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Chicagos sculptors have organized to increase exhibition opportunities, protect their rights and connect with buyers. More than 100 men and women met on July 21, 2004, at the Wood Street Gallery to hear presentations and float ideas for improving their professional situation.

The new organization, called Chicago Sculpture International (CSI), was founded some months ago by several local sculptors. The artists decided that their goals were identical with those of the 8,000-member International Sculpture Center (ISC) headquartered in Hamilton, N.J., which publishes Sculpture Magazine.

The artists approached ISC and in April of this year CSI became the first ISC local chapter. Sculptor Bob Emser is president of the CSI. The CSI board of directors comprises Emser, Nicole Beck, Terrence Karpowicz, Christine Rojek, S. Thomas Scarff and Barry Tinsley.

The CSI board has already made good contacts. CSI members will have exclusive rights to exhibit their work in the 2006 Midwest Show at the Krasl Arts Center in St. Joseph, Mich. CSI is talking with the University of Chicago about an outdoor sculpture show that would take place on the Midway Plaisance, a grassy boulevard that runs for several blocks through the campus. CSI may present a show on the sculpture-making process at Columbia College in downtown Chicago.

When the floor was opened for ideas, one artist proposed a sculptors picnic with each attendee bringing one of their own sculptures for company. Someone else suggested using the groups clout to get discounts on welding supplies. Twenty percent off would be nice, he said. One artist wanted a consistent, enforceable policy on copyright because shes often hassled by clients. Another thinks that the group should cultivate connections with architects who often make sculpture decisions.

Our personal favorite was the artist who wanted a CSI card that he could brandish at members of labor unions. We should have a union card too, he said. Without one you cant work on sculpture.
                                                                                         -- Victor M. Cassidy

Top contemporary art consultant Thea Westreich and her SoHo-based company, Art Advisory Services, Inc., have pled guilty to failing to collect New York City sales tax on over $5 million in art sales and paid a fine of $250,000, according to an announcement made on July 1 by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Westreich pled guilty to one felony count on May 26 before Acting New York State Supreme Court Justice Roger Hayes.

According to Morgenthaus investigation, Westreich failed to collect sales tax on more than 10 artworks sold between March 1998 and November 2002 -- and in one instance arranged to ship the item out of state (thus apparently avoiding the sales tax rule) and then transported it back to New York. Also sentenced at the same time was Ethan Wagner, Westreichs husband and co-owner of their art investment company, Unionone LLC at 77 Mercer Street; Wagner pled to a misdemeanor count involving filing a false business tax return to the New York City Department of Finance.

The pair also paid approximately $500,000 in taxes, including $109,700.89 in sales taxes on personal items, which they had initially avoided by using the Art Advisory Services resale number. They were assessed outstanding New York State and New York City personal income taxes of $364,437 for 1998-2001, due in part on unreported capital gains of approximately $2 million on the sale of art from their collection, and in part from an unreported profit from Art Advisory Services. Some of Art Advisorys customers -- though not all at this stage -- have paid the overdue sales tax.

Westreich is the first downtown art dealer to be caught up in Morgenthaus ongoing investigation of sales-tax avoidance in the Manhattan art business. Old Master dealers Bob Haboldt and Otto Naumann and decorative arts dealers Macklowe Gallery and S.J. Shrubsole pled guilty in similar inquiries in 2003; see [Artnet News, July 25, 2003].

Lady Bird Johnson, the 92-year-old wife of the late 36th U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, has donated an oil painting by Armand Guillaumin to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin. The Impressionist painting, titled Environs de Paris (ca. 1890), was originally a gift to Mrs. Johnson from her husband, and hung in the White House during the Johnson administration. The picture is the Blantons first Impressionist painting, and can be viewed online here.

The Louvre plans to build a new 105 million, 16,000-square-meter facility in Northern France. The museum, dubbed the Louvre Antenne, or Louvre Outpost, would house a revolving installation of 500 or more works from the Paris museum. French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres is expected to announce the site for the Louvre Outpost soon. Six cities near the border with Belgium are in the running: the depressed industrial towns of Valenciennes and Lens; the port cities of Calais, which is already engaged in other cultural projects, and Boulogne-sur-Mer; and the historic towns of Arras and Amiens, which have art museums already. Groundbreaking is planned for next year, with the new museum opening in 2007.

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is mounting the largest exhibition in a decade of works by the Japanese American furniture designer and architect George Nakishima (1904-90), celebrated for merging traditional woodworking and craftsmanship with innovative design. George Nakashima: Nature, Form & Spirit, Sept. 12, 2004-Jan. 2, 2005, features approximately 50 examples of furniture and other designs along with prints, photos, sketches and archival materials in a show organized by Karin Higa with consultation from Mira Nakashima, the designers daughter. The exhibition was originated at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego.

A survey of oil paintings by the New York figure painter Lester Johnson, who came to wide attention in the 1970s for his idiosyncratic paintings of Men in Hats, goes on view this fall at the James Goodman Gallery in the Fuller Building in New York, Sept. 28-Oct. 30, 2004. The show is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Dore Ashton, who notes that the works are a contemporary conception of a very old theme: the round dance, or the dance of life. A companion show is being mounted at the same time at the David Klein Gallery in Birmingham, Mich. The 85-year-old painter currently lives and works in Greenwich, Conn.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has awarded the 2004 Charles C. Eldredge Prize for scholarship in American art to David M. Lubin, a professor of art at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. The prestigious $2,000 prize honors his book, Shooting Kennedy: JFK and the Culture of Images (U. of California Press, 2003).

One of the four new galleries in the Walker Art Center expansion, which is slated to open in April 2005, is being named in honor of Walker director emeritus Martin Friedman and his wife, former Walker design curator Mildred Friedman, thanks to an anonymous $5 million gift to the museum capital campaign. The inaugural Friedman Gallery exhibition is Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walker.

Antonia Boström has been named curator of sculpture and decorative arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, a new post that oversees the newly combined departments of sculpture and decorative arts at the museum. A curator at the Detroit Institute of Arts since 1996, Boström has held curatorial positions at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts. She succeeds sculpture curator Peter Fusco, who retired in 2000.

Glasstire, the lively online magazine that covers the Texas visual art scene, has appointed Houston artist and writer Rachel Cook as its new editor. Rainey Knudson, who launched the website more than three years ago, continues as executive director, focusing on fundraising, project development and administration.

The Pollock-Krasner Foundation has announced 107 grants totaling $2,069,000 (averaging more than $19,000 each) for 2003-04. Now entering its 20th year of grant-making, the foundation has awarded over $37 million to artists in 65 countries; awards go to painters, sculptors, printmakers and artists working on paper, and are based on the dual criteria of artistic merit and financial need.

Winners for 2003-04: Seongmin Ahn (Forest Hills, N.Y.), Vardit Almog (New York), Dimitar Anastassov (Sofia, Bulgaria), Jitka Anlaufova (Prague), John Aslanidis (Fitzroy, Australia), Helene Aylon (New York), Leszek Bartkiewicz (Lodz), Jack Beal (Oneonta, N.Y.), Julie Becker (Los Angeles), Dozier Bell (Waldoboro, Maine), Susan Bennerstrom (Bellingham, Wash.), Annette Besgen (NRW, Germany), Thomas Bevan (Brooklyn), Nina Bovasso (New York), Nancy Brett (New York), Steven Campbell (Kippen, Scotland), E. Chen (Los Angeles), J. Jaia Chen (Birmingham, Ala.), Catalina Chervin (Buenos Aires), Paul Chidester (County Leitrim, Ireland), Levan Chogoshvili (Tbilisi, Georgia), Stephen Cimini (New York), Colette (New York), Gianna Commito (Iowa City), Eric Conrad (Lawrence, Kansas), Christopher Cozier (Trinidad), Ernest Daetwyler (Atwood, Canada), Lynn Denton (Philadelphia), Elizabeth Di Giorgio (Astoria), Wolfgang Dietz (Munich), Patrick Dintino (El Cerrito, Calif.), Jenny Dubnau (Jackson Heights, N.Y.), Zlatan Dumanic (Split, Croatia), Gretchen Ewert (Arroyo Hondo, N.M.), Michele Fenniak (Brooklyn), Vaclav Fiala (Klatovy, Czeck Republic), Christie Frields (Los Angeles), Philip Frost (Averill Park, N.Y.), Jun Fujita (Tokyo), Jake Gilson (Ogden, Utah), Charles Ginnever (Putney, Vt.), Helidon Gjergji (San Francisco), Phyllis Goldberg (New York), Joanne Greenbaum (New York), Nancy Grossman (Brooklyn), Jeff Gurecka (Brooklyn), Caspar Henselmann (New York), Fred Holland (New York), Michael Hopkins (Arlington Heights, Ill.), Maria Inocencio (Portland, Oreg.), J. Ivcevich (Atlanta), Ray Jacobsen (Sonoma, Calif.), Edgar Jerins (New York), Michael Kidner (London), Roy Kinzer (Hoboken), Ronald Klein (Melrose Park, Pa.), Suzanne Klotz (Sedona, Ariz.), Justin Knowles (Devon, UK), Louise Kruger (New York), Evri Kwong (San Francisco, Ricardo Lanzarini (Montevideo), Eve Laramee (Brooklyn), Ana Linnemann (Brooklyn), Robert Lobe (New York), Sven Lukin (New York), Karin Luner (New York), David Mackenzie (Brooklyn), Loren Madsen (New York), Malviya Mohan (New Delhi), Jiri Mateju (Prague), Piotr Nathan (Berlin), Paul Neagu (London), Ayano Ohmi (New York), George Ortman (Castine, Maine), Marsha Pels (Brooklyn), Heidi Pollard (Newark), Sukmaran Pradeep (Trivandrum, India), Jeff Price (Los Angeles), Ashim Purkayastha (New Delhi), Charla Puryear (Brooklyn), Michael Rathbun (Estacada, Oreg.), Walter Redinger (West Lorne, Canada), Peter Reginato (New York), Eran Reshef (Tel Aviv), Lorna J. Ritz (Amherst), Dorothea Rockburne (New York), Edwin Ruda (New York), Tanmoy Samanta (West Bengal), Gordon Sasaki (New York), Charlotte Schatz (Elkins Park, Pa.), Wolfgang Schlegel (Berlin), Charles Searles (Bloomingburg, N.Y.), Francine Secretan (La Paz, Bolivia), Charles Seliger (Mount Vernon, N.Y.), Takayo Seto (Brooklyn), Kenzi Shiokava (Compton, Calif.), Steve Smulka (South Salem, N.Y.), Carol Sun (Brooklyn), Jan Tapak (Bratislava, Slovakia), Dannielle Tegeder (Brooklyn), Jeannie Thib (Toronto), Francine Tint (New York), Eriko Yamanaka (Woodside, N.Y.), Kumi Yamashita (Culver City, Calif.), Rodrigo Yanes (Santiago), Joseph Zirker (Menlo Park, Calif.).

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