"INSIDE THE GRID" AT THE NEW MUSEUM
New York's latest international survey show of new art -- the lifeblood of the contemporary art market -- is "Living Inside the Grid," Feb. 28-June 15, 2003, at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in SoHo. Organized by curator Dan Cameron, the show features 36 works by 24 artists in what is (surprisingly) Cameron's first major contemporary survey in his six years at the museum. Despite the prosaic theme, the show includes a wealth of engaging new works.
Among them are The Annunciation, a large group of framed magazine photos of awakening women by reclusive 1980s art star Douglas Blau; several schematic drawings illustrating corporate and government scandals by the late Mark Lombardi, including Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Bush, Thatcher and the Arming of Iraq, ca. 1979-90, 3rd Version (1996); Evidence of All Things (2002), a room-sized video projection by Rico Gatson that turns racial images from Hollywood movies into a "kaleidoscopic tapestry"; and Public Things, an ostensibly inhabitable modular structure -- it includes a kitchen, shower, toilet, bed and more -- made by the four-person Copenhagen collective N55. Other artists in the show are Absalon, Roland Boden, Jennifer Bolande, Monica Bonvicini, Jose Damasceno, Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Luisa Lambri, Langlands & Bell, Mark Lombardi, Rogelio López Cuenca, Rita McBride, Paul Noble, Marko Peljhan, Danica Phelps, Sean Snyder, Do-Ho Suh, Tomoko Takahashi, Ana Maria Tavares, Uri Tzaig, Egbert Trogemann and Camille Utterback.
Of special interest for art-world insiders: seven of the works in the show are commissioned by the American Center Foundation, the successor organization to the venerable American Center in Paris, which shamefully went bust in 1996 after spending $40 million on a new facility designed by Frank O. Gehry. The foundation is headed, as was the center, by Frederick B. Henry, who was made a trustee of the similarly profligate Guggenheim Museum in 2002 and whose Bohen Foundation recently opened an exhibition space on West 13th Street in Manhattan.
SLOW TRAFFIC AT THE ART SHOW
This year's Art Show, the 15th annual art fair put on by the Art Dealers Association of America at the 67th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, Feb 20-24, 2003, was marked by low attendance and slow sales of major works, by most accounts. According to a report by Nina Siegal for Bloomberg News, attendance was down 20 percent, to 7,800 from the more usual 10,000. Chelsea power-dealer David Zwirner confessed to have sold "nothing over $100,000" and noted the absence of major West Coast and European collectors. Margaret Weston of the Weston Gallery said she sold a dozen works, including Imogen Cunningham's 1925 Magnolia Blossom (illustrated on the Artnet homepage) for $275,000. David Tunick said he sold seven works, including two Picasso drawings, a Toulouse-Lautrec print and a work by Rembrandt. Pace Wildenstein reported selling about half of the 28 Alexander Calder miniatures on display, which range in price from $85,000 to $850,000. And Andrew Fabricant of Richard Gray Gallery sold four works, in contrast to the 12 to 14 pieces sold at Art Basel in Switzerland.
Additionally, the Baer Faxt said the fair was "a bit low energy," but noted sales of nearly $1 million at Ameringer Yohe, which mounted a show of Hans Hofmann's Provincetown paintings, as well as a $1.1 million Calder at O'Hara Gallery, plus energetic sales at Luhring Augustine, Charles Cowles and Marian Goodman.
Meanwhile, New York City is overflowing with fairs. This weekend there's Works on Paper at the 67th Regiment Armory and the massive Artexpo at the Javits Convention Center (with the more focused Art New York at the Javits Galleria). Coming up next week is the Armory Show 2003, Mar. 7-10, featuring 170 contemporary dealers at Piers 88 and 90 on Manhattan's west side at the Hudson River.
FIRST LADY TOURS FORT WORTH MUSEUM
First lady Laura Bush soldiers on as an arts advocate, in her own modest way, despite the difficulties resulting from her husband's martial inclinations. Last week she toured the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (whose new facility, designed by Tadao Ando, opened last December). According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Laura Bush called the architecture "magnificent" and said the art was a "thrill." The press, however, was having none of it, peppering the First Lady instead with questions relating to the potential war with Iraq. "I understand that people truly feel that war is immoral and they're afraid," she said when asked how she reacts to war protesters.
BUSH NOMINEES FOR NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
President George W. Bush has found time to nominate four people to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the National Endowment for the Arts. They are:
* Mary Costa, a singer from Knoxville whose repertoire ranges from opera to the voice of Princess Aurora in Disney's 1969 Sleeping Beauty.
* Makoto Fujimura, a New York artist who paints in the "ancient Nihonga style" on panels, combining landscape elements on abstract color fields, "the whole overlaid with Biblical quotes inscribed in smudged gold ink." He exhibits at the Dillon Gallery in Oyster Bay, N.Y., and the Sen and Tamaya galleries in Tokyo.
* Jerry Pinkney, a book illustrator from Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., whose 80-plus children's books include Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1976), and who has designed 11 postage stamps.
* Karen Lias Wolff, dean of the University of Michigan School of Music in Ann Arbor.
MURDER AT THE MET?
The latest page-turner from Linda Fairstein, popular author and veteran sex-crimes investigator for the Manhattan district attorney's office, is The Bone Vault (Scribner, 400 pp., $25). Set in the Metropolitan Museum, the chiller involves the murder of a curator whose mummified body is found in a sarcophagus just as it's being shipped out of the country! Also promised (by Amazon.com) is a "firsthand look at the murderous New York art world." Sound realistic to us!
ART PACE SYMPOSIUM EXPLORES ART-WORLD SELF-INTEREST
"Is Anybody Listening?" is the provocative question on the agenda at a two-day symposium at Art Pace, the alternative art space in El Paso, Tx., Apr. 4-5, 2003. Designed to "strip away constructs that impede contemporary art from having a broader reach," the conference focuses on the ways that "curators, institutions, galleries, dealers and artists are complicit in structuring an alternative world based on self-interest." Keynote speaker is New Yorker "cyberwriter" Malcolm Gladwell; moderators are Eleanor Heartney and Robert Storr, who oversee an illustrious group of panelists: art-fair producer Thomas Blackman, Public Art Fund director Tom Eccles, Studio Museum in Harlem curator Thelma Golden, artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Musée d'art Moderne de la Ville de Paris curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Pae White. The talks are free, but seats may be purchased at an accompanying dinner ($250) and luncheon ($15). For info contact email@example.com.
NEW THREAD IN QUEER CULTURE IN "BOYS WITH NEEDLES"
The Textile Museum of Canada in Toronto presents "Boys with Needles," Mar. 5-May 4, 2003, an exhibition of works by four artists -- David Grenier, Neil MacInnis, Thomas Roach and Patrick Traer -- who use sewing, embroidery and fiber arts in a provocative look at the stereotypes surrounding homosexuality and sewing. Granier embroiders yellow sweaters with "reminders of how I mark my body and render it visibly different, heterogeneous and in flux," MacInnis mixes images of fetish wear, handguns and a 1784 engraving of a sodomite on jacquard tapestries, Roach silk-screens church vestments, and Traer makes button-covered sculptures upholstered in vinyl and ostrich-skin fabric. The show originated at the Museum London, a regional gallery about two hours outside Toronto. For more info, see www.textilemuseum.ca.
NEW MEMBERS AT AMERICAN ACADEMY
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has elected eight new members for 2003 -- artists Jennifer Bartlett, Al Hirschfeld, Yvonne Jacquette and William King; writers Lawrence Ferlinghetti and C.K. Williams; and composers Philip Glass and Shulamit Ran. Hirschfeld, who received notice of his election just two days before his death last month, is being inducted posthumously. Elections are held each year to fill vacancies in the academy's membership of 250 American artists, architects, writers and composers.
BARYSHNIKOV, THE PHOTOGRAPHER
The spring 2003 issue of Aperture magazine is to feature never-before-seen photographs by dance great Mikhail Baryshnikov taken during the last quarter century. A Paris skateboarder, his son at age 13, director Milos Forman and dancer Julie Michaels' "beautiful back" are among the mages, published with an accompanying commentary. Other stories in the issue cover Russian Pictorialism, tintype photographer John Coffer, German pinhole photographer Thomas Kellner, photography in Japan and photographers Don McCullin, Jonas Bendiksen and Art Maples.
JEFF BAILEY OPENS IN CHELSEA
Another stop for your Chelsea gallery tour -- Jeff Bailey Gallery, opening with "Launched," Mar. 4-Apr. 5, 2003, on the eighth floor of 511 West 25th Street. The show presents drawings by John Bauer, Julian Pozzi, Eric Wolf and Rob Wynne. Forthcoming is "Park Paintings by Kristopher Benedict, a recent Columbia MFA grad. An NYU art history graduate, Bailey is a veteran of Richard L. Feigen and Earl McGrath galleries.