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The scholarship is heating up surrounding the only known portrait of Jane Austen (1775-1817), a full-length oil-on-canvas of the celebrated author by Ozias Humphry. Painted in ca. 1790 when the sitter would have been aged about 15 years, the picture fell out of favor early in this century and its attribution is now once again being examined by scholars. It shows Austen with a charming smile on her face, gracefully strolling through a country landscape, wearing a simple white dress and holding a parasol. She wears an octagonal locket, which may contain a portrait of her uncle, who was her patron and protector -- as it happens, according to Brian Stewart, an English portrait expert who is preparing a study of the painting, a character in an Austen story is thought to have a secret lover because of a locket she wears, while it actually contains a memento from her uncle. The portrait has been in the possession of the Austen family or its circle since it was painted; it is currently in New York under the auspices of Timothy Sammons Inc., a London-based art firm that can be reached via email at

Raymond Pettibon has been awarded the 2004 Bucksbaum Award, the $100,000 prize given every other year to an artist chosen from the Whitney Biennial. Pettibon "has created a visual universe that cuts to the core of the American experience and layers it with a collage of voices that combines Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Studs Terkel and Walter Winchell," said jury member Richard Flood, curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Other jurors included Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg, the Biennial's three curators (Chrissie Iles, Shamim M. Momin and Debra Singer), chief curator of the Orange County Museum of Art Elizabeth Armstrong and St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum director Paul Ha. Pettibon also receives an exhibition at the Whitney, slated for 2005.

That big swooshing sound you hear is the planes taking off for Art Chicago 2004, May 7-10, 2004, at Navy Pier in the Windy City. The 12th annual exposition, organized by Thomas Blackman Associates, presents over 150 galleries from around the world boasting works by over 2,500 contemporary and modern artists. The opening night vernissage on May 6 benefits the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; for info on tickets, which begin at $125, see Also on tap on the afternoon of May 8 is a panel of six Chicago critics talking about local art.

Meanwhile, Blackman Associates has extended its net to sweep up younger galleries that specialize in newer art -- thus the Stray Show, May 7-9, 2004, at 1418 N. Kingsbury. Participants include Gallery 400 (Chicago), ATM Gallery (New York), Jeff Bailey Gallery (New York), Cynthia Broan Gallery (New York), Cactus Bra Space (San Antonio), Czech + Slovak Staged Photography (Brooklyn), Galeria Comercial (Puerto Rico), Drawing Project (Chicago/London), Fahrenheit Gallery (Kansas City), False Front (New York), Fresh Up Club (Austin), Garden Fresh (Chicago), General Store (Milwaukee), Hotcakes Gallery (Milwaukee), Hudson Franklin (New York), Gallery HQ (Kansas City), Oliver Kamm 5BE Gallery (New York), Miracle Editions (Chicago), Mule (Chicago), Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (Toronto), M.Y. Art Prospects (New York), New Image Art (Los Angeles), No-Fun (Chicago), No Name Exhibitions@The Soap Factory (Minneapolis), Paragraph (Kansas City), Plus Ultra Gallery (Brooklyn), Plush (Dallas), Polvo Art Studio (Chicago), Rosy Wilde (London), Rudolph Projects (Houston), Sala Diaz (San Antonio), Saltworks Gallery (Atlanta), Sixpace (Los Angeles), the Sophisticated Traveler (Peoria), Suitable (Chicago), Telegraph (Detroit), Telephonebooth (Kansas City), Threewalls (San Antonio), Threewalls (Chicago), Track House (Oak Park), Unit B (Chicago), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Warsaw Project Space (Cincinnati), Western Exhibitions (Chicago), Worm-Hole Laboratory (Miami), Hiromi Yoshii (Tokyo), Zieher Smith (New York). For more info, see

Anna and Brian Haughton's International Fine Art Fair is on tap for the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan, May 7-10, 2004. Over 50 dealers from Europe and the Americas are setting up their booths, including Didier Aaron, Agnews, Jean-Luc Baroni, Katrin Bellinger, Galerie Berès, Bernheimer/Colnaghi, Galerie Cazeau-Béraudire, French & Co., Galerie Hopkins-Custot, Peter Nahum and Adam Williams. Among the highlights are an early Renaissance gold-ground panel painting of the Archangel Michael by Giovanni da Milano at Moretti, a rare oil painting by Richard Dadd called Wandering Musicians at Peter Nahum, and a painting by the Irish artist Patrick Hennessy showing John F. Kennedy leaving Ireland in June 1963 at MacConnal-Mason. The loan exhibition features "Figures by Women Artists" from the New Britain Museum of American Art; the benefit preview on May 6 supports Lenox Hill Neighborhood House; for tickets, contact (S212) 744-5022 x 1282.

Art Frankfurt 2004 is becoming more and more cosmopolitan with an increasingly international roster of 165 galleries from 14 countries, including New York's Gale-Martin Fine Art and Global Art Affairs. This year, the round of "Curator's Choice" exhibitions will focus on artists working in Africa with the African artists and scholars association Camouflage hosting the series with the hope of enhancing a dialogue between African artists and the international art scene. Everything goes up at the Frankfurt Messeturm on May 7-10, 2004. More info can be found

Beautiful but dangerous Mexico City now has its own contemporary art fair. Maco Mexico Arte Contemporaneo, May 12-16, 2004, opens at Centro de Negocios y Comercio de la Ciudad de Mexico in downtown Mexico City, in spaces specially designed by Mexican architect Michel Rojkind. More than 40 galleries from 11 countries are participating: Luis Adelantado (Valencia), Almirante (Madrid), Arena Mexico (Guadalajara), Artcore (Toronto), Arndt & Partner (Berlin), Art & Idea (Mexico City), Ramis Barquet (New York/Monterrey), Ruth Benzacar (Buenos Aires), Josee Bienvenu (New York), La Caja Negra (Madrid), Casaborne (Malaga), Distrito Cuatro (Madrid), Heinrich Erhardt (Madrid), Rosamund Felsen (Santa Monica), Frank (Paris), Fucares (Madrid), GAM (Mexico City), Garash (Mexico City), Graça Brandao (Oporto), Enrique Guerrero (Mexico City) The Happy Lion (Los Angeles), Hilger Contemporary (Viena), Daniel Hug (Los Angeles), I-20 (New York), Jacobo Karpio (San Jose), KBK (Mexico City), Kurimanzutto (Mexico City), Maccarone Inc. (New York), Mixture (Houston), Emma Molina (Monterrey), Mullerdechiara (Berlin), Nelson (Paris), OMR Mexico (Mexico City), Yvonamor Palix (Paris), Play (Berlin), Fernando Pradilla (Madrid), Praxis Mexico (Mexico City), Nara Roesler (Sao Paulo), Oscar Roman Mexico (Mexico City), Alejandro Sales (Barcelona), Shoshana Wayne (Santa Monica), Travesia Cuatro (Madrid), Voges + Partner (Frankfurt), Elga Wimmer (New York), Wohnmaschine (Berlin) and David Zwirner (New York). For more info, see

Democratic senator John Kerry had an interesting source of income on his 2003 tax returns, made public by his presidential campaign -- a $145,000 capital gain from the sale of his one-quarter ownership of a 17th-century Dutch painting. Kerry got his share of Adam Willaerts' The Arrival of Frederick and Elizabeth, Prince and Princess of the Palatinate, at Flushing, 29th April 1613 from his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, who bought the picture about ten years ago in a 50-50 partnership with Connecticut-based art dealer Peter Tillou. "It was an investment," the dealer said, according to a story in the Boston Globe. The pair originally paid about $2 million for the picture; Tillou sold it last year to a collector for $2.7 million. Heinz Kerry and her first husband, the late senator John Heinz, were active art collectors. Kerry's income from his senate job in 2003 was $147,000.

The 54th Carnegie International opens at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Oct. 9, 2004-Mar. 20, 2005. The show is organized by curator Laura Hoptman with advice from a committee that includes Chicago MCA curator Francesco Bonami, Museum of Modern Art drawings curator Gary Garrels, Tokyo-based art critic Midori Matsui, Mexican art critic and Tate Modern adjunct curator Cuauhtemoc Medina and artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. Artists in the show are Tomma Abts, Pawel Althamer, Francis Alys, Karin Andersson, Chiho Aoshima, Kaoru Arima, Kutlug Ataman, Dimitrije Basicevic, John Bock, Lee Bontecou, Robert Breer, Fernando Bryce, Kathy Butterfly, Maurizio Cattelan, Paul Chan, Anne Chu, Robert Crumb, Jeremy Deller, Philip-Lorca Dicorcia, Peter Doig, Trisha Donnelly, Harun Farocki, Saul Fletcher, Isa Genzken, Mark Grotjahn, Rachel Harrison, Carsten Holler, Katarzyna Kozra, Jim Lambie, Julie Mehretu, Senga Nengudi, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Neo Rauch, Nick Relph and Oliver Payne, Ugo Rondinone, Eva Rothschild and Yang Fudong.

SITE Santa Fe's Fifth International Biennial, everyone's favorite exhibition opening in the desert in the middle of summer, July 18, 2004-Jan. 9, 2005, is organized by Robert Storr and titled "Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque." A preliminary list of the artists in the show includes Ricci Albenda, Louise Bourgeois, Charles Burns, Francesco Clemente, Bruce Conner, Robert Crumb, John Currin, Carroll Dunham, James Esber, Inka Essenhigh, Tom Friedman, Ellen Gallagher, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon, Mark Greenwold, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jasper Johns, Kim Jones, Mike Kelley, Maria Lassnig, Sherrie Levine, Christian Marclay, Paul McCarthy, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, Elizabeth Murray, Bruce Nauman, Hermann Nitsch, Jim Nutt, Tony Oursler, Gary Panter, Lamar Peterson, Raymond Pettibon, Lari Pittman, Sigmar Polke, Neo Rauch, Alexander Ross, Susan Rothenberg, Peter Saul, Jenny Saville, Thomas Schütte, Jim Shaw, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Fred Tomaselli, Adriana Varejão, Davor Vrankiè, Kara Walker, John Waters, John Wesley, Franz West and Lisa Yuskavage.

The 65,000 Beck's Futures Award for 2004 has gone to 33-year-old video artist Saskia Olde Wolbers. The prize was presented by Yoko Ono, who designed a limited edition Beck's bottle to commemorate the occasion, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Wolbers, a Chelsea College of Art & Design grad who is represented by Maureen Paley/Interim Art, makes a single surreal narrative video installation each year. Doug Fishbone, a post-graduate student at Goldsmiths College, won the Beck's Futures Student Prize for Film and Video.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art raised $1 million at its annual gala and live auction on Apr. 19, 2004, with some 700 guests crowding into Cipriani on 42nd Street to honor Miami Collector Martin Z. Margulies. Simon de Pury of Phillips, Pury & Co. ran the auction. Among the results: Elizabeth Peyton's Keith sold for $52,000, far above its $9,500 presale estimate; Vik Muniz's Alice Lidell, after Lewis Carroll sold for $30,000, almost double its presale estimate; and Rob Pruitt's Sleepy and Content, a glitter and paint canvas of two lethargic panda bears, sold for $28,000 over an estimated value of $8,000.

Philadelphia mayor John F. Street, facing a $227 million budget gap, wants to cut $4.4 million from the city's arts and culture budget for next year -- including $2.25 million earmarked for the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- and the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance isn't taking it lying down. On Friday, May 7, 2004, arts advocates and artists are gathering at the city's Love Park in a mass protest that begins at 4 pm with the shrouding of the city's Robert Indiana Love sculpture (to symbolize what Philadelphia would be like without arts and culture). Also slated are musical performances, puppet theater, African dance and more. For details, see

Pratt Manhattan Gallery at 144 West 14th Street unveils a survey of industrial design by its own alumni in "Corvettes to Cuisinart: Six Decades of Diversity in Industrial Design," May 15-July 31, 2004. The show is organized by Debera Johnson and Tucker Viemeister, and features work by 60 designers. It is partially funded by . . . Cuisinart.

The Chelsea-based nonprofit space Art Resources Transfer runs the Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program (DUC), which is designed to contribute art books and gallery catalogues to any public library nationally that requests them. The 2004 DUC benefit dinner honors Joel Shapiro and Robert Storr, and is scheduled for Wednesday, May 12, 6:30 pm. Tickets begin at $250; call (212), 255-2919. For more info, see

After four years as curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Lawrence R. Rinder is heading west to the California College of the Arts, where he takes a new post overseeing the graduate division. Rinder, who was in charge of the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennials, continues at the museum as adjunct curator. He is currently planning a mid-career retrospective for L.A. artist Tim Hawkinson, slated to open next February.

Eight artists have been selected to join the 179 year-old National Academy of Arts and Design: sculptor Natalie Charkow, sculptor Bruce Gagnier, painter Leon Golub, painter Mark Greenwold, painter Walter Hatke, painter Reed Kay, painter May Stevens and sculptor John Wilson.

Paris-based painter Carole Benzaken has been awarded the 2004 Marcel Duchamp Prize, a 35,000 Euro cash purse.