PINAULT TO BUY PALAZZO GRASSI?
French businessman and mega-collector Franois Pinault may ditch plans to build a new contemporary art museum on an island in the Seine and instead buy the Palazzo Grassi in Venice and install his collection there, according to press reports. The city fathers of Boulogne-Billancourt, the French suburb that oversees the island site, have been slow to accommodate Pinault's plans, which called for a 30,000-square-meter glass and concrete museum designed by architect Tadao Ando. Not so the Venice city council, which has approved Pinault's offer of 29,000,000 for the 5,000-square-meter palazzo, which is owned by Fiat and located on the Grand Canal.
CHINA PAVILION AT VENICE BIENNALE
China is sponsoring its first-ever pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale, a sign of the growing importance of Chinese contemporary art both inside China and on the global art market. Titled "Virgin Garden: Emersion" and curated by the celebrated fireworks artist Cai Guo-Qiang, the installation occupies two adjacent spaces -- a former Naval storeroom in the Arsenale and an outdoor site in the Vergini Garden -- connected by a traditional bamboo shelter designed by Yung Ho Chang and fabricated by Chinese artisans. The inside space features a video installation by Xu Zhen and a light installation by Liu Wei, while the courtyard space holds a sculpture of a UFO by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu as well as a "fengshui project for Venice" by Wang Qiheng.
The commissioner for the Chinese Pavilion, which is sponsored by China's Ministry of Culture, is the curator and Central Academy of Art professor Fan Di'an. For further details, see www.caiguoqiang.com/china_pavilion/.
THIRD ART FAIR PLANNED FOR BASEL
Is it true that you can never have enough art fairs? Visitors to Basel in June can take in Art 36 Basel (June 15-20, 2005), the Liste 05 (June 14-19, 2005) and now the VOLTAshow 01 (June 14-19, 2005). Founded by Friedrich Loock (Wohnmaschine, Berlin), Ulrich Voges (Voges + Partner, Frankfurt) and Kavi Gupta (Kavi Gupta, Chicago), the VOLTAshow is designed as a nonprofit, dealer-run enterprise. Its located in the Voltahalle on the Rhine, not far from the two other fairs (and served by a ferry shuttle). Almost 25 galleries have signed up, including Spencer Brownstone, Zach Feuer, Foxy Production, Enrique Guerrero, Happy Lion, Taro Nasu, Roebling Hall and Torch. For more info, see www.voltashow.com.
SAATCHI SELLS MARC QUINN'S HEAD
British supercollector Charles Saatchi has sold Marc Quinn's Self, a cast in frozen blood of the yBa's own head, for 1,500,000 to an anonymous U.S. collector, according to a report by Charlotte Higgins in the Guardian. He bought the work in 1991 for 13,000. According to dealer Mary Boone, who exhibits Quinn's work in New York, the buyer was the contemporary art world's favorite new super-collector, hedge fund manager Steven Cohen.
NEW ART FAIRS ROLL OUT IN CHICAGO
Three new art fairs debut in Chicago next week. Thomas Blackman's 13-year-old Art Chicago, Apr. 29-May 2, 2005, premieres in its new venue at Butler Field with almost 100 dealers, ranging from Apex Fine Art from Los Angeles and Galerie Bhak from Seoul to Paul Thiebaud Gallery from San Francisco and Marcia Wood Gallery from Atlanta. The opening night preview benefits not the Chicago MCA, as in the past, but the Parkways Foundation, which supports Chicago parks; tickets are $125.
Chicago Contemporary & Classic (CC&C) opens at Navy Pier, Apr. 29-May 2, 2005, organized under the directorship of Ilana Vardy by Pfingsten Publishing (producer of Art Miami and publisher of Art Business News) and including about 100 galleries from a dozen countries. Exhibitors include J. Cacciola Gallery (New York), Chiaroscuro Contemporary Art (Santa Fe), Hackett-Freedman Gallery (San Francisco), Diana Lowenstein Fine Art (Miami), Carrie Secrist Gallery (Chicago), Spanierman Gallery (New York) and Galerie Yoramgil (West Hollywood). General admission is $15.
Last but not least is the Nova Art Fair, Apr. 28-May 1, 2005, organized by the nonprofit Bridge Magazine at 840 & 850 West Washington Blvd., two locations in Chicago's West Loop gallery district. Among the 30 exhibitors are Artist Eye Space (London), Bucket Rider Gallery (Chicago), CH Art Gallery (Vancouver), Jack the Pelican Presents (Brooklyn), No Fun Collective (Minneapolis), Paragraph (Kansas City) and Telegraph (Detroit). The fair also includes "environmental projects" by Jason Robert Bell, Eric Doeringer, Brian Getnick, Julia Hechtmann and Liz Nielsen, Todd Mattei, Lauren Portada, Ed Raffel, Andy Young and others. Tickets are $5.
KIKI SMITH SURVEY AT WALKER, HOUSTON CAM
The first full-scale U.S. museum presentation of the work of Kiki Smith is slated to open at the Walker Art Center, Feb. 26-May 7, 2006, and travel to the Houston Contemporary Art Museum, July 15-Sept. 10, 2006. The exhibition is described as a "gathering," quoting the artist, of approximately 230 works, and is organized by Walker curator Siri Engberg. An extensive catalogue is also planned.
TREASURES FROM THE GETTY AT GROLIER CLUB
Sleeper exhibition of the month in New York City has to be "Past Presence: Objects of Study at the Getty Research Institute," on view Feb. 23-Apr. 30, 2005, at the Grolier Club at 47 East 60th Street in Manhattan. The selection of exotic, rare and exquisite books, manuscripts and other objects from the Getty's rich library ranges from a 1569 manual of instructive woodcuts on the subject of the Art of Dying Well to an 1816 British watercolor imagining the ancient city of Sparta and a book of interviews with art dealers from the 1970s by the late Don Celender. The Grolier Club is open to the public free of charge, Monday to Friday, 10 am to 5 pm.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN ARTISTS AT TURNER GALLERY
Steve Turner Gallery in Beverly Hills has launched a new series of group shows featuring young artists of African descent with "Propeller," an exhibition organized by the Brooklyn-based independent curator Trevor Schoonmaker. The seven artists, most of them new to L.A., are Deborah Grant, Satch Hoyt, Marcia Kure, Adia Millett, Marc Robinson, Roberto Visani and Hank Willis Thomas. An online catalogue can be found at www.steveturnergallery.com.
TERRA ART AT AIC
Selected artworks from the closed Terra Museum of American Art have gone on view at the Art Institute of Chicago in the AIC's new American art galleries. The 50 works from the Terra join 650 more works from the AIC collection in a suite of 23 contiguous galleries on the AIC's first and second floors. The new installation is overseen by AIC curator Judith Barter, and features in-depth presentations of works by George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, Stuart Davis, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Charles Sheeler and Grant Wood.
$100 MILLION FROM ROCKEFELLER
David Rockefeller, chairman emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art trustee board, has pledged $100 million to the museum endowment, MoMA's largest money gift ever. Rockefeller (b. 1915), the former head of Chase Manhattan Bank, had already donated $77 million to MoMA's $858-million expansion and, with his late wife Peggy Rockefeller, has given may works to the museum, including paintings by Bonnard, Braque, Cezanne, Derain, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Signac and works by Latin American and contemporary artists.
DAVID SMITH AT NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER
The Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas is presenting "David Smith: Drawing and Sculpting," Apr. 16-July 17, 2005, an exhibition of 15 sculptures and 70 drawings and paintings co-organized with the David Smith Estate. "This is one of the few exhibitions ever mounted to examine the interactions between Smith's work in different media, said NSC director Steve Nash.
JERWOOD PRIZE TO JUDITH DEAN
British sculptor Judith Dean has won the 25,000 Jerwood Sculpture Prize for 2005. Her winning proposal was to cast a small, rectangular section of ploughed field in bronze and install in on the lawn at the Jerwood Sculpture Park in Warwickshire.
CLAIRE OLIVER TO CHELSEA
Art dealer Claire Oliver is moving her gallery to a 5,000-square-foot ground-floor space at 513 West 26th Street in Chelsea. The inaugural exhibition features stained glass works by Judith Schachter, including a 16-foot-tall installation in the gallerys project space.
DOROSHENKO TO BALTIC ART CENTER
Peter Doroshenko, director of the SMAK contemporary art museum in Ghent, has been appointed to head up the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead.
DELEHANTY RESIGNS IN MIAMI
Suzanne Delehanty, founding director of the Miami Art Museum, has announced her resignation. She resigns as the 10-year-old museum begins planning for a new $75-million, 125,000-square-foot facility on the Miami waterfront. Delehanty told the Miami Herald that she would continue to work with artists and pursue outside interests. "Gardening may have something big to do with this," she said.
NEW COLLECTIBLE: ANTIQUE SAFES
Whats the new collectible for the man who has everything? An antique safe, which can be used for the storage of valuables or refurbished to include a cigar humidor or minibar. The concept is the brainchild of 33-year-old master locksmith Markus Dottling, a fourth-generation metalworker from Maichingen, Germany. Prices begin at $40,000. For more info, see www.antique-safes.com.
Contact wrobinson @ artnet.com