HIROSHI SUGIMOTO AT JAPAN SOCIETY
This month’s interdisciplinary prize goes to the Japan Society on East 47th Street in Manhattan for "Hiroshi Sugimoto: History of History," Sept. 23, 2005-Feb. 19, 2006. Not only does the exhibition of 80 works include the New York artist’s black-and-white photographs of serene seascapes and dramatic wax-museum figures, but it also includes fossils, ancient artifacts, medieval Japanese religious sculptures and scrolls and textile scraps from the artist’s own collection (in the 1970s he began dealing in Asian art), all dramatically spotlighted in darkened galleries.
Following its appearance in New York, the show appears at the Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., Apr. 1-July 20, 2006. At the Smithsonian the exhibition coincides with the appearance at the Hirshhorn Museum of a major retrospective of Sugimoto’s work, currently at the Mori Museum in Tokyo. "It’s my revenge," Sugimoto joked at a Japan Society press conference. "I’ve been paying taxes to the government for years" -- Sugimoto’s photographs can sell for more than $50,000 each -- "and now I get something back."
The Japan Society presentation also has theater and film components. Sugimoto has done the stage design -- his "Seascape" series provides a backdrop -- for a modern noh theater production of The Hawk Princess, a play written by Dr. Mario Yokomichi based on William Butler Yeats’ At the Hawks Well. The production, which is by the Tessenkai noh theater group led by Kanze Tetsunojo and starring kyogen master Nomura Mansai, runs for two days only, Sept. 24 & 25, 2005. Tickets are $55 and $75.
Japan Society is also presenting a series of seven films selected by Sugimoto to illustrate the development of Japanese modernism from the 1930s to the ‘70s, including Kenji Mizoguchi’s Water Magician (1933), a silent classic that Sugimoto is narrating. The films run from Nov. 11-Dec. 11, 2005. For more info, see www.japansociety.orgAP OPENS WARHOL’S FBI FILE
The Federal Bureau of Investigation file on Andy Warhol swelled to 38 pages during more than 20 years of surveillance of the Prince of Pop, according to a story by the Associated Press. In 1968, for instance, the FBI investigated Warhol for possible interstate transportation of obscene material -- that is, for screening Lonesome Cowboys at a film festival in San Francisco. Two FBI agents did their duty and viewed the film, filing a single-spaced three-page typewritten report that is comic in its deadpan descriptions, i.e., "many in the cast portrayed their parts as if in a stupor from marijuana, drugs or alcohol."
The FBI also interviewed several people in Oracle, Ariz., the small town where Lonesome Cowboys was filmed, and filed reports that included the intelligence that Warhol shared a cabin at the Rancho Linda Vista Guest Ranch with a man who "acted like a big sissy" and "wore ankle-strap thongs" (for more, see www.thesmokinggun.com). Prosecutors in several states, including New York, declined to indict Warhol on obscenity charges.LISA DENNISON TAKES REINS AT GUGGENHEIM
Guggenheim Museum curatorial staffers are practically dancing on Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous spiral ramp at the news that deputy director and chief curator Lisa Dennison has been named director of the museum. Considered capable, knowledgeable and dedicated -- a distinct contrast to her predecessor, Thomas Krens, who is considered to be cold, distracted and rarely on hand -- Dennison had been pursued by several other top museums seeking to fill their top post, including the Los Angeles County Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Dennison’s promotion is the logical outcome of all this attention, especially given her long loyalty to the Guggenheim (she began as an intern in 1973 and was appointed chief curator in 1996). "We realized the whole operation would work better if we had a head of the New York museum," Guggenheim chairman William Mack told the New York Times. Krens remains director of the Guggenheim Foundation, in charge of the Gugg’s growing collaboration with the Hermitage and development of the museum’s potential satellite branches, now in the works in Gudadalajara, Hong Kong and Singapore. Dennison, 52, begins her new job on Oct. 1, 2005."FLOATING ISLAND" REINED IN
Robert Smithson’s Floating Island has run into rough waters. Security considerations put in place during the United Nations General Assembly have blocked plans to have the tree-topped barge towed up the East River past the U.N. Originally conceived by the artist in 1970 but never built, the special $200,000 public art project is overseen by Earthworks artist Nancy Holt, Smithson’s widow, and co-sponsored by Minetta Brook and the Whitney Museum to coincide with the museum’s current Smithson retrospective. (Could the heightened vigilance be inspired by the Basque separatist attempt to hide a bomb in Jeff Koons’ Puppy at the Guggenheim Bilbao in 1997?)
Floating Island is slated to make a full circuit of Manhattan during its climactic weekend, Sept. 24-25, 2005, following the depature of the diplomats. In the meantime, a short film on the project can be seen on the Whitney’s website, and a map listing the best places to sight the real thing can be found at Minetta Brook online. All times listed are approximate, varying according to tides and river traffic.D'OFFAY COLLECTION TO NATIONAL GALLERIES OF SCOTLAND?
The National Galleries of Scotland are negotiating with London art dealer Anthony d'Offay to acquire his collection of contemporary art, according to a report by Colin Gleadell in the Telegraph. D'Offay's holdings include 700 works by artists ranging from Damien Hirst to Andy Warhol, and is valued at £100 million -- though the price to Scotland would be much less. The deal might include "a permanent Anthony d'Offay gallery in Scotland," according to the report. YOUNG DEALERS PIONEER NEW CHELSEA ART BUILDING
Six contemporary art galleries -- Clementine Gallery, John Connelly Presents, Derek Eller Gallery, Foxy Production, Oliver Kamm/5BE and Wallspace -- have teamed up to develop a block of ground-level art spaces in the turn-of-the-century Terminal Warehouse on West 27th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues in Chelsea. Also a tenant in the new building is Sheri L. Pasquarella, the former director of Bravin Gorney + Lee gallery and co-founder of the New Art Dealers Alliance, who has just formed a private consulting company called SLP Art Culture Commerce.
The seven new spaces, which range in size from 1,100 to 2,400 square feet, are slated to open before the end of 2005. The project was conceived by Pasquarella and Connelly, and made possible by Christopher Flagg of Waterfront NY, which owns the 1,000,000-square-foot building. For additional details, contact the individual galleries or firstname.lastname@example.orgDIA STILL ABSENT (MOSTLY) IN CHELSEA
The Dia Art Foundation’s four-story Center for the Arts on West 22nd Street in Chelsea has been shuttered for 18 months now -- it closed in February 2004 for renovations that were sidelined when the museum hatched plans to build a new $55 million, 45,000-square-foot museum at 820 Washington Street in Manhattan’s newly fashionable Meat Packing District -- but one or two Dia programs can still be found in New York City this fall. Most notable is a performance by Andrea Fraser of Official Welcome (2001), a boilerplate address that ends with the artist stripping off her clothes, scheduled for Oct. 31, 2005 at 548 West 22nd Street; the event marks the publication of Fraser’s new book, Museum Highlights: The Writings of Andrea Fraser (MIT Press).
Otherwise, Dia fans must travel to Beacon, N.Y., where the attractions include a performance by Joan Jonas on three weekends in October, and an exhibition of paintings by Agnes Martin dating from 1974-79, which goes on view Dec. 2, 2005-June 27, 2006. Two new web-art projects, by Maja Bajevic and Dorothy Cross, launch this fall as well at www.diaart.org.NEW PARIS GALLERY OPENS WITH TITIAN
Longtime Renaissance art dealer Maurizio Canesso unveils his new Canesso Gallery at 26 Rue Laffitte in the 9th Arrondissement in Paris with the exhibition, "Titian and Northern Italian Painters of the 16th Century," Sept. 28-Oct. 28, 2005. The highlight of the show is Titian’s Diana and Her Nymphs Surprised by Actaeon, which goes on public view here for the first time. A smaller-scale version of an oil in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, the Canesso picture could be a ricordo -- a copy kept for reference in the artist’s workshop -- or a picture made for a private client. The show also features works by Jacopo Bassano, Mastelletta, and large-scale pictures by Paris Bordon and Luca Cambiaso. Canesso is usually open by appointment only, but the public is invited during the premiere exhibition. RISD ATHENA AWARDS FOR 2005
Performance artist Laurie Anderson has received the 2005 award for lifetime achievement from the Rhode Island School of Design. Additional awards for career excellence go to Dutch designer Hella Jongerius and artist Kiki Smith, while Tiffany & Co. takes a prize for corporate leadership. The awards are slated to be presented at a gala fundraiser in New York on Nov. 14, 2005. DESTE PRIZE TO PANAYIOTOU
Art collector Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation Center for Contemporary Art in Athens has awarded the 4th Deste Prize for 2005 to Christodoulos Panayiotou. The prize includes a €10,000 cash award. WILLIAM BARTMAN, 1946-2005
William Bartman, 58, founder and executive director of Art Resources Transfer in New York and Los Angeles, died after a long illness at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Sept. 15, 2005. He lived in Manhattan. Art Resources Transfer publishes art books, including titles on Mike Kelley, Vija Celmins, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Laurie Simmons, and also distributes books on art and culture free of charge to rural and inner-city libraries in all 50 states. In 1996, Bartman opened a bookstore and exhibition space on 11th Avenue in Chelsea. Earlier in his career, he was active as a director, producer and writer of both theater and film productions, including the 1982 movie O’Hara’s Wife, which starred Edward Asner, Mariette Hartley and Jodie Foster.
-- contact wrobinson @ artnet.com