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Artnet News
Sept. 20, 2005 

Two artists and a photojournalist are among the winners of $500,000 "genius awards" for 2005 from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Fellowships go to 25 scientists, scholars and artists, who are selected for their "creativity, originality and potential." The awards are paid out over five years, and otherwise are made without restrictions. "The unusual level of independence," the foundation says, "underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors."

Art-world winners are New York City environmental sculptor Teresita Fernández (b. 1968), who has exhibited at Lehman Maupin and Deitch Projects in New York, and is also remembered for her Bamboo Cinema, a tall thicket of translucent green plastic tubes installed as part of "Target Art in the Park" in Madison Square Park in 2001; the New York painter Julie Mehretu (b. 1970), who exhibits with Projectile on West 57th Street and has had solo shows at White Cube in London and at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis; and the Zurich-based photojournalist Fazal Sheik (1965), who is perhaps best known for his formal portraits of refugees, and who has exhibited at Pace MacGill and the International Center for Photography. For more details, see

The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., has successfully raised $29 million for its capital campaign, according to an announcement by museum director Jay Gates and board chairman George Vradenburg. The campaign was kicked off with a $9 million matching grant from Victor P. Sant and her husband Roger, a challenge that was met by gifts of $10 to $5 million from some 900 donors.

The Phillips opens its remodeled and expanded facility in January 2006. The new design, overseen by D.C.’s Cox, Graae and Spaeck architects, includes new galleries for large-scale postwar art, a sculpture courtyard, an auditorium, education and conservation facilities and, of course, a new café and shop, all built without disturbing its Dupont Circle neighborhood by locating more than half of the expansion underground. 

The museum begins 2006 with "Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Sickert: London and Paris, 1870-1910," Feb. 18-May 14, 2006, an exhibition of 90 works organized in collaboration with Tate Britain. The Phillips’ storied collections of Impressionist art come home in "The Renoir Returns: A Celebration of Masterworks from the Phillips Collection," an armada of key works led by Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s 1880-81 Luncheon of the Boating Party, on international tour for the last three years.

The especially peripatetic part of the international art world descends on bucolic Marfa, Texas, in early October for the mini-art-fest "Open House 2005," Oct. 8-9, 2005, at Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation. Special exhibitions feature works by Tony Feher, artist-in-residence Maureen Gallace and John Chamberlain, focusing on foam sculptures from 1966-79 as well as photographs from 1989-2000. The Open House weekend, inaugurated by Judd in 1987, also offers visits to the Chinati collection, Judd’s house, readings, music, a street dance and dinner in downtown Marfa and breakfast at the Chinati foundation the following day. For details, see

Also debuting in Marfa in the beginning of October is Prada Marfa, a public sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset that consists of a sealed Prada boutique, complete with the fall 2005 line of shoes and handbags, installed in a field off Highway 90 about 10 miles west of Marfa toward Valentine, Texas. The work is produced by the Art Production Fund in cooperation with Ballroom Marfa. At the Ballroom itself is "You Are Here," Oct. 6-February 2006, featuring works by 15 contemporary artists.

El Museo del Barrio
has opened its fourth biennial, dubbed "El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files / The Selected Files," Aug. 31, 2005-Jan. 29, 2006. Organized by El Museo curatorial director Deborah Cullen and Miki Garcia, executive director of the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, "The (S) Files" includes works by 40 artists, including four from Puerto Rico, who were selected by guest curator Marysol Nieves, who is curator of contemporary art at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

"The (S) Files" artists are Karina Aguilera Skvirsky (1967, Providence), Carlos Aponte (1960, New York), Michael Paul Britto (1968, New York), David Cabrera (1956, Victorville, Ca.), caraballo-farman (1971, Argentina/1966, Canada-Iran), Patricia Cazorla (1973, Lima), David Antonio Cruz (1974, Philadelphia), Chio Flores (Lima), Nancy Friedemann (Bogotá), Graciela Fuentes (1975, Monterrey), iliana emilia garcia (1970, Santo Domingo, DR), Richard Garet (1972, Montevideo), Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom (1972, Miami/1974, Providence), Yasmín Hernández (1975, Brooklyn), Cristina Hernández-Botero (1977, Bogotá), Juan Iribarren (1956, Caracas), José Enrique Krapp (1970, El Paso), Michael D. Linares (1979, San Juan, PR), Nicola López (1975, Santa Fe), Adria Marquez (1975, Weehawken), Diego Medina Rosas (1969, Guadalajara), Carlos Motta (1978, Bogotá), Alfonso Muñoz (1962, Isabela, PR), Jesús "Bubu" Negrón (1975, Arecibo, PR), Claudia Peña (1975, Nuevo Leon, Mexico), Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz (1976, Bronx), Fay Ray (1978, Riverside, Ca.), Quintín Rivera-Toro (1978, Caguas, PR), ChemiRosado Seijo (1973, Vega Alta, PR), Milton Rosa-Ortiz (1967, Santurce, PR), Raymond Saá (1972, New Orleans), Luis M. Salazar (1974, San Salvador), Alessandra Sanguinetti (1968, New York), Beatriz Santiago Muñoz (Puerto Rico), Erik Shorrock Güzmán (1973, Caguas, PR), Marisa Tellería-Díez (1963, Managua), Alejandra Villasmil (1972, Maracaibo, Venezuela), Patricia Zarate (1962, Cali).

Just opened at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is "Cindy Sherman: Working Girl," Sept. 16–Dec. 31, 2005. Organized by the artist and museum director Paul Ha, the exhibition features photo works the artist made while still in college and as a struggling (pre-Untitled Film Stills) artist in New York. Many of the photographs come from her own collection or the holdings of her family. "Working Girl" inaugurates the St. Louis institution’s new "Decade Series" of shows, in which contemporary artists are asked to select work from the decade of their oeuvre that they consider to be most important.

London-based medieval art dealer Sam Fogg is collaborating with PaceWildenstein to present what is being called the first ever commercial exhibition of Ethiopian art in the U.S. "Art of Ethiopia," Oct. 18-Oct. 29, 2005, features ca. 50 works in the 7th floor Pace Primitive space at 32 East 57th Street. Accompanied by an illustrated catalogue ($45), the show features a wide cross-section of Ethiopian art, from a cast bronze processional cross from the 12th or 13th century to a talismanic scroll from the 19th century featuring the glaring head of a gorgon. The selection includes items once in the collections of Ethiopian emperors Takla Haymanot I and Dawit III as well as that of American muckraker William Randolph Hearst.

New York-based artist and dog art pioneer William Wegman is getting his due with "Funny/Strange," a major retrospective bringing together 40 years of work that opens at the Brooklyn Museum, Mar. 10-May 28, 2006. Curated by Trevor Fairbrother, the show brings together 200+ works by Wegman, including his Polaroids, paintings, drawings and, of course, his films and other projects featuring his signature brown Weimaraners, Man Ray and Fay Ray. "Funny/Strange" is slated to tour to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Addison Gallery later in the year.

Barbara Mathes Gallery
is moving from the Fuller Building on East 57th Street to a new location at 22 East 80th Street on the Upper East Side. The inaugural exhibition, Oct. 27, 2005-Jan. 28, 2006, features over 60 works by the pioneering American modernist Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938). The Mathes show is concurrent with the Bluemner retrospective organized by curator Barbara Haskell for the Whitney Museum, Oct. 7, 2005-Feb. 12, 2006.

Jacobson Howard Gallery
has moved a few blocks south from its previous location on East 76th Street to 22 East 72nd Street in Manhattan. The premiere exhibition, "Larry Bell: New Work," features new versions of the California Light and Space artist’s translucent cube sculptures, and opens Oct. 1, 2005.

October may well be Bell’s month in New York -- an exhibition of his works from the 1960s goes on view at PaceWildensten, Sept. 29-Oct. 22, 2005. Bell now lives and works in Taos, N.M.

The Morgan Library has appointed Isabelle Dervaux to the new position of curator of modern and contemporary drawings. She formerly was senior curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Academy of Design, where she organized "Surrealism USA." The Morgan hopes to build a collection of 20th-century drawings to rival its collection of Old Masters, said Morgan director Charles E. Pierce, Jr.

-- contact wrobinson @