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Artnet News
Jan. 3, 2008 

The College Art Association holds its 96th annual convention at the Adam’s Mark Hotel in Dallas, Feb. 20-23, 2008, and one highlight of the opening convocation is the announcement of the winners of CAA’s "awards for distinction" for 2008. Of special interest to Artnet News is the Frank Jewett Mather award for art criticism, which goes this year to Chris Kraus, who isn’t so much an art critic as an experimental filmmaker and fiction writer (though she is credited as co-author of "LA Artland: Contemporary Art from Los Angeles," which sank rather quickly beneath the waves).

The theory in these parts is that the art historians in CAA hate working art critics, who get to have all the fun, and have therefore tended in recent years to give the award instead to art dealers (Garth Clark in 2005), artists (Gregg Bordowitz in 2006, the Guerrilla Girls in 2004, Peter Halley in 2001) and even museum curators (Okwui Enwezor in 2006). Though perhaps this is all sour grapes; Jerry Saltz did take home the prize in 2007 and his wife, Roberta Smith, won the award in 2003.

At any rate, the winners of the ten other CAA awards are Robert Herbert (lifetime writing on art), Sylvia Sleigh (lifetime artist achievement), Yoko Ono (distinguished body of work), Elizabeth S. Bolman (scholarship and conservation), Wu Hung (teaching of art history), Ronald Leax (teaching of art), Simon Leung (Art Journal award), Fabio Barry (Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for an article in the Art Bulletin), Elizabeth C. Mansfield (Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, for Too Beautiful to Picture: Zeuxis, Myth and Mimesis) and Sarah Greenough and Diane Waggoner (Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award for the exhibition catalogue The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978).

The International Association of Art Critics (AICA) has announced the winners of its 20th annual round of awards, recognizing the best of the 2006-07 season in the art world. On the national scene, the touring Kara Walker survey currently at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Oct. 11, 2007-Feb. 3, 2008, organized by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, takes the top honor for a monographic show, while "The Geometry of Hope:  Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection," organized by the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin and recently seen at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, gets the top nod for a traveling thematic show.

Top museums and veteran galleries are both cited. The Metropolitan Museum takes best architecture or design show for "Poiret: King of Fashion," May 9, 2007-Aug. 5, 2007, while the Museum of Modern Art grabs best historical show for "Manet and the Execution of Maximilian," Nov. 5, 2006-Jan. 29, 2007. L.A.’s Margo Leavin Gallery wins the honor for a commercial gallery exhibition for its show of John Baldessari, Apr. 7-May 5, 2007.

One quirk of the AICA awards is that they also have entire parallel categories simply for local chapters to honor their institutions. Thus, in the New York categories, the Met also gets honored for "Glitter and Doom," its survey of Weimar-era German painting and sculpture, as "Best Thematic Museum Show in New York City," while the Whitney takes "Best Monographic Show in New York" for its exhibition of Gordon Matta-Clark. The Madison Avenue gallery Francis F. Naumann Fine Art gets a much-deserved nod for its "Daughters of New York Dada" as "Best Show in a Commercial Gallery in New York."

The official awards ceremony, which is open to the public, takes place at the Guggenheim Museum on Mar. 17, 2008. For more info on AICA, see

Sculptor Janet Echelman ran into a bit of trouble in Arizona in December 2007 when Phoenix deputy city manager Ed Zuercher attempted to put the brakes on her $2.4 million commission to build a public sculpture in a downtown park connected with Arizona State University. Echelman’s untitled project is a 55-foot-tall diaphanous structure made of floating nets suspended from three towers, an incredible construction that nevertheless sparked plenty of controversy. Opponents claimed that the work was too expensive, and that its construction would delay the park’s opening -- not to mention that it looks like a "floating cow pie/jellyfish," according to a comment on the Arizona Republic’s website. At present, construction is slated to continue, following a 5-3 city council vote approving the project. "Unconventional art has always been the sign of a great city," Echelman said to channel 12 news in Phoenix.  

Art world superpatron Eli Broad was among the year’s top philanthropists, according to a list just published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. His $175-million pledge to his namesake foundations -- which include the Broad Art Foundation -- ranked as the eighth biggest charitable donation of the year, just below George Soros’ $200 million gift to his own foundation.

Sometime Artnet Magazine columnist Ana Finel Honigman has her name in the news for co-curating an exhibition devoted to artists from the Saatchi Gallery’s online "YourGallery" website at the Sara Tecchia Roma New York in New York, Dec. 18-Jan. 26, 2008. Along with Saatchi curator Rebecca Wilson, Honigman selected a dozen artists to watch from the Saatchi website’s capacious catalogue (though it includes some names you know, like Eric Doeringer). The job required long hours of studio visits, according to a report in the Village Voice. "It had this Internet-dating aspect," Honigman said, "where it was like shorter or older or a little more psycho or boring in person than it seemed on the profile, but a lot of it was incredible."

Michael Goldberg, 83, veteran member of the New York School who explored the vicissitudes of painting for more than 50 years, died in New York on Dec. 30. Dubbed "a quintessential mixture of machismo and sensitivity" by one interviewer, from his studio on the Bowery (and later in Tuscany) Goldberg put paint and canvas through their paces, with works that often included vigorous brushstrokes, elements of collage and a sense of color that could be subtle or brusque. "Michael Goldberg wants to keep changing, even to reverse directions," wrote Bill Berkson in "Michael Goldberg Paints a Picture" in 1964, an article in the legendary Artnews magazine series.

A student of Hans Hofmann and José De Creeft and a member of the Artists Club in the 1950s, Goldberg took part in the legendary "Ninth Street Show" in 1951 and had his first solo show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1953. Over the years he also exhibited in New York with Poindexter, Martha Jackson, Sonnabend, Lennon Weinberg and, most recently, Knoedler, as well as galleries around the world. A friend of the poet and art critic Frank O’Hara, Goldberg makes a guest appearance in O’Hara’s celebrated poem from 1971, "Why I Am Not a Painter."

Tracey Albainy, 45, senior curator of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, died in Cleveland on Dec. 18 after a long battle with lung cancer. A Smith College grad with MA degrees from both NYU and Parsons School of Design, Albainy served on the curatorial staffs of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among her many museum associations. She was coordinating curator of the Boston MFA’s current exhibition, "Symbols of Power: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style, 1800-1815."

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