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Artnet News
June 4, 2008 

Here’s an "Artnet Auction Alert" for you: Artnet’s new proprietary art-auction site, Artnet Online Auctions, has launched an 18-day-long contemporary prints sale, June 2-20, 2008, offering 100 works by 45 modern and contemporary artists. Price estimates range from $1,000 to $55,000. The sale features 20 works by Andy Warhol, including a print from the 1968 "Campbell’s Soup" series -- Green Pea, to be specific (est. $25,000-$35,000).

Another highlight is Roy Lichtenstein’s 1963 Girl (est. $2,700-$3,200), the second Pop print produced by the artist and his first depiction of the now-iconic blonde. Among the contemporary prints are Jeff KoonsFlowers (2001) (est. $3,500-$4,500), Elizabeth Peyton’s Flower Ben (2003) (est. $8,000-$10,000) and works by Banksy, Takashi Murakami, Richard Serra and others. The sale is assembled by Deb Ripley.

For a look at the current lots on the block, see

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago has just opened its retrospective of Jeff Koons, May 31-Sept. 31, 2008, the only stop for the big survey of work by the current art-market king -- and the Windy City is taking full advantage of the occasion. Or at least the local merchants are. As a promotion for the show’s debut weekend, the giant Macy’s store on State Street filled its atrium with a 53-foot-tall helium balloon version of Koons’ Rabbit, familiar from last year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. The original, stainless steel version of the iconic sculpture is on view at the MCA. (Many locals are still smarting from Macy’s 2006 takeover of Chicago-based Marshall Field’s -- so the gesture, in a way, is a timely reminder of the benefits of synergy.)

At the MCA itself, the Chicago Tribune notes that the museum’s restaurant is offering a special shortbread version of Rabbit at its express counter. The ever-inventive people at the museum gift shop have also risen to the challenge, hawking Koons shirts ($90 for a polo; $28 for a T), and a Koons beach towel from an edition that debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007, featuring the mug of an adorable inflatable monkey ($60; edition of 2,000). Also on sale is a "small mirror" for $3,875, presumably an homage to the artist’s famous gilt mirror sculpture.

Spanish painter Miquel Barceló has launched an ambitious project for the ceiling of Room XX, aka the "Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilizations," at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. Scheduled to open in October 2008, the room will house the UN’s Human Rights Council. Begun in September 2007, the undertaking -- which involves some 20 assistants and 100 tons of paint -- encompasses the entire surface of the chamber’s 1,300-square-meter ellipsoidal dome, and the results are described by the artist as being like watching the "sea’s surface above your head." The project is the first initiative of the newly formed Fundación ONUART, an organization dedicated to using Spanish contemporary art to the ends of diplomacy.

Maurizio Cattelan is the latest artist to transform the former synagogue in Pulheim-Stommeln, a small town to the northwest of Cologne in Germany, into an art space. As his contribution to the "Synagogue Stommeln Art Project" Cattelan has created an exhibition in two parts: a sculpture made of small plants growing out of old shoes, at the synagogue -- symbolizing "a surreal possibility for order after chaos," according to a press release -- and a mock crucifixion of a woman in a wooden box, suspended on an external wall of a nearby church, a reference to the local legend of the "Blessed Christine of Stommeln."

The exhibition is the latest in a series of installations at the synagogue that has been ongoing since 1991 -- and which gained a certain infamy when Spanish artist Santiago Sierra transformed the former Jewish temple into a functional gas chamber in 2006 as a commentary on "the banalization of the Holocaust." Cattelan’s installation is on view June 1-Aug. 10, 2008.

The Linda Pace Foundation in San Antonio, Tex. -- which, among other things helps fund the esteemed nonprofit Artpace -- is opening its new offices at 112 West Rische Street. The 2,500-square-foot space formerly served as a studio for Linda Pace, the artist and Pace Foods heiress who endowed her namesake foundation in 2003, before passing away in 2007. The new offices feature artworks commissioned specially from edgy conceptualist Daniel J. Martinez, including a large text piece that covers the east wall of the building, declaring, "Beauty. . . it rubs against one's tongue it hangs there hurting one insisting on its own existence finally it gets so one cannot stand the pain then one must have beauty extracted."

Opening a permanent administrative space is a prelude to the Pace Foundation’s planned debut of a site for the Linda Pace art collection, which features more than 500 works by artists such as Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Isaac Julien, Richard Tuttle and Rachel Whiteread. A location for the collection is expected to be announced in fall 2008.

Did you know that George Maciunas, the Lithuanian-born artist who served as the ringmaster of the Fluxus art movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s, was also the father of SoHo? Maciunas spearheaded a program of what he called "Fluxhouse Cooperatives," which had artists living together in abandoned buildings and lofts below Houston street in New York, opening the first at 80 Wooster in 1967. All of this is just to say that if Maciunas is associated with the anarchy of Fluxus, he also had more than a little to say about urban planning -- something Maya Stendhal Gallery in New York is spotlighting when it puts on view his plans for a prefabricated building system, June 5-Aug. 23, 2008.

Known as "Maciunas’ Plastic Prefab," the design was originally published in 1965 as a collaboration with philosopher and artist Henry Flynt, though not explored further. It involves nine rectangular modules that can be attached together to form living space, with movable wall panels. In presenting the work, Stendhal has worked with architect Scott Weinkle, fabricating a model, as well as digital animation allowing visitors to see what it would be like to live in the theoretical structure.

The Driehaus Foundation has given out its 2008 "Individual Artist Awards" to three figures: photographer Jason Lazarus (cited in the "emerging artist" category), multimedia artist and Art Institute of Chicago prof Anne Wilson, and installation artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle. The juried awards, which are open to Chicago-area artists of promise, come with a purse of $15,000 each (up from $10,000 last year).

Meanwhile, the Foundation’s patron, money manager Richard H. Driehaus, has just opened his own namesake museum in downtown Chicago. Housed in the historic Nickerson House (just across the street from the Ransom Cable House building, which serves as the headquarters for the $3 billion investment firm Driehaus Capital Management), the new museum is dedicated to showing Driehaus’ extensive collection of decorative arts, including numerous Tiffany glass panels, alongside the original furnishings of the Gilded Age mansion. M. Kirby Talley Jr. is director of the new institution, which is open to scheduled group tours June 1-Sept. 1, 2008, after which it will assume full operating hours. See

New York’s Outsider Art Fair, customarily seen at the Puck Building in SoHo, has to find a new home now that the latter is being converted into a catering hall. Fair organizer Sanford Smith is relocating the event to the Mart building at 7 West 34th Street (recently the site of Volta NY during Armory Show weekend). The date of the fair moves forward as well, to Jan. 9-11, 2009.

The Puck Building has also been the site of February’s Black Fine Art Show, which has yet to announce a new location. November’s International Caribbean Art Fair, which debuted at the Puck in 2007, expands to the Waterfront building in Chelsea (recently the site for Bridge New York).

Seattle Art Museum director Mimi Gardner Gates has announced her retirement, effective 2009. During her 15-year tenure, Gates (who is married to the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates) oversaw the development of the ambitious Olympic Sculpture Park, and established a partnership with bank Washington Mutual that resulted in the two organizations sharing one building [see Artnet News, May 1, 2006]. No word on a successor yet.

Anne d’Harnoncourt, 64, much respected director and chief executive of the Philadelphia Museum of Art died in Philadelphia on June 1 of cardiac arrest following a minor surgery. The daughter of René d’Harnoncourt, an Austrian count and director of New York’s Museum of Modern Art from 1949 to 1968, she was raised in Manhattan, going on to receive a MA from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art in 1967. A specialist in the work of Marcel Duchamp, she accepted the position of curator of 20th century art at the PMA in 1972, after serving as assistant curator at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ten years later, she became museum director. In that post, d’Harnoncourt was credited with revitalizing a once-sleepy institution through adept fundraising, savvy expansions and blockbuster shows dedicated to artists such as Paul Cézanne and Salvador Dalí. She is survived by her husband, curator Joseph Rishel.

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