STATS FROM ART 35 BASEL
The numbers are in for the 35th edition of Art Basel, June 16-21, 2004, which was, needless to say, quite the market success ("We sold something each day," said Swiss art dealer Doris Ammann demurely in the after-fair report). A total of 52,000 people visited the fair, over 10,000 people attended the vernissage, and some 1,600 reporters and critics also dropped by for a look. The Baloise Art Prize went to two artists, each of whom was awarded CHF 25,000: Aleksandra Mir, represented by Jousse Entreprise from Paris; and Tino Sehgal, represented by Jan Mot from Brussels.
And mark your calendars: The third edition of Art Basel Miami Beach is scheduled for Dec. 2-5, 2004, and Art 36 Basel is slated for June 15-20, 2005. Also coming up in New York in 2005 is an exhibition of art owned by UBS, Art Basel's main sponsor, titled "Crosscurrents: Contemporary works from the UBS Art Collection." It opens at the Museum of Modern Art, of all places, Feb. 4-May 2, 2005.
WARHOL CATALOGUE RAISONNE, VOL. 2
Though it's a few months behind schedule, Phaidon is getting ready to release The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne -- Volume 2, Paintings and Sculpture, 1964-1969. The new 512-page tome, cosponsored by the Andy Warhol Foundation and Thomas Ammann Fine Art in Zurich and edited by George Frei and Neil Printz with Sally King-Nero as executive editor, covers the period known as "The Factory Years" and documents more than 1,500 works and 28 series, including approximately 300 works in the "Jackie" series and the 1964-65 "Flowers" series. The price: $750.
FUND INCREASE FOR MASS COUNCIL
Has the tide turned on state arts funding? State arts agencies across the country have seen their allocations drop dramatically in recent years, but an encouraging sign has emerged from Massachusetts, once a leader in per capita spending for the arts. Governor Mitt Romney and the state legislature have approved a $1 million increase in the budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, to $8.3 million for fiscal 2005. The increase is the first since the council's funding was dramatically slashed by $12 million in 2002. But the silver lining has its cloud -- the money is earmarked for "applied" arts programs that are designed to encourage tourism and community development.
GRAY AND PINTER'S "OLD MASTERS" IN LONDON
Hot ticket in London is to The Old Masters, a new play written by Simon Gray and directed by Harold Pinter at the Comedy Theatre on Panton Street. Set in 1937 in Florence, the play stars Edward Fox as art historian Bernard Berenson and Peter Bowles as art dealer Joseph Duveen -- the famous pair of rogues who are said to have invented the modern art market along with several modern art scams. The play revolves around a mysterious Renaissance painting -- which could be a valuable Titian, an even more valuable Giorgione or a mere copy.
NUDE IN CLEVELAND
New York artist Spencer Tunick set a new record when he photographed 2,754 people in the nude in Cleveland's Voinovich Bicentennial Park last Saturday, June 27, 2004. (The Cleveland gathering is a North American record only; Tunick photographed 7,000 people nude in Barcelona last year). According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tunick made three different photographs, including one of men only posed with the Cleveland Browns Stadium in the background. The Cleveland shoot was sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland. Since 1995, Tunick has directed 65 naked photo shoots in more than 20 countries on all seven continents.
BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS
The Birmingham (Ala.) Museum of Art recently announced ten new acquisitions for 2004, including several purchased in March at the European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Four works were bought with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. William T. Ratliff Jr.: Saint Paul Shipwrecked on Malta by Laurent de La Hyre (1606-1656); Interior of the Cathedral in Antwerp by Pieter Neefs the Younger (1620-1675); The Old Home at Barbizon, a pastel by François Millet (1849-1917); and a 14th-century marble of a female saint with a book that was probably made by a student of the Italian Gothic sculptor Tino di Camaino.
The museum also acquired I by the northern Italian artist Marco Zoppo, a gift of Mildred Tillman Camp in memory of her husband, Ehney Addison Camp Jr.; a painting by the Dutch Italiante artist Cornelis van Poelenburgh (1586-1667) titled The Finding of Moses; and 17th-century drawings by Herman Saftleven (1609-1685), Isaac de Moucheron (1667-1744) and Abraham Bloemaert (1564-1651), all purchased with funds provided by Betty and Victor Hanson. Long-time museum benefactors Eivor and Alston Callahan also underwrote the museum's acquisition of a 9th-century sculpture of Vishnu from Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
FAREWELL, DEBS & CO. Debs and Co., one of the livelier galleries in West Chelsea, has closed its space on West 26th Street with a final exhibition, "World Hotel," a group show organized by artist Carrie Yamaoka. Opened in 1997 by Nick Debs and Choire Sicha, the gallery showed more political artwork that most, with solo shows by Rina Banerjee, Sandow Birk, Joy Garnett, Emily Jacir, Nina Katchadourian, Chuck Nanney and others. Debs & Co., LLC, continues to exist as a partnership with a large collection of contemporary art. Sicha has launched a successful second career as a writer -- he is editor of gawker.com and a freelance contributor to several popular publications. "I hated running a small business. It sucks," Sicha told the New York Post.
NEW WEBSITE FOR PRINTED MATTER Printed Matter, the Chelsea-based artist-bookstore, has redesigned its website at www.printedmatter.org. In addition to the searchable online catalogue of every title Printed Matter has carried since 1986 (a number growing at the rate of 20 to 30 titles a week), the website now includes essays on issues and debates in the artists' books field and curated lists of books organized around specific themes, including best sellers, staff picks, bargain books and new arrivals.
PAUL NEAGU, 1938-2004 Paul Neagu, 66, Bucharest-born abstract sculptor known for vigorous wood structures influenced by Romanian folk art as well as for more modernistic forms in stainless steel and bronze, died June 16, 2004. Neagu emigrated from Romania to Britain in the 1970s and had his first major exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford in 1975. He was represented by Flowers Gallery.