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Feb. 18, 2010 

Are you ready for "#class"? That is the Twitter-inspired title of the experimental art show organized by artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida for the Winkleman Gallery at 621 West 27th Street in New Yorkís Chelsea art district, on view Feb. 21-Mar. 20, 2010. Designed to turn the gallery space into a free-wheeling "think tank" delving into questions of art and the art market, "#class" features three separate areas: a "think space" for discussion and presentation, with a rather extensive schedule of offerings from a range of artists; a "work space" in which Dalton and Powhida plan to make works on paper, inspired by the "think tank" discussions, and negotiate their sale to interested buyers; and a smaller "market space" (described as "physically marginalized") where art is displayed and marketed.

The endeavor grew out of the controversy around the New Museumís soon-to-open show dedicated to the Dakis Joannou collection, which touched off some soul-searching about issues of contemporary artís relation to money and power, a spirit that "#class" has channeled via an open call for any and all meditations on "the way art is made and seen in our culture" and "alternatives and/or reforms to the current market system."

A preliminary schedule of what to expect is up at the "#class" blog, and it promises to be a fascinating ride, with contributions ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. Look for, among other things: the artist El Celso performing an "Art Shred" (presumably a variation on his "Art Burn" performance he staged at Art Basel Miami Beach); the magazine Hyperallergicís "$ecrets of the New York Art World," inviting visitors to reveal who owes them money; Mira Schor delivering her lecture "On Failure and Anonymity"; Lisa Levyís performance "Investigating Personal Obstacles to Creativity"; WNYC art critic and CMonstah blogger Carolina Miranda leading visitors in a little "Art Yoga" ("incorporating newly invented poses to aid artists in the contortions necessary to advance their practice and career"); a Q & A with savvy Postmasters dealer Magda Sawon; new media duo Jennifer & Kevin McCoy offering a "Collector Focus Group"; and roundtables with such suggestive titles as "The Art World as High School," "The System Works" and "The System Doesnít Work." Also, join William Powhida for a tour of Chelsea.

All in all, Powhida and Dalton are definitely on to something here, having plugged into a real hunger for serious discussion about art and its economic circumstances -- albeit one that seemingly often takes the form of jokes. The whole thing concludes on Mar. 20 with a "Rant Night," "where everyone is encouraged to come and let it rip on whatever's still bothering you." As Dalton said in a recent blog post, "#class is already making me do, and think about, a lot of things I usually try to avoid." Should be cathartic. See you there.

Meanwhile, the New Museum is fearlessly forging ahead with its controversial Jeff Koons-curated exhibition of art owned by Greek supercollector Dakis Joannou. The provocatively titled "Skin Fruit," Mar. 3-June 6, 2010 -- Koons said the moniker "alludes to notions of genesis, evolution, original sin, and sexuality" -- is notably contemporary, providing good competition for the 2010 Whitney Biennial uptown (which runs Feb. 25-May 30, 2010), though the Joannou show is much more a reflection of art-market success, of course. Approximately 50 heavy-hitting artists are included, ranging from Pawel Althamer, David Altmejd, Janine Antoni and assume vivid astro focus to Gillian Wearing, Andro Wekua, Franz West and Christopher Wool. The exhibition includes a single work by Koons, the classic One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985).

Whatever further fuss that might erupt around "Skin Fruit," the New Museum is undeterred. The show is the first in a series of occasional showcases of "leading private collections of contemporary art from around the world."

Meanwhile, the New Museum has also announced its schedule from now through 2011. On tap are a midcareer survey of Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967), June 23-Sept. 19, 2010; a retrospective of Beatnik Dreamachine pioneer Brion Gysin (1916-86), July 7-Oct. 3, 2010; a survey of work by Neo-Expressionist painter George Condo, January-May 2011; and a retrospective of sculptor Lynda Benglis, Feb. 9-June 5, 2011.

The schedule also includes a show titled "Free," October 2010-January 2011, which is billed as a survey, via works by 15 emerging artists, of "the radical new ways that culture is invented and distributed," and "The Generational," Spring 2012, which is organized by New Museum curator Eungie Joo.

Looks like Mera and Don Rubell are set to open a new, 20,000-square-foot private museum, this one in Washington D.C. The art power-coupleís CACG Holdings partnered with development firm Telesis to snag a vacant building in Southwest Washington for $6.5 million, according to the Washington Post. The new development, which sits across the street from the Rubell-owned Capitol Skyline Hotel, will include a hotel and residencies, in addition to the museum.

The site was formerly owned by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which had plans to move its College of Art and Design to the location. According to the Corcoranís chief operating officer Fred Bollerer, the sale became necessary when a deal with a developer fell through. The location had been purchased by the Corcoran in 2006 for $6.2 million. The search for a suitable location for its art school continues.

Miamiís Kevin Bruk Gallery -- considered one of the cityís best venues, and one of the few home-town participants in Art Basel Miami Beach -- is shuttering its Wynwood space after the end of its current show of work by New York artist Matthew Weinstein, Jan. 9-Feb. 20, 2010. According to the New Times, the move has sent jitters through the recession plagued arts neighborhood. Bruk, for his part, blames lack of foot traffic in Wynwood, and says that he is negotiating a deal on a new, larger space in Miami Beach. "To be within walking distance of the Bass Museum and the W Hotel, that's ideal," Bruk said. "Wynwood is an up-and-coming neighborhood. It is not Miami Beach."

It may have been pop star Lady Gagaís night at the Feb. 16 Brit Awards (the UK version of the Emmys), where she won three awards, but she ended up making someone elseís day. In an interview with the Telegraph on the occasion of the win, the pop star let drop the origins of her much-touted affinity for contemporary art: According to Gaga, while studying at New York Universityís Tisch school, she wrote a "crazy thesis, like 80 pages," focusing on the work of Damien Hirst and, perhaps less predictably, Spencer Tunick, the photographer known for staging massive panoramas of nude people. Reacting to the news, Tunick said that he would solicit the singer to participate in his next mass nude installation at the Sydney Opera House on March 1st. "She could slip in there anonymously and no one would know she was there," Tunick said. "Or maybe she would want people to know she was there but just couldn't be found in the crowd."

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