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A huge steel sculpture by Richard Serra proposed for the Caltech campus in Pasadena has caused some tension between students, faculty and Eli Broad, the L.A. philanthropist who has offered to provide the principal funding for the work. The piece in question is a $2,000,000, 80-ton, zigzagging wall of steel designed to bisect the campus lawn. According to the L.A. Times, students and faculty have called the proposed art piece "unattractive, inappropriate, spatially divisive and visually disruptive." Eli Broad disagrees. "You don't tell an artist what you want. You show him the site, and he comes up with what he wants to create for it." Serra was selected from a short-list by Caltech president David Baltimore.

The protests (including an effigy of the proposed work which appeared on the lawn in October) have delayed the decision on whether or not to sign a binding contract for the sculpture. Serra's works have been the subject of controversy before, notably at Wesleyan University, the Centre Pompidou and the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building in downtown New York, where Tilted Arc was sited until it was removed and destroyed by the federal General Services Administration.

What did Weegee do when he wasn't photographing crime scenes? The answer can be found at the International Center of Photography, Dec. 13, 2002-Feb. 16, 2003, in an exhibition organized from the ICP's extensive Weegee archive by Paper Magazine art critic Carlo McCormick. "Weegee's Trick Photography" is the first extensive survey of the strange "caricatures" and "distortions" that Weegee (Arthur Fellig) called his "art" -- works that were neglected during the artist's lifetime in favor of his notorious crime photos. The nearly 200 prints include portraits of Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and the Beatles, and were co-curated by Nancy Barr, assistant curator of photography at the Detroit Institute of the Arts, with assistance from Cynthia Young. Also opening at the ICP on Dec. 13 are "First Photographs: William Henry Fox Talbot and the Birth of Photography" and "Time of Change: Bruce Davidson, Civil Rights Photographs, 1961-65."

The SculptureCenter opens its new facility at 44-19 Purves Street in Long Island City on Dec. 14, 2002, with an exhibition by this year's SculptureCenter Prize recipient, Jimbo Blachly. Design of the new facility, a renovated 1908 steel and brick former trolley repair shop with 6,000 square feet of gallery space and a 3,000-square-foot outdoor sculpture area, is by Maya Lin. A benefit preview for the new facility, co-sponsored by Lin, art consultant Kim Heirston and SculptureCenter director Mary Ceruti, is scheduled for Dec. 10. Tickets range from $100 to $5,000; for more info contact (718) 361-1750, x115.

Richard Avedon's portfolio of 33 portraits entitled The Family from 1976 fetched a record-breaking $161,300 at the photo sale at Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg in New York on Oct. 25, 2002. The suite of history-drenched images included somber portraits of Nelson Rockefeller, George Bush Sr., Donald Rumsfeld and other influential Washington players in the mid-1970s. A Richard Avedon retrospective is currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until Jan. 5, 2003. Phillips' photo sale totaled $2,181,114, with records set for works by William Eggleston ($152,500), Lee Friedlander ($15,535) and Adam Fuss ($41,825).

Despite objections from the Artnet News, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia went ahead and sold off its holdings of European paintings in a pair of sales at Sotheby's and Christie's in late October. The sales totaled $1,487,000, with 27 of 34 paintings consigned finding buyers. The highlight of the collection, Alexandre Cabanel's The Birth of Venus, was acquired by the Dahesh Museum of Art for $750,000 at the hammer ($834,500) with premium), considerably above the high presale estimate of $600,000. The painting is one of three versions painted by Cabanel, the other two hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée d'Orsay. The auction proceeds are earmarked for acquisitions of American art. In the spring the academy will offer a portrait by Gustave Courbet at Sotheby's.

The Chelsea Art Museum (CAM) opened last week in the hip Manhattan art district with an inaugural show organized by freelance art historian Robert C. Morgan. The privately owned museum -- sponsored by the Miotte Foundation, formed by French Art Informel painter Jean Miotte -- is located in a 30,000-square-foot, three-story brick building at 556 West 22nd Street, next to the Dia Art Center on the corner of 11th Avenue. Its mission, according to museum co-founder Dorothea Keeser, is to show quality work by mid-career and younger artists who have not previously been exposed to New York audiences. The inaugural show, "Samadhi: The Contemplation of Space," includes works by Renè Pierre Allain, Robert Barry, Beom Moon, Frederick Eversly, Tadaaki Kuwayama, John McLaughlin, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Rakuko Naito, Mimmo Roselli and Kazuo Shiraga. Forthcoming exhibitions include "The Aesthetics of Rigor: New Italian Painting and Sculpture," curated by Barbara Rose, and "Dangerous Beauty," organized by Manon Slome.

The Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation has announced the recipients of its $25,000 grants for 2002. Winners are Lutz Bacher, Beverly Buchanan, Kathy Butterly, Pat de Groot, Alison Knowles, Deborah Luster, Sana Musasama, Constance Joan Samaras, Kim Sooja and Gail Wight.

The Rema Hort Mann Foundation has announced the winners of its grants for 2002, $7,000 cash awards that go to 11 artists. Winners are David Altmejd, Jenny Dubnau, Luis Gispert, Amy Globus, Deborah Grant, Frank Magnotta, Dana Schutz, Ward Shelley, Eli Sudbrack, Danielle Webb and Kehinde Wiley.

Artwurl, the webzine of the PS 122 Gallery on Manhattan's Lower East Side, overseen by artist and critic Calvin Reid, is back online. New material on the nonprofit cultural quarterly includes interviews with Rochelle Feinstein and Wong Dowling, plus artist's projects by Jessica Watson, Genya Turovsky and Shawn Hansen. See

The popular cartoon character Hello Kitty is the star of a new exhibition opening at the Seattle Art Museum, Dec. 21, 2002-Mar. 16, 2003. Seattle-based artist Maki Tamura has devised a special installation of a stylized girl's room peopled with a range of human and animal characters from pop culture. Tamura's piece is part of "Rabbit, Cat and Horse: Endearing Creatures in Japanese Art," a concurrent exhibition of some 70 items from the museum collection that feature animals, from 4th-century clay horses to Edo-period rabbit designs and Zen Buddhist tiger images.

The only venue outside of Paris to host the Marc Chagall retrospective is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 26-Nov. 4, 2003. The massive exhibition spans the painter's long career and features approximately 80 paintings and 40 works on paper. Jean-Michel Foray, director of the Chagall Museum in Nice and Fernand Léger Museum in Biot, France, is the curator of the retrospective. SFMOMA curator Janet Bishop has organized the San Francisco presentation.

"The Last Expression: Art and Auschwitz," featuring more than 200 works of art created by victims of the Nazi Holocaust, goes on view at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Mar. 7-June 15, 2003. The substantial trove -- one of the largest presentations of Holocaust art ever -- includes self-portraits, portraits of other prisoners, decorated letters, and cards and booklets produced at the behest of the SS. The exhibition is the result of five years of research by David Mickenberg, director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College. The Brooklyn presentation, organized by Marilyn Kushner, is the last stop of a tour that also included Northwestern University's Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art in Chicago and the Davis Museum.

The world tour of the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the work of Post-Impressionist Edouard Vuillard begins at the National Gallery of Art, Jan. 19-Apr. 20, 2003. Approximately 230 works are included in the show, notably The Public Gardens (1894), a series of panels that have not been seen together since in 1906. Guy Cogeval, director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is the chief curator of the exhibition. Co-curators are Kimberly Jones (NGA), Laurence des Cars (Musée d'Orsay) and MaryAnne Stevens (Royal Academy of Arts). The exhibition subsequently appears in Montreal, Paris and London. The last large Vuillard retrospective was in 1938 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.

Eyebeam launched its fifth annual online forum on art and technology on Nov. 11, 2002, with the theme of "The (Re) Structured Screen: Conversations on the New Moving Image." Organized by Eyebeam's Moving Image Division in conjunction with the Integrated Media Program at CalArts, the project allows for freewheeling online discussion in an assortment of forums. Participants include artists Jeremy Blake and Matthew Ritchie and curators Chrissie Iles and Ann Barlow. Four net art pieces have been commissioned from Yucef Merhi, Marina Zurkow, Carole Kim and Jesse Gilbert and ENTROPY8zuper. See to view the art and interact with the panelists. The forum's media sponsors are Artkrush and Artnet.

Things should be "smoking" next month at Metro Pictures gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea art district, as the gallery hosts the first New York solo show of L.A. artist Eric Wesley, Dec. 14, 2002-Feb. 1, 2003. For the exhibition, Wesley plans to produce, package and distribute his own brand of black-market cigarettes, dubbed New Amsterdam and made from tobacco he has grown himself. One part of the gallery is to be dedicated to tobacco germination, growing and drying, while another area is used for rolling and packaging the cigarettes. The plan is to have cartons and cigarette packs for sale, and perhaps cigars as well.

Brooklyn's already burgeoning art scene has a new addition as of Dec. 7, 2002, with the premiere of Aaron Payne Fine Art at 455 Grand Street in Williamsburg. The inaugural exhibition features works by Romare Bearden, Frank Stella, Gina Knee, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Howard Cook, Barbara Latham, Oscar Bluemner and others. Payne formerly was director of Owings Dewey in Santa Fe; his new space, located on the ground floor of a renovated brownstone, features a glass brick wall and a garden in the back.

The inaugural show at Apartment 5BE, a new "living room" gallery in West Chelsea, features recent paintings by Cannon Hudson. The gallery is a project of Oliver Kamm, a veteran of both Paul Morris and Marianne Boesky galleries. Hudson, whose works are based on fictional architectural interiors and exteriors, recently was included in "Out of Site" at the New Museum. The gallery is located at 255 West 23rd Street, and is open 2-6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more info, contact

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