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Times Square is the heart and soul of New York City, and that emotional timbre is perfectly served by "At the Crossroads of Desire: A Times Square Centennial," a new exhibition of some 200 photographs, artworks, posters, architectural plans and models, video and film clips, artifacts and ephemera on view at the AXA Gallery in midtown Manhattan, Dec. 10, 2004-Mar. 26, 2005. The show traces the growth of the 19th-century Longacre Square from an unremarkable "uptown" destination in 1904, when the New York Times building was constructed, to its current status as the center of a new cosmopolitan spectacle.

Exhibits range from a copy of a 1857 etching of a bucolic scene of a farm house under a towering oak tree, with a man tilling a kitchen garden, captioned Broadway S.W. Corner 44th Street, to Jane Dickson's Hotel Girl (1983), a large painting of a woman's silhouette on a high balcony, framed by an orange and green neon night (Dickson used to live at 43rd Street and 8th Avenue). Among the many photographers in the show are Alfred Eisenstaedt, Andreas Feininger, Louis Faurer, Joel Meyerowitz, Inge Morath, Ruth Orkin, Thomas Struth, Weegee and Garry Winogrand. The presentation includes clips from Hollywood movies (42nd Street, Killer's Kiss, Shaft, Midnight Cowboy) and two short 16mm films by artists, William Klein's 1958 Broadway by Light and Rudy Burkhardt's 1968 Square Times.

Organized by Amherst history professor Max Page, author of The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940 (1999), the show was originally slated to appear at the New-York Historical Society [see "Artnet News," June 24, 2004].

It's Christmas time and the art market is thriving, and Forbes magazine has published a "2005 Collectors Guide" as its issue for the week of Dec. 27, 2004. "Collecting smart -- what's hot, what's not -- and how to tell the difference," promise the cover lines. Inside, the package of articles begins with a surprisingly frank story on the two-decade-long scheme by French art dealers Michel Giraud and Jacques de Vos to quietly corner the market on Art Deco furniture by little-known Lyonnaise master André Sornay, run up the prices at auction and now turn a tidy profit by selling the works at their new Manhattan gallery.

A profile of Mexican fruit-juice heir Eugenio López Alonso, founder of the celebrated (and well-fortified) La Colección Jumex in a slum outside Mexico City, reports that the "Pan-American playboy in a classic mold" has spent $12 million in the last four years supporting Latin American contemporary art, and in 1994 helped launch the successful career of Gabriel Orozco. An article on Madison Avenue 19th-century painting dealer Mark Murray reveals that he finances his deals through limited partnerships -- profitable ones -- with an elite circle of wealthy investors. Another piece that proved irresistible to Forbes focuses on the market for artworks made by the late rock musician Kurt Cobain.

The report on the contemporary art market, written by Forbes Collector newsletter editor Missy Sullivan, warns of "irrational exuberance" as it cites the art-market appreciation of Maurizio Cattelan's notorious wax statue of Paul John Paul II struck down by a meteor, which was bought by Geneva dealer Pierre Huber for $886,000 and "flipped" for $3 million at a Phillips, de Pury & Co. auction last month. "Ultimately the economy will shift, people will start getting burned, and the whole thing will crash," said Tribeca supercollector Michael Hort, who reportedly was offered $600,000 for a Kai Althoff painting he bought for $10,000 four years ago.

The Barnes Foundation can move to Philadelphia, according to a long-awaited ruling by Judge Stanley R. Ott of Pennsylvania's Montgomery County Orphans Court. The move would be funded by $150 million from three Philadelphia foundations -- the Annenberg Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts -- $100 million earmarked for a new facility and $50 million for an endowment. According to a report by Carol Vogel in the New York Times, the likely sites for the new museum are next to the Philadelphia Museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway or 20th Street near the Rodin Museum.

Several art-world insiders lamented the proposal, which would destroy "the eccentric magic" of Alfred C. Barnes' namesake foundation, in the words of Brooklyn Museum curator Elizabeth Easton. "A terrible mistake," said Manhattan dealer Richard Feigen, who once was a member of the Barnes Foundation board. "The whole concept of the Barnes will be ruined," said David Nash of Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York. "It would be as though the Frick were dismantled and put together at the Met."

The provocative new show at the International Center of Photography in midtown Manhattan, "White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art," Dec. 10, 2004-Feb. 27, 2005, can also be viewed online, courtesy of Newsweek/MSNBC. Organized by University of Maryland curator Maurice Berger (author as well of the 1999 book, White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness), the compact exhibition features works by 10 artists, including Max Becher and Andrea Robbins, Nayland Blake, Nancy Burson, Wendy Ewald and Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Barbara Kruger, Nikki S. Lee, Cindy Sherman and Gary Simmons. The online version can be accessed in the "photo gallery" at

Global supercurator Rosa Martinez -- organizer of the 1997 Istanbul International Biennial and co-curator of the 2005 Venice Biennale -- has been appointed chief curator of the Istanbul Modern, Turkey's first museum of modern and contemporary art. The new museum made its debut on Dec. 11, 2004, with "Observation/ Interpretation/ Multiplicity," a show of works from the permanent collection organized by Ali Akay, Levent Cal-koglu and Hasim Nur Gurel. The 8,000-square-meter space also features a gallery devoted to photography under the direction of Engin Ozendes. The new museum is financed by the Eczacibasi Group. "Our museum will always be open to innovation and change," said board chairman Oya Eczacibasi.

As of Jan. 1, 2005, Christie's is raising its buyer's premium from 19.5 percent to 20 percent on the first $100,000 of the sales price in most sales. With the new fee, Christie's is charging the same amount as its arch-rival, Sotheby's. In its announcement, Christie's notes a number of exceptions: At Christie's Paris the rates increase from 17.5 percent to 20 percent on the first €110,000 and from 10 percent to 12 percent on the remainder; in Australia the premium remains at 19.5 percent on the first $200,000 (Australian) and 12 percent on the remainder; in Italy, the premium is 24 percent on the first €110,000 and 18.5 percent on the rest.

With his box-office hit The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson proved that contemporary America has an insatiable appetite for hard-core imagery of spiritual suffering. Now, the Getty Center is getting into the act, with "Images of Violence in the Medieval World," Dec. 21, 2004-Mar. 13, 2005, an exhibition focusing on the "pervasive culture of violence" in the Middle Ages. The show features 18 manuscripts and manuscript leaves from the Getty collection, picturing the torture and death of Christ as well as scenes of warfare, executions and wife-beating. As part of the show, the Getty has reproduced Flemish artist Simon Bening's entire illuminated manuscript, Prayer Book of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, on its website.

While New Yorkers can visit the Whitney Museum's small but effective exhibition of works by the late American artist James Lee Byars (1932-1997), real fans of the mystical Fluxus pioneer are heading off to the Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain in Strasbourg, France, where a major retrospective is on view. Organized by New York-based independent curator Klaus Ottmann, "James Lee Byars: Life, Love and Death," Dec. 10, 2004-Mar. 13, 2005, includes 46 sculptures, works on paper and installations, plus a live performance, The Perfect Smile (1994), borrowed from the Museum Ludwig and performed every day by a member of the museum staff. The exhibition, which is accompanied by a bilingual 160-page, comprehensive catalogue (Hatje Cantz, $45) premiered at Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle last spring.

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood is in the news again -- for his paintings. Fellow musician Andrew Lloyd-Webber commissioned Wood to paint a series of works for the Theatre Royal in London, including a version of the last supper that reportedly places Mick Jagger front and center as Jesus. Another piece, a tryptich, sports the mugs of Naomi Cambell, Kate Moss and Richards himself, all dining at London's fashionable Ivy restaurant. The PR pitch is that Wood, 57, is returning to his roots -- he studied art as a young man at Ealing College of Art in London. Wood has also been commissioned to paint a portrait of the Sultan of Brunei for a six-figure sum.

Collectors Arlene and Harold Schnitzer have donated $3.5 million to the Portland (Ore.) Art Museum to support programming about Northwest art, including a new curatorial chair. In 2000, the Schnitzers established the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Northwest Art at the museum.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago has launched an online museum store in time for this year's Christmas shopping frenzy. Among the wares are Yoshitomo Nara's battery-operated, whirling and twirling Pup Cup ($80), a set of four "Driving Instruction" golf balls (reading "slice" and "hook," for example) ($18) and an entire series of ersatz Alexander Calder mini-mobiles (ca. $40-$150). The museum especially recommends its Tiki Tissue Box Cover ($20), which dispenses tissues from the nostrils of a Tiki god. For the complete selection, see

Artist, critic and curator Okwui Enwezor has been named dean of academic affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute, succeeding Larry Thomas, who is retiring. Enwezor, 41, a native of Nigeria, helped organize "Documenta 11" and "The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994.

Anthony G. Hirschel
, director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 2001, has resigned. Hirschel's departure surprised local observers, according to the Indianapolis Star. Succeeding him as interim museum CEO is Lawrence A. O'Connor Jr., retired CEO of Bank One Indiana. IMA deputy director Diane De Grazia has been named interim chief art officer, in charge of overseeing the collection and programming. The IMA is in the midst of a $74-million expansion, scheduled to open in 2005.

Atlanta's High Museum of Art has appointed Jeffrey D. Grove as its curator of modern and contemporary art. Grove is currently curator of contemporary art at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Thomas Delapa, longtime film critic for the Boulder Weekly, has been named curator of the film series at the Denver Art Museum.

Looking for a job on the other side of the world? ArtSpace, the 17-year-old contemporary art gallery in Auckland, N.Z., is seeking a new director. Interested parties should apply to by Jan. 14, 2005.

ED PASCHKE, 1939-2004
Ed Paschke, 65, pioneering Chicago Imagist painter known for his neon-colored portraits of pop stars and social outcasts, died of heart failure in his sleep at his home in Chicago on the morning of Nov. 25. A grad of the Art Institute of Chicago, Paschke did illustrations for Playboy magazine as well as showing his works in art galleries in Chicago and New York, where he exhibited regularly with the Phyllis Kind Gallery. He had a retrospective of his work at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 1989.

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