ORDWAY PRIZE TO MEIRELES, ELAINE
The two $100,000 Ordway Prizes for 2008 have gone to Rio de Janeiro-based conceptual artist Cildo Meireles and James Elaine, curator of the "Hammer Projects" series of solo shows at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Established in 2005 by the nonprofit Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the biannual award is named for arts patron Katherine Ordway and earmarked for under-recognized figures in the art world between the ages of 40 and 65 who have been working for at least 15 years. This year’s winners were selected by a committee composed of Creative Link director Jennifer McSweeney, artist Doris Salcedo (winner of the first Ordway prize, along with critic and curator Ralph Rugoff), Tate Modern director Vicente Todoli and Renaissance Society associate curator Hamza Walker. Creative Link for the Arts is the new name of the Penny McCall Foundation, which was founded in 1987.
The David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland in College Park is hosting "New Critical Perspectives on African American Art History," Mar. 7-8, 2008, a major conference designed to examine the field of African American art since the path-breaking 1976 exhibition, "Two Centuries of Black American Art," organized by Driskell at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (and touring).
Among the papers are "Sargent Johnson’s Afro-Asian Sculptures and the Racial Politics of the New Negro," "Reading Literary Theory with Romare Bearden" and "Is Basquiat Black?" Individual artists receiving art-historical treatment include Roy DeCarava, Palmer Hayden, Whitfield Lovell, Howardena Pindell, Henry Ossawa Tanner and James VanDerZee. Early registration ends on Feb. 22. For more info, click here.
THE SEVEN SINS, IN
SEAGULLS, FROM JAMIE WYETH
In his magisterial realist paintings, Jamie Wyeth has long shown an interest in seagulls and other beach fauna. Now, he’s taken this impulse to the max, with "Seven Deadly Sins: The Recent Work of Jamie Wyeth," Mar. 14-Apr. 18, 2008, a series of works featuring the noisy sea birds and illustrating the famous suite of Old Testament no-nos that goes on view at the Adelson Galleries at 19 East 82nd Street. For Gluttony (2005), a seagull struggles to get a large fish down its craw, while in Sloth (2007) a horde of gulls swarm over carrion while a single bird sits idle in the foreground. The show also includes Wyeth’s portrait of Fred Hughes and Andy Warhol (2007); Wyeth is said to be the only artist, along with Jean-Michel Basquiat, to work at the Factory alongside Warhol. The "Seven Deadly Sins" series is priced in the "low seven figures," according to the gallery.
DAVE EGGERS, CURATOR
How does "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" sound as an exhibition title? No? What about "Lots of Things Like This," the actual name of the show organized by author Dave Eggers at Apexart at 291 Church Street in Tribeca, going on view Apr. 2-May 10, 2008. The exhibition of about 100 drawings and cartoons explores "a very small and specific type of artmaking," Eggers says, "somewhat crude, usually irreverent and always funny." Among the artists (and authors) in the show are Jean-Michel Basquiat, Leonard Cohen, Joe Brainard, R. Crumb, Shephard Fairey, Maira Kalman, Kenneth Koch, David Mamet, Alice Notley, Royal Art Lodge, Peter Saul, Shel Silverstein, Nedko Solako, William Steig and others.
In the wake of the recent rash of art heists -- including the theft of four Impressionist paintings worth $163 million from a Zürich museum, dubbed "probably the biggest art robbery in Europe" -- AXA Art Insurance is offering free security assessments to its clients designed to help avoid such unfortunate events. Non-clients can get the same service for a "moderate fee." For details, see www.axa-art.com. According to the FBI, stolen artworks are recovered in only five percent of cases.
WOODBLOCKARAMA IN NYC
It’s all coming together in New York City in March 2008 for fans of Japanese woodblock prints and ukiyo-e, or "pictures of the floating world." Asia Society presents "Designed for Pleasure: The World of Edo Japan in Prints and Paintings, 1680-1860," Feb. 27-May 4, 2008, featuring 140 works and accompanied by a lavish 256-page catalogue. The Brooklyn Museum features "Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770-1900," Mar. 21-June 15, 2008, a show of 70 prints from the Van Vleck collection at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisc., plus 20 more from the Brooklyn Museum collection.
The Brooklyn show is organized by Laura J. Mueller, who is billed as a curatorial intern at the Chazen Museum but is also director of the Joan B Mirviss LTD gallery at 39 East 78th Street in Manhattan. The Mirviss gallery is mounting its own exhibition of woodblock prints, "Daring Visions -- Prints of the Utagawa School," Mar. 3-May 2, 2008. The exhibition includes portraits of beautiful women, actors, warriors and landscapes by Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) and Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864). The price range is $650-$32,000.
GRANTS FROM ETANT DONNÉS
Etant donnés, the arts organization that promotes French-American cultural exchange, is calling for proposals from curators, artists and nonprofits. The program supports U.S. institutions working with French artists, and French institutions working with U.S. artists. It also funds "curatorial research" on art and artists for up to three months in France, if sponsored by a nonprofit art space. Applications are due Mar. 31, 2008, and will be reviewed by a committee of distinguished art world professionals: Ian Berry, Valérie Cassel, Russell Ferguson, Emmanuelle Lequeux, Helen Molesworth, François Quintin, Ingrid Schaffner, Debra Singer, Christine Van Assche and Marc-Olivier Wahler. Complete guidelines are available at the organization’s website.
SECOND SPACE FOR 303
Dealer Lisa Spellman’s 303 Gallery, which got its start on Park Avenue South in 1984 and moved to its current 5,200-square-foot space on West 22nd Street in 1996, has become a property owner. The gallery plans to open a second space in a one-story building at 547 West 21st Street in September 2008, a building the gallery purchased for $7.4 million. According to Bloomberg, Spellman decided to purchase the building in the face of high rental rates for commercial space in Chelsea’s gallery district, prices that can range from $80 to $100 per square foot.
The debut exhibition at the new gallery space features new work by video artist Doug Aitken, held simultaneously at the two spaces. Shows of work by Anne Chu, Mary Heilmann, Florian Maier-Aichen, Ceal Floyer and Hans-Peter Feldman are already planned for the new gallery in the months afterwards.
BUILDER SPONSORS NO-FRILLS
For a new art space that bills itself as totally no-frills and below-the-radar, Honey Space certainly opened with a bang, starring in a report on the front of the New York Times arts section by Randy Kennedy. Opening on Valentine’s Day 2008 in a warehouse space at 148 11th Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets (facing lovely West Street and the Hudson piers) and operated by artist Thomas Beale as part of his studio, Honey Space is a calculatedly low-fi experience, offering art shows with no staff, no security and no commerce (interested purchasers must speak directly to the artists themselves).
What’s the catch? The building is owned by developer Alf Naman, whose Alf Naman Real Estate Advisors is a major player in developing Chelsea’s High Line Park. Construction on a luxury condo project is slated to begin on the site within six months. In the meantime, Naman is letting artists use the building -- in exchange for free artwork.
The first show at Honey Space features paintings by Adam Stanforth, and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 am-6 pm. See www.honey-space.com for more info.
The Sharjah Biennial, founded in 1993 in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, wants to "break free from the traditional genealogy of biennials" and become a year-round "locus" of art activity. To this end, the biennial has launched a new "production programme" designed to help artists realize projects in connection with the event. Exact details are vague, but applications can be found at www.sharjahbiennial.org. The first deadline is Mar. 10, 2008. The Sharjah Biennial 9 is slated to open in March 2009.
GLENN LOWRY REAPPOINTED
The trustees of the Museum of Modern Art have unanimously appointed Glenn D. Lowry as director of the museum for a new five-year term (to June 30, 2013). In the formal announcement, both MoMA chairman Jerry Speyer and MoMA president Marie-Josée Kravis sing Lowry’s praises, and note the extensive program of exhibitions, new acquisitions, the $858-million expansion and the merger with P.S.1 as accomplishments during his tenure.
As a historical footnote, it’s worth noting that the "salary scandal" of about one year ago -- it was revealed that MoMA trustees had established a secret slush fund to boost Lowry’s pay by more than $5 million over eight years -- has apparently had no lasting effects on the museum or its director. Observers at the time had predicted that the incident might even drive Lowry out of office. No such luck for anti-Lowryites -- but MoMA does continue to have a depressing reputation for paying low wages to its hard-working clerical and professional staff.
TALBOTT TO ATHENEUM
Susan Lubowsky Talbott has been appointed director of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. Talbott has been director of the Smithsonian Arts at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. since 2005 (reporting to Smithsonian Institution undersecretary of art Ned Rifkin), and director of the Des Moines Art Center before that. She succeeds Willard Holmes, who announced his resignation almost a year ago.
ANN WILSON AT
The Blanton Museum of Art in Austin has named associate director Ann Wilson as the interim director of the museum. She succeeds Jessie Otto Hite, who retires next month.