POOR RESULTS FROM ARBUS ESTATE: CRITIC
The notoriously controlling Diane Arbus estate has proved itself a poor steward of the photographer's esthetic legacy in two current exhibition and book projects, according to a brilliantly lacerating essay in the New York Review of Books by Janet Malcolm. "Revelations," the massive traveling show and accompanying "SUV"-sized catalogue organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with Arbus' older daughter, Doon Arbus, makes the photographer into an institution and "blurs the radicalism" of her achievement, writes Malcolm. The catalogue contains far too much material and is poorly organized and designed, with images of works interrupted by blocks of text, and sometimes spread across the book's binding. Regarding the estate's earlier efforts to repress independent scholarship on Arbus (in both Artforum and October magazines), Malcolm says, "Doon sees danger where none exists, and misses seeing it where it does."
The book that accompanies "Diane Arbus: Family Album," organized by the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art and now on view at the Grey Art Gallery, is similarly marred, though the culprit here is one of Arbus' sitters as well as the estate. The show features a trove of previously little-known photographs from a 1969 private commission to photograph the family of New Yorker Konrad Matthaei. With its many contact sheets and prints, the exhibition allows rare insight into the photographer's working process. The same is not true, however, of the show's catalogue -- thanks to the last-minute refusal by one of the Matthaei's daughters to allow publication of any picture of herself. The estate also refused permission for the reproduction of some contact sheets showing snaps of various celebrities taken on assignment for Esquire.
ARTIST TAKES MOUSE AS MODEL
In the annals of artists who set up housekeeping in the precincts of their gallery, add the pioneering Brooklyn artist Ward Shelley. As part of his solo show "We Have Mice" at Pierogi in Williamsburg, Jan. 2-Feb. 9, 2004, Shelly is living in the walls of the gallery, where he eats, sleeps and makes art (largely dolls and signs that say things such as "I judge U 2"). Visitors to Pierogi can watch the artist via several video cameras, or online at www.pierogi2000.com (just click on "Ward Shelley"). "It's not really an endurance piece," says Pierogi founder Joe Amrhein. "He does sneak out for food and mating opportunities, as he likes to call them." Shelley last showed at Pierogi in 2001, when he installed a mazelike Cube structure and invited gallery-goers to enter the labyrinth.
DEARTE IN MADRID
The third edition of DeArte 2004, Madrid's new fair of Spanish art, opens at the Palacio de Congresos, January 22-26, 2004. Some 25,000 visitors are expected at the fair, which boasts 30 galleries with works by approximately 500 artists. Among the top dealers on hand are Bennassar Galleries (Baleares), El Quatre (Barcelona), Castell120 (Madrid), Dions Bennassar (Madrid), Gema Lazcano (Madrid), Maes (Madrid), Mun (Madrid), Nave del Arte (Madrid), DKS (Vitoria) and Gaud (Madrid). For more info, see www.dearte.info.
PRINT FAIR IN L.A.
The Los Angeles Fine Print Fair 2004 opens at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Jan. 23-25, 2004, with 21 exhibitors who are members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association. Participants include Aaron Galleries (Chicago), Richard Reed Armstrong Fine Art (Chicago), Catherine E. Burns Fine Prints (Oakland), Egenolf Gallery Japanese Prints (Burbank), Roger Genser, The Prints and the Pauper (Santa Monica), Conrad Graeber Fine Art (Riderwood, Md.), Jorg Maass Kunsthandel (Berlin/New York), Marilyn Pink Master Prints and Drawings (Los Angeles), Carolyn Staley Fine Japanese Prints (Seattle), Universal Limited Art Editions (Bay Shore, N.Y.), Annex Galleries (Santa Rosa, Ca.), Joel R. Bergquist Fine Arts (Stanford, Ca.), Davidson Galleries (Seattle), Abigail Furey Fine Prints and Drawings (Boston), C & J Goodfriend Drawings and Prints (New York), Jan Johnson (Montreal), Tobey C. Moss Gallery (Los Angeles), Paulsen Press (Berkeley), Susan Teller Gallery (New York), the Verne Collection (Cleveland) and Joni Moisant Weyl (New York/Los Angeles).
DE LEMPICKA IN LONDON
The Royal Academy of Art in London is mounting the first show in England devoted to the work of Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980), May 15-Aug. 30, 2004. The show features some 60 works made in Paris between 1922 and '45 by the Russian migr, who was forced to flee St. Petersburg in 1917 by the Russian Revolution.
ALDRICH AWARD TO HAMMONS David Hammons has won the annual Larry Aldrich Award, which comes with a $25,000 prize and an exhibition at the late art patron's namesake museum, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn. The Aldrich is currently in the midst of a $9-million renovation and expansion designed by Boston architects Tapp Associates. The museum reopens this spring with shows of erotic drawing, new British Sculpture and more.
NEW HIRSHHORN COMMUNICATIONS CHIEF Glory B. Jones has been named director of external affairs at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. She has previously been director of communications and marketing at the Morgan Library, a consultant for the U.S. pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale and public affairs officer at the Guggenheim Museum.
MCA SAN DIEGO ACQUISITIONS
The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego has announced 76 new acquisitions for 2003. Purchases included Manny Farber's painting Batiquitos (1995) and Andy Goldsworthy's documentary photograph of a temporary cairn he built in the waves of northern California. An anonymous donor provided funds to acquire Goldsworthy's West Coast Cairn (2002), a monumental outdoor sculpture, while the artist Ellsworth Kelly donated a study and nine prints to the museum in recognition of its organizing the show "Ellsworth Kelly: Red Green Blue." Acquisitions also included a 1982 Barbara Kruger work, Untitled (Memory Is Your Image of Perfection), an untitled 1990 painting by Jenny Saville and Paul McCarthy's 2002 Pot Head. Among the other additions to the collection were works by Stephen Antonakos, John Armleder, Larry Bell, Anne Collier, Rob Craigie, Roy De Forest, Kim Dingle, Marcos Ramirez Erre, Rainer Fetting, Stephen Hannock, Tim Hawkinson, Byron Kim, Friedrich Kunath, Kim MacConnel, John McLaughlin, Jim Morphesis, Robert Nickle, Gail Roberts, Steve Roden, Christoph Schmidberger, Alexis Smith, Valeska Soares, Mauro Staccioli, Richard Tuttle, Jeffrey Vallance and Hoang Van Bui.