DESIGN MUSEUM GOES "MAD"
Some 750 movers and shakers in New York's craft and design world convened at the Hilton Hotel grand ballroom for the annual "Visionaries" dinner of the Museum of Arts and Design, the former American Craft Museum that now has a new name, a new acronym -- MAD -- and a new home-to-be in Edward Durell Stone's 1964 Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art at 2 Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Architecture critic Paul Goldberger emceed the gala event, which raised $1 million for the museum while honoring ceramist Ruth Duckworth, architect Michael Graves and corporate patron and Liz Clairborne CEO Paul R. Charron as the museum's "visionaries" for 2003. MAD is currently conducting a $50-million capital campaign for its new facility, designed by Portland architect Brad Cloepfil. Final designs are due in four or five weeks, with completion possible as soon as 2006.
But MAD's road to the future has not been completely smooth. In mid-October, Cloepfil's radical overhaul of Stone's white Moorish fancy came under withering fire from author and longtime anti-modernist Tom Wolfe in a lengthy, two-part essay on the op-ed page of the New York Times. While delivering a comical indictment of "Blobism," "Ephemeralism" and other follies of architectural theory, Wolfe decried the plan to remove Stone's original white marble cladding and replace it with glass walls fronted by panels of glazed and perforated terracotta. The museum's foolhardy search for "transparency" and "peekaboo voyeurism," Wolfe argued, would integrate the museum space into an urban context -- Columbus Circle -- that everyone agrees is "gross."
What's more, Wolfe wrote, Stone was the first of the established modernists to "revolt. . . against the icy grip of the French and German International Style orthodoxy," and his Columbus Circle building is a "historic masterpiece" on the order of the Guggenheim Museum. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission has failed to even hold a hearing on the status of the Huntington Hartford Gallery, thanks in large part to meddling from City Hall, Wolfe claimed, and is unlikely to do so before the building is "vaporized."
MAD is said to be readying a thorough response, but in the meantime, Museum of Modern Art design curator Terence Riley contributed a letter to the editor in which he suggested that Stone's white marble structure, like Wolfe's own trademark white suit, was a fashion that had long outlasted its time.
Currently on view in the MAD museum's 53rd Street galleries is "U.S. Design 1975-2000," which closes Sunday, Nov. 2. Next up is the provocative investigation of gender and the body, "Corporal Identity: Body Language," opening Nov. 14, 2003.
MAD can be found online at both www.americancraftmuseum.org and www.madmuseum.org.
COLOGNE ART FAIR UNDER WAY
Germany is the heart of the European art market, and the venerable Art Cologne art fair is where that pulse beats strongest. The latest installment of the pioneering art exposition opens to the public Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2003, with about 250 leading galleries in the stately Rhineside halls of the Koelnmesse.
The special juried section of solo installations by young artists, established in 1990, features works by 15 German and five foreign artists: Vasco Arajo (Galeria Filomena Soares), Heike Aumller (Galerie Meyer Riegger), Tatjana Doll (Galerie Conrads), Slawomir Elsner (Johnen + Schttle), Future7 (Galerie Ascan Crone), Gibbs (Galerie Benden & Klimczak), Beate Gtschow (Produzentengalerie Hambrug), Christian Hahn (Galerie Sfeir-Semler), Stephen Hughes (Galerie Thomas Zander), Annette Kisling (Galerie Kamm), Martin Kobe (Dogenhaus Galerie), Sven Kroner (Galerie Fons Welters), Fabrice Langlade (Galerie Steinek), Shahryar Nashat (Elisabeth Kaufmann), Anny ztrk (Galerie Vera Gliem), Chistoph Ruckhberle (Galerie Kleindienst), Markus Vater (Art Agents Gallery), Katerina Vincourova (Jiri Svestka Gallery) and Christof Zwiener (Frehrking Wiesehfer).
Art Cologne's popular section of large-scale sculpture is also back, with works by Jan van Munster (Art Affairs, Amsterdam, and Arti Capelli, Hertogenbosch), Max Streicher (Artcore/Fabrice Marcolini Gallery, Toronto), Markus Daum (Galerie Beelte-Preyer, Mnster), Joel Morrison (Finesilver, San Antonio), Arcangelo Sassolini (Grossetti Arte Contemporanea, Milan), Wasa Marjanov (Galerie Carol Johnssen, Mnchen), Jacob Hashimoto (Studio la Citt, Verona), Daniele Buetti (Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg), Gruno Gironcoli (Galerie Elisabeth und Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck) and Joan Mir (Galerie Thomas, Mnchen),
UPROAR AS WARHOL BOARD CALLS FACTORY PRINTS "COPIES"
The Andy Warhol Authentication Board (AWAB) has caused an uproar in the hyperactive Andy Warhol market by declaring that prints made by assistants of the late Pope of Pop in his Factory studio are only "copies" and not authentic Warhol works. The new diktat erases the value of as many as one in six of Warhol's prints, most of which have been treated as originals by dealers and collectors ever since they were made. The new AWAB policy, reported in Vanity Fair, the Art Newspaper and elsewhere, has led to accusations that the Warhol estate is attempting to eliminate works in the artist's oeuvre in order to keep Warhol prices high, a charge that the AWAB has denied. According to the Sunday Telegraph in London, more than 20 art dealers and collectors are planning to sue the authentication board over the re-appraisals. The current members of the AWAB are Robert Rosenblum, David Whitney, Neil Printz and Sally King-Nero. [An insider's report on the controversy is coming soon from Artnet Magazine columnist Richard Polsky; stay tuned.]
CATALOGUE SHOPPING AT NEUE GALERIE NEW YORK
Opening a beautiful Upper East Side museum dedicated to 20th-century German and Austrian decorative arts, as art patron Ronald Lauder did with the Neue Galerie New York in 2001, is a great way to bring your passion to a wider audience. But for real popularity in consumerist 21st-century America, you gotta give people something they can buy -- and now the Neue Galerie has taken that step, too, by publishing its first design shop catalogue. The handsome 80-page catalogue, which can be bought for $10 or had for free with a $75 purchase, features high-end jewelry, silver, tableware, textiles other items from Biedermeier to the Bauhaus.
Items range from a "Beehive" linen tablecloth designed by Josef Hoffmann in 1907 ($95) and a Diane von Furstenberg stole inspired by Dagobert Peche's 1922 "Viola" floral fabric ($310) to a black-stained bent Beech wood chair designed by Adolf Loos in 1899 ($1,200) and a 1904 Koloman Moser sterling silver bud vase ($1,800). The latest additions to the Neue Galerie line include an extensive selection of silver objects offered in conjunction with the gallery's current exhibition, "Viennese Silver: Modern Design, 1780-1918." Many of the items come from their original manufacturers, says design shop director Stephanie Dubsky, and about 80 percent are exclusive to the Neue Galerie. What's more, the entire catalogue is available online at www.neuegalerie.org.
PICASSO MUSEUM OPENS IN MALAGA
Can there be too many Picasso museums? Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia have inaugurated the new Picasso Museum in the coastal town of Malaga, where the artist was born on Oct. 27, 2003. Housed in the 1510 Buenaventura Palace in the city's old Jewish ghetto, the museum comes with a $78-million price tag, which was picked up by the city and southern Spanish state of Andalusia. The museum collection includes 204 works donated by the mother-and-son team of Christine Ruiz-Picasso, the artist's first wife, and Bernard Picasso, son of the artist's only legitimate son. Officials hope the museum will draw as many as 400,000 visitors in its first year and provide a boost to local tourism.
ART CAN'T COMPETE WITH VIEW AT MORI ART MUSEUM
The new Mori Art Museum opened last week at the top of Japanese real estate tycoon Minoru Mori's new 53-story Mori Tower in the center of his opulent Roppongi Hills complex in Tokyo, and the guest list said "Pacific Rim." On hand at the gala opening, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, were former San Francisco Museum of Modern Art director David Ross and his successor, Neal Benezra, and Kevin Consey of the UC Berkeley Art Museum. The new museum hopes to cover its annual costs with a share of admissions to Tokyo City View, the 360-degree observation deck on the floor below the galleries. Unfortunately, according to Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker, contemporary art (or art of any period, for that matter) looks "blinkered and trivial" in comparison to the spectacle of Tokyo spreading out in all directions. Offerings on view in the new museum's 32,000-square-foot galleries range from classic Asian art to the 9/11-inspired "Happiness: A Survival Guide to Art and Life."
ART REVIEW NAMES ART-WORLD's "POWER 100"
The upstart British art glossy Art Review has issued its "Power 100" list for 2003. Topping off the much-talked-about ranking is art patron and cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder, who succeeds London supercollector Charles Saatchi in the number one spot (Saatchi has dropped to number six this year). The number two place is unchanged from 2002, and belongs to Franois Pinault. Top museum man on the list is Tate director Nicholas Serota, who comes in at number three, while top dealer is Larry Gagosian, who is number four (Jay Jopling is 25). The top artist on the list is Gerhard Richter, ranked at five, with Takashi Murakami in hot pursuit at number seven. How to tell that such a listing is truly authoritative? Well, it does meander on past one superachiever after another before landing on number 97, a spot occupied by Artnet Magazine's own pioneering editor, Walter Robinson. What brilliance. For more info, see www.art-review.com.
ARTNEWS NAMES "10 MOST WANTED" ARTWORKS
If you could buy any artwork you wanted, what would it be? For ARTnews magazine's cover story for its November 2003 issue, writer Kelly Devine Thomas posed that hypothetical question to an assortment of top collectors and art dealers. According to the magazine, the only Old Master on the list of the "10 Most Wanted" artworks is Rembrandt's portrait of Jan Six (1654), owned by the Six Foundation in Amsterdam, and which New York Old Master dealer Otto Naumann says is worth "in excess of $150 million." Other top works include Paul Gauguin's Bathers (1902), owned by Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn; Jackson Pollock's Lucifer (1947) in the Anderson Collection in San Francisco; Marcel Duchamp's original, postcard-sized L.H.O.O.Q., which is in a private Geneva collection; and works by Brancusi, Czanne, de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Brice Marden and Vincent van Gogh.
NEW ROSENQUIST COFFEE CUP
In conjunction with the James Rosenquist retrospective currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Italian espresso maestros at Illycafe have issued a pair of new coffee mugs -- not cups as previously -- designed by the Florida-based artist. Dubbed Coffee Flowers Ideas, Rosenquist's images illustrate the life of a cup of joe, from bean to first sip. A two-mug set comes gift-boxed with a can of Illycaffe coffee for $50; see www.illyusa.com or call 1 (800) 455-9347. The new mugs are Rosenquist's third Illy commission.
BALD EGO #2 HITS STANDS
Bald Ego, the hot new literature and arts journal published by poet Max Blagg and writer Glenn O'Brien, celebrated the publication of its second number on Oct. 29 with a blow-out reading on Wooster Street in New York's SoHo art district. Contributors like Emma Forrest, Mary Gaitskill, Duncan Hannah and Gary Indiana entertained an overflow crowd, lubricated by an ample supply of Tanqueray martinis, with readings of their works. Illustrating the 232-page, twice-yearly publication are reproductions of Cecily Brown's etchings after Hogarth, color embroideries by Orly Cogan, Kate Simon photos of a naked Teri Toye and drawings by Joe Andoe accompanying one of his own stories. Blagg contributes a roman a clef of the 1979 downtown scene titled Nose Ring for a Bull. For more info see www.baldego.org.