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Artnet News
July 23, 2009 

The High Desert does have its own art fair every summer: Art Santa Fe, which kicks off its ninth edition July 23-26, 2009, at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe in the city’s Railyard Art District. Almost 40 dealers are taking part, with some hailing from close to home, like Santa Fe’s own Linda Durham Contemporary Art, and others traveling halfway around the globe, like 418 Gallery from Bucharest and Edel from Osaka. The 2009 keynote speaker is New York Times art critic Michael Kimmelman, whose lecture -- sold out, of course -- focuses on his book, The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa. For a complete list of participating dealers, see

The Canadian auction scene just got a little more crowded -- and acrimonious -- as a seven-year partnership between Sotheby’s and Canada’s Ritchies auction house came apart amid allegations that the latter failed to pay consigners to a May 25 auction of "Important Canadian Art." The deadline for paying out to consignors was July 8, which Ritchies apparently missed, causing Sotheby’s Toronto office to issue a statement stressing that "Ritchies is the auctioneer of record and is contractually responsible for paying out all consignors to the auction," but that "Sotheby’s is communicating with each of those consignors of the May 25th sale that we are voluntarily ensuring that all payments due with respect to that sale will be honored."

The fact that consigners have gone unpaid is not in dispute, though Ritchies head Stephen Ranger emphasizes that "Ritchies has never reneged on paying a consignor -- and we won’t." What is disputed, however, is just who is breaking with whom. Ranger told the Canwest News Service that it was his firm that was terminating the relationship, and stressed to the National Post that the late payments were "not the only issue of contention, unfortunately" -- though did not elaborate further as to what the real issues were. Meanwhile, Sotheby’s Canada head David Silcox has stated that the failure to pay consignors is a "cardinal sin," and is widely quoted as saying that his firm would not renew its contract with Ritchies, which expires on July 31.

Both firms have vowed to carry on with their regular sales of Canadian art independently. The two houses have partnered since 2002 on two sales of Canadian art a year, with their very first collaborative auction generating the $5.2 million sale of a Paul Kane painting (to media baron Kenneth Thomson), still a record for a work of Canadian art at auction. The disputed May 25 sale, in contrast, brought in just $3.5 million overall, with the top lot being a drawing by Lawren Harris, which went for $175,000.

The International Center of Photography unveils "Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video," Oct. 2, 2009-Jan. 17, 2009, showcasing over 100 recent works by 34 artists from 18 countries -- all on the general subject of "fashion" (and costume, clothing, disguise, gender and culture) as a part of ICP year-long investigation of fashion photography. The curatorial team includes Vince Aletti, Kristen Lubben, Christopher Phillips, Carol Squiers and curatorial assistant Judy Ditner.

Participating artists are Yto Barrada, Valérie Belin, Thorsten Brinkmann, Cao Fei, Olga Chernysheva, Nathalie Djurberg, Stan Douglas, Kota Ezawa, Jacqueline Hassink, Hu Yang, Miyako Ishiuchi, Kimsooja, Silvia Kolbowski, Jeremy Kost, Barbara Kruger, Richard Learoyd, Kalup Linzy, Tanya Marcuse, Anne Morgenstern, Wangechi Mutu, Grace Ndiritu, Alice O’Malley, David Rosetzky, Martha Rosler, Julika Rudelius, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Milagros de la Torre, Janaina Tschäpe, Pinar Yolaçan and Zhou Tao.

Charles Thomson
, co-founder of the Stuckists art group, has accused the Tate of cronyism in the appointment of two new artist trustees. The new trustees, Wolfgang Tillmans and Patrick Brill (who makes art as Bob and Roberta Smith), have each been favored with exhibitions, prizes and shows by the Tate, Thomson says, and therefore are "both in a compromised position and quite unsuited for a position of oversight." Serota specifically seeks to appoint younger artists as trustees, who Thompson notes are more likely to have something to gain from Serota’s favor, in contrast to older and more established artists such as Antony Caro, a former Tate trustee. For more info, see

Is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, one of the nation’s foremost encyclopedic museums, experiencing a bout of curatorial brain drain? The Los Angeles Times ran a story suggesting as much, highlighting the fact that LACMA has lost or is losing five curators -- fully 16 percent of its 30-person curatorial team -- to other institutions, while an opening for a specialist in Chinese art has remained unfilled for three years. The LACMA "exodus," as the article terms it, includes photography curator Charlotte Cotton, who departs for the National Media Museum in Bradford, England; contemporary art curator Howard Fox, who retired at the beginning of 2009; Mary Levkoff, curator of European sculpture and antiquities, who left for the National Gallery of Art; prints and drawings curator Kevin Salatino, who heads to Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Me.; and head contemporary art curator Lynn Zelevansky, who became head of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

So, what’s the story? In the same article, LACMA head Michael Govan tells the Times that despite the fact that curatorial staffs nationwide are "likely to shrink" as a result of the recession, and despite the fact that the museum technically has a hiring freeze on, he planned to fill all of the vacancies posthaste. He also indicated that the outflux of talent had less to do with LACMA or the recession than it had to do with a national shortage of qualified museum directors: "There’s a dearth of people who are able to run museums, so highly qualified curators are moving into those jobs." As for the difficulty in attracting a Chinese art specialist, Govan chalked that one up to LACMA’s "less-than-stellar Chinese collection."

This fall, the spirited Swiss auctioneer Simon de Pury is breaking into a second, and third, career. First up, de Pury is opening a show of his own photos called "PUREPURYPOP," Oct. 21-Dec. 31, 2009, at Berlin’s Corner Berlin boutique. Described as "a kaleidoscope of a nomadic existence," the approximately 40 large-format photographs on display are priced at €6,000 each. The show is accompanied by a catalogue which includes not just the images from the show, but also 400 other de Pury works.

And for those who actually make it to the German capital, the show’s debut is highlighted by an event called "PUREPURYPOP," described as "a glitzy and fun party DJ’ed by de Pury himself." According to the press release, "de Pury will set the rhythm and swing to it, sensing the audience’s mood and feeding back into it." The whole affair is organized by Chris Rehberger, founder of Double Standards, a design firm based in Berlin.

The Smithsonian Archives of American Art are presenting painter and sculptor Richard Arschwager, collector Douglas S. Cramer and textile designer, author and collector Jack Lenor Larson with the Archives of American Art Medal as part of the Archives’ annual benefit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City on Oct. 29, 2009. Also being honored is critic and curator Klaus Kertess, who is receiving the Archives’ Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History. For more info, see

Twelve artists have been selected as fellows in the 2009 Edwin Austin Abbey Mural Workshop at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts in New York City. Each artist receives a $1,200 stipend and a place in the four-week-long mural workshop led by Grace Graupe-Pillard at the academy. Winners are Joan Backes, Ed Bisese, Sandy Gellis, Peter Gerakaris, Les Joynes, Carlos Enrique Martinez, Jordanne Renner, Monique Schubert, Roy Secord, Michael Sherman, Draga Susanj and Robin Tewes

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