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Jan. 11, 2010

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Nine of those scandalous Andy Warhol Brillo boxes-- fabricated in 1990 by Pontus Hultén without the artist’s imprimatur, but included nonetheless in his catalogue raisonné -- go on view Jan. 12, 2011, at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Ca. The bogus Brillos – which can be identified by a blue half-circle on one corner advertising "pad giant" -- were part of the recent bequest by Los Angeles gallery director Robert Shapazian, who also gave the library a real Warhol Brillo box and a rare 1962 Soup Can painting.

The library’s stance -- proudly displaying what the Warhol Foundation now refers to as "exhibition copies," rather than shamefully hiding them away -- reflects both the checkered history of the Hulten boxes (many have sold at auction for high prices, including a group of 10 that went for £475,000 at Christie’s London in 2004) and a new, dare we say "postmodern" interest in the replica as well as the original.

They are "fascinating in their own right," said Jessica Todd Smith, chief curator of American art at the Huntington. "They lie somewhere between a fake and a conceptual art piece on the nature of authenticity -- which, of course, was what Warhol was all about."

The rarity in the bequest is Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle) (1962), which shows the can as if smashed flat for recycling. Smith calls the work a "rare black-background variant" on the famous series of 32 small Soup Can paintings that were originally exhibited at the Ferus Gallery in 1962 and that are now in the Museum of Modern Art.  

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The College Art Association (CAA) hates working art critics. In its round of awards for 2011, announced in advance of the organization’s annual meeting (slated for New York City, Feb. 9-12, 2011), the Frank Jewett Mather Award for art criticism goes to conceptual artist and academic Luis Camnitzer, citing his 2009 book -- typically, the award recognizes writings from the previous year -- On Art, Artists, Latin America, and Other Utopias (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009). Camnitzer, who lives on Long Island, is represented in New York by Alexander Gray Associates and is the subject of a five-decade survey at El Museo del Barrio, Feb. 2-May 29, 2011.

Other CAA awards go to Lynda Benglis (artist lifetime achievement), John Baldessari (artist body of work), Mieke Bal (lifetime writing on art), Faith Ringgold (distinguished feminist award), William Itter (teaching of art) and Patricia Hills (teaching of art history).

The CAA’s more specialized art history writing awards go to Molly Emma Aitken (Charles Rufus Morey Book Award), Darielle Mason (Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award), Yasufumi Nakamori (Barr Award for smaller organizations), Ross Barrett (Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize), Joyce Hill Stone (CAA/Heritage Preservation Award), and Kirsten Swenson, Janet Kraynak, Paul Monty Paret and Emily Eliza Scott (Art Journal Award).

The award ceremony, held at the Metropolitan Museum on Feb. 10, 2011, is free and open to the public; a reception -- celebrating CAA’s 100th anniversary -- follows in the Met’s Great Hall and Temple of Dendur, and costs $35. 

Globetrotting art journalist Anthony Haden-Guest is publishing a new, 80-page paperback book of what he calls "cartoons and dark light verse," with a reading in New York scheduled for Jan. 20, 2011 (save the date). Dubbed In the Mean Time and subtitled The Other Ends of the World, the tome is published in an edition of 2,500 copies by Freight & Volume, the venturesome Chelsea gallery headed by Nick Lawrence, and priced at $20. Thirty signed, limited-edition hardcovers, with an original drawing by the author, are also promised.

The book is filled with the kind of wit that Haden-Guest is known for: The front endpaper is graced with a drawing of a grinning protagonist, surrounded by 14 scowling faces, and captioned with "Well, I’m back. . . despite popular demand!" Cartoons alternate with "rhymes," such as The Secret History of Modern Art, which contains the passage, "Pablo Picasso, a giant among men,/ Said he painted like Raphael when he was ten/ Came La Vie en Rose, then his whole world blued/ Did someone say kitsch? That’s really quite rude!"

Add one more wild and crazy art museum building to the already long list. The new Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., which cost a mere $36 million and boasts 96 Salvador Dali paintings, opens to the public on Jan. 12, 2011. The museum collection also includes over 100 watercolors and drawings, 1,300 graphics, photographs, sculptures and objects d’art, and an extensive archival library.

Designer of the appropriately surreal building, which features a 900-panel "Glass Enigma" appearing to "crawl through. . . and around the façade" of a monolithic, hurricane-proof cube, is Yann Weymouth, a member of the illustrious family that includes Talking Heads drummer Tina Weymouth and Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth. Yann worked alongside I.M Pei in the 1981 overhaul of the Louvre, among other achievements. The new building has been listed in AOL Travel’s "Buildings You Have to See Before you Die," along with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

One guest expected at the official ribbon cutting is the King and Queen of Spain’s youngest daughter, S.A.R. la Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca.

Bushwick’s own Maximum Perception Performance Festival, established in 2008 as a survey of the Brooklyn performance art scene, revs up this Friday, Jan. 14, 2011, at the English Kills Art Gallery in the upcoming artists’ neighborhood. Curated by Peter Dobill and Phoenix Lights, the two-night event showcases 17 performers, including Boston’s Dirk Adams and Bru Jø GLDN $ecurity, Berlin’s Sindy Butz and Brooklyn’s own Akiko Ichikawa. For more info (not to mention a manifesto), click here.

Rosemarie Trockel has received the German art prize known as the Kaiserring (or "King’s Ring"), which she receives in an official ceremony in the city of Goslar next fall. Trockel is perhaps best known for her "knitting pictures," produced in the mid-‘80s and consisting of long swaths of woolen material that are printed with computer-generated commercial motifs and geometrical patterns and woven into the canvas.

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