MARC DREIER COLLECTION UNVEILED IN COURT
The indictment in New York federal court of one-time super-lawyer Marc Dreier, accused in late 2008 of perpetrating a $400-million fraud against several hedge funds (he allegedly sold them forged promissory notes), revealed a personal asset list filled with high-priced automobiles, property in Manhattan and the Hamptons -- and an impressive contemporary art collection, some 150 works in all. The property would be forfeited if Dreier is convicted.
Sculptures on the list include a Robert Indiana Love sculpture from 1999; Dale Chihuly’s Persian Wall Installation (2008) plus three other glass works by Chihuly; and three Tom Otterness bronzes, Princess with Magic Fish (2003), Big Thief (2001) and Cone Figure (2001).
The trove also includes etchings by Pablo Picasso and Jasper Johns; three aquatints by Henri Matisse; eight works on paper by John Baldessari; two "ocean" prints by Vija Celmins; five David Hockney prints; photos by Doug Aitken, Wolfgang Tillmans and James Welling; four gouaches by Charles Arnoldi; two Kim McCarthy watercolors; a suite of color photos by Thomas Wrede; and prints by figures including Donald Baechler, Jim Dine, Rick Ehrlich, Kota Ezawa, Sol LeWitt, Ryan McGuinness, Takashi Murakami, Don Nice, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Dan Walsh and Wayne Thiebaud.
SENATOR SCHUMER AN ARTS IDIOT?
What the hell? New York cultural institutions were up in arms when Senator Chuck Schumer (a.k.a. the "Senator from Wall Street") voted yea on the "Coburn Amendment," making arts institutions off limits for funds from President Barack Obama’s $800-billion economic stimulus package, despite his reputation as a friend of the arts. Now, Schumer’s office has issued an explanation: he didn’t know what he was doing. "The Senator thought the amendment was only targeted at casinos and golf courses," said an aide. Schumer promises to give his "full support" to the arts community in the future.
P.S.1’S ART RADIO TO EVICT VENERABLE FILM CO-OP
Former P.S.1 director Alanna Heiss’ new "art radio" project has moved to evict Jonas Mekas’ longtime film co-op from its home in the Clocktower Building on Lower Broadway. Heiss has "enormously big plans" for her new operation, dubbed Art International Radio, and insists she needs the entire 8,200 square feet of space, according to a report in the New York Times. The Film-Makers Cooperative, founded in 1962, oversees the distribution of about 5,000 independent films by some 900 artists -- a proven success, as Mekas points out, in contrast to Heiss’ untried radio project.
In the Times, Heiss seemed to blame the Museum of Modern Art for the eviction move, an explanation that doesn’t fly with insiders, who note that the unsavory scheme looks like a kind of "golden parachute" for Heiss, who was forced to retire from her job at P.S.1 at the end of 2008. Where the film co-op will finally end up remains to be seen.
TATE SENDS TURNER TO CHINA
Never underestimate the diplomatic power of high-powered art. British prime mister Gordon Brown took the opportunity of the "UK-China Summit" on Feb. 2 to announce that the Tate Britain was sending a massive selection of works by J.M.W. Turner to the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing, Apr. 13-July 3, 2009. A version of the show, "J.M.W. Turner: Oils and Watercolours," is just closing at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, where it proved a real draw, logging some 100,000 visitors, according to a press release. Curators for the Beijing outing, which is to feature such Turner masterpieces as Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps (1812) and Norham Castle, Sunrise (ca. 1845), are Tate Britain’s Ian Warrell and Xu Hong of NAMOC.
BALKA IN TURBINE HALL COMMISSION
Polish art star Miroslaw Balka (b. 1958) has snagged the next commission for the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, Oct. 13, 2009-Apr. 5, 2010 (sponsored by consumer goods behemoth Unilever). Balka, who has exhibited in New York with Gladstone Gallery, represented Poland at the 1993 Venice Biennale and is represented by White Cube gallery in London. Known for spare, evocative installations about collective memory, he contributed a work, Dawn (1995-98) to the Tate’s "Between Cinema and a Hard Place" show in 2000.
GLENN BROWN RETROSPECTIVE
A major survey of over 60 paintings and sculpture by the British artist Glenn Brown (b. 1966) opens this month at Tate Liverpool, Feb. 20-May 10, 2009, before traveling to the co-organizing institution, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, where it appears May 28-Oct. 4, 2009. Organized by Tate curator Laurence Sillars, the show includes sections devoted to the artist’s various painterly strategies, including his studies of science-fiction-inspired landscapes, his obsessive copyies of brushwork, and his transformations and distortions of a range of paintings by other artists, from Jean-Honoré Fragonard and Salvador Dali to Frank Auerbach.
JOSH SMITH SKATEBOARD UNVEILED
The young New York artist Josh Smith, celebrated for bacchanalian paintings of his own name, is the latest artist to collaborate with Fred Maechler’s Paris-based Mekanism skate-fashion company on an edition of hand-decorated skateboard blanks. Made in an edition of 200, the blanks are spontaneously painted in combinations of muddy earth colors and brighter snaking lines and dots, with each one stenciled on the obverse with "Josh Smith" in varying colors. Smith, whose latest solo show opens at Luhring Augustine Gallery in New York on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 2009, has priced the boards at €400 each, first come, first served. Other artists who have made boards for Mekanism include Dirk Skreber, Albert Oehlen and Katharina Grosse. To order, see www.mekanismskateboards.com.
NEW ART PRIZE AT ART DUBAI
The new Abraaj Capital Art Prize -- three awards of $200,000 each to artist-curator teams -- is being unveiled at Art Dubai, Mar. 18-21, 2009. The winning teams are Cristiana Perrella and video artist Kutlug Ataman, Carol Solomon and light-installation artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah, and Leyla Fakhr and Nazgol Ansarinia, who had a carpet woven to her own design. Sponsored by the leading Mideast private equity firm, the prize is designed to focus attention on the art and artists from the "MENASA" region (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia). Following their debut in Dubai, the three works are touring to various venues before becoming part of the Abraaj Capital art collection.
NECKLACE FOR WATTS HOUSE PROJECT
Artists continue to get behind Edgar Arceneaux’s "Watts House Project," the liaison between avant-garde art and urban restoration that Arceneaux terms "a large-scale artwork in the shape of a neighborhood development." One recent contribution comes from L.A. artist Alexandra Grant, who has designed a Love Necklace to benefit the initiative. Featuring the word "love" in childish cursive, the edition is available in time for Valentine’s Day through LA><ART, Honor Fraser Gallery and the nonprofit ForYourArt. The price is $125 for silver and $500 for 14-karat gold. More details are available through Honor Fraser.
Video of Arceneaux’s efforts to work with artists and Watts residents to renovate 20 houses in the Watts neighborhood is available at the project’s website, www.wattshouseproject.org
FUTURISM AT PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Futurist Manifesto -- published by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in Le Figaro on Feb. 20, 1909 -- the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice presents "Masterpieces of Futurism at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection," organized by the museum’s director, Philip Rylands, and remaining on view through 2009. The exhibition includes 18 works in all, including three of Umberto Boccioni’s four extant sculptures, plus works by Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Ottone Rosai, Gino Severini, Mario Sironi and Ardengo Soffici.
CATHERINE DAVID OUT AT LYON BIENNALE
Catherine David, who was hired with great fanfare to direct the next Lyon Biennale, Sept. 16, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010, is out. Her departure was due to "time management" issues, according to the biennale press office. A curator at the Centre Pompidou and artistic director of Documenta X in 1997, David recently agreed to put together the first-ever pavilion for Abu Dhabi at the next Venice Biennale, June 7-Nov. 22, 2009. Further details are expected to be announced soon.
JOHNNETTA COLE TO HEAD AFRICAN MUSEUM
Johnnetta Cole, former head of Spelman College in Atlanta, has been named director of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She is also a member of the advisory board for the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, slated to open on the mall in 2015.
NEW CURATOR AT CORNING MUSEUM
Florian Knothe, a research associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been appointed curator of European glass at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y.
GLORY JONES, 1951-2009
Glory Jones, 57, art publicist who was communications director at several major museums, died after a long battle with cancer on Feb. 7. Over a 25-year-long career, Jones served as public affairs officer for the Guggenheim Museum (1988-93), was director of communications at the Morgan Library (1996-2004) and worked with several other museums. She also consulted for the Venice Biennale (1993-99). Since 2004 she was senior account supervisor at Resnikow Schroeder Associates, working with the Denver Art Museum, the de Young Museum and other clients.