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Performance art expert Roselee Goldberg has launched Performa, a new nonprofit arts group designed to commission and present new performance art. "It's absolutely the right time," said Goldberg. "So much current art involves performance, by everyone from Matthew Barney and Maurizio Cattelan to William Kentridge and a range of filmmakers, that we need a more curatorial approach to the material." Performas first big project is the Performa Biennial, a three-week-long international performance festival slated for fall 2005 in various venues around New York City. And one commission for the biennial is already in production -- a multimedia work by the celebrated British filmmaker Isaac Julien, whose new The Ice Project/Fantome Afrique is described as a combination dance, music and film installation exploring the African diaspora. In the meantime, Performa is presenting panel discussions like Not for Sale: Curating, Conserving and Collecting Ephemeral Art, which took place at NYU on Apr. 19 and featured curators Robert Storr and Chryssie Iles and artist Joan Jonas. For more info, contact

The curatorial brain trust of the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- director Anne dHarnoncourt, curators Carl Strehlke, Michael Taylor and John Zarobell, print curator Innis Howe Shoemaker, photo curator Katherine Ware, Asian art curator Felice Fischer and American art curator Kathleen Foster -- rolled into New York City recently to present to the press the museums impressive exhibition lineup for the next year.

One major fall exhibition is the celebration of the 75th anniversary in September 2004 of the Rodin Museum, the Beaux-Arts showcase on Benjamin Franklin Parkway that was presented to the city by movie magnate Jules Mastbaum and now holds 128 bronzes, marbles, plasters and other works by the artist. A special installation of the collection pairs several works in which Auguste Rodin is shown to have used similar figures to dramatically different effect.

Another major highlight is Salvador Dal, Feb. 16-May 15, 2005, a comprehensive retrospective of the Spanish Surrealist on the occasion of the centennial of his birth. The show features 150 paintings and 50 other works selected by a curatorial team headed by scholar Dawn Ades, and is co-organized with the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, where it premieres, Sept. 12, 2004-Jan. 9, 2005.

This summer, the museums photo department presents Underfoot: Photographs by Irving Penn, July 10-Nov. 28, 2004, a selection of new works for which the 80-something photog turned his close-up lens on the sidewalks of New York. Also on view is The Poetry of Clay: The Art of Toshiko Takaezu, Aug. 7, 2004-Mar. 6, 2005, a survey of approximately 20 ceramics by the artist who was born in Hawaii in 1922 and now works in Quakertown, N.J.

Other shows in the lineup include a pair on the Italian Renaissance: Italian Master Drawings: 1540 to the Present, Oct. 30, 2004-Feb. 20, 2005, and Pontormo, Bronzino and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait in Florence, Nov. 20, 2004-Feb. 13, 2005. The exhibitions provide the occasion to celebrate the publication of Dr. Strehlkes new catalogue of the museums collection of Italian painting from the late medieval and early Renaissance period.

On a lighter note, the museum presents Quack, Quack, Quack: Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera and Books, Mar. 19-June 26, 2005. And also from the print department is At the Window: Etchings by Edward Hopper, opening in April 2005.

The summer silly season begins early this year, with Cosimo Cavallaros Absolute Pressed Ham, a one-day art installation and performance event at the Lab Gallery on the ground floor of the Roger Smith Hotel at Lexington Avenue and 47th Street in Manhattan, June 3, 2004. Cavallaro, who we last ran into in 2002 when he covered an entire house with 10,000 pounds of cheese [see Burning down the House, Mar. 26, 2002], now has turned his attention to ham -- 250 pounds of it, in fact, which he plans to slice and pile high on a bed in the gallery. I have to do it, or else the idea is like a ball and chain, weighing me down, Cavallaro said of the performance. Im getting rid of the bologna! Visitors are invited to come and take a look -- bring your own scrambled eggs. For more info, contact gallery director Matthew Semler at (212) 339-2092.

The latest artist to design an expresso cup for the extensive Illy Collection of artist-designed crockery is French conceptual painter Daniel Buren. Rather than decorating a cup, Buren has colored sets of four cups either monochrome blue and white or monochrome light green and white, and clipped the edges of the saucers so that they can be arranged to abut each other in alternating colors, just like his trademark stripe paintings. A set of four cups and saucers, which comes with a 250-gram can of Illy Caff, is $90 at

Superstar artist Jeff Koons must pay the remaining $1.8 million legal bill in his long-simmering child custody case with his former wife, the Italian porn star La Ciccolina. The total bill from Koons law firm, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, was $4 million, according to press reports. Koons contested $1,877,818 of that sum, calling the fees unethical. But Manhattan Supreme Court judge Rolando Acosta ruled that the artist had ordered his lawyers to leave no stone unturned in his unsuccessful battle to get his son, Ludwig, back from his mother in Italy -- an undertaking that included viewings of his ex-wifes porno movies -- and such extravagance is costly, the judge said.

The global art enterprise that is Damien Hirst has expanded once again, this time opening a new bar in the scenic but economically depressed Southwest English resort town of Devon. Hirsts new pub, called the White Hart, overlooks the harbor in Ilfracombe, north Devon. Hirst, who lives nearby in Coombe Martin, is expected to install some artworks in the bar, and also open a restaurant in the same building, according to manager Ivan Rees. The menu includes tapas and sushi.

The U.S. Latino population now totals some 38 million people, and California Democrat Xavier Becerra, a member of the House of Representatives, thinks they deserve a museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Becerra has introduced legislation in Congress to establish a new National Museum of the American Latino. The bill would set up a 23-member commission to map out plans for the museum; a similar bill was filed last week in the Senate by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, according to the Scripps Howard News Service. Becerras bill would appropriate $3.2 million for the commission; the congressman estimates that his scheme would probably require $200 million to $400 million, half raised from private contributions and half provided by the government.

Superdealer Larry Gagosian has opened a huge new 12,500-square-foot gallery in London in a former municipal garage, converted by architects Caruso St. John and located on newly gentrifying Britannia Street near Kings Cross Station. The premiere exhibition at the gallery, which is co-directed by Stefan Ratibor and former Andy Warhol Museum curator Mark Francis, features 10 new paintings by Cy Twombly, on view May 27-July 31. Gagosian now has two galleries in New York, one in Los Angeles and two spaces in London.

Chelsea art dealer Paul Kasmin is opening a second, viewing-room-type gallery at 511 West 27th Street with the exhibition of a single monumental watercolor of an albatross by Walton Ford, on view June 9-July 10, 2004. On a visit to Bourbon Island in the South Pacific in 1841, Charles Baudelaire observed men in the crew fishing for albatrosses, and subsequently wrote the poem LAlbatros, which presents a prototype image of the poet as unearthly, mocked and misunderstood, writes Ford. Im interested in reconstructing what Baudelaire said.

Video pioneer Nam June Paik is to receive the 45th Edward MacDowell Medal during the annual celebration at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., on Aug. 22, 2004.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has presented its annual medals for 2004, a total of 54 prizes in architecture, art, literature and music. Chuck Close received a gold medal for graphic art, while the Jimmy Ernst award in art went to Stephen Pace. Academy awards in art went to Jacqueline Gourevitch, Spence Guerin, Faith Ringgold, Robert Stuart and John Walker. The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation award in art went to Chie Fueki. Nine new members were inducted into the 250-member academy, including artists Lee Bontecou and Lester Johnson.

The list of 140 galleries participating in the 2004 Frieze Art Fair in London, Oct. 15-18, 2004, which has lined up Deutsche Bank has lead sponsor, has been announced. The selection committee included art dealers Gavin Brown, Sadie Coles, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Martin Klosterfelde, Maureen Paley, Eva Presenhuber and Toby Webster. The galleries: 1301PE, Los Angeles; 303 Gallery, New York; The Approach, London; Arndt & Partner, Berlin; ars futura Galerie, Zurich; Art & Public - Cabinet P.H., Geneva; aspreyjacques, London; Catherine Bastide, Brussels; Galerie Bernier/Eliades, Athens; Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; BQ, Cologne; Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; Cabinet, London; Rebecca M. Camhi Gallery, Athens; Luis Campaa Galerie, Cologne; Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; carlier | gebauer, Berlin; China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles; James Cohan Gallery, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; john connelly presents, New York; Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin; Corvi-Mora, London; Cosmic Galerie, Paris; Counter Gallery, London; CourtYard Gallery, Beijing; CRG Gallery, New York; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; doggerfisher, Edinburgh; Dvir Gallery, Tel-Aviv; Galerie EIGEN + ART, Leipzig/Berlin; Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw; Marc Foxx, Los Angeles; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Frith Street Gallery, London; Gagosian Gallery, London; Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc., New York; GBE (Modern), New York; Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Dresden; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Greene Naftali, New York; greengrassi, London; Galerie Karin Guenther, Hamburg; Galeria Enrique Guerrero, Mexico City; Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco; Haunch of Venison, London; Galerie Hauser & Wirth, Zurich; Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris; Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo; Jablonka Galerie, Cologne; Jablonka Lhn, Cologne; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Galerie Johnen + Schttle, Cologne; Annely Juda Fine Art, London; Georg Kargl, Vienna; Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm; galleria francesca kaufmann, Milan; Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; Anton Kern Gallery, New York; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich; Klosterfelde, Berlin; Koch und Kesslau, Berlin; Johann Knig, Berlin; Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo; Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna; kurimanzutto, Mexico City; Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris; Lehmann Maupin, New York; LFL Gallery, New York; Lisson Gallery, London; Luhring Augustine, New York; maccarone inc., New York; Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich; Gi Marconi, Milan; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; Hamish McKay Gallery, Wellington; Metro Pictures, New York; Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe; Massimo Minini, Brescia; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; mobile home, London; Modern Art, London; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; MW projects, London; Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne; Galerie Neu, Berlin; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin; galerie bob van orsouw, Zurich; Patrick Painter, Inc., Santa Monica; Maureen Paley Interim Art, London; Parker's Box, New York; peres projects, Los Angeles; Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris; Galerie Francesca Pia, Bern; pkm gallery, Seoul; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Produzentengalerie, Hamburg; The Project, New York; Daniel Reich Gallery, New York; Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London; Rivington Arms, New York; Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin; Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome; Salon 94, New York; Galerie Aurel Scheibler, Cologne; Gabriele Senn Galerie, Vienna; Brent Sikkema, New York; Skarstedt Fine Art, New York; Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon; Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv; Sperone Westwater, New York; Sprth Magers Lee, London; Galeria Luisa Strina, San Paulo; Sutton Lane, London; Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp; Timothy Taylor Gallery, London; Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin; Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; Emily Tsingou Gallery, London; Uplands Gallery, Melbourne; Vilma Gold, London; Waddington Galleries, London; Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin; Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; White Cube, London; Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin; Wilkinson Gallery, London; Galleri Christina Wilson, Copenhagen; The Wrong Gallery, New York; XL Gallery, Moscow; Donald Young Gallery, Chicago; David Zwirner, New York.