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Artnet News
Feb. 21, 2006 

SITE Santa Fe
has announced the lineup for its Sixth International Biennial exhibition, organized by freelance curator Klaus Ottmann and titled "Still Points of the Turning World," July 9, 2006-Jan. 7, 2007. With unusual economy, Ottmann has limited his show to 13 artists, with each given his or her own autonomous space (the previous SITE Santa Fe biennial, organized by Rob Storr, included 54 artists). The exhibition provides "an arena for the artists, to let their work speak," Ottmann said. He added that the show had no theme, but that he’d given it a title (a line from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets) that suggests "a place to step out of daily life and go into another world, the world of the artist."

The artists in the show are Mirosław Bałka, Jennifer Bartlett, Patty Chang, Stephen Dean, Peter Doig, Robert Grosvenor, Cristina Iglesias, Wolfgang Laib, Jonathan Meese, Wangechi Mutu, Carsten Nicolai, Catherine Opie and Thorns Ltd. All of the works in the show are either new or new to the U.S. The exhibition includes performances by Meese and the Norwegian experimental musical troupe Thorns Ltd., which was founded in 2003 by Snorre Ruch, Finn Olav Holthe and Jon Wesseltoft.

The three-year-long, $13-million "Louvre Atlanta" project, a partnership between Atlanta’s High Museum of Art and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, kicks off in fall 2006 with "Kings as Collectors," Oct. 14, 2006-Sept. 7, 2007. The exhibition offers an impressive showcase of works from the French supercollection, including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Velázquez and Murillo. At its center is Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, on view until March 2007, after which it is being replaced for the rest of the show’s run by Nicolas Poussin’s storied Et in Arcadia Ego, one of the crowning glories of French Baroque painting. Two smaller exhibitions from the Louvre go on view at the same time -- "The King’s Drawings," Oct. 14, 2006-Jan. 21, 2007, featuring ca. 60 rare drawings, and "Decorative Arts of the Kings," Mar. 3-Sept. 2, 2007, a selection of royal luxury items from the Louvre.

"Kings as Collectors" assembles work brought into the Louvre’s collection during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XVI, and is the first of three major exhibitions charting the history of the French museum that are scheduled for Atlanta. Next up is a show of works from the Napoleonic era and the Enlightenment, while the final part brings the picture of the Louvre up to the present.

Egypt’s top antiquities official is demanding that the St. Louis Art Museum surrender to Egypt one of its prized works, a polychromed Saqqara Mask of a woman that dates to 1307-1196 B.C., according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by David Bonetti. In a letter dated Feb. 14, 2006, Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquites, claims that the mask was stolen from a storage room near the site where it was excavated in 1952. The charges of theft were initially made by admitted art forger Michel van Rijn on his website, though van Rijn has not revealed the sources of his information.

St. Louis museum director Brent Benjamin said that the museum had purchased the mask for $499,000 in 1998, and had checked with Interpol, the art theft registry and the director of the Cairo Museum to ensure that the artifact hadn’t been reported stolen. In his response to Hawass, Benjamin asked for proof of the theft. The mask, which was purchased from Phoenix Ancient Art in New York, came with a provenance that traced its ownership back to an unnamed dealer in Brussels in 1952. The museum was given a warranty on the object, according to the Post-Dispatch, and can recover the purchase price from Phoenix if the mask is repatriated.

After almost 20 years as art critic for the weekly New York Observer, where his lively if reactionary reviews regularly appeared on the front page, Hilton Kramer has resigned, according to a story in the New York Sun (titled "Hilton Kramer Falls Quiet" and penned by one of Kramer’s acolytes, David Yezzi, executive editor of Kramer’s New Criterion journal). Kramer, who recently moved from Connecticut to live full-time in Maine, said that traveling regularly to New York to review shows was too tiresome, and that he is working on a collection of his writings tentatively titled The Triumph of Modernism. Though Yezzi doesn’t report Kramer’s age, he was born in 1928.

A new work by artist Trong G. Nguyen promises to feed audience members as well as treat them to an art performance. For the piece, a series of experimental art events titled The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, Her Lover and their Dinner Guests and held at a space called New General Catalog 224 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Nguyen is staging invite-only "dinners for two," treating the lucky couples to a mysterious program of art and food, for which they have to obey special sets of rules determined for the night. Given the fact that the Peter Greenaway movie that inspired the work’s title ends with an act of gruesome revenge cannibalism, this is somewhat ominous.

Interested participants should contact ngc224gallery @ by Mar. 6, 2006. The performance series is scheduled to run through March and April; for details, see the gallery’s website.

The magazine that once tweaked the art scene now wants to tell you how to become a part of it -- for a price. Coagula Art Journal, the newsprint publication whose harsh judgments and gossipy reports were a highlight of the early 1990s, is offering to teach you the unspoken rules of art success at a new Art World Boot Camp, for which the tuition is $500. In a series of eight sessions, a group of 25 students learn "the phrase that will get every art dealer to return your phone call," among other inside tips. The course includes two art critiques with boot camp instructor (and Coagula editor) Mat Gleason. For details, see

You can be a god on the stage but turn into just another schlub in the art gallery, or so it seems from New York Times art critic Roberta Smith’s review of former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed in his gallery debut at Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea and the Hermès Boutique on Madison Avenue. Reed’s "generic" color photographs of nighttime Manhattan cityscapes are "ordinary to the point of anonymity," the critic says. "The main problem for Mr. Reed is that behind the camera he has yet to achieve the combination of passionate introspection and critical distance that is essential to any artistic achievement, his own music included."

Los Angeles art dealer Patrick Painter and his wife, Soo Jin Jeong-Painter, have donated over 80 photos, drawings, prints, videos and mixed media works to the Hammer Museum. The collection includes 18 photos by Roy Arden, three photo series by Ed Ruscha, 11 works by Christopher Williams, Christopher Wool’s 13-part Incident on 9th Street photo series, the five-part photo work Die Zwei (Spring Break) by Collier Shorr, and individual works by Peter Doig, Robert Gober, Rodney Graham, Douglas Huebler, Won Ju Lim, Stephen Prina and others.

The Hammer also received in 2005 a gift of 29 drawings, including works by Agnes Martin and Sol LeWitt, from Hammer trustee Werner Kramarsky and his wife, Sarah-Ann. Los Angeles philanthropist J. David Haft has made a promised gift of four Avery paintings and donated two watercolor and gouache works. Other gifts include a large Jim Shaw multi-panel work on paper from David Teiger; works by Johannes Kahrs, Catherine Opie and Ian Patrick from Rosette Delug; a Mike Kelley sculpture from Kourosh Larizadeh; Jorge Pardo prints from Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson; works by Mark Grotjahn, Martin Kersels and Monique Prieto from Marc Selwyn; Patty Chang watercolors from Roberts & Tilton; and three Michaël Borremans paintings acquired with funds provided by the Buddy Taub Foundation.

The Detroit Institute of Arts has received seven artworks worth over $15 million as gifts of the estate of Josephine F. Ford, a longtime benefactor of the museum who died on June 1, 2005. The gift includes Pablo Picasso’s Girl Reading (1938), which is almost certainly a portrait of Dora Maar; Edgar Degas’ charcoal and pastel drawing, Seated Nude Woman Brushing Her Hair (ca. 1890-1900); Henri Matisse’s Anemones and Peach Blossoms (1944); Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Coco (ca. 1905), a portrait of his third son, Claude, born in 1901; Marc Chagall’s The Green Circus Rider (1961); and a ca. 1770 dressing table by an unknown American woodcarver. The works are expected to be reincorporated in the museum’s 2007 reinstallation.

Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco has won the "blueOrange 2006," a €70,000 prize awarded every two years by the German Cooperative Banks. The prize includes an exhibition of the winner’s work at a German museum, to be held this year at the Museum Ludwig Cologne, Nov. 3, 2006-Jan. 28, 2007. The prize also allows the winner to select an emerging artist to win a €7,000 award. The shortlist for the blueOrange 2006 included Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, Douglas Gordon, Mona Hatoum, Aernout Mik, Dan Perjovschi and Tobias Rehberger.

Ten visual artists have won $10,000 City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowships for 2006. A total of 144 fellowships have been awarded to L.A. county artists since the program was begun in 1996. Winners this year in the visual arts are Lita Albuquerque, Claudia Bucher, Sam Easterson, Margaret Garcia, Janie Geiser, Jeffrey Keedy, Hirokazu Kosaka, Simon Leung, Fran Siegel and Janice Tanaka.

Mary-Kay Lombino
, curator at the Art Center at California State University at Long Beach, has been appointed curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. She succeeds Joel M. Smith.

contact wrobinson @