ARTISTS PROTEST "GREATER NEW YORK"
An ad hoc group of artists known as the Brainstormers has accused the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center of gender bias in the selection of artists for "Greater New York 2005," the high-profile show of younger artists that had its gala debut at the Long Island City museum on Mar. 15, 2005. Of the more than 160 artists in the show, 107 are men -- almost double the number of women selected for the exhibition.
"How did we become the minority in a show that markets itself as a prediction of the upcoming Public New York Art World?" asked the group, rhetorically. P.S.1 curator Klaus Biesenbach has the answer -- "Any discrepancy is due to the quality of the art," he told Amy Zimmer, a reporter for the New York Metro newspaper. The Brainstormers crew -- including Jane Johnston, Maria Dumlao, Danielle Mysliwiec and Elaine Kaufman -- greeted the "Greater New York" opening with a colorfully costumed if generally silent protest; for details, see www.brainstormersreport.net
SVA LAUNCHES NEW MFA IN ART CRITICISM When it comes to art critics, everyone agrees -- they could use more training! This fall, the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan is launching a new MFA degree in art criticism and writing. Chair of the program is former Artforum mag contributing editor Thomas McEvilley, author of Sculpture in the Age of Doubt (1999); the faculty includes Columbia University emeritus professor and Nation magazine art critic Arthur Danto, David Levi Strauss (Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography, 2003), poet and Art in America contributing editor Carter Ratcliff, Cleveland Institute of Art professor David Carrier and artist and critic Laura Cottingham. The handful of brave students accepted into the program can expect to be treated to a curriculum that emphasizes "the deep roots of art criticism in philosophy," and that ranges from religion and science to psychoanalytical, postcolonial, gay and Marxist theory. Tuition is about $11,000 per semester.
ART TROUBLES FOR WTC "LITTLE EICHMANNS" CRITIC Never underestimate the power of a horde of enraged bloggers. Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado firebrand who said victims of 9/11 were "little Eichmanns" (for serving as cogs in an oppressive world financial system), found not only his comments but his artworks under attack. The tireless web detectives turned up evidence of copyright infringement, or at least borrowed imagery, in Churchill's 25-year-old Indian art prints. In one online report, Churchill is accused of copying his 1981 serigraph, titled Winter Attack, from a mirror image of a 1972 painting by the late Indian artist Thomas E. Mails titled The Mystic Warriors of the Plains. Still another blogger turned up a Churchill ink drawing similarly copied from a photograph of an Indian chief taken by 19th-century photographer Charles M. Bell.
Born in 1947 of Creek/Cherokee heritage, Churchill served in Vietnam during 1966-68 before gaining his MA from Sangamon State University in Springfield, Ill., and launching his art career. As always, controversy can help raise interest in an artist's works -- several works by Churchill can be found on eBay.
LACMA UNVEILS EXPANSION PLAN The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has unveiled its new Renzo Piano-designed expansion plan for its notoriously motley, 20-acre, six-building campus. Groundbreaking is due soon for the $130-million first phase, which features a new, 60,000-square-foot Broad Contemporary Art Museum, underwritten by superpatrons Edythe and Eil Broad, as well as a new, 20,000-square-foot glass-enclosed entrance pavilion. Other features of the new design include a covered concourse linking both ends of the 1/3-mile-long museum campus, the overhaul of the Ahmanson Building to make a dramatic sky-lit 60 x 60 foot space and a redesign of the Wilshire Boulevard faade as the museum's new "public face." Piano is also designing the proposed addition to the Whitney Museum in New York City.
$100,000 GRANT FOR "BASQUIAT" The Brooklyn Museum has received a $100,000 grant from the Fernwood Art Foundation in support of "Basquiat," Mar. 11-June 5, 2005, the retrospective of ca. 70 paintings and 20 works on paper that is slated to travel to Los Angeles and Houston after its appearance in New York. The award cites the interactive, bi-lingual exhibition website aimed at teens. The grant is made by the charitable arm of Fernwood Art Investments, LLC.
MACO IN MEXICO CITY
With the Armory Show 2005 a fading memory, where is the international art world off to next? How about the second annual México Arte Contemporáneo (MACO), Apr. 21-24, 2005, which welcomes 55 galleries from 10 countries to Mexico City's Expo Reforma convention center, located near the historic city center. The selection committee included five dealers: Luis Adelantado (Valencia, Spain), Michele Maccarone (New York), Patricia Ortiz Monasterio (Mexico City), Matthias Arndt (Berlin) and Daniel Castro Silva (So Paulo). U.S. galleries making the trip include Conner Contemporary Art (Washington, D.C.), Elga Wimmer (New York), I-20 (New York), Josée Bienvenu (New York), Kavi Gupta (Chicago), Linc Art (San Francisco), LMAK Projects (New York), Diana Lowenstein (Miami), Maccarone, Punto Gris (Puerto Rico), Ramis Barquet (New York), Rudolph Projects (Houston), Suite 106 (New York) and the Happy Lion (Los Angeles).
SEATTLE ART FAIR CANCELLED The nascent Seattle International Art Fair, scheduled to debut Apr. 7-10, 2005 at the city's exhibition center, has been canceled. Though the event's website is still up, complete with seals of the Seattle mayor's and Washington governor's offices, the shadowy organizing company, International Art Fairs LLC, headed by Ivan Lopez and Sam Laakonen, has completely ceased operation. "A grand scandal," said a representative of one dealer who had committed to the show. "We want our money back and the administration has gone incognito!"
HOMELAND SECURITY RETURNS SEIZED ART TO CAC
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security has returned the artworks seized from artist Robert Jelinek, a member of the Austrian artist's group Sabotage, to the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati [see Artnet News, Feb. 16, 2005]. The works -- 33 passports issued by an imaginary country, part of the CAC exhibition, "Incorporated: a recent (incomplete) history of infiltrations, actions and propositions utilizing contemporary art," Feb. 11- May 8, 2005 -- have been restored to the exhibition.
20,000 WORKS TO HONOLULU ACADEMY
The Honolulu Academy of Arts has acquired the art collection and research library of the late Richard Lane, the pre-eminent Ukioy-e scholar, dealer and collector who died in Japan in 2002. The purchase brings to the museum an estimated 20,000 works of art, including paintings, woodblock prints and woodblock-illustrated books. The collection is eclectic, including Chinese Buddhist and Daoist paintings of the Yuan and Ming dynasties, Chinese landscape and bird-and-flower paintings of the Ming and Qing dynasties, Korean paintings, Japanese Buddhist and Shint paintings of the Kamakura, Muromachi, Momoyama and Edo periods and many more. Lane's long relationship with the Honolulu Academy began in 1959, when he was put in charge of the newly acquired James A. Michener Collection of Ukiyo-e prints.
FAGGIONATO, THIEBAUD OPEN NEW YORK BRANCHES Faggionato Fine Art, founded in London in 1994 by Gerard Faggionato, has opened a New York branch at 42 East 76th Street in Manhattan. The debut exhibition is a group of sepia drawings on paper by Elisabeth Scherffig, an artist who was born in Dsseldorf and who now lives and works in Milan. Director of the gallery is Irene Grassi. Faggionato is sharing the space with San Francisco dealer Paul Thiebaud, who is opening a show of works by Willem de Kooning there in April.
LATIN AMERICAN ART AND IDENTITY: A PANEL The Yeshiva University Museum on West 16th Street in Manhattan his holding a panel on "Latin American Art and Identity" on Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2005. The panel is moderated by El Museo del Barrio director Julian Zugazagoitia; participants include Amherst prof Ilan Stavans, Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun and art historian and independent curator Julia P. Hertzberg. The panel, which begins at 7 pm, is mounted in conjunction with a pair of exhibitions: "Having Trouble to Pray," a group of lush drawings by Peruvian artist Moico Yaker chronicling his efforts to "draw" the prayer he finds himself unable to perform, and "Manhattan Mincha Map" by Guatelmalan photographer Jaime Permuth. The exhibitions remain on view through May 1, 2005.
"FIRST OPEN" AT CHRISTIE'S
Christie's New York launches its new "First Open" sales today, Mar. 15, 2005, with an auction of over 190 lots of contemporary art priced in the "accessible and affordable" range. "First Open" sales are now scheduled for twice a year, March and September. Today's sale opens with several drawings by Raymond Pettibon, estimated at $6,000-$8,000, and includes drawings and prints by top contemporary artists at prices ranging up to $25,000 for an Andy Warhol "reversal series" Marilyn silkscreen and $80,000 for a suite of Ed Ruscha's "Parking Lots" edition, published in 1999. "First Open" is overseen by Alicia Bona, an associate specialist in contemporary and post-war art who formerly worked at Marian Goodman Gallery.