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Artnet News
July 17, 2008 

Fans of contemporary Chinese art know the Rent Collection Courtyard -- many artists have riffed on the image of the classic socialist realist sculptural tableaux, most famously Cai Guo-Qiang, who had it completely recreated for his recent Guggenheim retrospective. But can the art world handle the work sans irony? A segment of the original sculpture is on its way to New York for "Art and China’s Revolution," a large-scale survey of art in China during 1949-79, Sept. 5-Jan. 11, 2008, at the Asia Society.

Dedicated to exploring the cultural changes of this violent period of Chinese history, when the country went through convulsions under Mao Zedong, the show is organized by Asia Society director Melissa Chiu along with Zheng Shengtian, an artist who served as at the Zhenjian Academy Fine Arts in Shanghai during the period, and who contributes personal recollections to the catalogue. Presented in six parts, the show features paintings and posters glorifying Mao, archival photos illustrating the political climate of the day, and documents recording the destruction of historical artifacts that was encouraged as part of Maoist ideology. The show also includes artworks secretly made in classical styles during the period as a kind of personal rebellion, as well as early works by contemporary art stars like Xu Bing, illustrating the effect of their early "reeducation" in the countryside on their current practice.

A final section highlights the work of Beijing’s Long March Project, founded as a way to "bring art to the people who live along the route of Mao Zedong's Long March," a curatorial choice designed to illustrate the continued importance of the Maoist legacy for the art of today.

It’s official -- London’s power PR firm Bolton & Quinn has sent out a press alert announcing the launch of Moscow’s newest art space, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture Moscow (CCC Moscow) with a retrospective of works by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, opening on Sept. 17, 2008. The nonprofit CCC Moscow, housed in a 1926 bus garage designed by Konstantin Melnikov, boasts the "largest, fully flexible exhibition space in the city." Coordinator of the project is Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, a curator who has worked in the past for Gagosian Gallery; overseeing the conversion of the space is London-based architect Jamie Fobert.

CCC Moscow is the brainchild of 26-year-old Dasha Zhukova, the girlfriend of Russian oil billionaire and financier Roman Abramovich, the UK’s second richest man. Said to be the driving force behind Abramovich’s recent yen for contemporary art, Zhukova got the full treatment from the Sunday Times of London last week, which covered a party for 300 art and fashion insiders at the new CCC Moscow facility. Dressed in a "little black dress" with "a lick of make-up," according to writer Anna Mikhailova, Zhukova didn’t drink, save for one shot of vodka with Jeff Koons. "It would have been rude not to do a shot with Jeff Koons," she said.

Among the attractions at the party was a light installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, which includes a handle that people can hold onto, translating their pulses to a skein of lightbulbs. Also on hand was singer Amy Winehouse (both she and Zhukova use the same hairdresser, the Times reports).

According to article, Zhukova’s mother, Elena, is a molecular biologist working until recently at UCLA. Her father, Alexander, an oil oligarch in his own right, served time in Turin for alleged arms dealing. The couple divorced when Dasha was ten, and mother and daughter relocated to California. Dasha holds a degree from UC Santa Barbara -- she reportedly speaks with a Valley Girl accent -- dated tennis player Marat Safin and subsequently settled in London. Last year, she teamed up with a friend, Christina Tang, to produce a clothes line called Kova &T, the PVC leggings of which were an instant hit, according to people who know about such things. The theme of the fashion line’s launch party was "Marie Antoinette."

Say one thing for the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.: it’s not only interested in art stars. The NGA fall and winter season includes a series of shows focusing on little-known (though fascinating) artists and artworks. A selection:

* George de Forest Brush, "The Indian Paintings," Sept. 14, 2008-Jan. 4, 2009, presents 21 works based on the artist’s experience living with the Arapahoe, Shoshone and Crow in Wyoming and Montana during the 1870s and 1880s. The show travels to the Seattle Art Museum, Feb. 26-May 24, 2009.

* Jan Lievens, "A Dutch Master Rediscovered," Oct. 26, 2008-Jan. 11, 2009, a survey of 54 paintings, 39 drawings and 39 prints by the 17th-century Dutch artist, a child prodigy, who had what the museum calls "a somewhat symbiotic relationship" with Rembrandt van Rijn. After its premiere at the NGA, the show appears at the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam.

* Luis Melendez, "Master of the Spanish Still Life," May 17-Aug. 23, 2009, features 29 paintings by the 18th-century artist whose accomplishment has been eclipsed by that of fellow Spaniard Francisco Goya. The show subsequently appears at LACMA and the MFA, Boston.

Also on tap at the NGA: "Oceans, Rivers and Skies: Ansel Adams, Robert Adams and Alfred Stieglitz," Oct. 12, 2008-Mar. 15, 2009; "Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples," Oct. 19, 2008-Mar. 22, 2009; "Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans," Jan. 18-Apr. 26, 2009; and "Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age," Feb. 1-May 3, 2009.

Lightning struck once for Charles Saatchi with "Sensation" at the Royal Academy in 1997; can the British supercollector do it again? "New Sensations," a competition for art students launched in 2007 by the Saatchi Gallery and England’s Channel 4 television station, has come up with four finalists: Mark Davey (of the Slade School), Amy Moffat (Wimbledon College), Robert Sherwood (Chelsea School) and Camilla Wills (Wimbledon). The four finalists each receive a £1,000 prize and are to be the subject of a three-minute film to be shown on Channel 4. Their work, along with work by 16 other finalists, goes on view at the Truman Brewery in London, Oct. 14-19, 2008. The jury included artist Yinka Shonibare, art dealer Maureen Paley, critic Matthew Collings and collector David Roberts. For more info, see

South Korea’s Busan Biennale is set to go, Sept. 6-Nov. 15, 2008, in the port city on the southeast coast of Korea (pop. 3.6 million). The theme this time around is "Expenditure," taking a cue from coprophilic French philosopher Georges Bataille’s use of the term, offering 192 artists whose works touch on themes of "consumption, release and exhaustion." The main part of the show goes up at the Busan Museum of Modern Art, accompanied by a "Sea Art Festival" at the Busan Yachting Center and the "Busan Sculpture Project" at the APEC Naru Park.

Among the participants in Busan’s Bataille homage are David Askevold, Hernan Bas, Ross Bleckner, Bruce La Bruce, Sue De Beer, Lyle Ashton Harris, Terence Koh, Nate Lowman, Lisa Ruyter, Victor Man, Alex McQuilkin, Marilyn Minter, Yasumasa Morimura, Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Orlan, Aida Ruilova, Larissa Sansour, Martin Sastre, Fiona Shaw, Jim Shaw, Ryan Trecartin and Erik Van Lieshout.

Art Cologne 2009, scheduled to take place Apr. 22-29, 2009, has announced details of its reorganization under its new director, Los Angeles art dealer Daniel Hug. "My primary aim is to consolidate the fair and concentrate on essentials," he said, noting that the key is attracting A-list dealers and artworks to the event. Art Cologne is being relocated to Hall 11 at the Cologne Trade Fair Centre, where each of the fair’s three sections -- modern classics, post-war art and contemporary art -- gets its own level.

The advisory committee includes Hendrik A. Berinson (Gallery Berinson, Berlin), Jörn Bötnagel (BQ, Cologne), Valerie Carberry (Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago), Darren Flook (Hotel Gallery, London), Steve Hanson (China Art Objects Galleries, Los Angeles), Dennis Kimmerich (Gallery Dennis Kimerich, Düsseldorf), Christian Nagel (Gallery Christian Nagel, Cologne & Berlin), Niklas Svennung (Gallery Chantal Crousel, Paris) and Hans Mayer (Gallery Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf). A new website is also in the works, going live in August.

The British artist Ewan Gibbs, whose color-free neo-Pointillist images of city monuments have been shown at Richard Gray Gallery, Lora Reynolds Gallery and Timothy Taylor Gallery, has been commissioned by the Armory Show to do its visual identity for 2008. Artwork by Gibbs will figure on Armory Show marketing and advertising materials, as well as the 2008 catalogue. The dates for next year’s show are Mar. 4-8, 2009.

A monumental work by British artist Anish Kapoor has been commissioned for a new residential tower designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron and slated to be built this fall at 56 Leonard Street in the heart of Manhattan’s Tribeca district. The building is developed by Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias of Alexico Group, a New York City-based real estate company.

Cydney Payton
, executive director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver since 2001, has announced her resignation, effective October 2008. Payton oversaw the development of a new $16.5-million, David Adjaye-designed facility for the museum, which opened earlier this year. A search for her successor is under way.

Heather Pesanti
, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, has been appointed curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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