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Artnet News
July 15, 2008 

Seven months after the triumphant debut of its new facility on the Bowery on Dec. 1, 2007, the New Museum has announced another initiative -- a global triennial of emerging art. The first installment, dubbed "Younger than Jesus," is slated to open in the spring of 2009. Featuring artists from the "millennial generation" born ca. 1980, the show is sparked by the idea of "enduring radical changes in history carried out by young people," according to New Museum director of special exhibitions Massimiliano Gioni. "It’s not about raiding art schools," he added. The curatorial team also includes senior curator Laura Hoptman, adjunct curator and director Lauren Cornell, and a network of ten international correspondents and 150 "informers." The show should "compose a ‘Facebook’ of the new generation," said Gioni.

The New Museum opens its current show, "After Nature," July 17-Sept. 21, 2008, a selection of over 90 works by more than 25 artists organized by Gioni and depicting "a future landscape of wilderness and ruins." As is promised for the upcoming triennial, Gioni’s "After Nature" boasts many artists who are being seen in a New York museum for the first time, including Pawel Althamer, Roberto Cuoghi, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Nathalie Djurberg, Werner Herzog, Robert Kusmirowski, Klara Liden and Tino Sehgal. On tap at the museum this fall is "Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton," Oct. 8, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009, organized by Laura Hoptman, and "Mary Heilmann: To Be Someone," Oct. 22, 2008-Jan. 26, 2009, curated by New Museum chief curator Richard Flood.

Andres Serrano, the trouble-making photographer who has exhibited photos of corpses, Klansmen and, of course, a crucifix immersed in a jar of urine, is welcoming the fall season with the real shit -- literally. For "Shit," Sept. 4-Oct. 4, 2008, his new exhibition at Yvon Lambert New York, Serrano is presenting new large-scale color photographs of a variety of poops, produced by animals as well as by the artist himself, photographed against bright psychedelic backgrounds. The show is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Hélène Cixous, the celebrated French feminist and author of The Laugh of the Medusa (1975), and opens concurrently at Yvon Lambert Paris, Sept. 12-Oct. 16, 2008. News of the exhibition has already hit the tabloids, with the New York Post headlining its coverage with "A Show to Hold Your Nose For."

Japanese art star Takashi Murakami is going to court to stop a collector from flipping his work. More precisely, the Japanese art star’s production company, Kaikai Kiki, managed to get a sculpture by the artist pulled from Christie’s London evening sale of postwar and contemporary art on June 30, 2008. According to a press rep for the artist, Flower Ball Blood (3-D) V -- an acrylic and platinum leaf relief featuring grinning flowers, which bore a presale estimate of £300,000-£400,000 (ca. $587,700-$783,500) -- had initially been sold by the artist to a Japanese real estate company, Cerulean LLC, in January 2007, with a contract that prohibited the resale of the work for ten years.

The ten-year "no sell" clause is designed to check speculation on the artist’s work. While a sale at the Christie’s estimate wouldn’t have provided much of a gain for the seller -- according to Japanese reports, Cerulean acquired Flower Ball Blood from the artist for Ÿ68 million (£321,000, or $644,000, at today’s exchange rates) -- a work from the same series sold for $1,650,000 at Sotheby’s New York as part of the "RED" charity auction on Feb. 14, 2008, more than doubling the presale high estimate of $700,000.

Since the withdrawal of the work from the Christie’s sale, Kaikai Kiki says it has learned that "a person or entity is seeking to consign or sell the artwork to a gallery, despite the on-going litigation and the cloud on title." Murakami dealer Tim Blum of Blum & Poe in Los Angeles confirmed that he had been contacted days after the Christie’s sale by someone trying to resell Flower Ball Blood (3-D) V. Blum describes the communication as a "very naïve email," and says the seller was looking to get $3 million for the work.

Kaikai Kiki secured a legal injunction in Tokyo District Court on July 4 and is seeking Ÿ5.5 million from Cerulean in compensation for the breach of contract. Meanwhile, the press statement from Murakami’s representatives caution dealers against buying the disputed Flower Ball in light of the legal issues surround it.

Another multimillion-dollar artwork from disgraced Brazilian businessman Edemar Cid Ferreira’s "money-laundering art collection" has come to light, this one passing through the hands of Los Angeles art dealer Doug Chrismas. Ferreira, a former head of the São Paulo Biennale and sponsor of the "Brazil: Body and Soul" blockbuster at the Guggenheim Museum in 2002, was sentenced to 21 years in prison last year for bank fraud and money laundering in connection with the 2005 failure of Banco Santos, which left behind $1 billion in debts.

When Ferreira was arrested, about 30 artworks from his $30 million collection were missing, according to Brazilian officials, who charged that the businessman had shipped them out of the country as part of a money-laundering scheme. In 2007, U.S. officials claimed Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Hannibal, a painting from Ferreira’s collection now valued at $8 million, had been smuggled into New York by a courier, who had claimed that it was worth a mere $100. It was found in a warehouse in the Upper East Side.

Now, federal agents have seized Roy Lichtenstein’s Modern Painting with Yellow Interweave (1967) from the home of Los Angeles collector Seth Landsberg, charging that the 56 x 48 in. Pop abstraction is also from Ferreira’s collection. According to a report by the Courthouse News Service, Landsberg purchased the work for $1.3 million last year from Chrismas’ Ace Gallery, which itself had the work on consignment from a gallery named Pacific Heights. At the time of the sale to Landsberg, Ace had Modern Painting with Yellow Interweave appraised for a staggering $3.5 million (the same work previously sold for $590,400 at Sotheby’s New York on Nov. 13, 2003), and Landsberg acquired it from the dealer with the intention of immediately reselling it through Sotheby’s -- which is what seems to have caught the eye of the authorities. Now Landsberg is suing both Ace and Pacific Heights for breach of contract, and the Lichtenstein is heading back to Brazil.

Interpol continues the search for the other missing works in Ferreira’s collection. Stay tuned.

The Drawing Center has announced its fall programming, and the SoHo-based art space -- plans to construct a new facility near South Street Seaport were quietly abandoned several months ago -- has an impressive lineup of shows both large and small, contemporary and historical. Some highlights:

* "Rirkrit Tiravanija: Demonstration Drawings," Sept. 12-Nov. 6, 2008, organized by Drawing Center curator João Ribas, featuring over 200 works on paper commissioned by the artist from Thai students and made from photographs of political demonstrations in the International Herald Tribune.

* "Kathleen Henderson: What If I Could Draw a Bird that Could Change the World?," Sept. 12-Oct. 9, 2008, organized by Nina Katchadourian, is a "Selections" exhibition in the Drawing Room space of surreal and political oil-stick-on-paper works made by the California artist while listening to news radio.

* "Matt Mullican: A Drawing Translates the Way of Thinking," Nov. 21, 2008-Feb. 5, 2009, organized by Ribas, surveys over three decades worth of hypnotism drawings, pictographs and other works.

* "M/M: Just Like an Ant Walking on the Edge of the Visible," Nov. 21-Dec. 17, 2008, presents 41 wood and metal stools by the Paris-based design team of Mathias Augustyniak and Michaël Amzalag, with the legs of each stool taking the shape of one letter of the exhibition’s title.

* "Sun Xun: Shock of Time," Jan. 8-Feb. 5, 2009, presents two hand-drawn animations by the Hangzhou-based artist, who was born in 1980.

* "Frédéric Bruly Bouabré: The Knowledge of the World," Feb. 20-Mar. 28, 2009, features over 200 works on paper never before seen in the U.S. The show is co-organized by Drawing Center director Brett Littman and André Magnin, curator of collector Jean Pigozzi’s Contemporary African Art Collection in Geneva.

* "Unica Zürn: Dark Spring," Apr. 17-July 23, 2009, a show of 50 ink and watercolor works by the German Surrealist and consort of Hans Bellmer, whose drawings partake in 1960s psychedelia.

* "Eau de Cologne," Apr. 17-July 23, 2009, a survey and extension of the series of publications by Cologne dealer Monika Sprüth in the 1980s and early ‘90s that focused on postmodernist women artists.

Chinese art supercollector Uli Sigg takes strong exception to New York art critic Charlie Finch’s call that art collectors should boycott Chinese art in protest of Chinese policy in Tibet [see "Fear Strikes Out," Apr. 18, 2008]. Sigg, who served as Swiss ambassador to China, North Korea and Mongolia in 1995-99 and now sits on the international council of the Museum of Modern Art, pens his defense of contemporary Chinese artists in the July/August issue of Art Asia Pacific magazine, the cutting-edge periodical published and edited by Elaine W. Ng.  

Claiming that Finch’s argument displays "crude logic," Sigg mocks Finch’s claim that boycotting Chinese contemporary art would have any effect on Chinese communist policy. The Chinese government regards contemporary art as a nuisance at best, Sigg maintains, and is far from using Chinese contemporary art for any kind of propaganda purposes abroad. What’s more, Sigg says, the majority of Chinese contemporary artists have an uneasy relationship with their government, one of "distance" rather than "complicity."

In the end, Sigg notes that Chinese artists are likely to defend things Chinese, whatever they think about communist party politics. Chinese art is hardly the appropriate battlefield for China-bashers, he says. 

Somehow it’s no surprise that fast-talking Phillips, de Pury & Co. chairman Simon de Pury, a master of the auctioneer’s speedy spiel, also knows his hip-hop music. In the August 2008 Interview magazine, de Pury deftly reels off the names of his favorite songs: Genius Rap by Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, White Lines by Grandmaster Flash, Slow Jamz by Kanye West (with Twista and Jamie Fox), and This Is My Life by Slim Thug. The occasion for the interview is the forthcoming "Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels" auction at Phillips, de Pury & Co. in New York, a sale that brings examples of the high-key jewelry worn by rap stars to the auction block.

Among the lots is a jeweled Rolex watch worn by Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Wayne’s jeweled Money Bag pendant and Biz Markie’s Headphone Necklace. Selected lots from the sale benefit the National Museum of American History’s new "Hip-Hop Won’t Stop" collection. The sale takes place Oct. 1, 2008, with viewing scheduled for Sept. 23-30, 2008. "I’d love to be a rapper," de Pury says at the end of the interview. "My name would be MC de Pury and I would represent Basel, Switzerland, the city of my birth."

Last year, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery cleaned out its storage, selling off dozens of antiquities and non-Western art at Sotheby’s to raise funds to buy modern and contemporary art instead. It was a good time to sell, needless to say: the museum raised more than $67 million, more than four times the $15 million presale estimate. One top lot, a Hellenistic bronze of Artemis and the Stag, was estimated to sell for $15 million and brought $28.6 million, almost twice as much.

Now, the Albright-Knox has begun spending some of the money, buying 71 works by 15 artists from 84-year-old supercollector Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo. The works were recently on view at the museum in "The Panza Collection: An Experience of Color and Light," Nov. 16, 2007-Feb. 24, 2008. The acquisition includes works by Anne Appleby, Stuart Arends, Alfonso Fratteggiani Bianchi, Max Cole, Dan Flavin, Ruth Ann Fredenthal, Robert Irwin, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Timothy Litzmann, David Simpson, Phil Sims, Winston Roeth, Robert Therrien and Anne Truitt.

An interesting list, to be sure, including a host of lesser-known monochrome painters -- one of Panza’s favorite genres, though out of fashion at the moment -- along with a handful of star conceptual and "Light and Space" artists. No purchase price was given, but one hopes it was low.

Now that Damian Hirst has brought pharmaceuticals into the art museum, actual pharmaceutical companies are following suit. GlaxoSmithKline, the global drug company (maker of Wellbutrin, Valtrex, Paxil and Aquafresh toothpaste, among other products) has signed on to sponsor "GSK Contemporary," a three-month-long series of contemporary art programming at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Organized by independent curator David Thorp, the first installment of "GSK Contemporary" -- the series is scheduled to be held each autumn for three years -- presents over 100 events in two parts: "Molten States," opening Nov. 1, 2008, includes works by Rene Pollesch, Catherine Sullivan and Olaf Nicolai; and "Collision Course," opening in mid-December, featuring a survey of the work of William Burroughs as well as Malcolm McLaren’s Shallow.

Staff changes are afoot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and not only in the director’s office. Nan Rosenthal, senior consultant for modern and contemporary art at the museum for 15 years, has retired. During her tenure she oversaw "Jasper Johns: Gray" (2008), "Robert Rauschenberg: Combines" (2005-06) and surveys of work by Philip Guston (2003-04), Judith Rothschild (1998), Howard Hodgkin (1995) and Willem de Kooning (1994).

Her successor is Marla Prather, who most recently was curator for American art at Tate Modern (2005-07). She has also served as curator of post-war art at the Whitney Museum (1999-2004) and curator at the National Gallery of Art (1986-1999). She has organized exhibitions of Lucas Samaras, Agnes Martin, Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg and Willem de Kooning.

There’s nothing like a hot and sticky New York City summer to prepare the way for the apotheosis of the humble refrigerator. To this end, George Adams Gallery at 525 West 26th Street in Chelsea gives us "Cool," July 10-Aug. 15, 2008, an exhibition of works by 12 artists and three collaborative teams. Many of the artists present images of the iconic kitchen appliance, from James Valerio’s self-portrait standing next to an open fridge to Peter Saul’s Icebox #6, which overflows with Pop provender. Also on hand to take one’s mind off the heat: winter scenes by Rudy Shepherd, a video of a snowstorm by leonardogillesfleur, and a snow globe by Walter Martin and Paloma Munoz. The show’s gala opening even included free ice cream by Miwa Koizumi.

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