ART 39 BASEL NOW ONLINE
For an event that brings together some of the world’s best new art in museum-quality displays, the Art Basel art fair lasts a shockingly short amount of time. Thus, Artnet and Art Basel have teamed up to produce a virtual version of the Art 39 Basel at www.artbasel-artnet.com. The online fair, which features almost 4,000 artworks from more than 250 art dealers, goes live from June 9-Aug. 8, 2008. Among the nifty features of the virtual incarnation is an interactive map of the floor plan that allows visitors to click on favorite booths, and review images of featured art works in both the main hall as well as sections like "Art Statements," "Art Premier," "Art Editions" and "Art Unlimited."
ABRAMOVICH OPENS CCC MOSCOW
Roman Abramovich, the 41-year-old Russian oligarch much in the news lately for his big-ticket art purchases as well as for the performance of his west London Chelsea Football Club, opens his new Moscow art center on June 12, 2008, according to a report on IZO.com, with a performance by Amy Winehouse and an installation by the Mexico-born electronic artist Rafael Lozano Hemmer. The Center for Contemporary Culture Moscow (CCC Moscow), as it is officially called, is located in the Melnikov Garage, a structure designed in 1927 by Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov.
The project is the brainchild of Abramovich’s 26-year-old girlfriend, Daria "Dasha" Zhukova, who has been called "impossibly glamorous" in the press. Zhukova has enlisted Molly Dent-Brocklehurst, a former director of Gagosian London, to oversee the center, which is planned as the site for major commissions by contemporary artists in the manner of the Tate’s Turbine Hall. The Lonzano Hemmer show is a tune-up for the major opening planned for September, a retrospective devoted to Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, the first big survey in the artists’ native city.
TELLING TALES ON MITCHELL RALES
Angela Valdez, a reporter for the Washington City Paper in Washington, D.C., was a little bit interested in the Glenstone Museum in nearby Potomac, Maryland. The preserve of billionaire art collector Mitchell Rales, a boardmember at the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art (and, according to Forbes, the world’s 412th richest man), Glenstone is notoriously private. It’s open by appointment only, except to members the press, who are never allowed.
That made Valdez very interested.
The result is A Very Private Collection, a story published in the paper’s June 4 issue. Though Valdez was never granted access to the museum, which is designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates and opened in 2006, she managed to pull together plenty of info about Rales from the public record. For instance, he’s into alpaca farming, and the website for his farm lists alpacas for sale by the names of "Alpaca Ellsworth Kelly," "Alpaca Baldessari" and even "Alpaca Tomaselli." Images of the museum can be found on the Gwathmey Siegel website.
Valdez notes that the spectacular collection that some visitors have described seeing at the Glenstone Museum -- works by Carl Andre, John Baldessari, John Chamberlain, Joseph Cornell, Donald Judd, Alberto Giacometti, Anselm Kiefer, Yves Klein, Agnes Martin, Henri Matisse, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Clyfford Still, Cy Twombly and Felix Gonzalez-Torres -- bears no resemblance to the museum’s filing with the IRS, which claims just 10 paintings as assets (Jasper Johns’ Device Circle, eight Brice Marden works and Number 19, 1948 by Jackson Pollock).
The majority of the report, however, discusses Rales’ overriding hunger for privacy, and the limitations on public visits to the museum. Valdez speculates at some length about whether the arrangement at Glenstone skirts tax law, but comes to no conclusion. The final word goes to Ford Bell, the president of the American Association of Museums who is quoted in the article: "It’s not a museum if you can’t get in."
IMA SCULPTURE PARK TAKES FORM
A series of 20 benches in the shape of an enormous human skeleton, a "Noah’s Ark" and a floating island for picnics are among the eight new public artworks planned for the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s $25-million, 100-acre Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, scheduled to open in fall 2009. The eight participating artists are Atelier Van Lieshout (the skeleton), Kendall Buster, Jeppe Hein, Los Carpinteros, Tea Mäkipää (the ark), Type A and Andrea Zittel (the island).
A few changes have been made since the scheme’s inception. Both Haluk Akace and Peter Eisenman have bowed out of the project, and plans for a 1,500-square-foot, 600-ton steel bridge by Mary Miss have been abandoned, due to environmental concerns. One of the largest museum art parks in the country, the IMA park will also have a 3,000-square-foot structure (including bathrooms) designed by park architect Marlon Blackwell.
SITE SANTA FE BIENNIAL
SITE Santa Fe opens its seventh international biennial, titled "Lucky Seven," June 19, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009. Designed by curator Lance Fung as a collaborative undertaking, the show has a notably complicated selection process: 19 curators from as many museums selected three to five artists, and Fung narrowed that list down to 25 artists from 16 countries. Curatorial partners include Iara Boubnova from the Sofía ICA, Collin Chinnery from the Ullens Center in Beijing, Barbara Holub from the Secession in Vienna, Vasif Kortun from Platform Garanti in Istanbul and Patrizia Sandretto from Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
Artists in "Lucky Seven" include Martí Anson, Studio Azzurro (Fabio Cirifino, Paolo Rosa, Stefano Roveda, Leonardo Sangiorgi), Erick Beltrán, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Michal Budny, Ricarda Denzer, Hiroshi Fuji, Fabien Giraud, Piero Golia, Soun Myung Hong, Scott Lyall, Nick Mangan, Eliza Naranjo Morse, Nora Naranjo Morse, Ahmet Ogüt, Mandla Reuter, Nadine Robinson, Zbigniew Rogalski, Wael Shawky, Raphaël Siboni, Rose B. Simpson and Shi Qing. For further details, click here.
JAMES COHAN SHANGHAI OPENS
China seems to be just behind the Lower East Side as the hot new place for New York galleries to open a second space. Last month, PaceWildenstein announced that it would launch a Beijing branch. Now, dealer James Cohan has declared that he is set to debut James Cohan Gallery Shanghai in the Chinese megalopolis in July. Cohan’s New York director Arthur Solway has already relocated to oversee operations at the 3,000-square-foot space, sited on the ground floor of a villa on Yueyang Road, between the Shanghai Opera House and the Shanghai Institute of Chinese Painting. The new gallery is to include a "large meditation garden," which can accommodate outdoor sculptures and performances.
Cohan is kicking the new endeavor off with "Mining Nature," July 10-Aug. 31, 2008, a group show featuring various works that meditate on man’s domination over nature -- surely a hot button issue in pollution-ravaged China. Artists in the show include Ingrid Calame, Yun-Fei Ji , Richard Long, Roxy Paine, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Robert Smithson, Fred Tomaselli, Bill Viola and Wim Wenders.
With Solway’s departure, the New York gallery has taken on Kara Vander Weg, formerly of Gagosian gallery, to run the space alongside longtime co-director Elyse Goldberg.
PARSONS STUDENTS FOR THE CONGO
A group of students from Parsons the New School for Design in New York have joined in "A Night to Benefit the Survivors of Sexual Violence in the Congo," set for Cipriani 23rd Street in Manhattan on June 12, 2008. Emceed by playwright Eve Ensler, the event seeks to raise money for City of Joy, a safe house for abused women, and Avocats Sans Frontieres, a legal organization that responds to the epidemic of rape that has followed the African nation’s brutal 1998-2003 civil war. The sale of new work responding to the crisis by Parsons students was initiated by Mary Nangah, a parsons MFA candidate who originally hails from Camaroon.
Other students taking part are Angela Basile, Cecile Chong, Matthew Deleon, Lars Van Dooren, Kyong eun Kang, Seyhan Musaoglu, Caithlin Rueter, Megnan Snow, Suzzane K. Stroebe, Genevieve White and Frank Zaldo. Tickets to the benefit -- which also features music -- are $150 and can be purchased at www.womenofthecongo.com
LOUISE BOURGEOIS DOCUMENTARY
The new documentary on the 96-year-old artist Louise Bourgeois has its theatrical premiere at Film Forum in New York City on June 25, 2008, corresponding with a major retrospective of the artist’s work at the Guggenheim Museum, June 27-Sept. 28, 2008. The 99-minute-long Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine, some 15 years in the making, is produced and directed by art critic Amei Wallach and the late filmmaker Marion Cajori (author of a film portrait of Joan Mitchell, Cajori died in 2006 at age 56). The documentary features appearances by Jerry Gorovoy (Bourgeois’ assistant for 30 years) as well as by the Guerilla Girls, Charlotta Kotik, Robert Storr and Deborah Wye, as well as extensive interviews with Bourgeois herself. This fall, the film opens the Festival Artecinema Trisorio in Naples, and additional screenings are planned. To view the trailer on YouTube, click here.
GEISAI JURORS CHOSEN
The 11th installment of Takashi Murakami’s one-day-long Geisai art fair for independent artists is slated for Tokyo on Sept. 14, 2008. This year’s jury, which is in charge of handing out a variety of prizes and awards [see "Murakami, Impresario," Sept. 26, 2006] includes Manhattan blue-chip art dealer Philippe Segalot, François Pinault’s curator Alison Gingeras, new Palais de Tokyo director Marc-Olivier Wahler, and former Artforum magazine editor Jack Bankowsky. The group has its work cut out -- the fair is expected to be the largest so far, with 1,000 exhibitors.
SALZBERG FAIR 2008
Need some art activities for August? The second edition of the Salzburg World Fine Art Fair, Aug. 9-17, 2008, opens at the Austrian city’s Baroque Residenz building, where Mozart performed at the age of six. Approximately 30 European dealers are on hand for the tony antiquarian fair, organized by Bruce Lamarche and Teresa Jedina, including Jean David Cahn (Basel), Albrecht Neuhaus (Würzburg), Konrad O. Bernheimer (Munich/ London/ Hof. Salzburg), Röbbig (Munich), Dr. Nöth (Ansbach), Kovacek (Vienna), Wienerroither & Kohlbacher (Vienna), Salis & Vertes (Salzburg/St. Moritz) and B. & B. Steinitz (Paris). For more info, see www.salzburg-faf.com
ARMSTRONG LEAVING THE CARNEGIE
Richard Armstrong is stepping down from his position as director of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburg, Pa. Armstrong has served at the museum since 1992, when he joined the staff as curator of contemporary art. Before serving at the Carnegie, the Kansas City-born Armstrong worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. His retirement is effective at the end of 2008.