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Artnet News
Oct. 27, 2005 

The already-embattled J. Paul Getty Museum, facing claims from Italy for the return of some 40 antiquities from its collection, has now received renewed demands for the repatriation of artworks from Greece. First lodged in 1996, the Greek claim seeks the return of three objects from ca. 320-300 B.C., purchased in 1993 for a total of $5.2 million, and a fourth object bought by J. Paul Getty himself in 1995. The inventory:

* A gold Macedonian funerary wreath of delicate flowered garlands with blue and green glass paste inlays, acquired for $1.15 million from Swiss art dealer Christoph Leon by the Getty’s then-antiquities curator, Marion True. The object was smuggled out of Greece in 1993, 18 months before the Getty bought it, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times

* An inscribed tombstone from the region of Boeotia, which the Getty bought for $750,000.

* An Athenian marble torso of a young woman, purchased from London dealer Robin Symes for $3.3 million. Apparently, Italian police have a photograph of the object encrusted with dirt, as if recently excavated.

* An archaic votive relief bought in 1955 by billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty (who died in 1976), which was reported to have been stolen from a Greek archeological site at Thasos.

The Getty has yet to come clean, despite the appointment of a new director, Michael Brand, and the impending trial of Marian True on smuggling charges in Italy. In any case, the Getty plans to unveil its renovated Getty Villa in Malibu on Jan. 28, 2006, with 23 galleries devoted to over 1,200 works from the Getty’s collection of about 44,000 antiquities. Stay tuned.

The Fay Gold Gallery in Atlanta has opened a 25th anniversary exhibition, Oct. 21-Dec. 31, 225, featuring highlights from over 600 shows in the gallery’s quarter-century history. Artists in the survey include Jasper Johns, Helmut Newton, Robert Rauschenberg, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Doug and Mike Starn and Frank Stella. For details, see

A painter and collector from New York who moved to Atlanta in 1967 with her husband, Gold opened her gallery at a time when the High Museum and one commercial gallery together constituted the city’s primary contemporary art venues. After briefly running an art school for kids, she gave up her own painting career and launched her own gallery in Atlanta’s Buckhead district with a show of works by George Segal.

Over the years Gold became the first Atlanta dealer to work with Elton John, helping to build his photo collection (and to stage art auctions for the Elton John AIDS Foundation). Gold had a "keen eye for spotting great talent," according to an essay by freelance writer Lorna Gentry; one example was her purchase of a painting by the then-unknown artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in 1985 for $5,200, a picture that is now valued at several million dollars.

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault is bringing his affection for mixing contemporary art and fashion, seen earlier this month in the opening of a new Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Champs Elysees [see "Paris à la Mode," Oct. 26, 2005], to New York City for the opening of the new Fendi boutique at 677 Fifth Avenue on Nov. 3, 2005.

The event celebrates Fendi’s 80th birthday as well as the launch of the new Fendi Rome Prize Fellowship to the American Academy in Rome, earmarked for emerging designers and slated to be awarded for the first time in 2007. The prize is being promoted by a nine-member committee whose members include Hope Atherton, Christopher Brooks, Sophie Dahl, Anh Duong, Yvonne Force, Thelma Golden, Lola Schnabel and Cindy Sherman.

Installed in the new store, designed by Peter Marino, are some 20 artworks interpreting the Roman god Janus -- who happens to be the symbol of both Fendi and the American Academy -- by Ross Anderson, Doug Argue, Marc Balet, Paul Davis, Alan Feltus, Alex Gorlin, Michael Graves, Wendy Evans Joseph, Roberto Juarez, Marcia Lyons, Mathew Geller, Roger Ricco and George Stoll. The artworks are slated to be auctioned off at a later date to benefit the American Academy.  

Artists have been quick to take advantage of the improvement of video-projection technology, crafting large-scale public artworks using video projected onto the sides of buildings. Some recent examples:

* French artist Stephen Dean, whose works were included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and the 2005 Venice Biennale, presents Volta, a montage of a cheering crowd of Brazilian soccer fans, projected onto the façade of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., Nov. 4-20, 2005, from sunset to 11 pm. Previous façade projections at the Johnson have included works by Haluk Akakçe, Jennifer Steinkamp and Maria Friberg. For more info, see

* Brazilian-born, New York-based artist Solange Fabião is presenting Transitio NYC, a video projection of street scenes from Nanning and Shanghai in China on the side of a building on Canal Street in New York’s Chinatown, Oct. 20-31, 2005. The work is the second in a planned series of ten exchanges; the first, presented in 2002, took a projection of a trip down Broadway in Manhattan to a site in Beirut. For details, see

* New York Artist Jenny Holzer presented For the City, Sept. 29-Oct. 9, 2005, a series of projections at Rockefeller Center, NYU and the New York Public Library of texts from poems as well as recently declassified public documents. The projection ran from dusk to midnight and was sponsored by Creative Time.

Artists are invited to submit works to Copilandia, a "public art intervention" sponsored by the Centro de Arte de Sevilla for the Spanish cultural festival, "Seville, between Cultures," Dec. 28, 2005-Jan. 12, 2006. Setting up as a "copyright free island" in the city’s Guadalquivir River, Copilandia is loaded with copiers, computers, a sound system and art materials and promises to multiply and disseminate all the submissions in order to promote "the free circulation of art and ideas."

The project is spearheaded by the art group Gratis, founded in 1994 by Victoria Gil, Kirby Gookin, Federico Guzmán and Robin Kahn and dedicated to promoting "the dissolution of intellectual property as an art medium." Send your easily reproduced prints, photos sculpture, painting, mail art, poetry, music video and photography, in analog or digital form, to Kahn and Gookin at 114 Mercer Street, #9, New York, N.Y. 10012, or by email to

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, N.C., has appointed a "board of advisors" to help guide the new museum, which inaugurated its $24-million, Rafael Viñoly-designed museum on Oct. 2, 2005. The 20-member body includes L.A. art patron E. Blake Byrne, Durham attorney Cynthia Brodhead, New York art dealer Paula Cooper, Chicago investment advisor and Duke trustee Paula Hannaway Crown, Art Institute of Chicago director James Cuno, Connecticut real estate developer Ronnie Heyman, New York businessman and art collector Samuel Heyman, Council on Foreign Relations associate director Janine Hill, Blackstone Group vp J. Tomilson Hill III, San Francisco art collector Christine Lamond, Foundation for the Carolinas president Michael Marsicano, Nasher Museum namesake Raymond D. Nasher, Dallas shopping center developer Nancy A. Nasher, Tulsa businessman Jack H. Neely, Yale University Art Gallery director Jock Reynolds, Miami art collector and hotelier Jason Lewis Rubell, New York collectors Richard and Monica Segal, Duke trustee Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans and Seattle collector William L. True.

Paris-based artist Claude Closky (b. 1963) has won the 2005 Marcel Duchamp Prize, the fifth installment of the award sponsored by the Centre Pompidou with a group of private collectors. In addition to the €35,000 purse, Closky, who is represented by Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris, also receives an exhibition of his work at the Pompidou, scheduled for May 16-Aug. 31, 2006. For the first time, works by the four finalists for the prize -- Kader Attia, Gilles Barbier and Olivier Blanckart as well as Closky -- were exhibited at the FIAC art fair. The 2005 Duchamp prize jury was comprised of Alfred Pacquement, Maria de Corral, Gilles Fuchs, Anton Herbert, Jacqueline Matisse Monnier, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Alain-Dominique Perrin.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the four-year-old Association of Art Museum Curators has awarded eight "Emergency Grants" of $2,000 each to curators at the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Louisiana Contemporary Art Center. The grants are designed to "help colleagues in need" during a "stressful and disruptive time," said AAMC president Elizabeth Easton

Celebrated East Village artist and drag performer Stephen Tashjian (aka Tabboo!) has completed a new mural on the Lower East Side, located on the wall of Mama’s restaurant at Third Street and Avenue B. The untitled artwork, done in a morbid palette of black, white, red and metallic silver, features an array of skulls representing 56 of the recently and not-so-recently departed, many lost to AIDS, suicide and drugs.

Ribbon-like nametags identify the dead, who include familiar East Village denizens like Peter Cain, Quentin Crisp, Allen Ginsburg, Peter Hujar, Greer Lankton, Joey and DeeDee Ramone, Jack Smith and David Wojnarowicz, joined by Rock Hudson, Nina Simone, Andy Warhol and Jon Benet Ramsey (who had, according to the irreverent Tashjian, "more costume changes than Divine, Leigh Bowery, Jackie Curtis and Freddie Mercury combined").

Tashjian’s alter ego, Tabboo!, continues to keep the gorgeous technicolor drag tradition alive, most recently showcasing his act, performing as Cher singing Bob Dylan, at the newest East Village nightspot, Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction on Avenue A.

-- Elisabeth Kley

-- contact wrobinson @