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Artnet News
Apr. 10, 2008 

After enjoying the flood of art fairs in New York City during Armory Show Week, Mar. 27-30, 2008, globetrotting art lovers are invited this weekend to jet down to that enchanted island, Puerto Rico, for the third annual Circa Puerto Rico International Art Fair, Apr. 11-18, 2008. Forty-four galleries from 21 cities, plus the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and four other institutions, are setting up in the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Special sections include "In the Spot," a presentation of works from the fair selected and installed by independent curators (including Michel Blancsube from the Jumex Collection in Mexico City and Julieta Gonzalez from San Juan’s Espacio 1414), and "Solo," special projects by individual artists.

Galleries from New York include Spencer Brownstone, Dean Project, Henrique Faria, Moti Hasson and Point of View; other exhibitors include Air de Paris (Paris), Blow de la Barra (London), Casas Riegner (Bogota), Marta Cervera (Madrid), Contemporary Fine Arts (Berlin), Gavlak (West Palm Beach), Jacob Karpio (San José), Diana Lowenstein (Miami), Samson Projects (Boston) and Voges + Partner (Frankfurt). Dealers from Puerto Rico are 356, Botello, Carmen Correa, Walter Otero, Primer Piso and Cr3ma. For a complete list, see

Special events include a panel on "the changing curator’s paradigm," organized by the Escuela de Artes Plásticasand titled "Curator’s (on the) Move." Chaired by art critic Haydée Venegas, it includes Michel Blancsube, MIT visual arts program head Ute Meta Bauer, curator Sally Breen from Breenspace in Sydney, and Paco Barragán, artistic director CIRCA PR. The fair is also sponsoring tours of local private collections, notably the Rosalia and Ugobono Collection and the Luis Gutiérrez Latin-American Photo Collection.

CIRCA Puerto Rico '08 is organized by Portfolio FIAC, Inc., a corporation founded by Roberto J. Nieves and Anabelle Lampón.

The marquee news in the art world of late was Carol Vogel’s Apr. 4 New York Times story on the sale of legendary art dealer Iliana Sonnabend’s personal collection, in what the article (or rather, unnamed experts cited in the article) speculated was "the largest private sale of art ever." The transaction was carried out by Antonio Homem and Nina Sundell, the dealer’s heirs, in order to pay off estate taxes estimated at more than half the staggering $1 billion value of the trove. Previously, observers had held out some hope that the Sonnabend Collection, parts of which toured U.S. institutions in 2002 under the title "From Pop to Now," might form the basis for a museum of its own. Ah well.

Vogel’s article provided a peek inside the big-ticket art market, as anonymous insiders (apparently bound to secrecy by confidentiality agreements) detailed where the art is going. According to these sources, GPS Partners, the consortium of dealers Franck Giraud, Lionel Pissarro and Philippe Ségalot, laid out some $400 million for a package of art including Jeff KoonsRabbit (1996) -- alone valued at $80 million, by one expert -- Roy Lichtenstein’s Eddie Diptych (1962), Cy Twombly’s Blue Room (1957) and Andy Warhol’s Silver Disaster (1963). GPS Partners, in turn, was said to be flipping the artworks to supercollectors including François Pinault, Sammy Ofer and Carlos Slim Helú.

According to the same shadowy insiders, Larry Gagosian was behind a second sale, swapping $200 million for an all-Warhol passel of art. Among the signature works Gagosian took in were Four Marilyns (1962), two portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and three small works from the artist’s "Death and Disaster" series. The superdealer was said to be "representing several American and Russian collectors" (that is, figures so shadowy that apparently Vogel’s anonymous sources didn’t feel comfortable revealing their names? We may never know.)

Last chance to visit the "jewel box" gallery that is the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas at Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino -- and what’s more, admission is free. The current and final exhibition there, "Modern Masters from the Guggenheim Collection," closes on May 11, 2008. The adventurous partnership, spearheaded by Guggenheim Foundation director Thomas Krens and Hermitage Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky, clocked a modest 1.1 million visitors to the ten shows at the space -- perhaps that’s why the final month features no entry charge. Among the exhibitions that appeared at the space were "Russia! The Majesty of the Tsars: Treasures from the Kremlin" in late 2005, and "Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition" in 2006-07.

But the Gugg-Hermitage partnership is not finished yet. According to published reports, Lithuanian prime minister Geiminas Kirkilas wants to effect the "Bilbao Miracle" in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, and has engaged the two museums to oversee an economic and cultural feasibility study for a new museum there. A proposed design for the facility by Zaha Hadid has just been unveiled, a metal-skinned biomorphic structure that looks rather like a spaceship. Located in a large public park on the banks of the Neris River, between the old and new parts of the city, the as-yet-unnamed museum could open as soon as 2011. It would specialize in contemporary art and "new media," and include the collection of Fluxus art from the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, which opened in Vilnius a little more than a year ago.

The seventh annual Tribeca Film Festival, founded by actor Robert DeNiro and others in 2001, kicks off  Apr. 23-May 4, 2008, premiering 53 features and dozens of other films at seven downtown Manhattan theaters. At least four of the offerings are fine-art-related:

 * Guest of Cindy Sherman, directed by Paul H-O and Tom Donahue, sets a personal romance (between filmmaker H-O and the tile subject) against the New York contemporary art scene of the 1980s and ‘90s. Critics Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith and Calvin Tompkins (as well as Artnet Magazine’s own Charlie Finch and Walter Robinson) weigh in on the importance of Sherman’s art, and the documentary film includes an interview with David Furnish, partner of Elton John. Also of note is commentary on the new billion-dollar art fair business by supercollector Eli Broad, who owns more Cindy Sherman photographs than anyone.

* A Portrait of Diego: The Revolutionary Gaze, a 79-minute-long movie, in Spanish with English subtitles, features 50-year-old documentary footage of Diego Rivera, Gabriel Figueroa and Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Billed as suggesting "Rivera paintings in motion," the older footage portrays the Mexican muralist as a mysterious, otherworldly figure. It is directed by Diego López Rivera (the artist’s grandson) and Gabriel Figueroa Flores (the filmmaker’s son).

* The Universe of Keith Haring, directed by Christina Clausen, is a 90-minute-long biopic of the late East Village graffiti artist, including interviews with Jeffrey Deitch, Fab 5 Freddy, Carlo McCormick and Yoko Ono, among others. Variety called the French-Italian production "affectionate yet curiously hollow," and said the film’s focus on ordinary details rather than stylistic development makes it best suited for PBS.

* Waiting for Hockney, directed by Julie Checkoway, is a documentary that chronicles aspiring Baltimore artist Billy Pappas’ attempt to show his "masterpiece" -- a single, obsessively detailed life-sized portrait that was ten years in the making -- to his idol, artist David Hockney, a meeting that took place in L.A. in 2004. The film itself took five years to make; it was profiled in the New York Times back in July 2005.

For tickets and more info, see

Nick Korniloff
has been named director of Art Miami, whose next installment is scheduled for Dec. 3-7, 2008. Korniloff had been vice president of International Fine Art Expositions, which produces the palmbeach3 and Palm Beach | America’s International Fine Art & Antique Fair expositions.

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