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Artnet News
Oct. 14, 2010

The Stuckists are at it again. The group has mounted what it calls a “plagiarism protest” at Christie’s London evening sale of post-war and contemporary art sale being held today, Oct. 14, 2010. The auction includes a large butterfly kaleidoscope painting by Damien Hirst titled I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds (2006), with a presale estimate of £2,500,000-£3,500,000 [which sold, as we go to press, for £2,169,250, or $3.4 million]. According to the Stuckists, Hirst adopted this method of making artworks -- sticking butterflies into paint on canvas -- in 2003.

An American artist named Lori Precious, the Stuckists report in a press announcement, had been doing “exactly the same thing” since 1994, and had widely exhibited her works in galleries and museums, and online. When she first saw Hirst’s work with the technique, Precious said, “I couldn’t believe it. I was in a state of shock.”

Stuckist co-founder Charles Thomson said “This is an outrageous situation. The original artist has been completely marginalized. The copyist is getting all the credit.” A Stuckist artist from Liverpool, Jasmine Maddock, who is joining the demo in London, also provides a good quote, saying, “His name should be Damien Herse. His head contains dead ideas that have already been done by other artists.”

No word yet on any response to the protest. In September, Thomson detailed 15 instances of what he called Hirst’s copying of others works in an issue of The Jackdaw magazine.

Chicago art lovers (or art haters, as the case may be) are in for an interesting experiment this month, Oct. 15-29, 2010, as the Art Loop Open presents works by almost 200 local artists at ten different venues, and allows the public to vote to select the winners of more than $60,000 in prizes (a $25,000 first prize, a $15,000 second prize and a $10,000 third prize, plus additional prizes, including a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel). Among the interesting artists taking part in the event are Bernard Williams, Edra Soto, James Jankowiak, Paul Nudd, Selina Trepp and Terence Hannum.

Good idea, but why bother to vote? Because the voters themselves have a chance to win a free trip to Hawaii. The voting takes place in two rounds -- ten finalists are to be announced on Oct. 22 -- with an awards party on Oct. 29. All the artwork goes on sale Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2010. The Chicago Artists Coalition is handling the sales, with 70 percent going to the artists, and the remainder going back in the pot to help pay for next year’s event.

Think that the Smithsonian Institution National Portrait Gallery is a conservative institution? Bite your tongue! A sophisticated survey of “how artists explored the fluidity of sexuality and gender,” not to mention a look at possible links between abstraction and “social marginalization,” “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” opens there later this month, Oct. 30, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011. Billed as the first major museum exhibition to focus on sexual difference in American portraiture, “Hide/Seek” begins with 19th-century painters Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent and charts the 20th century via works by Romaine Brooks, Marsden Hartley, Agnes Martin, Jasper Johns, AA Bronson and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The show is organized by the NPG’s David C. Ward and SUNY Buffalo art historian Jonathan Katz, who also authored the 304-page catalogue (Smithsonian Books/Random House, $45).

Opening in conjunction with “Hide/Seek” is “Lost and Found: the Lesbian and Gay Presence in the Archives of American Art,” Oct. 29, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011, at the Fleischman Gallery at the Smithsonian’s Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. This show is guest-curated by artist and art historian Jonathan Weinberg.

The 19th annual Take Home a Nude benefit for the New York Academy of Art, scheduled for Sotheby’s New York on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, is honoring painter Eric Fischl, who has donated to the sale an untitled 2008 oil-on-paper sketch of a couple on the beach (est. $150,000) -- and also designed a special “nudie pen” in an edition of 500 ($30 each). The many other lots include a nude with a feather done in graphite by Steven Assael (est. $5,500), a tiny (ca. 3 x 10 in.) pencil odalisque by John Currin (est. $20,000) and Cynthia Rowley’s drawing Dita Von Tease (est. $1,200). The event is co-chaired by Samantha & Aby Rosen, and the benefit committee includes Hollywood couples Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany, and Naomi Watts and Live Schreiber. Tickets are $250.

It’s the “largest commissioned scribble drawing” by the late artist Sol LeWitt, and it goes on view today, Oct. 14, 2010, at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Titled Wall Drawing #1268: Scribbles: Staircase (AKAG), the “complex matrix of graphite scribbles built up to suggest tubular shapes that modulate in horizontal and vertical directions, vacillating between vectors of black and white” measure more than 2,200 square feet, and took 15 artists working seven hours a day 52 days to complete.

Art critic Donald Kuspit has a new collection of essays out titled Psychodrama: Modern Art as Group Therapy. The 560-page illustrated paperback (which includes several essays that first appeared in Artnet Magazine) is published by Ziggurat Books and can be had for £8.95 from Central Books Ltd., or online from the Book Depository.

Lombard Freid Projects, which originally opened in SoHo in 1995, inaugurates its new ground-floor gallery space at 518 West 19th Street on Nov. 6, 2010, with an exhibition and performance by the U.S. artist William Earl Kofmehl III. The 4,000-square-foot new gallery, which is designed by architect Stephan Freid, has a 12-foot-ceiling and a rear courtyard, and is on the same block as David Zwirner and the Kitchen. The forthcoming season includes exhibitions by Michael Rakowitz, Cao Fei, Mounir Fatmi and Nathaniel Mellors.

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