CALDER MUSEUM ON HOLD
The planned Calder Museum in Philadelphia is on hold, according to insiders. Envisioned as a showcase for three generations of Calders -- Alexander "Sandy" Calder, inventor of the mobile, along with his father, Alexander Milne Calder, whose statue of William Penn is atop Philadelphias City Hall, and his grandfather, the Beaux-Arts sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder -- the Calder Museum was announced in early 2001 and called for Japanese architect Tadao Ando to design a new $35-million, 35,000-square-foot building on a two-acre site on the parkway in Philadelphia across from the Rodin Museum. The New York-based Calder Foundation would lend the works long-term, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art would raise the funds and administer the museum. But the foundation was less than anxious to commit to such a loan, and the museum couldnt raise the money without it, insiders say.
ART GIFTS TO BUSH
Who says that President George W. Bush doesnt take an active interest in art? Along with gifts of chocolates and jewelry, artworks are a staple of the diplomatic process, or so it would seem. According to the U.S. Department of States recent 52-page list of official gifts given to the president, the first family and his office -- highlighted by diamond and sapphire jewelry worth $95,500 presented to Laura Bush by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Abdallah -- several artworks now reside in the Bush collection. A sample:
* a 33-inch-tall alabaster statue of Paris' abduction of Helen, given by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, worth $4,500
* a gem-studded, red-velvet bound volume of watercolor portraits of all 43 U.S. presidents, given by Russian president Vladimir Putin, worth $45,000
* a watercolor of a Krakow Street, given by Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski, valued at $35
* a print of the Roman Colosseum from Prince Andrew, valued at $900
* a 20-inch tall ceramic fertility statue of a pregnant woman, worth $425, from the president of Senegal
CLYFFORD STILL MUSEUM IN DENVER?
The city of Denver has agreed to build a museum devoted to Clyfford Still (1904-80), the Abstract Expressionist painter whose will leaves a collection of 2,000 of his paintings and other works to any U.S. city that commits to building and maintaining a museum dedicated solely to his art. Art-world observers had despaired of the collection ever finding a home, but now Stills widow, Patricia A. Still, who is in her 80s and lives in New Windsor, Md., has found a patron in Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver. City officials estimate the new museum will cost $7 million to build. Denver is fast on its way to becoming a Southwest culture mecca, with a new performing arts center, opera house and, on the horizon, a new MCA designed by David Adjaye and a new wing for the Denver Art Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind.
GILBERT STUART AT THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum is mounting one blockbuster in fall 2004 that promises to strike a patriotic note in time for the November presidential election. "Gilbert Stuart," Oct. 21, 2004-Jan. 16, 2005, the artists first retrospective in four decades, includes nearly 100 works and features 14 of Stuarts iconic portraits of George Washington. The show is organized by Met American art curator Carrie Rebora Barratt and National Portrait Gallery chief curator Ellen G. Miles; it is co-organized with the National Portrait Gallery and also appears at the National Gallery of Art, Mar. 27-July 31, 2005.
SOTHEBYS, UNION REACH AGREEMENT
The picket lines are gone outside of Sothebys New York headquarters on York Avenue and 72nd Street. The white-glove auction firm has signed a new four-year contract with its blue-collar art handlers, members of Teamsters Local 814. The workers get modest raises of one or two percent each year, plus a $500 bonus for signing back on -- but one source said the deal was clinched when management threatened to leave the workers on the picket line and go on vacation till September. Sothebys said that no job is going to be eliminated due to the new contract, despite its earlier claims that no Teamster employee had been laid off since 1998, even though nonunion workers have been cut by a third.
PROBATION FOR IMMENDORFF
The cocaine trial of German Neo-expressionist painter Jörg Immendorff has ended, and the artist has been found guilty. He received a suspended 11-month jail sentence and was ordered to pay a fine of €150,000, which goes to charity. Whether or not he loses his job as a professor at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, which provides him with civil servant status, remains to be seen. The 59-year-old artist suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable nerve disease that has already paralyzed his painting arm.
NEW COMPANY FOR MASS-MARKET ARTWORKS
Larry Mangel, who launched Bozart in 1996 and went on to produce a succession of popular and successful artist-made multiples (including Allan McCollums "Thanks" paperweights and the "Kaleidoscope" dollhouse made by Laurie Simmons and Peter Wheelwright), has now moved on to a new venture called Cerealart. Products of the Philadelphia-based company range from a "flip clock" by Yoshitomo Nara with 84 original drawings, one for each hour and each minute ($200), to a girls t-shirt in silver-gray by Ryan McGinness ($30), with a silhouette of three Elvises taken from the Andy Warhol painting. One item has already proved irresistible to collectors -- the Takashi Murakami Soccer Ball, covered with the artists trademark grinning flowers, has sold out at $400 a pop.
TREMAINE AWARD TO BRONX, KEMPER MUSEUMS
The 2004 Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award has gone to the Bronx Museum of the Arts for "Street Art, Street Life," curated by Lydia Yee, and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis for "Reality Bites: Making Avant-Garde Art in Post-Wall Germany," curated by Sabine Eckmann. Both institutions receive $125,000; the shows go on view in 2006 and 2007.
ARTHOUSE PRIZE IN TEXAS
The Arthouse art center in Austin, Texas, has announced plans for a new $30,000 Arthouse Texas Prize, to be awarded every two years to a promising Texas artist starting in 2005. The prize jury, which is making its selection from nominated candidates (not open submissions), includes freelance critic and curator Dave Hickey and Whitney Museum curator Shamim Momin.
NEW CONTEMPORARY CURATOR IN MADISON
The Madison (Wis.) Museum of Contemporary Art has named Jane Simon as curator of exhibitions, in charge of programming the museums new Overture Center for the Arts as well as off-site exhibitions. An independent curator based in New York, Simon has organized "Mirror Mirror" (2002-03) and "Yankee Remix: Artists Take on New England" (2003-04), both at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Contact wrobinson @ artnet.com