VENICE BIENNALE, HERE WE COME
The art world begins its working summer vacation in Europe this month, with the three-day-long professional preview of the Venice Biennale, June 9-11, 2005 (the Biennale opens to the public June 12-Nov. 6), followed by an estimable roster of three art fairs in Basel, Switzerland. We've previously listed the line-up for Venice [see "Artnet News," Mar. 17, 2005] and given brief reports on the goings-on in art-fair-land [see "Artnet News," Jan. 1, 2005, and Apr. 21, 2005]. Herewith, an assorted agenda of Venice-connected events, plus a few other exhibitions coinciding with the launch of the summer art season.
* The U.S. Pavilion features a new cycle of paintings by Ed Ruscha done specifically for the Biennale, in a show organized by Harvard University Art Museums associate curator Linda Norden in consultation with Whitney Museum curator Donna De Salvo. The paintings "make progress, or the course of progress, their subject," and are described as "documentary" of "an urban landscape." Joan Didion has written a foreword to the accompanying catalogue.
And, after all the fretting last year about finding funding for the U.S. entry (casually put at $1 million-plus), it seems to have been nailed down without difficulty once the California charmer had been selected. Sponsors include the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Broad Art Foundation, Lehman Brothers, the Ford Foundation and Hugo Boss. Supporters include John and Frances Bowes, Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, Glenn Fuhrman, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro, Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, the Leonard & Evelyn Lauder Foundation, Aimee and Robert Lehrman, Margaret and Daniel Loeb, the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Foundation, Stavros Merjos and Honor Fraser, John and Amy Phelan, and Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., M.D. In-kind support comes from Gruppo Bodino SpA, Torino, and Larry Gagosian.
* Icelandic weather artist Olafur Eliasson is presenting a new light installation at Venice, titled Your black horizon (2005) -- a thin horizontal line of light at eye level in a dark pavilion, cycling through the color spectrum -- in a special structure designed by David Adjaye and underwritten by Vienna-based art patron Francesca von Habsburg's new T-B A21 contemporary art foundation. The pavilion is sited on the island of San Lazzaro within the grounds of an Armenian Monastery.
* For the first time, the Venice Biennale includes a special Central Asian Pavilion highlighting artists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, areas that have been much in the news recently. Located in the Palazzo Pisani at Canareggio 6103/A, the exhibition is organized by Viktor Misiano and includes works by artists from Kazakhstan (Sergey Maslov, Yelena Vorobyeva, Viktor Vorobyev, Rustam Khalfin, Julia Tikhonova, Almagul Menlibayeva, Erbossyn Meldibekov and Abilsaid Atabekov), Kyrgyzstan (Muratbek Djoumaliev, Gulnara Kasmalieva, Roman Maskalev and Maxim Boronilov) and Uzbekistan (Alexander Nikolaev, Vyacheslav Akhunov and Sergey Tychina), as well as a video archive of performance art from the last decade.
* WPS1 presents Art Radio Venice Live at www.wps1.org (and on 99.1 FM in Venice), June 7-12, 2005, featuring programs hosted by Alanna Heiss, Bob Nickas, Linda Nochlin, Jonas Mekas and others, as well as "call in" reports from openings, parties and other events by Janet Cardiff, Peter Coffin and Jen DeNike, among others. Sponsored by Bloomberg L.P., WPS1 is broadcasting from the Fusina, a specially equipped pagoda-like boat docked at the Riva del Sette Martiri.
* The Scope Art Fair is presenting a "roving art project" in Venice by artist Jason Hackenwerth, who plans to place throughout the city a series of sculptures resembling flowers and organic forms -- all made from brightly colored balloons.
* Visitors to the Venice Biennale need places to sit and rest in between the art intake, and Illycaffé is providing them. The gourmet coffee company, art patron and Venice Biennale sponsor is providing 1,500 folding "Illychairs" so that people can stop and create their "own special moment," as well as five "coffee tasting points" dispensing espresso to visitors from special trailers designed by Paola Navone and placed in the Giardini, and an "artistic relaxation point" designed by Andrea Blum and called Gardens and Fountains.
* The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice opens "No Limits, Just Edges: Jackson Pollock Paintings on Paper," June 4-Sept. 18, 2005, organized by Gugg curator Susan Davidson and previously seen at the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. The show features 55 works on paper, including a group of breakthrough works made in 1947-50 that can be viewed with the recently rediscovered Herbert Matter Pollock paintings in mind [see "Artnet News," May 10, 2005].
* The Museo Correr in Venice presents a major survey of 80 works by Lucian Freud, June 11-Oct. 30, 2005, organized by William Feaver.
* Christie's is hosting a "Salon d'Art" at the Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice, June 1-12, 2005, showcasing works that go on the block in London in June and July. Among the highlights are Venetian views by Canaletto and Francesco Guardi, as well as works by Francis Bacon, Marlene Dumas, Lucian Freud and Martin Kippenburger.
For art-lovers whose tour continues on in Switzerland, at least three exhibitions there are worth noting:
* "Sigmar Polke: Works and Days," Apr. 8-June 19, 2005, at the Kunsthaus Zrich, organized by Bice Curiger, features "alchemistic" works by the Capitalist Realist, including some large paintings made specifically for the show.
* "Jeff Wall, Photographs 1978-2004," Apr. 30-Sept. 25, 2005, at the new Schaulager museum in Basel, features 70 photographs spanning the Canadian artist's career, selected by Wall and Theodora Vischer. The exhibition subsequently tours to Tate Modern in London.
* "Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection," June 13-Oct. 16, 2005, at the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Holderbank exhibition hall near Zrich, includes works by about 100 contemporary Chinese artists from the collection assembled by Uli Sigg, a businessman who established the first joint business venture company between China and the West in 1980, and who later was Swiss ambassador to China.
Among the artists with works in the show are Ai Weiwei, Fang Lijun, Feng Mengbo, Huang Yongping, Wang Guangyi, Wang Jin and Zhang Peili. Despite the depth of Sigg's holdings of Chinese art, one undeniable star of the show is a propaganda painting from North Korea by Guang Tingbo -- the first to leave the country -- showing Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il happily watching the test-firing of a fiery rocket.
NEW ART AT HISTORIC SUDELEY CASTLE
The historic Sudeley Castle in England's Cotswold Hills is the site this summer for an exhibition of works by several top artists of the contemporary avant-garde. Titled "Vertigo," June 19-Oct. 3, 2005, the show features installations and new works in the gardens and historic ruins of the castle, as well as in a new exhibition space in the vaulted rooms of the castle's former dungeons. Participants include Francis Alÿs, Ghada Amer, Keith Coventry, Katy Dove, Angus Fairhurst, Damien Hirst, Duncan Marquiss, Mariele Neudecker and Franz West.
The show is co-organized by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, director of Gagosian Gallery London (and co-owner of Sudeley Castle); Anne de Charmant, director of the Meadow Gallery, which specializes in site-specific art exhibitions in the West Midlands; and Elliot McDonald of Hiscox London. The exhibition is supported by Arts Council, England. Sudeley Castle welcomes about 100,000 visitors a year to its historic grounds; once home to Queen Katherine Parr and to Lady Jane Grey, the castle was frequently visited by Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I.
NEW CURATOR FOR NEW MUSEUM
Richard Flood, chief curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for the last 11 years, has been named chief curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, effective in September. Longtime New Museum curator Dan Cameron, who co-organized this month's Aernout Mik show at the museum, remains on the job as senior curator at large.
PERFORMANCE BIENNIAL SET FOR FALL
The nonprofit Performa organization, founded by art historian and performance art scholar RoseLee Goldberg, has announced PERFORMA05, the first performance art biennale, to be held in New York, Nov. 3-20, 2005. The centerpiece of the three-week fest is the premiere of a major new performance piece by Danish video artist Jesper Just, featuring live and virtual singers. Other performances on the bill include works by Francis Alÿs, Ceal Floyer and Sislej Xhafa, a musical puppet show by Laurie Simmons, and a performance by Tamy Ben-tor. Venues include Anthology Film Archives, Artist Space, Art in General, Participant Inc. and The Kitchen. Commercial galleries Sean Kelly, 303 Gallery, Salon 94 and Yvon Lambert are also scheduled to participate.
SOFA NEW YORK 2005
This week the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue and 66th Street in New York welcomes the Sculpture Objects & Functional Art expo, otherwise known as SOFA, June 1-5, 2005. The fair kicked off its New York run on Wednesday with a gala benefit for the Museum of Arts and Design. More than 53 galleries are participating. Highlights include George Nakashima's shapely wood furniture at Philadelphia's Moderne Gallery, the lively, limited edition designs of Holland's Droog Design at New York's Barry Friedman, Ltd. and high-gloss new sculptural glass by Lino Tagliapietra at New York's Heller Gallery. Admission is $16 and includes a show catalogue.
TURNER PRIZE SHORTLIST
Tate Britian has announced the shortlist for the 25,000 Turner Prize, which honors a British contemporary artist (and which is sponsored by Gordon's Gin). The four finalists include Darren Almond, known for films and photographs involving Auschwitz and the full moon; Gillian Carnegie, a painter who works mainly in the traditional genres of still life and landscape; Jim Lambie, best known for site-specific floor pieces using colored vinyl tape; and Simon Starling, who works in what he calls "associative collage," re-framing and re-working everyday objects. According to British oddsmakers, Carnegie is frontrunner for the award.
BLOCK TAKES 2005 ART COLOGNE PRIZE
Distinguished museum director and former art dealer René Block has received the 2005 Art Cologne Prize of 10,000, awarded by the Cologne-based Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien (BVDG) and by Koelnmesse. Currently director of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Block is remembered in New York for his pioneering SoHo gallery, where he presented Joseph Beuys' 1974 performance with a live coyote, called I Like America and American Likes Me.
WILLIAM LIEBERMAN, 1923-2005
William S. Lieberman, 82, legendary curator who worked first at the Museum of Modern Art and then at the Metropolitan Museum, died in his sleep at his home in Manhattan on May 31. He joined MoMA as an assistant to director Alfred H. Barr in 1945, became head of its print department in '49 and founding director of its department of drawings in 71. He left MoMA in 1979 for the Met, where he served as head of its 20th-century art department until last year. He was celebrated for his many personal connections among the art-world's movers and shakers, which enabled him to bring Gertrude Stein's art collection to MoMA and the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection to the Met.