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Artnet News

Penthouse Magazine founder Robert C. Guccione, whose fortunes have been in the dumper since the advent of free internet porn, is putting selections from his art collection on the auction block at Sotheby's New York, Nov. 5, 2002. Though the sale of a dozen works by DalÝ, Modigliani, Picasso and other top moderns gets its own catalogue, the auction itself follows the house's major fall sale of 54 lots of Impressionist and modern art -- perhaps a foolproof way to keep the audience in their seats through to the end. Top lot in the Guccione group is a delicate 1919 portrait of a Young Man with Red Hair by Amedeo Modigliani, which carries a presale estimate of $6,000,000-$8,000,000. Number two lot is Pablo Picasso's charmingly naturalistic 1924 portrait of his son Paulo in harlequin costume, estimated at $3,000,000-$4,000,000. Other works of note include a 1924 earthen-toned Vincent van Gogh peasant painting from the Neuen period, Mother and Child (est. $500,000-$700,000), and a 1919 Giorgio di Chirico Autorittrato (est. $300,000-$400,000). With luck, Guccione could gross over $25 million (the total of the high presale estimates). An additional treat: some of Guccione's own paintings go on view alongside the presale exhibition, Nov. 1-5, 2002.

The stock in Sotheby's auction house hit historic lows this month, dipping below $7 a share for the first time. The company's faltering stock had held on at around $15 for most of the summer, but began slipping lower as the new art season began. What happened? For one thing, on Aug. 1, 2002, the company's owner, A. Alfred Taubman, started serving his one-year jail sentence, which is rarely a plus among stock buyers. What's more, earlier this year the firm announced that it was seeking buyers -- but none was found by either Credit Suisse or Goldman Sachs, both of which had a go at selling the famed auctioneer. And finally, to take a truly gloomy view, Sotheby's stock might be down because it's a leading indicator of the art market -- which is widely expected to head south eventually, along with the rest of the economy.

Those British curators really know how to put together art exhibitions. Coming up at Tate Liverpool in time for Christmas is "Shopping: A Century of Art and Consumer Culture," Dec. 20, 2002-Mar. 23, 2003. Billed as the first exhibition to examine consumerism in depth, the show is co-organized with the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, and posits shopping as a "dominant phenomenon of 20th-century culture. The art on view ranges from Eugene Atget's photographs of Paris storefronts in the 1880s to Jeff Koons' vacuum-cleaner vitrines and Damien Hirst's Pharmacy. Also included are Claes Oldenburg's 1961 Store environment, Christo's 1969 covered store fronts and Richard Estes Photo Realist paintings of New York City shop windows.

The star of King Gimp, the 2000 Oscar-winning documentary about an artist with cerebral palsy who paints with a brush attached to a helmet-like device on his head, is opening a show at Phyllis Kind Gallery in SoHo, Oct. 24-Nov. 30, 2002. Dan Keplinger, a.k.a. King Gimp, who is now 29, has limited speech and body movements, but is widely considered an artist of uncanny ability. The show includes recent paintings, some large-scale, as well as etchings and lithographs.

Columbia University's National Arts Journalism Program -- one of the four major journalism fellowships in the United States, and the only one specializing in the arts -- is in financial trouble and will make "significant adjustments" for the 2003-2004 year. Each year, the program grants stipends and tuition for eight months of study to about a dozen mid-career visual and performing arts critics and editors. But in an Oct. 10 email to fellows and alumni, NAJP director Michael Janeway and deputy director Andras Szanto stated that the endowment of the program's major funder, Pew Charitable Trusts, had dropped from $4.8 billion in late 2000 to $4 billion by June, 2002. "We have been asked to carry out reductions in our Pew-funded 2003-04 budget of upwards of 50 percent," the email said.

As a result, the Journalism Program will award "a sharply reduced number" of fellowships. What's more, grants will target projects that "best position the program to recover its range, dimensions and funding support" -- a bizarre plan for a journalism program. Clearly, the original purpose of the enterprise, which was to help get arts news onto the front page, is taking a back seat to the program's self-preservation. One wonders how effective such compromises can be.

The Morgan Library has launched Corsair, a comprehensive catalogue of its collections, on the World Wide Web at Named after Pierpont Morgan's yacht, Corsair gives access to over 200,000 records for everything from medieval manuscripts and music scores to ancient seals and Old Master drawings. The online catalogue covers about 90 percent of the Morgan's holdings; its $3-million price-tag was picked up by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Arcana Foundation, the Alice Tully Foundation and several others.

The Whitney Museum of American Art and Printed Matter, the artists' bookstore headquartered in New York's Chelsea district, have formed a new partnership to promote artists' books. The team plans to commission books by several artists, including Vija Celmins, Rita McBride, Ed Ruscha, Kim Sooja and Jonathan Seliger. The project also calls for the presentation of books from Printed Matter at the museum, and the development of a specialized, focused website to promote the new titles. Garrett White, the Whitney's director of publications and new media, is managing the venture for the museum. Printed Matter head David Platzker reports that the nonprofit's website has been a "godsend," providing up to one-quarter of weekly gross sales, but that traffic could be much higher.

In the meantime, Printed Matter has been issuing new books on its own, with the latest entry being Wild Blue Yonder, a 112-page, full-color paperback book and DVD by conceptualist Lawrence Weiner. Produced in an edition of 500 unsigned and unnumbered copies, the book retails for $25. The DVD, also priced at $25, is a movie that mirrors the artist's book and is just over 15 minutes long. Both can be had together in a deluxe cloth-covered version, signed and numbered in an edition of 100, for $650. Wild Blue Yonder is made possible through generous support from Art for Art's Sake.

Dealer and art advisor Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, whose Artemis Greenberg Van Doren Gallery on 57th Street represents many of the hot young women photographers, is branching out -- into her own home. On Nov. 10 she opens Salon 94 there, a "furnished domestic environment" for art lovers in the manner of the legendary salons of Gertrude Stein and Florine Stettheimer. The 1,500 square foot space, located on the ground floor of 12 east 94th Street, is architected by Rafael Vi˝oly and features a 40 x 20 ft. glass curtain wall overlooking a garden designed by Paula Hayes. First up is "Come to Life," the solo debut of New York video artist Aïda Ruilova, followed by shows by South African installation artist Kendell Geers and L.A. photographer Malerie Marder. For info email

The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation has launched Visual Harlem, a new program designed to foster "an intergenerational, multi-ethnic community of visual artists dedicated to each other's personal and professional development." To this end, Visual Harlem pairs younger artists as paid studio assistants with established artists for a 30-week period. The first group of artist-teams are Lorna Simpson and Tracy Boni, Suzanne McClelland and Tim Dubitsky, Brett Cook-Dizney and Frank Pargo, and Carrie Mae Weems and Rudy Shepherd. The program is funded by a grant from MASCO Corporation Foundation, and limited to artists residing in the New York metropolitan area.

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum has announced its National Design Awards for 2002, the third year of the program, which celebrates excellence in eight design categories. The winners are landscape architect Dan Kiley (lifetime achievement), Whirlpool Corporation (corporate achievement), clothing designer Geoffrey Beene (American original), Steven Holl (architecture design), graphics designer Lucille Tenazas (communications design), James Carpenter (environmental design), Niels Diffrient (product design), and hotelier André Balazs (design patron). The New York City Housing Authority was awarded a special commendation in the corporate achievement category for the durability and quality of its housing and other facilities for low-income families.

The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation has announced recipients of its $100,000 biennial exhibition awards for 2002, which honor curatorial experimentation. Winners are Sylvia Chivaratanond at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago for "Skin Tight: The Sensibility of the Flesh"; Betti-Sue Hertz at the San Diego Museum of Art for "The Past in Reverse: Contemporary Art of East Asia"; and Valerie Smith at the Queens Museum of Art for "Down the Garden Path: Artist's Gardens Since 1960." The shows are slated for 2003 and 2004. The winners were selected by a three-person jury: UCLA Hammer Museum director Ann Philbin, Aldrich Museum director Harry Philbrick and Renaissance Society education chief Hamza Walker.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn., has acquired a 20-foot-long, five-panel painting from 1977 by Alfred Jensen. The World as It Really Is (Per I-V, An Experience of Harmony) was shown in 2001 at the Dia Center for the Arts and purchased from Pace Wildenstein, which represents the artist's estate, for an undisclosed sum. . . . An anonymous donor has given the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art an eight-painting suite of abstractions by Gerhard Richter. The works, which date from 1999 and are painted on modestly sized aluminum panels (save for one, which is on canvas), are on view in the SFMOMA showing of the artist's retrospective, Oct. 12, 2002-Jan. 14, 2003. . . . New Yorker arts chronicler Calvin Tomkins has donated his research archives to the Museum of Modern Art. The trove includes manuscripts, correspondence and transcripts of interviews with artists, curators and others.

Italian art critic and curator Massimiliano Gioni has become the new artistic director of the Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan, charged with creating not only exhibitions but also a new "laboratory for the production of ambitious art events." . . . Rhoda Eitel-Porter, a veteran of the British Museum who is currently preparing a catalogue of early Italian drawings in the Morgan Library collection, has been appointed head of the drawings and prints department at the Morgan, effective January 2004. . . . Shawn Eichman has been named curator of East Asian art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Elizabeth L. O'Leary is the new association curator of American arts there.

Things are looking good for those young art dealers who run LFL Gallery, the hip space that found an avid following for its exhibitions -- despite being in a fourth-floor walk-up (on West 26th Street in New York's Chelsea art district). Now, LFL is taking new quarters on the ground floor of 530 West 24th Street in a space designed by Rogers Marvel Architects. Opening at the new space in November is a show of recent paintings by Dana Schutz; other artists in the gallery are Danica Phelps, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Holly Coulis, Nuno de Campos and Phoebe Washburn. For more info, email

The 2002 Hugo Boss Prize, which includes a $50,000 award, has gone to the French artist Pierre Huyghe. An exhibition of his works is scheduled for the Guggenheim Museum in New York early next year.