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Artnet News

Pioneering Los Angeles dealer Molly Barnes is back in New York, and has set up shop at Studio 18 Gallery at 18 Warren Street in Tribeca, where "The East Village: Now and Then" opens Jan. 10-Feb. 14, 2004. The show features old and new works by a slew of former East Village painters, including Ellen Berkenblit, Mike Cockrill, Luis Frangella, Richard Hambleton, Mark Kostabi, Nicky Nodjoumi, Rick Prol, Louis Renzoni, Walter Robinson, David Wojnarowicz and Martin Wong (the dead artists will not be making new works, of course). What's more, the Jan. 10 opening (4-6 pm) features a performance by Mike Bidlo that re-enacts Robert Rauschenberg's legendary Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which the then-28-year-old Pop Art pioneer first asked the 49-year-old Abstract Expressionist avatar Willem de Kooning for a drawing and subsequently erased it. Rauschenberg's version of the drawing is now in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

New York dealer Carolina Nitsch has published her first monograph, In and Around the House, a survey of black-and-white photographs from 1976-78 by pioneering Postmodernist artist Laurie Simmons. The 96-page book includes an essay by International Center of Photography curator Carol Squiers along with the 65 duotone reproductions of Simmons' evocatively staged photographs of dolls and dollhouse scenes. Also included is an autobiographical memoir by the artist, in which she writes of watching her dentist father develop X-rays of molars in his basement darkroom, and later, as a young artist, of moving into a SoHo loft in 1973 with the photographer Jimmy DeSana (who died in 1990). The book is co-published by Hatje Cantz and distributed in the U.S. by D.A.P. ($39.95 hardcover).

Los Angeles is beginning the new year with a 18-month-long, city-wide survey of art made from 1930 to the present by African American artists. Titled "African American Artists in Los Angeles, A Survey Exhibition," the show is being presented in three parts. First up is "Fade," a show of works from 1990-2003 organized by critic and curator Malik Gaines and presented at three venues: the Craft and Folk Art Museum, the Luckman Gallery and the California State University Fine Arts Gallery, Jan. 16-Feb. 29, 2004. Among the artists included are Mark Bradford, Charles Gaines, Kerry James Marshall, Adia Millett, Dominique Moody, Senga Nengudi, Kori Newkirk, John Outterbridge, Sandra Rowe, Alison Saar, Betye Saar, Lezley Saar, Gary Simmons, Rufus Snoddy, Eric Wesley, Pat Ward Williams, Ian White and Kehinde Wiley.

The second part of the show, organized by Dale Brockman Davis, opens on July 10 at the Watts Towers Arts Center, the William Grant Still Arts Center and the Museum of African American Art. Part three is scheduled to debut on Jan. 15, 2005, at the City of Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the California African American Museum. The survey is supported by L.A.'s cultural affairs department; for more info, see

NYU's Grey Art Gallery has lined up several blue-ribbon panel presentations to accompany its new exhibition, "Family Albums: Diane Arbus," which goes on view at the Washington Square museum Jan. 13-Mar. 27, 2004. Slated for Feb. 18 is a roundtable discussion moderated by New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Weschler and featuring painter Alex Katz, novelist Francine Prose, essayist Arthur Lubow and photographer Tina Barney. Next up on Feb. 25 is a conversation on Arbus between Museum of Modern Art director emeritus of photography John Szarkowski and former MoMA contemporary curator Robert Storr. For more info, contact

If you missed your chance to catch "JFK and Art" when it premiered last fall at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn., now you can jet down to sunny Florida, where the ground-breaking exploration of art and the Kennedy presidency goes on view at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Feb. 6-May 2, 2004. The show elaborates on the Kennedy mystique via works by more than 30 artists, including Elaine de Kooning, Marisol, Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Garry Winogrand and James Wyeth.

The New York Post welcomed 2004 with a special "people" feature on "New York's Most Wanted" -- that is, the city's most eligible "A-list bachelorettes." Along with Sofia Coppola, 32, and Uma Thurman, 33, the illustrious lineup includes three of the art-world's own: artist Hope Atherton, 28, who recently exhibited her dramatic taxidermy sculptures at Sperone Westwater; off-kilter society portraitist Jessica Craig-Martin, 29; and superdealer Mary Boone, 51, about whom the Post writes that "her eyes twinkle even when she's not about to sell a painting."

Chris Bratton, dean of undergraduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has been appointed president of the San Francisco Art Institute. Bratton, 44, is an artist and videographer who founded Chicago's Video Machete, a community-based arts and media project for young people. He takes over at SFAI following the completion of a $4.5-million fundraising campaign that brings the school to a new level of financial stability.

IBRAM LASSAW, 1913-2003
Ibram Lassaw, 90, Abstract-Expressionist sculptor who was a founding member of the American Abstract Artists group in the 1930s and later became a seminal participant in the New York School, died at his home in East Hampton on Dec. 30, 2003. Lassaw's welded, biomorphic and open-form metal sculptures were the subject of a retrospective at the Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton in 1988.

VINCENT SMITH, 1929-2003
Vincent Smith, 74, Brooklyn native who was a pioneer of the Black Arts movement in the 1960s and '70s, died in Manhattan on Dec. 27, 2003. Smith, who infused his figurative paintings with a social consciousness, was the subject of over 20 solo exhibitions since 1968; his work is in the collections of Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.