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Aug. 4, 2010 

Worth checking out: The website of Konbit Shelter, where you can track the progress of a group of artists, architects and organizers building sustainable "super-adobe" homes in Haiti as part of a response to the Caribbean nationís earthquake last January. The houses, which resemble large beehives, are based on a design by Iran-born architect and humanitarian Nader Khalili, meant to be realizable with limited means (they are 90 percent earth).

Among those on the ground in Haiti for the project is Caledonia Curry (aka Swoon, the street artist who ARTnews recently compared to German Expressionist Kathe Kollwitz), as well as urban designer Thaddeus Pawlowski, Lauren Larken of Artistic Evolution, Inc. (which "devises and enacts social issue campaigns using art, music, performance and technology"), and many other good souls. Followers of the Konbit blog can view the progress of the teamís attempts to work with the local community, travel to the site of their proposed structure in the village of Barrier Jeudi, and source materials for their project -- including some misadventures with a local bag manufacturer, for instance.

As of Aug. 2, the blog reports that things are going fine for the Konbit Shelter team: "Today we broke the six-foot mark with all door and window forms in place. As the structures begin to take form, we are hoping to meet with the community this week to discuss its future possibilities."

The age of the museum blockbuster has passed. At least, so says Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. Whatís more, it is dead by its own hand. Govan puts the blame for the blockbusterization of the museum world on one-time Metropolitan Museum director Thomas Hoving -- no longer around to defend himself, needless to say -- who created the paradigm of the mega-hyped supershow, which, according to Govan, "helped to fuel the art market and that fueled the cost of insurance and shipping, and now the cost is prohibitive." He adds, "I welcome the waning of the blockbuster. People came for the spectacle; it became a few brand names, whether it was King Tut or Van Gogh." (But wait, didnít LACMA just have a King Tut show just a few years ago -- one thatís currently at the Discovery Center in Times Square? Hmmm.)

Meanwhile, itís comforting to know that an aversion to "spectacle" doesnít seem to have derailed LACMAís plans for a giant Jeff Koons-conceived sculpture of a train hanging from a crane -- though the current "hiccup in the economy" has delayed it a bit. "A crane is a great symbol for a museum," Govan explains, "when you see it in the distance, what do you think? Something's being made."

For the rest of the summer and a good piece of the fall, beachcombers can hit the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton for "Underground Pop," Aug. 15-Oct. 3, 2010. Organized by the museumís Los Angeles-based adjunct curator David Pagel, the exhibition boasts works by 10 artists who take an idiosyncratic, "folk" approach to Pop imagery. Artists in the show are Scott Anderson, Brian Bress, Cole Case, James Gobel, Glenn Goldberg, Leia Jervert, Michael Lazarus, Nathan Mabry, Kristen Morgin and Jeni Spota.

The exhibition of Pop art by women organized earlier this year for the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at the University of Arts in Philadelphia by gallery director Sid Sachs is coming to New York. The Brooklyn Museum is presenting "Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968," Oct. 15, 2010-Jan. 9, 2011, a selection of more than 50 works, in the museumís Sackler Center for Feminist Art and the adjacent fourth-floor galleries.

The show features Marisolís John Wayne sculpture, commissioned by Life magazine for an issue on the movies; an eight-foot-tall "Nana" sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle; a neon ampersand in a Plexiglas cube by Chryssa, one of the first artists to use neon; plus works by Evelynne Axell, Pauline Boty, Vija Celmins, Rosalyn Drexler, Dorothy Grebenak, Kay Kurt, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Lozano, Mara McAfee, Barbro Ostlihn, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Marjorie Strider, Kiki Kogelnik, Marta Minujin, Idelle Weber and May Wilson.

Itís a new kind of corporate art support. Anthropologie, a high-end womenís clothing and accessories chain, operated by Urban Outfitters and now boasting 130 stores worldwide, has launched an online art gallery designed to commission new artworks and display and archive images of them. Dubbed The Anthropologist, the site is overseen by Trevor Lunn, Anthropologieís creative director, and is designed to "stimulate our imagination" and embody an "ethos of artistic independence."

The current project, which went online on Aug. 2, 2010, features extensive photo-documentation of California artist Jim Denevanís giant "earth drawing" in Siberia -- a crop-circle-like set of ever-larger circles drawn in the snow on nine square miles of the frozen Lake Baikal, the worldís deepest fresh water lake. Denevanís collaborators include photographer Jake Burghart, who documented the endeavor, and artist Meredith Danluck, who is making a documentary film about the work.

The site had a "soft launch" in November 2009, and also includes works by photographers Donna DeMari, David Eustace and Andrew Zuckerman, filmmakers Jane Campion and Derek Henderson. Plans call for 12 new commissions in the coming year.†

The Pace Gallery is starting the fall season on Sept. 17, 2010, with a major celebration of its 50th anniversary, featuring a "mini-retrospective" of the galleryís history displayed across its four galleries (including the newest, which opens at 510 West 25th, the former Bortolami space), a 250-page full-color catalogue, and a new iPhone application with audio clips of artists and a walking tour of public artworks in Manhattan (free from the iTunes store).

Paceís 32 East 57th Street location boasts recreations of historical shows, such as "Pablo Picasso: The Avignon Paintings" (1981), "Coenties Slip" (1993) and "De Kooning / Dubuffet: The Women" (1991). The 534 West 25th Street gallery presents Pop and Ab-Ex works, including Robert Rauschenbergís Erased de Kooning Drawing (on loan from SFMOMA) and Jasper Johnsí Three Flags (from the Whitney Museum).

Paceís 22nd Street gallery features Minimalist and post-modernist works, including a Lucas Samaras mirrored room from 1966, on loan from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. And the inaugural show at Pace 510 West 25th focuses on contemporary art of today, with Tim Hawkinsonís motorcycle made of feathers, plus works by about 20 other artists.

Art-book-lovers, this is your chance. Chelsea art dealer David Zwirner is temporarily converting one of his eponymous galleries on West 19th Street into a pop-up bookstore for the week of Aug. 9-13, 2010. In what promises to be the first of an annual event, the gallery is offering "rare and out-of-print books, signed artist catalogues, DVDs and more."

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