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Artnet News
May 30, 2006 

Time to revive that hackneyed quip about driving/rolling/skating down the famed spiral ramp of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum. One star attraction of the Gugg's forthcoming survey of the architecture and design of "Zaha Hadid," June 3-Oct. 25, 2006, is a full-size scale model of the ostreperous architect's own Z.Car, a three-wheeled "bespoke" auto designed at the behest of London dealer Kenny Schachter. Powered by an electric fuel cell, the rear-engine vehicle is "shaped like a water drop" for minimum wind resistance -- reducing the number of wheels also reduces friction -- and has a large asymmetric front hatch that gives a panoramic forward view. Smaller than a VW Golf but larger that a Smartcar, the Z.Car runs in two positions -- low like a sports car for highway driving and raised 10 degrees for increased visibility for use in the city. Instead of a rear window, the car displays the view out back via a video screen in the cab.

Hadid has designed a BMW plant in Leipzig and a car park for a Strasbourg tram station, not to mention a new gallery building for Schachter in London (that won't include parking, as it happens, thanks to the local council). To accompany the Z.Car, Schachter is putting out a deluxe publication that he calls a cross between a book and a magazine; with luck it is the first of a series, with Vito Acconci designing issue number two. Dubbed Rove (like the gallery), the book-magazine is priced at $15, with a deluxe limited-edition version including a slipcase designed by Hadid costing around $1,000. The editorial matter, which includes a survey of Hadid's architecture as well as a history of three-wheeled vehicles, asks, as an art dealer might, "If works of art can sell one at a time, why not cars?"

The high profile Fernwood Art Investments fund, founded by former Merrill Lynch manager Bruce Taub in 2004, has quietly gone out of business, according to a story by Brook S. Mason in the new issue of the Art Newspaper. Taub launched things with a bang [see Artnet News, July 22, 2004], suggesting that Fernwood would raise more than $100 million from "ultra-rich" investors to play the art market. Taub enlisted top-notch art experts to give his operation credibility, and even set up a foundation to make grants to museums, like the $100,000 award to the Brooklyn Museum for "Basquiat" in 2005. Now, Taub seems to be nowhere to be found, and both the Boston and New York offices are apparently closed. Ironically, Fernwood seems to have made no actual art investments, Mason says -- despite an art market boom that could have made plenty of dough for a blue-chip art fund.

The 2006 installment of the National Black Arts Festival, now in its 18th year, is adding a visual arts component -- "Embrace: The Fine Art Fair of the National Black Arts Festival," set for July 13-16, 2006, at the 24,000-square-foot Mason Murer Fine Art in Atlanta. Exhibiting galleries (along with Mason Murer) include 70th Street Gallery (New York), Aaron Galleries (Chicago), Avisca Fine Art (Atlanta), Dolan/Maxwell (Philadelphia), Bill Hodges Gallery (New York), GR N'Namdi Gallery (Chicago, New York and Detroit), Solomon Projects (Atlanta) and Thelma Harris Fine Art (Oakland). Daily admission is $10. For more details, see

As the soccer World Cup gets under way in Germany, the sport is celebrated in New York via "The Beautiful Game: Contemporary Art and Fútbol," June 8-July 22, 2006, at Roebling Hall Gallery in Chelsea and Brooklyn, as well as at Brooklyn's Rotunda Gallery, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Habana Outpost in Fort Greene. Organized by Trevor Schoonmaker, founder of the Brooklyn Institute of Contemporary Art, and independent curator Franklin Sirmans, the exhibition uses soccer "to examine issues of identity construction, nationalism, culture and gender politics, mass spectacle, crowd behavior and the global economy in contemporary society." 

Artists included are Gustavo Artigas, Felipe Barbosa, Chris Beas, Giasco Bertoli, Mark Bradford, Roderick Buchanan, Miguel Calderon, Rob Carter, William Cordova, Stephen Dean, Godfried Donkor, Andrew Dosunmu, Dario Escobar, Roberto Guerrero, Lyle Ashton Harris, Matti Havens & Jason Randolph, Sean Hemmerle, Julie Henry, Satch Hoyt, Samson Kambalu, Ömer Ali Kazma, Taiyo Kimura, Nelson Leirner, Jack McLean, Jessika Miekeley, Vik Muniz, Navin Norling, Odili Donald Odita, Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Paul Pfeiffer, Marcelo Pina & Nelson Soza, Mark Powell, Robin Rhode, SOL'SAX, Jürgen Teller, Grazia Toderi, Uri Tzaig, Joana Vasconcelos and Carlos Vega.

The Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au is bringing its wacky brand of deconstructivist architecture to middle America, courtesy of the Akron Art Museum. Scheduled to open one year from now, in May 2007, the $38-million, 63,300-square-foot expansion to the museum -- Coop Himmelb(l)au's first public building in the U.S. -- features three discrete architectural elements: the "Crystal," a three-story glass lobby; the "Gallery Box," a flexible exhibition space for temporary exhibitions; and the "Roof Cloud," a 300-foot-long cantilevered steel armature extending over both the old and new buildings. The new scheme is "a design of the museum of the future," said architect and Coop Himmelb(l)au founder Wolf D. Prix.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has installed Louise Bourgeois' monumental bronze sculpture of a spider on its east terrace. The nine-foot-tall, 27-foot-wide sculpture is on loan from a private collector; its installation is underwritten by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The presentation coincides with a show of Bourgeois' work this summer at the Fabric Workshop, July 8-Sept. 16, 2006.

A new way to while away those hours in the office -- watch the yellow trucks and bulldozers hard at work on the new $50-million, three-story-tall Broad Contemporary Art Museum addition to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, designed by Renzo Piano and slated to open in late 2007. It is all on view online, on the museum website, with a webcam that works easiest on Netscape or Firefox.

Frost & Reed
, one of the oldest galleries in London, has unveiled renovated premises in St. James's with a new exhibition, "Past, Present, Future," May 24-July 7, 2006, a show of 40 works that emphasizes the gallery's 200-year history, ranging from 19th-century drawings, watercolors and sporting paintings and classic moderns like Eugène Boudin, Gustav Klimt and Raoul Dufy to contemporary artists such as Emily Allchurch, Stefan Hoenerloh, Tim Simmons and Veronica Bailey. The "future" part of the show is a reference to a new gallery division dubbed Frost & Reed Contemporary, which is housed within the existing Frost & Reed premises under the continuing direction of Philip Godsal.

The three-year-old Frey Norris Gallery in San Francisco is expanding, opening the Frey Norris Gallery Annex on the third floor of its current facility. Open only by appointment, the annex features a highly specialized selection of works by women Surrealists, including Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning and Remedios Varo. Also available are works by Dalí, Magritte, Brauner, Paalen and other Surrealists. Call (415) 346-7812 for an appointment.   

The Tilton Gallery has opened a residency program in two buildings that gallery founder Jack Tilton had commisioned for a three-acre parcel of land he bought ten years ago in the TongXien arts district on the outskirts of Beijing. The two structures, one designed by Chinese artist and architect Ai Wei Wei and the other by the Boston-based architectural firm Office dA, both include housing, studio and exhibition space. The London-based painter and installation artist Merlin Carpenter is the first artist to participate in the residency program, and he moves into his TongXien retreat for the month of June.

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