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The International Center of Photography, whose landmark exhibition of "New Photography and Video from China" closes on Sept. 5, 2004, has something special planned for the fall presidential election season -- an exhibition devoted to the 35th U.S. president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. "JFK for President: Photographs by Cornell Capa," which opens at ICP on Sept. 17, features ca. 75 pictures from Capas coverage of the 1960 Kennedy campaign, many of them previously unpublished. "Capa wasnt known as a Kennedy photographer," said ICP chief curator Brian Wallis, a devotee of the Camelot era, "but these are some smart and funny pictures." After the election, Capa went behind the scenes at the White House to cover the first 100 days of Kennedy's term, and published an instant book called Let Us Begin that included photos by the entire Magnum crew.

ICP has three other shows opening at the same time. "Looking at Life," an exhibition organized by Carol Squiers from the recent gift of 1,000 images from the archives of Life magazine, includes the magazines trademark news photographs as well as some of its famous photo-essays, such as "The Spanish Village" by W. Eugene Smith and Capas images from D-Day.

One smaller exhibition presents about a dozen images of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad (out of 1,800 known pictures, most of which have not been made public, and which still have no known author). The show -- mounted simultaneously at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh -- is accompanied by a brochure with an essay by Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker reporter who broke the abuse story. Hersh is also publishing a book on Abu Ghraib this fall.

A second smaller show presents a pair of videotapes by Ant Farm, the legendary 1970s art group whose Media Burn shows a speeding Cadillac bursting through a wall of burning television sets. The ICP exhibition is done in conjunction with "Ant Farm 1968-1978" at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art.

Both Sothebys and Christies have reported an increase in auction sales for the first half of 2004. Last week, Sothebys announced "very strong" sales for the spring auction season, which included the headline-making sale of Pablo Picassos Boy with a Pipe for $104 million in May. Sothebys sales for the first six months of 2004 totaled $1.35 billion, an increase of 73 percent from $789 million tallied during the same period last year. Sothebys said its net income for the first half of 2004 was $79.2 million, compared to a loss of $14.5 million in 2003. The auction house proudly noted that it has closed the expensive antitrust litigation resulting from the notorious auction price-fixing case.

Among the highlights at Sothebys this fall is the London sale in October of the contents of Damien Hirsts Pharmacy restaurant, estimated to realize in excess of $5.4 million, and the sale in Paris in September of the private collection of dealer Mira Jacob, whose gallery, le bateau-lavoir, was a Paris landmark from the 1950s through the 90s.

Christies worldwide sales for the first half of 2004 totaled $1.25 billion, an increase of 19 percent from the $947 million tallied during the same period in 2003. About half of the total -- $631 million -- was from European sales; sales in the U.S. totaled $463 million. Christies top lot for the period was a 1942 Henri Matisse odalisque sold in London on June 22 for $12,069,181; in all Christies sold 99 works of art for more than $1 million, compared to 87 works sold for that price in the first half of 2003.

Christies boasts of strong sales in Hong Kong, where the total of almost $87.7 million was a new record in Asia, and in Paris, where the total was $55 million, up nine percent from 2003. Christies Paris "continues to dominate the auction market in France," the firm said. Among the events coming up in the second half of 2004 is "The Spanish Sale" in Madrid in October, the first Christies auction to take place in the Spanish capital in two decades.

The Athens Olympics are in full swing in architect Santiago Calatravas much-praised Olympic Stadium, but the Acropolis Museum in Athens, once slated to be open in time for the games, remains a construction site. Recently Jonathan Jones reported in the Guardian that "work has scarcely begun" on the ambitious, three-story glass and steel structure designed by architects Bernard Tschumi and Athens-based Michael Photiadis. Currently scheduled for completion in 2006, the museum is to contain a special Parthenon Gallery, designed to encourage repatriation of the Parthenon marbles, now in the British Museum. But by failing to carry through its grand project at the foot of the Acropolis, Jones wrote, Greece has wasted its best chance to effect the return of the marbles. "If it didn't happen this year, it's not going to happen at all," he opined.

The legendary bohemian artist Georgia OKeeffe was a virgin bride, according to Full Bloom, a new, 480-page biography of the artist by Los Angeles-based art writer (and Artnet Magazine contributor) Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. OKeeffes sole sexual relationship in her lifetime was with her husband and sometime artistic collaborator, the redoubtable photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz (at least according to correspondence). Post-Stieglitz, OKeeffe struck up a nonsexual "romantic friendship" with writer Jean Toomer.

Due out from W.W. Norton & Company next month, the book is reviewed in the current issue of Newsweek online by Peter Plagens. OKeeffes landscape paintings are currently the subject of two exhibitions: "A Sense of Place" at the Georgia OKeeffe Museum in Santa Fe (to Sept. 12, 2004), and "Georgia OKeeffe and the Sublime Landscape" at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor (to Sept. 26). Both shows are touring.

The photographs of the pristine Alaskan wilderness taken by Subhankar Banerjee that caused a political ruckus in 2003 -- the Smithsonian Institution moved an exhibition of the photos to an out-of-the-way basement space out of fear of offending President George W. Bush and the congressional Republicans, who wanted to drill for oil in the pristine Alaskan wildlife refuge that the photos depict -- are now going on view at the Gerald Peters Gallery in New York, Sept. 9-Oct. 16, 2004. "Subhankar Banerjee: The Last Wilderness, Photographs of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" features 30 large-format color photos, depicting the region during all four seasons and taken during a two-year, 4,000-mile journey Banerjee began in March 2001. The photos became part of the 2003 congressional debate when Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) displayed them on the Senate floor. Congress has rejected Arctic drilling, for the time being at least.

New Yorks School of Visual Arts is celebrating the opening of its new Visual Arts Gallery at 601 West 26th, suite 1502, in Chelsea with an exhibition of works by 101 artists whose careers began at SVA. "Beginning Here: 101 Ways," Sept. 7-Oct. 16, 2004, includes a new wall drawing by Sol LeWitt (to be executed by current SVA students), a new oil-on-paper by Inka Essenhigh called Wrestler and works by Luca Buvoli, Willie Cole, Steve DeFrank, Barnaby Furnas, Rodney Alan Greenblat, Justine Kurland, Robert Melee, Steve Mumford, Elizabeth Peyton, Lisa Ruyter, Collier Schorr, Amy Sillman, Wolfgang Staehle, Lane Twitchell, Banks Violette and other former SVA students. The exhibition is organized by art critic Jerry Saltz and Rachel Gugelberger, SVA galleries associate director.

Veteran art critic Peter Plagens, who retired as Newsweeks staff art critic last year but nevertheless continues to write for the magazine with some regularity, has long led a double life -- hes also an abstract painter who shows his work at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York, among other places. Now, Plagens large-scale oil and acrylic paintings and mixed-medium compositions are the subject of an exhibition at the Fisher Gallery at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. "Peter Plagens: An Introspective," Nov. 17, 2004-Feb. 12, 2005, is organized by USC Fisher Gallery director Selma Holo and surveys 30 years of the artists work; the exhibition catalogue includes an essay by critic Dave Hickey.

Get ready to add a new title to your shelf of Warhol books. On the occasion of its 35th birthday this October, Interview magazine is publishing a seven-book catalogue of its first decade, 1969-79, titled Andy Warhols Interview: The Crystal Ball of Pop Culture. Edited by Interview editor Ingrid Sischy and Interview publisher Sandra Brant, the $450 tome -- which comes in a box with a facsimile of the very first Interview magazine as well as a copy of the anniversary edition from October 2004 -- is designed by Karl Lagerfeld and Gerhard Steidl (and published by Edition 7L, Lagerfelds imprint at Steidl publishers). Of the seven volumes, one features all the Interview covers of the first decade, another is filled with images from Interview photo-shoots, another is devoted to fashion and three feature interviews. The seventh volume includes Fran Lebowitzs "I cover the Waterfront" columns with photos and illustrations.

Architect Arata Isozaki has been named director of the 2005 Yokohama Triennale, the second in the series of international exhibitions organized in the Japanese port city. Isozaki plans a "fundamental reappraisal of our approach to art" in the festival, which is due to open in mid-September 2005 and encompasses art, architecture and contemporary culture. The triennale takes place in a pair of warehouses on Yamashita Pier at the Yokohama port.

Britt Salvesen, associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum, has been appointed curator of photography at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson. While at Milwaukee, Salvesen organized "Super Hits of the Seventies" and "Danny Lyons The Bikeriders: Pictures and Audio from the 1960s"; she is co-editor of the forthcoming The History of Photography: A Sourcebook.

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