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Artnet News
Feb. 17, 2006 

The 94th annual conference of the College Art Association kicks off in Boston, Feb. 22-25, 2006, featuring over 160 panel discussions as well as a career fair and book fair for art historians and art professors. Subjects for the art and art-history sessions, held at the Hynes Convention Center, range from "Art and the Technologies of Surveillance" to "Ideals of Beauty in Ancient Greece and Rome." The conference is also the occasion for special meetings of the Radical Art Caucus, the American Institute for Conservation, the International Council of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Curators and dozens of other professional associations. For details and a complete list of sessions, see

Keynote speaker at the CAA convocation is Arthur C. Danto, whose talk, "The Relevance of Commentary," addresses the relationship of art and writing. The CAA also formally announces its 2006 awards to outstanding artists and scholars at the conference. Among the winners are artists Andrea Zittel and Elizabeth Murray, who receive the "distinguished body of work award" and the "distinguished artist award for lifetime achievement," respectively. The Frank Jewett Mather award for art criticism is shared by Gregg Bordowitz, a video artist whose writings are collected in The AIDS Crisis is Ridiculous and Other Writings, 1986-2003 (MIT Press), and Okwui Enwezor, a curator who is dean of the San Francisco Art Institute. (What is it with the CAA and its art criticism award? Can’t their panel find any actual art critics?)  

Other awards go to Linda Nochlin ("distinguished lifetime achievement award for art writing"), Annemarie Weyl Carr ("distinguished teaching of art history award") and Lester Van Winkle ("distinguished teaching of art award"). A "special award for lifetime achievement on behalf of the arts and humanities" goes to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

As for the CAA’s special art history awards, the Charles Rufus Morey Award for a book of art history goes to Carol Mattusch, with Henry Lie, for The Villa dei Papyri at Herculaneum: Life and Afterlife of a Sculpture Collection. The Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award for an exhibition catalogue goes to Elena Phipps, Johanna Hecht and Cristina Esteras Martin, editors of The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork. The Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize for an outstanding article in the CAA’s Art Bulletin goes to Mitchell B. Merback for Fount of Mercy, City of Blood: Cultic Anti-Judaism and the Pulkau Altarpiece. And the Art Journal award for an article in that magazine went to Mark Cheetham for Matting the Monochrome: Malevich, Klein and Now.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass., has announced the first winners of a new prize for art criticism that "conveys complex ideas in a manner that is informed, insightful and accessible": London-based identity-politics theorist Kobena Mercer (author of Welcome to the Jungle: New Positions in Black Cultural Studies), feminist scholar Linda Nochlin and New Yorker scribe Calvin Tomkins. So what does a critic get for being insightful and accessible? $25,000 and the "Clark," a statuette designed by architect Tadao Ando. The judging panel consisted of luminaries Iwona Blazwick, Thelma Golden, David Joselit, Steven Lavine and Robert Storr.

Contemporary art programming at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has been a bit of a puzzle since it was added to the portfolio of longtime Met European paintings curator Gary Tinterow. Things seem to be picking up this spring, as the Met opens "After the Deluge," Mar. 21-July 30, 2006, for which the museum has invited Kara Walker to organize a response to Hurricane Katrina by juxtaposing her own work with selections from the museum collection. Coming up after that is "The Art of Betty Woodman," Apr. 25-July 30, 2006, a survey of the ceramist’s career from the 1950s to the present, including five large flower urns to hold the Met’s usual fresh flower arrangements at the information desk and in the niches of the Great Hall. In the fall, the museum hosts "Sean Scully: Wall of Light," Sept. 26, 2006-Jan. 14, 2007, a show of 25 major paintings, plus related works, that originated at the Phillips Collection.

This spring the Brooklyn Museum throws its doors open to graffiti art, via an exhibition featuring 20 large-scale urban murals by Tracey 168, NOC 167, Lady Pink, Daze, Crash and other luminaries. "Graffiti" is organized by curator Charlotta Kotik and slated to run June 30-Sept. 3, 2006.

The New York nonprofit Creative Capital Foundation has announced the winners of its grants for 2006, $10,000 awards that go towards funding specific projects. The Creative Capital awards are unusually comprehensive -- winners of the initial prizes are also eligible for additional funding at later stages of their projects, receive "skill-building" training in fundraising and marketing, and are required to share any net profits from their works with the foundation. Some of the sponsored projects in the visual arts:

* Cory Arcangel’s D.I.Y.W.I.K.I., an open-source website that will create a collaborative forum for hackers and new media artists.

* New York artist Laura Carton’s creation of an "art world intervention and a working investment club exploring the clandestine pornography holdings of major United States corporations and the context within which political policies are formed."

* Brody Condon’s The Youth of the Apocalypse, an animated homage to Flemish painter Hans Memling’s The Last Judgment using landscapes from video games.

* Belgian artist Auriea Harvey’s 12-part, interactive online animation inspired by Little Red Riding Hood.

* KuroManga Magazine, a comic book that fuses hip hop and Japanese Manga, a project of Detroit artists Kenjji & Kito Jumanne-Marshall.

* Brooklyn artist Sheryl Oring’s piece critiquing women’s historical role as listeners through a performance employing copied postcards that contain texts dictated by viewers.

* Allison Wiese’s "architectural urban event," a project to relocate debris and rubble from a demolished structure in Houston’s midtown district.

Other winners in the visual arts include Luca Buvoli, REDUX, Hassan Elahi, MTAA + RSG, the team of Amelia Kirby, Donna Porterfield, & Nick Szuberla, Brian Knep, Golan Levin, Jane Marsching, Jakub Segen, Marek Walczak & Martin Wattenberg, Paul Vanouse and Stephen Vitiello.

Ralph Rugoff is heading across the pond to helm the Hayward Gallery at the close of the spring 2006 season, after being the director of the California College of Art Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in San Francisco since 2000. Located on the south bank of the Thames, the Hayward is one of the premier spaces for contemporary art in London (currently housing the touring "Dan Flavin: A Retrospective," organized by the Dia Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Art).

During his tenure at the Wattis, Rugoff organized the sprawling exhibition, "Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art," with Daina Augaitis, Lisa Corrin, Matthew Higgs and Toby Kamps, as well as the still-to-come "Amateurs." Michael S. Roth, president of the college, said that he hoped the departure opened the way to future collaborations between the two institutions -- though as of now, that’s pure speculation.

Galeria Hilario Galguera in Mexico City is debuting 28 sculptures and paintings by Damien Hirst, Feb. 24-Aug. 31, 2006. The show, titled "The Death of God -- Towards a Better Understanding of Life without God Aboard the Ship of Fools," centers around a smaller version of Hirst’s most famous work, a shark in a tank of formaldehyde (this iteration is titled The Death of God), along with tanks containing crucified sheep, a red-and-black spin painting with a human skull in the middle, a butterfly painting and a series of photorealist paintings that Hirst says represent the future of his work.

The YBA giant owns a home in Mexico, where he lives three months out of the year, according to the Guardian. He says he identifies with the Mexican esthetic, which he terms "simple and heavy."

On Feb. 9, 2006, Barry Munitz, 64, abruptly resigned as director of the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, after a tumultuous year in which the Getty was accused of acquiring looted antiquities and the California attorney general launched an investigation into the trust’s financial practices. In an unusually submissive move for the flamboyant former savings-and-loan man, Munitz agreed to pay the museum $250,000 to settle any claims and abandoned his severance package, estimated at $1.2 million. Munitz had headed the trust for eight years.

As its interim president, the Getty tapped Deborah Marrow, 57, who has run the institution’s $20-million grant-making program since 1989. Marrow takes home about $250,000 a year for the job, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a hard-hitting article, Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight said that the Getty had been operating for years under a veil of secrecy. "It is time to let in a whole lot of sunshine," he writes, demanding that the museum return to its roots, regain its "passion for art," and focus on Los Angeles. But he doubts that the Getty board -- wealthy businesspeople all, an absurdity at a $5-billion institution that needs neither fundraising nor corporate support -- "has a clue" about the anger and disappointment felt towards the institution by its supporters.

The California attorney general is reportedly going forward with an investigation of the trust's finances, and the Washington-based Council on Foundations may suspend the Getty from its prestigious nonprofit network. And of course the trial in Italy of former Getty antiquities curator Marion True continues. Stay tuned.

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has proved its avant-garde chops by installing a dashing new sculpture by Nancy Rubins on the top edge of its façade. The spectacular work, titled Pleasure Point and completed Jan. 17, 2006, features a giant starburst formed out of rowboats, canoes, jet skies and surfboards, cantilevered and extending out over the museum’s west side terrace. The Rubins sculpture rises about 14 feet above the museum's roof and hovers 18 feet above the terrace, not far from a mural of a ship by Ed Ruscha.

A large gun-shaped sculpture by Alfredo Martinez caused a bit of a stir when it was seized, Feb. 10, 2006, from an empty lot on Canal Street in New York. A life-size replica of a cannon crafted from trash, the sculpture drew the attention of the police after neighbors reported that it was an eyesore. The work was on display in conjunction of a show of gun-themed work by the artist, "Arsenal for Democracy," on view at the Canal Chapter gallery, 343 Canal St., Jan. 27-Feb. 23, 2006.

Artists, do you like chocolate? (What a question.) Sweetriot, a New York manufacturer of "chocolate covered cacao nibs," has issued a call to artists to submit artworks to decorate the tins of its products. Founded by Sarah Endline, the company hopes to plug itself into the emerging artist community. Sweetriot’s artist-designed chocolate tins are already the first food product to be featured in the MoMA Design Store, and have, to date, featured two artists’ works -- Mike Hammer’s colorful abstractions and Jelene Morris’ groovy cartoon-like fantasy worlds.

The winner will have three artworks featured, one for each flavor of Sweetriot chocolates. Current deadline is Feb. 17, but if you miss that, don’t worry -- there's a new series of tin designs due May 15. Visit the company’ website for details.

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