DEATH KNELL FOR CALIFORNIA ARTS COUNCIL?
California governor Gray Davis is expected to sign a new $100-billion state budget that drastically cuts funding for the California Arts Council from a proposed $11 million to $1 million for the 2003-04 fiscal year. Funding for all CAC grant programs, which include grants to organizations and individual artists and teaching residencies in schools and at arts centers, are suspended, leaving only a skeleton staff to keep the organization going until, presumably, the programs can be rebuilt when the state's economy recovers. The new total is equal to just three cents per person statewide, making California last in the country in arts spending, according to CAC director Barry Hessenius. "We must re-invent advocacy," writes Hessenius on the CAC website. "We must expand our support and the number of our champions." Matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace Fund bring the total CAC operating budget to close to $3 million -- which may not be the end but is certainly a low point for a state that is the world's fifth largest economy.
-- Oriane Stender
LOW GO FOR GAINSBOROUGH
British blue-bloods might not play so well in Boston after all. According to a brief report by Boston Globe art critic Christine Temin, attendance at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts summer blockbuster, "Thomas Gainsborough, 1727-1788,'' June 15-Sept. 14, is an anemic 35,000 people so far -- about half the projected number of visitors. The show includes approximately 100 paintings and drawings by the celebrated portraitist who actually preferred to paint landscapes.
LEONARD PELTIER, PAINTER
The latest celebrity prisoner to turn to art behind bars is Leonard Peltier, the celebrated Native American activist now at Leavenworth Prison for killing two FBI agents in 1975. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Frumkin/Duval Gallery in Santa Monica is presenting "The Warrior's Eye -- In the Spirit of Crazy Horse," Aug. 1-2, 2003. The two-day show of Peltier's paintings, which depict motifs from the artist's Oglala Lakota heritage and sell for as much as $7,000, is designed in part to raise funds to offset his legal expenses.
ROCKMAN MURAL FOR BROOKLYN PAVILION
Before the Brooklyn Museum of Art unveils its new sheer-glass entrance pavilion designed by Polshek Partnership Architects in mid-April 2004, the museum is premiering a new visionary 8 x 24 ft. mural about "the distant future of the borough of Brooklyn" by New York artist Alexis Rockman. The work, which was commissioned by the museum, goes on display on second-floor mezzanine, and later goes on tour.
In the more immediate future, the museum closes Aug. 4-19, 2003, due to funding constraints.
UCLA HAMMER MUSEUM GETS $5 MILLION FOR THEATER Audrey L. Wilder, the widow of famed movie writer and director Billy Wilder, has donated $5 million for the new Billy Wilder Theater at the UCLA Hammer Museum. The new facility is to be home to the UCLA Film and Television Archive's public screenings as well as Hammer Museum film programs. Construction on the 288-seat theater, part of the Hammer's renovation by architect Michael Maltzan, is set to begin next year.
JENNIFER BARTLETT IN SANTA FE
One highlight of the summer art season is "Jennifer Bartlett: Landscapes," July 25-Aug. 19, 2003, at the Gerald Peters Gallery in sunny Santa Fe, the artist's first show at the gallery. Celebrated for her suggestive combination of Pointillism and Minimalism in the 1970s, in recent years Bartlett has begun using an iconography of landscape elements within her popular, brightly colored patterned abstractions.
FASHION IN FALL MUSEUM SHOWS
Among the many fall exhibitions involving fashion and couture are two standouts. "Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli," Sept. 28, 2003-Jan. 4, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the first major retrospective of costumes by the acknowledged arbiter of style in the 1930s. The show is organized by curator Dilys E. Blum and surveys the Italian-born designer's career from the 1920s to the closure of her salon in 1954.
Two months later, "Bravehearts: Men in Skirts," Nov. 4, 2003-Feb. 8, 2004, at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute, features more than 100 gender-bending items, with examples ranging from ancient Greece and Rome and the "hyper-masculine" Scottish kilt to examples from Asia, Africa and Oceania and from contemporary culture icons like David Bowie and Boy George. The Met's show is an expanded version of a show of the same name that appeared at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001.
CRISTINE WANG GALLERY OPENS IN WILLIAMSBURG
Freelance curator and dealer Cristine Wang opens her new gallery space in Brooklyn with "Williamsburg Bridges Asia," July 31-Oct. 26, 2003, a group exhibition of works by Wenda Gu, Ken Feinstein, Tony Oursler, Lewis Stein, Zhao Bandi and several other artists. The gallery also boasts a selection of audio works, limited-edition artists' books, wearable art and DVD videos. The gallery is located at 88 N. 1st Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211; for more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
OSTROW TO CLEVELAND INSTITUTE
Artist, critic and curator Saul Ostrow has been appointed chair of painting and dean of fine arts at the Cleveland Institute of Art.