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Artnet News
Aug. 25, 2009 

The Hawai’i Arts Alliance is waging a campaign to block cuts to the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (HSFCA). Faced with a budget crisis, the state is looking to lay off ten staff members at the HSFCA, including the executive director. In a letter distributed to Hawaii governor Linda Lingle and other officials, the Arts Alliance says that this budget-cutting measure is "not thoughtful and is disproportionate to cuts in other state agencies," adding that it "virtually ‘guts’ the agency and will decimate the arts community." Among other things, arts supporters in Hawaii point out that such a loss of state support has the potential to make the state ineligible for National Endowment for the Arts matching grants (arts cuts in Pennsylvania and Connecticut could also make those states ineligible for federal arts monies).

What are the immediate prospects for the HSFCA? Layoffs are set to take place in November, unless the state employee labor unions and the governor agree instead on furloughs and pay cuts. "In the absence of an agreement between the labor unions and the state," Contemporary Museum Honolulu curator James Jensen told Artnet News, "the layoffs will go ahead as scheduled and could be very hard to reverse."

Has the economic recession squashed the art-fair age? Apparently not. Several art fairs are gathering their energy to kick off in the coming days and weeks. For instance:

* The 1st Annual Malibu Annual Contemporary Art Fair, Aug. 28-30, 2009, at the Malibu Country Mart. Seven young-in-spirit Los Angeles galleries take one last opportunity to head to the beach, or at least to a former public school, where each gallery presents works in a classroom. Participants are China Art Objects, Chung King Projects, Circus Gallery, The Company, Eighth Veil, Parker Jones and Sister. For more info, and a schedule of performances and video screenings, see

* ShContemporary 09, Sept. 9-13, 2009, at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. The third installment of this China fair features a new section focused on "emerging artists" called "Platform" and an exhibition, "What Is Contemporary Art?" organized by Mami Kataoka, Anton Vidokle and Wang Jianwei. Among the top Western galleries participating are Marian Goodman, Sean Kelly and Christian Nagel.

* KIAF/09, otherwise known as the Korean International Art Fair, Sept. 18-22, 2009, at the COEX trade center in Seoul. Though most of the 170 galleries in KIAF/09 are from Korea, the fair boasts participants from 15 other countries, with a special focus on dealers from India.

* Art Forum Berlin, Sept. 24-27, 2009. In its 14th installment, this resolutely contemporary art fair presents 130 galleries, including Spencer Brownstone, Edlin, I-20, Moeller and Team from New York. But for the first time, the fair is admitting a section devoted to art since 1960, and has also branched out into the plein air, with a presentation of sculpture at the summer garden at the Palais am Funkturm.

* The LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair, Sept. 24-27, 2009, at Berkeley Square in London. Eighty members of the UK’s largest association of professional art and antiques dealers set up in a custom-built pavilion in London’s Mayfair district, with wares ranging from medieval artworks and fine furniture to jewelry and contemporary art. For more info, see

A major traveling retrospective of the seminal Abstract-Expressionist painter Arshile Gorky, "Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective," Oct. 21, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010, premieres at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring 180 works. The survey is the first since the publication of no less than three biographies of the artist, including Hayden Herrera’s Arshile Gorky: His Live and Work (2003), and examines Gorky’s art in terms of his Armenian heritage and his experience of the Armenian Genocide. The show features many of the artist’s best-known works, as well as The Black Monk, a painting left unfinished on Gorky’s easel at the time of his death in 1948, and a trio of wood sculptures from the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The show, which is organized by Philadelphia Museum modern art curator Michael Taylor, subsequently travels to Tate Modern, Feb. 10-May 3, 2010, and the Los Angeles MOCA, June 6-Sept. 20, 2010. The show is accompanied by a 400-page catalogue, published in association with Yale University Press, which presents new theoretical approaches to the artist’s work. 

co-director Amy Lipton helps launch the fall art season in Philadelphia with "Down to Earth: Artists Create Edible Landscapes," Sept. 12-Nov. 23, 2009, at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. Lipman invited six artists or teams to make a work about sustainable agriculture on Brolo Farm, a 300-acre site that includes farm fields that have remained unused for decades. Participants include Joan Bankemper, whose Willa is a medicinal herb garden planted in the form of an archaic fertility figure, and Knox Cummin, whose "rain water collection sculpture" includes a garden by Ann Rosenthal and Steffi Domike devoted to vegetables indigenous to Native Americans, like squash, corn and beans. Other participants include Simon Draper and the Habitat for Artists Collective, Stacy Levy and Susan Leibovitz Steinman. For further details, see Lipman’s Ecoartspace blog

Denizens of the avant-garde art world know, of course, that a few paint spatters are the perfect complement to any outfit. This month, Vanity Fair magazine recognizes the stylistic panache of the art world as well, including several artists and collectors among its "2009 Best-Dressed List" in its September 2009 issue. Leading those celebrated by the avid chronicler of the idle rich is  Museum of Modern Art president emerita Agnes Gund, who plugs designers Isabel Toledo and Ralph Rucci as well as her long-time cause, Studio in a School.

Chiara Clemente, the 31-year-old filmmaker and daughter of Alba and Francesco Clemente, appears in a Giambattista Valli cocktail dress, while London-based art advisor Count Manfredi della Gherardesca wears a wildly patterned black-and-silver dinner jacket by Tom Ford for Gucci. Photog Bruce Weber is included under the category "best dressed originals," largely because of his trademark bandana (or so it seems); included nearby is artist Iké Udé in a clownish red jacket, red tie and cream-colored fringed scarf. Also on hand: Cy Twombly, 81, whose style is described as "rumpled artist" and whose daughter-in-law, designer Soledad Twombly, is his "style icon." Twombly’s signature wardrobe item is green suspenders.

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