ARTIST PUTS ART CRITICS IN COSTUME
Art world insiders are marveling at the new works of painter Kathleen Gilje, which go on view at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art on East 80th Street in Manhattan, Apr. 5-May 24, 2006. The canny painter, known for her mastery of Old Master technique, has convinced a host of art-world movers and shakers -- largely art critics, but also curators and art historians -- to pose in the costume of art history masterpieces. Thus, Studio Museum in Harlem president Lowery Stokes Sims is shown in the extravagant royal regalia of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres' Portrait of Napoleon on the Imperial Throne (1806), while performance-art expert RoseLee Goldberg poses as the slinky bullfighter in Edouard Manet's Young Man in the Costume of a Majo (1863).
Manet also provides the model for Venice Biennale curator Rob Storr, who poses with his musician wife in the manner of Edgar Degas' sensational portrait of Manet and his wife (which Manet dissected to occlude his wife's face), and feminist art historian Linda Nochlin, who is depicted as Manet's famous barmaid at the Folies-Bergère. Artnet Magazine critic Charlie Finch is pictured in the manner of a Rembrandt self-portrait. Other subjects in Gilje's pantheon include Robert Rosenblum (as Ingres' Comte de Pastoret), Arthur Danto (as Socrates), Leo Steinberg (as Peter Paul Rubens), Michael Kimmelman (as Thomas Eakins' The Thinker), Rosalind Krauss (as herself, in the manner of Degas) and the late William Rubin (as Pablo Picasso, in Rubin's final portrait). Will the critics buy their own portraits? They're pricey -- around $50,000 and up.
WARHOL LIVES IN BLOGOSPHERE
Would Andy Warhol have been a blogger? Someone thinks so, and has launched the Andy Warh-Blog, subtitled "I Blogged Andy Warhol," at www.warhblog.com. The site features the diary entries from The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Pat Hackett, posted exactly 29 years to the day after they were first recorded (with the editor's comments removed). Warhol's diary spans more than 10 years, so the Warh-Blog should last until February 2016.
HELGA STARS AT WYETH OPENING
Veteran realist Andrew Wyeth (b. 1917) was a bit too frail to attend the opening of "Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mar. 29-July 16, 2006. But his famous model, Helga Testorf, was on hand, along with many other Wyeth friends and family members. Helga was dressed to the nines, in a long white fur cape and a glittering tiara. "She was absolutely gracious and had no qualms about being photographed," reports Artnet Magazine photographer Mary Barone, a Philadelphia native who went down for the gala preview. "At one point I saw her captivated by one of the paintings. . . her eyes filled with tears as she reminisced to her companion." More photos from the opening are forthcoming in "Out with Mary" -- stay tuned.
WEGMAN VIDS ON DVD
Artist William Wegman changed the face of video art back in the 1970s, with short performance pieces that put off-beat comedy into what had previously been an all-too-serious art medium. Now, over 150 Wegman videos are available in a definitive two-DVD compilation from Artpix. William Wegman Video Works 1970-1999, featuring vids remastered by the artist specifically for this project, is available for a suggested retail price of $40. For details, see www.artpix.org.
GEORGE SEGAL GALLERY AT MONTCLAIR U.
Montclair State University in New Jersey has renamed its university gallery in honor of the late figurative artist George Segal, a New Jersey native. The inaugural show in the new George Segal Gallery, according to the Montclair Times, features Segal's Street Crossing, a tableau of seven life-size figures cast in bronze with a white patina. The work is donated to the university by the George and Helen Segal Foundation.
NEW PRES FOR CAA
Amherst College fine-arts professor Nicola Courtright has been elected president of the College Art Association for a two-year term, succeeding Ellen Levy. The author of The Papacy and the Art of Reform in 16th-century Rome: Gregory XIII and the Tower of the Winds in the Vatican (Cambridge, 2003), Courtright has been a CAA board member since 2000 and in charge of CAA publications since 2004.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has made another $330,000 in grants for arts organizations in the Gulf Coast region, following the $750,000 distributed in January 2006. Though the region's art organizations are recovering, the foundation reports, "they desperately need more support to carry out long-term stabilization projects." The new money goes to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (which is housing artists who are hurricane refugees), the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, the Mississippi Arts Council, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Acadiana Arts Council.
BRIELMAIER HEADS ROTUNDA GALLERY
Isolde Brielmaier has been appointed director and chief curator of the Rotunda Gallery in downtown Brooklyn. An art historian who has taught at Vassar and Bard, Brielmaier co-founded the Brooklyn Institute of Contemporary Art. Her first task is overseeing "Show & Tell," a program of curator-led studio visits to Brooklyn artists, launching on Apr. 22 with a tour directed by Parkett Magazine editor Cay Sophie Rabinowitz.
IAN HAMILTON FINLAY, 1925-2006
Ian Hamilton Finlay, 80, Scottish artist whose elaborate five-acre "Little Sparta" garden near Edinburgh was voted Britain's "greatest work of art" in 2004, died after a long illness in Scotland on Mar. 27, 2006. A veteran of World War II, he wrote short stories and poetry before founding his own Wild Hawthorn Press in 1961. He became known for inscribing poetic phrases and words in classical lettering in stone and wood. In the 1970s and '80s, he prompted a certain amount of controversy with his extended examination of the relationship between "terror" and "virtue," and his fascination with Nazi iconography and architecture (Finlay corresponded with Albert Speer). He exhibited in London with Victoria Miro, and recently showed work in New York at the UBS Gallery and Nolan/Eckman Gallery. His work is included in the current "Tate Triennial 2006: New British Art" exhibition at Tate Britain.
contact wrobinson @ artnet.com