“CASH FOR YOUR WARHOL?”
Looking to turn some of your spare Andy Warhol works into a little fast cash? Well, then check out Cash for Your Warhol, a website dedicated to giving collectors a venue to move unwanted Warhols quickly, “regardless of the size, price, or condition.” Beneath an image of a smiling Jackie, the site assures visitors, "our nationwide network of investors has helped lots of art collectors in situations like yours. They can often make you a written offer within hours of contacting us, regardless of economic conditions, and have your problems solved within days." In recent weeks, signs advertising the service have popped up in venues around the Boston area -- including outside Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, where administrators have famously been trying to liquidate the collection to raise cash.
It’s a joke, of course, the work of Boston-based prankster Geoff Hargadon, previously best-known for his parody of Christo and Jean-Claude’s The Gates, consisting of miniature, homemade versions of the duo’s iconic orange structures, a project that was covered in the New York Times and elsewhere (images are still available online at www.not-rocket-science.com). Hargadon describes “Cash for Your Warhol” as “part parody, part experiment, part commentary, part visual gag,” taking as its starting point the ubiquitous “Cash for Your House” signs that have popped up in recession-plagued neighborhoods. He had the signs manufactured by the same Texas-based company that makes the “Cash for Your House” signs, while the decidedly bare-bones website is “pretty much a cut/paste” from a "Cash for Your House" website.
And what’s the reaction, so far? “I have received a LOT of calls, most of them hang-ups (curiosity?), but a few have probably been real,” Hargadon emailed Artnet News. “I haven't returned the calls yet cause I don't know what to say to them quite yet. Would I buy a Warhol from them? Sure, but I haven't figured out the pricing thing.” Has the Warhol market really gone so sour? Not really -- though given that the New York Times also just did an article on the rise of the fine-art pawn shop, maybe it’s not totally crazy either.
What’s next for “Cash for Your Warhol?” “Plans are in the works, and I'm pretty sure you'll hear about it,” Hargadon wrote, adding, “Hint: London, Miami, New York.”
RINGLING MUSEUM EYED FOR CLOSURE
More ominous symbolism for art: the partnership between the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Florida State University -- the largest university-museum partnership in the country, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune -- is in jeopardy as the school tries to chop $45 million from its budget. Listed among the options FSU could pursue to close its budget gap is shuttering the Ringling, along with the nearby FSU Center for the Performing Arts, “until the economy gets better.” About 46 percent of the museum’s $13.5 million budget comes through the university, with the rest coming from donations, admissions and the like. Officials stressed that the closure is not a done deal -- but then again, FSU spokesman Barry Ray also stated that the proposed cuts weren’t "even a worst-case scenario,” depending on what kinds of cuts the Florida legislature makes to funding.
ELECTROCUTED CHRIST RAISES HACKLES
The British artist Paul Fryer [see “Diabolical Science,” Oct. 10, 2008] prompted a bit of a commotion last week after his realistic sculpture of a crucified Jesus sitting in an electric chair was put on display for Easter in the Cathedral of Gap in the French town. Despite protests that the sculpture was blasphemous, Bishop Jean-Michel di Falco has defended the work. “If Jesus had been sentenced today,” di Falco said, "he would have to reckon with the electric chair.” The bishop went on to note that the scandal was not in the depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion, but the indifference to it. The sculpture is part of the collection of François Pinault, who loaned it to the Diocese of Gap for Holy Week.
NORTHERN IRELAND IN VENICE BIENNIALE
Northern Ireland’s presentation at the 53rd Venice Biennale, June 7-Nov. 22, 2009, is “Remote Viewing,” a video installation by Susan MacWilliam based on the artist’s research into paranormal activity. MacWilliam retells historical cases of “fingertip vision,” spirit photography and more through a layering of archival and first-hand testimony. The exhibition, organized by Karen Downey and sponsored by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is located on the ground floor of the Istituto Provinciale per l’Infanzia, Santa Maria della Pieta, in the Castello district near the Giardini. For more info on MacWilliam, who has exhibited at Gimpel Fils in London and Jack the Pelican Presents in New York, see www.susanmacwilliam.com. Northern Ireland has been represented at the Venice Biennale since 2005.
“FAX” OPENS AT DRAWING CENTER
Readers of Avalanche Magazine back in the 1970s may remember the early experiments with fax technology by art-and-technology pioneers like Keith Sonnier and Liza Bear. Now, curator João Ribas is revisiting the fax machine as art medium in “FAX,” Apr. 17-July 23, 2009, at the Drawing Center’s Drawing Room in SoHo. Faxes by close to 100 participants sent to the Drawing Center, along with “the inevitable junk faxes and errors of transmission,” constitute the show, which includes missives from John Armleder, Tauba Auerbach, Pierre Bismuth, Barbara Bloom, Mel Bochner and many more. The exhibition, co-organized with Independent Curators International, subsequently appears at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and other sites.
MARYLYN DINTENFASS AT BABCOCK GALLERIES
Artist Marylyn Dintenfass unveils her new paintings, “Good & Plenty Juicy,” at Babcock Galleries at 724 Fifth Avenue in New York. Known for lushly colored abstractions marked with vigorous gestural brushwork, Dintenfass’ new works are billed as “beautiful and evocative, yet also mysterious and provocative.” Dintenfass has had recent solo exhibitions at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the Greenville County Museum of Art; a monograph on her work, authored by critic Lilly Wei, was published in 2007 by Hudson Hills.
WHAT DO ARTISTS KNOW, ANYWAY?
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) art-theory guru James Elkins runs something called the Stone Summer Theory Institute, a week-long seminar at the SAIC every September. This summer’s event, co-organized with Frances Whitehead, founder of the SAIC Knowledge Lab, has the irresistible theme of “What Do Artists Know” -- which, sadly enough, is not being played for comedy but rather is about the current state of arts education. The seminar runs from Sept. 20-26, 2009. For info on tickets and more, see www.stonesummertheoryinstitute.org
FRIENDS OF ELIZABETH MURRAY ART AUCTION
The Friends of Elizabeth Murray Art Auction, a benefit for the feature documentary Everybody Knows. . . Elizabeth Murray, takes place at Sue Scott Gallery, 1 Rivington Street in New York, on Apr. 25, 2009. The film, produced and directed by Kristi Zea and due to be released in 2010, has been in the works since 2005, the year of Murray’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and her diagnosis with cancer; a clip of the film is being shown at the auction. Among the artists who have donated works to the benefit are Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, Joanne Greenbaum, John Newman, Richard Serra, Terry Winters and Elyn Zimmerman. For more info, click here.
MARILYN MINTER”S “GREEN PINK CAVIAR”
A clip from New York artist Marilyn Minter’s new video, Green Pink Caviar, a “sensual voyeuristic hallucination” filmed with macro lenses, is now online at www.greenpinkcaviar.com. A segment of the eight-minute-long vid is on view during the month of April on the MTV outdoor HD billboard in Times Square.