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The weeklong International Art + Design Fair, Sept. 25-30, 2003, has opened at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue with 40 dealers in 20th- and 21st-century fine art, furniture, jewelry and more. The dealers largely hail from the U.S., London and Paris, though the fair also boasts dealers from Brussels, Vnersborg, Sweden, and Milan. Breathtaking jewels can be found at the booths of Vronique Bamps (Belgium), Camilla Dietz Bergeron (New York), J. Mave & Co. (New York), Sabbadini (New York and Milan) and Somlo Antiques (London), while rare examples of modernist furniture are on view at Calderwood Gallery (Philadelphia), Jacques de Vos Gallery (Paris), Graham (London), Anne Hauck Art Deco (Los Angeles), Jourdan Antiques (New York), Karl Kemp Antiques (New York), Maison Gerard (New York), R 20th Century (New York) and Two Zero C Applied Art (London).

"The best thing in the show," proclaimed Sotheby's 20th-century design chief James Zemaitis, who was at the gala reception on Sept. 24, "is the Angelo Mangiarotti round marble table at R 20th Century. It was ahead of its time when MoMA put it into its 1972 'New Domestic Landscape' show and it's ahead of its time now." Among the other eye-catching items on view are gleaming silver aluminum multiples of Coca-Cola bottles and Minnie Mouse dolls by English Pop artist Clive Barker at Whitford Fine Art and a four-panel, 81-inch-tall painted screen by the quirky Italian designer Pietro Fornasetti at Karl Kemp. Made in ca. 1951, the screen shows a trompe l'oeil gentleman's wardrobe, complete with golf clubs, riding boots and shotguns, plus suspenders and ties hanging out of half-open drawers.

Cook Fine Art brought an interesting mix of contemporary and vintage photographs and mid-century moderne furniture, including a large color photograph of a teenager by Sara Jones, a 1967 black-and-white of an animated Penelope Tree by Richard Avedon, an antique mirrored console by Serge Roche from ca. 1938 and a prototype Fiorenza lounge chair, ca. 1948-52, by Franco Albini.

Among the art dealers at the fair is New York's own Forum Gallery, which installed its booth with the enchanting architectural dioramas of the 71-year-old Paris-based artist Charles Matton. Usually depicting an artist's studio or a book-filled library -- though the fair is debuting a new work that incorporates a digital film -- Matton's meticulous miniature constructions have what Artforum critic David Frankel called "a voluptuary's sense of and skill with light." The solo show includes 14 boxes, ranging in price from $20,000 to $40,000.

Another first-time exhibitor at the fair is Charles Jeffreys Posters and Graphics from London, which celebrates "Swinging London" in its small space at the fair with a collection of psychedelic posters. Ranging in price from $350 on up, the attractions include a huge 1967 candy-colored silkscreen poster of John Lennon by Larry Smart and, from the same year, a poster from Oz Magazine for a rally to legalize pot (that during the preview drew the attention of Chelsea dealer Matthew Marks).

The gala opening benefited the Museum of Modern Art's department of architecture and design, and MoMA provided the special loan exhibition as well -- an unusual alliance between the museum and the art dealers' fair that observers attribute to the museum's desire to raise its visibility while its midtown facility is closed for expansion. Centerpiece of the MoMA display is a gleaming red Italian Cisitalia 202 CT sports car, made of aluminum and complete with Bakelite fittings on the dash, designed by Pinin Farina in 1946.

The International Art + Design Fair, which was launched in 1999, is one of four fairs organized by Anna and Brian Haughton. General admission is $16, and includes a copy of the fair catalogue.

Hot ticket for next month is "Black Belt," Oct 15, 2003-Jan. 4, 2004, at the Studio Museum in Harlem, for which star curator Christine Y. Kim has assembled works by 19 contemporary artists reflecting a fascination with Bruce Lee, Kung Fu and Eastern martial arts imagery. With this pop material as a starting point, the curator says, "the artists in 'Black Belt' explore the continuum of cultural exchanges between Eastern tradition and philosophy and the evolution of polyethnic and transcultural American culture and identity." Artists in the show include Mark Bradford, Sanford Biggers, Iona Rozeal Brown, Patty Chang, Y. David Chung, David Diao, Sean Duffy, Ellen Gallagher, Rico Gatson, Luis Gispert, David Hammons, David Huffman, Arthur Jafa, Michael Joo, Glenn Kaino, Clarence Lin, Kori Newkirk, Paul Pfeiffer, Cynthia Wiggins and Roy Williams. A 100-page, illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

The Dutch art collective Atelier Van Lieshout, headed by artist Joep van Lieshout, has announced plans for a new international AVL Prize for Pigheaded Artists. Targeting artists who are "the most self-determined and uncompromising," the award consists of a cash grant of 7,000 euros and a yellow polyester trophy designed by AVL. Noting that the jury process often entails compromises, the group is using a jury of one for its award; the juror for the 2003 prize, due to be announced soon, is Wayne Baerwaldt, director of the Power Plant in Toronto.

The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore opens its new $20-million, 61,000-square-foot Brown Center for Digital Art & Design on Oct. 17, 2003. Named for patrons Eddie and Sylvia Brown, the crystalline, white-glass-sheathed structure is designed by architect Charles Brickbauer with the firm of Ziger/Snead LLP. The new center includes a 60-foot-high atrium, a 550-seat hall and studios and classrooms for undergrad students in experimental animation, interactive media and video, as well as for new MFA programs in photography, digital arts and in graphic design, the last headed by Cooper-Hewitt curator Ellen Lupton.

Tourists visiting "Manet/Velazquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting" at the Metropolitan Museum, Mar. 4-June. 29, 2003, spent a total of $368 million in New York City, according to a museum survey. Of the exhibition's 553,000 visitors, 72 percent traveled to the city from outside the five boroughs -- 17 percent from the Metropolitan area outside the city, 41 percent from the rest of the U.S. and 14 percent from foreign countries. Approximately 49 percent of the out-of-town visitors to the museum said that the exhibition was a deciding factor in their travel. The Met's study of visitors to last year's "Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman" estimated that the tourists spent $220 million.

Meanwhile, the Met has also announced that it plans to stay open on major Monday holidays this year, including Columbus Day (Oct. 13), the Monday between Christmas and New Year's (Dec. 29), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 19), President's Day (Feb. 16) and Memorial Day (May 31). The Met has been closed to the public on Mondays for the last 30 years. What's more, as a special attraction for Columbus Day and the participants in the annual parade, the museum is putting on view its 16th-century painting by Sebastiano del Piombo, Portrait of a Man, Said to Be Christopher Columbus.

Visitors to scenic Long Island to pick up a pumpkin and other autumn goodies at the farm stands can stop by the Vered Gallery in East Hampton, N.Y., to catch the exhibition of works by Milton Avery, which has been extended to Oct 15, 2003. For more details, see the gallery website at

New York artist Steve Mumford, who has been in Iraq the last month writing and illustrating the "Baghdad Journal" for Artnet Magazine, is exhibiting the original drawings and watercolors from the project at Postmasters on West 19th Street in New York's Chelsea art district. "Steve Mumford in Iraq: Drawing from Life" is scheduled to open Oct. 23, 2003.

Comic figurative artist Elliott Green, whose new work is currently on view at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, Sept. 4-Oct. 4, 2003, has set up a new, animated website for his work at . . . And the Photorealist specialist Bernarducci Meisel Gallery on West 57th Street has set up its equally jazzy new website at