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The Jewish Museums stunning new exhibition, Modigliani: Beyond the Myth, May 21-Sept. 19, 2004, features over 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings by the Italian Jewish artist Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920), whose portraits were a vehicle for his egalitarian vision as well as a reflection of his concern with the nature and ambiguity of identity. Many public and private collections were tapped for the show -- lenders include the actor Johnny Depp, who owns a ca. 1910 drawing of a Female Acrobat inscribed with a Symbolist poem about nighttime fairies and pillars of light; New York dealer Helly Nahmad, who lends both La belle épicière, a 1918 oil of a placid grocer, and a 1917 portrait of Oscar Miestchaninoff; and Sothebys majority owner A. Alfred Taubman, who provides a 1919 portrait of Paulette Jourdain. And the 1919 Portrait of Thora Klinckowström is from the estate of Evelyn Sharp, which has been a big seller at recent art auctions.

The show also features five of the more than two dozen large reclining nudes the artist made between 1916 and 1919 (and which were censored when they were first shown), including paintings on loan from the Guggenheim Museum, the Osaka City Museum of Modern Art and three private collections -- though not the Reclining Nude from 1917 that Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn sold at Christies New York last fall for $24 million. The exhibition is organized by critic and Jewish Museum curator Mason Klein, and is slated to appear at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Oct. 23, 2004-Jan. 23, 2005, and the Phillips Collection, Feb. 26-May 29, 2005.

New Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg has just about completed his overhaul of the museum curatorial staff -- starting by appointing himself as the museums chief curator. I want my imprint on collections and exhibitions, and not work through an intermediary, he told the New York Times, which announced the appointments for the museum. Weinberg has also hired three new curators (all of whom are women): Elisabeth Sussman, who was organizing the much praised Eva Hesse retrospective for the Whitney when she was dismissed by then-director Maxwell Anderson in 1998; Donna De Salvo, who has been senior curator at Tate Modern in London since 1998 and was a curator at the Wexner Center before that; and Joan Simon, an independent curator based in Paris (whom New Yorkers will remember as a former managing editor of Art in America, who was tapped by financier Edward Broida as founding director of his planned namesake museum in SoHo in the 1980s before he got cold feet and scrapped the idea). Weinberg has still to name a drawings curator.

Linda Shearer, director of the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass., for 15 years, has been appointed director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. At Williams, Shearer oversaw exhibitions of work by Kiki Smith, Tony Oursler, Carrie Mae Weems and Kara Walker, and Prelude to a Nightmare: Art, Politics and Hitlers Early Years in Vienna. In 2003, the Cincinnati CAC relocated to a dramatic new downtown facility designed by deconstructivist architect Zaha Hadid. It seems like a really exciting opportunity, Shearer told the Cincinnati Enquirer. Its a good time for a change. Shearer visited Cincinnati for the first time for her interview for the job; she is expected to build her own curatorial and administrative team there.

Christies New York held another highly successful New York auction, this one of American art, on May 18, 2004, following the two weeks of record-breaking sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art. In all, 115 of 152 lots sold, or 76 percent, for a total of $26,122,243. The top lot was a ca. 1780-82 portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale -- a youthful and bemused image of the Father of the Country that is said to be the most accurate image of Washington to come down to us -- that went to a U.S. private buyer for $6,167,500, well above the $4 million presale high estimate and a world auction record for a work by the artist as well as a record for any American portrait.

Adelson Galleries snagged Maurice Prendergasts charming Courtyard, West Library, Boston (ca. 1900-01), a small (14 x 20 in.) watercolor of several children playing around a fountain in a park, for $2,135,500, the second highest price for the artist at auction. Citigroup Art Advisory Service won Martin Johnson Heades sumptuous Single Magnolia on Red Velvet for $959,500 (est. $700,000-$900,000), and an anonymous buyer bought John Frederick Kensetts panoramic View of Mount Washington (1852) for $847,500, a new auction record for the artist.

For complete illustrated results, see Artnets signature Fine Art Auctions Report

The 38-year-old Wall Street money manager Alphonse Fletcher Jr. has announced plans to establish a $50 million philanthropy designed to support civil rights and improve race relations -- and has tapped Studio Museum of Harlem curator Thelma Golden as part of his advisory committee, according to the New York Times. Fletcher, a Harvard grad and the founder of Fletcher Asset Management, said he plans to model part of his charitable program on the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships to scientists, scholars and artists. Fletchers gift is one of the largest ever made by an individual African-American.

After 15 years in New York, art dealer Lawrence Markey is moving his gallery to San Antonio, Texas, where he plans to reopen and continue his program. The final exhibition at the gallerys New York location, 42 East 76th Street, features watercolors by Suzan Frecon, May 12-June 12, 2004. Markey first opened in 1984 in a space on Vandam Street in downtown Manhattan with an exhibition by Fred Sandback. Over the years he has worked extensively with Jerry Zeniuk, Ernst Caramelle, Robert Moskowitz and Paul Feeley, as well as Sandback and Frecon. For more info, contact

When the expanded Museum of Modern Art reopens in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 20, 2004, the museums educational programming is expanding as well. MoMA deputy director for education Deborah F. Schwartz has appointed four new directors in its education department, each with his or her own brief. David Little is director of adult and academic education programs, and is organizing a new series of lectures and performances to mark MoMAs 75th anniversary. Francesca Rosenberg, a nine-year MoMA veteran, is new director of community and access programs, in charge of developing expanded touch tours for blind and visually impaired visitors, among other duties. Sarah Ganz, a former MoMA assistant curator who is a Ph.D. candidate at NYUs Institute of Fine Arts, is director of education resources, overseeing a series of publications on the museum collection as well as new audio tours in six languages. And Susan McCullough is director of school and family programs, in charge of developing programs for school groups, after-school film programs and two new websites for teens and pre-teens.

The prestigious Art Dealers Association of America has elected three new members, all located in New York: the contemporary gallery DAmelio Terras, which was founded in 1996 and is located in Chelsea; Skarstedt Fine Art on Madison Avenue, which specializes in blue-chip art from the 1980s and 90s, and opened in 1994; and Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd., an Old Masters dealer who opened on East 78th Street in 1998.

LYGIA PAPE, 1927-2004
Lygia Pape, 77, Brazilian artist who is widely known for simple, geometric works that invite audience participation, died from complications of a blood disease in Rio de Janeiro on May 3. She was involved in the Concretism movement of the 1950s and later founded Neo-Concretism with Hlio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. Her work was seen in Body and Soul at the Guggenheim Museum in 2001 and is included in the current exhibition at El Museo del Barrio of Latin American works from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

MIL LUBROTH, 1926-2004
Mil Lubroth, 78, an American artist who lived and worked in Spain, died of cancer in Madrid on May 4. Her colorful, semi-abstract paintings, which often combined Jewish, Arab and Christian symbolism, were described as light and music, subtlety and suggestion, full of energy and joy by Catherine Coleman, curator at the Reina Sofia Museum. Her annual open studio, held every November, was an important celebration of the Spanish art scene.