ICELAND DEVOTES FESTIVAL TO VISUAL ARTS
This year's Reykjavk Arts Festival, opening May 14-June 5, 2005, is the first to focus on the contemporary visual arts. Centerpiece of the get-together is a series of exhibitions of works by Dieter Roth at several venues, including "Dieter Roth-Train," organized by Roth's son Bjrn Roth and appearing at the National Gallery of Iceland, the Reykjavk Art Museum and Gallery 100, all of which are in Reykjavk. Also on tap is "Material Time/Work Time/Life Time," a show organized by Tate Modern curator Jessica Morgan of new works by over 30 artists from around the world. Among the participants are Lawrence Weiner, who plans a new work related to Icelandic sagas; John Bock and Jonathan Meese, who are presenting new performances; lafur Elasson and Margrt Blndall, who are installing outdoor works; and Matthew Barney, who is collaborating on an installation with Gabriela Fridriksdttir. The exhibition is slated for 20 different venues in Reykjavk and surrounding towns. Thorunn Sigurdardottir is artistic director of the festival, which was launched in 1970 and has previously specialized in the performing arts; the 2005 version is sponsored by Kaupthing Bank. For more info, see www.artfest.is.
BLANTON MUSEUM THINKS BIG IN TEXAS
The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin has announced plans for a new museum that will be the largest university museum in the country. Designed by Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects, the new facility features two separate museums joined by a public plaza and garden that provides a new public entryway into the university campus. First to open -- due Feb. 12, 2006 -- is the Mari and James A Michener Gallery Building, a 124,000-square-foot space for the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. The Blantons new 56,000-square-foot Education and Visitor Pavilion, with a caf, shop, classrooms, auditorium and offices, is slated to open late next year. The 145,000-square-foot plaza joining the two buildings is designed by landscape architect Peter Walker.
So far, the museum has raised over $73 million toward its construction goal of $83.5 million. The Blanton Museum, named after Texas oilman, arts patron and UT board chairman Jack S. Blanton in 1997, is the successor institution to the University Art Museum, which was founded in 1963 and rechristened the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery in 1980. For more info, see www.blantonmuseum.org.
LACMA SEEKS CONTEMPORARY CURATOR -- AND A DIRECTOR
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is seeking a new deputy director for contemporary art, new media, photography and film as part of a "major initiative" to establish LACMA as "the nation's first major encyclopedic museum to make contemporary art one of its principal areas of activity," according to an advertisement in the Art Newspaper. The new hire is to oversee the museum's newly proposed 60,000-square-foot Broad Contemporary Art Museum [see "Artnet News," Mar. 15, 2005], as well as become the institution's "advocate" in the dynamic L.A. art world (and have the opportunity to appoint as many as four curators). Interested parties can contact search committee chair Peter Norton at BCAMsearch@aol.com.
Among the candidates for the job, according to speculation by Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight, are Guggenheim Museum deputy director Lisa Dennison and Columbia art school dean Bruce Ferguson. In a presumably unrelated development, LACMA president and director Andrea Rich, 61, has announced her retirement, effective Nov. 7, 2005, after 10 years on the job. During her tenure the museum increased its endowment from $49 million to $105 million, and launched a Renzo Piano-designed expansion and refurbishment of the museum. A search committee has been formed to look for a successor.
DIGITAL MOVIES FROM SAMARAS
Legendary 1960s artist Lucas Samaras, famous for everything from Polaroid self-portraits to completely mirrored rooms, has now turned his talents to the new digital technology. For his forthcoming exhibition at PaceWildenstein in New York (at both the Chelsea and 57th Street locations), Apr. 8-May 7, 2005, Saramas has installed 35 Apple work stations playing 60 short "iMovies," as well as displaying more than 4,000 still images on individual computer monitors. One sample, viewable here, features the artist untangling a mass of colored yarn to Middle Eastern music. Samaras last made a movie in 1969.
MOMENTA COMES TO MANHATTAN Momenta Art, the pioneering Williamsburg nonprofit art space founded by Laura Parnes and Eric Heist, is coming to Manhattan -- via an exhibition at the UBS Art Gallery at 1285 Avenue of the Americas between 51st and 52nd streets in midtown. "Momenta Art: Out of Place," Apr. 7-June 17, 2005, curated by artist Peter Scott, examines perceptual and spatial aspects of urban experience via more than 30 works by 18 artists, including Jennifer Bolande, Anne Daem, Cannon Hudson, Craig Kalpakjian, Louise Lawler, Tom Moore, Rebecca Quaytman and Momoyo Torimitsu.
BARBIZON SCHOOL THRIVES IN MILWAUKEE
Corot in Wisconsin? Why not? The DeLind Gallery of Fine Art in Milwaukee currently boasts the exhibition "The Sons of Light: Paintings and Drawings from the Barbizon School," Mar. 18-Apr. 23, 2004. Among the works on view are Landscape with Cows (ca. 1870-74) by Jean Baptiste Corot and Haystacks by Leon Germain Pelouise. For more info, contact the gallery at (414) 271-8525.
ANCIENT ART HERO MAY BE A ZERO: MAG Michel van Rijn has made a name for himself by ferociously persecuting -- via the internet (see www.michelvanrijn.nl) -- ancient-art dealers, collectors and curators whom he claims are trafficking in smuggled antiquities. But now, some of van Rijn's targets are fighting back. A report by Steven Vincent in the new issue of Art & Auction magazine quotes several art dealers who claim that van Rijn -- a self-confessed art smuggler and "pirate" -- tried to extort money from them.
According to Ali Aboutaam, one of two brothers who operate Phoenix Ancient Art in New York and Geneva [see "Artnet News," Dec. 29, 2004], van Rijn offered to cease his attacks on the brothers in return for $150,000. Another Japanese art dealer, who helped the Miho Museum near Kyoto build its collection, said van Rijn had sought money in return for protecting them from a Scotland Yard investigation -- an investigation that cleared the museum and the dealer of any wrongdoing. If van Rijn's accusations had any merit, his opponents say, government prosecutors would take action. Nevertheless, Van Rijn remains on the attack.
END OF HIRST ERA HAS ARRIVED: CRITIC
A moment has passed with the current exhibition of 31 Photorealist paintings by British bad boy Damien Hirst at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea, according to New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman. In contrast to the classic Hirst "love-it-or-hate-it cocktail of death, celebrity, sex and technology, heavily spiked with comic self-promotion," the new paintings "hang there like corpses" with very little to recommend them. "The era of the giant strutting ego as the amusing subject of art," Kimmelman says, "seems wincingly pass." Hirst should "return to the drawing board," Kimmelman wittily remarks at the end of his review. "His act has jumped the shark."
NEW MUSEUM FOR ROANOKE
The Art Museum of Western Virginia in Roanoke, Va., has unveiled the design for its $46 million, 75,000-square-foot facility, the first purpose-built museum structure in the city. The museum's collection focuses on local art, 19th and 20th-century American art and a significant 2001 bequest of paintings and archival material having to do with Thomas Eakins. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the new building is constructed of "flowing, layered forms in steel, patinated zinc and high performance glass." Groundbreaking is scheduled for fall 2005, with completion expected in late 2007.
LEE LOZANO AT THOMAS SOLOMON'S STUDIO B Thomas Solomon's Garage, a stalwart of the Los Angeles art scene during 1988-91, is back in new form with "Lee Lozano: Works on Paper from the 1960s," Apr. 16-May 21, 2005, at Solo Projects, Studio B, a garage space located at 177 South Sycamore Avenue in Los Angeles. The nine drawings, depicting hammers, staple guns and other ordinary tools, make up the first Los Angeles solo show of work by Lozano, who died in 1999 at age 69. The gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday; for info, contact email@example.com.
BROOKLYN MUSEUM CURATOR TO N-YHS Linda S. Ferber, American art curator at the Brooklyn Museum, has been named director of the museum at the New-York Historical Society. At Brooklyn she organized shows devoted to the Pre-Raphaelites, Bierstadt and "Homer, Sargent and the American Watercolor Movement." Her first exhibitions at the Historical Society are a show of Hudson River School paintings opening in mid-May and "Slavery and the Making of New York," opening in October 2005.
READING DARGER AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM
In celebration of the birthday of Henry Darger (18982-1973), the American Folk Art Museum on East 53rd Street in Manhattan is hosting a "read-a-thon" from the original 15,000-page manuscript of Darger's In the Realms of the Unreal. The event begins at 7 pm on Apr. 12. General admission is $10; $5 for members.
DURAND SOCIETY AT NATIONAL ACADEMY MUSEUM
The National Academy has announced the formation of the Asher B. Durand Society to support 19th-century American art at the National Academy Museum. Members of the society are treated to lectures, private receptions and dinners, tours, day trips and insider previews. Membership dues start at $250 per year, $750 for patrons. For more info, contact National Academy assistant curator Mark Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OTTERNESS IN INDIANAPOLIS
This fall, New York artist Tom Otterness installed 25 of his comic bronzes along Broadway in Manhattan, stretching from Columbus Circle to Washington Heights. Now, a similar selection is on its way to Indianapolis, where it goes on view Apr. 15-July 31, 2005. The show is the citys largest public art exhibition to date.
KETNER CURATOR AT MAM Joseph D. Ketner II, director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., has been named chief curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum.