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Artnet News
Aug. 4, 2006 

Paintings by the still-controversial Native American activist Leonard Peltier -- currently serving two consecutive life terms for the murders of two FBI agents during a 1975 shoot-out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation -- go on view at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn., Aug. 25, 2006-Feb. 25, 2007. Peltier, who is considered a political prisoner by Amnesty International, is also a figurative painter, signing each of his canvases with his prison number, 89637-132. His works are featured in the "The Taté Wikikuwa Museum," a traveling installation of 23 paintings plus a timeline of his incarceration and a miniature prison-like space. (Taté Wikikuwa is Peltier’s Native American name, and means "The Wind that Chases the Sun") The show, designed to draw attention to Peltier’s case, is organized by San Francisco-based artist Rigo 23. The installation has already appeared at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. It appears at the Aldrich Museum in conjunction with the exhibition, "No Reservations: Native American History and Culture in Contemporary Art," Aug. 23, 2006-Feb. 25, 2007.

Is there anything less "Dada" than a contest to win a nice piece of jewelry? In conjunction with its current "Dada" extravaganza, June 18-Sept. 11, 2006, the Museum of Modern Art is holding an online sweepstakes for five pieces of Dada jewelry to webcrawlers who fill out an entry form on the museum’s website.

One of the prizes is a sterling silver necklace that reads, "DADA?" Other pieces of jewelry that are being awarded include a wristband with the words, "Art is Dead. Dada Triumphs," and a bracelet with the letters "L.H.O.O.Q.," which as everyone knows is Marcel Duchamp’s pun, written on his mustachioed copy of the Mona Lisa, for "she’s got a hot ass" in French.

Each prize is worth up to $45, the museum says. And though the sweepstakes may seem to be a breech of the spirit of the anarchic art movement, Duchamp, ever the contrarian, surely would have loved it.

Superarchitect Cesar Pelli did it for the Museum of Modern Art -- build condos over the museum facility, that is -- now can he do it for Austin? The Austin Museum of Art is negotiating with local developer Tom Stacy -- the museum’s landlord in its current space -- to build a Pelli-designed combination museum-condo on land the museum owns downtown, according to a report in the Austin Statesman. The museum has an annual budget of $3.2 million and four full-time employees, headed by executive director Dana Friis-Hansen

Is art getting smarter? Seems so! Last year, the School of Visual Arts in New York began offering an MFA in "art criticism and writing," a program chaired by art historian and critic Thomas McEvilley. Now, SVA is launching a second new degree program, this one aimed at undergraduates -- a BFA in "visual and critical studies." Chair is Tom Huhn, who currently heads the SVA art history department. According to the course description, students enrolling in the program can expect to be taught to "read," or understand and interpret art, philosophy and visual thinking, and "write," or make art -- in other words, they take courses in philosophy, esthetics and cultural theory as well as nearly as many hours of studio courses as they would in a regular studio major. For further info, contact

Famed artist Spencer Tunick, internationally celebrated for organizing mass public photographs of hundreds of people in the nude, is taking his show to Germany for the first time, organizing what is called "a three-dimensional body sculpture" in Düsseldorf on Aug. 6, 2006. The project is undertaken in collaboration with the Museum Kunst Palast, which is also mounting an exhibition of the artist’s photographs of previous projects, Sept. 30-Nov. 12, 2006. Tunick’s piece is a keynote of the Quadriennale06 festival at Düsseldorf’s museums, which is taking place this year under the appropriate theme of "Bodies."

The second installment of Performa, the biennial of performance art launched by RoseLee Goldberg in 2005 [see "Artnet News," Sept. 29, 2005], has been set -- Performa07, as it is called, is scheduled for Nov. 1-21, 2007. The organization is also collaborating with Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center in Water Mill, Long Island, which is hosting artist residencies for artists who are participating in the fest. More details may be forthcoming this weekend, as Goldberg is giving at talk at the Watermill Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, at 5 pm.

New York contemporary art collector Adam Lindemann has published his long-awaited book of interviews with top players on the chic contemporary art scene. Billed by its publisher, Taschen, as "a textbook for a class given by all of the world’s leading experts," Collecting Contemporary features an intro explaining the ABCs of art collecting, a calendar of important art-market events and an extensive series of interviews with collectors like Charles Saatchi, Peter Brant and Dakis Joannou, art dealers like Max Hetzler and Larry Gagosian, critics like David Rimanelli, and an assortment of curators, art consultants and auction-house experts. The book carries a modest U.S. price tag of $29.95.

ARLENE RAVEN, 1944-2006
Arlene Raven, 62, feminist writer and art historian who won the College Art Association’s award for art criticism in 2001, died of cancer on Aug. 1. Raven received her PhD from Johns Hopkins, writing her dissertation on the Washington Color School. In 1973 Raven co-founded the Feminist Studio Workshop in Los Angeles, and helped launch and edit the feminist culture magazine Chrysalis. She also launched the Lesbian Art Project in 1977, and was a founder of the Women’s Art Caucus. She settled in New York in 1983, where she was art critic for the Village Voice for several years. She published nine books on contemporary art, including Art in the Public Interest (1989) and Feminist Art Criticism (1991), for which she was co-editor. She also taught widely, and since 2000 had been critic-in-residence at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

MARCIA MAY, 1939-2006
Marcia May, 67, contemporary art collector and art consultant, died of complications from a pulmonary infection in Dallas on July 26, 2006. "A great loss," said Rupert Goldsworthy, an artist, dealer and curator who had worked with her. "She had a fantastic eye and was hilarious company." Based in New York, where she was born, and Dallas, May developed close friendships with Andy Warhol as well as many younger artists.

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