$12 MIL FOR AFRICAN ART MUSEUM
The Museum for African Art, which closed its SoHo facility in 2002 and moved to temporary quarters in Long Island City, is closing in on its plans for a luxurious new home on the first three floors of a new commercial building on Fifth Avenue between 109th and 110th Street. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern, the dean of Postmodernism (and the dean of Yale School of Architecture), the ca. 90,000-square-foot space is slated to open in fall 2009. The new facility, located cattycorner from Robert Graham’s imposing Monument to Duke Ellington at the northeast corner of Central Park, is billed as the Gateway to Harlem from Museum Mile.
At a press conference at the Guggenheim Museum, New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg promised $12 million from the city, while Manhattan borough president Scott M. Stringer boasted that the city council had kicked in $1 million for the project. "We used to boast that visitors to New York could see the entire world for the cost of a single subway fare," Bloomberg said. "Now you’ll be able to see the world’s art walking down a single New York City street." Bloomberg noted with relish that cultural attractions like the new museum helped lure 44 million tourists to the city in 2006, a number that is "equal to the population of Russia!" The director of the museum is Elsie Alberta McCabe; the museum’s chief curator is Enid Schildkrout.
FEMINISM IN REVIEW AT M/E/A/N/I/N/G ONLINE
Intrepid artists and editors Susan Bee and Mira Schor have assembled a new issue of their magazine, M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online [http://writing.upenn.edu/pepc/meaning/04/] on the theme of "Feminist Art: A Reassessment," featuring writings and artworks by "three generations" of artists and art historians, ranging from Irina Aristarkhova, Johanna Burton and Ingrid Calame to Carolee Schneemann, Faith Wilding and Barbara Zucker.
The review comes in advance of several major exhibitions looking at feminist art. "Global Feminisms," Mar. 23-July 1, 2007, surveys of works by more than 100 women artists, opens at the new Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum. "Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution," Mar. 4-July 16, 2007, looks at the years 1965-1980 in a show that debuts at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art before appearing at P.S.1 in Long Island City. And on a smaller scale, "Agents of Change: Women Art and Intellect," Jan. 30-Feb. 24, 2007, at Ceres Gallery at 547 West 27th Street in Manhattan, and "Re-Generation," Jan. 27-Mar. 11, 2007, an exhibition of emerging women artists organized by Joan Snyder and Molly Snyder-Fink for Smack Mellon and the Kentler International Drawing Space, both in Brooklyn.
Despite its achievements, feminist art "is troubled by a number of undercurrents," say the authors, including the "dominance of market values over social critique and nonconformist collaborative political activism." Also lost in this "market-driven age," the authors say, is "the intellectualism of psychoanalytic and Marxist-inspired feminist theory."
HIRST RELIVES WILD YEARS THROUGH ROCK?
Drugs brought superstar artist Damien Hirst together with Antony Genn, front man of the rock group The Hours, according to a story in London’s Independent. Hirst, who designed the cover art for the band’s debut album, Narcissus Road, first met Genn at the Glastonbury music fest, where "we shared the same, some might say unhealthy interest in drugs." Hirst eventually helped the rocker kick his heroin habit, a favor that Genn apparently returned at a later date, letting Hirst use him as his "one-man rehab."
Hirst goes on to explain how he met the other member of the band, Martin Slattery, when both he and Genn were part of the Joe Strummer-fronted rock band The Mescaleros. After Strummer’s death, Hirst says that he took pity on the two musicians, using his millions in art-earnings to fund recording sessions for their new project, pay for their first album and get them a recording contract.
"Narcissus Road is one of the most unbelievable first albums ever," Hirst enthuses. "They remind me a lot of artists I went to college with," he adds, presumably referring to fellow Goldsmiths College grads like Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas, who went on to find fame after showing together in a London warehouse in 1988. "You can't just sit around in a studio writing songs and waiting to get discovered," Hirst says.
DIGITAL CAMERA WOES AT MUSEUMS
Digital cameras and cell phones are playing havoc with the "Photos Not Allowed" policy at museums, according to a recent article by Ruth Graham in the New York Sun. Museums typically fret that if their visitors are allowed to take snapshots of artworks on the walls, important "intellectual property rights" are being violated -- though cynics have long suspected that the museums just want to protect their monopoly on post-card and reproductions. These days, images of any popular art project can usually be found on photo-sharing sites like Flickr.
Now, pushing things one step further, comes The iMoMA Project by Travis and Brady Hammond, which aggregates all the Flickr images taken at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The project has special pages for celebrated MoMA works like Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk and Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans, as well as the Yoshio Taniguchi-designed stairwell. Featuring snaps from all angles and under a variety lighting conditions, the project is a veritable phenomenology of the works. Hammond told the Sun that he hopes MoMA will embrace the idea, and feature their project in the museum itself, perhaps as "a little kiosk." How about www.moma.org? The project would provide a head-spinning mis en abysm on the web!
On the left coast, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has been aggressively enforcing its "No Photos" policy in its current "René Magritte and Contemporary Art" blockbuster. According to BoingBoing, a tech blog, LACMA guards are being forced to leap into action whenever a museum visitor takes a cell phone from his or her pocket. (The guards are also required to wear Magrittean bowler hats!) BoingBoing particularly savored the irony of a show that blocks ordinary people from participating in the very proliferation of Magrittean imagery that the show itself celebrates.
As with other attempts to block the sharing of digital content, any attempt to curtail the circulation of digital images is a fool’s errand. As of this posting, dozens of photos of the "Magritte and Contemporary Art" have been posted on Flickr, including numerous snaps of artworks.
GOING SOLO AT ADAA SHOW
This year’s Art Dealers Association of America Art Show, which opens Feb. 22-26, 2007, at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue, features an unprecedented 15 solo shows from the 70 participating dealers. Three of the shows feature works by Asian artists: Yayoi Kusama at D’Amelio Terras, Ai Weiwei at Robert Miller Gallery and Suling Wang at Lehmann Maupin.
Other solo shows include works by Janine Antoni -- including Lick and Lather -- at Luhring Augustine, Jennifer Bartlett’s signature paintings on steel plates at Locks Gallery, recent small bronzes by Louise Bourgeois at Cheim & Read, Anish Kapoor sculptures at Gladstone Gallery, new paintings by Malcolm Morley at Sperone Westwater, and a suite of black-and-white works on paper by Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner Gallery that have never been exhibited before.
Still more attractions include a survey of works by Lesley Dill at George Adams Gallery, work from 1991-92 by Jim Hodges at CRG, landscape paintings by David Klamen at Richard Gray Gallery, works by Giacomo Manzù at Tasende Gallery, "Ad Reinhardt: 1945 Works on Paper" at PaceWildenstein, and Pop paintings from the 1960s by Richard Smith at Richard L. Feigen & Co.
Showing at the Art Show for the first time are the New York galleries Sonnabend, Andrea Rosen Gallery, D'Amelio Terras, Skarstedt Fine Art and Peter Freeman, Inc., and Rhona Hoffman Gallery and Donald Young Gallery, both of Chicago.
Also on tap in conjunction with the fair is the "ADAA Collectors’ Forum," a panel on the subject of "The Museum as Collector," taking place at the Museum of Modern Art at 10 a.m. and including Walker Art Center director Kathy Halbreich, MoMA director Glenn Lowry, Pulitzer Foundation chair Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Tate director Nicholas Serota. The moderator is Tom Eccles, executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Tickets are $35; for info, call (212) 940-8925.
ARTPARIS 07 ANNOUNCES LINEUP
The ninth annual edition of ArtParis, Mar. 29-Apr. 2, 2007, organized by France Conventions under the direction of Caroline Clough Lacoste, Henri Jobbé Duval and Henri Faraut, brings its "very Parisian" show of modern and contemporary art, with a notable emphasis on French design, to the 5,000-square-meter exhibition space under the glass roof of the recently refurbished Grand Palais.
Of the more than 100 galleries participating, about 70 percent are French. The fair includes a special section of 17 booths dedicated to sculpture, and also awards a special prize for drawing by the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Foundation. Among the new exhibitors this year are Galerie Ernst Hilger (Vienna), Xin Dong Cheng Gallery (Qiaolu), Galerie Forsblom (Helsinki), Galerie Tanit (Munich), Silk Road Gallery (Tehran), Galerie Charlotte Moser (Geneva), Galerie Ziegler (Zurich), Denise Cade (New York) and Haim Chanin Fine Arts (New York).
WINDMILL ART IN VAIL
The luxury skiing town of Vail, Co., is getting into the public art sweepstakes with Denver-based artist Patrick Marold’s Windmill Project, a sculptural installation of 3,000 10-foot-tall windmills equipped with LED lights, to be visible from the nearby highway and the resort’s golf course. Marold, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and former assistant to Andy Goldsworthy, conceived the project to call attention to alternative power sources and visualize natural forces (at night, the piece will "create living bodies of light that move in dramatic waves across the hillside," according to a press release.)
Currently expected to be completed in March, the work is underwritten by Art in Public Places, a Vail nonprofit that has spearheaded the "Own a Piece of Vail" program, which sells, among other things, custom-designed manhole covers.