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Fundraising benefits in the nonprofit art world are a year-round thing, needless to say. But spring holds a special cachet -- and special art benefits, as well. Some examples:
  • Art in General "Reconfiguring Space: Blueprints for Art in General" benefit and exhibition, Mar. 26, 2003, at the 20-year-old alternative Tribeca gallery, features cocktails, a tour of the show and dinner in the homes of one of five patrons. Premiering at the event is a new benefit edition by María Elena González. Tickets begin at $150 (for cocktails only), and $500 (including dinner). For more info, contact (212) 219-0473.
  • The SculptureCenter Lucky Draw Spring 2003 Benefit, Mar. 29, 2003, at the SculptureCenter at 44-19 Purves Street in Long Island City, offers an evening of cocktails and conversation topped by a raffle in which all ticket-holders are guaranteed to win an original artwork. The preview exhibition is already under way; to view the works online, click here. Tickets are $350 each or $1,000 for three; to purchase tickets call (718) 361-1750 x115.
  • The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 30th Anniversary Benefit, Apr. 1, 2003, at the Regent Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, features a silent auction of works by Christo and Jeanne Claude, Peter Halley, April Gornik and many others. The benefit honors David Rockefeller, real estate maven Mary Ann Tighe, jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson and Maya Lin. A selection of the works are currently on view at the Anne Klein store on West Broadway in SoHo. For tickets to the benefit call (212) 219-9401 x123.
  • The Hunter College MFA Open Studios and Silent Auction, Apr. 4, 2003, at Hunter College, 450 W. 41st Street, features open studios with works by over 150 artists on six floors, plus a silent auction of donated works by students, faculty and alumni to raise funds for department activities. Artist performances are also on the schedule. Admission is free; for more info, email
  • The New York Academy of Art Annual Tribeca Ball, Apr. 9, 2003, at Gotham Hall at 36th Street and Broadway, presents cocktails, dinner and performances from Baz Lurhmann and Catherine Martin's production of La Bohème. The event is being underwritten by Hermès. Tickets begin at $750; for info (212) 966-0300.
  • The New Museum of Contemporary Art Bowery Ball, Apr. 13, 2003, at Capitale, a new restaurant at 130 Bowery, not far from the site of the museum's future home, features cocktails, dinner and dancing, plus a live auction. The event honors Museum of Modern Art honorary trustee Jan Cowles and Eugenio Lopez, founder of La Collection Jumex in Mexico City; the gala chairs are Dorothy Lichtenstein, Manuel Gonzalez, Anne Cox Chambers and Kitty Carlisle Hart. Simone de Pury is auctioneer. Tickets start at $500, and a table of ten goes for $5,000; call (212) 219-1222 x223.
  • The Artists Space 2003 Spring Benefit, Apr. 28, at Bridgewaters in the South Street Seaport, celebrates the illustrious nonprofit's 30th anniversary with cocktails and dinner. The event honors photographer Gregory Crewdson and his wife Ivy, director of the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, and features "lightbox centerpieces" created by Sue De Beer, Jonah Freeman, Nina Katchadourian, Kevin Landers and several other artists. Benefit editions by Crewdson, Benjamin Edwards and Paul Henry Ramirez are also available. Tickets begin at $200 for artists, $375 for others; for more info, contact Artists Space at (212) 226-3970.
  • The Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Apr. 28, 2003, features dessert and dancing in a black-tie celebration of the new fashion exhibition, "Goddess." Tom Ford, Nicole Kidman and Anna Wintour are the committee chairs; the benefit is supported by Gucci and Condé Nast. Tickets are $250 per person; inquiries at (212) 570-3948.
Art book publishers regularly to push the limits of extravagance and style, producing glamorous color monographs of exceptional design and size that are clearly works of art in their own right. The latest entry in this coffee-table sweepstakes is a trio of new titles from Scalo, each devoted to a single photographer and measuring an unusual 16.5 inches wide by 12 inches tall. AYA by the Swiss artist Anneleis trba, known for a 30-year project of photographing her own family, includes 85 color stills that have been digitally imaged and manipulated. Lux et Nox by Bill Henson, the first major monograph by the Australian artist who is slated for a major survey at the Art Gallery of New South Wales later this year, mixes rich chiaroscuro images of androgynous adolescents with industrial landscapes at dusk. And All Day Every Day by David Armstrong features color landscapes, cityscapes and interiors by the Massachusetts-born New York noir photographer. The books are priced at $85 (trba), $95 (Henson) and $80 (Armstrong).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced extended hours for the final weekend of the popular exhibition, "Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman." The museum is staying open an hour later than usual, till 10 pm, on Mar. 29-30, the show's final two days. The exhibition has already attracted more than 350,000 visitors, making it the most highly attended show of drawings in the museum's history.

Christie's has announced its plans for it's sale of artworks from the Seagram Collection, assembled by Phyllis Lambert, daughter of Seagram founder Samuel Bronfman, for the fabled Seagrams Building on Park Avenue since the late 1950s. The works will be spread through several sales. Top lot in Christie's May 14 sale of post-war and contemporary art is Mark Rothko's Brown and Blacks in Reds (1957) (est. $6 million-$8 million), the sale also includes Larry Rivers' The Accident (1957) (est. $200,000-$300,000). Joan Miró's Peinture (1952) (est. $400,000-$600,000), which measures 29 x ca. 74 in., is included in the May 7 Impressionist and modern sale.

The May 28 Latin American sale includes a 1942 canvas by Matta (est. $1,000,000-$1,500,000), which is illustrated on the catalogue cover. Approximately 70 Seagram prints are in the Apr. 29 print auction. And to finish it all off, on July 23 Christie's mounts a special Seagram Collection auction, including furniture from a former seventh-floor tavern as well as artworks and other items.

Reserved for private sale are the 1919 stage curtain by Picasso that hangs in the Four Seasons bar, a collection of 48 "Drawings by Sculptors" including works by Robert Smithson, Richard Serra and Vito Acconci, and a group of glass drinking vessels from the 17th through 19th centuries.

Opera lovers are flocking to the Gallery at Lincoln Center to see "Starstruck," Mar. 12-29, 2003, an exhibition of black-and-white photographs of the stars of the opera world by John Lettang. The cast of characters includes singers (Placido Domingo, Marilyn Horne, Joan Sutherland), dancers (Margot Fonteyn, Rudolph Nureyev), musicians and conductors (Leonard Bernstein, Vladimir Horowitz) and actors (Warren Beatty, Richard Burton, Ginger Rogers). Lettang, now 68, made the pictures over the past 30 years, supporting himself as a Park Avenue doorman and haunting the stage doors of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Broadway theaters. The exhibition is organized by Judy Auchincloss. For more info, call (212) 580-4673.

They like 'em young out in Hollywoodland, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is proving it. LACMA is offering what it calls a "NexGen Arts" free membership to people under 18, debuting in a special afternoon celebration on Sunday, Apr. 13. The festivities include hands-on creative workshops, an art treasure hunt, live performances, gallery tours, and even free t-shirts for the first 250 youngsters. Accompanying adults are required. For more info, call (323) 857-4737.

Art-world perverts take note! MIT List Visual Arts Center is presenting a one-day forum titled "Post-Revolutionary Sex and the Future of Visual Desire," Apr. 5, 2003. Chaired by Artforum contributing editor Bruce Hainley (and coauthor with John Waters of the forthcoming Arty Sex), the panel features bad-boy filmmaker Larry Clark, artist Glenn Ligon, performer Claude Wampler and the original appropriation artist, Elaine Sturtevant (who has dropped her first name and now goes simply by "Sturtevant"). Admission is free and open to the public; for info, call (617) 253-4680.