AITKEN AT MOMA IN 2007
The Museum of Modern Art is kicking off 2007 with a specially commissioned multimedia artwork by artist Doug Aitken, to be projected onto both the 53rd and 54th Street facades of the museum as well as parts of the building overlooking the sculpture garden. Co-sponsored by Creative Time, the commission -- referred to as The Doug Aitken Project at MoMA -- is both Aitken’s first large-scale public work in the U.S. and the first artwork specifically commissioned for the museum exterior. The project, to be filmed in New York by Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller, is expected to be "an innovative urban art experience that magnifies poignant moments of peoples’ everyday lives into a grand dialogue between pedestrians and the complex architectural landscape they traverse," according to Creative Time president Anne Pasternak. Announced at a press conference featuring New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and NYC & Company CEO Cristyne L. Nicholas, the artwork is being billed as a "centerpiece of New York City’s winter celebrations" and an important component of its $23-billion tourism industry. The work is projected daily, from 5 pm to 10 pm, Jan. 16-Feb. 12, 2007.
NEW TALENT AT ART COLOGNE 2006
Art Cologne 2006 director Gérard A. Goodrow has announced the young artists selected for the "New Talents" program at Art Cologne 2006, Nov. 1-5, 2006. A total of 23 artists were selected from 65 applicants: Theo Boettger (Galerie Baer, Dresden), Christoph Brech (Walter Storms Galerie, Munich), Julian Faulhaber (L.A. Galerie Lothar Albrecht, Frankfurt), Jana Gunstheimer (Galerie Conrads, Düsseldorf), Kati Heck (Galerie Annie Gentils, Antwerp), Carolin Jörg (Galerie Michael Sturm, Stuttgart), Sven Johne (Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne), Christian Keinstar (lukasfeichtner galerie, Vienna), Matthias Koch (Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris), Michael Kutschbach (Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney), Sandra Mann (Galerie Stefan Röpke, Cologne), Reinhold Matthias (Galerie Ursula Walbröl, Düsseldorf), Flora Neuwirth (Galerie Grita Insam, Vienna), Thomas Palme (van der grinten galerie, Cologne), Max Regenberg (Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne), Tom Sanford (Galleri Faurschou, Copenhagen), Gerda Scheepers (Sprüth Magers Projekte, Munich), Stephanie Senge (Galerie Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, Munich), Setareh Shahbazi (Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg), Sandra Vasquez de la Horra (Galería Jule Kewenig, Palma de Mallorca), Muir Vidler (Kenny Schachter ROVE, London), Jorinde Voigt (Fahnemann Projects, Berlin), and Ekrem Yalcindag (Galerie Karl Pfefferle, Munich). The sponsorship program is underwritten by the Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien (BVDG), Germany's national art galleries' association, and Koelnmesse.
"NEW YORK JUNK" IN MILWAUKEE
Would you say that New York is so great that even its junk has legs? The answer is yes at Dean Jensen Gallery in Milwaukee, where the hip Wisconsin dealer (established in 1987) is presenting a show of works by four New York artists tiled "Discardedly Yours: Art Made from New York Junk," July 28-Sept. 3, 2006. Organized by gallery director John Sobczak, the exhibition features works by John Drury, Harry Druzd, Rick Rodine and Gregg Woolard, all veterans of the "Ludlow Street Scene" on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Among the attractions are Drury’s Self-Pity Party Portrait, a fountain featuring life-size self-portrait of the artist in glass with water spouting from his eyes; Druzd’s Smokestacks, a colorful serpentine wall made of 16,000 empty cigarette boxes; Rodine’s cinematic and Futuristic collages; and Woolard’s "porn quilts" made from printed gay erotica. For details, see www.deanjensengallery.com.
HALSMAN HOMAGE IN HOLLYWOOD
It’s not that Hollywood has a sense of art history, it’s just that it knows a good skull image when it sees one. The poster for the soon-to-be-released movie The Descent, a horror film about six young women stalked by monsters while spelunking, is a note-for-note retread of a famous 1951 Philippe Halsman portrait of Salvador Dalí -- with slightly bigger hair and more dramatic lighting, of course. And, the movie poster isn’t the only recent homage to Halsman’s portrait -- avant-garde artist Piotr Uklanski did his own version of the human-bodies-as-skull motif in 1999, placing himself at the center surrounded by naked women, a work that set a record for the artist at a Philips Contemporary auction earlier this year.
FEW ART TYPES DEFEND FIRED PROF
Controversial University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, the firebrand who said victims of 9/11 were "little Eichmanns" (for serving as cogs in an oppressive world financial system) and who has been attacked as "Anti-American" by right-wing pundit Bill O’Reilly, has finally been dismissed from his teaching job after a review committee found instances of plagiarism in his work. He has garnered some defenders, however, in a group calling itself Teachers for a Democratic Society, which has initiated a petition of academics calling for his reinstatement. The TDS charges that the university inquiry was politically motivated, used unfair standards to judge Churchill and is part of an effort to quell activist sentiment on campuses in general. "For a variety of reasons that go well beyond the scholarship and politics of a particular individual," the petition says, "we urge the University of Colorado to reverse its decision to fire Professor Ward Churchill."
While issues of free speech would typically be of interest to visual arts faculty, it seems this is not the case. Of the 254 signatories of the letter at the time of this writing, only two are from art professors – Rutgers University professor Martha Rosler and Central Connecticut State art prof Mike Alewitz. By far the majority of names on the list come from economics, law and political science professors, though a substantial number also come from literature. To see the online petition, visit http://www.teachersfordemocracy.org/?q=node/19.
ARTISTS BENEFIT FOR ROCKER’S "WITNESS" CHARITY
Artist Izhar Patkin has launched a new fine-art print project, "Artists Support www.witness.org," to benefit Witness, the human rights organization founded by musician and activist Peter Gabriel. Each work featured in the print project is a collaboration between two artists born in different countries. To date, the collaborations include Shirin Neshat and Patkin (born in Iran and Israel, respectively); Cai Guo-Qiang and Kiki Smith (China and Germany); Sebastião Salgado and William Wegman (Brazil and U.S.A.); and Alfredo Jaar and Dayanita Singh (Chile and India). Each print is produced in an edition of 100 and printed by the Swiss fine art publisher Ink Tree and Maurice Sanchez at Derriere L’Etoile Studios, New York. All proceeds from sales go to Witness. Prices for individual prints are $750 and $1,000, or a suite of four for $3,000. For details, see www.witness.org, or contact project manager Julia Friedman at email@example.com.
"HELPING OUR WOMEN" BENEFIT IN PROVINCETOWN
One of the Northeast’s liveliest summer art scenes is in Provincetown, Mass., where the Berta Walker Gallery -- a 16-year Provincetown veteran which represents Varujan Boghosian, Dimitri Hadzi, Wolf Kahn, Paul Resika and many other artists -- is currently holding a benefit exhibition of painting and sculpture titled "Women Hold Up the Sky," July 14-30, 2006. Beneficiary of the show is HOW (Helping Our Women), a local group established in 1992 to provide support to women with life-threatening illnesses. Among the exhibiting artists are Mary Cecil Allen, Sue Fuller, Karen Harding, Dorothy Gregory, Mary Kass, Dana McCannell, Janice Redman, Ione Gaul Walker, Agnes Weinrich and others. The gallery is also presenting three solo shows during the same period, July 14-30, by Nancy Craig, Erna Partoll and Georgia M. Coxe, to be followed by three more shows, Aug 4-20, 2006, by Romolo Del Deo, Brenda Horowitz and Selina Trieff. For more info, see www.bertawalkergallery.com.
NEW MEMBERS FOR NATIONAL ACADEMY
Seven artists have been newly elected to membership in the honorary artists’ association of the National Academy, founded in 1825 by Samuel Morse, Thomas Cole and others. The new members are William Clutz, Diana Horowitz, Albert Kresch, Robert Kushner, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Richard K. Miller and Susan Rothenberg.
DROGOUL WINS SONDHEIM PRIZE
Baltimore-based sculptor and performance artist Laure Drogoul has won the first-ever $25,000 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize for The Root, a giant-sized version of a Japanese netsuke whose oversized head takes the form of a devil -- in this case, the "root of all evil." Drougoul, 47, is founder of 14-Karat Cabaret, a Baltimore performance space, and a professor at York College in York, Pa., and at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She maintains a website of online art projects, including one that allows visitors to help reengineer the areole of her nipples.
Named after a Baltimore civic leader and his wife, and funded by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the Sondheim competition attracted 280 entries in its first year, and was presided over by a panel comprised of artist William Pope.L and curators Katherine Carl and Scott Hug. An exhibition featuring Drogoul’s sculpture, along with work by the other seven finalists -- Eric Dyer, Jason Hughes, Gabriel Martinez, David Page, Rene Trevino, P. Daniel Witmer and Jason Zimmerman -- is on view at the Fox Building of the Maryland Institute College of Art (where fully five of the finalists received their degrees!), July 14-30, 2006.
VAN DER MEULEN GETS AWARD
Paris-born abstract painter Emmanuel Van der Meulen (b. 1972) has been selected as winner of the blueOrange 2006 "emerging artist" award, a prize worth €7,000. Van der Meulen, who has a show coming up this fall at Gallery Artcore in Paris, was chosen for the award by Gabriel Orozco, who was named in early 2006 as winner of the main blueOrange award, worth €70,000. Underwritten by the German Cooperative Banks - Deutsche Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken, the award calls for the winner of the major award to select the recipient of the smaller prize.
KANJO TO SANTA BARBARA
ArtPace San Antonio executive director Kathryn Kanjo has been appointed director of the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She had headed ArtPace since 2000.