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Artist and musician Yoko Ono wants the warring parties in the Middle East to give peace a chance, and is funding a new grant program to help bring it about. The annual LennonOno Grant for Peace, designed to show that art can transcend politics, will give $50,000 each to an Israeli and a Palestinian artist. The first recipients are Zvi Goldstein and Khalil Rabah. Yoko formally unveils the peace initiative at the United Nations on Oct. 9, commemorating the birthday of her late husband John Lennon, to an audience of diplomats and ambassadors. "Now more than ever, we need to call on the international arts community to help us relate to one another on a level where personal differences don't matter," Yoko said.

First Lady Laura Bush has been enlisted as honorary chair of "Afghanistan: A Timeless History," a survey of 113 artworks from the Bronze Age through the ninth century AD at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nov. 17, 2002-Feb. 9, 2003. The exhibition is divided into six chronological sections: Mundigak and Bactrian art of the Bronze Age; Indo-Greek art; Kushan art; Hadda; Bamiyan Buddhist art; and Afghanistan and Turquestan art. The works in the show don't come from Afghan museums, of course -- the Taliban famously destroyed much of the contents of the Kabul Museum -- but from private collections and museums around the world, including the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet in Paris, the Musée des Arts Asiatiques in Nice and the Museum für Indisch Kunst in Berlin. Houston is the final venue for the show, which premiered at the Centro Cultural de la Fundacion la Caixa in Barcelona in October 2001 and has subsequently appeared in Paris and Nice.

The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn., is gearing up for "Marsden Hartley," Jan. 17-Apr. 20, 2003, the first retrospective of the celebrated American modernist in over 20 years. Organized by Atheneum curator Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, the show includes works from all periods of the peripatetic artist's career, from his 1914-15 Berlin "War Motif" series and the abstract "Provincetown" works done after the war to the 1932-33 Cubistic "Dogtown" works made in Mexico and the great late Maine landscapes. The survey subsequently appears at the Phillips Collection, June 7-Sept. 7, 2003, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Oct. 11, 2003-Jan. 11, 2004. It is accompanied by a 330-page catalogue published by Yale Press, London.

The legendary series of works on the notorious Sacco-Vanzetti case by leading American political artist Ben Shahn (1898-1969) go on view in "Justice on Trial: Ben Shahn's Case for Sacco and Vanzetti" at the Yale University Art Gallery, Oct. 15-Dec. 29, 2002. Organized by Yale curator Robin Jaffee Frank, the show features two major paintings, ten related gouaches and a print, plus archival materials. The trial and execution for murder of two Italian immigrants, both ardent anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, in 1927 in the context of a national anti-immigrant red scare, prompted worldwide protests and inspired an outpouring of poetry, music and visual art.

The Whitney Museum has always had a rather modest retailing operation, and only recently made room for a store selling art tchotchkes in the basement. But now the museum is ratcheting it up a notch, with a new 20-page gift catalogue distributed to wholesalers. Among the "25 new gift ideas" promised on the cover, available for $10 each in orders of $100 or more, are "art-jargon" T-shirts featuring one of four different slogans printed across the front -- "Work in Progress," "Site-Specific Installation," "Mixed Media" and "Dimensions Variable." Also new is "Eyes on Art," a selection of 13 magnets, each featuring an eye from a famous painting ($6.98 each, with a minimum order of six). For more info, email

Reanimating art dealer Mitchell Algus is turning back the clock to the libertine 1960s with his new show of hardcore realist Betty Tompkins, "Fuck Paintings, 1969-74," Oct. 5-Nov. 2, 2002. Tompkins' monumental Photo Realist close-ups of heterosexual coitus, done from surreptitiously imported photographs, have never before been shown in a solo show in New York -- though they were exhibited en suite by curator Paul Schimmel at the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. Tompkins, who worked in a Prince Street loft downstairs from Photo Realist pioneer Chuck Close, is currently the painting teacher of Joan Rivers. For more info, contact the Mitchell Algus Gallery, 511 West 25th Street, New York, N.Y. 10001.

Illy Caffe, the exclusive Italian espresso maker and art patron, has issued a new limited edition espresso cup and saucer designed by Jeff Koons as part of the ninth annual Artwalk NY, the high-profile benefit for the Coalition for the Homeless. Koons is interviewed by newscaster Peter Jennings on Oct. 19, 2002 as part of the festivities. Also on tap are walking tours of artists' studios, and on Oct. 24, a gala reception at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea and a silent auction of over 90 art and luxury lots conducted by Sotheby's expert Tobias Meyer.

The Jennings-Koons interview, slated for Cooper Union's great hall at 11 a.m., is free. The art walks, led by New Museum curator Dan Cameron, Artforum editor Tim Griffin and others, kick off at 2 p.m. and are $75 and $125; among the artists opening their studios for the event are Ricci Albenda, Tony Feher, Alfredo Jaar, Tim Rollins, James Siena and Leo Villareal.

Admission to the Artwalk NY gala, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 at Gagosian, is $200. The art goes on view in advance at the Polo Ralph Lauren store at Madison and 72nd Street, while the luxury lots -- including a BMW roadster, a "day of fashion with Ralph Lauren" and a "VIP night on the town with Patrick McMullan" sponsored by Hugo Boss -- are available to auction bidders worldwide on eBay at The blowout charity event even includes the auction of photographs specially commissioned from Todd Oldham, Debbie Harry, Dennis Hopper and other celebrities. For tickets, contact MF Productions at (212) 243-7300.

Koons' design for his cup and saucer uses the colored cartoon-animal silhouettes familiar to art lovers from his large mirror pieces, exhibited several years ago at Sonnabend. Illy has commissioned designs from dozens of artists in the series since 1992, which are viewable online at

Art collectors mark their calendars for the "Postcars from the Edge Benefit" for Visual AIDS at Sperone Westwater in West Chelsea on Oct. 28, 2002, from 6-9 p.m. The fifth annual fundraiser features postcard-sized artworks from over 500 artists priced at $50 each. The works, many by accomplished contemporary artists, are displayed anonymously and sold on a first-come, first-serve basis (with the identity of the artist revealed upon purchase). Participating artists range from Vito Acconci, Dennis Adams, Polly Apfelbaum and Ida Applebroog to Tom Wesselmann, Pae White, Thomas Woodruff and Carrie Yamaoka. For more info, visit

Where are all the Australian art lovers? At the Melbourne Art Fair 2002, on view Oct. 2-6 in Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building. Some 80 galleries from nine countries are on hand, including Red Gate Gallery (Beijing), Suzanne Biederberg Gallery (Amsterdam), Ethan Cohen Fine Arts (New York), Galerie Bhak (Seoul), Kodama Gallery (Osaka), ShangART Gallery (Shanghai), Cohan, Leslie and Browne (New York), Art Beatus (Hong Kong), Gimpel Fils (London) and a host of Australian and New Zealand dealers. Established by the Australian Commercial Galleries Association in 1988, the biennial fair has become a central marketplace for contemporary art of the Asia Pacific region. The gala vernissage on Oct. 2 benefited the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute.

The eight annual Los Angeles Art Show , a preeminent market for California Impressionism and the Taos School as well contemporary art, unfurls at Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport, Oct. 3-6, 2002. Fair organizer Kim Martindale says the event is twice as large as last year, with almost 50 galleries. Most are local or from the West, including Bobbie Greenfield, Chac Mool, Forum, Michael Kohn, Peter Fetterman, Grant Selwyn, Jack Rutberg, Manny Silverman, Spanierman and Tasende. The Oct. 3 premiere benefits the L.A. Music Center. General admission is $15.

In the first installment of her "Lunching in New York" column in the Times of London, celebrity magazine editor Tina Brown comments on the precipitous fall of so many Wall Street and Hollywood power brokers. Among them is Gerald Levin, architect of the disastrous merger of Time Warner with AOL. Brown quotes an email sent to Levin by Time's famously outspoken art critic, Robert Hughes: "How can you face yourself knowing how much history, value and savings you have thrown away on your mad, ignorant attempt to merge with a wretched dial-up ISP?" Hughes wrote. "I don't know what advice you have to offer, but I have some for you. Buy some rope, go out the back, find a tree and hang yourself. If you had any honour you would." Brown gets in her own licks, calling the deposed corporate bigshot a "mild, hamsterish figure" among other things.

The illustrious World Monuments Fund has launched Icon, a lush new quarterly magazine focusing on top conservation projects worldwide. The premiere issue covers restoration of Renaissance murals in Umbria, restoration of the Queens Theater at Versailles, preservation of Maya sites along the Usumacinta River in Guatemala, a report on Yemeni mudbrick cities, and more. The editor is Angela M.H. Schuster, former editor of Archaeology magazine. The magazine is $4.95 per issue; for more info, see

The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach is claiming the title as the "largest art museum in Florida" with its new Southwest Wing, which opens to the public on Mar. 8, 2003. The 42,000-square-foot annex, designed by Connecticut architect Chad Ford, has 14 new galleries, an enclosed courtyard, a dramatic cantileverd spiral staircase and three-story atrium with a glass ceiling installation by Dale Chihuly. It increases the 60-year-old Norton's total size to 112,500 square feet. Museum director Christina Orr-Cahall noted that the new wing had prompted several art gifts, including the Catherine and Gilbert Brownstone Collection of 52 European and American Minimalist works and a group of 21 19th-century and modernist works from Elsie and Marvin Dekelboum, including paintings by Mary Cassatt and John Sloan. Special exhibitions on view this month at the Norton include a show of portraits by Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibé and "The Art of Elmer Bischoff," opening Oct. 19.

The San Francisco-based ArtCouncil has announced its fourth round of $10,000 awards for San Francisco artists. Winners are Josh Greene, Julio Cesar Morales, Alice Shaw, Kathryn Spence and Benji Whalen. A nonprofit organization founded in 1997 by Christopher E. Vroom, ArtCouncil recently appointed Alexander Grey as executive director.

The Axel Raben Gallery has inaugurated its new space in Manhattan's Chelsea art district with an exhibition of new works by Carlo Maria Mariani. Titled "Spiritual Erosion," Sept. 26-Nov. 2, 2002, the exhibition features allegorical works on paper combining the artist's trademark images of classical grace and beauty. Raben and partner Catherine Weinstock moved the gallery uptown to 526 West 26th Street. from its former location in Tribeca; gallery director is Frances Harris. For more info call (212) 647-9064.