WHITNEY BIENNIAL OPENS EARLY
The Whitney Museum’s 2006 Biennial Exhibition officially opens Mar. 2-May 28, 2006, but curious museum-goers are getting an early-bird look at part of the show right now. The Wrong Gallery section of the notorious survey, titled "Down by Law" and curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick, has opened in the Gilman Gallery next to the Alexander Calder Circus room on the museum’s hideaway fifth-floor mezzanine section. Among the attractions are several of Weegee’s crime photos, a selection of images of the 9/11 hijackers unobtrusively scattered around the gallery by Jonathan Horowitz, a pipe-bomb sculpture by Gregory Green, Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ (1989), a map of the U.S. states that allow (and don’t allow) sodomy, and, last but not least, Viva Carlo Viva Libertad, a poster by David Wojnarowicz to help raise legal-defense funds for critic and curator Carlo McCormick after he was tossed into a Mexican jail (don’t ask).
Meanwhile, the youth-oriented Biennial is apparently securing its "in the gutter but looking at the stars" profile by putting one of the trash-glamour images of painter Marilyn Minter on the catalogue cover. Minter, 57, has five or six paintings in the show, whose unofficial tagline is something like "lavish abandon meets shock and awe," according to a museum insider.SUN SHINES ON PALM BEACH ART FAIR
The Florida art fair with the exclamation point in its name -- Palm Beach! America’s International Fine Art & Antique Fair -- is in the middle of its 10-day run, Feb. 3-12, 2006, at the 1,000,000-square-foot Palm Beach Convention Center. Approximately 100 top exhibitors from around the world are on hand, including Adelson Galleries (New York), Galerie Cazeau-Beraudière (Paris), Dickinson (London), Graff Diamonds (London, New York), Richard Green (London), Hammer Galleries (New York), Mallett (London, New York), Moretti (Florence, London), Phoenix Ancient Art (New York, Geneva), Salander-O’Reilly Galleries (New York), Spanierman Gallery (New York), Axel Vervoordt (‘S-Gravenwezel) and Harry Winston (Paris, New York).
Adding to the panache of the fair is a special project involving 20 top interior designers, who were invited to do large drawings incorporating the artworks, antiquities and decorative arts of fair exhibitors into fantasy interiors. The drawings -- Penny Drue Baird for Galerie Levy-Alban, Eric D.W. Cohler for Historical Portraits Ltd., Susan Zises Green for Véronique Bamps -- are displayed on easels at the fair. Some 3,000 people packed into the gala preview, which benefits the Mosaic Fund of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties, a new philanthropic endowment. Among the star visitors were Mary Lou Whitney and Lord and Lady Rothermere. Sales were reportedly brisk, as well.
Now in its 10th year, the Palm Beach fair is sponsored by International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE), which is part of DMG World Media. General admission is $25 ($10 for students) and includes a copy of the fair catalogue."NINETEEN PENISES" AT VISUAL AIDS
Brokeback Mountain may be the favorite of critics and audiences both, but does it have any real male nudity? No? For that, we turn to "Nineteen Penises," the new "web gallery" exhibition curated by artist David Humphrey and presented by Visual AIDS at its www.thebody.com website. Selected from the Frank Moore Archive Project, the web exhibition features male nudes in art by David B. Abbott, Michael Berube, Raynes Birkbeck, Michael Harwood, Jerry Hooten, Gregory Maskwa, Tim McCarron, Michael Mitchell, John Morrison, Berni Ortiz, Alfred Santiago, Rene Santos, Tom Shooter and Richard Treitner. The show "charts a circuitous itinerary," writes Humphrey, "through the vast continent of the penis." To view the show, click here.
GOVAN OUT AT DIA, HEADED TO L.A.?
The Dia Art Foundation has hastened to spread the news that its director of 11 years, Michael Govan, 42, has resigned "to pursue an opportunity elsewhere." At Dia, Govan weathered a behind-the-scenes board rebellion, spearheaded the opening of a vast new Dia:Beacon facility in a former cracker factory upstate, and shut down the foundation’s pioneering 22nd Street building two years ago, presumably to build a whole new museum a dozen blocks further south. So, why the sudden exit?
For further details, readers can turn to the news, where it has been reported that Govan is the leading candidate to head up the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, rudderless since the November resignation of Andrea Rich (a former university administrator who raised funds but failed to impress the art world). Officially, LACMA says that nothing has been decided, but some say it’s a done deal. "He flies his own plane," which is a plus, said former Whitney Museum director Max Anderson to the Los Angeles Times. Other candidates for the job, according to the paper, include Stockholm museum director Lars Nittve and Julia Peyton-Jones of the Serpentine Gallery in London.
At first glance, the hire doesn’t seem a perfect fit. Dia’s annual budget is $16 million, about one-third the size of LACMA’s $48-million bottom line. And as a museum, Dia is "contemporary narrowcasting," in the words of one observer, as opposed to LACMA, which is "very multi-culti." If nothing else, the move would "leave him poised to run the Met." The LACMA director’s job has paid ca. $450,000, but look for the salary to rise. Now, who will fill the DIA slot? Mr. Storr?
NEW ACQUISITIONS AT PHILLY MUSEUM
The Philadelphia Museum’s collection of over 150,000 works on paper grows by an average of about 250 items a year, the museum says, and over 80 of the newest ones go on view at the museum in "Recent Acquisitions: Prints and Drawings from Dürer to Doig," Mar. 11-May 21, 2006. Among the new acquisitions and drawings are works by Anni Albers, Consuelo González Amézcua, Eric Avery, Romare Bearden, Randy C. Bolton, Astrid Magdalen Bowlby, Tom Burckhardt, Enrique Chagoya, Tom Chime, Vestie Davis, Peter Doig, Ellen Gallagher, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Marcy Hermansader, Robert Keyser, Fan Lijun, Alexis Leyva Machado (Kcho), Virgil Marti, Rob Matthews, Sarah McEneaney, Julie Mehretu, Robert Moskowitz, Elizabeth Murray, Alice Neel, Michael Olszewski, Tony Oursler, Giuseppe Penone, Tony Rosati, Betye Saar, George Tooker, Richard Tuttle and Joseph Yoakam. The selection also includes Rembrandt’s Christ Crucified between Two Thieves (1653-55) and a 1895 poster of May Milton by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.
CEMBALEST LAUNCHES JEWISH ART BLOG
Artnews editor Robin Cembalest has launched a blog called "Painting the Town" at Nextbook, a two-year-old website designed to be "a locus for Jewish literature, culture and ideas." Early intelligence from the "Jewish art blog," as Cembalest calls it, includes the news that R. Crumb is illustrating the Old Testament, a scene in which recently unveiled photographer Lou Reed mistakes the author for a nun, and notes on why the art world might think Robert Rauschenberg is Jewish (in addition to the German-sounding name, there was that 1963 show at the Jewish Museum). Cembalest promises to post monthly (and explain what "Jewish art" is later).
LUCELLA AWARD NOMINEES
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has announced the nominees for the 2006 Lucelia Artist Award, a $25,000 contemporary art prize earmarked for American artists under the age of 50. This year’s 14 finalists are Laylah Ali, Janine Antoni, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (Matthew Coolidge), Spencer Finch, Tom Friedman, Maureen Gallace, Ellen Gallagher, Jon Kessler, Byron Kim, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Tony Oursler, Raymond Pettibon and Catherine Sullivan. The winner is announced in April.
NEW JERSEY ART GRANTS
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has announced $258,000 in fellowships for 2006, grants of either $7,000 or $9,000, across a range of artistic disciplines. Winners in painting are Laura Alexander, Robert Birmelin, Giovanna Cecchetti, David Dziemian, Eugenio Espinosa, Timothy Gaydos, Randall Greenbaum, Karl Hartman, Barbara Klein, Hiroshi Kumagai, Roberta Melzl and Ela Shah.
NO "ART NEW YORK" FAIR FOR 2006
Plans for a new Art New York at Pier 94 fair in Manhattan for this month have been quietly tabled for the time being. Organized by Thomas Blackman Associates, the show was designed to piggyback on the famed Art Show of the Art Dealers Association of America, which opens Feb. 23-27, 2006. "We made a run at it for this year and hopefully we will make it happen in 2007," said fair organizer Thomas Blackman in an email.
OPEN CALL AT ART IN GENERAL
The veteran Tribeca alternative space Art in General has issued an open call to artists to to propose new art projects as part of the nonprofit gallery’s art-commission program -- and it can all be done online. Selected artists receive a $3,000 fee plus a project budget of $3,000-$7,000. Deadline for proposals is Mar. 31, 2006. To apply, go to http://commissions.artingeneral.org
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