ROTHSCHILD COLLECTION OFF MISSION: MAG
The art world cheerfully encouraged Harvey Shipley Miller, the sole trustee of the $30-million Judith Rothschild Foundation, when he went on a year-long spending spree, buying approximately 2,600 drawings by contemporary artists for a total sum estimated at $10 million. Thats fast work -- almost seven drawings a day. Connoisseurship issues aside, the Museum of Modern Art, where Miller is also a trustee, happily accepted the trove earlier this year, describing it as "the widest possible cross section of contemporary drawing made primarily within the past 20 years" [see Artnet News, June 1, 2005].
But now, Art on Paper magazine notes that Millers largesse -- dubbed a "special discretionary initiative" -- may well fall outside the boundaries of the foundations stated mission. In a news story titled "Embarrassment of Riches," the July-August issue of the magazine notes that the Rothschild Foundation was established "to stimulate interest in recently deceased American painters, sculptors and photographers whose work is of the highest quality but lacks wide recognition." No surprise, really -- Rothschild herself, an abstract artist who died in 1993 at age 71, never received much attention for her paintings during her lifetime.
The Rothschild Foundations ordinary grants, in fact, are considerably more modest -- a mere $5,000 to $20,000. In 2005, the foundation awarded over $260,000 to 22 projects in its special Judith Rothschild grant program, including an exhibition of works by Francesca Woodman at the American Academy in Rome, the purchase of a 1974 work by Douglas Huebler by the Walker Art Center, the Aperture monograph on photojournalist Esther Bubley and the Dia Art Foundations cataloguing of work by the late sculptor Fred Sandback. According to its 2003 tax record (the most recent on file), the Rothschild Foundation also gave grants totaling more than $1.3 million to a wide variety of art museums and projects.
Art on Paper reports thatin 2003 Miller spent $140,000 on travel related to assembling the drawing collection alone, and the foundations tax return lists another $35,000 in expenses related to the collection. (The foundation also hosted one of the exclusive A-list parties, held at the five-star Hotel Cipriani on the Giudecca Island, during the vernissage for the 51st Venice Biennale.) Public documents show that Miller, who stays rent-free on the third floor of the foundations four-story Park Avenue townhouse, takes home over $230,000 a year for the job.
BLOOMBERG -- PHILANTHROPY OR POLITICS?
New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who is running for his second term as a Republican mayor in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, is trying to ingratiate himself with New York Citys progressive voters by showering $20 million on 400 New York arts and social-service organizations, according to a report in the New York Times. Visual arts institutions on the list range from the American Folk Art Museum, Anthology Film Archive and Art in General to the Studio Museum in Harlem, Triple Candie and UbranGlass. Made through the Carnegie Corporation, the donations are for sums between $10,000 and $100,000. According to the Times, Bloomberg gave a total of $140 million to more than 800 groups in 2004. By contrast, the Bloomberg administration jailed peaceful protestors at the Republican National Convention and was only narrowly defeated in a scheme to turn over almost $1 billion in public funds for a private sports stadium on the west side of Manhattan.
POOL ART FAIR OPENS Frere Independent, the nonprofit organization headed by Thierry Alet that organized the first DiVA digital and video art fair in New York last spring, is at it again, with the 2005 PooL Art Fair, July 7-10, 2005, at the SoLita SoHo Hotel at 159 Grand Street in New York. Devoted to individual artists (rather than galleries), the fair features some 100 artists in 27 rooms, including Thom Corn, Liz-N-Val, Chris Twomey and Ultra violet. Tickets to the July 7 opening are $40 and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com.
CBGB AT MUNICIPAL ARTS SOCIETY
The legendary punk-rock venue CBGB, the dive on the Bowery that launched some of the finest music acts of the 1970s and 80s, is bringing its aura to the lobby gallery of the Municipal Art Society. "CBGB: A Place that Matters," July 18-Sept. 14, 2005, features iconic black-and-white images of the Ramones, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginzberg, Patti Smith, Debra Harry, Richard Hell, as well as images of the storied club itself.
The exhibition celebrates CBGB and OMFUG: 30 Years from the Home of Underground Rock, a book of 200 photographs that includes a foreword by club owner Hilly Kristal and an afterword by David Byrne. The opening, scheduled for 6-8 pm on July 18, doubles as a book signing, with many of the photographers expected to be on hand. The Municipal Arts Society and Place Matters of City Lore, a group dedicated to preserving nontraditional landmarks, is looking into the possibility of getting landmark status for the club, which may be forced to close its doors later in the year.
QUADRIENNALE 2006 IN DSSELDORF
The city of Dsseldorf is justly proud of its 16 museums and its important Dsseldorf Art Academy, first put on the avant-garde map 20 years ago by Joseph Beuys and now headed by painter Markus Lpertz. Starting in the fall of 2006, the city is moving to boost its global art profile with the Dusseldorf Quadriennale, a once-every-four-years arts festival at venues across the city. The 2006 Quadriennale has the theme of "Post Human Body" and kicks off with "Zone Zero," a show of the 1960s avant-garde, at the Museum Kunst Palast. Other attractions include shows of Caravaggio at the Kunst Palast, Francis Bacon at the K20, Juan Muoz at the K21, Bruce Nauman videos and installations at the NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Teresa Margolles at the Kunstverein and a special sculpture pavilion by the Akademie-Sommer in Burgplatz square.
MAYNARD DIXON COMES TO SANTA FE
The popular early-20th-century Western artist Maynard Dixon is coming to Santa Fe. The Tucson-based Medicine Man Gallery specializes in work by the artist -- called a pivotal figure linking 19th-century painting and the modernism of artists like Georgia O'Keeffe -- and keeps a 10,000 square foot "Dixon Gallery" full of artists oils, watercolors, drawings and poetry. Now, for the summer, the gallery is bringing a special exhibition of 30 works by the artist to its Santa Fe space, titled "The Western Vision of Maynard Dixon," July 15-Aug. 6, 2005. Prices range from $35,000 to $250,000 -- which could be a bargain, since the auction record for the artist is $1.3 million, paid in 2000 for the painting The Pony Boy (1920).
GRANTS FOR INDEPENDENT CURATORS
The American Center Foundation has announced the recipients of its $5,000 "Fund for Arts Research" grants, which go to young curators and other arts professionals to underwrite research around the world. The nine recipients are Ruben Arevshatyan (independent curator, Yerevan, Armenia), Katrina Brown (curator and deputy director, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland), Matthew Distel (associate curator of exhibitions, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati), Rita Gonzalez (assistant curator, Center for Art of the Americas, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Kay Pallister (director, Artist Pension Trust, London), Emily Pethick (director, Casco, Utrecht, the Netherlands), Emilie Renard (independent curator, Paris), Trevor Schoonmaker (independent curator, Brooklyn), Elena Tzotzi (curator, Signal, Malmoe, and project coordinator, Lund Konsthall, Sweden).
COPS BUST PARTY AT DEITCH PROJECTS, BROOKLYN
You know the neighborhood is getting civilized when the police are summoned to quiet a noisy. . . book party. Curator Kathy Grayson planned a June 30 launch party for Live Through This, her new book on Dearraindrop, ALIFE, Cory Archangel and other hip young artists, at Deitch Projects space on North 1st Street in Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The event was to feature a roster of bands including Soft Circle, USAISAMONSTER and Phiiliip, and also boasted a supply of free Red Stripe beer. But the overflow crowd of noisy, beer-drinking bohemians drew the attention of the local constabulary who, concerned with the possibility of under-age drinking, decided to shut down the festivities. "Fuck the law," said Grayson, undeterred, who plans a new release party, with permits, at the end of the month, at Deitch's Delancey street location.
AL LOVING, 1935-2005 Al Loving, 69, abstract painter who was the first African American artist to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum (in 1969), died of lung cancer at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York on June 21. Loving exhibited his work with dealer George NNamdisince 1981, showing at the G.R. NNamdi gallery in New York, Chicago and his hometown of Detroit. Among Lovings recent public commissions are works at the Broadway-East New York subway station in New York, and ceramic murals at a Detroit people mover station and at Wayne State Universitys David Adamany Library.