The Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Conn., has just reopened its celebrated Louis Kahn building, following a three-year, $44-million renovation overseen by New York’s Polshek Partnership Architects. Reworked features include the building courtyard and its dramatic window wall, which had been less than perfect in terms of heating and ventilation. The newly opened facilities have already been resoundingly praised by New York Times critic Nicolai Ouroussoff for emphasizing the building’s "intoxicating blend of muscularity and delicacy."
The soup-to-nuts renovation also features such details as a new lobby media lounge and information desk, masterminded by Joel Sanders Architect (who "shows Kahn the proper respect without kowtowing to the master," according to the Times critic), and high-tech new signs by Open, including directional signage in the form of light-projections on the walls, "spotlighting the building’s materials without altering them," according to a press release.
But what is there to see in the spaces? The YUAG premiers with "Responding to Kahn: A Sculptural Conversation," Dec. 10, 2006-July 8, 2007, featuring postwar sculpture selected by students at Yale; "Jasper Johns, from Plate to Print," Dec. 10, 2006-Apr. 1, 2007, tracking the various versions and proofs that lead up to the creation of a complete image by the famous Pop artist; and "Making a Mark: Four Contemporary Artists in Print," Dec. 10, 2006-Apr. 1, 2007, a selection of works from the museum collection by Enrique Chagoya, Carroll Dunham, Jane Hammond and Kiki Smith.
NEW MUSCLE FOR PHILADELPHIA EAKINS
The committee formed to help raise $68 million to keep Thomas Eakins’ The Gross Clinic (1875) in Philadelphia has gotten some new muscle. Among those taking part in the effort are actor (and Philadelphia native) Kevin Bacon, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals CEO Bernard Poussot, Delaware Art Museum executive director Danielle Rice, Jefferson Health System chief medical officer Dr. Stanton N. Smullens, and Dr. Rae Alexander-Minter, retired vice president of the Metropolitan College of New York and grandniece of Philadelphia artist Henry Ossawa Tanner, who studied with Eakins. At present, Thomas Jefferson University plans to sell the painting to Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., in partnership with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Funds for a competing bid must be raised by Dec. 26, 2006.
Art-A-DAY ON EBAY
Three enterprising curators -- Rebekah Modrak, Aaron Ahuvia and Zackery Denfeld -- have organized "Ebayaday," a month-long exhibition of works by 25 artists staged entirely as a series of eBay auctions. The exhibition began on Dec. 1, 2006, with the sale by Abhishek Hazra, an artist based in Bangalore, of a handwritten Bengali copy of the Communist Manifesto for 875 Rupees (about $19.50) -- a bargain! Currently nearing its end is the auction of three collectible coke bottles by Nancy Hwang, including two obtained on a recent visit to her native Korea (her first in 25 years). The current bid is $11.01! Other participants include Ellen Harvey, Annie Varnot, Matthew Bryant, Davy Rothbart, Conrad Bakker and Osman Khan. For further details, see www.ebayaday.com
NEW ART FAIR FOR ISTANBUL
Contemporary Istanbul, a new art fair for the Middle East, the Balkans and the region’s Turkic countries, opens at the Istanbul Convention Center, Dec. 20-24, 2006. More than 65 galleries and other exhibitors are slated to take part in the fair, which is directed by Orhan Taner and sponsored, in part, by Deutsche Bank. Istanbul galleries in the lineup range from AHK Çagla Cabaoglu Art Gallery to Under Construction. Other participants include Art Estate AG (Berlin), Broadway Gallery (New York), Dam Stuhltrager Gallery (New York), Galerie Gabriel (Vienna), Galerie Hélène Lamarque (Paris) and Gallery ArtsIndia (New York). Among the local museums involved are the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum, the Akbank Art and Culture Center, the Dogançay Museum, the Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center and the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art.
Plans are already afoot for the art fair’s second installment, which is scheduled for Sept. 5-9, 2007, to coincide with the 10th edition of the Istanbul Biennial. For further details, see www.contemporaryistanbul.com
8TH SHARJAH BIENNIAL SET
Art activity in the Middle East continues in 2007 with the 8th Sharjah Biennial, Apr. 4-June 4, 2007, kicking off in several venues -- the Sharjah Art Museum, the Expo Centre, the American University of Sharjah -- in Sharjah, the third largest of the United Arab Emirates. The show’s theme is "Still Life -- Art, Ecology and the Politics of Change." The biennial director is Hoor Al Qasimi, artistic director is Jack Persekian and curators are Mohammed Kazem, Eva Scharrer and Jonathan Watkins. More than 70 artists are participating:
Ignasi Aballi, Lida Abdul, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Lara Almarcegui, El Anatsui, Roy Arden, Vladimir Arkhipov, Mireille Astore, Lara Baladi, Noor Al-Bastaki, Taysir Batniji, Cheri Cherin, Marjolijn Dijkman, Muratbek Djoumaliev & Gulnara Kasmalieva, Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Sophie Elbaz, E-xplo, Mounir Fatmi, Peter Fend, Franz Gertsch, Abdulnasser Gharem, Simryn Gill, Tue Greenfort, Group Tuesday (Fadi Abdallah, Bilal Khbeiz, Walid Sadek), Graham Gussin, Khaled Hafez, Henrik Håkansson, Anawana Haloba, Ilana Halperin, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hefuna, Uschi Huber, Mohammed Ahmad Ibrahim, Alfredo Jaar, Marya Kazoun, Amal Kenawy, Leopold Kessler, Suchan Kinoshita, Joachim Koester, Christina Kubisch, Deborah Ligorio, Claudia Losi, Lutz & Guggisberg, Tea Mäkipää, Ahmed Mater, Hassan Meer, Gustav Metzger, Mind Bomb, Abdal Rahman Al Muani, Maha Mustafa, Jesus Bubu Negron, Jacques Nimki, Cornelia Parker, Pablo Patrucco, Dan Perjovschi, Dan Peterman, Marjetica Potrc, Michael Rakowitz, Ibrahim Rashid, Noguchi Rika, Budoor Al Riyami, Abdallah Saadi, Huda Saeed Saif, Michael Sailstorfer, Tomas Saraceno, Joe Scanlan, Zineb Sedira, Anas Al-Shaikh, Ranjani Shettar, SOI Project, Samir Srouji, Simon Starling, Gerda Steiner & Jorg Lenzlinger, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Sergio Vega, Luca Vitone, Shatha Al-Wadi, Akram Zaatari, Camille Zakharia.
NEW GRANTS FROM MITCHELL FOUNDATION
The Joan Mitchell Foundation has awarded $25,000 awards in its 2006 Painters & Sculptors Grant Program to 25 artists. The winners are Brian Alfred, John Bisbee, Maria Brito, Einar and Jamex de la Torre, Dzine, Xiomara De Oliver, Lilian Garcia-Roig, Seonna Hong, Brad Kahlhamer, Rajkamal Khalon, Pak-Hing Kan, Jean-Pierre Larocque, Lise Lemeland, Ati Maier, David McGee, Mark Messersmith, Elemore Morgan, Jr., Ivan Navarro, Clare E. Rojas, Melquiades Rosario Sastre, Katherine Sherwood, Akio Takamori, Kevin Teare, William Villalongo and Charles Yuen.
DE JONG BOWS AT LEVER HOUSE
Fresh from its sojourn in Miami, the New York art world assembles tonight at Lever House on Park Avenue in Manhattan for the grand opening of Dutch artist Folkert de Jong’s ambitious lobby installation, In God We Trust, a sprawling tableau of soldiers pillaging an art museum, all done in light blue Styrofoam and honey-colored glue. The presentation, which first appeared at the Kunsthalle Winterthur in Switzerland, is organized by curator Richard Marshall for supercollector (and Lever House landlord) Aby Rosen. De Jong is represented by Peres Projects in Los Angeles and James Cohan Gallery in New York.
"CLOTHESLINE" BENEFIT FOR ABC NO RIO
ABC No Rio, the stalwart Lower East Side artists’ workshop and exhibition venue, mounts "The Clothesline Show," Dec. 14-15, 2006, a benefit art sale featuring works on paper hung on clotheslines in the gallery space. Prices range from $25 to $50. The sale runs 7-10 pm both nights. For details, see www.abcnorio.org.
GOODBYE FORBES COLLECTOR, HELLO FORBES ART BLOG
The Forbes Collector, the email newsletter on all things collectible edited by Missy Sullivan, breathes its last with its issue of December 2006 (which features the "50 Most Notable Sales of 2006," which range from a 1940 copy of Flash Comics ($227,125) and a 1970 Barracuda muscle car ($2.2 million) to Gustave Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer ($87.9 mikllion). Sullivan has shifted her art observations to a new column in ForbesLife magazine as well as to her blog, www.artmarketinsider.com.
NEW MOMA PHOTO CURATOR
Museum of Modern Art assistant photo curator Roxana Marcoci has been promoted to curator in the department. Among the many shows she has organized for the museum are "New Photography 2006" and "Thomas Demand" (2005); at present she is at work on "Comic Abstraction: Image-Breaking, Image-Making," which bows in 2007.