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Artnet News
Sept. 30, 2010

Asia’s answer to TEFAF Maastricht is Fine Art Asia 2010, Oct. 3-6, 2010, featuring more than 60 galleries showcasing everything from ancient Himalayan bronzes and Chinese jades to decorative arts and modern and contemporary artworks. Formerly known as the Hong Kong International Art and Antiques Fair and now in its fifth year, the fair -- directed by dealer and appraiser Andy Hei -- coincides with the peak auction season in Hong Kong. The venue is the sleekly modern Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, which overlooks Victoria Harbour on the north shore of Hong Kong Island.

The majority of the exhibitors are from Hong Kong and other Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Exhibitors from the U.S. include Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Sundaram Tagore and Adam Williams Fine Art, and dealers traveling from the UK include Belgravia Gallery, Michael Goedhuis, Nicholas Grindley Works of Art, Robert Hall, Robert Kleiner & Co., Susan Ollemans Oriental Art, Rossi & Rossi, Jacqueline Simcox and Somlo Antiques.

Expectations are high. According to fair organizers, the 2009 installment recorded sales of HK$230 million, a 130 percent increase over 2008.

Japanese art superstar Takashi Murakami will be the last contemporary artist to install his works in the royal apartments at Versailles, according to the Art Newspaper. Palace of Versailles director Jean-Jacques Aillagon, who launched the program of contemporary art shows two years ago, said that he plans to press on with such displays, but they "will take place not take place in the royal apartments, but in another part, such as the Orangery, gardens or the royal opera."

The Murakami show has attracted considerable protest for allegedly despoiling the royal apartments (not to mention the official Versailles website, which is overrun with an animated burst of Murakami flowers advertising the show). Some disgruntled lovers of the palace have even staged anti-Murakami demonstrations outside the venue’s gates. However, Aillagon insists that his relocation of the art exhibitions is not in response to the protests, but merely an effort to avoid the "repetition" of using the same spaces.

Ailagon certainly doesn’t seem very interested in appeasing the traditionalists. Following a show by Frenchman Bernar Venet next year, 2012 sees the ludic Italian Maurizio Cattelan get his shot at the palace. Cattelan just created a ruckus by putting up a giant marble sculpture of a hand that seems to flip the bird in front of the Milan stock exchange. If history is any guide, he’s sure to bring more protests to Versailles.

Cash-strapped museums are always being told to get into merchandising and food service to generate more revenue. Well, debt-plagued Greece is so broke it can’t even keep its museum gift shops open. Some eleven gift shops at ancient sites and museums across the country, as well as the sparkling new restaurant in the New Acropolis Museum -- which debuted in June -- are shuttering today amid crippling government cutbacks, according to Kathimarini. Last week, workers from Greece’s Hellenic Culture Organization (HCO), which staffs the sites, protested outside the Athens museum, amid firings of some 250 workers and threats to eliminate the agency completely on Sept. 30. Today, with the contracts officially expired, the cuts began to bite. "We won’t have any staff tomorrow," HCO director Constantinos Balafoutas. "How can we keep the restaurant open?"

However tough the times, a celebration is always in order, and several are on the agenda for coming months. The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2011 with a program dubbed "90 Years of New," a year-long series of exhibitions of works by artists ranging from Paul Klee, Augustus Tack and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to Howard Hodgkin, Sam Gilliam, Morris Louis and Joseph Marioni.

A little further south, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Va., is celebrating its 75th anniversary with the "most important exhibition in VMFA history," "Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris," Feb. 19-May 15, 2011. Featuring 176 works from Pablo Picasso’s personal collection, the survey hits the road -- it makes seven stops, with the VMFA the only one of the U.S. East Coast -- during renovation of the Paris museum. The show is sponsored by Altria.

Last but not least, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Sarasota Springs, N.Y., celebrates its tenth anniversary with a series of exhibitions, notably "The Jewel Thief," Sept. 18, 2010-Feb. 27, 2011. Organized by Tang curator Ian Berry and artist Jessica Stockholder, the show presents works by 60 artists in "eccentric arrangements" designed to illuminate dichotomies like private and public, intimate and spectacular, and hot and cold. Also coming up this fall is Elevator Music 17, a new sound and light sculpture by Peter Edwards that goes on view Oct. 9, 2010.

Excuse me. Do you like Asian art and have $12 million to spare? If your answer is "yes," then we have a deal for you. Tibet House (at 22 West 15th Street in Manhattan) currently has on display "The Buddha Image: Out of Uddiyana," roughly 100 works in stone, metal, crystal and clay -- and it’s all for sale. If you buy the entire show, valued at about $15 million, you can have it at 20 percent off -- that would be $12 million -- if you promise to keep it all together and eventually donate it to a museum. The man making this offer, Nik Douglas, is descended from the Dukes of Buckingham, and tells of discovering Asian philosophy and art at age 11. He is the author of Sexual Secrets: The Alchemy of Ecstasy (1979) and Spiritual Sex: Secrets of Tantra from the Ice Age to the New Millennium (1997). He now lives in Anguilla.

Are you ready to opt out of the capitalist economic system and try something different? Then register for Time/Bank, a new project by Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle, the enterprising artists behind the art-world email news system e-flux. Time/Bank allows individuals to pool and trade time and skills, bypassing the use of money as a measure of value. The organizers trace the idea for their project back to American anarchist Josiah Warren, who ran the Cincinnati Time Store from 1827 to 1830, as well as Robert Owen, who founded a utopian "New Harmony" community in Indiana in 1826.

The Time/Bank is not exactly currency-free, since it offers "Hour Notes" to exchange for services. The project -- which is global, though with many of its participants in Berlin -- has gotten off to a busy start, posting 16 pages of listings since Sept. 9, 2010. One person offers to cook a dinner for up to eight people and another offers to give French lessons, while a New Orleans user seeks legal expertise for curatorial contracts, and a Brooklynite needs help setting up a turntable. And the Berlin Soundfair seeks people to sing and hum for a 36-hour-long performance in a gallery in Mitte.

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