CHECK YOUR PACKAGE AT THE DOOR: NEW MUSEUM
New York artist David Livingston was turned away from the New Museum after attempting to enter the building wearing a six-foot-long flaccid pink felt penis. Video of the stunt, dubbed Big Dick and part of series of such performances Livingston has been executing in "various New York neighborhoods," has gained Livingston a definite following, though as it happens the clip is relatively uneventful -- the artist marches casually in, and is turned away by a guard, who warns him, "Sir, you have to check that package." Video is here.
Writing to the Bowery Boogie website, Livingston explained his motivations: "I am fascinated by my sudden transformation from anonymous pedestrian to attention-grabbing street performer." Well, having a six-foot penis will do that! As for the New Museum, the institution clarified its policy, via Twitter, to Artnet: "re: enormous package, Museum policy requires visitors to check backpacks + all items larger than 11 x 17 inches."
HADEN-GUEST LOSES ART COLLECTION IN STORAGE SNAFU
Ubiquitous art journalist and scenester Anthony Haden-Guest has lost his entire art collection, said to be worth more than $1 million, after he fell behind in his monthly payments to a New York storage facility -- a mere $1,350 in all -- and the contents were sold off at auction. "30 years of everything," wailed Haden-Guest to the New York Post. The legendary man-about-town stored his art, as well as assorted books, furniture and clothing in a rental space at a Long Island City branch of Public Storage during a recent move back to London. The entire trove, which supposedly consisted of more than 100 pieces of art, including works by Donald Baechler, Ashley Bickerton and David Salle, was sold to a single, as-yet-unknown buyer.
NEW MIAMI ART MUSEUM IN TROUBLE?
The Miami Art Museum’s dramatic new $202-million Herzog & De Meuron building in Millennium Park may never be built, or so say headlines in the Miami New Times. Fundraising is lagging for the wacky new design (which features hanging gardens and galleries open to the elements), with donations standing at $30 million instead of the $45 million previously reported. What’s more, half of the $30 million is said to be "pledges" that may not be fulfilled -- in fact, back in December, local collector Ella Cisneros and her daughter Mariela, both MAM trustees, left the board, taking with them their $5 million pledge (consequently, MAC @ MAM, a partnership launched in 2006 between MAM and the Cisneros Foundation, is no more). City officials, too, are said to be having second thoughts about the endeavor.
A more important defector, perhaps, was MAM director Terry Riley, who suddenly quit the museum in October of 2009. He told the New Times that he left due to the growing demands of the project. "It's more complex politically than virtually any other project I'm aware of," he told the paper, calling the undertaking a possible "career tragedy." Riley remains on the MAM payroll, albeit as a consultant (possibly a highly paid one, according to the New Times, which reports that $20 million has been spent on the new building already). Officially, the museum is undeterred, and says it plans to open in 2013.
$190K FOR HORSE PAINTING IN HOUSTON
If you’re one of those people who hangs on every sign that the art market may be "coming back," have we got a symbol for you! According to the Houston Chronicle, for the first time ever at this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a work of art fetched more than the top steer, "traditionally the lead money winner." Sold during a student art auction at the fair, the canvas in question went for a staggering $190,000, topping the price paid for 2010’s "grand champion steer," a measly $175,000. It is an oil painting by 15-year-old Christy Beltz, titled A Piece of Heaven, depicting a grazing horse.