GAGOSIAN GALLERY AT MOSCOW MALL
Lest there be any doubt the impact that Russian new money is having on the art market, Gagosian Gallery has just opened a special one-off mini exhibition, Oct. 19-28, 2007, at Barvikha Luxury Village outside Moscow. Home to Giorgio Armani, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Tiffany and Prada outlets, the high-end mall is located in a neighborhood known as a base for the new Russian elite. Titled "Insight" and organized by Gagosian director Victoria Gelfand, the traveling exhibition features 40 artworks representing the cream of the Gagosian stable, estimated to be worth $80 million-$90 million in all.
Contemporary works on view include a particularly frenzied 2007 painting by Cecily Brown, John Currin’s porno pastiche Christianina (2007) and a Tom Friedman sculpture made of foam insulation, cardboard and Styrofoam balls, while classic modernism is represented by a Pablo Picasso pastel of a squatting girl, a 1971 Willem de Kooning oil and charcoal on paper and Arshile Gorky’s 1947 abstraction From a High Place. Design art heavyweight Marc Newson is also present with his Wingless Micarta Chair.
According to reports in the Russian press, 60 percent of the art in "Insight" has been pre-sold. One Damien Hirst spot painting was reportedly purchased by Mikhail Friedman, chairman of the Alfa Group, the oil, finance and industrial goods empire that helped bring the exhibition to Russia.
SPEAKER PELOSI HITS THE ART CIRCUIT
Already bête-noire of Republicans everywhere, could a little brush with the fine arts do any harm? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is serving as honorary chair of the 2007 San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, Oct. 24-28, 2007, presenting nearly 70 exhibitors at Fort Mason Center. Among the exhibitors are Axel Vervoordt (Belgium), Iliad Antik (Czech Republic), Mallett (England), Les Enluminures (France), B.B. Steinitz (France) and L’Antiquaire & the Connoisseur, Bauman Rare Books, John Berggruen Gallery, Douglas Dawson Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery and Kentshire Galleries (all U.S.).The preview gala -- tickets begin at $200 -- benefits Enterprise for High School Students, a nonprofit job referral and career development agency. General admission is $15. For more details, see www.sffas.org
OPPENHEIM TOWER AT L.A. POLICE STATION
New York artist Dennis Oppenheim has dedicated a new public artwork at the new headquarters of the Los Angeles Police Department. Titled Multi-Helix Lighthouse Tower, the 45-foot-tall structure of aluminum and blue acrylic is sited by San Pedro Bay and includes a blue revolving light at its apex, acting like a beacon on the horizon. The design of the $250,000 commission refers to the importance of DNA as an investigative tool, both in Hollywood portrayals of high-tech police investigations and in the real-life case of the OJ Simpson trial. "The concept of a tower has a strong historical connection to facilities of protection and control," Oppenheim said. "My tower, however, is not one of surveillance but like a lighthouse, it provides guidance." The police station opens in 2009.
ARMANDO MUSEUM DESTROYED
A blaze ravaged the Armando Museum in the Dutch town of Amersfoort in the early hours of Oct. 22, 2007, finally being extinguished after a 12-hour effort by firefighters. Dedicated to the work of post-war Dutch abstractionist Armando (b. 1929), the museum was housed in a renovated church. About 55 works of art were destroyed in the fire, including important works by the Dutch artist as well as pieces by Albrecht Dürer, Anselm Kiefer, Jacob van Ruisdael and Hercules Seghers that were on loan to the museum. Dutch news reports put the value of the destroyed art in the range of €3 million (Armando’s auction record is $63,969, set earlier this year). The cause of the fire remains unknown at present.
CASTELLI ARCHIVES TO SMITHSONIAN
The Leo Castelli Gallery is history. Literally. The complete archives of the gallery, charting the history of the legendary New York space from 1957 to 1999, has entered into the Smithsonian Institution Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C. The trove includes Castelli’s correspondence with artists he championed, such as Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as sales records for every work of art sold by Castelli, plus clippings, reviews and other Castelli memorabilia. The collection joins similar ones held by the Smithsonian from Paula Cooper Gallery, Andre Emmerich Gallery, and the Downtown Gallery.
Students of the art-dealing business, however, can already find much online at the AAA.SI website, notably complete transcripts of an "oral history" of the gallery done with Castelli, ranging from his thoughts on his part in the rise of New York as an art capital to his experience explaining the mechanics of discounting prints to Roy Lichtenstein.
PANZA ART TO HIRSHHORN
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has acquired 39 works of art from Italian industrialist and contemporary art enthusiast Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. Among the new works entering the Hirshhorn collection are two sets of framed drawings by Hanne Darboven; an environment by California Light and Spacer Doug Wheeler; three "date paintings" by On Kawara from October 1971; a painted aluminum disc, acrylic column and dot painting by Robert Irwin; five early Joseph Kosuth experiments, including the words Self-Defined in white neon and the five-part Box, Cube, Empty, Clear, Glass -- A Description; Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing No. 3; and Bruce Nauman’s early Art Make-Up: No. 1 White, No. 2 Pink, No. 3 Green, No. 4 Black. The collection is valued at $5 million-$7 million, but the museum got it for less, Hirshhorn curator Kerry Brougher told the New York Times.
LOGAN’S MILLIONS FOR CO. ARTS
Kent Logan is going on a charity spree in Colorado. Logan -- a former San Francisco investment executive and, with his wife Vicki, a major patron of contemporary art -- has announced he is giving $1 million each for the endowments of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, the nascent Clyfford Still Museum and the Aspen Art Museum. He is also donating a separate $150,000 to the MCA to sponsor a series of "Logan Conversations, Correspondences and Collaborations" over the next three years -- a program of dialogues with artists about art -- and is offering his personal collection for use in the institution’s exhibition program. If that’s not enough Logan-themed programming, the Denver Art Museum also gets an additional $300,000 to fund, among other things, three more years of the "Logan Lecture Series."
DONALD BAECHLER AT ARTWALK NY 2007
Painter Donald Baechler is the artist honoree of this year’s Artwalk NY, the 13th-annual fundraiser for the Coalition for the Homeless. Co-chairs of the benefit are Richard Gere, Carey Lowell and Kayce Freed Jennings. The event -- cocktails, music, hors d’oeuvres and a live and silent auction -- takes place on Nov. 27, 2007, at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan. Tickets start at $125; for more info, call (212) 776-2056.
BOWDOIN MUSEUM REOPENS
The Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, Me., has reopened after a two-year, $20.8-million renovation and expansion by Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston. The 100-year-old museum now boasts a glass-and-bronze entrance pavilion and a new glass addition to hold the museum’s Assyrian reliefs. Current exhibitions include 89 Seconds at Alcázar by Eve Sussman and the Rufus Corporation in the new media gallery and "The American Scene -- Part I," a show of federal and colonial portraits and landscapes from the collection.
COOPER TO NGA
Harry Cooper has been appointed head of the department of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art. Cooper is currently curator and head of modern art at the Harvard University Art Museums, where he has organized shows of work by Ellsworth Kelly, Piet Mondrian and Frank Stella, among others. Cooper replaces Jeffrey Weiss, who left earlier this year to head the Dia Art Foundation. He takes the reigns at the NGA in February 2008.
NEW JANCOU SPACE
Still another art dealer is taking advantage of the New Museum’s imminent opening on the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. Marc Jancou, who has formerly operated galleries in Zurich, London and Chelsea, is opening a new space on Great Jones Alley, off Broadway and East 3rd Street. The space is designed by Belgian architects Lhoas and Lhoas Inc. The gallery debuts with a show of work by L.A. artist Larry Johnson, Nov. 15-Dec. 21, 2007.
R.B. KITAJ, 1932-2007
Ronald Brooks Kitaj, 74, U.S.-born figurative painter who lived much of his life in England, died at his home in California on Oct. 21. Born in Cleveland, Kitaj ran away from home as a teen and traveled the world as a sailor before turning to art. He moved to London in 1958, attending the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art and then the Royal College of Art in London. Figurative and full of literary allusion, his work was associated with proto-Pop artist-illustrators like David Hockney and Allen Jones. Kitaj received solo shows at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1965), the Hirshhorn Museum (1981), the Tate (1994) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995). He received the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1995. His last big show in New York was at Marlborough Gallery in 2000.