FORMER SPY OPENS EAST SIDE ART GALLERY
A new entry on your Upper East Side gallery tour is M. Sutherland Fine Arts, which opened at 55 East 80th Street with a show of recent paintings by Hsia I-fu, Sept. 18-Nov. 9, 2002. The principal, Martha Sutherland, is a Princeton art historian who speaks fluent Mandarin and spent 18 years as a clandestine officer in the CIA directorate of operations, with postings in Beijing, Hong Kong and other points East. Now retired from the diplomatic corps, and after several years as a private dealer. Sutherland has opened her own townhouse gallery to handle contemporary masters of traditional Chinese painting, or guohua. The 76-year-old landscape painter I-fu, who left China for Taiwan in 1947, is the subject of a retrospective at the Taiwan National History Museum, opening next month. Other artists on tap Sutherland are Jia Youfu, Beijing Painting Academy head Long Rui and Taiwan artist Hsu Kuohwang.
CINCINNATI MORGUE ARTIST OUT ON APPEAL Thomas Condon, the young Cincinnati artist who was sentenced to 30 months in jail for taking photographs of corpses in the county morgue as part of an art project, has been released on appeal (see Artnet News, 7/30/02). Further hearings in his case are slated for later this year. In the meantime, protests against his sentence are gaining momentum, with the National Coalition against Censorship circulating a petition urging his release. An exhibition of his work at the Carnegie Art Center in Covington, Ken. -- planned prior to the brouhaha -- opens on Oct. 24, 2002. The morgue photographs are still being held as evidence and are not included.
MIDEAST TENSIONS HIT QUEENS MUSEUM SHOW
The Queens Museum of Art, which opened the bridge-building "Queens International" exhibition, Aug. 11-Nov. 3, 2002, to emphasize the many cultures cohabiting in the borough of Queens, now finds itself caught up in a bit of a controversy about the Middle East. After a museum visitor objected to anti-Israel statements in a pamphlet that was part of an installation by Palestinian-American artist Emily Jacir, the museum asked the artist to display the pamphlet under glass rather than letting visitors help themselves -- prompting protests of censorship from the artist. "Our position is that Jacir is an interesting artist who lives in Queens," museum director Tom Finkelpearl told the Jewish Press. "And the museum doesn't want to censor." The pamphlet is a reproduction of one originally distributed at the Jordanian Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, and includes a poem lamenting the U.N. partition of Palestine in 1948. Jacir's installation also includes a Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages Which Were Destroyed, Depopulated and Occupied by Israel in 1948 (2001), a refugee tent embroidered with Palestinian names. Jacir is slated for a show at Debs & Co. in Manhattan's Chelsea art district in the spring of 2003.
ARTISTS JOIN ANTIWAR EFFORT
Several top contemporary artists have joined celebrities, academics and political figures in signing a highly public petition protesting the potential U.N. invasion of Iraq. Called "Not in Our Name" and appearing today as a full-page ad in the New York Times, the petition expresses support for the regime of Saddam Hussein ("nations have the right to determine their own destiny") and seems to object to the battle against terrorism in Afghanistan, the Philippines and Israel. Signers include art-world stars Laurie Anderson, Leon Golub, Barbara Kruger, Lucy Lippard, Linda Nochlin, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist and Kiki Smith along with notorious peace-niks like Ramsey Clark, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said and Howard Zinn. "Let it not be said that people in the United States did nothing when their government declared a war without limit and instituted stark new measures of repression," says the loony-left ad -- which ordinarily would cost around $100,000.
CONNER DVD FOR CHARITY
Legendary 1960s San Francisco artist Bruce Conner, treated to a two-part retrospective at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1998-2000, has transferred eight of his 16 mm films to an hour-long DVD -- and is making the disk available for a $50 donation to either City Harvest, Coalition for the Homeless or the Robin Hood Foundation. The films, which date from 1963-81, include Breakaway, The White Rose and Marilyn Times Five. The DVD is available from Susan Inglett Gallery at 100 Wooster Street. Conner, who shows in L.A. with Michael Kohn Gallery, will be exhibiting works from the "Dennis Hopper One-Man Show, Vol. II," at Inglett in January 2003.
CRITIC MAKES "GESTURE"
Artnet News likes to encourage art galleries that hire art critics to curate shows, so kudos to Neuhoff Gallery in the Fuller Building on West 57th Street, which is presenting a group show titled "The Gesture," Sept. 17-Oct. 19, 2002. Organized by freelance critic and former U. of Rochester art-history prof Robert C. Morgan, the exhibition takes a new look at "action painting" and includes works by Mark di Suvero, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell along with a historical perspective on gestural art shown through Chinese calligraphic brushwork by Fung Ming-Chip and Wenda Gu.
CHASSÉRIAU IN NEW YORK
The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils the first U.S. retrospective of works by the French painter Théodore Chassériau (1819-1856), Oct. 22, 2002-Jan. 5, 2003. Organized by Vincent Pomarède, the director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, "The Unknown Romantic" features 54 paintings and 82 works on paper by the eccentric academic, who is considered one of Ingres' outstanding pupils and died prematurely at age 37. The show, which subsequently appears in Paris and Strasbourg, includes large-scale decorative paintings for public Parisian buildings to erotic Orientalist works. The exhibition is underwritten by the Isaacson-Draper Foundation and accompanied by a full catalogue published by Yale University Press.
BERNARD OF HOLLYWOOD IN NEW YORK
With Britney Spears dominating the pop music charts and the Museum of Sex ready to open to the public in New York City, it's about time for a good hard look at the father of the pin-up -- Bernard of Hollywood. Opening at Staley-Wise Gallery in New York's SoHo district, Sept. 27-Oct. 26, 2002, is "Bernard of Hollywood: The Ultimate Pin-up," an exhibition of color photographs by Bruno Bernard, who fled Nazi Germany in 1937 to become a leading Hollywood photographer. His studio, established in Las Vegas and Palm Springs as well as Los Angeles, helped launch the careers of Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Anita Ekberg and Marlene Dietrich. He died in 1987. Bernard's daughter, Susan Bernard, is also publishing The Ultimate Pin-up Book, a book of his photos, with Taschen this fall.
UNCLE TOM AT N-Y HISTORICAL SOCIETY
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe's influential anti-slavery epic, Uncle Tom's Cabin, which has evolved from an early abolitionist touchstone to a controversial source of racist stereotypes and more. Examining the complex history of the novel is "Reading Uncle Tom's Image: A Reconsideration of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 150 Year-Old Character and His Legacy" at the New-York Historical Society, Oct. 1, 2002-Feb 9, 2003. Organized by N-YHS historian Kathleen Hulser, the exhibition includes 25 different early editions of the novel, abolitionist pamphlets, proslavery books, six sculptural figure groups by John Rogers (1829-1904) depicting scenes from the book and six crayon studies by avant-garde artist Kara Walker, titled The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven (1995).
STUART DAVIS AT THE MORGAN
On view now at the Morgan Library is "Stuart Davis: Art and Theory, 1920-31," Sept. 10-Dec. 15, 2002. The small exhibition of 12 works is organized by CUNY prof Diane Kelder and showcases two new acquisitions: Davis' earliest known diary from 1920-22, which contains the artist's early thoughts on color theory and the use of language and signs in painting, and a sketchbook dated 1926. The intact sketchbook includes 74 sketches; the journal has previously been unpublished. The show is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
CARROLL DUNHAM AT NEW MUSEUM
The New Museum of Contemporary Art presents 40 paintings by Carroll Dunham (b. 1949) in the artist's first major museum survey, Oct. 31, 2002-Feb. 2, 2003. Co-curated by New Museum director Lisa Phillips and senior curator Dan Cameron, the exhibition covers 20 years, ranging from early abstractions with representational elements to his more recent primordial landscapes peopled with sexually violent caricatures of men and women. The show's 160-page catalogue includes an interview with the artist by Matthew Ritchie and a short story inspired by Dunham's paintings by A.M. Homes.
LIEBMANMAGNAN TO CLOSE LiebmanMagnan, the adventurous gallery that opened on 552 West 24th Street in Chelsea five years ago, is shutting its doors on Sept. 27, 2002. Dealers Penny Liebman Aaron and Kathy Finley say that the "economic climate" sunk the enterprise, which included shows of works by Tracey Baran, Tania Bruguera, Luca Buvoli, Maureen Connor and others. The dealers promise to continue working privately; for more info, contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.