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Artnet News
June 21, 2007 

Is Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God (2007), the platinum skull covered by 8,601 flawless diamonds, a bit out of your price range at £50 million? Well, never fear, the global art superstar has skulls for all collecting levels. A wide assortment of skull multiples are on offer at, the multiples and publishing company started by Hirst and Hugh Allen; they can also be found on the website of White Cube gallery in London, currently presenting "Damien Hirst: Beyond Belief," June 1-July 7, 2007.

The flashy Happy Head (2007), an eight-inch-long plastic skull covered with bright enamel, spin-art style, is £25,000 in an edition of 20. Three different silkscreen prints of the skull, shown in three-quarter view and measuring ca. 40 x 30 in. -- and sprinkled with diamond dust -- are £10,000 each in editions of 250. Moving towards the bargain basement, a silkscreen print of the skull measuring about 13 x 10 in., published in an edition of 2,000, is priced at £900. And several different posters for Hirst’s exhibition, picturing the diamond-covered skull, are £30 each, as are several t-shirts imprinted with his skull image. Many of the editions become available on July 7, 2007.

Social networking is all the rage in the online world, and the auctioneer Phillips, de Pury & Co. is preparing to launch its own version of such a site at, featuring a blog, pop-up info on artworks and even some games. The official start date is June 25, 2007, but in the meantime, web surfers can experience a virtual version of Phillips’ irrepressible auctioneer Simon de Pury, as he talks about collecting and, in an "Ask Simon" section, answers questions and explains common auction terms. Who buys art? "Anyone can buy art," he says. "If you love art, you can and should buy art!"

You say that top museum execs pull down super-salaries because they do super jobs? Think again. An independent investigation into the seven-year tenure of Smithsonian Institution chief executive Lawrence M. Small, who resigned earlier this year in disgrace after reports of his lavish expense-account spending hit the press, showed that as Small’s pay packet swelled, the amount of private donations to the Smithsonian declined.

Small took the job in 2000, when he was paid more than $535,000, an increase of more than 40 percent over his predecessor. By the time he resigned, he was earning a total of $915,698. According to the report, almost $200,000 of that sum was categorized as a "housing allowance" in order to conceal the true size of his pay.

During the same period, the report said, private donations to the Smithsonian declined, reaching a low of $88 million in 2003. Though gifts rose to $132 million in 2006, the total was still 10 percent less than the amount raised in 1999, before Small took over.

Perhaps the decline was due to lax work habits. According to the report, Small took about 10 weeks a year in vacation, and spent another two weeks or so each year serving on corporate boards, for which he took home an additional $5.7 million between 2000 and 2006.

Small’s deputy, Sheila P. Burke, also had an enviable job, according to the report. From 2000 to 2006, she spent 400 business days, nearly one-quarter of her work time, away from her Smithsonian post while she served on corporate boards and pursued other activities, which brought her about $10 million in outside income.

Matthew Marks Gallery
in Chelsea has become known for its venturesome summertime group shows as well as its regular lineup of blue-chip contemporaries. This summer’s offering, titled "Project for a Revolution in New York" (after Alain Robbe-Grillet’s 1972 novel), features European Pop and Photo Realist artists who were frozen out of the New York art scene after the mid-‘60s. The artists are Agustin Fernandez, Domenico Gnoli, Konrad Klapheck, Peter Klasen, Felix Labisse, Carlo Mollino, Jacques Monory, Ulrike Ottinger, Jacques Poli, Walter Redinger, Alain & Catherine Robbe-Grillet, Peter Stampfli, Harold Stevenson, Lambert Maria Wintersberger and Paul Wunderlich. "This is stuff I’ve been dying to show," said curator Mitchell Algus, who has long operated his own gallery specializing in the art world’s historical footnotes [see "Mitchell Algus: Reanimator," Feb. 12, 1997], "and Matthew’s resources make it possible." It goes on view at the gallery’s 24th Street space, July 7-Aug. 17, 2007. 

What is the difference between Art Santa Fe in New Mexico and the Venice Biennale, Documenta 12 and Art 38 Basel? Air conditioning! Art Santa Fe, an International Contemporary Art Fair, July 12-15, 2007, opens for business at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe with more than 50 exhibitors. Among the participants are Linda Durham Contemporary Art (Santa Fe), Skot Foreman Gallery (New York), James Graham & Sons (New York), Nancy Hoffman Gallery (New York), Charlotte Jackson Fine Art (Santa Fe), Jenkins Johnson Gallery (San Francisco), Landfall Press (Santa Fe), William Shearburn Gallery (St. Louis), Billy Shire Fine Art (Culver City) and Sundaram Tagore (New York). For more info, see

Does the job come with special hazard pay? The J. Paul Getty Museum, whose former antiquities curator was charged with trafficking in art plunder by the Italian government, has now appointed Karol Wright to the post. An expert in ancient Roman glass, Wright has been at the Getty since 1985.

Andres Lepik
has become a curator in the department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. Since 2004, he has been curator at the Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Germany.

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