COURT CHALLENGE TO GIRAFFE ARTIST
A star attraction of Documenta 12 is "Brownie," a taxidermied giraffe brought to the international show from the Qalqiliyah Zoo in the West Bank by Berlin-based conceptual artist Peter Friedl. A casualty of the violence in the Middle East, the unfortunate animal was killed in 2002 during the second Palestinian Intifada, and subsequently stuffed by the zoo veterinarian and exhibited (along with several other taxidermied animals) in a kind of museum. Freidl heard about the exhibit and borrowed the animal for Documenta, citing the arrival in Germany in 1220 of the first living giraffe, and noting that such "orientalist transfers often preceded European expansion."
Once in Germany, however, Brownie became the object of a short-lived court action claiming copyright infringement. Artist Ayse Erkmen accused Friedl of stealing her idea to borrow Brownie and the other stuffed Palestinian zoo animals for a museum exhibition. In 2004, Ermen says, she attempted to borrow the animals for a show in a natural history museum in Birmingham -- an effort that was unsuccessful.
Her request for an injunction from the Kassel regional court was quickly dismissed, according to a report by Anna Blume Huttenlauch in Artnet.de. In Germany as in the U.S., ideas aren’t covered by copyright -- and the court recognized that Friedl’s Zoo Story, as he dubbed his giraffe-as-found-object, was essentially a conceptual act.
DOCUMENTA "BOOTLEG" OPENING
New Art Basel development director Marc Spiegler (and Artworldsalon.com webmaster) is already thinking outside of the box -- when it comes to Documenta 12, anyway. Noting that many art professionals were unable to attend Documenta’s official vernissage on June 14-15, 2007, Spiegler has organized the Documenta Bootleg Opening for Aug. 3-5. The show is much more fun, Speigler notes, when accompanied by friends. "If enough people sign up, we might even organize a party."
N.B.: Spiegler himself reminds us that the Documenta initiative, co-organized with Julieta Aranda, is totally personal and not related in any way to his new Art Basel job (which starts in September). And, no party is planned after all.
HESSEL MUSEUM IN CHELSEA
New Bard College curatorial studies director Tom Eccles, former director of the Public Art Fund, has quietly opened a branch of Bard’s new Hessel Museum in New York’s Chelsea gallery district -- in a former parking lot located next to Bortolami gallery on West 25th Street. Currently on view in the space are two works by artist Martin Creed, subject of a retrospective exhibition at the upstate museum titled "Feelings," July 7-Sept. 16. 2007. On view in New York are Work No. 755 (2007) -- the words "small things" in 15-foot-tall neon letters, and Work No. 805 (2007), a stack of three 40-foot-long steel girders. The 25th Street space is being provided by art collector and real estate investor Adam Lindemann.
FREE BEER AT THE ALDRICH
Who says art museums are only for Chardonnay-sipping elites? The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is going after the mythical Joe Sixpack, too. The Ridgefield, Conn.-based institution is offering free admission and a beer to any visitor who takes advantage of its free Saturday shuttle bus service between the museum and the Katonah station of the MetroNorth Harlem Line from New York. The offer is good until the end of Bock Beer season, Oct. 31, 2007. Those lured by the beer are sure to stay for exhibitions like "50,000 Beds," July 22-Sept. 3, 2007, featuring some 40 artists’ video tributes to Connecticut hotel rooms. For details, see www.aldrichart.org
NEIGHBORS SEE RED OVER SCHNABEL’S PINK BUILDING
Painter Julian Schnabel, fresh from kudos received at the Cannes Film Festival [see Artnet News, June 6, 2007], now finds himself at the center of a storm over the color -- a brilliant magenta hue -- of the 17-story residential tower he has erected above his property at 360 W. 11th Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. According to The Villager, the superstar artist was unhappy when Andrew Berman, head of preservationist group, described the color as "hot pink." Schnabel assistant Brian Kelly was also quoted denying suggestions that Schnabel chose the aggressive color to get back at neighbors for opposing the project.
For his part, Schnabel claims to be aiming for a Mediterranean vibe with the tower, which he says is "Pompeii red," "dusty rose" or "Venetian red." The Villager sought to solve the color dispute by surveying local residents, who replied variously that the building was "blood red," "wine," "magenta," "reddish-pinkish," "dark pink," "rusty, deep red" and, from the paper’s own photographer, "hot pink with drippings." For more details, see "Venetian Red or Pepto Pink?"
HAMMER SCORES MARX COLLECTION
Los Angeles’ Hammer Museum has received a major gift of 70 post-war works on paper from Colorado-based art collectors Larry and Susan Marx. Both the Marxes and the Hammer declined to put a dollar value on the trove, though museum director Gary Garrels estimated that it was worth "seven figures or more." The Los Angeles Times describes Larry Marx as "a Wall Street investment fund manager turned developer." Selections of the Marx collection have previously been seen at the Aspen Art Museum, where his wife is a board member, under the title "From Pollock to Marden: Post-War Works on Paper from the Collection of Susan and Larry Marx."
The gift includes works by Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, Eva Hesse, Robert Mangold, Brice Marden, Joan Mitchell, Blinky Palermo, Claes Oldenburg, Sigmar Polke, Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Ed Ruscha, Mark Tobey and Andy Warhol, among others.
MARLBOROUGH OPENS IN CHELSEA
Add a new Chelsea outpost to Marlborough Gallery’s global network. Marlborough Chelsea opens at 545 West 25th Street -- the new Chelsea Arts Tower -- in late September 2007 with exhibitions by sculptor Tom Otterness and painter Steven Charles. Designed by architect Richard Gluckman, the new two-level gallery measures approximately 10,000 square feet and includes an outdoor sculpture terrace. The Otterness exhibition is the artist’s first gallery exhibition in New York in five years.
CANADIAN IMMIGRANT SCULPTURE
Regina, Saskatchewan -- Canada’s 16th largest city, located midway between Calgary and Winnipeg -- is seeking proposals from artists interested in designing a monument celebrating the contributions of the city’s immigrants. The $250,000 artwork is scheduled to be unveiled in spring 2008. Interested artists must submit bios, examples of previous work and reference letters no later than Aug. 1, 2007. The government of Saskatchewan has recently been promoting itself as a destination for immigrants through a series of overseas missions under the slogan "Saskatchewan! A Great Place to Live and Work." Last year, these initiatives attracted as many as 3,000 new residents, local officials say, 840 of which are destined for Regina. More info on the monument commission is available at www.regina.ca
NEW CURATORS IN ST. LOUIS
Anthony Huberman has been appointed chief curator at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Huberman has formerly served in positions at the Paris’ Palais de Tokyo, New York’s SculptureCenter and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. CAM also named former MASS MoCA curatorial fellow Laura Fried has as assistant curator.
NEW CURATORS IN KANSAS CITY
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Kan., has announced two new curatorial appointments in its photography department. April M. Watson, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and former research assistant in the photography department at the National Gallery of Art, becomes associate curator of photography. Jane L. Aspinwall, who has worked in the museum’s Hallmark Photographic Collection, becomes assistant curator of photography.
JOHN SZARKOWSKI, 1925-2007
John Szarkowski, 81, Museum of Modern Art curator who championed photography as an art form, died of complications from a stroke on July 7. Trained as an art historian, Szarkowski published two books of his own photos, The Idea of Louis Sullivan (1956) and The Face of Minnesota (1958), before he was asked to become the second curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, succeeding Edward Steichen. His influential shows are credited with popularizing artists such as Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand. In 2005, a retrospective of Szarkowski’s own photos toured the United States, opening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and ending its run at MoMA in 2006.
SILAS H. RHODES, 1915-2007
Silas H. Rhodes, 91, co-founder of New York’s School of Visual Arts, died in his sleep on June 28. Born in the Bronx, Rhodes received a BS from Long Island University and a MA and PhD from Columbia University, going on to serve in WWII. Along with illustrator Burne Hogarth, Rhodes co-founded the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in 1947, which changed its name to the School of Visual Arts in 1956. He served as the college’s first president from 1972 to 1978, before becoming chairman of the school’s board.