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The debut of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's gargantuan project, The Gates, Central Park, New York, is still ten months off -- it goes up in Central Park for 16 days beginning Feb. 12, 2005 (weather permitting) -- but the Metropolitan Museum has mounted a preview exhibition dedicated to the work, Apr. 6-July 25, 2004. The show features 51 drawings and collages by Christo, along with 75 photos, maps and technical diagrams that detail everything from the political meetings (as far back as 1980, when we all looked a little younger) to the steel mills in Coatesville, Pa., where the weights for the gates' bases were manufactured.

Curiously absent from the artworks, as Art in America critic Marcia Vetrocq pointed out at the press preview, is any image of the "elves" who are to help install and watch over the 7,500 gates draped with saffron-colored fabric and lined up along more than 23 miles of Central Park pathways. But in fact, the Christos are presently hiring for the project, which needs about 1,000 workers (who are being paid a little above minimum wage). Interested parties can apply via Part of the job is to hand out some 1,000,000 fabric samples as souvenirs.

"We have to sell, sell, sell, or otherwise we cannot pay the bills," said Jeanne-Claude at the exhibition press conference. As is widely known, the Christos accept no outside sponsorship to pay for their projects -- Gates is estimated to cost $20 million, with a $3 million donation going to the Central Park Conservancy -- and even refuse merchandising offers, a rarity in today's museum world. None of the artworks in the show are for sale, of course, though works like them can be bought from the artists at their studio in SoHo. Prices range from $25,000 for an 8½ x 11 collage to $450,000 for a larger work. Only original works are made of major projects.

Several dealers also handle works by the artists (to see Christo's listing in the Artnet artist index, for instance, click here). And, among what must be a sizeable number of collectors of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's works is New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Metropolitan Museum's special summer installation of sculpture on its roof garden features works by much-beloved British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy (b. 1956), May 4- Oct. 31, 2004. The show -- the first to be constructed on site by the exhibiting artist -- features a monumental work titled Two Trees -- a pair of 15-foot-high columns of balanced stones, each surrounded by dome of hardwood split rails, 17 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter. The work uses granite from Scottish beaches and wood from the northeastern U.S.

April is the month for spring benefits at New York City nonprofits, and plenty of nonprofit art galleries and organizations have parties for their supporters scheduled for this month. Participants get to rub elbows with the avant-garde and, perhaps, deduct some of the donation from their taxable income (consult your accountant). A selection of forthcoming events:

* Bomb Magazine's Gala Benefit Happening, Wednesday, Apr. 14, honoring playwright Jon Robin Baitz, author A.M. Homes and artist Robert Mangold at Webster Hall, with dinner, dancing to the music of Olu Dara and a silent auction, 6 pm. Over 60 artists have contributed work, including Ross Bleckner, Mary Heilman, Tom Sachs and James Welling. Tickets start at $150; for info, call (212) 431-3943.

* White Columns 2004 Benefit Auction, Saturday, Apr. 17, features artwork by approximately 150 artists in a silent and live auction at the gallery (320 West 13th Street), beginning at 7 pm. Artwork by artists ranging from Cristina Alexa and Yorgo Alexopoulos to Christopher Wool and John Zinsser is currently on view at the gallery and online at Tickets begin at $150; for info, contact the gallery at (212) 645-4764.

* New Museum of Contemporary Art Annual Gala and Live Auction, Sunday, Apr. 18, honors Miami art collector Martin Margulies at Cipriani 42nd Street, with dinner and dancing and an auction, beginning at 7 pm. Artworks to be auctioned include works by Marlene Dumas, Mary Heilman, Justine Kurland, Spencer Tunick and many more, on view at the museum Apr. 14-17. Tickets begin at $1,000; for more info, contact (212) 219-1222 x223.

* Expect: Art 2004, Tuesday, Apr. 20, benefits the What to Expect Foundation, which produces a pregnancy guide for mothers in need, with an art auction and gala at the Sean Kelly Gallery in Chelsea, beginning at 7 pm. The silent and live auction includes works by Marina Abramovic, Jenny Holzer, Sol LeWitt, Lorna Simpson, John Wesley and others. Tickets start at $150; for info contact MF Productions, (212) 243-7300.

* Katonah Museum of Art 50th Anniversary Gala, Saturday, Apr. 24, honoring James Rosenquist, with a dinner and art auction at Pier Sixty on Manhattan's West Side. The live auction, conducted by Christie's veep Lydia Fenet, includes a Rosenquist print as well as a 1975 red MGB convertible and a sheared white mink coat. Tickets begin at $450; for info, contact ((914) 232-9555 x2968.

* Artists Space 2004 Spring Benefit, Monday, Apr. 26, honors artists Alfredo Jaar and Laurie Simmons with cocktails and dinner at Bridgewaters in the South Street Seaport at 7 pm. Benefit editions by Janine Antoni and Mark Bradford are featured. Tickets are $375 ($200 for artists); for more info, see

The Museum of Modern Art in Queens is launching a new design exhibition devoted to paper clips, tea bags, chopsticks and roughly 120 other common objects. "Humble Masterpieces," Apr. 8-Sept. 27, 2004, is organized by MoMA design curator and Post-It Note pinup Paola Antonelli. About half the items in the single-gallery show are from MoMA's collection, while the rest are being considered for acquisition.

Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art has announced plans for a grand reopening of its midtown Manhattan facility on Nov. 20, 2004. The new building, designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, nearly doubles the capacity of the old building, to 630,000 square feet on six floors; gallery space increases from 85,000 to 125,000 square feet, all clustered around a 110-foot-tall, light-filled atrium. The new MoMA has two entrances, on 53rd and 54th Streets. Admission on opening day is free of charge, thanks to JPMorgan Chase. The total price tag for the project is put at $858 million. According to MoMA director Glenn Lowry in the New York Times, 50 trustees gave an impressive $5 million each (the museum has but 56 trustees).

The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a set of five first-class stamps honoring Isamu Noguchi on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The set, which is due out May 18, features an Akari lamp, an early portrait head, a mother-and-child abstraction, a biomorphic sculpture from the 1940s and an image of his massive 1969 Black Sun.

Also on the post office's 2004 release schedule is a 37 cent stamp of Martin Johnson Heade's Giant Magnolias on a Blue Velvet Cloth from the collection of the National Gallery of Art, due out Aug. 12, and a set of 10 stamps featuring photographs of American Indian artifacts dating from the 11th century A.D. to ca. 1969, issued in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The Art Dealers Association of America presents a panel on the art of collecting vintage photography on Apr. 21, 2004, 6-8 pm. The panel is being held at the Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, and includes several top photo experts: San Francisco photo dealer Jeffrey Fraenkel; Edwynn Houk; New York dealer Hans P. Kraus, Jr.; Carmel photo dealer Margaret W. Weston; Museum of Modern Art curator Peter Galassi; and Robert Fishko of Forum Gallery, who is moderator. Admission is $15; for reservations, email

Art dealer Douglas Walla, whose Kent Gallery has been a fixture on Prince Street in SoHo for 10 years (and 64 exhibitions), is moving to Chelsea. Beginning in September 2004, Kent Gallery relocates to 541 West 25th Street, next door to its former neighbors on 57th Street, Cheim & Read and PaceWildenstein. Among the artists on the Kent roster are Dennis Adams, Bobby Neel Adams, John Brill, Matthew Cusick, Leandro Erlich, Heide Fasnacht, Llyn Foulkes, Elizabeth King, Paul Laffoley, Beverly McIver, Antonio Muntadas and Kumi Yamashita. The SoHo gallery closes Apr. 14.

The Metropolitan Museum has named Malcolm Daniel as curator of its department of photographs. Daniel joined the Met in 1990 as a curatorial assistant and has been acting curator of the photo department for seven months. Maria Morris Hambourg, who has headed the department for 12 years, is now consulting curator, a post that frees her from day-to-day administrative duties but allows continued work on special projects, exhibitions and acquisitions.

The International Center of Photography has announced the recipients of its 20th annual Infinity Awards for excellence in photography. The winners are: Josef Koudelka (Cornell Capa award), William Eggleston (Getty Images lifetime achievement award), Tomoko Sawada (young photographer), Diane Arbus: Revelations (publication), Susan Sontag (writing), Fiona Tan (art), Simon Norfolk (photojournalism) and Alison Jackson (applied photography). The honorees are celebrated at a gala ceremony on May 12, 2004.

The 2004 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography has been given to the influential German husband-and-wife team of Bernd and Hilla Becher. The prize, which consists of 500,000 Swedish krona (almost $66,000) and a gold medal, is presented at a ceremony on Nov. 20 in Gteborg, Sweden.

Joel Sternfeld has won the 20,000 Citigroup Photography Prize for his solo exhibition at London's The Photographer's Gallery that opened in December 2002. The other three finalists for the award, Peter Fraser, David Goldblatt and Robert Adams, received 2,000 each.

The International Sculpture Center, publisher of Sculpture Magazine, has appointed Maria Pallante-Hyun as its president and director. A lawyer who is an expert in copyright and trademark, Pallante-Hyun formerly served as associate general counsel for the Guggenheim Foundation, and as the licensing principal for commercial uses of the Guggenheim name, art collection and building images throughout the world.