BROOKLYN MUSEUM UNVEILS NEW ENTRYWAY
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates its new "front stoop" -- a $63-million, 15,000-square-foot entrance pavilion and lobby renovation, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects -- with a grand open house on the weekend of Apr. 17-18, 2004. The celebration includes free admission -- the museum remains open till 11 p.m. on Saturday -- and some 60 "special events," including dance and music performances, lectures by exhibition curators, performances by artists Christine Hill, Ken Butler and Matt Freedman and a book-signing by Alexis Rockman, who painted a large commissioned mural for the opening. The museum also unveils two special exhibitions -- "Open House: Working in Brooklyn," a survey of some 300 works by 200 borough artists organized by Charlotta Kotik, and a retrospective of the work of African American fashion designer Patrick Kelly, organized by Thelma Golden -- and new installations of the Hall of Americas and the museum's memorial sculpture garden.
The redesign has gotten mixed reviews so far. The New York Times' eccentric architecture critic, Herbert Muschamp, called it "a milestone" and "one of the most attractive public spaces in town" -- despite the fact that things were running a bit behind schedule and the pavilion wasn't really quite open. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Gurewitsch struck a more skeptical tone, taking note of museum director Arnold Lehman's taste for "dishing up McCulture in shows like 'Star Wars: Magic of Myth'." Sadly, Lehman admits to Gurewitsch that the museum no longer desires to lead the public to scholarship and good taste, but rather plans to cater to down-market, populist tastes. According to news reports, the benighted big foot has even resorted to "marketing experts" to determine what the museum's "strengths" are.
The Polshek design replaces the museum's long-missing Beaux-Arts staircase with a very nicely appointed three-tiered glass and steel entryway that wouldn't look out of place on a hotel or airport. The formerly derelict Eastern Parkway building front, long boarded up and marked by an overgrowth of weeds, is now nicely landscaped (though there seem to be no benches or places to sit). To one side is a computer-operated fountain of 49 "dancing" water jets devised by Wet Design that Muschamp calls spectacular but that looks comical to more restrained tastes.
Everyone loves the Brooklyn Museum and wishes it nothing but the best. Here's hoping, as Muschamp did, that the neighbors discover how to use it.
"BEYOND GEOMETRY" AT LACMA
The Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles have both weighed in on Minimalism (with "Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated)" and "A Minimal Future," respectively) -- now it's the turn of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s-70s," June 13-Oct. 3, 2004, features nearly 200 works by more than 130 artists from 18 countries, and is broadly international, including South American Concrete Art as well as European and U.S. Kinetic and Op Art, Minimalism and Process and Conceptual art.
Curator Lynn Zelevansky has divided the show into six sections: "The Forties and Fifties" (Max Bill, Franois Morellet, Lygia Clark, Ad Reinhardt, Ellsworth Kelly); "The Object and the Body," (Lucio Fontana, Hélio Oiticica, Cildo Meireles, Robert Morris, Eva Hesse); "Light and Movement" (Bridget Riley, Gego, Jesus Rafael Soto, Robert Breer); "Repetition and Seriality" (Bernd and Hilla Becher, Hanne Darboven, Lygia Pape, Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre); "The Object Redefined" (Daniel Buren, Piero Manzoni, Hans Haacke, Dennis Oppenheim); and "The Problem of Painting" (Blinky Palermo, Roman Opalka, Robert Ryman, Mel Bochner).
ART BENEFIT FOR OVARIAN CANCER Sotheby's New York and Janine Foeller and Jane Hait of Wallspace Gallery in Chelsea have teamed up to produce a benefit for the Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research, Apr. 22, 2004. Artists with works in the silent auction include Ghada Amer, Ross Bleckner, Slater Bradley, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Robin Kahn, Annette Lemieux, Max Schumann, Doug & Mike Starn, Jim Torok and James Welling. Cocktails are at 7:30 pm, and dinner at 8:30 pm; tickets to the benefit start at $500. For info, call (800) 996-4099.
ARTIST ORGANIZES SHOW IN A HIGH SCHOOL LOCKER
New York artist Mike Osterhout, who occasionally organizes exhibitions under the Mo David rubric, is taking the art mission to the country's youth -- that is, he has organized an exhibition in a locker at a high school in San Francisco. Dubbed "21&under@locker290," the show is actually a work by artist Miles Ake, a senior at Gateway High there. The show consists of a zine featuring the work of several young artists (many of them small children), including Tristan McCormick, Ava Robinson, Beth Osterhout, Kelley Voegelin, Theodore Terraga, Clara Ruf-Maldonado, Ramona Labat, Ptolomy Hoskins-Lyon and Miles Ake. The zine also has essays by Ramona Labat, Carlo McCormick and Walter Robinson. The show is up Apr. 20-30, 2004, with an opening on Apr. 20 at lunchtime. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.orgNEW ART FAIR SLATED FOR CHELSEA HOTEL Pool Art Addict: A New York Underground Art Fair, May 13-16, 2004, is set to premiere at the new Four Points Hotel, a needle-thin 22-story structure that went up last fall on a former parking lot at 160 West 25th Street in Manhattan's Chelsea district. The fair is organized by Frére Independent (headed by Thierry Alet, an artist and co-founder of NYArts Magazine), which has taken the top four floors of the hotel and lined up 20 independent exhibitors. Designed to bring little-known artists to public attention during the spring contemporary art auctions, Pool Art Addict includes exhibitors such as the Nigerian Embassy, which is showing works by Ibiyinka Olufemi Alao; curator Amy Davila, who has organized an installation by Emily Lutzker; Le Triage Art Center from Paris, which is sponsoring Florent Mattei; and the Art & Culture/Anne-Marie Melster Gallery from Germany. General admission is $7; tickets to the opening night gala on May 13 are $30. For more info, see www.frereindependent.comGB+L, PACE TO SHARE SIENA
Artist James Siena, whose intricate drawings have won considerable praise [see Jerry Saltz, "Out of Line," July 2, 2003], is now being jointly represented by Gorney Bravin + Lee, where he has had several exhibitions, and the powerhouse PaceWildenstein. Siena is expected to have a small solo show at GB+E in 2005 and participate in a group project there before exhibiting at Pace sometime in 2006. "We couldn't be more thrilled," said John Post Lee. "It's great for James and we're especially happy to work with Pace, a gallery we've always admired." Siena already works with Pace Prints.
MONA HATOUM WINS PRIZE
The Palestine-born, London-based artist Mona Hatoum has won the Roswitha Haftmann Prize, named after the Swiss dealer Roswitha Haftmann and including a purse of 120,000 Swiss francs (more than $92,000). The award ceremony is being held at Kunsthaus Zurich on Nov. 18, 2004.
GARY SNYDER CLOSES
Art dealer Gary Snyder has closed his Chelsea gallery, Gary Snyder Fine Art, and is henceforth working as a private art dealer. Snyder, who specialized in mid-20th-century abstract painting, moved from 57th Street to a spacious ground floor facility on 11th Avenue and 29th Street in 2001. Among the artists exhibited there were the self-taught artist Janet Sobel, the Taos Modernist Beatrice Mandelman, the California hard-edge painter Karl Benjamin and the Abstract Expressionist painter Vivian Springford.
DIRECTOR FOR NASHER MUSEUM Kimerly Rorschach has been named as the first director of the new Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C., a $23-million facility designed by Rafael Viñoly and slated to open in October 2005. Rorschach is currently director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum at the University of Chicago, a post she has held for nine years.
NEW HEAD FOR FRIST CENTER Susan H. Edwards, director of the Katonah Museum of Art since 1998, has been appointed executive director and CEO of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tenn.