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Artnet News
Apr. 9, 2009 

Has youth truly overcome age? The New Museum is just opening "Younger than Jesus," Apr. 8-June 14, 2009, its first triennial survey of new art from around the world, and already it has a challenger -- "Wiser than God," May 27-July 27, 2009, an exhibition organized by puckish art critic Adrian Dannatt at the BLT Gallery, located across the street from the New Museum at 270 Bowery. According to Dannatt, "Wiser than God" presents artists born before 1927, making them 83 at the youngest. Among the artists in the show: Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois and Lucian Freud.

As long as you’re traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to visit the Venice Biennale, opening to the public on June 7, 2009, and the Art 40 Basel art fair, June 10-14, 2009, you may as well take in a few other really big shows.

First up is the second Athens Biennial, which previews June 13-14 and opens to the public on June 15, 2009. It’s good to remember that the Athens show is a particularly artistic creation, launched two years ago from within the local art community by a triumvirate, who are back this time around: curator Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, the artist Poka-Yio and the art journalist Augustine Zenakos. Exhibition design for the second show is courtesy the talented architect and artist Andreas Angelidakis.

The biennial has burdened itself with the ecclesiastical theme of "Heaven" (the first, you will remember, had the theme of "Destroy Athens"). "Heaven" has seven curators (Seven from Heaven?) each working on their own section: Dimitris Papaioannou and Zafos Xagoraris, Nadja Argyropoulou, Diana Baldon, Christopher Marinos, Chus Martínez, and Cay Sophie Rabinowitz. The exhibitions and events of the biennale unfold along the coastline of Palaio Faliro, at a short distance from the city center, in various buildings and public spaces.

Though further specifics remain under wraps at present, the sole New York curator, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, did tell Artnet News that her exhibition, titled "Splendid Isolation," would feature around 15 artists whose work would be installed in a rough space that resembles a parking garage. Among the highlights of "Splendid Isolation" are Ettore Sottsass’ "Metaphors," a group of works from the 1970s that haven’t been seen before, and a curious project by Adrian Williams, an American artist who lives in Frankfurt, that involves a mysterious ship anchored in the harbor -- with info about the ship leaked to the local press. Other artists in the exhibition, which is still in formation, include Lara Almarcegu, Willem De Rooij, Anastasia Douka, Michael Gibson, Benita-Immanuel Grosser, Hsuan Hsuan Wu, Miltos Manetas, Ryan McNamara and Christodoulos Panayiotou. For more info, see

If you’re still in Europe in July, head on down to Monaco for "Moscow: Splendors of the Romanovs," July 11-Sept. 13, 2009, an orgy of 500 works from "the century of gold" (1820-1860) at the Grimaldi Forum. The exhibition design by François Payet purports to evoke the ceremonial pomp and circumstance of court life. Among the many attractions of the installation is a display of six of the nine Fabergé eggs, formerly owned by Malcolm Forbes until they were bought in 2004, along with 190 other Fabergé objects, by Russian businessman Victor Vekselberg. The show is organized by curator and author Brigitte de Montclos. For more info, see

The Whitechapel Gallery in London has inaugurated its £13.5 million expansion, designed by Belgian architects Robbrecht en Daem, with "Open Sesame," Apr. 5-June 21, 2009, a retrospective exhibition of German sculptor Isa Genzken co-organized with the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The new galleries, in a former library building next to the original facility, increase the Whitechapel’s exhibition space by 78 percent, and were designed in collaboration with artist Rachel Whiteread. Also on view is the new Bloomberg Commission, a site-specific artwork by London-based Polish artist Goshka Macuga (involving Nelson Rockefeller’s tapestry of Guernica, on temporary loan from the U.N. in New York); "Passports: Great Early Buys from the British Council Collection," a show selected by artist Michael Craig-Martin (and including works by Lucien Freud, Henry Moore, Bridget Riley and Peter Doig, among others); "The Whitechapel Boys," items from the archive related to David Bomberg, Jacob Epstein, Mark Gertler and other members of the British "Vorticist" movement; shows of works by Ursula Mayer and Minerva Cuevas; plus an assortment of special artist’s commissions, including a weathervane by Rodney Graham, club chairs for the reading room by Mary Heilmann, staircase lighting by Tobias Rehberger and a series of portraits of local art-worlders by Juergen Teller.   

We always take a special interest when an established critic turns out to be an artist as well, and so it is with Robert C. Morgan, author of The Gesture: Movement in Painting and Sculpture (2002), Conceptual Art: An American Perspective (1994), andbooks on Gary Hill, Alain Kirili, Bruce Nauman, Hermann Nitsch, Victor Vasarely and Bernar Venet, among others. Now, a double show of Morgan’s artworks from the 1970s to the present goes on view in "Conceptual Art, Performance, Painting, 1970-2009," Apr. 18-May 23, 2009, at Björn Ressle Gallery at 16 East 79th Street in Manhattan, and in "Metaphysical Paintings / Performance / Conceptual Art, 1970-2009," Apr. 4-May 3, 2009, at Sideshow Gallery at 319 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. So artists, go to the show, look around for a minute or two, and render your judgement.

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