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Artnet News
Mar. 7, 2006 

The "Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night" has something for everyone -- even art-loving tots. Among the complete lineup of ancillary events organized around the biennial are several aimed at the small set, including:

* "Look Out! Sketch Tours" gives kids aged 8-12 a chance to tour the show and sketch their favorite gems from the contemporary art scene (art materials are provided). Last weekend's walk focused on the third floor: Liz Larner's RWB, the large heap of aluminum tubes wrapped with red, white and blue cloths; Mark Grotjahn's playfully abstract Untitled (Blue Face); Carter's drawings of eyes, hair and rocks; and, finally, Paul Chan's magic lantern room, where the kids learned to draw lines in motion. "Look out," indeed! The next tour is scheduled for Mar. 26, 2006.

* The "Family Fun! Workshop" takes 5- to 10-year-olds on 45-minute tours of the biennial for a discussion based on a particular theme (e.g. color) followed by a retreat to a studio to do art exercises inspired by the experience. The coming weekend's "Painting Workshop" is tentatively set to focus attention on works by Steven Parrino, Peter Doig, Grotjahn and Spencer Sweeney. Future workshops focus on sculpture and mixed-media.

* The "Whitney Wees" program invites 4- and 5-year-olds to ditch the strollers "share a fun and interactive hour of looking, touching (not the art!), singing, the appreciation of dancing and creating -- all in the museum galleries!" The presentation guides the youngsters through three works, incorporating storytelling, a sticker- or crayon-based art activity and more. This month, the "Wee" program is set for Mar. 12, 18 and 22, 2006.

A complete schedule is located online. To reserve tickets, call (212) 671-5300.

"Whistler's Mother" may have been left out of the new edition of H.W. Janson's History of Art textbook, but the icon of American art is included in "Americans in Paris, 1860-1900," a groundbreaking exhibition of 100 paintings organized by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery, London, in association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show considers the City of Light as a "quintessentially cosmopolitan city" that attracted artists from all over the world. "When today we look for American art," Henry James wrote in 1887, "we find it mainly in Paris."

In addition to James Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Artist's Mother (1871), the show includes John Singer Sargent's Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) (1884) and Childe Hassam's Allies Day, May 1917 (1917), as well as works by John White Alexander, Cecilia Beaux, Frank Benson, Mary Cassat, William Merritt Chase, Thomas Eakins, Ellen Day Hale, Winslow Homer, Thomas Hovenden, William Morris Hunt, Willard Metcalf, Charles Sprague, Maurice Prendergast, Theodore Robinson, Henry Ossawa Tanner and John Henry Twachtman.

The show is currently drawing rave reviews in London at the National Gallery, Feb. 22-May 21, 2006 -- except from idiot critic Waldemar Januszczak in the Sunday Times, who seems to think that the Americans couldn't paint (actually, come to think of it, it was the English who went missing during the dawn of modernism) -- and arrives at the MFA, June 25-Sept. 24, 2006, before subsequently travelling to the Metropolitan, Oct. 17, 2006-Jan. 28, 2007.

Cosmopolitan New York City may be a bit slow when it comes to feminist art, but the broad-shouldered people of Steel City don't waste any time. Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum greets this coming spring with "The 'F' Word," May 27-Sept. 3, 2006, an exhibition of new work by a dozen feminist artists organized by independent curator Elizabeth Thomas. The artists in "The 'F' Word," Thomas said, critique "the dominant ideologies of mainstream media, questioning the objectification of women, spoofing traditional stereotypes, interrogating social inequities, protesting political actions and validating personal narratives." The artists in the show include Ida Applebroog, Martha Colburn, Deborah Grant, K8 Hardy/Wynne Greenwood, Wangechi Mutu, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann and Amy Wilson.

Opening at the same time at the Warhol Museum is "The Downtown Show: The New York Art Scene, 1974-84," May 27-Sept. 2, 2006, the exhibition organized by Carlo McCormick for NYU's Gray Art Gallery.

Tom Wesselmann died at age 73 on Dec. 17, 2004, and on the 15-month anniversary of his death, the pioneering Pop artist is the subject of two exhibitions, one featuring classic works from the 1960s and the other comprising paintings from his final series. Uptown at L&M Arts on East 78th Street is "Tom Wesselmann: The Sixties," Feb. 23-Apr. 15, 2006, an exhibition of 35 paintings and drawings organized in consultation with Claire Wesselmann, the artist's widow, and accompanied by a catalogue featuring an interview with the veteran art dealer Ivan Karp, a longtime Wesselmann supporter. The Wesselmann show is the second exhibition at the new partnership formed by Dominique Lévy and Robert Mnuchin.

Down in Chelsea, Robert Miller Gallery is hosting "Tom Wesselmann: Sunset Nudes," Mar. 9-Apr. 22, 2006, an exhibition of a works made in 2003 and '04 and designed to be shown together. The large-format paintings -- the largest measures almost 8 x 11 feet -- feature a single reclining nude painted in broad swaths of color that extend to the surroundings, which typically include a floral still life in the foreground and seascape in the distance.

Needless to say, the Wesselmann market is strong. A tiny (9 x 12 in.) oil Study for Smoker No. 26 (1977) sold in London last month for $150,000, and large paintings have been sold by galleries for as much as $2 million. According to the Artnet Market Performance Report, the average price of a Wesselmann lot sold at auction climbed from $18,534 in 2000 to $79,622 in 2005. The total auction sales (excluding prints) went from $1,239,749 in 2000 to $5,414,315 in 2005.

In early March all the contemporary art dealers in the world descend on New York City for the Whitney Biennial, the Armory Show and attendant other art fairs -- but for Old Master dealers, it's a completely different story. For them it's all about TEFAF Maastricht 2006, Mar. 10-19, 2006, which brings together 218 antique and art dealers from 14 countries to the exposition grounds of the small but venerable Dutch town of Maastricht. Top-drawer exhibitors range from A La Vieille Russie, Didier Aaron, Acquavella and Agnew's to Wartski, Wildenstein, Adam Williams Fine Art and Kunsthandel Mieke Zilverberg.

Among the highlights are a Frans Hals portrait, once dismissed as a copy and more recently reattributed after cleaning and additional study, at the booth of David Koetser Gallery of Zurich (with a price tag of $12.5 million), and a Rembrandt van Rijn oil of a praying Apostle James the Major (1661) that was included in the touring "Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits" exhibition, at the booth of New York dealers Salander-O'Reilly (with an undisclosed price, though one might note that Old Master dealer Otto Nauman is said to have a Rembrandt painting of Minerva priced at $45 million or thereabouts).

TEFAF does have a contemporary section, too, despite all the contemporary action in New York City. Among the big-name participants, many of them first-timers, are Gagosian Gallery, Richard Gray Gallery, PaceWildenstein, Sperone Westwater, Moeller Fine Art, David Tunick and Jablonka Gallery.

TEFAF Maastricht is sponsored for the third year by AXA Art, the fine-art insurance company, which is also presenting "The Thrill of Collecting," a selection of works lent by some of AXA's clients, plus a display of artworks exploring the impact of water damage on art collections, an issue of increased concern following Hurricane Katrina. Entry to the fair is a respectable ?40, and includes a copy of the catalogue.

One attraction of the forthcoming Armory Show, Mar. 9-13, 2006, is a special panel devoted to prints sponsored by the International Fine Print Dealers Association. In the VIP Collectors Lounge on Pier 92 at 11:00 a.m. on Mar. 10, 2006, is "Fresh Impressions: New Talk on Contemporary Prints," featuring Harvey Shipley Miller, sole trustee of the Rothschild Foundation, which made a splash last year when it assembled a huge collection of contemporary drawings and donated them to the Museum of Modern Art. Fellow panelists include Trenton Doyle Hancock, who currently has a show at James Cohan gallery in Chelsea and recently sent out an announcement for a new book in the form of a "Garbage Pale Kid" sticker. Also on hand are Carroll Dunham and Art in America editor-in-chief Nancy Princenthal, who serves as moderator.

Fans who missed Mike Kelley's sensational, carnival-like installation at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea last year get another chance: The 13th Annual New York Underground Film Festival sees the feature film debut of Kelley's Day Is Done (Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions #2- #32), Mar. 12, 2006, at 8 p.m. at Anthology Film Archives. While the original installation featured a maze-like series of props and video installations clicking on and off simultaneously (prompting critic Jerry Saltz to coin the term "clusterfuck esthetics"), the film presents Kelley's vignettes -- based on high-school yearbook photos, which inspired imaginary rituals or musical numbers -- one at a time, presumably bringing some sort of order to the proceedings. (In an appropriate combination, the screening is sponsored by creative agency Articulate and the satirical paper The Onion.)

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has elected 12 new members, including four artists, to fill the vacancies in its membership of 250 American artists, architects, writers and composers. The new artist members are Eric Fischl, Alfred Leslie, Jules Olitski and Nancy Spero. Other new members include playwrights A.R. Gurney and Wallace Shawn, poet Frank Bidart, writers Paul Auster, David McCullough and Lorrie Moore, and composers Martin Bresnick and Peter Lieberson.

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