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Dec. 18, 2008 

The holidays can be counted on to spur special art sales at galleries and alternative spaces, with the idea of providing reasonably priced art gifts for the art shopper, a strategy that the current economic recession certainly has encouraged. What follows is a selective list of bargain-priced wares.

* Works on Whatever, the multiples program of Yvonne Force’s Art Production Fund, has issued four new beach towels for 2008, with images of sea horses by Karen Kilimnik, a surfer on a giant wave by Raymond Pettibon, a decorated island map by Julian Schnabel and a text-work by Ed Ruscha. The oversized cotton towels, measuring 60 x 70 in., are $50 each, and can be obtained from or

* The Philadelphia-based art-multiple company Cerealart is offering 20 percent off on all orders until Dec. 31, 2008. Items include Marcel Dzama salt-and-pepper shakers ($100), Kenny Scharf vases ($300) and Laurie Simmons tea cups ($150). Our favorite: Yoshua Okon’s painted resin refrigerator magnet of a security guard meditating in the lotus position ($350). For info, see

* The all-but-bottomless catalogue of the venerable artists’ bookstore Printed Matter is a treasure trove of inexpensive art gifts. Among the items are a decorated fan by Gilbert & George ($25), a scarf with a black-and-gold dot pattern from a Ross Bleckner painting ($250) and a 550-piece puzzle with an image of Jeff KoonsPuppy ($75). Printed Matter members get a 10 percent discount. See

* Picture Theory artist Oliver Wasow is offering a range of signed, limited-edition photo prints at his website, the Expansible Catalogue, priced between $10 and $100. Among the selections are a spooky 6 x 10 in. image of Yellow Spinning Lights over a wooded horizon and Rainer Valley (1996), one of his signature hyper-real landscapes.

* Goff + Rosenthal has produced a multiple by the group Type A, the collaborative team of Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin, titled Fear -- an 18-inch-square, rather more dystopic version of Robert Indiana’s famous Love sculpture. Apparently made from cast concrete, a larger version of the work debuted at Art Chicago; the smaller (7-inch-square) multiple can be had for $850. The edition is 50. For more info, see

* Concrete TV, the legendary public-access television montage of energetic action shots assembled and aired in the 1990s by Ron Rocheleau, is now available as a three-disc DVD set, containing all 18 episodes, for "over nine hours of nonstop sex, art and violence." The price is $49.95. See

* And last but not least, Artnet Online Auctions offers a wide range of works, including prints and multiples, from Joe Goode’s Torn Clouds lithograph (est. $300-$500) to an erotic bondage photo from 1991 by Nobuyoshi Araki (est. $9,000-$11,000). To browse the auctions, click here

Veteran art-fair organizers Brian and Anna Haughton have canceled the Asian Art Fair scheduled the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan on Mar. 11-15, 2009. The move is due to "the present global economic situation," according to the fair website (; the firm hopes to relaunch the fair in 2010. Last year the show presented almost 30 exhibitors, with about half of them hailing from the U.S., including Bodhi Art, the Chinese Porcelain Co., Barry Friedman Ltd., Cora Ginsburg, Goedhuis Contemporary, Phoenix Ancient Art, M. Sutherland Fine Arts and Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

The hapless trustee board of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and its ineffective director, Jeremy Strick, refuse to make any official statements to the press -- but leaks are hardly in short supply. Strick, who earned in excess of $500,000 a year for steering the institution to the brink of insolvency, is anonymously said to be "negotiating the details of his resignation" in a New York Times report (though one wonders what there is to negotiate).

Otherwise, the newspaper story suggests, in between the lines, that the MOCA trustee board is so ineffective as to make a merger with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art more than likely. In the meantime, Los Angeles city council president Eric Garcetti, a non-voting member of MOCA’s trustee board, has proposed allocating $2.8 million in city funds for museum operations, on the condition that the museum remain in its downtown location, and that it have new leadership.

An exhibition of self-portraits by visionary artist Alex Grey, whose "Sacred Mirrors" series of paintings have become a cult favorite of the contemporary Pop Surrealism movement, is closing out the CoSM art center at 542 West 27th Street in New York’s Chelsea art district. "Alex Grey: 40 Years of Self-Portraits," Nov. 29-Dec. 31, 2008, includes works made by the artist when he was 14 years old, as well as joint portraits with his wife, Allyson Grey, to whom he has been married for 33 years. The show is held in CoSM’s Microcosm Gallery.

After a five-year run in New York, CoSM -- home of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors as well as a gallery, shop, performance space and headquarters of a far-flung network of mystical art practitioners-- has lost its lease and is moving upstate New York. The new CoSM Art Sanctuary is located in a former interfaith retreat on 40 wooded acres in the town of Wappinger near the Hudson River, and promises to be "an oasis for spiritual, cultural and social renewal." For more info, see

The Kinetica Art Fair, Feb. 28-Mar. 2, 2009, billed as the world’s first "kinetic, electronic & new media art fair," opens at P3, a new art space located in a 14,000-square-foot former concrete testing facility on Marlebone Road opposite Baker Street tube in London. Sponsored by the Kinetica Museum [see Artnet News, Sept. 21, 2006], the fair presents over 30 galleries and other organizations, along with installations by a range of individual artists, including Daniel Chadwick, Tim Lewis, Stellarc and Shadow Robots. For more info, see

The recession and its many effects are the subject of "The Labyrinth Wall: From Mythology to Reality," Dec. 14, 2008-Feb. 7, 2009, the new exhibition at the New York alternative space Exit Art. For the show, curators Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo have configured the walls of the huge gallery into a giant labyrinth, and turned over the space to 51 artists, who were asked "to respond to the metaphor of the labyrinth and offer instructions on how to escape the issues we are confronted with." Participants include John Ahearn, Luis Camnitzer, Tyler Coburn, Anton van Dalen, John Fekner and Don Leicht, Rico Gatson, Christopher Knowles, Peter Kuper, Ligorano / Reese, Tom Otterness and Seth Tobocman.

José Ortiz, deputy director and chief of finance and administration at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, has been appointed deputy director of the Harvard Art Museum. He is expected to play a key role in the ongoing renovation of the former Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums by architect Renzo Piano, according to Harvard Art Museum director Thomas W. Lenz.

Claudia Altman-Siegel
opens the Altman Siegel Gallery at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco with "A Wild Party and a New Road," Jan. 23-Feb. 21, 2009, featuring works by Shannon Ebner, Wade Guyton, Matt Keegan, Josh Smith, Kelley Walker, Christopher Williams and Christopher Wool. The gallery promises exhibitions of emerging and established artists as well as historical shows. Coming up are shows of Trevor Paglen, Devin Leonardi, Charley Harper, Shinpei Kusanagi, Emily Wardill, Sara VanDerBeek and Shannon Ebner. A curator, writer and private dealer, Altman-Siegel was formerly senior director of Luhring Augustine in New York. For more info, contact

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