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The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, celebrated for its holdings of Renaissance manuscripts since its acquisition of the collection of German art collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig in 1983, is presenting the biggest manuscript show in recent memory this coming summer. "Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe," June 17-Sept. 7, 2003, features illuminated manuscripts produced between 1470 and 1560, and includes more than 130 objects from 49 lenders in 14 countries. The show marks the last great phase of the art form, before the rise of printed books pushed the handmade manuscript into obsolescence. "This exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see the works of great illuminators and painters side-by-side," said Getty curator Thomas Kren, "including masterpieces by such celebrated figures as Rogier Van der Weyden and Pieter Bruegel the Elder." The show is accompanied by a comprehensive, 600-page catalogue ($125 hardcover, $55 paperback).

The largest exhibition of Photo Realist paintings ever assembled has gone on view in Rome at the Chiostro del'Bramante cloister (the oldest Renaissance building in the city, complete with frescos by Raphael). Dubbed "Ipperrealisti," Apr. 5-June 15, 2003, the exhibition is sponsored by Chrysler Italia, and may travel to Milan in the fall. More than half of the paintings come from the holdings of SoHo superdealer Louis Meisel, who collaborated with freelance Italian curator Gianni Mercurio to organize the survey. Among the featured artists are veterans Robert Bechtle, Charles Bell, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Richard McLean and Stephen Posen along with some younger painters like Tony Brunelli, Clive Head and Raphaella Spence. The exhibition is accompanied by a deluxe slipcased catalogue with essays by Meisel, the curator and several other contributors. Last year Meisel also published the third book in his trilogy on the movement, the 224-page Photorealism at the Millennium (Abrams, $60). In addition to his SoHo operation, Meisel has a gallery on 57th Street with Frank Bernarducci.

English megacollector Charles Saatchi launched his new art gallery at County Hall on the South Bank of London on Apr. 15 with a display of 80 works of Young British Art. Damien Hirst, whose famous pickled shark and monument-sized anatomical model were among the featured works on view, was absent from the opening festivities, reportedly away in South America. Saatchi himself was absent as well, though his girlfriend, television chef Nigella Lawson, came in his stead. The "artistic high point" of the evening, wrote a reporter for the Telegraph, was New York artist Spencer Tunick's staging of a mass nude performance, with 350 volunteers disrobing on the museum terrace at sunset.

After a two-year hiatus, Grand Street is back. The prestigious art and literary journal, edited and published by Jean Stein since 1991, has relaunched with an new design and an emphasis on international art and writing. The current issue is devoted to "Danger," and includes a cover by Neo Rauch, a note from Walter Hopps on James Rosenquist and some classic photographs by Chris Burden. Selections from current and past issues can be found online at The 256-page issue can be had in the flesh for $15.

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation has announced the 14 winners in its annual "Space Program," which provides free studio space in New York to deserving artists. Recipients are Derrick Adams, Daniel Bozhkov, Thomas Brouillette, Christopher Dorland, Alessandra Exposito, Sergio Fernandez, Michael Ferris, Yun-Fei Ji, Kim Jones, Beverly McIver, Lamar Peterson, Dorothea Rockburne, Jered Sprecher and Wendy White. The artists were selected from over 1,000 applications by a jury consisting of Nancy Davidson, Janet Fish, Thomas Nozkowski, Debra Priestly and Robert Storr.

You know its springtime when the Metropolitan Museum of Art throws open its rooftop sculpture garden to museum visitors. On May 1, six sculptures by the late Pop art great Roy Lichtenstein go on view in the 10,000-square-foot open-air space. The selection includes the 30-foot-tall Brushstrokes (1996, fabricated in 2001), the ca. 18-foot wide House III (1997, fabricated in 2002), and four quasi-figurative works: Galatea (1990), Brushstoke Nude (1993), Endless Drip (1995) and Coup de Chapeau II (1996). The installation will be the sixth single-artist exhibit on the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

While the art world focuses on the American Craft Museum's change of its name to the Museum of Arts & Design and the museum's ambitious plans to renovate the New York Cultural Center building on Columbus Circle as its future home, the museum has been quietly carrying on with its program at its facility on West 53rd Street. Coming up next month is "Art of the Plate," May 2-June 8, 2003, a not-to-be missed exhibition of the top 100 designs from the "Dixie Art of the Plate Design" competition. The light-hearted show features celebrity paper-plate designs by Sally Jesse Raphael, Brook Shields and Jacques Pepin, as well as submissions by artists, craftspeople and others in an open-call competition. A grand prize of $10,000 and eight first place prizes of $5,000 each go to winners selected by a jury that includes Museum of Arts & Design director Holly Hotchner, Society of Illustrators president Judy Francis and High Museum of Art deputy director Philip Verre. And yes, some of the designs could be picked up by Dixie for actual paper plates.

Studio Museum in Harlem curator Thelma Golden receives an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia at its 155th commencement on May 19, 2002. Moore is the only women's college for the visual arts in the United States.