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Artnet News
Mar. 9, 2006 

The AXA Gallery at 787 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan is presenting "The Big Easy in the Big Apple: Two Centuries of Art in Louisiana from the Battle of New Orleans to Katrina," Mar. 10-May 13, 2006. The show features approximately 100 paintings, sculptures, prints and other artifacts from the collection of the beleaguered New Orleans Museum of Art, which only recently was able to reopen its doors following Hurricane Katrina, offering free admission to Louisiana residents. The AXA exhibition includes works by Diane Arbus, Ernest Bellocq, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edgar Degas, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Jean Hyacinthe de Laclotte, Clarence John Laughlin, John T. Scott, Edward Weston and William Woodward.

One purpose of the show is to focus New Yorkís charitable attentions on the Louisiana museumís continuing need for financial support. AXA is hosting a fund-raising event for the museum on Apr. 10, 2006, titled "An Odyssey: An Evening to Benefit the New Orleans Museum of Art." Donations to NOMAís Katrina Fund can be made online at

Three months after taking the helm at the Guggenheim Museum, new museum director Lisa Dennison has her hand firmly on the tiller, or so it seemed at a recent press lunch, where she outlined the museumís current and future prospects with expertise and confidence. The famed Frank Lloyd Wright building, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2009, is presently stripped of paint down to the bare concrete for a year-long condition and preservation study. The museum is focusing on architectural programming as well, and is seeking a full-time curator of architecture; the Gugg recently lured Monica Ramirez-Montagut away from the Price Tower Art Center in Bartlesville to serve as assistant curator for architecture and design.

Also under way is a "soft launch" of a $200-million capital campaign -- Dennison is searching for a development director, too -- with pledges to date pushing the museumís ca. $50-million endowment up to the "high $70s." The recent Guggenheim gala grossed $2.4 million, including $1 million from the benefit sale of eight donated artworks.

As for the exhibition schedule, itís 90 percent "within mission," meaning their subjects are modern and contemporary art -- which is not to downplay the appeal of big surveys like "Russia!" which drew about 25,000 visitors a week in contrast to the 12,000 or so currently queuing up to see the "David Smith Retrospective. "Among the coming attractions -- still tentative at this date -- are a Richard Prince survey in 2007, a Wassily Kandinsky show in 2008-09 and a major 2008 installation by Cai Guo Qiang that is expected to transform the museum much the way Daniel Buren did in 2005. Curator Robert Rosenblum is also organizing "Citizens and Kings: Portraiture in the Age of David and Goya" for 2007.

More immediate exhibitions at the Gugg include "Jackson Pollock Paintings on Paper," May 26-Sept. 29, 2006; "Zaha Hadid," June 2-Aug. 23, 2006; and "Spanish Painting from El Greco to Picasso: The Wound of Time," Sept. 15, 2006-Jan. 10, 2007.

In todayís art world, nobody has just one job, and Guggenheim director Lisa Dennison is no exception. She has teamed up with Gugg contemporary art curator Germano Celant to organize "New York, New York: 50 Years of Art, Architecture, Photography, Film and Video," July 14-Sept. 10, 2006, at the Grimaldi Forum, the Monaco cultural center that was founded in 2000. The sprawling survey of approximately 500 works dating from 1945 to 2000 -- which has no official connection to the Guggenheim Museum -- promises to bring a taste of downtown Manhattan bohemia to the glamorous jet-set capital on the Mediterranean. The exhibition design is by Pierluigi Cerri of Studio Cerri in Milan, and additional guest-curators are also on board: Aperture magazine editor Melissa Harris is in charge of the photography section, art historian and critic RoseLee Goldberg is selecting performance for the show and filmmaker and writer Thierry Jousse is choosing the films.

As has been widely reported, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to surrender 20 antiquities from its collection to the Italian cultural ministry, including the famous Euphronios Krater from the 5th century BC and the Morgantina Hoard of 15 pieces of Hellenistic silver from the 3rd century BC. The krater is being sent back in 2008, following its display for nine months in the Metís new galleries for Etruscan, Hellenistic and Roman art (currently under construction), while the silver remains at the Met in a newly designed treasury until 2010, after which it goes back to Italy; the remaining items are to be returned to Italy as expeditiously as possible.

But all is not lost -- in what seems to have been some hard-nosed bargaining, the Met was able to convince Italy to send over some of its best antiquities in exchange. The objects are to be displayed in New York in a series of rotating four-year loans for a period of 40 years, renewable by agreement. Among the 15 items specified in the agreement as equivalent to the Euphronios krater are:

* Attic vase, red figures on white background, signed by Charinos, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Tarquina

* Red-figured Attic kylix (drinking cup) signed by Oltos as painter and Euxitheos as potter, with scenes of the Gods of Olympus, ca. 515-510 BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Tarquina

* Red-figure Attic hydria (three-handled jug) from Nola, known as the "Vivenzio Hydria," attributed to the Painter Kleophrades, with a scene of the fall of Troy, ca. 480 BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples

* Bell-shaped Attic krater (large mixing bowl) attributed to the Altamura Painter, with a scene of Dionysus and Oenopion, ca. 465 BC, at the Museo Nazionale in Ferrara

* Large red-figured Attic kylix attributed to the painter Penthesileia, with the exploits of Theseus, ca. 480-460 BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples

* Red-figured Attic stamnos (a two-handled vessel) from Nocera, attributed to the Dinos Painter, with scene of the cult of Dionysus, ca. 420 BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples

* Red-figured Attic hydria from Populonia, attributed to the Meidias Painter, with a scene of Phaon in a bower with Demonassa, ca. 410 BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence

* Red-figured spiral Attic krater from Spina, attributed to a follower (Bologna Painter 279) of the Niobid Painter, with scenes of the heroes of Marathon and the Seven Against Thebes, ca. 440 BC, at the Museo Nazionale in Ferrara

* Red-figured Attic krater from Ruvo, attributed to the Pronomos Painter, with scene of the flute-player Pronomos, ca. late 5th century BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples

* Red-figured spiral Attic krater, attributed to the Talos Painter, with scene of the death of Talos, ca. late 5th century BC, at the Museo Nazionale in Ruvo

* Red-figured spiral Apulian krater, showing Orestes at Delphi and a chariot race, ca. mid-5th century BC, at the Museo Nazionale in Ruvo

* Red-figured krater from Southern Italy, from Paestum, of Python, with theatrical scene of Oedipus and the Sphinx, ca. 4th century BC, at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.

Museum of Modern Art curator emeritus William S. Rubin, who died at age 78 on Jan. 22, 2006, had completed a memoir that frankly focuses on MoMAís dealings with art dealers, collectors, trustees and artists, according to an exclusive story by Jason Edward Kaufman in the March 2006 issue of the Art Newspaper. Entitled A Curatorís Quest, the 198-page typescript chronicles Rubinís deft pursuit of important acquisitions, like the 80 works bequeathed to the museum by CBS chief William Paley, as well as now-forgotten events like a proposed merger between MoMA and the Guggenheim in the 1970s. Also revealed is Rubinís considerable wheeling and dealing with the collection, involving trades and sales from MoMAís holdings -- all for superior acquisitions, of course -- that would certainly have caused protest had they been done publicly. According to Kaufman, the museum has declined to publish the memoir itself.

The Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels is currently presenting the first comprehensive retrospective of the works of the Belgian Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter Thťo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), Feb. 10-May 21, 2006. The exhibition surveys the artistís varied output, from his early Orientalist images from Morocco to his Impressionist seascapes and Moroccan scenes, his Neo-Impressionist paintings, his portraits of many of his fellow artists, and his late seascapes, landscapes and female nudes. The show includes works by Rysselbergheís peers, among them Seurat, Signac, Cross and Van de Velde. The exhibition is organized by Olivier Bertrand, who is collaborating with Pascal de Saedeleer on a Rysselberghe catalog raissonť. For more info, see

Late last week, incoming Corcoran Gallery of Art director Paul Greenhalgh announced a dramatic staff overhaul that included the ouster of chief curator Jackie Serwer, traveling exhibitions director Joan Oshinsky, European art curator Laura Coyle, prints and drawings curator Eric Denker and senior curator of education Susan Badder. Associate curator of contemporary art Stacey Schmidt resigned. So far, the museum has offered no public explanation for the bizarre staff housecleaning, which Tyler Green called "Bloody Thursday" on his Modern Art Notes blog. To outside observers, the Corcoran seems to be sinking further into a morass of mismanagement, which includes $40 million in deferred maintenance of the museum building and $17 million wasted on the now-abandoned Frank Gehry expansion plan. Stay tuned.

Supercollectors Kent and Vicki Logan have donated art, cash and land to the Denver Art Museum worth approximately $60 million. The four-part bequest and donation includes a collection of 300 artworks valued at more than $30 million, a $10 million endowment for the Denver museumís modern and contemporary art department, and the Loganís home and private gallery in Vail, valued at $15 million, plus another $5 million to maintain the property. The Logans began their collecting in the early 1990s in San Francisco, where Kent Logan was senior partner at Montgomery Securities; they moved to Colorado in 2000. Works in their collection range from Andy Warhol and Ed Ruscha to Marlene Dumas and Franz Ackermann; more recently they have been collecting contemporary Chinese art.

"Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction 1964-1980," featuring 40 works by 15 artists, opens at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Apr. 5-July 2, 2006. Organized by Yale art-history professor Kellie Jones, the exhibition includes works by Frank Bowling, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Ed Clark, Melvin Edwards, Fred Eversley, Sam Gilliam, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Tom Lloyd, Al Loving, Joe Overstreet, Howardena Pindell, Haywood Bill Rivers, Alma Thomas, Jack Whitten and William T. Williams.

After 25 years, the scrappy Lower East Side alternative space ABC No Rio is taking legal possession of its building at 156 Rivington Street, with the intention of raising funds for a gut rehabilitation of the structure that could take as long as seven years to complete. During the interim, the space hopes to operate its programs -- print and photo workshop, weekly punk-rock concerts, a local Ďzine archive, and Food Not Bombs and Books Thru Bars programs -- at other sites.

In the meantime, ABC No Rio is putting on a major farewell exhibition of works by 90 artists, titled "Ides of March" and opening on Mar. 17, 2006. The show is organized by artist Scott Seaboldt, ABC No Rio director Steve Englander, and ABC No Rio artist committee members Vandana Jain and Mike Estabrook.

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