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Artnet News
June 13, 2006 

Sunjung Kim, the commissioner for Korea's participation as guest country at ARCO 2007, scheduled for next February, has resigned her post in protest of what she calls "bureaucratic intrusion into curatorial affairs, political manipulation of the artistic programs and outright hostility" from Korean officials responsible for funding and administrative support for the project. Kim, 40, was commissioner of the Korean pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale, and had developed an extensive series of exhibitions and activities for Madrid, including a memorial exhibition to Nam June Paik at the Fundación Telefonica organized by former museum director David A. Ross. Now, Ross has resigned as well in support of his colleague.

The behavior of her liaisons in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism -- Lim Byung-dae and the recently appointed arts head, Lee Hyung-ho -- "grew increasingly bizarre, verging on the Kafkaesque," according to Kim. The ministry's meddling in Kim's artistic program came to a head with its insistence on the inclusion of Korea Fantasy, a 40-member theater troupe that "prominently features the phony traditionalism of the 'fan dance', whose origins are in Las Vegas-style stage shows invented by the military dictatorship in Korea in the 1960s as entertainment for foreign tourists." As it happens, Korea Fantasy was developed by Korea's new culture minister.

Just how modern does the Getty get? The J. Paul Getty Museum painting collection stops at 1889, with Christ's Entry into Brussels by James Ensor. But the Getty does have extensive holdings of 20th-century photography, not to mention that grand garden designed by the dean of California's Light and Space movement, Robert Irwin. In any case, under new Getty Museum director Michael Brand, things are about to get more contemporary at the museum that began its life as a replica of an ancient Roman Villa.

Beginning the fall, the Getty Museum is dramatically expanding its photography galleries, from 1,700 to 7,000 square feet. The new space is located in the museum's West Pavilion (in a space formerly devoted to the museum's antiquities collection, now at the Getty Villa), and is to have its own entrance, newly designed by Richard Meier and Partners. The space debuts in October with "Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection," a show of more than 160 photos by 24 contemporary photographers, drawn from the collection of 450 works given to the museum by Bruce and Nancy Berman.

The new photo gallery entrance opens onto a courtyard housing part of the Fran and Ray Stark Sculpture Collection, a trove of 28 modern and contemporary works by artists ranging from Alexander Calder and Alberto Giacometti to Ellsworth Kelly and Roy Lichtenstein, slated to be installed on the Getty grounds in January 2007. Also slated for the fall is a special exhibition that brings ten abstractions from 2005 by Gerhard Richter to the museum: "Caspar David Friedrich to Gerhard Richter: German Paintings from Dresden," Oct. 6, 2006-Apr. 29, 2007, from the Galerie Neue Meister.

Meanwhile, the Getty has not completely given up on the art-historical: "Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai," Nov. 14, 2006-Mar. 4, 2007, presents some of the oldest surviving icons from the Byzantine world, on a rare trip away from home -- Saint Catherine's monastery in Egypt. The show features more than 40 icons and six manuscripts, and is organized by Getty curator Kristen Collins and Yale University art historian Robert Nelson.

London's Saatchi Gallery has vastly increased traffic to its web site by opening it up to all comers, inviting artists to post jpgs of their works and more, all for free [see Artnet News, Apr. 14, 2006]. Now, the venturesome folks over there have launched a new project designed to allow art-lovers to get together, Friendster-style. Participants create a profile, and then can make contacts as they wish. The rest is up to the stars! For details, see

When not exhibiting works by Pierre Bonnard, Josef Albers and Willem de Kooning, the late blue-chip art dealer Sidney Janis (1896-1984) collected graffiti art by everyone from Tracy 168 and NOC 167 to Lady Pink, Daze and Crash. In 1999, Carroll and Conrad Janis, Sidney's sons, donated almost 50 graffiti works from his estate to the Brooklyn Museum. Now, a selection of 20 large-scale works from the Janis gift go on view at the museum in Graffiti, June 30-Sept. 3, 2006, in a show organized by Charlotta Kotik. The Village Voice is media sponsor of the show.

Nothing demonstrates the explosion of digital photography better than the website, where millions of users post and share their digital pictures. Now, School of Visual Arts faculty members Jeremy Chien and Stephen Jablonsky, along with web developer Kelvin Luck, have teamed up with Pace/MacGill Gallery to assemble a rather amazing survey of self-portraits drawn from

Through a special interface, digital images in the database tagged as a "self-portrait" are automatically directed to the exhibition, which can be viewed on the Pace/MacGill website and on 10 computers at the gallery. Viewers can vote for favorites and track the most popular images, as well as sort images into specific categories. Titled "Self-Portraitr: An Interactive Exhibition Curating the Community," the show goes on view June 30-Aug. 25, 2006.

The contemporary art world takes its business to Miami Beach, Dec. 7-10, 2006, thanks to the long list of art fairs that have set up there -- Art Basel Miami Beach, NADA, Pulse, Scope, Aqua and several others. Now, it looks like we can add another, this one devoted to print dealers. Tired of being rejected by the top contemporary art fairs, a group of members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association have decided to launch their own fair in Miami.

According to Art on Paper correspondent Deborah Ripley, the effort is being spearheaded by IFPDAers Glenn Dranoff, Diane Villani, Bud Shark and Paula Panczenko from Tandem Press. As for the site, the organizers are eying the Dorchester Hotel at 1850 Collins Avenue, which features spacious 1,000-square-foot suites laid out around a central courtyard -- a winning feature down in the tropics. Stay tuned for more details.

Photorealist painter Robert Bechtle has been elected to the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, becoming the museum's first "artist trustee." The longtime Bay Area resident serves for a nonrenewable term of three years.

The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum plan to eliminate admission fees beginning Oct. 1, 2006, opening free to the public for the first time in more than 20 years. The new policy is thanks to an initial gift of $800,000 from the city and county; additional funds are being sought. General admission had been $10.

Spanierman Gallery
has expanded its fine-art empire on East 58th Street in Manhattan, opening the new Spanierman Modern space with "Flaming June," June 1-Aug. 5, 2006, organized by West Palm Beach art dealer Sarah Gavlak. The show juxtaposes works by contemporary artists like Anthony James, Marilyn Minter and T.J. Wilcox with paintings by Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keefe and Florine Stettheimer. The exhibition's name is borrowed, of course, from the title of an 1895 painting by Lord Frederic Leighton.

powerHouse Books
, the cutting-edge art-and-lifestyle publisher whose authors range from Ron Galella and Christopher Makos to Miss Rosen, is opening a new 5,000-square-foot gallery, boutique and events space at 37 Main Street in Brooklyn. Called powerhouse Arena, the inaugural exhibition is "No Sleep 'til Brooklyn: A powerHouse Hip Hop Retrospective," opening Oct. 12, 2006, as part of something called "Hip Hop Honors Week." The show features photos, art and ephemera by the whole gang, from Charlie Ahearn, Patti Astor and Henry Chalfant to Lee, Mare 139, Stay High 149 and Toofly. For details on this and other schemes, see the new powerHouse website,

Augustin Fernandez, 78, a Cuban surrealist artist who had lived in New York since the early 1970s, died of respiratory failure on June 3 after a hospital stay of several weeks. Well known in the Cuban community but less so in the broader art world, Fernandez filled his Manhattan townhouse with art, crafting what his friends have called a version of the Moreau Museum in Paris. A classmate of Castro's, Fernandez left Cuba for Paris in 1959, where he stayed for ten years, becoming friends with Matta and Wifredo Lam. His paintings are in Brian De Palma's 1980 film Dressed to Kill. He had an exhibition of his works at Mitchell Algus Gallery in 2005.

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