SACKLER CENTER OPENS IN BROOKLYN
By official proclamation of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mar. 23, 2007 is "Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art Day." The honor corresponds with the official opening of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, now the permanent home of Judy Chicago’s impressive and dramatic Dinner Party (1979). Accompanying the new center is "Global Feminisms," the survey of contemporary feminist art by 88 artists from 49 countries that is co-organized by art historian Linda Nochlin and Brooklyn Museum curator Maura Reilly.
The festive press conference boasted an appearance by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs commissioner Kate Levin, who brought word of the mayor’s proclamation; feminist avatar Gloria Steinem (the Dinner Party was an "instant legend"); patron Elizabeth A. Sackler ("art is a power tool!"); and Judy Chicago herself.
Of the 88 artists in the show, 61 were said to be on hand for the opening weekend, Mar. 23-25, 2007, presenting talks and performances at the museum every half hour. Among the many attractions is a woman draped in gold mesh and sitting up in a kind of tree, a work by the Italian artist Sissi (b. 1977) titled Wings Have No Hope. Is the performer the artist herself? Who knows -- she wasn’t responding to press inquiries.
Feminism fans are also lining up for a day-long symposium on Mar. 31, 2007, featuring two panels of experts, including Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Melissa Chiu, Tamar Garb, Connie Butler and Jovana Stokic, among others. Tickets are $10; for details, see www.brooklynmuseum.org
ASIAN ART FAIR GETS CONTEMPORARY
Brian and Anna Haughton’s International Asian Art Fair, Mar. 22-28, 2007, opens this weekend at the recently renamed Park Avenue Armory (née Seventh Regiment Armory) at Park Avenue and 67th Street in Manhattan. Now in its 11th year, the fair presents over 50 dealers from around the world, along with a special loan exhibition featuring highlights from the forthcoming "Tea, Wine and Poetry: the Art of Drinking Vessels" at the China Institute in New York. The gala preview benefits Asia Society.
The most evident development at the fair is the increased presence of contemporary art, a tendency that seems to be taking over other parts of the art market as well. Returning exhibitors with a strong contemporary presence include Barry Friedman Ltd., whose booth features several photographs by Wang Jin, who is in New York for the first time for a solo exhibition at Friedman’s gallery around the corner on East 67th Street; Sundaram Tagore Gallery from New York, with contemporary Asian abstraction; and M. Sutherland Fine Arts, with paintings by Yang Mian, whose works can also be seen at her gallery on East 80th Street.
New dealers include Art Miya/Shinseido Co. Ltd from Tokyo, with contemporary Japanese pottery and paintings; Bodhi Art, a gallery with branches in India, Singapore and now New York, with contemporary Indian paintings; Japonesque from San Francisco with contemporary Japanese sculpture; and Zee Stone Gallery from Hong Kong with contemporary art from mainland China.
TAI Gallery / Textile Arts from Santa Fe is presenting an interesting mix in its booth -- a wide selection of exquisitely woven bamboo vessels by Japanese master artists, complemented by contemporary Japanese photography and historic textiles. For serene images of Buddha, one gallery to see is Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art from London, whose booth is filled with golden stone bodhisattvas of stone, wood and terracotta. The fair includes a smattering of dealers in the arts of Africa, Oceana and the Americas, including Douglas Dawson (Chicago), Tambaran Gallery (New York), Ned Jalbert (Westboro, Ma.), Donald Morris Gallery (New York and Birmingham, Ma.) and Galérie Jacques Germain (Montreal). General admission is $20.
YOKO ONO BRINGS "PEACE" TO D.C.
Yoko Ono is taking her message of "Imagine Peace" to where it counts the most -- the streets of the U.S. capital. As part of "Street Scenes," a series of D.C. public art interventions organized by Nora Halpern and Welmoed Laanstra, Ono is gearing up stage a series of interventions. These include:
* 10 "wish trees" planted throughout D.C., starting Apr. 1, 2007. As part of the work, visitors are encouraged to tie pieces of paper with their wishes to the branches, continuing Ono’s longtime fascination with art that is completed by the audience. Locations for the trees include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where the tree is to remain as part of the permanent collection, and the Town Hall Education, Arts & Recreation Campus (THEARC), an arts center for underprivileged kids operated in partnership with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and located east of the Anacostia river.
Other "wish trees" are being planted in the Tidal Basin at the foot of the Jefferson Memorial. They are scheduled to stay through the ides of April, coinciding with the capital’s "Cherry Blossom Festival," before being resited at THEARC. The press release adds, somewhat cryptically, that "[a]lso at the Tidal Basin. . . will be instructions to ‘whisper a wish into the bark of the trees.’"
* A series of Ono-designed free artworks, including posters stating "Imagine Peace" and ribbons bearing the inscription, "this line is a part of a very large circle." These items are to be given away to visitors at the Hirshhorn, THEARC and the Provisions Library.
* Ca. 200,000 "Imagine Peace" posters are being distributed via the Mar. 29 edition of the Washington Post Express as a way of further circulating Ono’s messag. "It is the hope of the curators that these posters will end up hanging in offices and homes throughout the Washington metropolitan area."
* A large billboard stating "Imagine Peace" is scheduled to be displayed on the Verizon Center Building, at the intersection of 7 and G, Apr. 1-30, 2007.
OUTSIDER ARTIST PURVIS YOUNG SNARLED IN LAWSUITS
Florida Outsider artist Purvis Young, who has diabetes and recently underwent a kidney transplant, is in the middle of an ugly court battle with his former business manager, Martin Siskind. According to a report in the Daily Business Review, last month Young fired Siskind as his manager and filed a lawsuit against him in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claiming that Siskind had failed to account for sales or turn over profits, and alleging that Siskind had even changed the locks on Young’s art warehouse and studio.
In a separate action, Siskind asked the Florida court to declare Young mentally incompetent and appoint a guardian to oversee his affairs, and also sought to be declared owner of 50 percent of Young’s artwork, on the grounds that he had been Young’s business partner. Young is estimated to own 1,000-2,000 paintings, which have sold for as much as $60,000 apiece.
Siskind’s attorney, James Sammataro, told the Daily Business Review that Young shouldn’t have changed his business relationship with Siskind while he was in intensive care, and said that Young’s new business manager -- Leon Rolle, described by the report as a "convicted felon and disbarred Florida attorney" -- might be taking advantage of him. Sammataro said that Siskind, despite his "controversial" reputation, had been Young’s primary caregiver for the past two years.
Young’s attorney, Richard Zaden, denied that Young was mentally incompetent. "I’ve known him for 12 years and there’s no difference in his mental capacity." What’s more, Zaden told the reporter that Siskind had no contract with Young, and that Siskind was only paying Young $500 a week and pocketing the rest of the proceeds from the sale of his works. The Daily Business Review also reported that Siskind has been involved in 17 civil lawsuits in Miami-Dade County and had been arrested nine times, including for grand theft and larceny.
A hearing on the guardianship issue is scheduled for Apr. 3, 2007. Stay tuned.
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND LETTERS AWARDS
Artists Bryan Hunt, Jackie Gendel, Dana Schutz, Julian Hatton and Sarah Oppenheimer are the recipients of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ 2007 "Art Awards," worth $7,500 each. In addition, Sally Hazelet Drummond takes the $5,000 "Jimmy Ernst Award in Art" and Juan Gomez wins the $5,000 "Richard and Hilda Rosenthal Foundation Award." The prizes are scheduled to be presented at a ceremony in May, and an exhibition of works by the prize-winners goes on view at the Academy’s headquarters at Audubon Terrace on Broadway between 155 and 156 streets, May 18-June 10, 2007.
In addition, the AAAL acquired artworks as part of its "Art Purchase Program," which will be donated to the collections of public institutions, by Robert Bordo, Mark Ferguson, Ann Pibal, Clytie Alexander, Sally Hazelet Drummond, Jackie Gendel, Juan Gomez, Warren Isensee, Saul Leiter, Sally Mann, Stephen Mueller, Emily Nelligan, Cynthia Westwood and Emma Zghal.
KLEIN TAKES ART COLOGNE PRIZE
The €10,000 "Art Cologne Prize" has gone to dealer Erhard Klein, influential gallery director of Galerie Klein, founded in Bonn in 1970. Klien, who officially retired last year, is known for his pioneering 1973 show of multiples by Joseph Beuys as well as for representing celebrated German contemporary artists such as Günther Förg, Martin Kippenberger, Imi Knoebel, Albert Oehlen, Sigmar Polke, Ulrich Rückriem and Katharina Sieverding. The ceremony honouring Klein will be held at Cologne’s Historisches Rathaus on Apr. 19, 2007.
STEVEN CRIQUI, 1964-2007
Steven Criqui, 43, photographer known for haunting, cerebral images of Southern California’s urban landscape, died of complications from cancer on Mar. 4. Born in Olean, N.Y., Criqui moved with his parents to Orange County in 1977, earning a B.A. at University of California, San Diego and moving to L.A. upon graduation. Since the mid-1990s, he served as lecturer at the University of California, Irvine. His art combined digitally manipulated photography with an eye for painterly detail. He was represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.