WHITNEY CURATOR TO THE KITCHEN Whitney Museum contemporary art curator Debra Singer, one of the team that oversaw the museums much-praised 2004 Biennial Exhibition, has been appointed executive director and chief curator of the Kitchen, the 30-plus-year-old space on West 19th Street in Manhattan that specializes in avant-garde dance, music and theater. During her seven-year tenure at the Whitney, Singer specialized in the theatrical, organizing five seasons of performances at the museums midtown branch, selecting the sound and performance works in the 2002 biennial, and launching the museums Sound Check program of monthly music and literary events. At the Kitchen she succeeds Elise Bernhardt, who stepped down in the spring to spend more time with her family and work on independent projects.
SHOCK OF THE NEW, ALL OVER AGAIN
Hes back. Art critic Robert Hughes might have been expected to slink quietly off into retirement after his recent series of scandals and personal disasters, notably court cases involving charges of reckless driving and defamation in Australia in which he peppered his public remarks with racial insults [see Critical Hell, Mar. 13, 2002]. But no -- the BBC has just aired a 55-minute program by Hughes called New Shock of the New, which is billed as an update of the cranky critics original Shock of the New television series that made him famous when it aired 25 years ago. According to a report in the Guardian, Hughes still doesnt get it -- Andy Warhol is fated for obscurity, Jeff Koons is like a blow-dried Baptist selling swamp acres in Florida and no one cares anymore about Julian Schnabel, though theres something to be said for Paula Rego and Sean Scully. Other artists, including Damien Hirst and Richard Serra, refused to allow Hughes to film their works for his show, according to the report. No word yet about a U.S. premiere for the program.
FIRST-EVER PHONECAM SHOW IN LOS ANGELES
The first exhibition of phonecam art in the U.S. goes on view at the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, July 10-17, 2004. Dubbed Sent, the show features work by more than 20 artists -- including Megan Mullally, Penelope Spheeris, Wil Wheaton and Weird Al Yankovic along with other participants with no Hollywood credentials -- and is co-organized by Sixspace owners Sean Bonner and Caryn Coleman and technology journalist Xeni Jardin. Motorola sponsored the exhibition, providing free V600 cell phones -- which have a zoom lens -- for all the artists (and including a month of free service).
Does the show include any of the surreptitious voyeurism that phonecams are increasingly famous for? Coleman notes that Clayton James Cubitt (aka Siege) and Andy Mueller sent along some sexy stuff -- though we like Meenos cute picture of his little girl. The exhibition has an online component as well; see www.sentonline.com.
MILLENNIUM PARK DEBUTS IN CHICAGO
As of July 16, 2004, the downtown Chicago lakefront has a vast new tourist attraction -- the 24.5-acre, $475-million Millennium Park, a transformed former rail yard featuring the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion (new home of the Grant Park Music Festival), Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor (a 66-foot-long, 33-foot-tall mirror-finished stainless steel sculpture shaped something like a kidney bean), an interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa (with continuous video displays as well as a water cascade), plus extensive gardens, a restaurant and even indoor parking for 300 bicycles. For details, see http://millenniumpark.org
At that price, some grumbling is included: architect Stanley Tigerman was quoted complaining that the project had a theme park atmosphere, while Chicago art critic Charles Stuckey noted that the area already boasts several public artworks that have been rather less heralded, including a Richard Serra sculpture and a fountain by Isamu Noguchi that hasnt worked in 20 years.
ARTIST SELLS SHARES TO FUND WORK
Faced with a depressed economy and a shortage of grant funding, New York artist Sharon Louden decided to raise the $20,000 she needed for a large new art project by securitizing it herself, drawing up a prospectus and selling shares in the work to investors. The scheme tapped into what one of her fans referred to as the psychic pleasure of supporting young artists as well as a more bottom-line-oriented interest in the notion of art as investment, according to a recent story in the Washington Post. Loudon found nine investors, who kicked in between $200 and several thousand dollars to underwrite a 6,000-square-foot work for the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City.
The Attenders, as the installation is called, uses some 850 miles of black and gray monofilament fishing line, assembled into myriad hanging bundles that are dispersed through the space; the artist considers them emotional extensions of herself that are meant to be touched and encountered by observers as part of an interactive experience. After the museum exhibition, Loudon sold the work to the Progressive Corporation, which is a major corporate art collector, for the lobby of the companys new call center in Phoenix. The deal earned returns for the investors of between 50 and 75 percent, Loudon said -- and some of the investors asked her to plow the profits into her new venture, an animation project. An exhibition of Loudens work goes on view this September at Anthony Grant, Inc., on 57th Street in Manhattan.
TRIO OF 9/11 MEMORIALS FOR NEW JERSEY
Plans for three separate 9/11 memorials for sites in New Jersey -- home to 710 people killed in the terrorist attack -- have recently been announced. Manhattan-based architect Frederic Schwartz was selected to design the official state memorial, to be sited in Liberty State Park in Jersey City across the Hudson River from the World Trade Center. Schwartzs $7 million design, titled Empty Sky, features a pair of parallel stainless steel walls, 200 feet long and 30 feet tall, inscribed with the names of New Jersey residents who died on 9/11. At night, the walls are to be illuminated so as to send beams of light into the sky. No timetable has yet been announced for the project.
Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli wants to site a 10-story-tall, 175-ton teardrop suspended in a bronze-clad tower on a pier in the Hudson, also located in Jersey City. Tsereteli made Good Defeats Evil, a sculpture of St. George spearing a fallen dragon made from a missile that is sited on the United Nations grounds in Manhattan. Tsereteli would pay for the work himself, though opposition to the scheme seems to be building.
Last but not least, Janet Echelman and the Flow Group have been named as designers of the 9/11 memorial for Hoboken, home to 57 people who died in the attack. Hoboken Island, as it is called, proposes building an island in the Hudson, reached by a footbridge and with a glass well in its center, with a cast glass circle of names that is illuminated at night. For more info, see www.hoboken911.comDE GRAZIA TO IMA Diane De Grazia has been appointed deputy director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, effective Sept. 1, 2004. A 30-year museum veteran who specializes in the Italian Baroque, De Grazia has most recently been chief curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
RICK WESTER TO PHILLIPS, DE PURY
Photo expert Rick Wester has been appointed to head the photo department at Phillips, de Pury & Co., according to a report in the Baer Faxt. Currently the interim director of the Howard Greenberg Gallery, Wester is a veteran of the photo division at Christies auction house. At Phillips he succeeds Joshua Holdeman, who recently jumped to Christies.