TURNER PRIZE TO TYSON Keith Tyson, the British artist known for paintings and installations that resemble brightly colored pseudo-scientific diagrams, has won the 20,000 Turner Prize for 2002. The 33-year-old father of two has been dubbed the "mad professor" for his love of computers and fantastic science, according to Guardian arts reporter Fiachra Gibbons, and is also "the artist with the best jokes." Tyson was the people's favorite, according to an informal poll, though culture minister Kim Howells described his work (along with that of the three other finalists, Fiona Banner, Liam Gillick and Catherine Yass) as "cold, mechanical, conceptual bullshit."
The awards ceremony played down the celebrity angle this time around, according to London art critic Pernilla Holmes, with Daniel Libeskind as the award presenter. Tyson won some hearts when he wished his grandmother happy birthday as part of his speech -- she turned 87 on the same day. Overall, the 2002 Turner was "predictable and anti-climactic," writes critic Emma Elia-Shaul. "This year's prize was always going to be between the boys," she said, "and the smart money was on Tyson, probably as his work's the loudest, and his lovable eccentricity stole hearts." Channel Four's sponsorship of the award ends next year, so its future looks particularly uncertain.
GUGGENHEIM'S SECRET ART SALES
The Guggenheim Museum secretly sold off almost $15 million worth of art in 1999 and 2000 and refuses to identify the works sold, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal by journalist Lee Rosenbaum. Though the museum remains uncommunicative, it appears that the deaccessions were necessary to raise money for payments on the bonds that financed the museum's 1992 expansion -- which was, as art-worlders with long memories can attest, the very fear voiced by opponents of the Gugg's expansion plans. Among the other revelations in the WSJ report, titled "Money in Motion: How One Museum Stayed Afloat," is the news that Krens hopes to charge Rio de Janeiro $40 million "for the brand" to build a $250-million, Jean Nouvel-designed satellite Guggenheim there. The story puts the Gugg's operating budget for last year at $57.71 million, and says the museum endowment should reach $42 million by the end of the year -- far short of the $100 million the museum says it needs.
The Wall Street Journal story followed another report in the New York Times on the Guggenheim's tangled finances. Culture reporter Celestine Bohnen wrote that Guggenheim chairman Peter B. Lewis forced museum director Thomas Krens to adopt a pared-down budget, or go look for another job. "When I first said to Tom and his people that there must be a plan, they didn't resist," Lewis said, "They didn't know what I was talking about." But Krens came through with a detailed strategy to cure the museum's budget woes -- and Lewis donated $12 million to pay off the deficit and reduce the principal on the bond issue. The Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim branch in lower Manhattan is now "something that could be considered only far in the future."
The Times story, by the way, reports that the Guggenheim staff has been cut from 391 to 181 people, and puts the Gugg's budget for next year at $24 million, "down about 13 percent from last year" (go figure). Lewis, who made his fortune in reinsurance, has given the Gugg a total of $62 million.
NASON EXHIBITION BENEFITS BOSTON LIBRARY
Boston's venerable blue-chip Newbury Street gallery, Alfred J. Walker Fine Art, is currently presenting "The Nason's New England: Paintings by Kathryn Nason, Engravings by Thomas Nason," Dec. 6-21, 2002. The exhibition benefits the Thomas Nason Memorial Fund of the Print Department of the Boston Public Library. Thomas Nason (1889-1971) is celebrated for meticulous wood and copper engravings that capture mid-century New England life, from works like The Lonely Farm and Mountain Stream to views of Harvard yard. His works have the quiet intensity that characterizes American Regionalism. The prints offered for sale are all duplicates from the library collection. The paintings of his sister, Kathryn Nason (1892-1976), are squarely in the Boston School tradition, and range from sensitive portraits to still lifes, landscapes and harbor scenes. The paintings in the exhibition were bequeathed to the library by her husband, composer Walter Piston.
MORE TSURIS AT PHILLIPS
Louise T. Blouin MacBain, chief executive of the auction firm Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, has left the company. A board member of Trader.com and former c.e.o. of the Hebdo Mag Group, MacBain came on board at Phillips last February, when LVMH sold most of its stake in the company to founders Simon de Pury and Daniella Luxembourg. According to Brooks Barnes in the Wall Street Journal, MacBain's departure coincides with the end of a romantic relationship with de Pury. What effect this change will have on the struggling number three auctioneer remains to be seen. Stay tuned.
STRAY IN CHICAGO FOR A SECOND TIME
Art-fair mastermind Thomas Blackman Associates and the motley crew of emerging Chicago contemporary art organizations have teamed up to organize the second annual Stray Show, Dec. 13-15, 2002. Presented in a 37,000-square-foot warehouse space at 1418 North Kingsbury in Chicago's Goose Island Industrial Corridor, the show includes approximately 40 exhibitors along with a video theater, lounge and nightclub. The preview reception on Dec. 12 benefits the Art Institute of Chicago's Society for Contemporary Art; tickets are $30; for more info contact Whitney Moeller at (312) 443-3630.
Participants from Chicago include 8.5 x 11, Apt. 1R Gallery, Bodybuilder & Sportsman, Deadtech, deluxe projects, Destroyer, Inc., Dogmatic Gallery, Drivethru Studios, Dupreau, FA and Municipal Spaces, Julia Friedman Gallery, Garden Fresh, Heaven Gallery, K-D-P, Joymore, Law Office, Luxury Goods, moniquemelochegallery, mn gallery, The Pond, 1/Quarterly, Seven Three Split, Standard, Suitable Gallery, thekit.org, Unit B (Gallery) and Western Exhibitions.
Participants from elsewhere include 2funBastards, Murphysboro; Boom, Oak Park; The Bower, San Antonio; Fahrenheit, Kansas City; Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco; Lump Gallery/Projects, Raleigh; LURE (Lighting for Urban Rooftop Environments), Philadelphia; Midway Contemporary Art, St. Paul; POST, Los Angeles; Project Room, Philadelphia; Raid Projects, Los Angeles; Daniel Reich, New York; Revolution, Detroit; Sala Diaz, San Antonio; The Suburban, Oak Park; Telephone Booth, Kansas City; and Warsaw Project Space, Cincinnati.
NEW CANADIAN ART PRIZE
Canadian grocery magnate and art collector Donald Sobey has launched a new biennial art award to recognize emerging artists, according to a report in the Globe and Mail. Winner of the first $50,000 Sobey Art Award is Vancouver artist Brian Jungen. Runner-up David Hoffos also wins $15,000. The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which is hosting an exhibition of work by the five finalists, receives $10,000 for contemporary art acquisitions.
The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts has announced awards totaling nearly $300,000 for 2002. Robert Ashley won the biennial $40,000 John Cage Award for Music. Grants of $20,000 were awarded to ten artists: Jonathan Burrows (dance); William Duckworth, Michael Gordon, David Lang (music); William PopeL., Fiona Templeton (theater/performance art); Douglas Messerli, John Yau (poetry); Adam Chodzko, Paul Sietsema (visual arts). Another $45,000 was distributed to 27 arts organizations. The foundation's current directors are Brooke Alexander, Jasper Johns, Julian Lethbridge, Phill Niblock and John Silberman.
GIFTS TO MUSEUMS
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been given $10 million by Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation to establish the Director's Endowment Fund, to support a range of museum programs. LACMA director Andrea Rich is henceforth designated as the Wallis Annenberg director of LACMA. . . . The Philadelphia Museum has received $1 million from the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation to endow a fellowship for training future curators of photography, and to support exhibitions and publications of the Julien Levy collection of more than 2,500 photographs. . . . The Dayton (Ohio) Art Institute is recipient of a gift of 23 paintings by Franz Kline, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Clyfford Still and other Abstract Expressionists from the estate of Jesse Philips, a local industrialist and philanthropist. . . The seven-year-old Museum Loan Network has received $500,000 from the Pew Charitable Trusts to help foster museum exchanges and loan exhibitions.
KIESLER PRIZE TO CEDRIC PRICE
British architect Cedric Price has been named the winner of the 55,000 Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts, a biannual award initiated six years ago by Lilian Kiesler, widow of the architect Frederick Kiesler. Previous winners were Frank Gehry and Judith Barry.