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Artnet News
Apr. 6, 2007 

It seems as if François Pinault has finally beaten out the Guggenheim Foundation in the lengthy battle over the Punta della Dogana in Venice. The 43,000-square-foot 17th-century customs house, which sits next to the spectacular Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Salute on the point of land across the Grand Canal from the Piazza San Marco, is now slated to be a contemporary art museum filled with Pinault's collection. The 71-year-old mogul, who controls Christie's auction house, plans to spend at least $27 million to have starchitect Tadeo Ando renovate the structure, with an opening date sometime in 2009. Pinault is continuing to operate the Palazzo Grassi as a site for temporary exhibitions, overseen by director Jean-Jacques Aillagon.

High-concept houses are the new collectibles for sophisticated art lovers -- Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan has said he wants to add houses by top architects to the museum's collection -- and the latest hot property on the East Coast real-estate market is Elaine de Kooning's former studio out in the Hamptons. Located in the North Woods across from Springs, L.I., the property has always been an artist's house. It was originally built in the late 1960s as a simple "salt box" cottage by a local artist. Elaine de Kooning bought the house in the mid-1970s, after she had gotten back together with her former husband, Willem de Kooning (the house figures in the recent bio, De Kooning: An American Master), and added a studio, and later a sun room, doubling the size of the structure to some 5,400 square feet.

After Elaine died in 1989, sculptor John Chamberlain bought the house from her estate, though the 2,500-square-foot studio, despite its 17-foot-high ceilings, was too small for his largest sculptures. The next resident was painter Richmond Burton, who purchased the home in 2000 and did several renovations that he called "respectful of the history of the house." Burton, who exhibits at Cheim & Read Gallery in Manhattan (and has his own website at, said the house has "great vibes." "Everyone gets very creative here," Burton said. "I love the house, but I've got to get back to the city."

Air-conditioned with a large deck and hot tub, the contemporary-style house boasts three bedrooms and 3.5 baths. The listing price is $2 million. For more information, see the Corcoran Group listing.

The 18th-century Italian printmaker Giovanni Piranesi (1720-1778) is celebrated for his "carcieri," or imaginary prisons, as well as for his views of Rome and its antiquities. Now, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City is mounting "Piranesi as Designer," Sept. 14, 2007-Jan. 20, 2008, an investigation of Piranesi's concept of modern design, and his effect on contemporary architects and designers, via a show of more than 100 etchings, drawings and decorative arts.

Organized by Sarah Lawrence and John Wilton-Ely, the exhibition includes Piranesi's designs for everything from interiors and furnishings to vases and coffee pots, and also features an ornate, gilt side table from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, one of the artist's only surviving pieces of furniture. The show is accompanied by a 200-page catalogue, and is slated to travel to the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

The spectacular exhibition of landscapes by Asher B. Durand at the Brooklyn Museum, "Kindred Spirits: Asher B. Durand and the American Landscape," Mar. 30-July 29, 2007, now has some company in New York. The New-York Historical Society on Central Park West opens "The World of Asher B. Durand: The Artist in the Antebellum New York," Apr. 13-Sept. 30, 2007. The exhibition features works of Durand's contemporaries, including Thomas Cole, William Sidney Mount and John F. Kensett. Both shows are organized by Linda S. Ferber, former chair of the museum's American art department and now vice president of the Historical Society. 

The late San Francisco psychedelic artist Rick Griffin (1955-91), who was widely celebrated in the 1960s for his posters and artworks for music acts like Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead, is getting his first museum retrospective. The Laguna Art Museum opens "Heart and Torch: Rick Griffin's Transcendence," June 24-Sept. 30, 2007, a show of 140 paintings, drawings, posters, album covers and artifacts. The items on view range from Griffin's drawings for Surfer magazine, where he became art director at age 20, and his work for Zap Comix, which he helped found, to the art he made in the 1970s and '80s as a reborn Christian. At age 47, Griffin was killed in an accident while riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle in Petaluma, Ca. The show is accompanied by a 168-page catalogue from Gingko Press.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami plans an $18-million, 24,000-square-foot expansion, designed by Charles Gwathmey. The new construction triples the museum's exhibition space, adding 16,500 square feet of additional galleries, and also includes a 4,600-square-foot second floor space for performances, lectures, films and temporary shows, plus a 3,500-square-foot education wing, a sculpture roof terrace, and new storage and reception areas. Construction begins in 2008, with completion planned for 2010.

Chelsea dealer Matthew Marks, already a veteran of Art Review's "Power 100" list of most powerful people in the art world, is now representing the art world on Out magazine's "Power 50" list of "the most powerful gay men and women in America." In case you're wondering, Marks clocks in at number 47, and the magazine notes his representation of Jasper Johns as securing him status as a player. Number one on the "Power 50" is entertainment mogul David Geffen, cited, among other things, for his "great American art (Pollock, de Kooning, Johns)."

Eungie Joo has been named chief of education and public programs, a new position, at the New Museum in New York. She had been director and curator of the gallery at Redcat at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded fellowships totaling $7,600,000 to 189 artists, scholars and scientists for 2007 (the awards come in varying sums, but average about $40,200). Winners in fine art include SoHyun Bae, Rosalyn Bodycomb, Jennifer Bolande, Robert Bordo, Natalie Charkow Hollander, Chris Lan Hui Chou, Ann Gale, Mary Hambleton, Alan David Loehle, Samuel Nigro, Karyn Andrea Olivier, Sarah Oppenheimer, Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz, James Robert Stewart, Barbara Weissberger, Stephen Westfall and Tommy White. For a complete list of fellows, see

Video artist Yael Bartna (b. 1970), who lives in Israel and the Netherlands, has won the 2006 Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize. She receives a purse of $10,000 and a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, accompanied by a catalogue. Established in 1995, the prize is reserved for an Israeli artist under the age of 40.

The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded 15 artists, writers and performers with "City of Los Angeles (COLA)" fellowships of $10,000, earmarked for producing a work for a group exhibition. The ten visual artists or designers who won awards are Paul J. Botello, Aya Dorit Cypis, Caryl Davis, Andrew Freeman, Clement S. Hanami, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Coleen Sterritt, Lincoln Tobier, Carrie Ungerman and J. Michael Walker.

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center founder and director Alanna Heiss has won the 2007 award for curatorial excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Heiss has organized over 700 exhibitions at the art center, ranging from the inaugural 1976 "Rooms" exhibition at P.S.1 to the current "Not for Sale," Feb. 11-Apr. 30, 2007.

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