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Brazilian artist Vik Muniz is transforming the Brooklyn Academy of Music -- the famous downtown Brooklyn landmark venue for avant-garde performances -- into a giant gingerbread house decorated with jellybean arches, a frieze made of M&Ms and other scrumptious architectural details done in gumdrops, licorice and icing. Muniz's CandyBAM wrapper, as it is called, is in fact a photographic blowup digitally printed onto a massive vinyl that will cover BAMs 300 by 60 foot façade from Oct. 1 through next summer, the duration of a planned restoration of the Beaux Arts structure. The image is based on an actual cake-sized replica of the opera house made with Soutine Bakery. The $170,000-plus project is a collaboration between BAM and the Public Art Fund, and is presented by Target Stores.

A new documentary on famed Correspondance School founder Ray Johnson, titled How to Draw a Bunny, is slated to debut at the Film Forum in Manhattan, Oct. 9-22, 2002. Made by John Walter and Andrew Moore, the film is "framed by Johnson's mysterious suicide in 1995" (he apparently leapt to his death from a bridge) and consists of "a collage of photographs, artworks, interviews, letters and home movies that flow together like a jazz ensemble." In conjunction with the movie, an exhibition of Johnson's art goes on view at Feigen Contemporary in Chelsea, Sept. 26-Oct. 26, 2002.

Art-world old-timers will remember back in the mid-1960s, when Washington, D.C., lent its name to the Washington Color School, a group of painters that includes Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Tom Downing, Howard Mehring, Gene Davis and several others. Now, a pair of retrospectives in the district are allowing a new look at two of the pioneering figures. "Howard Mehring: Classical Abstraction" opens at the Salve Regina Gallery at the Catholic University of America, Sept. 12-Oct. 25. 2002. The paintings in the exhibition, which is organized by art historian Jamie L. Smith, are from the collection of the late Vincent Melzac, former Corcoran Gallery administrative director and noted collector of abstract painting. The second exhibition, also drawn from Melzac's estate, is "Thomas Downing: Origin of the Dot" at Conner Contemporary Art at Dupont Circle, Sept. 24-Oct. 26, 2002. Both exhibitions are accompanied by illustrated catalogues. For more info, contact Smith at or Connor at

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, has unveiled its highly anticipated design, crafted by avant-garde architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, for a four-story, 62,000-square-foot new home at Fan Pier on the Boston waterfront. The new building features a huge "gallery box," clad in translucent glass planks that can be adjusted from transparent to opaque, cantilevered out over the water. The $60-million capital campaign is underway, and $36 million remains to be raised. Opening of the new facility is scheduled for 2006.

Pratt Institute unveils its new ca. 2,500-square-foot exhibition gallery in New York's Chelsea art district (at 144 W. 14th St., second floor, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) with "Extreme Existence," Sept. 13-Nov. 15, 2002. Organized by independent curator Klaus Ottmann, the show "includes works of art that challenge a world barren of passion or decision," Ottmann says. Cuban artist Tania Bruguera is performing at the opening, while Patty Chang performs in the gallery on Oct. 18; other artists in the show include Chantal Ackerman, Lucy Gunning, William Kentridge, Hirsch Perlman, Lotte Konow Lund, Marc Quinn, Andrei Roiter and Bill Viola. Pratt has moved all of its Manhattan programs from the Puck Building in SoHo into the new eight-story structure, which it purchased, according to Nick Battis, Pratt's acting director of exhibitions. The school has more than 4,100 students from 47 states and 70 foreign countries.

DAVID BIERK, 1944-2002
David Bierk, 59, witty conceptualist painter admired for his Old Master technique, died of leukemia on Aug. 28 in his hometown of Peterborough, Ont. Bierk painted sumptuous imaginary landscapes that reflected a 19th-century sensibility, and also made diptychs and triptychs that mixed finely done homages to Ingres or Manet with pictorial references to photographic processes and color theory. Born in Minnesota and raised outside San Francisco, Bierk settled in Peterborough in 1971, where he founded Art Space, an artist-run gallery. A traveling survey of his paintings was mounted at the Montgomery (Ala.) Museum of Fine Arts in 2000; he also exhibited with Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York and Mira Godard Gallery in Toronto.