CHOCOLATE JESUS RESURRECTED
Some stories are like catnip to the tabloid news, and artist Cosimo Cavallaro’s six-foot-tall life-like sculpture of a nude "chocolate Jesus" is one of them. Since the 46-year-old sculptor announced his forthcoming exhibition, "Chocolate Saints. . . Sweet Jesus," Oct. 27-Nov. 24, 2007, at the Proposition gallery on West 22nd Street in New York’s Chelsea art district, more than 180 news outlets have rushed to report the event. The Sydney Morning Herald headlined its news item "Hot Cross Buns," while the Toronto Sun went with "Chocolate That’s Simply Divine." The Big Apple’s own AM New York chimed in with "Tasteless Display."
"Chocolate Jesus Resurrected" was another special favorite. Seven months ago, during Easter week, Cavallaro attempted to exhibit the chocolate sculpture at the Lab Gallery in the Roger Smith Hotel on Lexington Avenue, but the show was canceled after protests -- and threats of violence -- from Catholic activists [see Artnet News, Mar. 30, 2007]. This time around, the Catholic League and other defenders of the faith may give the show a pass, on the grounds of location (over in the wilds of Chelsea) and timing (not during a religious festival).
In addition to the crucified Christ, the new exhibition at the Proposition features smaller sculptures of eight saints, all made of solid milk chocolate. "The works actually resemble Baroque bronzes, except in chocolate," said Ronald Sosinski, director of the gallery. The show is organized by Paul Bridgewater. "Depictions of Jesus in plastic or wood are what I find offensive," Cavallaro told AM New York. "With my work, you don’t want it to melt, so you have to be more aware of the time you have with it. It’s more alive."
The Christ is priced at $50,000 in an edition of two, while the saints are $1,800 each in editions of 400; a full set of saints is $8,000.
MOMA ACQUISITIONS, PROGRAMS FOR 2008
Every once in a while the august Museum of Modern Art rounds up the local art press for "cocktails with Glenn Lowry," in which the museum director makes a brief presentation pointing up the museum programs present and future. Such a get-together was recently held in a huge vacant gallery on MoMA’s second floor, with the beginnings of the forthcoming Martin Puryear retrospective visible around the corner in the atrium.
After noting that it takes an "extraordinary" board of trustees to enable an "extraordinary" staff to make the museum what it is, Lowry complimented his veteran department heads, including John Elderfield (painting and sculpture), Peter Galassi (photography), Deborah Wye (prints and illustrated books) and Kynaston McShine (the "sage" of the institution), and then went on to boast of the museum’s "new generation" of talented curators, including Barry Bergdoll (architecture and design), Klaus Biesenbach (media), Connie Butler (drawings), Andres Lepik (architecture and design), Christian Rattemeyer (drawings) and Rajendra Roy (film).
While outlining the upcoming exhibition schedule, Lowry also noted that the museum is striving more than ever to be a global institution, working in South Africa, India, Japan and China as well as the U.S. and Europe. Also on the increase is a new interdepartmental approach to the collection (which Lowry said was spearheaded by Biesenbach), illustrated by acquisitions of bodies of works by Francis Alÿs and William Kentridge that cut across disciplines. One such acquisition is Kentridge’s Preparing the Flute (2005), the working model of his set for Mozart’s The Magic Flute, exhibited at Marian Goodman Gallery in 2006.
Other recent MoMA acquisitions include two paintings by Jasper Johns, including a flagstone diptych from 2005 and a 2006 collage; Richard Serra’s To Lift (1967), a sheet of heavy rubber pulled into a parabolic shape that Lowry said was a precursor of Serra’s large steel works; and Kara Walker’s first large-scale wall silhouette piece, Gone, An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart (1994), currently on view at the artist’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum.
Other acquisitions included works by Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Andreas Gursky, Zhang Huan, Neo Rauch, Lin TianMiao and Robert Ryman. And last but not least, the museum received a collection of some 250 prints, books, posters, photographs and other ephemera from the legendary Art & Project Gallery in Amsterdam, a pioneer in Conceptual Art, from gallery co-founder Adriaan van Ravesteijn. (As it happens, a show of Art & Project Bulletins is currently on view at David Platzker's Specific Object at 601 West 26th Street.)
The next big show from the permanent collection to be installed in the second-floor "kunsthalle" galleries is "Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1970 to Now," Nov. 21, 2007-July 28, 2008, organized by Deborah Wye. Opening at the same time is "New Perspectives in Latin American Art, 1930-2006," a presentation of some 200 acquisitions made over the last ten years organized by MoMA Latin American art curator Luis Pérez-Oramas.
Design curator Paola Antonelli’s next show is "Design and the Elastic Mind," Feb. 24-May 12, 2008, featuring approximately "200 examples of successful translation of disruptive innovation based on ongoing research." From painting and sculpture curator Ann Temkin we have "Color Chart: Reinventing Color 1950 to Today," Mar. 2-May 12, 2008, featuring works by about 40 artists ranging from Ellsworth Kelly and Gerhard Richter to Sherrie Levine and Damien Hirst. The exhibition, which is sponsored by Benjamin Moore Paints, will remind art-world old-timers of the Whitney Museum’s early 1970s show, "Color as Structure."
MoMA’s next big architecture show, titled "Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling," July 20-Oct. 20, 2008, an installation of "factory-produced architectures" in the vacant lot to the west of the museum.
Further down the road are exhibitions of "Van Gogh at Night," Sept. 21, 2008-Jan. 5, 2009; Aernout Mik, Oct. 21, 2008-Jan. 19, 2009; "Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937," Nov. 2, 2008-Jan. 12, 2009; Marlene Dumas, Dec. 7, 2008-Feb. 16, 2009; Martin Kippenberger, Mar. 1-May 11, 2009; and Ron Arad, Aug. 2-Oct. 19, 2009.
RXART BALL FOR 2007
A good place for collectors is this year’s RxArt Ball, which presents over 80 contemporary artworks at Phillips, de Pury & Co. on Oct. 25, 2007. The gala benefit features a "publicity" work by Richard Prince depicting everyone’s favorite Playboy pinup blonde, Jenny McCarthy (est. $55,000), along with works by Dan Colen, Marilyn Minter, Tom Sachs, Rirkrit Tiravanija and more. Works are sold via silent auction following cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; also on hand is a Kate Spade room with an old-fashioned ice cart serving ice treats. Tickets begin at $250 -- and come with a photographic jigsaw puzzle designed by photographer Terry Richardson. The nonprofit RxArt purchases artworks for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to provide a more creative surrounding for patients. For more details, see www.rxart.net
DEALERS TEAM UP FOR JAPANESE ART EXHIBITION
Another mini-art fair for your uptown rounds. The Japanese Art Dealers Association, a trade group in New York, is holding its first joint exhibition in New York, "Select Masterworks from JADA: The Japanese Art Dealers Association," billed as a brief glimpse of the Japanese art market from a 7th-century Bodhisattva to 19th-century robes worn by socialites. Among the choicer offerings is Maruyama Ōkyo’s 12-foot-long screens, Tiger and Dragon, last seen in the Asian Art Museum’s "Traditions Unbound: Groundbreaking Painters of the Eighteenth-Century Kyoto." Prices for the works -- which also include hand scrolls and hanging scrolls and ceramics -- range from the mid-five figures to the mid-seven figures, with the high end not all that uncommon in the largely private and terribly discreet market. "Select Masterworks from JADA" is open Oct. 18-21 at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion/Ukrainian Institute, 2 East 79th Street. For more info on the exhibition, see www.jada-ny.org.
NEWARK ARTISTS SALUTE CRANE
It’s time for Newark to shine! With the support of the Newark Arts Council, curator Omar Lopez-Chahoud has marshaled together 66 artists to create new work referencing Newark native son Stephen Crane, the 19th-century writer whose The Red Badge of Courage is a classic novel of the Civil War. The whole thing takes place at the National Newark Building at 744 Broad Street, Oct. 28-Dec. 9, 2007. Participants are Manuel Acevedo, Olga Adelantado, Nils Folke Anderson, Chelsea Beck, Robert Beck, Michael Bilsborough, Nina Lola Bachhuber, Marylou and Jerome Bonjiorno, Chakaia Booker, Javier Cambre, Brendan Carroll, Mary Ellen Carroll, Cesar Cornejo, Kevin Darmanie, Michael DeLucia, Raul deNieves, Dan Devine, Christoph Draeger, Dahlia Elsayed, Adriana Farmiga, Asha Ganpat, Aunrico Gatson, Jeffrey Gibson, Kate Gilmore, Danny Glix, Mark Golamco, Rashawn Griffin, Akintola Hanif (Hyze), Rachel B. Hayes, Fred Holland, Scott Hug, Sarah Hughes, Timothy Hutchings, Curt Ikens, Daniel Joglar, Ben Jones, Gregor Kregar, Larry Krone, Molly Larkey, Simone Leigh, Rachel Mason, Fernando Mastrangelo, Robert Melee, Issa Nyaphaga, William Oliwa, Edgar Orlaineta, William A. Ortega, Todd Pavlisko, Micki Pellerano, Jayne Anne Phillips, Eric Sall, Kevin Sampson, David Scanavino, Erin Shirreff, Alejandra Seeber, Ruijun Shen, Ethan Shoshan, Xaviera Simmons, Shinique Smith, Scott Taylor, Pedro Velez, Roberto Visani, Emma Wilcox, Noelle Lorraine Williams and Bryan Zanisnik.
GUTMANN FELLOWSHIP TO SEXTON
Brooklyn-based photographer Allison Sexton -- a 2006 graduate of Yale University -- has won the 2007 John Gutmann Photography Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation. The fellowship, which goes to "an emerging artist in the field of creative photography who exhibits professional accomplishment, serious artistic commitment, and financial need," comes with a $10,000 prize. The curious can find out more about Sexton at her MySpace and Friendster profiles.