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Chicago MCA curator Francesco Bonami, director of the art show at the 50th Venice Biennale, June 15-Nov. 2, 2003 (with the special preview running June 12-14), has announced his preliminary plans for the exhibition, which is titled "Dreams and Conflicts: The Viewer's Dictatorship." Dubbing the show an "exhibition of exhibitions," Bonami explained that "the beholder is one of the poles that produces the spark that activates the art work successfully in the social and cultural context." He also noted, in obvious reference to Okwui Enwezor's highly politicized Documenta 11 last summer, that "Dreams and Conflicts" is not a show about political art but a reflection on the politics of art.

Unlike his predecessor, Harald Szeeman, Bonami has enlisted an international team of curators -- and two artists -- and given them their own "islands in the archipelago" to oversee. In the Arsenale, the curators (with their exhibitions) are Hou Hanru (Z.O.U., or "Zone of Urgency"), Igor Zabel ("Individual Systems), Carlos Basualdo ("The Structure of Survival"), Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija ("Utopia Station"), Catherine David ("Conflict"), Gabriel Orozco ("The Everyday Altered") and Gilane Tawardos in collaboration with Forum Africa Contemporary Art ("Fault Lines"). Bonami himself is in charge of "Clandestines." In the Giardini, the curators are Bonami and Daniel Brinbaum ("Delays and Revolutions") and Massimiliano Gioni ("The Zone").

Among the representatives at the national pavilions are Fred Wilson (U.S.A.), Chris Ofili (England), Jean-Marc Bustamante (France), Michal Rovner (Israel), Olafur Eliasson (Iceland) and Michael Stevenson (New Zealand). Most of the other countries have not yet announced!

Exit Art, the venturesome alternative space that made its home on Broadway in SoHo for the last two decades, has relocated to Hell's Kitchen on the north edge of New York's Chelsea art district. The new space at 475 Tenth Avenue at 36th Street (the 11-story former McGraw-Hill Building) consists of an 11,000-square-foot ground floor plus a 6,000-square-foot lower level, and "is so fabulous that we want to do something in it before we renovate," said Exit Art director Jeanette Ingbermann. That something is the "Reconstruction Biennial," a survey of installation art that Ingbergmann promises is the first of five new biennials to be mounted over the next 10 years. "We're inviting artists to help us feel the space and reinvent it," she said. The show is also going to be a fundraiser, with the $10 admission going towards the $500,000 renovation fund. The biennial opens on Jan. 18, 2003, the first day the artists start working on their installations. How many artists in the show? "I'm not sure," said Ingbermann. "We'll start with 20 and then add more." The new Exit Art, which opens a second time after renovations in June 2003, is to have a café, a sales gallery and a center for digital and cinematic images.

The International Center of Photography has announced the first international photography triennial in the U.S. Organized by ICP chief curator Brian Wallis with senior curators Christopher Phillips and Carol Squiers with digital media curator Edward Early, the "First ICP Triennial" has the theme "Strangers," and is billed as a look at street photography, beginning with Robert Frank, Helen Levitt and Garry Winogrand and including Justine Kurland, Joel Sternfeld, Magnum photographer Chien-Chi Chang and Parisian artist Yto Barrada. The Triennial is to include some 200 works by 40 to 50 artists, and occupy all the museum galleries. The show is scheduled to open in September 2003.

The orthographically irregular SculptureCenter opens its new space at 44-19 Purves Street in Long Island City on Dec. 14 with an evening of music and revelry featuring DJ Little Jukka, otherwise known as Nayland Blake, and Natural Car Alarms, a migrating public art project by Nina Katchadourianon out on Purves Street. The SculpureCenter's new home, a former trolley repair shop overhauled by Maya Lin and architect David Hotson, features 6,000 square feet of exhibition space, a work studio and apartment for visiting artists, a library and a 3,000 square foot outdoor exhibition space. Inaugural exhibitions include "Jimbo Blachly: About 86 Springs" and "From Clay Club to SculptureCenter: A Timeline." Also on view is Glass Outhouse by Patrick Killoran, a portable toilet made of transparent plastic with a one-way mirrored exterior (?).

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has announced a year-end round of grants totaling over $1.3 million. The grant total for fiscal 2002 reached a foundation record of $4.8 million, a 20 percent increase over 2001. Among the grantees: African Film Festival, N.Y., $50,000; Aljira, Inc., Newark, $80,000; the ACLU Art Censorship Project, $50,000; Apexart, N.Y., $60,000; Nka: Journal of African Art, Cornell University, $80,000; DiverseWorks, Houston, $80,000; Eyebeam Atelier, Brooklyn, $50,000; Los Angeles MOCA, $70,000; Museum of Jurassic Technology, Culver City, $60,000; Oakland Museum, $50,000; Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, $80,000; San Jose ICA, $50,000; Sculpture Center, L.I.C., N.Y., $60,000; Socrates Sculpture Park, N.Y. $60,000; Storefront for Art and Architecture, N.Y., $60,000.

ALLAN FRUMKIN, 1927-2002
Allan Frumkin, 75, art dealer who opened his first gallery in Chicago in 1952 and a second in New York in 1959, died from complications from Crohn's disease on Dec. 9 in Manhattan. A champion of figurative art with a wry touch, he exhibited H.C. Westermann, Peter Saul, Robert Arneson and William T. Wiley along with Matta, Joseph Cornell, Franz Kline and Richard Diebenkorn. Only two weeks ago, the St. Louis Art Museum acquired his collection of 382 prints by the German Expressionist Max Beckmann.