deborah Rothschild at Williams College Art Museum.
"Best show in an alternative space" went to "Boom Box," organized by Roland Smart at the Boston Center for the Arts; second place was won by "Surrounded," organized by Jorg Ingo Fraske and Keith Maddy at the Brickbottom Art Gallery.
"Best monographic show in a commercial gallery" went to Ann Craven at Allston-Skirt Gallery; second place was won by John O'Reilly at Howard Yezerski Gallery.
"Best group show in a commercial gallery" went to "Asphalt," organized by Joseph Carroll at Elias Fine Art; second place went to "The Fall Line: Intuition & Necessity in Contemporary Abstract Drawing," organized by Steven Zevitas at OSP Gallery.
"Best gallery show of a mid-career artist" went to "Bill Thompson, Roundabout" at Barbara Krakow Gallery; second place was taken by Abelardo Morell at Bernard Toale Gallery.
"Best show by an emerging or unknown artist" went to Jocelyn Lee at Bernard Toale; second place went to Kelly Heaton at the project room in Howard Yezerski Gallery.
"Best architecture or design show" went to "The Modern Quotidian: Furniture by Prouv, Perrand, Le Corbusier and Rietveld," organized by James Cuno at the Harvard University Art Museums; second place went to "Diller + Scofidio," organized by Gilbert Vicario at the Boston ICA.
"Best web-based art presented or commissioned by a New England institution" went to "Matthew Ritchie, Games of Chance and Skill" at the MIT website; second place went to "Elaine Reichek, Madam I'm Adam" at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum website.
Jess, 80, maverick West Coast collagist and painter whose works resembled old-fashioned illustrations, died at his home in San Francisco on Jan. 20. The Albright-Knox Gallery organized a traveling retrospective of his work in 1993-94.
BILLY KLUVER, 1927-2004
Billy Kluver, 76, Swedish-born engineer who teamed up with Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Whitman and others to form the influential Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) in 1966, died of melanoma on Jan. 11 at his home in Berkeley Heights, N.J. Kluver had a hand in several contemporary art-and-technology milestones, including Jean Tinguely's machine that destroyed itself at the Museum of Modern Art in 1960 and Andy Warhol's helium-filled Clouds installation at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1966.