ART HALLUCINATIONS FOR ADAM SANDLER
Baby-talking box-office boffo Adam Sandler is having art hallucinations in his latest film comedy. In the forthcoming film Punch Drunk Love, which premieres at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 5, Sandler plays a milquetoast phone-sex devotee who falls in love with co-star Emily Watson. To portray those moments of head-over-heels love, director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, Magnolia) turned to art-world digital fave Jeremy Blake, whose color-morphing abstract projections have been seen in New York at Feigen Contemporary, P.S. 1 and the Whitney Museum. Blake’s painted 35mm hallucination sequences represent the Sandler character’s whirl of emotions at key points in the plot. Anderson had seen Blake’s work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Blake said. "This film is amazing. It’s great that Paul, who woks so intelligently with narrative, also understands the expressive power of abstraction." Word is that the artist got a fee of about $20,000, and then a bonus of the same amount after Anderson was named "best director" at Cannes. Blake’s next art-world appearance is in October at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art.
ROYAL ACADEMY LINKS WITH ART GALLERIES
Once there was a time when art critics would fulminate if the artists in the Whitney Biennial (for instance) all hailed from only a handful of commercial galleries. Well, any pretense of a wall dividing nonprofit and commercial has completely disappeared at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, which presents "The Galleries Show 2002: Contemporary Art in London," Sept. 14-Oct. 12, 2002. Some 20 leading London galleries, ranging from the Approach, Vilma Gold and Greengrassi to Gagosian Gallery, Lisson Gallery and Victoria Miro, are each being given a room of their own to show individually curated exhibitions of gallery artists. The idea is to "offer a dynamic insight into the creative activities of commercial galleries, showing the important role they play in positioning London in the international contemporary art world, and. . . provide a unique opportunity for visitors to experience, under one roof, what is happening now in the contemporary art world." Overseeing the hullabaloo is RA exhibitions secretary Norman Rosenthal and independent curator Max Wigram.
SOTHEBY’S SELLS MORE MOMA PHOTOS
The Museum of Modern Art is deaccessioning a second group of photographs at Sotheby’s New York on Oct. 22 and 23, 2002, some 18 months after the museum’s last sale there in April 2001, which totaled over $4 million and set a U.S. record for a single-owner sale of photos. This time around, MoMA is putting 212 lots estimated to bring $2.2 million-$3.2 million on the block, including 10 Man Ray photos from the collection of James Thrall Soby, notably a 1922 rayograph estimated to sell for $150,000-$250,000. Selections from the sale go on view in Los Angeles, Sept. 25-27, and San Francisco, Oct. 1-3, before their New York appearance.
WOMEN OF OUR TIME, IN BOOK FORM
The National Portrait Gallery may be shut for the next four years as part of a $110-million renovation of its home (shared with the Smithsonian American Art Museum), but several exhibitions from the museum collections are currently on tour to institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere, including "Women of Our Time: Twentieth-Century Photographs from the National Portrait Gallery," which is scheduled to open next year at the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Mar. 7 and travel to four other cities. In the meantime, the catalogue is on its way to stores, a 176-page hardcover published by the Portrait Gallery and Merrell Publishers Limited of London. Written by Frederick S. Voss, senior historian at the Portrait Gallery, and containing a preface by Cokie Roberts, the book provides a fascinating between-the-lines study of the passage of portraits and people from the noisy sea of celebrity culture into the proud institutional confines of the museum and history. The selection of 75 women is most judicious, beginning with the Native American reformer Zitkala-Sa (1876-1928), ending with a joint portrait of Susan Faludi and Gloria Steinem, and including quite a range of personalities in between. Each full-page black-and-white photograph -- and the ca. 1960 portrait by David Mose Attie of playwright Lorraine Hansberry and Rollie McKenna’s 1961 picture of poet Anne Sexton, to name only two, are good enough to send chills up your spine -- is accompanied by a choice biographical sketch. The book should arrive in stores here next month; the price is $35.
ART STARS DRESS UP
Collectible of the month is the new catalogue for Barneys New York (the department store, not the celebrated artist whose retrospective is due at the Guggenheim next year). Demonstrating a synergy of art stars and new clothes that harkens back to the 1980s, the pamphlet includes several familiar faces: Alex Katz looking especially natty in a $1,175 gray pinstripe suit and Borsalino fedora; Chelsea dealer Andrew Kreps in a $695 quilted baseball jacket; and Artnet Magazine’s own popular critic Jerry Saltz in a $1,160 suede vest with a cashmere lining. Other art-world models are artists Alfred Leslie and Kenseth Armstead. In keeping with the new patriotism that has accrued to shopping in New York City since 9/11, the catalogue copy exclaims "how stylish Americans are," and notes that the models have donated their fees to the Twin Towers Fund
POLISH MENU IN MILWAUKEE
The Milwaukee Art Museum unveils its blockbuster exhibition, "Leonardo da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland," Sept. 13-Nov. 24, 2002. Along with the 77 paintings tracing the history of art collecting in Poland -- Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine (ca. 1491), Hans Memling’s The Last Judgment (1467-71), plus works by Polish artists including Jan Matejko, Piotr Michalowski, Olga Boznañska and Jacek Malczewski -- are a range of events designed to entice tourists, including something of a Polish gustatory festival at local eateries. From the "Leonardo da Vinci Pasta Special" at the Café Vecchio Mondo to the drink specials featuring Polish vodka at the Miller Time Pub, almost 20 restaurants are participating (see the website). Other specials include Amtrak vacation packages that include free museum admission and Potawatomi Casino day trips that stop at the museum on the way.
GOLDMAN SACHS, PLUS OR MINUS?
It must have seemed a smart move when the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Whitney Museum of American Art both selected directors of the Wall Street powerhouse investment bank Goldman Sachs to be new presidents of their trustee boards -- Robert B. Menschel at MoMA and Robert J. Hurst at the Whitney. That is, until Congress extended its investigation of conflicts of interest at white-shoe securities firms to . . . Goldman Sachs. On Sept. 5 the House Financial Services Committee asked Goldman for records about its dealings with 14 companies, including Enron and Global Crossing. The investment banks were heavily involved in underwriting "failed telecommunications companies during the dot-com boom," representative Michael G. Oxley, an Ohio Republican and the committee chairman, told the AP, "and their analysts gave favorable ratings even as the stocks plummeted to pennies per share."
GREATER PHILADELPHIA AT MOORE COLLEGE
The Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia is taking a stab at a "new talent" show with "Greater Philadelphia," Sept. 13-Oct. 20, 2002, an exhibition of work by 25 emerging Philadelphia artists. The selection was made collaboratively by curators from the Philadelphia Museum, the ICA, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Art Center and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among others. The artists: Amy Adams, Selena Beaudry, Gabriel Boyce, Ed Brogna, Justin Bursk, Stephen Cartwright, Dominic Episcopo, Daniel Heyman, Nadia Hironaka, Melissa Ho, Amy Kauffman, Lois Knobler, Peter Kreider, Loren Marquardt, Rob Matthews, Justin Matherly, Roxana Perez-Mendez, Lee Nyquist, Paul Rodriguez, Mark Shetabi, Matthew Suib, Doug Wolfe, Ben Woodward, Linda Yun and more.
AMERICAN CENTER FUND FOR ARTS RESEARCH
The $40-million, Frank Gehry-designed American Center in Paris, ignominiously shut down in 1996 due to an inability to raise funds, lives on as the American Center Foundation in New York, a grant-making nonprofit "without walls" dedicated to the promotion of contemporary culture and creativity (headed, as was the American Center itself, by Bohen Foundation chief Fred Henry, recently made a trustee at the Guggenheim Museum). The American Center Foundation recently announced $5,000 "Fund for Arts Research" grants to 11 young curators. The winners, with their institutions: Meskerem Assegued, co-director of ArtSpace in Addis Ababa; Hassoum Ceesay, curator at the Gambia National Museum, Banjul, the Gambia; Melissa Chiu, curator of contemporary art at the Asia Society, New York; Alex Farquharson, independent curator, London; Olukemi Ilesanmi, assistant curator at the Walker Art Center; Eugenie Joo, independent curator, New York; Christine Y. Kim, assistant curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem; Jeremy Millar, independent curator, writer and artist, Whitstable, Kent, England; Stéphanie Moisdon Trembley, art theorist and freelance curator, Paris; Victoria Noorthoorn, curator at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; José Roca, curatorial fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia.
WILLIE COLE GETS 2002 SAINT-GAUDENS NOD
New Jersey artist Willie Cole, whose recent work is currently on view at Alexander and Bonin Gallery in New York’s Chelsea art district, has been selected as the 2002 Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellow. The honor includes a $10,000 cash award and a show at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, N.H., in summer 2003.
GIRLS GANG GALLO IN JAPAN
Filmmaker and actor Vincent Gallo finally made a personal appearance at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, where the survey of some 120 of his paintings, photos and drawings is on view July 20-Sept. 29, 2002. "Vincent Gallo Retrospective 1977-2002" had no opening reception, but when Gallo did show up on Sept. 9 for a couple of hours at the supposedly invitation-only, no-photos affair, he was mobbed by hundreds of screaming young Japanese women. Gallo, dressed in a dark brown suit, a white t-shirt and shiny white boots, made a few brief remarks. "In a way I left the art world a long time ago, in the late 1980s, so the pieces [here] are very peripheral to the art world and I'm very grateful that they are all in one place, this beautiful place. . . . I had a similar show in Paris, not quite as good. . . . French people are not quite as sophisticated as Japanese and I was very worried the whole time." Gallo went on to wonder what might would happen to his work if he died, but now, "as long as it's in Japan, it's okay and I can die." After he finished speaking, the young women began crush in upon him and it looked rather dangerous, so the museum curators asked Gallo’s fans to form a line so that he could greet them one by one. The show includes the artist's paintings on manhole covers, which I liked, along with some altered photographs and still lifes painted in a decorative, fresco style.
-- Kay Itoi, Tokyo