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Artnet News
Sept. 13, 2006 

The once-seedy outer-borough neighborhood of Williamsburg is not only now a major center of bohemian youth culture, but also a site of considerable new urban construction, a sign of the area’s economic vitality. Art galleries are definitely part of the mix, as is proven with the Williamsburg Gallery Association’s first late-night gallery fest of the new fall season, dubbed "Williamsburg Every Second." Almost 40 member galleries in greater Williamsburg, from Ad Hoc Art and Black & White Gallery to Pierogi and Secret Project Robot, stay open till 11 pm on Sept. 14, 2007.

"For every bar, a hundred studios," said WGA director Mandy Kalajian. "For every café, a dozen new collectors." Art prices purportedly range from $300 to $100,000. For more details and a neighborhood map, see Some details:

* Capla Kesting Fine Art at 121 Roebling Street is unveiling a 10-foot-tall CIA Cell Tower designed to capture, monitor and rebroadcast wireless signals. "Possible terrorist cells close to the East River are targeted as candidates for Wi-Fi ‘eavesdropping’ to ensure our safety," the gallery says.

* Jack the Pelican Presents at 487 Driggs Avenue promises a one-night-only bacchanal featuring the "living sculpture" of David Ford and the Snuff Jazz ensemble, as well as a 20-member brass band from New Orleans. Also on hand: "sex-fetish industry professionals and Vegas showgirl wows," along with a "professional security team. . . to make sure things do not veer too south of legal."

* Front Room at 147 Roebling Street presents a trapeze-act performance by the group Lollo Brigato, incorporating references to Pat Benatar, Steve Perry and Bon Jovi.

* The Riviera Gallery at 103 Metropolitan Avenue has converted the gallery space into a real estate office, staffed by improv actors and completed by artists’ renderings of imaginary buildings for sale.

* 3rd Ward at 195 Morgan Avenue hosts "Back to Analog," an event that promises art, music and eco-friendly fashion.

The evening intersects with the local Conflux Festival, Sept. 13-16, 2007, a showcase of contemporary "psychogeography" spearheaded by The Change You Want to See gallery at 84 Havemeyer Street. Among the Conflux performances scheduled for Sept. 14 is Lonesome Land (A Social Dance, A Vehicular Orchestra) by Mary Walling Blackburn and Chris Marionetti, "a suite of octophonic songs. . . composed for a social dance that will take place within a circle created by eight vehicles."

Finally, the WGA invites visitors to pick up maps and take advantage of drink specials at the Spike Hill bar at 184 Bedford Avenue.

A new ballet devoted to Chuck Close, with sets by the famed Photo Realist artist, is one highlight of the American Ballet Theatre’s 2007 fall season at New York City Center. Choreographed by Jorma Elo and set to Philip GlassA Musical Portrait of Chuck Close, the new ballet has its world premiere on Oct. 27, 2007. Costumes are by designer Ralph Rucci, and the work is performed on stage by concert pianist Bruce Levingston, who came up with the idea of a musical portrayal of Close’s life and first presented it back in 2005. For ticket info, see

Concurrently, Pace Prints in New York is mounting an exhibition of new editions by the artist, Oct. 24-Nov. 30, 2007, while a show of Close’s paintings -- all new portraits of family members -- opens at White Cube in London, Oct. 10-Nov. 17, 2007. The Adamson Gallery in Washington, D.C., is presenting new Close daguerreotype images translated into large-scale jacquard tapestries, as well as a series of flower prints, Sept. 15-Oct. 15, 2007. Also, due in bookstores is Chuck Close: Work (Prestel), a biographical study of the artist and his work by Christopher Finch, which the artist has called "the book [about my work] that I’ve always wanted."

MacArthur Fellowship winner Dave Hickey has gone local with "Las Vegas Diaspora: The Emergence of Contemporary Art from the Neon Homeland," Sept. 30-Dec. 30, 2007, a show at the Las Vegas Art Museum featuring works by graduates of the studio art program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Neon Homeland" includes 26 artists, all of whom studied with Hickey between 1990 and 2001, when he taught art theory and criticism at UNLV.

"I knew the students would have to be a special breed," he said. Participating artists include Rev. Ethan Acres, Tim Bavington, Jane Callister, Bradley Corman, Gaijin Fujita, James Gobel, Shawn Hummel, Carrie Jenkins, Angela Kallus, Victoria Reynolds, David Ryan, and Yek. Hickey’s wife, Libby Lumpkin, is director of the Las Vegas Art Museum.

Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton has succeeded in derailing the proposed deal that would have allowed the beleaguered Fisk University in Nashville to sell Georgia O’Keeffe’s Radiator Building -- Night, New York (1927) to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., for $7.5 million [see Artnet News, Sept. 4, 2007]. The plan was rejected as "not in the best interests of the people of Tennessee" by chancery court judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle, who took note of Walton’s offer to pay Fisk $30 million to share the entire Alfred Stieglitz Collection of 101 artworks with her own nascent museum, Crystal Bridges, in Bentonville, Ark. O’Keeffe gave the art to Fisk in 1949, after Stieglitz’s death, specifying that the works could not be sold. The O’Keeffe museum said it would pursue the case no further. "We have no interest in punishing Fisk," O’Keeffe board president Saul Cohen told the Albuquerque Journal North. A Fisk spokesman said university officials were unsure of their next step. 

How big is too big when it comes to putting a sculpture on your lawn? When it’s big enough to be considered a "structure," apparently, according to the Connecticut state supreme court. The judges ruled that art collectors Andrew and Christine Hall, residents of Fairfield, Conn. (and also patrons of the Aldrich Museum’s "Hall Curatorial Fellowship"), were required either to obtain a "certificate of appropriateness" from the local historical district commission or remove from their lawn Narrow Are the Vessels, an 82-foot-long, 40-ton sculpture by German Neo-Expressionist Anselm Kiefer. The Halls opted for the latter, and the piece was dismantled by crane in 17 sections on Monday and hauled away in flatbed trucks.

Kiefer fans need not fear, though. The work, which "symbolizes how destruction in history repeats itself," according to the AP, is scheduled to be seen at a location more accommodating to massive installations that resemble eyesores: MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass, which hosts Narrow Are the Vessels as part of "Anselm Kiefer: Sculpture and Paintings," Oct. 20-Dec. 1, 2007.

Just as Chicago seemed to be going on the offensive to restore its luster as an art capital via its giant-sized "Artropolis" round of art fairs, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s current budget slashes $7 million -- or about 30 percent -- of the budget of the Illinois Arts Council. The sum is exactly the amount that the council gives out in grants, typically to benefit arts education and emerging artists, and the local art community is assuming that Blagojevich seeks to zero them out. Illinois legislators have already announced a round of hearings on Blagojevich’s deeply unpopular cuts, which also slash funding for emergency equipment for firefighters and services for elderly veterans, among other frivolities.

Powerhouse gallery Haunch of Venison, which already has branches in London and Zurich (with a new gallery due in New York, courtesy of Christie’s, which recently bought the firm), opens its new space in Berlin on Sept. 13, 2007, with a performance by the imaginary 1970s experimental noise band Lustfaust -- a project of British artist Jamie Shovlin -- and the real Berlin electronica act Schneider TM. You’re not familiar with that music? Then listen in -- the performance is going to be webcast live at, starting at 21.00 hours Berlin time (that’s 3 pm in NYC). The gallery is displaying an exhibition of posters and other material from the Lustfaust "archive," Sept. 14-16, 2007, and also has available a series of new Lustfaust record covers.

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., is moving its "Space Program" from Tribeca to DUMBO, the waterfront Brooklyn neighborhood that has long been something of an artists’ community. Now in its 17th year, the Space Program provides visual artists with free studios in New York for periods up to a year. Winners of studios for 2007 are Walter Andersons, Astrid Bowlby, CarianaCarianne, Anthony Hamboussi, Hilary Harnischfeder, Shih Chieh Huang, Vera Iliatova, Joyce Kim, Frank Magnotta, Amy Park, Sarah Peters, Marc Sapir, Beth Sutherland, Patricia Treib, Traci Tullius, Doug Wada and Zach Ziemann. Applications for the 2008 program are due by Jan. 31, 2008; for details, see

Caracas-born Victor Hugo (1948-1993) was known as one of the greatest window dressers of ‘70s and ‘80s New York -- and as the life partner of fashion designer Halston -- but it is his association with Andy Warhol that gets him his due at Milk Gallery at 450 W. 15th Street, Sept. 11-30, 2007. Catherine Alexander has organized a show of Hugo-dressed mannequins that were once in Warhol’s collection, and may have been the result of a collaboration between the two men (Hugo was definitely in Andy’s orbit -- his urine was integral to Warhol’s "Oxidation Paintings"). According to the gallery, research into the exact nature of the mannequins’ origin is ongoing.

Skateboard manufacturer Mekanism continues its series of limited-edition collaborations with artists, this time snagging the services of postmodern "bad painting" painter Albert Oehlen. The German artist created a limited edition of 50 custom-painted skateboard decks for the company, each featuring a stenciled image of a skull with a painted-on pig nose. Images of the decks, along with info about where to send inquiries for purchase -- the works are priced at €4,900 -- is available at

Toyota has devised a unique new marketing scheme for its Scion brand of cars, which were launched in 2003 to target Generation Y consumers -- a competition called Craft My Ride aimed at the arts-and-crafts hobbyist crowd. Until Oct. 22, 2007, the company is accepting designs for items such as key chains, seat covers, floor mats, steering wheel covers and tissue holders made of crafty materials like yarn, fabric, paper, metal, buttons, beads or ribbon. The design deemed most creative, useful and marketable wins a 2008 Scion xD. Second place gets $1,000; third takes $500. Submit designs at

The National Gallery of Art has announced the lineup for its series of podcasts, free for all to download from the NGA website at Twelve programs are available so far, including NGA sculpture curator Nicholas Penny discussing little-known Renaissance artist Desiderio da Settignano, a behind-the-scenes look at the current Edward Hopper retrospective and a discussion of the connections between William Shakespeare and J.M.W. Turner by Shakespeare Theatre Company director Michael Kahn and NGA senior curator Franklin Kelly.

New York ceramist Kathy Butterly has won the first $25,000 artist award from the Artists’ Legacy Foundation in Oakland, Ca. The foundation was established by artists Squeak Carnwath and Viola Frey in 2000; with the death of Frey in 2004, her estate became the first to be transferred to the foundation, which expects to receive other artists’s estates in the future. An exhibition of Butterly’s work goes on view at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Nov. 3-18, 2007.

Olga Viso has been appointed director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn., effective January 2008. Viso currently heads the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., where she has served since 2005. She succeeds Kathy Halbreich.

Lowery Stokes Sims has been named curator at the Museum of Arts & Design, which is aggressively expanding its team in advance of the 2008 opening of its new headquarters on Columbus Circle. Sims has worked at the Studio Museum in Harlem for the last seven years, and before that 27 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

MAD has also named Ben Hartley as deputy director. Hartley previously served with the marketing firm Orama Consulting, which has done sponsorship development for Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian announced that Kevin Gover would succeed W. Richard West Jr. as director, effective Dec. 2, 2007. The 52-year-old, Oklahoma-born Gover, a member of the Pawnee tribe, served as assistant secretary of Indian Affairs under Bill Clinton and is currently co-director of the American Indian Policy Institute at the Arizona State University.

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