SCULPTURE PARK FOR SEATTLE
What becomes of major sculptures like Richard Serra’s Wake, a set of five undulating 14-foot-tall rusted steel walls exhibited at Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2003, and Tony Smith’s Stinger, a 32-foot-square black-painted steel sculpture that was fabricated and put on view at Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea in 1999? In the case of these two particular works, they’re heading out west to Seattle, where they are due to be installed in the Seattle Art Museum’s new $85-million, 8.5-acre waterfront sculpture park. Designed by New York architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, the park -- dubbed Olympic Sculpture Park -- transforms a site that is bisected by a railroad and a major street through a design that uses a dramatic 2,200-foot-long "z path" that zigzags over the obstacles down to the water’s edge, a drop of more than 40 feet. Incredibly, once the park is completed, it will supply the only public access in the entire city to the water’s edge at Elliott Bay on Puget Sound.
The Serra (a $5 million acquisition) and the Smith (a gift of the artist’s late wife, Jane Lawrence Smith) are joined in the sculpture park by Louise Bourgeois’ Father and Son (2004-05), a fountain featuring two nude figures (commissioned with funds left to the city by a man named Stu Smailes, who required the money be used for a public artwork incorporating a male nude) as well as three Bourgeois Eye Benches, an 80-foot-long "nurse log" vivarium by Mark Dion, a 220-foot glass bridge by Teresita Fernandez and a kind of picnic installation of benches and tables (spelling out the letters of the words Love & Loss, the work’s title) by Seattle sculptor Roy McMakin.
The sculpture park, which is slated to open this October, is part of a $180-million capital campaign that includes a 300,000-square-foot expansion of the art museum itself, scheduled to open next year. That project, designed by Brad Cloepfil and Allied Works Architecture, adds 300,000 square feet of new gallery and public space to a museum which totals 450,000 square feet.
NEW BUILDING FOR GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM
The Grand Rapids Art Museum in Grand Rapids, Mich. (across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee and Chicago), is poised to leap into the big leagues with a new $75-million, 125,000-square-foot museum building designed by L.A.-based, Thailand-born architect Kulapat Yantrasast -- a rising star in the architecture field, known by insiders for his long association with Tadao Ando, architect for the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum and the Pulitzer Foundation, among other museums. His design for GRAM is distinguished by a concrete and glass entrance pavilion that is both light and classical in feeling, as well as a three-floor gallery wing topped by three towers with "glass skylight lanterns" designed to let in natural light as well as add a glow to the Grand Rapids night skyline.
What’s more, GRAM is also the first "green" museum building in the world, incorporating energy-efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, as well as recycling systems for water and paper supplies. The new building is located in the center of town, just across the street from Maya Lin’s Ecliptic, an urban park that includes a skating rink inset with lights that mirror the stars in the night sky. The building lobby, furthermore, is marked by Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue White, a 25 x 8 foot parallelogram-shaped painting commissioned from the artist. Headed by director Celeste Adams since 1997, the museum has recently organized a pair of traveling exhibitions: "The Eames Lounge Chair: An Icon of Modern Design," which premieres at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, May 18-Sept. 3, 2006, before appearing at GRAM, Oct. 6-Dec. 31, 2006; and "Drawn from Nature: The Plant Lithographs of Ellsworth Kelly," currently at the Tate Gallery St. Ives and due to open at the AXA Gallery in New York, June 7-Aug. 14, 2006.
SHAKESPEARE DRESS-UP IN LONDON
The National Portrait Gallery in London is offering free admission to its "Searching for Shakespeare" exhibition this Sunday, Apr. 23, 2006, Shakespeare’s birthday, for all visitors who dress up in Shakespearean period costume. The show features the Chandos portrait and five other portraits purporting to present the famed playwright, together for the first time. Admission is ordinarily £8.
CONTEMPORARY ART FROM FREUD MUSEUM
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud, the Austrian Cultural Forum at 11 East 52nd Street in New York City is hosting the first U.S. exhibition of the contemporary art collection from the Freud Museum Vienna. "Freud and Contemporary Art," Apr. 25-July 8, 2006, organized by Peter Pakesch, director of the Joanneum in Graz, and Inge Scholz-Strasser, director of the Sigmund Freud Museum, features works donated to the museum in the past 18 years at the urging of Joseph Kosuth, who made an installation in Freud’s vacant apartment in 1989.
The exhibition, according to the curators, demonstrates that "psychoanalytic thought has become an indispensable tool in the general practice of many artists, and as a consequence allows psychoanalytic theory to live on in the creative." Artists with works in the show are John Baldessari, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Clegg & Guttmann, Jessica Diamond, Marc Goethals, Georg Herold, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth, Sherrie Levine, Ilya Kabakov, Haim Steinbach, Franz West and Heimo Zobernig.
AFRO-FUTURISM FESTIVAL AT DAVIS MUSEUM
The Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass., presents the "Afro-Futurism Festival: From the Mothership to the Motherland, the Second Generation," Apr. 26-30, 2006. The four-day event, organized by Davis Museum adjunct curator Genevieve Hyacinthe, includes a symposium, lectures and films exploring futurist themes and technological innovation in black art and culture. Participants include Sheila Petty, author of "Transforming Spaces: African Computer-Based Narratives"; avant-garde trombonist George Lewis, a professor of music at Columbia University and former music curator for the Kitchen; Martin Brody, sound composer for Brother from Another Planet (1984); and Nigerian artist Fatimah Tuggar. For further info, call (781) 283-2051.
VMFA DEMOLISHES NORTH WING
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond has demolished its 61,000-square-foot north wing and sunken sculpture garden, which opened in 1976 with a price tag of $6.5 million. The dramatic move paves the way for a new $150 million, 100,000-square-foot, five-level glass-and-stone expansion, designed by London-based architect Rick Mather, due to be finished in 2008. The plan calls for a huge, 40 x 70 ft. glass window on the front of the building, and a new sculpture garden on the roof of a new 600-car parking deck. Currently on view at the VMFA is "Feast," Mar. 16-June 25, 2006, an exhibition of works from the permanent collection involving food and dining.
AWARDS FROM AMERICAN ACADEMY
The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced nine winners of the academy’s 2006 awards, which total over $40,000. Elizabeth King, Glenn Ligon, Arthur Simms, Merrill Wagner and Yuriko Yamaguchi each receive a $7,500 award in art. Lynda Benglis wins the $5,000 Jimmy Ernst Award for a "painter or sculptor whose lifetime contribution to his or her vision has been both consistent and dedicated." Ellen Altfest is the recipient of the $5,000 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award for a "young American painter of distinction." Thomas Nozkowski wins the award of merit medal and $10,000. Gedi Sibony receives the $10,000 biennial Willard L. Metcalf Award for an artist of great promise.
In addition, through its art purchase program, the academy acquired works for donation to museums by artists Brian Alfred, Ben Aronson, Matt Blackwell, Emily Brown, Charles Cajori, Nicolas Carone, Linda Francis, Michael Mazur, Sara McEneaney, Andrew Raftery, David Sharpe and Carol Wax. Works by these artists go on view at the National Academy’s galleries at 155th Street and Broadway, May 18-June 4, 2006.
PETER BLUM OPENS IN CHELSEA
New York art dealer Peter Blum is opening a Chelsea branch at 526 West 29th Street in addition to his present gallery at 99 Wooster Street in SoHo. Inaugurating the new space is a show of six new large-scale paintings by Joseph Marioni, Apr. 27-July 1, 2006. For further details, contact Chelsea@peterblumgallery.com.
MELTING DEMOCRACY AT KEMPNER FINE ART
The political artists Ligorano/Reese are mounting a special event this Apr. 29, 2006, at Jim Kempner Fine Art at 501 West 23rd Street in Manhattan -- an ice sculpture of the word "Democracy" that will slowly melt in the garden of the gallery. Titled The State of Things, the "temporary" sculpture marks the third year of the Iraq war. Ligorano/Reese’s new edition, Line Up, is on view in the first-floor galleries, Apr. 22-May 13, 2006.
SHOTTENKIRK TO GLASGOW
Brooklyn artist and art writer Dena Shottenkirk has been named director of the graduate school at the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland. Shottenkirk is currently teaching philosophy at Brooklyn College.
HOU HANRU TO SFAI
The Paris-based independent critic and curator Hou Hanru (b. 1963) has been named director of exhibitions and public programs at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he is also to serve as chair of SFAI’s exhibition and museum studies program. Hanru was one of the artistic directors of both the 2nd Guangzhou Triennale in 2005 and the 3rd Tirana Biennale, also in 2005.
Hanru is the second international power appointment made by SFAI president Chris Bratton. He appointed Okwui Enwezor as dean of academic affairs last year.
NEW CURATOR AT FABRIC WORKSHOP
Lorie Mertes has been named director of the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. She had been assistant director for special projects and curator at the Miami Art Museum.
PULITZER FOR CRITICISM TO FASHION WRITER
The Pulitzer Prize in criticism was announced Monday, and the winner was Washington Post fashion correspondent Robin Givhan. Givhan is known for essays on the cultural implications of the dress habits of right-wing political figures, as well as articles like "J.Lo Beneath the Bling," which critiques celebrity fashion labels. For a collection of Givhan’s articles, see the Washington Post website. The two runners-up were New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff and Jerry Saltz, critic for the Village Voice (and Artnet Magazine), who is known for, among other things, his tireless critiques of the under-representation of women in the visual arts.
FREYA HANSELL, 1940-2006
Freya Hansell, 65, East Village painter who became known during the 1980s for ominous and often cataclysmic urban and nature scenes, died in New York on Apr. 17 after a long illness. Her artistic practice encompassed a wide range, from an abstract etching consisting of a furious concentration of black lines to a 1995 installation in which a small office was smothered by a 20-year accumulation of paperwork. She also performed with the Wooster Group. In the 1980s she exhibited at Piezo Electric and Cheryl Pelavin in New York.
EDWARD R. BROIDA, 1934-2006
Edward R. Broida, 72, Los Angeles real-estate mogul and contemporary art collector, died at his home in Malibu on Mar. 14, after a long battle with cancer. He started collecting in 1978, buying works by Philip Guston, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline as well as more recent art. In 2005 he donated a $50-million collection of 174 works by 38 artists to the Museum of Modern Art. "Against the Grain: Contemporary Art from the Edward R. Broida Collection" opens at the museum, May 3-July 10, 2006.
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