GET READY FOR FRIDA
Art professionals are once again bracing for the movie theaters as Salma Hayek's Frida Kahlo biopic Frida begins unspooling, premiering at the 59th Venice Film Festival on Aug. 29 and making its North American debut at the Toronto Film Festival in early September. The Miramax production, helmed by celebrated theater impresario Julie Taymor, features Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera, Antonio Banderas as David Alfaro Siqueiros, Ashley Judd as Tina Modotti, Geoffrey Rush as Leon Trotsky and Ed Norton as David Rockefeller. The film promises to be a potboiler: "In addition to being a great artist, Frida Kahlo was also a bisexual and a communist, struggling with an abusive husband, a life of wracking pain following a trolley accident, the amputation of a leg, and finally, drug and alcohol abuse that killed her at age 47." The picture opens in Los Angeles and New York on Oct. 25, 2002.
RETROSPECTIVE FOR PECONIC PAINTERS
A survey of 64 works by married painters Edith Prellwitz (1864-1944) and Henry Prellwitz (1865-1940), stalwarts of the early-20th-century art colony in Peconic on Long Island's North Shore, goes on view at Spanierman Gallery in Manhattan, Sept. 5-28, 2002. The two American Impressionists, who both attended the Académie Julian in Paris and met at the Art Students League in New York, were married in 1894 and bought their house on Peconic Bay in 1911. Henry specialized in intimate landscapes; Edith, who was a cofounder in 1889 of the organization that became the National Association of Women Artists, was known for both landscapes and allegorical figure compositions. Their work most recently came to the attention of scholars with a 1995 exhibition at the Museums at Stony Brook. The Spanierman show is accompanied by a 72-page catalogue with essays by William H. Gerdts and the late Ronald G. Pisano (available from the gallery for $40).
30-YEAR ANNIVERSARY FOR NANCY HOFFMAN Nancy Hoffman Gallery toasts its 30th anniversary at its location at 429 West Broadway in SoHo with "Celebrating 30 Years," a group show of gallery artists running Sept. 4-17, 2002. The lineup of almost 30 artists includes Nicholas Africano, Carolyn Brady, Howard Buchwald, Don Eddy, Rafael Ferrer, Viola Frey, Peter Plagens and Joseph Raffael.
WHY PAINT CATS?
One of the more intriguing titles of fall book lists is Why Paint Cats: The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics by Burton Silver and Heather Busch (Ten Speed Press / Celestial Arts, $16.95). The authorial team, which hails from New Zealand, focuses not on interpretations of canvases marked by paw prints (for instance), but rather on "the cat as canvas" in a study that "explores the rights of cat owners to reinvent their feline companions in the name of art." The tome purports to detail the "latest trends" in the discipline -- Nouveau Classicism, Neo-Totemism, Avant Funk and Retromingent Expressionism -- that is "only now becoming popular in the West." New York stockbroker Gordon Tate, for instance, is said to have paid $16,000 to have Charlie Chaplin painted on his cat's posterior. For more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
TARNISH AT THE TOP
Fallout from Wall Street's financial shenanigans is increasingly bringing bad press to the art world. On Aug. 17, the New York Post reported that former ImClone boss Sam Waksal, currently charged with insider trading and other abuses, had tried to unload paintings by Francis Bacon and Mark Rothko at Sotheby's May auctions, but the works failed to sell. Waksal supposedly paid dealer Larry Gagosian $4 million for Rothko's 1964 Untitled (Plum and Brown), which didn't find a buyer at a presale estimate of $2 million-$3 million. Waksal is also apparently selling works by Lichtenstein, Giacometti, de Kooning and Twombly. The Post got the dish from the new issue of Art & Auction magazine, which should hit the newsstands any day now.
Last week, New York magazine delved into the travails of the Whitney Museum and its new trustees in a comic, fly-on-the-wall report by Morgan Stanley analyst turned financial journalist Landon Thomas Jr. The cash-strapped Whitney seems to have more than its share of disgraced CEOs on its board -- notably, purported tax-cheat Dennis Kozlowski of Tyco. Ousted Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier and Veronique Pittman, the second wife of AOL Time Warner COO Robert Pittman, who resigned his media post last month, are also Whitney trustees. The Museum of Modern Art is part of this club, too, counting among its boardmembers bankrupt Global Crossing founder and chairman Gary Winnick, who favored the museum with a $5 million pledge.
And last but not least, the New York Times reported in its Style section on Aug. 18 on the doings of convicted auction price-fixer Diana D. Brooks, the former CEO of Sotheby's who is currently serving six months of home detention in her 12-room, $5-million co-op on East 79th Street. While her neighbors vacationed elsewhere, wrote Alex Kuczynski, Brooks' "solitary window emitted a hopeful rectangular glow." She is allowed to leave her apartment for scheduled weekly activities like church and to go grocery shopping for two hours each Friday. She is not allowed to jog in Central Park or go to her $4-million oceanfront home in Hobe Sound, Fla., according to the report, and she must wear an ankle bracelet that tracks her location. "For that reason, she favors long, flowing pants," the story says.