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Artnet News
Oct. 26, 2006 

Only a few years after the Museum of Modern Art opened its new $1 billion facility, it seems to be tougher than ever to get a museum built in Manhattan. Exorbitant real estate and soaring construction costs have pushed the price of new museum buildings to $800-$1,000 per square foot, according to one museum insider, noticeably slowing the expansionist impulse that has long been the norm in the museum world. A quick status report:

* The Dia Art Foundation, which closed down its pioneering Chelsea outpost at the beginning of 2004, has abandoned plans for a $55 million, 45,000-square-foot museum by the High Line in Manhattan’s fashionable Meat Packing District, according to a report by Carol Vogel in the New York Times. (When it originally closed in Chelsea, Dia promised to remodel and reopen the facility -- a plan that was also abandoned.) Dia’s move upstate to Beacon, N.Y., was overseen by Dia director Michael Govan and board chair Leonard Riggio, the head of Barnes & Noble; now both are gone (Govan to head up the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), and the institution is in flux. New board chair Nathalie de Gunzburg says that Dia is determined to have a New York presence, and that a search for a new director is under way.

* The Whitney Museum of American Art may give up on its plans for a $200-million nine-story tower expansion designed by Renzo Piano, according to the same report. Apparently, the museum board is eyeing the Chelsea space that Dia relinquished, thinking that industrial-style galleries in the hip art neighborhood may be more suitable for its needs. The uptown expansion would mean shutting down the museum for two years -- not an appetizing prospect.

* The Drawing Center remains determined to make its expansion plans real, according to Drawing Center president George Negroponte, and still hopes to build some kind of new facility on a site just north of the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan. Negroponte himself is gradually phasing out his leadership role at the center (he is joining the board), in favor of letting the new director take complete charge -- once a new director is found. The situation should become clearer in a few months, said Negroponte (who is moving to Stockholm with his wife and family, and is in the process of building a studio there).

* The New Museum of Contemporary Art seems to have gotten in under the wire with its new $50-million facility on the Bowery designed by the Japanese firm SANAA, Ltd., and slated to be completed late in 2007. For a live webcam view of the rising steel framework, click here.

* And finally, in a tangentially related story, as art collector and superdeveloper Aby Rosen brings his plans for a new luxury residential tower at 980 Madison Avenue, designed by starchitect Norman Foster and located across the street from the Carlyle Hotel and a few blocks up from the Whitney, before the local community and landmarks panels, the New York Times notes that the art-world A list has stepped up to testify on his behalf. Among them are artists Jeff Koons and dealers Larry Gagosian and Lawrence Salander, according to the paper. Whether that will get the project approved for the notoriously anti-development Upper East Side remains to be seen. In any case, the Times also noted that it was Rosen who paid $2.7 million for Koons’ Buster Keaton sculpture at auction last spring.

Knitting needles the size of telephone poles? That and more are the hallmarks of "Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting," Jan. 25-June 17, 2007, an exhibition of approximately 40 works by 27 artists coming up at the Museum of Arts & Design. Organized by MAD chief curator David McFadden, the show "extends the boundaries of the category we call fiber art," according to MAD director Holly Hotchner. Among the artworks in the show are a gown with knitted "veins" by Liz Collins; a waterfall of black rubber lace based on facial lines by Barbara Zucker; a video of a performance piece by Dave Cole in which two backhoes knit a 35-foot-wide American flag; and a chandelier of knotted optical fibers by Niels Van Eijk. Vogue Knitting is media sponsor of the show.

This December the Morgan Library is premiering a major retrospective of the work of Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), featuring more than 100 drawings, collages and sculptural assemblages by the celebrated New Yorker cover artist. "Saul Steinberg: Illuminations," Dec. 1, 2006-Mar. 4, 2007, is organized by curator Joel Smith (author of the 2005 book, Steinberg at the New Yorker) and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, where the show closes its tour, Nov. 2, 2007-Feb. 24, 2008. Interim stops include the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Apr. 6-June 24, 2007, and the Cincinnati Art Museum, July 20-Sept. 20, 2007). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Yale University Press.

The great 18th-century artist William Hogarth (1697-1764) is the subject of a major traveling exhibition including over 200 works, ranging from the artist’s salacious brothel scenes to famous moralizing works like Gin Lane (1751) and The Rake’s Progress (1734). Organized by Christine Riding and Mark Hallett, "Hogarth" premiered last week at the Musée du Louvre, Oct. 18, 2006-Jan. 7, 2007, and subsequently appears at Tate Britain, Feb. 7-Apr. 29, 2007, and La Caixa Forum in Madrid, May 28-Aug. 26, 2007.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to appreciate local cultures. Thus, "Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era," an exhibition organized for Christoph Grunenberg at Tate Liverpool that has also appeared at the Kunsthalle Schirn Frankfurt, makes its appearance in New York at the Whitney Museum of American Art in May 2007, 40 years after the emergence of "Flower Power." The show features posters, album covers and underground magazines as well as light shows by Jordan Belson, Stan Vanderbeek, James Whitney and Lamonte Young and Marian Zazeela, along with artworks by Isaac Abrams, Richard Avedon, Lynda Benglis, Richard Hamilton, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Indiana, Yayoi Kusama, Richard Lindner, John McCracken and Andy Warhol, among others.

The 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville, directed by Okwui Enwezor and with the theme of "The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society," goes on view Oct. 26, 2006-Jan. 8, 2007. The show is located at two primary sites in the Spanish city, the Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art and the Reales Atarazanas, a 13th-century former shipbuilding structure. The list of ca. 90 artists "invited" to participate in the show include many from the Third World, figures such as David Hare, Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett, and artists ranging from María Magdalena Campos Pons, Paul Chan and El Perro to Thomas Ruff, Andreas Slominski and Fred Wilson. For details, see

While sensible people focus on Art Toronto 2006 (Nov. 9-13, 2006), Artissima 13 in Turin (Nov. 10-12, 2006), Paris Photo (Nov. 16-19, 2006) and the 12 art fairs scheduled for Miami Beach, Dec. 7-10, 2006, we here at Artnet News are looking ahead, where two new fairs loom on the horizon.

* Cornice International Art Fair, June 7-10, 2007, in a custom-built pavilion in Venice’s Tronchetto district, at the gateway to the city -- and at the other end of town from the Giardini, site of the 52nd Venice Biennale, which previews at the same time. Cornice general manager María Marqués Aparici notes that the location avoids the difficulties of art delivery by boat. Stand prices begin at €6,720 for 24 square meters. For more info, contact

* Art Cannes Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Aug. 23-26, 2007, at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in the famed Riviera city, promises "programming patterned after the Cannes Film Festival" -- a series of art projects, an "art film" festival and an awards ceremony, all featuring "the top stars of the art world." Gallery applications are currently being accepted; email

Hedge fund billionaire and recent megacollector Steven A. Cohen plans to build a private museum on his property in Greenwich, Conn., according to a report published in the New York Times several weeks ago. The museum would house his many high-profile art acquisitions, including Damien Hirst’s 14-foot-long tiger shark in a tank of formaldehyde, bought for a reported $8 million from Charles Saatchi (and now touring to an exhibition in Europe), as well as a self-portrait by Edouard Manet, a water lily painting by Claude Monet, a drip painting by Jackson Pollock and works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Everyone’s favorite art benefit, the "Night of 1,000 Drawings" at the pioneering nonprofit Artists Space in SoHo, is coming up on Nov. 8, 2006. Admission to the event, which runs from 5-10 pm and includes an open bar with beer and soft drinks, is $10 and allows purchase of any of more than 1,000 donated works on paper. Prices are two-tiered -- $35 and $60. For details, see

The Printed Matter artists’ bookstore in Manhattan’s Chelsea art district is celebrating its 30th anniversary exhibition with a show of the 100-plus editions that the nonprofit has published since 1976, when it was founded by Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Pat Steir and a handful of other artist-book lovers. Dubbed "Editions 1976-2006," Oct. 21-Nov. 25, 2006, the show includes artist-designed photographs and lithographs as well as shopping bags and wooden postcards.

Art journalist Lindsay Pollock’s new biography of Edith Halpert, titled The Girl with the Gallery: Edith Gregor Halpert and the Making of the Modern Art Market (Public Affairs, $30), hits the bookstores soon. Halpert (1900-1970) opened the Downtown Gallery in Greenwich Village in 1926 and ran it for 44 years, supporting the first generation of U.S. artists, including Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ben Shahn.

Adelson Galleries debuts its new exhibition space in an 1890s Beaux Arts townhouse at 19 East 82nd Street, one block east of the Metropolitan Museum’s main entrance, with "Andrew Wyeth’s Helga: Works on Paper," Nov. 3-Dec. 22, 2006, a loan show of nearly 60 watercolors and drawings from the celebrated series, put on view in New York for the first time. With its 12-foot-ceilings and elegant architectural details, the building is the perfect setting for 19th- and 20th-century art, according to dealer Warren Adelson. The first two floors of the townhouse have 4,000 square feet of exhibition space, while the upper floors are devoted to the John Singer Sargent catalogue raisonné project. For more info, see

New York art dealer and curator James Fuentes, a co-producer of the Artstar television series, plans to open James Fuentes LLC, a new gallery, at 35 St. James Place in lower Manhattan, near City Hall and the South Street Seaport. The exhibition program is slated to begin in January 2007 with a show of work by Brian DeGraw. For details, see

Janet Landay, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has been appointed director of exhibitions and programs at the American Federation of Arts in New York. She succeeds Erik Neil, who was named executive director of the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, N.Y. For info on AFA exhibitions and other programs, see

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