"NATIONAL ART HATE WEEK" IN BRITAIN
Forget art appreciation! We’re square in the middle of National Art Hate Week over in Britain, July 13-20, 2009. According to the Guardian, the initiative is being spearheaded by a group called the British Art Resistance (B.A.R.), brainchild of Billy Childish, lapsed member of the Stuckist movement (which he co-founded), along with Steve Lowe, founder of London’s L-13 Light Industrial Workshop gallery, and the artist Jimmy Cauty, most famous for a 1994 stunt for which he supposedly burned £1 million as part of the art troupe known as the K Foundation. B.A.R. denounces "mass acceptance of art as a phantom economy for the smug manipulative elite," calling for actions all week at the likes of Tate Modern and the ICA London. In talking about "Art Hate," Childish makes reference to the concept of two-minute "morning hate" rituals from George Orwell’s 1984, while posters for the week adopt imagery from the Spanish Civil War and Nazi propaganda.
The whole endeavor is funded by (or designed to promote?) the sale of limited-edition items at www.arthate.com. These include stamps designed by Cauty, featuring a baby’s face with Swastikas in place of its eyes; posters with the image of an enormous "Art Hate Transmitter Tower" with an immense Swastika, imagined as taller than the Eifel Tower and located just in front of Antony Gormley’s celebrated Angel of the North; a graphic by Harry Adams with the message "Named and Shamed: Gormley / Emin / Renoir"; and a vinyl single, God Save Marcel Duchamp, which is to consist only of silence, and has cover art by Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid. God Save Marcel Duchamp, the site says, was meant to debut alongside Art Hate Week, but "due to legal and technical difficulties the record will not be ready for dispatch until 17th August 2009." It’s all pretty arch.
So how has "Art Hate" week been going? According to B.A.R., the actions are having a measurable impact on museum attendance, as visitors flock to art institutions to indulge in art hate. "According to a leaked document from an unreliable source, a graph has been drawn that shows levels of visitors peaking at 10.30 am and 6.00 pm during the Morning and Evening Art Hates," the group states -- though it adds, "Other reports have been less favorable."
ARTIST SEALS HIMSELF IN BOX FOR PROTEST
Chinese artist Xing Xin plans to spend 49 days in a metal box on Venice’s Murano Island, July 13-Aug. 31, 2009, in what is described as a protest against the "one-child policy," China’s 30-year-old population control measure. The artist was welded into the metal container this past Monday. From the looks of photos, it is roughly the dimension of a refrigerator (200 x 90 x 90 cm, to be exact), though it is air-conditioned and tricked out so that Xing can receive nourishment and "deal with bodily functions." TV screens on the exterior of the box will show the artist’s activity inside. Xing is accompanied by a 150-volume set of Chinese schoolbooks, and plans to pass the time by counting the number of characters in the text.
The performance is organized by Adriano Berengo, director of Spazio Berengo, a museum of contemporary glass art that is set to open on the site later this year.
Art dealer Lawrence Salander, who has been marking time at the desk of a gallery hopefully titled Phoenix Arts in upstate New York since being indicted earlier this year, was re-arrested this week after a Grand Jury advanced new charges against him. Salander, along with his gallery and former gallery director Leigh Morse, are charged broadly with "stealing from and defrauding consignors of art." Three victims are mentioned specifically: the Lachaise Foundation, the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. and the Estate of Elie Nadelman.
The news release from the office of Manhattan DA Robert M. Morgenthau (readable online) makes amusing reading, not just for the sordid details that it provides of the alleged crimes -- Salander paying down debts to an unnamed Italian gallery with consigned paintings, Morse going as long as 10 years without telling clients that a work had been sold, etc. -- but for the terse summation it gives of the worth of the affected artists. Gaston Lachaise, for instance, is described as "a French born American sculptor known for pushing the boundaries of nude figuration with his innovative portrayals of the female body," while Elie Nadelman is a "well-known Polish-born American sculptor who worked primarily in galvano, marble and wood." Robert De Niro, Sr. is listed only as an "American abstract expressionist painter and father of Robert De Niro, Jr." -- with the latter fact probably being enough to make clear his importance for a press release.
"PRENDERGAST IN ITALY" OPENS IN WILLIAMSTOWN
The Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mass., opens "Prendergast in Italy," July 18-Sept. 20, 2009, the first exhibition devoted entirely to watercolors, monotypes and oil paintings by Maurice Prendergast (1858-1924) made in Venice, Rome, Siena and Capri during his two trips to Italy in 1898 and 1911. The over 60 works in the show, along with sketchbooks, letters and photographs, include loans from the Terra Foundation for American Art, which co-organized the exhibition, loans from 50 other collections, and a selection of the over 400 works by Maurice and his brother Charles Prendergast held in the Williams College Museum collection. The show is organized by Nancy Mowll Matthews and Elizabeth Kennedy, and subsequently appears at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Oct. 9, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Feb. 14-May 9,2 010.
FALL AT THE MET
Deep in the soul of summer, the Metropolitan Museum is looking forward to fall, a mere seven weeks away. Coming up in September is "Vermeer’s Masterpiece The Milkmaid," Sept. 10-Nov. 29, 2009, a show built around Vermeer’s famous painting, on loan from the Rijksmuseum to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage from Amsterdam to New York. The exhibition, sponsored in part by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, also includes the Met’s five Vermeers and works by the Delft artists Pieter de Hooch, Gabriël Metsu, Nicolaes Maes, Emanuel de Witte, Hendrick van Vliet and Hendrick Sorgh. The show is organized by Walter Liedtke, head of the Met’s department of European paintings.
A second big September exhibition is "Watteau, Music and Theater," Sept. 22-Nov. 29, 2009, the first Watteau show to hit these shores in 25 years. Featuring more than 60 artworks, the show is sponsored by the Florence Gould Foundation and organized by Met curator Katharine Baetjer with Case Western Reserve U. prof Georgia J. Cowart. The exhibition honors former Met director Philippe de Montebello, who is on hand to read French poetry in "Watteau and Words" in the Met auditorium on Nov. 19.
Also on the slate is "Imperial Privilege: Vienna Porcelain of Du Paquier, 1718-44," Sept. 22, 2009-Mar. 21, 2010, a look at the production of Europe’s second greatest porcelain manufactory (after Sevres) via more than 100 works, organized by Met curators Jeffrey Munger and Meredith Chilton.
Opening the same day is "Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans," Sept. 22, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010, the show of more than 100 beatnik-era black-and-white photographs that premiered at the National Gallery of Art (and that is currently on view at the San Francisco MOMA). Among the special events celebrating the New York venue is a conversation with Frank at the museum on Oct. 9 and a "salute to Robert Frank" concert by Patti Smith on Oct. 17.
Genre painters have one big show to look forward to this fall: "American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915," Oct. 12, 2009-Jan. 24, 2010, an exhibition of more than 100 iconic works by artists ranging from John Singleton Copley to Mary Cassatt and George Bellows.
Other shows coming up at the Met are "Eccentric Visions: The Worlds of Luo Ping (1733-1799)," Oct. 6, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010; "Art of the Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armor, 1156-1868," Oct. 21, 2009-Jan. 10, 2010; and last but not least "The Young Archer Attributed to Michelangelo," opening Nov. 3, 2009, an exhibition focusing on the statue formerly in the lobby of the French Cultural Services on Fifth Avenue that was tentatively reattributed to the Florentine master in 1999.
MET GETS NEW PERSIAN ART GALLERY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is opening a new gallery devoted to Safavid and Later Persian Art (1500-1924) thanks to the patronage of Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani (who are wife and husband). The namesake gallery is one of a suite of exhibition spaces overseen by the museum’s Islamic art department and scheduled to open in 2011. The Mossavar-Rahmani gift also funds the publication of a catalogue on the Met’s Islamic art collection, and an endowment to support educational programming in the field. The overall project has a price tag of $50 million.
Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani is board chairman of Foxtrot International, a Franco-American oil and gas company, and CEO of Mondoil Enterprises, an energy holding company. He founded Apache International in Houston, and has been a delegate to OPEC Ministerial Conferences. Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, as well as a trustee at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and a board member of the Merage Institute for the American Dream. She was author of Bond Index Funds, published by McGraw-Hill in 1991.
MORE CUTS AT THE TAUBMAN MUSEUM
The new Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Va., which specializes in 19th- and early-20th-century American art, opened just last year with a $66-million building designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout. Now, the Taubman is making cuts. On Tuesday it announced that it was eliminating " four or five" part-time positions and two full-time positions. An initial round of cuts in March had done away with six full-time members, though two of those had subsequently been restored.
"ART FOR LIFE" IN EAST HAMPTON
Russell and Danny Simmons hold their tenth annual "Art for Life" benefit to raise funds for the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation at the Simmons estate in East Hampton on July 18, 2009. Honorees are actress Vanessa Williams and Sheila Johnson, co-founder of BET and namesake for the new Sheila Johnson Design Center at Parsons the New School. Simon du Pury is the auctioneer, and the sale includes artworks by Shepard Fairey, Kehinde Wiley, Vik Muniz and Francesco Clemente. Individual tickets start at $1,500. To see the benefit lots, click here
HEINER FRIEDRICH PRESENTS JOA BALDINGER
Legendary art patron Heiner Friedrich has opened "Burning Is Being in the Truest Sense," July 10-Oct. 15, 2009, an exhibition of 23 paintings by New York artist Joa Baldinger, now on view in a former Sagaponack potato barn. Done in oil-on-copper panels, Baldinger’s painterly works take their images from both everyday life and television and film, "filtered through the lens of Baldinger’s memory."
The show is sponsored by Friedrich’s Ayn Foundation, and organized by Kara Vander Weg, a former director at James Cohan Gallery in Manhattan. New Yorkers will remember Baldinger’s 2002 exhibition at the Roger Smith Gallery on Lexington Avenue (when she was Joanne). The new exhibition is open to the public free of charge Friday-Sunday from 12 noon to 6 pm, and can be seen at 28 Hildreth Lane, just off Sagg Road and across the street from Wolffer Vineyards.
JULIETTE BINOCHE WITH ANISH KAPOOR AT BAM
If you like the work of Anish Kapoor, the presence of French actress Juliette Binoche can only make it better. This fall, British choreographer Akram Kahn finally brings his new globe-touring performance piece, titled In-I and starring himself and Binoche with a stage set by Kapoor, to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Sept. 15-20, 2009. Kapoor’s backdrop for the piece is described as "a freestanding, high wall of shifting colors," while the performance itself is called "a series of vignettes" exploring "the intricacies of a love affair, in all its glory and pain." The show, which is supported by the Hermès Foundation, has already appeared in London, Luxembourg, Rome, Brussels, Paris, Montreal, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, Tokyo and Seoul.
NEW L.A. ARTS ORG: LOS ANGELES NOMADIC DIVISION
Former New York-based museum curators Shamim M. Momin and Christine Y. Kim have launched a new Los Angeles-based arts organization called Los Angeles Nomadic Division, designed to support and present public art projects in L.A. The organization’s first endeavor is "Via," an ambitious group of temporary public commissions from ten Mexican artists, which is slated to launch (with a selection of projects) in January 2010, coinciding with L.A. Art Month and the two L.A. art fairs. Sites are to include nontraditional locales like retail buildings as well as museums and nonprofit spaces. For more info, see www.nomadicdivision.org.
DALLAS TO GET GUERILLAARTS GALLERY
Recently, new media artist Paul Slocum shuttered his avant garde And/Or Gallery out of frustration with the Dallas art scene, but the Texas metropolis is already getting a new cutting-edge space. The nonprofit GuerillaArts. as it is called, is the brainchild of 23-year-old Patrick Short, a Dallas native who studied art at Boston University, according to the blog Art&Seek, which spoke to Short recently about the initiative. The ambitious project involves first opening an exhibition space, followed by a 2,500-square-foot studio space and then a 1,200-square foot gallery to be used for workshops such as a "Guerilla Art School" for "high schoolers planning on pursuing art degrees in college." The building is located in East Dallas, near the vintage store/"museum of strange" Dolly Parton, at 1916 N Haskell Ave.
PICKLES AND POLYAMORY AT DEITCH STUDIOS
City-bound New Yorkers get a treat this Sunday, July 19, 2009, that is ordinarily available only in Denver: Adam Lerner, director of the Lab at MCA Denver [see "Rocky Mountain High," Oct. 16, 2006] is presenting one of his signature "tag team lectures" at Deitch Studios at 4-40 44th Drive out in Long Island City. The tag-team lecture features two separate presentations on completely unrelated subjects. The special New York installment juxtaposes a talk on pickles by Rick Field, the founder of the Rick’s Picks artisanal pickle company, with one on polyamory and alternative marriages by Abby Ellin, author of Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat-Camper Weighs In (PublicAffairs, 2007). The event starts at 6 pm.
BEIJING FINE ARTS ACADEMY WANTS YOU
The 90-year-old Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, which operates six schools with over 20 disciplines, is recruiting a fine art and teaching staff for its new "international foundation course." The year-long program is designed to give Chinese students the academic and language abilities to pursue undergraduate studies in art and design at colleges overseas. MFA degrees and teaching experience (preferably with Chinese students) are required. The application deadline is Aug. 14, 2009; for more info, see www.cafa.edu.cn, and contact Huang Li at email@example.com