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Artnet News
Aug. 9, 2005 

Run a Google News search for "public sculpture," and you’ll find the stuff makes headlines every day, whether it’s an $8,500 bronze dog honoring canine soldiers at that Utah cemetery or six-figure "percent for art" commissions in major city centers. Some current examples:

* Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ eight-foot-tall marble memorial sculpture, Angel of Purity (1902), put on sale last year by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on South 10th Street in Philadelphia, was bought by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The work was being offered for $4 million by the Gerald Peters Gallery, but was sold for "far less," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The church has earmarked the funds for its endowment; the sculpture goes on view at the museum in the fall.

* The city of Scottsdale in Arizona has $300,000 for a percent-for-art public sculpture commission for a new municipal complex and police substation, and recently entertained competing proposals from Donald Lipski (a 28-foot-tall kaleidoscope), Dennis Oppenheim (a park of forensic emblems, like footprints and tire marks) and Tom Otterness (a bronze of an eight-foot-tall cactus with a woodpecker and a hawk-policeman, among other figures).

* LED lightboard artist Jenny Holzer has installed For Pittsburgh, an $875,000 commission for the city’s new David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The two panels, more than 300 feet long and about 80 feet tall, use blue LED tubes to display texts from works by three Pittsburgh writers: Thomas Bell’s Out of This Furnace, Annie Dillard's An American Childhood and John Edgar Wideman’s Homewood Trilogy. A $510,000 sculpture by Chicago artist Tony Tasset is also planned for the center.

* New York artist Alice Aycock has begun work on Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks, a 100 x 100 ft. sculpture sited on the Cumberland River in Nashville. The $250,000 commission, funded by a percent-for-art program established in 2000, is slated to be completed in 18 months.

* Peru-born New York artist Grimanesa Amorós has installed Frente Feroz (Ferocious Front), a permanent site-specific work of animal silhouettes and colored lights, in 12 windows on the second floor of the Lee Building at 125th Street and Park Avenue. The work is visible from dusk to dawn. It was commissioned by Eugene Griscombe, president of the Griscombe Henderson real estate management and brokerage firm.

* British artist Richard Deacon is installing a new, large-scale stainless-steel sculpture at Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park in New York, courtesy the Public Art Fund, Sept. 8, 2005-Apr. 15, 2006. Titled Masters of the Universe: Screen Version, the work is described as an asymmetrical series of sausage-shaped forms in a molecule-like cluster.

* Five wrought-iron sculptures by Spanish artist Francisco Leiro (b. 1957) are on view at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza at Second Avenue and 47th Street in a show organized by the Instituto Cervantes with the support of Marlborough Gallery.

* Fernando Botero’s oversize bronze Man on a Horse was installed at a St. Louis intersection by the Gateway Foundation, which oversees the city’s famous Gateway Arch. The foundation has purchased 16 sculptures for placement at sites in the region, with works by Steven Gregory, Masayuki Nagare and Bernar Venet due to be installed this fall; additional sculptures by Tony Smith, Igor Mitoraj and Zhu Wei have yet to be sited.

* British artist Lawrence Argent, a long-time Denver art professor and resident, has dedicated his 40-foot-tall sculpture of a blue bear standing beside the new Colorado Convention Center. The creature "whimsically peers into windows" along the street, according to the Denver Post. The $400,000 work is only one of $2.4 million in art commissions accompanying the convention center, courtesy Denver’s percent-for-art law; other works are a sculpture of a dancing couple by Jonathan Borofsky ($1.58 million), plus works by Jim Green ($68,000), John McEnroe (the Denver conceptual artist, not the tennis player, $113,000) and Bernar Venet ($600,000).

* Utah sculptor Mark Davenport has been commissioned to design a memorial to the trained dogs that have helped U.S. soldiers in the country’s wars, a sculpture that would be sited at the entrance to the American Fork Cemetery in Utah. The project is being led by Dr. Alan Cunningham, who hopes to raise $8,500 for the work and install it on Nov. 11 during Veterans Day services.

The remaining estate of celebrated New York art dealer Holly Solomon, who died in 2002 at the age of 68, is slated to go on sale at Bonhams & Butterfields in California on Nov. 6, 2005. The auction features approximately 290 lots, including works by Laurie Anderson, Gordon Matta-Clark, Barry McGee, Frank Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Tuttle, Andy Warhol and William Wegman. Highlights go on view at Bonhams & Butterfields’ recently opened New York City salesroom at 595 Madison Avenue, Oct. 1-4, before subsequently appearing in San Francisco, Oct. 28-30, and Los Angeles Nov. 4-6, 2005. For more info, see

Robert Rauschenberg’s Rebus (1955), the three-panel, 11-foot-long combine painting that the Museum of Modern Art famously purchased for an estimated $30 million in June, goes on view in the new museum’s atrium space on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005. The new acquisition is joined in the premier gallery by Cy Twombly’s monumental The Four Seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter (1993-94). Claude Monet’s ca. 1920 triptych Water Lilies, whose installation in the atrium had drawn much comment, is being moved up to the fifth floor, to be hung with works by Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard. (MoMA has also reinstalled Henri Matisse’s series of four bronze sculptures, The Back I-IV, on the garden’s back wall.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. premiere of Erase-E(x), a dance-theater production inspired by Rauschenberg’s legendary erasure of a drawing by Willem de Kooning in 1953, is slated to open the fall season at the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater in Los Angeles (otherwise known as Redcat), on Sept. 21, 2005. Charles François stars in the work, a collaboration by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, dancer Johanne Saunier and scenic designer Jim Clayburgh. Erase-E(x) was slotted into the schedule after director-librettist Michael Gordon, whose What to Wear was originally planned for the debut, underwent triple-bypass surgery.

The 2006 Whitney Biennial is a mere seven months away, and Whitney Biennial curators Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne were recently spotted in Puerto Rico making the rounds of some artist’s studios. With advice from Venice Biennale veterans Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, the curators visited perhaps a dozen artists on the island (and also took a look at the house being built by Jorge Pardo for collector Cesar Reyes). Among those on the list were performance artist Jesus "Bubu" Negron, who was included in the recent "Tropical Abstraction" exhibition in Amsterdam; installation artist Marxz Rosado, an alumnus of Domus Academy in Milan; 80-year-old Cuban modernist and performance-art pioneer Zilia Sanchez, who makes minimalist shaped canvases inscribed with feminist and erotic drawings; conceptual artist Pedro Velez, who has exhibited at Western Exhibitions in Chicago and Ingalls and Associates in Miami; and neo-figurative painter Jorge Zeno, currently at work on a series depicting the Indian Point nuclear reactor.

Looking to unlock the monetary value of your art collection? Then look into Fine Art Capital, a new Manhattan-based company that lends money to collectors, dealers, estates and institutions, using art and antiques as collateral. Using the tagline, "Financing the World’s Treasures," the firm allows clients to borrow from $500,000 to $100 million for up to 20 years, while retaining possession of their art collection. Fine Art Capital was launched in January 2005 by Andy Augenblick, an art collector and former co-owner of the Related Companies real estate and investment company. For more info, see

Jessie Washburne-Harris, former director of Friedrich Petzel Gallery, has teamed up with her husband Michael Lieberman, former director of Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, to open their own gallery, Harris Lieberman, at 89 Vandam Street, just west of Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood (the pair met while they were both working for Gagosian Gallery). The new Harris Lieberman gallery, a 3,500-square-foot ground-floor space, debuts Aug. 31-Oct. 8, 2005, with "Cyclops," a multimedia installation by the Israeli-born artist Ohad Meromi; other artists in the stable include Stef Driesen, Daniel Guzmán, Evan Holloway, Rosalind Nashashibi, Michael Queenland, Matt Saunders, Tommy White and Thomas Zipp. For info, see

London is getting a new gallery devoted to abstract art this fall. Dubbed Poussin and located in a converted warehouse space on Bermondsey Street in Southeast London, not far from Tate Modern and Butler’s Wharf, the gallery promises a series of six shows of works by artists whom it considers key British abstractionists, including Douglas Abercrombie, Alan Gouk, Geoffrey Rigden, Peter Startup, Mali Morris, Fred Pollock, John McLean, Paul Tonkin, Tim Scott, David Lendrum and Geoff Hollow. The program begins with "Mainstream Abstract Painting from the ‘70s: Abercrombie, Gouk, Rigden," Sept. 22-Oct. 15, 2005. Poussin is the brainchild of sculptor Robin Greenwood and businessman Graham Burke.

Graham Larkin, a professor at Stanford University, has been appointed curator and head of the department of European and American art at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He succeeds Catherine Johnston, who is retiring after 30 years at the museum.

The Museum of Modern Art has named Christopher Hudson as publisher, in charge of a staff of 12 which produces the museum’s catalogues and scholarly publications. Hudson has overseen publishing at the J. Paul Getty Museum for 20 years. At MoMA he succeeds Michael Maegraith, who retired last year.

Art dealer Anthony Grant, who left Sotheby’s auction house ten years ago to become a director of Pace Gallery and later opened his own gallery (now on 57th Street), has agreed to rejoin the auction firm as senior vice president and international senior specialist in contemporary art. The current exhibition at Grant’s gallery, "Repeat Performance" -- an impressive group show of Minimalism-inspired new works -- extends through September, and is the gallery’s last. Art market observers note that Sotheby’s has sought to strengthen its contemporary department in the face of gains made by arch-rival Christie’s under the able direction of the contemporary-art triumvirate of Amy Cappellazzo, Brett Gorvy and Laura Paulson.

Sarah Bainter Cunningham
, 38, has been named director of arts education at the National Endowment for the Arts. She had been dean at the Oxbow School, a visual arts high school in Napa, Ca., and more recently director of the education assessment and charter accreditation program at the American Academy for Liberal Education.

New York photographer Lisa Kereszi has won the 2005 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, a $10,000 cash grant underwritten by Glenn and April Bucksbaum and overseen by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Kereszi (b. 1973) got a Yale MFA in 2000 and exhibited in 2005 at Yancey Richardson Gallery.

The Rhode Island School of Design’s new Emerging Designer Award, a $25,000 prize underwritten by Target stores, is slated to be announced this fall at the school’s annual fundraising gala. The five finalists for the award are: Charlie Lazor, co-founder of Blu Dot, founder of Lazor Office and designer of the FlatPak House; Ji Lee, an art director and graphic and product designer; Gerard Minakawa, a furniture designer and founder of Ukao Grass Furniture; Cameron Sinclair, founder and director of Architecture for Humanity; and Tobias Wong, maker of "paraconceptual" projects that are said to blur the line between designer and artist.

The jury for the prize includes Cooper-Hewitt curatorial director Barbara Bloemink; Surface magazine publisher Riley John-donnell; Jon Kamen, founder of; Knoll design director Carl Magnusson; Method Products co-founder Eric Ryan; and Kate Spade CEO Andy Spade. The prize alternates each year between an emerging designer and an emerging artist.

-- contact wrobinson @