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Artnet News
Feb. 27, 2008 

WARHOL CASH FOR ARTS WRITERS
"Writers should be well paid" is the motto of the Arts Writers Grant Program of Creative Capital, a branch of the Andy Warhol Foundation -- and we can’t help but agree. A total of $300,000 has gone to 16 writers for 2007, in amounts ranging from $7,000 to $35,000. Winners hail from places like Pagosa Springs, Co., and Waterville, Me., as well as from art capitals like New York and Los Angeles. Members of the jury were Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Carlos Basualdo, Rhizome executive director Lauren Cornell, UCLA art historian Miwon Kwon, Cal Arts dean Thomas Lawson, U. of Texas art historian Ann Reynolds and Hunter College art history prof Katy Siegel.

Seven writers receive grants to fund full-length books. The winners (listed with awardee’s name followed by the name of their project and grant amount) are: Debra Balken, Harold Rosenberg ($35,000); Bruce Hainley, Sturtevant’s Eclipse ($30,000); Gary Indiana, The Hidden Life of the Image ($35,000); Sonia Katyal, Anti-Branding ($25,000); Glenn Ligon, Black Covers [working title] ($17,000); Richard Meyer, What Was Contemporary Art? ($17,000); and George Slade, Looking Homeward: Notes on Photographic Minnesota ($26,000).

Six more writers won funding for research: Elizabeth Finch, "Instituting Relatedness: Art, Science and Technology at MIT after 1968" ($10,000); Robby Herbst, "Generative Art -- Creative Possibilities" ($9,000); Liz Kotz, "In a Large Open Space" ($7,000); Barbara Pollack, "Everything But Freedom: Censorship’s Impact on Contemporary Art in China" ($10,000); Felicity Scott, "‘Burn-Off’: Les Levine’s Environmental Systems" ($9,000); and Jim Supanick, "Windsock Navigation: eteam’s International Airport Montello" ($10,000).

Finally, three writers received grants in a "short-form writing" category: Leanne Goebel, art critic for the Pagosa Springs Durango Herald, was awarded $20,000 to fund trips to Denver, New York, Santa Fe, Venice and "art fairs and biennials around the globe," with the aim of expanding the paper’s arts coverage. Sharon Mizota receives $20,000 to support her investigations into politics and art, gleaning theoretical insights that she will convey in "everyday language" through articles in California newspapers. And Benjamin Carlson received $20,000 for a project involving publishing two to three reviews a month for the period of one year, focusing on art in Philadelphia, but also visiting art spaces in Minnesota, Tennessee and Canada.

For complete descriptions of all the winning projects, visit www.artswriters.org

SONSBEEK 2008 BOWS IN JUNE
The 10th Sonsbeek International Sculpture Exhibition, June 13-Sept. 21, 2008 -- which has taken place every seven years since 1949 in the Dutch town of Arnhem and typically focuses on contemporary sculpture -- is organized this time around by art critic Anna Tilroe on the theme of "Grandeur," an effort to "visualize the aspiration for human greatness," she says. A columnist for the Netherlands evening paper NRC Handelsblad, Tilroe has invited 30 international artists to site works in the city’s expansive Sonsbeek Park, a reversal of the tendency in recent installments to spread the artworks throughout the town. What’s more, she has arranged for the people of Arnhem to carry the actual art works through the streets in "a solemn but festive procession," noting that "a procession is a powerful tool to invoke a joint experience in which people feel connected." The parade is slated to take place on June 8.

Another novelty connected with the show is the "chapeau," a special hat that resembles a minimalist white chef’s toque with a flat top, bearing a large insignia of an intertwined "g" and "s," the logo of Sonsbeek 2008. The chapeau, Tilroe says, represents "the social part of the exhibition, the Procession of the Guilds," and sponsors of the show receive a porcelain version of the topper. Tilroe has yet to release a complete list of the artists in the exhibition, but participants do include Brody Condon, El Anatsui, Gerhard Merz, Matthew Monahan, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Thomas Saraceno, Lara Schnitger, Alain Séchas, and Gerda Steiner & Jörg Lenzlinger.

FLUX FACTORY EVICTED BY MTA
Urban development is putting Long Island City’s well-loved Flux Factory art space out on the street at the end of April. Located at 38-38 43rd Street since 2002, the artists’ collective -- members of the group live and work in the space -- is known for its innovative social art experiments, such as "Novel" in 2005, a project for which three novelists sat in the gallery and wrote their books.  

Now, the Metropolitan Transit Authority says it needs the building for the East Side Access project, a $6.3 billion tunnel underneath the East River linking the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal. Plans call for the building to be destroyed, and the MTA offered a "take-it-or-leave-it" purchase price, according to building owner Lenny Gartner. The final Flux Factory show, titled "Everything Must Go," Apr. 4-26, 2008, is a collaborative homage to the space’s own history, featuring contributions from artists who have worked there over the years and a variety of performance tributes.

"As for the future of Flux," artist and Factory representative Stefany Ann Goldberg wrote in an email, "we will prevail, we just don’t know where. It’s possible that Fluxers will set up another communal living space but the organization proper will, for the time, be physically separated from the living space. We are also going to bolster the esthetics laboratory/research lab part of Flux. We are looking for another exhibition space but don’t have anything yet." Stay tuned.

SVA TO OPEN THEATER
Let no one say the art boom has benefited only rich collectors. In recent years, New York’s School of Visual Arts has introduced graduate programs in art criticism, design criticism, digital photography, and visual and critical studies, and also seen a 45 percent enrollment boost over the last decade -- and now the school is expanding aggressively to meet its larger profile. To wit, it has just signed a 26-year lease on the former Chelsea West Cinemas building at 333 West 23rd Street. Graphic design maestro and acting SVA chairman Milton Glaser is redesigning the theater’s two auditoriums for use for lectures and screenings, and faculty member Gene Stavis has been appointed director of the new SVA theater, which opens this fall. The acquisition follows the recent announcement that SVA is launching a new multidisciplinary studio art program in four floors of a building at 335 West 16th Street.

THE CROWD CURATES IN BROOKLYN
The Brooklyn Art Museum, which not too long ago did away with traditional curatorial departments [see Artnet News, June 22, 2006], is going more or less curatorless for an upcoming photo show titled "Changing Faces of Brooklyn," June 27-Aug. 10, 2008. Also known as "Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition," the initiative explores the idea developed in James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, that the masses are sometimes smarter than experts.

The show is organized in three stages. First, an "open call" online invites artists to submit photographic work that responds to the "Faces of Brooklyn" theme, Mar. 1-31, 2008. Next, website visitors evaluate and vote for the various contributions, Apr. 1-May 23, 2008. And finally, the favored photos are installed in the museum galleries, ranked according to the response they garnered online, June 27-Aug. 10, 2008. "Click!" is organized by Shelley Bernstein, who holds the title of "manager of information systems" at BAM.  

YOUNG IRANIAN ARTISTS IN NEW YORK
The New York Academy of Art at 111 Franklin Street, dedicated to traditional painting and sculpture, is featuring "Wishes and Dreams: Iran’s New Generation Emerges," Mar. 5-Apr. 2, 2008. The exhibition, which is co-sponsored by the Tehran University Art Gallery and the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. (where it debuted in the United States) features work by Iranian artists between the ages of 22 and 40. A press release notes that 70 percent of the population of Iran is under 30, and that the country has a lively and heterogeneous youth culture, something that "Wishes and Dreams" promises to highlight. "Even while looking back at ageless Persian traditions, the artists are keenly aware of global currents and belong to the increasingly universal continuum of the art world." See www.nyaa.edu for more info.

TURNER & TUNES IN TEXAS
A little experimentation is always good, especially if you hope to lure young audiences to your arts events. Last weekend, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, housed a few blocks apart in the city’s downtown Arts District, took the concept of synergy between music and the visual arts to new, literal heights. While the DSO, under the baton of Peter Oundjian, played the three symphonic sketches that comprise Claude Debussy’s enchanting La Mer, 66 images from the magisterial J.M.W. Turner retrospective currently on view at the DMA appeared on a large screen in the concert hall. Powerpoint made it possible to pan right and left, hone in on details, leave the screen blank and even rotate a painting 360 degrees. The earliest projections, accompanying Debussy’s "From Dawn to Noon on the Sea," included watercolors, many verging on abstraction, while the works shown with "Dialogue of Wind and Sea" were more representational oil paintings. Debussy considered Turner to be "the first creator of mystery in art."

-- Phyllis Tuchman

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