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Artnet News
June 4, 2010 

Is Sotheby’s getting into the art leasing business? So it would seem as developments in the long-simmering case of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. continue to unfold. Last year, the Rose drew headlines as Brandeis announced it was selling off its art collection amid a budget crisis, developments that were forestalled amid widespread outrage, and even a lawsuit by Rose trustees, which is still pending. On May 27, the Brandeis Hoot broke the story that the university was in discussion with Sotheby’s about "non-sale options" that would generate money from the celebrated art collection.

Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz said that the school was making the announcement now because "we are comfortable with Sotheby’s and believe they can find some value." According to a story in the Boston Globe, it was the auction house that approached Brandeis about a scheme for the collection, and talks have been underway for a year. What exact services Sotheby’s will offer is not clear, and the partnership was not a done deal, though the Globe reported that, "The university will sign a contract with the auction house sometime next month and hopes to begin fielding specific proposals as soon as this fall."

Even university administrators professed ignorance about what "non-sale" options for the Rose collection were, which is sure to get the rumors flying ("If the idea is that Joe Smith would rent that Andy Warhol for five years and will pay to have it in his home and promise to take good care of it, that’s a terrible idea,’’ former museum director David Ross told the Globe). "The deal could be anything," Reinharz told the Hoot. "We do not have a deal at this point so I cannot tell you how long it will be for, what it is, what the value is that we would get out of it. But we are at the point where we think it is realistic that a deal can be made." Stay tuned.

Italian joke artist Maurizio Cattelan is launching a new art magazine, in collaboration with much-loved Greek supercollector Dakis Joannou. Dubbed Toilet Paper, the publication is described as "a new generation magazine that combines commercial photography, twisted narratives and surrealistic imaginary to create a series of powerful visual tableaux." Cattelan is collaborating on the project with the photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, who has shot covers for W and L’Uomo Vogue, as well as doing his own vaguely Surrealist art photography (check out photos he has taken of Cattelan in the past at his website, According to a press release, the first three issues of Toilet Paper will be funded by Joannou’s DESTE Foundation.

The launch of the publication coincides with a Cattelan show at DESTE Foundation’s Project Space on the Greek isle of Hydra, June 16-Sept. 30, 2010. Located in a former slaughterhouse, the space was inaugurated last year with a collaboration between Matthew Barney and Elizabeth Peyton. Cattelan’s show will offer WE, a "mysterious self-portrait" that furthers the artist’s interest in "funerary iconography." See for more information.

The nonprofit group No Longer Empty ("Revitalizing space, unlocking creativity") is opening the summer art festivities on Governors Island -- that would be a plot of land just off the southern tip of Manhattan, now reachable via a short ferry ride -- with "The Sixth Borough," June 5-Oct. 10, 2010, a sprawling group exhibition organized by Manon Slome and Julian Navarro. Participants include Adam Cvijanovic, Daniel Bohzkov, Marina Rosenfeld, Pablo Helguera, Ted Riederer, Julieta Aranda, Peter Hutton and others. The art show is just one of the many attractions slated for the island, along with Meatopia, a barbeque festival, and an appearance by Britain’s Prince Harry at a charity polo match.

London’s famous St Paul’s Cathedral is displaying two new works by British artist Mark Alexander on either side of its nave for the summer, beginning on June 16, 2010. Titled Red Mannheim, the pair of large red silkscreens depict the space in the Mannheim Cathedral that once held the cathedral’s altarpiece, which was damaged during World War II -- an effort to draw a "symbolic parallel between the history of St. Paul’s as a bastion of British defiance during the Blitz, and Alexander’s resurrection of a bombed and blasted icon." The installation is sponsored by the St Paul’s Cathedral Arts Project, which has previously placed works by Antony Gormley, Rebecca Horn and Yoko Ono in the cathedral.

Florence Lynch Gallery is presenting a silent art auction to benefit Transfiguration School on Mott Street in Chinatown, one of Manhattan’s oldest elementary schools (founded 1832). Among the donating artists are Dorothy Arnold, Joy Garnett, Rico Gatson and David Salle; the auction can be viewed online here.  

TOBIAS WONG, 1974-2010
Tobias Wong, 35, design artist known for his ironic appropriation of others’ work, died on May 30, an apparent suicide. Described as a pioneer of "conceptual design," Wong achieved notoriety with his gold-plated McDonald’s coffee stirrer that doubles as a "coke spoon," and also made gold-leaf-filled gel capsules that result in glittery feces. His Bullet Proof Rose, a flower-shaped brooch made of Kevlar, was included in "SAFE: Design Takes on Risk" at the Museum of Modern Art in 2005.

Lester Johnson, 91, New York School painter celebrated for his strangely evocative imagery of striding men, often wearing hats, as well as for his paintings of groups of women, died of natural causes in Southampton, N.Y., on May 30. A longtime teacher, Johnson began teaching at Yale University in 1964, becoming chairman of the art department in 1979; he retired in 1989. He exhibited throughout the 1960s and ‘70s at Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, and more recently at the David Klein Gallery in Detroit and the James Goodman Gallery in New York.

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