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Feb. 24, 2011

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Is 8:30 am too early for the art-press corps? Art in America editor Lindsay Pollock, New York Observer art editor Alexandra Peers, New York Times ArtsBeat blogger Kate Taylor and Culturegrrl blogger Lee Rosenbaum were among the scant crowd that gathered this morning for a breakfast press briefing at the Museum of Modern Art’s elegant Terrace 5 Café. The courtesy spread was awesome, and as it turns out, on the MoMA menu for the next year are more art shows than you can shake a stick at.

Veteran curator John Elderfield talked about “De Kooning: A Retrospective,” MoMA contemporary honcho Klaus Biesenbach did the honors for “Francis Al˙s: A Story of Deception,” design curator Paola Antonelli outlined a wacky-sounding design show titled “Talk to Me,” MoMA film guy Laurence Kardish listed some of the extensive movie offerings, and museum director Glenn D. Lowry introduced the whole bunch. Some details:

* German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse, Mar. 27-July 11, 2011, presents 250 works by 30 artists from the museum’s own holdings, in a show organized by MoMA curator Starr Figura and accompanied by an extensive website on German Expressionism. Funding is provided by the Annenberg Foundation.

* Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, Mar. 23-Aug. 14, 2011, showcases over 70 prints by 29 artists -- ranging from Bitterkomix and Norman Clive Catherine to Sue Williamson and Vuyile Voyiya -- all recent acquisitions to the museum collection. The show is organized by MoMA curator Judith B. Hecker, and sponsored by Coca-Cola.

* Francis Al˙s: A Story of Deception, May 8-Aug. 1, 2011, organized by Klaus Biesenbach and MoMA curator Cara Starke, surveys the whimsical performances, films and installations of the Belgium-born Mexican conceptual artist artist who organized the 2002 parade -- carrying replicas of iconic MoMA works, as well as the artist Kiki Smith -- from the Manhattan museum across the Queensborough Bridge to MoMA QNS (a performance that Biesenbach said might be re-enacted, “secretly, at 4 am”).

* Talk to Me, July 24-Nov. 7, 2011, organized by Paola Antonelli with MoMA curatorial assistant Kate Carmody, is billed as “investigating the communication between people and things,” i.e. ATMs, video games, communication devices -- and objects that talk, like Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots, small cardboard robots that ask strangers for help crossing the street. Other state-of-the-art items in the show include a pair of glasses that allow a paralyzed graffiti artist to draw via his eye muscles, and a device that presents global issues that would benefit from prayers to a cloister of English nuns. The show is sponsored by the Hyundai Card Company.

* De Kooning: A Retrospective, Sept. 18, 2011-Jan. 9, 2012, organized by John Elderfield, is the first comprehensive look at the Abstract Expressionist’s oeuvre, presenting more than 200 works, including a still life the artist made at age 13.

* Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art, Nov. 13, 2011-Feb. 27, 2012, recalls the museum’s second monographic show ever, in 1931-32 (its first featured Henri Matisse), when it brought Rivera to New York for six weeks and gave him studio space in the museum, where he made a suite of eight murals. The exhibition is organized by MoMA curator Leah Dickerman.

* Print/Out: Multiplied Art in the Information Era, 1900-2010, Feb. 19-May 2012, presents about 200 works from the museum collection, selected by Christophe Cherix, MoMA’s recently appointed new chief curator of prints and illustrated books.

* Cindy Sherman, Feb. 26-June 11, 2012, organized by MoMA photo curator Eva Respini, surveys Sherman’s ouput since the 1970s via 170 photographs.

Also on tap are several exhibitions that should introduce New York audiences to artists from around the world. Subjects include the Bangladesh-born British artist Runa Islam (May 27-Sept. 19, 2011), the Ukrainian-born photographer Boris Mikhailov (May 29-Sept. 5, 2011), Brazilian artist Carlito Carvalhosa (Aug. 24-Nov. 14, 2011), Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda (Nov. 23, 2011-Feb. 20, 2012) and Zagreb-born video pioneer Sanja Ivekovic (Dec. 18, 2011-Mar. 26, 2012) -- who is installing a column-like monument, Lady Rosa of Luxembourg, in the MoMA atrium.

The schedule of MoMA’s film department is a monster with its own parts. A listing of only a few highlights would include a selection of “Queer Cinema” made by AA Bronson, Mar. 11-17, 2011; a Dziga Vertov retrospective, Apr. 15-June 4, 2011; a Kathryn Bigelow retrospective, June 1-Aug 13, 2011 (including a display of her drawings, storyboards, posters, scripts, props and even paintings); a 25-film survey of actor Robert Ryan, August 2011; and a Roman Polanski film retrospective, Sept. 7-30, 2011.

One highlight of this summer’s Venice Biennale, June 4-Nov. 27, 2011, is the general exhibition organized by Parkett contributing editor Bice Curiger, of which details are due next month. In the meantime, we can tell you that Venice is also hosting a show of both graffiti and outsider art, courtesy the American Folk Art Museum. Co-curators Martha Henry and Carlo McCormick have selected eight artists, all African Americans, who are each making a site-specific installation at the historic Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the Grand Canal -- a building whose façade was at one time covered with frescoes by Titian and Giorgione.

The four graffiti artists are Steven Ogburn (aka Blade), Chris Ellis (aka DAZE), Lin Felton (aka QUIK), and Aaron Goodstone (aka Sharp), and the four outsider artists are Lonnie Holley, Gregory Warmack (aka Mr. Imagination), Charlie Lucas (aka Tin Man)and Kevin Sampson. The project is sponsored by Benetton, which owns the palazzo, and is having it renovated by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

The other shoe has dropped in the case of the much-publicized anti-Israel demonstration and subsequent police action at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea during the gallery’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition, reported in the New Yorker last December. Now, the innocent bystander who was manhandled in the protest, Ingrid Homberg, 59, has filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court against both the New York City police department and the art gallery for injuries sustained during the event.

According to a statement by Homberg’s lawyer, veteran Civil Rights attorney Joel Berger, gallery staff failed to intervene or assist Homberg when she was mistakenly dragged by a police officer across the space of the gallery to its front door. “The Gagosian gallery should have been far more cautious when it invited police onto its premises,” Berger notes in the statement, “and should have made sure that the police limited their activities appropriately. Both Gagosian and the police are responsible for the injuries suffered by Ms. Homberg.”

Artist Kirby Fredendall has made the cookbook, which she calls a “form of literature written by and for women,” the protagonist of her new work, which goes on view next month at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa. “Add Sugar and Stir: Cookbooks and the Lives of Women,” Mar. 19-June 26, 2011, weaves texts and illustrations from actual cookbooks, along with other ephemera, into layered assemblages of oil paint and wax.

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