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Artnet News
June 26, 2008 

Olafur Eliasson’s New York City Waterfalls, a set of artificial water cascades ranging in height from 90 to 120 feet, debut today, June 26, 2008, at four different sites along the East River and in New York Harbor, including on the anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge. The temporary installation, an initiative of the Public Art Fund, is on view June 26-Oct. 13, 2008. One good viewing spot is the South Street Seaport, where all four falls can be seen at once, though they can be seen from many different sites, including the FDR Drive, the highway that runs up Manhattan’s eastern edge.

The waterfalls are an impressive piece of work, pumping 2.1 million gallons of water per hour. Eliasson said he chose aluminum scaffolding for the structures because it is a "common part of New York’s City’s landscape and a reference to the city’s continuous physical transformation" (though these days, residents may better associate the material with collapsing construction cranes). In a press conference at the seaport, mayor Michael Bloomberg called the project a "symbol of the energy and vitality that we have been bringing back to our waterfront in all five boroughs," though he also added that "under no circumstances should anyone try to climb the falls or swim around them." The mayor has been plugging the Circle Line’s "Waterfall" tour as well as the Staten Island Ferry as avenues to enjoy the spectacle.

New York City Waterfalls is underwritten with $13.5 from private sources -- Museum of Modern Art trustee Agnes Gund was apparently instrumental in whipping up support -- as well as a $2 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The city estimates that the work will generate some $55 million in tourism-related revenues, generating $3.50 for every $1 spent. In contrast, Christo and Jean-Claude’s 2005 installation The Gates in Central Park cost a reported $20 million and ultimately brought in $254 million, according to a city press release, which translates to $12.70 per dollar.

Last but not least, two separate websites seem to be competing to represent the New York City Waterfalls. One,, features photo albums, visitor information, an e-newsletter and a slightly irreverent tone. The other, splashier appears to be the official site, as indicated by the fact that it has the official contact info for the Public Art Fund. 

Singapore officials have broken ground for a special new pavilion for the second Singapore Biennale (SB2008), Sept. 11-Nov. 16, 2008. Shigeru Ban’s neo-classical Containart Pavilion, a huge rectangular structure constructed from 150 shipping containers (with a stoa of 34 ten-meter-tall columns made of Ban’s signature cardboard tubes), is to house three large installations -- Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s Manas (seen at the 2008 Venice Biennale), Anthony McCall’s Between You and I (shown at the Round Chapel in London in 2006) and Location (6) by Hans Op de Beeck (currently on view as part of the Holland Festival in Amsterdam). Ban’s pavilion, which is to be clad with "flora-themed scenery photographed from Singapore parks and gardens," also features a seating area designed by Australian artist Gary Carsley and, outside, a site-specific sculpture of 6,000 old slippers arrayed atop of a field of poles by Philippines artists Alfredo Juan Aquilizan and Maria Isabel Aquilizan. The pavilion is to be sited at the new Marina Bay development downtown.

Organized by artistic director Fumio Nanjo with Joselina Cruz and Matthew Ngui, SB2008 presents more than 50 artists and art collectives from over 36 countries and regions. For a report on the first Singapore Biennale in 2006, see "Uniquely Singapore," Sept. 8, 2006.

Luxury retailer Louis Vuitton has been hit with a class-action lawsuit in connection with the deluxe boutique installed as part of Takashi Murakami’s retrospective at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Oct. 29, 2007-Feb. 11, 2008. According to a report by Mike Boehm in the Los Angeles Times, the Murakami prints on sale in the boutique -- a total of 500 prints, selling for an average of $8,000 each -- were signed but not numbered, as the sales certificate claims. Under California law, violations can draw triple damages, exposing Vuitton to a modest liability of $4 million.

The lawsuit was filed by Clint Arthur (whose company sells gourmet butter to restaurants), who bought two prints from the store for $6,000 each. He said the print was signed with an M-shaped squiggle, but not numbered. "I would love for [Murakami] to put the number on the work," Arthur told the Times, noting that he thought that Vuitton should still pay a penalty for ignoring the legal fine print.

Curating at the Museum of Modern Art is all parties, politics, driving fast cars and getting used to having William Rubin eat off your plate without asking, or so it would seem from the tales spun in reporter Amanda Gordon’s recent New York Sun article about MoMA curator of paintings and sculpture John Elderfield, who takes "mandatory retirement" at age 65 this July. Elderfield was given a good-bye celebration at the museum this week, and presented with a Jasper Johns print as a token of appreciation by MoMA director Glenn Lowery.

Lowery joked that on one occasion, Elderfield drove at 140 miles an hour through the Bavarian Alps in pursuit of a painting (additional details were wanting!). Elderfield noted that he found himself at art world parties "more nights than not," and quipped that Rubin offered him his first curatorial job over lunch, but only after helping himself to food off of Elderfield’s plate. Elderfield’s successor has not been named -- it remains one of the plum vacancies in the New York museum world, along with directorships of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. He continues at the museum as curator emeritus, and is organizing a forthcoming Willem de Kooning retrospective.

Can the art world bear another art fair with an exclamation point in its name? Find out with Fresh Venice! Contemporary Art Fair, Mar. 12-15, 2009, a new hotel art fair that promises to bring approximately 50 galleries to the glamorous Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal just off the Piazza San Marco. Applications from potential exhibitors -- the cost of a room is €5,000 plus VAT -- are due by Sept. 30, 2008. For more info, see

Provocative New York journalist Janet Malcolm, who launched her illustrious career as the New Yorker’s photo critic (and published Diana & Nikon: Essays on the Aesthetic of Photography in 1980), has now been bitten by the shutterbug herself. Her subject is the leaves of the medicinal burdock plant, seen in various stages of growth and decay. A book of Malcolm’s color photos of the leaves is due out from Yale University Press this fall (64 pp., $65 hardcover), and an exhibition is scheduled for Lori Bookstein Fine Arts on West 57th Street, Sept. 9-Oct. 11, 2008.

ARTnews magazine has compiled its annual list of the top 200 art collectors in the world, and the roll call boasts 13 new names, including artist Damien Hirst, Ultimate Fighting Championship owners Frank J. Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, and Russian oil magnate and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich. The mag finds that 78 percent of the 200 are collectors of contemporary art, and that more than half -- 107 to be precise -- live in the U.S. (the U.K. has 15, and Germany 12).

The list’s "top ten" includes four new names: Ukrainian businessman Victor Pinchuk; Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim Helú; New York investor Leon Black and his wife, Debra; and Sheikh Saud bin Mohammad bin Ali al-Thani of Qatar. The other six collectors at the top are Edythe L. and Eli Broad, Steven Cohen, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, François Pinault and Mitchell Rales.

The list appears in ARTnews’ summer issue, which hits the stands on July 11, 2008; or it can be found here.

Chelsea art dealer Anna Kustera, taking inspiration from artist Maurizio Cattelan’s door-sized "Wrong Gallery," has organized what she calls "The World’s Smallest Art Fair," July 10-Aug. 1, 2008. For the event, approximately 50 galleries from around the world are exhibiting works in the gallery’s 72-square-foot front window. The gallery space proper is devoted to a VIP lounge, featuring an information center by Ju$t Another Rich Kid and a program of performance-art vids organized by artist Alix Pearlstein. For more info, see

The concert tour and the touring exhibition -- the time has come to unite the two, and legendary rock drummer (and sometime star of Thomas the Tank Engine) Ringo Starr is the man to do it. Accompanying the three-month-long summer concert tour of Ringo’s All Starr Band, featuring Colin Hay, Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright and Greg Bissonette, is a special exhibition of Ringo’s brightly colored computer art prints. Proceeds from sales -- prices for originals range from $1,200 to $10,000 plus -- benefit the Lotus Foundation, a wide-ranging charity. Ringo has also recently published a book of his art, titled Painting Is My Madness. The art show is slated for a ten-day appearance at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., June 26-July 7, 2008. For further details, see

A pair of open-call opportunities for artists have come floating in over the email transom this week, one in Chicago and the other in New York City. The first is for the Artist Project, the do-it-yourself art fair for artists that Chicago’s Merchandise Mart launched as part of the Artropolis art-fair event this past May. Now scheduled for Dec. 4-7, 2008 -- that means no more Artist Project alongside Art Chicago and Next in May 2009 -- the fair is being held in conjunction with the Mart’s eight-year-old One of a Kind show of handmade decorative and applied arts. The Artists Project plans a tight selection of 100 artists, who each set up in a 100-square-foot booth. The price is $1,500. Applications are due by Sept. 15, 2008. For more info, see

New York’s Exit Art is seeking responses to the question "What does green mean to you?" for the exhibition "It’s Not Easy," July 24-Aug. 29, 2008. The show is designed to explore and expand the current preoccupation with environmental issues, and is the second installment in the nonprofit’s SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics) program. Organized entirely through email, the responses are printed on 8 x 11 paper and displayed in the Exit Arts lower-level gallery, Exit Underground. The show is no-fee. Send submissions as pdf or jpg (300 dpi or greater) by July 11, 2008, to

Twelve Philadelphia-area artists have received $60,000 Pew Fellowships in the Arts for 2008. The fellows are Charles Burwell (painting), J. Rufus Caleb (playwriting), Russell Davis (playwriting), Nana Korantemaa (folk & traditional arts), Venissa Santí (folk & traditional arts), Edgar J. Shockley III (playwriting), Felix "Pupi" Legarreta (folk & traditional arts), Matthew Cox (painting), Katharine Clark Gray (playwriting), Vera Nakonechny (folk & traditional arts), Anne Seidman (painting) and Mauro Zamora (painting). For more info, see

The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has awarded 136 fellowships of $7,000 each to 144 artists in eight artistic disciplines. For the second consecutive year in the program’s 23-year history, NYFA said, the majority of the fellows hail from Brooklyn. For more info, see

Fellowships in painting go to Erik Benson, Eric Blum, Sylvie Matt Buchler, Patty Cateura, Omar Chacon, Jenny Dubnau, Angeline Drakopoulos, James Esber, Eckhard Etzold, Jane Fine, Seth Michael Forman, Jim Gaylord, Allison Gildersleeve, Joan Grubin, Angelina Gualdoni, Sue Havens, Jayne Holsinger, Gilbert Hsiao, Mala Iqbal, Shaun El C. Leonardo, Douglas Melini, John O’Connor, Gina Ruggeri, Takayo Seto, Suzanne Song, Kate Teale, Denyse Thomasos and Mark Dean Veca.

Photography fellows are Elia Alba, Mauricio Alejo, Keliy Anderson-Staley, Erica Baum, Ginger Brooks Takahashi, Cybele Clark-Mendes, Ana De Orbegoso, Shari Diamond, Hans Gindlesberger, Hyoungsun Ha, Mark Iwinski, Kim Keever, Shai Kremer, Joe Lewis, Bill McDowell, Chris Payne, Ernesto Pujol, Andreas Rentsch, Victor Sira, Kwabena Slaughter, Ellen Wallenstein and Corey Willis.

Fellows in video are Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, Ian Burns, J.P. Chan, Seoungho Cho, Lisa Crafts, Beth Davenport, Elizabeth Mandel, Heather Lyn MacDonald, Bradley McCallum and Jacqueline Tarry, Jillian McDonald, John Menick, Erik Moskowitz, Amanda Trager, Mac Premo, Reynold Reynolds, Julie Casper Roth and Eve Sussman.

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