Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
Artnet News

The Paris auction house of Cornette de Saint Cyr has snagged a special prize for its auction of 20th-century works on Dec. 18, 2003. Amedeo Modigliani's Portrait de Femme (1918-19), a classic 22 x ca. 19 in. oil that was once in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Sirak and was last on the market in 1979. Like many portraits from this period, the sitter is anonymous. The painting was done during a flurry of activity, when the artist had left Paris with his friend Chaim Soutine and his new girlfriend, Jeanne Hebuterne, in search of a better climate for his health. The work is signed on the upper right and is to be included in the forthcoming catalog raisonn by the Wildenstein Institute; it carries a presale estimate of 2,500,000-3,000,000 euros (about $3,000,000-$3,600,000).

Among the more than 180 lots in the Cornette de Saint Cyr sale are works by Dal, Chagall, Dubuffet, Marca-Relli, Vasarely, Yves Klein, Artschwager, Alain Jacquet, Tom Wesselmann, Lothar Baumgarten, Beat Streuli, Jean-Charles Blais, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. For a complete illustrated preview, see Artnet's signature Fine Art Auction Report.

Sotheby's New York snagged the right to auction off treasures from the estates of both Jackie O (in 1996) and Andy Warhol (in 1988), sales that became cultural milestones as avid collectors sent prices for individual lots way above their presale estimates. Now, it could well be the turn of Christie's New York, which is holding a sale of cartoons, fine art, manuscripts and photographs from the archives of Playboy Magazine, Dec. 17, 2003. "Playboy at 50: Selections from the Archives," as the sale is billed, features more than 300 lots, ranging from a 1953 cartoon by Hugh Hefner himself (showing two artists looking at a Cubist canvas, with the caption, "Man, is she stacked!" and carrying a presale estimate of $2,000-$3,000) to Hef's own 1988 Mercedes-Benz stretch limo, complete with audio-video, ice storage and illuminated vanity mirrors (est. $30,000-$50,000).

Among the other tantalizing lots are a 1965 watercolor sketch by LeRoy Neiman of bunnies in the New York Playboy Club (est. $2,000-$3,000), a group of nine pinup photos of Brigitte Bardot from 1958-59 (est. $3,000-$5,000), a 1962 "Vargas Girl" watercolor by Alberto Vargas (est. $20,000-$30,000) and a 1961 Dedini cartoon of a satyr and a nude, captioned "Of course there's someone else!" (est. $3,000-$4,000). "Fine art" lots include works by Tom Wesselmann, Ed Pashke and Roger Brown, and the sale also includes typescripts by Ian Fleming, James Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other contributors to the magazine.

According to Christie's, the sale could total $1,000,000-$1,500,000. The material goes on view at Rockefeller Center, Dec. 13-16, 2003.

Art Basel Miami Beach wasn't the only epicenter of the art world last week. Some 200 miles north of Miami, major league players like Museum of Modern Art director Glenn Lowry, artist Richard Artschwager and dealers Paul Kasmin and Timothy Taylor flocked to Windsor, a 416-acre resort development not far from Vero Beach, for the opening of "Ed Ruscha: The Drawn Word." Even Ruscha himself showed up. The exhibition was organized for the Gallery at Windsor by Olivier Berggruen and featured more than 30 works, some rendered in gunpowder. "It's incredibly fine," said Miami Museum of Contemporary Art director Bonnie Clearwater. "I'm going to bring a group of our museum patrons to see it." Considering that the laconic Ruscha will be feted with a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum next year, the Windsor exhibition is bound to draw fans. It's another especially prescient show by Windsor gallery director Alannah Weston, the daughter of Toronto collector and Winsor founder W. Galen Weston. The gallery is open by appointment; for info, see

Manhattan's newest art gallery is Gigantic Artspace (GAS), which debuts at 59 Franklin Street in Tribeca with "Dtroit," Dec. 11, 2003-Jan. 31, 2004. Organized by freelance Brooklyn curator Trevor Schoonmaker, the show features muscular Motor City artworks by Susan Cook, Doug Coombe, Mark Dancey, Andrew Dosunmu, Tyree Guyton, Kenjji, Thom Klepach and Thomas Rapal. GAS is founded by Brian Devine, who also runs Gigantic Pictures and Gigantic Recording Company; gallery director and curator is 30-something Australian jack-of-all-trades Lea Rekow. For more details, see

Attention artists! Creative Capital, the New York-based arts organization launched in 1999 by the Warhol Foundation to take up the arts-funding slack from an increasingly anemic National Endowment for the Arts, is about to begin a new grants cycle. Initial grant awards range from $5,000 to $20,000 (more money is available at later stages), and grant "inquiry forms" become available in two months, on Feb. 15, 2004, at the organization's new website, The deadline for completed forms is March 15, 2004, with applicants who are selected to move on to the final round receiving notification in June.

In addition to supporting innovating art projects, Creative Capital offers professional advice and development assistance to the artists that it funds. Almost 160 artists have received grants so far. Among the notable projects are Jeannette Louie's Word to Live and Love By, a collection of romantic lingo culled from personal ads, on view at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids; Tana Hargest's New Negrotopia, an "advertising" booth for racist stereotypes, which has been on view at the Fargfabriken Center for Contemporary Art in Stockholm and is slated to appear at MASS MoCA; and Harrell Fletcher's Learning to Love You More, which goes on view at New Langton Arts in San Francisco, Jan. 7-Feb. 7, 2004. Info on other grantee works can be viewed at "The Channel," Creative Capital's online exhibition venue.

Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, already celebrated for its venturesome programming, is really asking for it now -- the museum has thrown open its stacks to "Helter Skelter" veteran artist Mike Kelley, who is guest curator of the forthcoming "Street Credibility," Jan. 25-June 7, 2004. The survey of 200 photographs dating from the 1940s to the '70s, drawn primarily from the museum collection, ranges from the striking and salty raw veracity of Larry Clark, Bill Owens and Sally Mann to the classical casual imagery of Lee Friedlander, Robert Frank and Garry Winogrand. For more info, see

Vanity Fair lenser Annie Leibovitz has donated 97 oversized portraits of women to the permanent collection of the Woman's Museum in Dallas, Tex. Her subjects range from a stately Barbara Bush to sassy beplumed Vegas showgirls. The portraits were originally compiled for Lebovitz's recent photography volume, Women, which Susan Sontag described in the foreword as "an anthology of destinies and disabilities and new possibilities." For more info, see

The Laurence Miller Gallery in New York celebrates its 20th anniversary on Jan. 29, 2004, with an exhibition of previously little-known photographs by the late Photo Realist sculptor Duane Hanson. Also on view are vintange prints by Ray K. Metzker from his "Everyday People" series of photos of Atlantic City pedestrians in the 1960s and '70s. Miller is located at 20 West 57th Street.

What are those flickering lights on the outside of the Whitney Museum every Friday evening? Why, that's part of the new film installation by Irit Batsry, winner of the museum's second $100,000 Bucksbaum Award. The rest of Set, as the piece is called, is on view in the Whitney's second-floor theater, Dec. 11, 2003-Feb. 22, 2004. Batsry's multiple-projector installation depicts moments from the making of the new Karim Anouz film Madame Sata in Brazil, and "explores the tension between artifice and reality, between the projected and the painterly image," according to the museum.

December is a great time for grant awards! The Penny McCall Foundation has announced grants totaling $210,000 to seven artists and writers for 2003. The $30,000 awards go to Bostonian hipster icon Jessica Rylan for her sound installations made with her own homemade equipment, jazz-inspired abstract painter Eva Lundsager, installation artists Paul Etienne Lincoln, Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, photographer Paul Shambroom and freelance writer and curator Malik Gaines.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation has announced the ten winners of its $15,000 "painters & sculptors grants" for 2003: Radcliffe Bailey, Joe Baker, James Barsness, Nyame Brown, Julie Mehretu, Gabriel Martinez, Kori Newkirk, Soffia Saemundsdottir, Roger Shimomura and Duane Slick.

New York's sleeper exhibition of the month is "Insider Art: The Ultimate in Outsider Art," Dec. 4-Dec. 22, 2003, at the National Arts Club at 15 Gramercy Park South in Manhattan. Organized by the Fortune Society, the advocacy organization for prisoners' rights, and curated by Tim Nye, the show includes work made by nearly 200 men and women currently serving time in almost 30 prisons throughout the U.S. For more info, see