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Artnet News
Dec. 16, 2005 

The winners of the first biennial Ordway Prize, awarded by the Penny McCall Foundation, are artist Doris Salcedo and curator and writer Ralph Rugoff. Each winner receives $100,000. The runners-up receive $7,500 each; they are artists Sam Durant and Senga Nengudi, and curators and arts writers Lynne Cooke and David Rimanelli.

This holiday season, why not give the greatest gift of all -- love? And what better way to show your love than with a gift of art? This year, a handful of galleries and alternative spaces have made a special point of offering special selections of gift-like artworks for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and more.

The stalwart source of inexpensive artworks is Printed Matter, now in a new storefront home at 10th Avenue and 21st Street, where can be found everything from Yoko Ono Imagine Peace buttons ($1) and Reverend Jen beer cozies ($5) to porcelain plates depicting demented Barbie dolls from the brain of John Waters (three for $600) and Ryan McGinness-designed skateboards ($800).  Other items include a vintage Barbara Kruger paper bag ($150 framed) and a set of Marcel Dzama melting snowman canisters ($150 for set of three).

Printed Matter itself published the Christian Marclay slipmats (set of two for $45) and the signed and numbered placemats by Vik Muniz ($150 for a set of four). Printed Matter’s new store also boasts a 20-foot-long vitrine filled with miniature books, many by emerging artists, and many priced under $20. And, of course, there’s the usual fare -- 1,500 titles by some 5,000 artists, something for everyone

Just around the corner is Julia Friedman Gallery, which opens a show called "The Gift wrap/set/boutique," Nov. 18-Dec. 31, 2005, created in association with something called Red-I Projects. Along with its selection of books, CDs, magazines and clothing, all created by artists, the show also offers a wrapping station. Gift items range from Derek Sullivan’s $12 packing tape that says "Wouldn’t it be nice?" and $15 wrapping paper that asks, "What did I do to deserve this?" (in an edition of 1,000) to Christine Hill’s "care package," a $14,000 empty crate with 30 slots that will be filled in as the artist mails the recipient different items. Other artists in the show are Alejandro Diaz, Feral Childe, Vexed Generation and Judy Werthein.

Further up 10th Avenue at 35th Street, Exit Art joins the festivities this coming weekend, Dec. 17-18, 2005, with "Deck the Walls," billed as "the finest damn affordable-art holiday sale on the planet," with works priced $25-$350. The 100-plus participating artists include Chuck Sperry, who presents World-War 3: Neo-Con, a silkscreen print of George W. Bush with a crown of oil rigs ($50); Peter Kuper, whose Ceci Nest Pas Une Comic, a large, nine-panel silkscreen comic, references the famous painting This is Not a Pipe by Magritte ($150); and David Henderson, who creates Interstitial Substance with 4 Orbs, a 2 x 2 in. aggregation of bronze and steel blobs ($350). The sale at Exit Art is directed by Andréa Salerno and mounted in collaboration with La Superette, whose wares can also be ordered online.

Speaking of web surfers, a visit via the information superhighway to the Renaissance Society in Chicago can find a selection of "museum editions," such as engraved wine glasses by Lawrence Weiner ($225 for four) or a Sol LeWitt coffee table ($20,000).

Jose Garcia takes over as acting director at the Miami Art Museum, succeeding long-time MAM leader Suzanne Delehanty, who has resigned to pursue other enterprises (as yet unrevealed). Garcia, trained as an accountant, has been MAM’s deputy director. A search committee, formed in May by the museum’s trustees, has retained the services of the New York consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles to help identify candidates for the MAM director job.

Andrew Wyeth’s famous "Helga Collection," the notorious group of some 240 paintings and drawings of the blonde earth mother, Helga Testorf, made secretly between 1971 and ’85, has been sold to an unnamed buyer in the U.S. The transaction was announced by Washington, D.C., art dealer Ann Richards Nitze, who had sold the collection for an estimated $40 million in 1989 to an anonymous Japanese buyer. Many of the works have been on long-term loan to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa.

The sale price for the collection wasn’t announced, but it must be substantial. The auction record for a Wyeth painting is $3.8 million, set in May 2005 at Sotheby’s New York for Battle Ensign (1987), a picture of a tattered American flag on a line outside a white country church.

According to Nitze, a forthcoming exhibition of 50 works from the Helga Collection at the  Naples (Fla.) Museum of Art, Jan. 21-May 14, 2006, is probably going to be "the last occasion when such a large part of the Helga collection will be on view." A separate exhibition, "Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic," is currently on display at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Nov. 12, 2005-Feb. 26, 2006. The "Helga" series is also of particular interest to fans of American photographer Collier Schorr, who echoes Wyeth’s obsessive compositions in her photographic portraits of German teen "Jens F.," a group of works that are currently on view at Andrew Roth gallery in New York, through Dec. 17, 2005.

The College Art Association has come out in solidarity with the striking Graduate Student Organizing Committee at New York University. The CAA’s strongly worded statement on collective bargaining rights for graduate students, drafted by Yale University's Robert S. Slifkin and adopted by the organization’s 13,000 members on Feb. 18, 2005, condemns the Bush Administration-controlled National Labor Relations Board decision that graduate students cannot legally organize (overturning a previous, Clinton-era ruling). The board is "woefully out of touch with contemporary academic reality," according to the CAA statement, in its view of "the academic world as somehow removed from the economic realm that labor law addresses." For further details, see

GSOC has been on strike since Nov. 9, 2005, putting the group at the forefront of a national movement for educational accountability. As the committee of liberal faculty at NYU, Faculty Democracy, noted, most of the tactics that NYU president John Sexton has attempted to use to break the strike would be forbidden if grad students were legally recognized as a union.

Are New York’s great art institutions developing a self-deprecating sense of humor? The storied Whitney Museum of American Art seems to be inviting a more light-hearted approach to its permanent collection with "Follow Through," Dec. 1, 2005-Jan. 29, 2006, a project that pokes fun at museum audio guides, courtesy of a video-interactive tour by artists Jennifer Crowe and Scott Paterson. Visitors punch in the normal number for the audio tour into the artist-designed pod and then, in addition to the ponderous explication of Hopper or Calder that one normally gets over the earphones, a screen on the unit gives graphic instructions on how to relate physically to the work. The instructions range from the typical (put your fingers to your chin and stroke slowly) to the goofy (stick your thumbs in your pockets and pace like a cowboy).

The Whitney’s gesture comes on the heels of the Guggenheim Museum’s decision earlier in 2005 to let performance artist Dean MacGregor use the institution for his ongoing sleep project. The performance on Oct. 27, 2005, overseen by curator Nancy Spector, involved permitting the artist to curl up in his sleeping bag in the museum after hours and spend the night, making MacGregor the first artist to use the museum without actually having a show there.

MacGregor has slept at art-related locations all over the world, including a James Turrell skyspace at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery, the Center for Contemporary Art in Malaga, Spain, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Does this mean that the Guggenheim is throwing its doors open to all sorts of gonzo art gestures? Insiders say no: In fact, the nervous Gugg only allowed MacGregor to catnap for a few hours, and doesn't mention the project anywhere on its website. Photos of MacGregor’s nap by Dean Kaufman are available at the artist’s website.

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