The art market has moved to Basel, Switzerland, this week, as half a dozen art fairs set up in the Swiss Rhine town. While Bloomberg reports that New York dealer Jeffrey Deitch is offering a $1 million-dollar Andy Warhol self-portrait from the collection of designer Stephen Sprouse for a bargain $675,000 -- all the better to fight the art-market recession -- actor Brad Pitt was spotted in the Art 40 Basel booth of New York dealer David Zwirner with supercollectors Eli and Edythe Broad, where he bought a painting by Neo Rauch for just under $1 million, according to Kelly Crow in the Wall Street Journal. The fairs:
* Art 40 Basel, June 10-14, 2009, presents nearly 300 top galleries in the "Olympics of the Art World" (New York Times), ranging from Gagosian to Miguel Abreu. The "Art Premiere" sector presents 19 special dealer-curated projects, while "Art Statements" features 27 solo shows. "Art Unlimited," the hall filled with some 50 special projects by individual artists, this year boasts works by John Beech, Mel Bochner, Bruce Connor, Matthew Day Jackson, Nathalie Djurberg, Nan Goldin, Roni Horn, Anthony McCall, Aernout Mik, Yoshitomo Nara, Mai-Thu Perret, Sigmar Polke, Sterling Ruby, Nedko Solakov, Fiona Tan, Banks Violette and Lawrence Wiener, among others.
* Design Miami / Basel, June 9-13, 2009, has moved to a hall closer to Art Basel, and boasts 27 exhibitors under the supervision of fair director Ambra Metta. Participating dealers range from Cristina Grajales, Sebastian + Barquet and Max Protetch (New York) to Philippe Denys (Brussels), Emmanuel Perrotin (Paris), Vivid (Rotterdam) and Dansk Mřbelkunst (Copenhagen). The fair has also christened five "designers of the future": Nacho Carbonell, Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny, Peter Marigold, Raw-Edges / Yael Mer + Shay and Alkalay.
* Liste 09, June 9-14, 2009, takes place as usual in the Warteck Brewery building, with 64 galleries from 24 countries, with about a third of the exhibitions featuring solo shows. Among the more far-flung exhibitors are Tulips & Roses (Vilnius), Michael Lett (Auckland), Kisterem (Budapest), Andreiana Mihail (Bucharest) and Rodeo (Istanbul). U.S. exhibitors include David Kordansky, Dispatch, Foxy Production, Harris Lieberman, James Fuentes, Mesler & Hug, Overduin and Kite and Wallspace. A special program of daily performances is also offered, curated by Silke Bitzer, and the fair awards the Nationale Suisse Art Prize, a CHF 15,000 purse that for 2009 has gone to Florian Germann.
* Volta 5, June 8-13, 2009, moves from its original location in the Basel docklands to the Markthalle near the Messe (previously site of Design Miami / Basel), and expands from about 70 to 95 participating galleries. New Yorkers participating include Cueto Project, Freight & Volume, Josée Beinvenu, Lyons Wier, Magnan Projects, Mixed Greens, Priska C. Juschka, Scaramouche c/o Fruit & Flower Deli, Spencer Brownstone and ZieherSmith. Special artist projects are provided by Michael Salter, Yarisal & Kublitz, Morten Viskum, Ghost of a Dream, Steve Locke, the Royal Art Lodge, T.A.B.S. and Johannes Gees.
* Scope Basel, June 8-14, 2009, sets up in Basel for its third year in a new venue, the Sportplatz Landhof, a two-minuite walk from the main fair. Almost 120 galleries are involved, ranging from Agency (New York), Arróniz (Mexico City) and Artcourt (Osaka) to Witzenhausen (Amsterdam), x-ist (Istanbul) and Zweigstelle (Berlin). The fair also boasts a special exhibition of "Art from Berlin," a section of ten shows of individual artists dubbed "Scope Solo," a "Picnic Lounge" and more.
"PARSONS PINK SLIPS" AT GEORGE ADAMS
This spring, the administration of Parsons the New School for Design caused a major ruckus when it moved to reorganize its fine arts department, dismissing many longtime members of the arts faculty in the process [see "Artnet News," May 12, 2009]. Now, in a show of support for the "hired, fired, non-rehired and otherwise gainfully employed" artists from the Parsons faculty, George Adams Gallery in Chelsea has mounted "Parsons Pink Slips," June 4-July 2, 2009, an exhibition of almost 25 artists.
Participants include Jackie Brookner, Miggy Buck, Tom Butter, William Carroll, Julianna Dail, Stuart Diamond, Peter Drake, Dale Emmart, Heide Fasnacht, Matt Freedman, Glenn Goldberg, Regina Granne, Susan Hambleton, Laurence Hegarty, Sharon Louden, Lenore Malen, David Mann, Jean-Pierre Roy, David Schafer, Mira Schor, Ward Shelly, Elke Solomon, Brian Tolle and Susan Weller. For updates on the Parsons situation, see the Parsons Pink Slips blog.
MICHELANGELO’S FIRST PAINTING AT THE MET
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has what you might call a one-painting blockbuster in store for its visitors this spring: "Michelangelo’s First Painting," June 16-Sept. 7, 2009. A recent acquisition of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, the painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony, dates to ca. 1487-88, when the artist was a mere tween (he was born in 1475).
The newly cleaned and restored picture shows a dour saint surrounded by demons, and corresponds with a Michelangelo work, made in the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio, described by both Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi; whether this particular painting was actually made by Michelangelo or by another painter in the workshop remains undetermined -- though Met curator Keith Christiansen now says that "the burden of proof that it is not the picture described by Condivi is with those who would deny it."
The painting has been in the collection of a British collector for most of the 20th century, and sold at Sotheby’s London evening auction of Old Master paintings on July 9, 2008, attributed to the workshop of Ghirlandaio, for Ł937,250 to New York art dealer Adam Williams, who sold it to the Kimbell for an undisclosed sum. The picture goes on display at the Kimbell in the fall.
REVISITING THE PUNK ERA AT MOMA
The Museum of Modern Art returns to the heyday of the punk era with "Looking at Music: Side 2," June 10-Nov. 30, 2009, a survey of over 120 photos, music vids, films, zines and other ephemera from the early 1970s to the early 1980s. Organized by Barbara London, the show includes drawings by Patti Smith, photos by Dan Graham, Nan Goldin and Jimmy DeSana, video by James Nares, posters designed by Adrian Piper and Collaborative Projects, music videos of songs by Blondie and Suicide, record covers by Kim Gordon, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Raymond Pettibon and more. The show is in the museum’s second-floor Morita Gallery, with films in the theaters downstairs.
THIRD MOSCOW BIENNALE SET
The 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Sept. 25-Oct. 25, 2009, takes place at Dasha Zhukova’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture Moscow. Entitled "Against Exclusion," the show is organized by Jean-Hubert Martin, the celebrated curator of the ground-breaking "Magiciens de la terre" exhibition in 1989, who once again promises to bring works by artists from often marginalized sites in Africa and Oceania, this time juxtaposing them with contemporary Russian art. "Against Exclusion" is the first Moscow Biennale to be confined to a single exhibition space, and to be organized under the direction of a single curator.
OBAMA’S MOTHER’S TEXTILE COLLECTION
The sleeper touring exhibition of the summer has got to be "A Lady Found a Culture in its Cloth: Barack Obama’s Mother and Indonesian Batiks," a show of 20 batiks that is organized by the Indonesian Embassy and is touring to six U.S. cities from May through August 2009. The textiles were collected by Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, who wove textiles herself, and began collecting Javanese batiks when she moved to Indonesia (with her son Barack) in the 1960s. When Dunham died in 1995, the collection passed to her daughter Maya Soetoro Ng, who lives in Chicago. The tour kicked off at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, appeared in Los Angeles at the Indonesian consulate, and is currently on view in San Francisco; after a stop in Houston, the display goes on view at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, July 21-24, and the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 9-23.
NYFA FELLOWSHIPS FOR 2009
Now that Paul Krugman has predicted that the recession should end this summer, we can get back to the good news. And one bit of good news for 134 artists in New York State is that they’ve each won $7,000 fellowship grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, which is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. That’s $917,000 in total; a recent NYFA survey suggested that almost half of the artists in the state make less than $25,000 per year.
Grants this year went to artists in crafts, digital/electronic arts, film, interdisciplinary work, printmaking / drawing / artists’ books, sculpture, nonfiction literature, and poetry. Among the winners are Kathy Butterly, Larry Krone, Charles McGill, Chico MacMurtrie, Tom Burckhardt, Chitra Ganesh, David Sandlin, Jesse Bercowetz & Matt Bua, Lenore Malen, Pat Oleszko, Mark Tribe, Judy Fox, Valerie Hegarty, Rune Olsen and Phoebe Washburn. For more info, see www.nyfa.org
PRINTED MATTER GRANTS FOR ARTISTS
Printed Matter, the pioneering artists’ book store, has made its first grants to artists who make books. A jury of three artists -- Geoff Hendricks, Robin Kahn and Paul Mpagi Sepuya -- chose ten artists from a list of 63 nominated candidates. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is funding the program, which gives each artist $2,500. The winners are Osa Atoe, Heather Benjamin, Nicholas Dumit Estevez, Edie Fake, Eve Fowler, Chitra Ganesh, K8 Hardy, Arnold Kemp, Julio Cesar Morales and Carlo Quispe. Printed Matter plans an exhibition of the winning artists in the fall.