U.S. DROPS BALL AT SÃO PAULO BIENAL
The 26th São Paulo Bienal opens next month, Sept. 25-Dec. 19, 2004, with artists representing 55 countries from around the world -- and the U.S. is not among them. The same malaise that has thrown into doubt the U.S. participation in the 2005 Venice Biennale seems to have affected the situation in São Paulo more acutely, with official government sources -- the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of State -- silent on the matter. (In 2002, the U.S. trumpeted the selection of provocative silhouette-artist Kara Walker as the official U.S. representative to the 25th São Paulo Bienal, in a show organized by Virginia Commonwealth University art historian Robert Hobbs in conjunction with International Arts & Artists in Washington, D.C.)
Among the artists who are being sent to São Paulo are Miguel Caldern (Mexico), Thomas Demand (Germany), Mike Nelson (Great Britain), Pablo Siquier (Argentina), Piotr Uklanski (Poland) and Francesco Vezzoli (Italy). In addition to the national entries, the show includes a special section on African photography organized by curator Simon Njami and featuring works by eight artists: Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa), Cornelius Augustt Azzaglo (Togo), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria), Eileen Perrier (Great Britain/Ghana), Jean Depara (Democratic Republic of Congo), Samuel Fosso (Cameroon), Abderramane Sakaly (Senegal) and Mama Casset (Senegal).
The exposition also features a large group show organized by bienal curator Alfons Hug, who was in charge of the 2002 edition as well. His theme is "Image Smugglers in a Free Territory." This show of more than 70 artists, including eight in "special rooms," does include several from the U.S.: Rachel Berwick, Mark Dion, Inka Essenhigh, the Neistat Brothers, Catherine Opie, Jorge Pardo, Matthew Ritchie, Tom Sachs and Alec Soth.
These artists are being "sponsored" by the U.S. Fund for American Artists in International Exhibitions and Festivals, an office of the Department of State. According to bienal curatorial assistant Ana G. Magalhães, the fund is also sponsoring several others who are U.S. citizens but who are listed as representing their native countries, including Xu Bing, Cai Guo Qiang, Arturo Herrera, Toba Khedoori and Julie Mehretu. For a complete list of artists in the show, see the Sao Paulo Bienal website.
MAYA LIN CHAPEL IN TENNESSEE
Architect Maya Lins newest building is the nondenominational Riggio-Lynch Chapel, a Minimalist, ark-like cypress and fir structure located on the grounds of the Haley Farm Freedom School, which occupies 157 acres just outside Knoxville in Clinton, Tenn. The chapel is named for Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio, who is the main benefactor of the $3 million project, and William Lynch, a former deputy mayor of New York. Dedicated on July 18, 2004, the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the pioneering Supreme Court decision on civil rights, the structure is partly inspired by the child's drawing of a boat that serves as the logo of the Childrens Defense Fund, which purchased Haley Farm in 1994 from the estate of author Alex Haley.
The new chapel accommodates 300; when the entrance doors are left open, another 300 can be seated under a trellis, which can also be fitted with a tent. Lin likes the idea of connecting indoors and outdoors. "I didnt want to overpower the site," she says. Lin also designed the Langston Hughes Library near the chapel. For inspiration for the two structures, she "studied barns and boats." Both buildings were compelling projects for Lin because, she says, they are "loaded with symbolic meaning." At the chapels dedication ceremony, she praised Riggio as a "generous patron," and also confessed, "After 9/11 I was frozen in my studio. Only my work on the chapel got me going again."
IRS EYES NONPROFIT SALARIES
Recent scandals at the Nature Conservancy and the United Way have spurred calls from Congress for more oversight of charities -- and the Internal Revenue Service has now announced plans to look at the salaries of top executives at 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. to see whether their compensation packages are in line with industry norms. Top museum directors do quite well by art-world standards, though $500,000 a year or so seems like peanuts compared to the take-home pay of deep-pocketed museum boardmembers. What follows is a sampling of some museum-director salaries, culled from recent IRS filings, courtesy of Tyler Greens Modern Art Notes:
* Philippe de Montebello, Metropolitan Museum, $518,151 salary, $94,469 benefits, $253,963 expenses
* Barry Munitz, Getty Trust, $545,000 salary, $41,805 benefits, $0 expenses
* Glenn Lowry, Museum of Modern Art, $500,595 salary, $41,822 benefits, $76,800 expenses
* Thomas Krens, Guggenheim Museum, $450,000 salary, $21,468 benefits, $89,083 expenses
* Rusty Powell, National Gallery of Art, $427,829 salary, $93,215 benefits, $0 expenses
* Malcolm Rogers, $427,829 salary, $22,074 benefits, $0 expenses
* Deborah Gribbon, Getty Museum, $425,378 salary, $31,237 benefits, $34,052 expenses
* James Wood, Art Institute of Chicago (former), $338,000 salary, $165,588 benefits, $1,250 expenses
* Neal Benezra, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, $350,000 salary, $0 benefits, $34,583 expenses
* Jeremy Strick, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, $235,598 salary, $176,722 benefits, $0 expenses
NEPHEW HELPED BRING STILL ESTATE TO DENVER: PAPER
The nephew of the Abstract Expressionist painter Clyfford Still -- Denver resident Curt Freed -- was instrumental in bringing the Still estate to Denver, according to a story in the Denver Post. Last week, Stills widow, Patricia A. Still, 84, agreed to give 750 paintings and more than 1,400 works on paper to Denver on the condition it build and maintain a $7 million museum devoted to her late husband. According to Freed, who is a professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Stills will calls for a museum measuring about 25,000 square feet that would display approximately 75 paintings and drawings on a rotating basis.
T-SHIRTS FOR KERRY
Buy an artist-designed t-shirt and support John Kerry for president. Pierogi gallery in Williamsburg is mounting a display of custom t-shirt designs by over 75 artists, Aug. 23-27, 2004. The shirts are $30 apiece, with the proceeds earmarked for the Democratic National Committee. Among the artists are Polly Apfelbaum, Dike Blair, Mary Carlson, Rico Gatson, James Hyde, KK Kozik, Louise Lawler, Christian Marclay, Marilla Palmer, Laura Parnes, James Siena, Amy Silman, Jim Torok and many others.
Contact wrobinson @ artnet.com