A TOMBSTONE FOR BEAUFORD
The great American abstractionist Beauford Delaney (1901-1991), longtime friend and companion of writer James Baldwin, lived out the end of his life in Paris, and is buried there, in the Parisian Cemetery of Thiais. But incredibly, his grave has no tombstone, and the nonprofit Les Amis de Beauford Delaney has taken on the task of correcting this oversight.
Online donations can be made at the website, and in addition, a serigraph print by artist Herbert Gentry, Always Green (2000), is being sold on Artnet Auctions. The print is valued at $3,000-$4,000, and is being sold with no reserve at an opening bid of $1,500. Gentry (1919-2003), an African-American expressionist painter of some note (with ties to the CoBrA school), was born in Pittsburgh and worked on the WPA Art Program in New York in the ‘40s, before moving first to Paris and then Scandinavia; he later returned to the U.S. (where he lived in the Chelsea Hotel). He died in Stockholm. The auction of Always Green closes on June 17.
JOHNSON CRONY TO HEAD ARTS COUNCIL LONDON
When London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson tried to appoint Veronica Wadley as chair of the Arts Council London last year, he ran into a storm of complaints, and accusations that he was engaging in cronyism. Wadley has little direct arts experience, though she was editor the Evening Standard, a paper that just happened to back Johnson’s campaign for mayor. Instead of calling off the appointment, however, Johnson decided to bide his time until a Conservative government was in office. Yesterday, the London mayor’s office announced that Wadley had been approved as new head of the Arts Council.
The first time around, Wadley couldn’t get past the three-person panel vetting candidates. Then, Johnson attempted to convene a new selection committee, with himself sitting as chair. When that idea was rejected, a five-person panel was formed, including Johnson's culture adviser Munira Mirza. That group unanimously recommended Wadley for the post, and freshly appointed Tory culture secretary Jeremy Hunt rubber-stamped the decision.
Reactions have come from both sides of the political spectrum. The conservative Times of London honored Wadley with a lengthy profile, in which she called the campaign against her appointment "pure political chicanery" (though she also cheerfully admitted, "I am no arts expert"). On the other hand, the writer Dave Hill, who has been on top of the story for the liberal paper the Guardian and even published an open letter to the new government calling attention to evidence of cronyism in the Wadley affair, quoted a Labour politician, Len Duvall, saying, "It stinks, it's dishonorable, but it's nothing less than we expected."
CHAPMAN BROTHERS DEFACE A BRUEGHEL
YBA bad boys Jake and Dinos Chapman have done it again. After making scandal -- and some pretty good art -- by painting clown faces and other Pop Expressionistic graffiti on an actual suite of etchings by Francisco Goya, the Chapman brothers have now turned their attentions to a School of Brueghel crucifixion scene originally painted in 1607. A sprawling view of Calvary with several dozen figures, the painting’s protagonists now (after the Chapmans’ intervention) look rather like they’ve stepped out of a work by Hieronymus Bosch, with pumpkins, skulls and free-floating eyeballs playing a significant part in the reconstituted composition.
The exhibition, "Die Dada Die," June 10-Aug. 22, 2010, takes place at Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, and is mounted in collaboration with Triumph Gallery in Moscow and RS&A Ltd. in London. No word yet on the original price for the Brueghel, or the current price for the collaboration.
DAVID HOCKNEY BECOMES UNOFFICIAL IPAD SPOKESMAN
Is Apple paying David Hockney to promote its products? The 72-year-old painter certainly gives that impression, as he has now become so indelibly associated with the iPhone -- he says he did some 300 drawings on his iPhone last year -- that a Times of London article about his contribution to the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition spends most of its time faithfully transcribing his thoughts on the iPad. Among other things, Hockney predicts that the trendy tablet computer will shake the world’s political system: "As it empowers more and more people to distribute their own images it weakens the older suppliers of images and perhaps governments as well."
But Hockney sees a certain menace in the iPad as well: "There is of course a dark side to it. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see it will get thinner, perhaps even like a piece of paper, and then they might be compulsory -- an iPad passport with your whole life story in it, a more sinister form of control." Perhaps Apple better get him officially on the payroll, quick!
LOUISE BOURGEOIS IN VENICE
Louise Bourgeois may be gone, but the exhibition that she was working on in the final weeks of her life has now opened at the Magazzino del Sale at the Zattere in Venice, a project of the Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova. "Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works," June 5-Sept. 19, 2010, organized by curator Germano Celant in collaboration with Jerry Gorovoy of the Bourgeois studio in New York, features works from the little-seen "Fabric Drawings" series of 2002-2008, as well as recent sculptures and assemblages made principally from her own clothes and linen. Accompanying the show is a general catalogue, written by Celant and published by Skira, titled Louise Bourgeois. The Fabric Works.
THE HOLE STEPS INTO DEITCH VACUUM
Ever since it was announced that the super-dealer Jeffry Deitch was decamping for Los Angeles and closing his super-popular Deitch Projects gallery, the question has been, "What will happen to his artists?" Now we have part of the answer, with the announcement that former Deitch directors Kathy Grayson and Meghan Coleman are opening their own space at 104 Greene St. in SoHo -- called the Hole -- with some support from former Deitch executive director Suzanne Geiss. Fans can get a first glimpse June 26, 2010, with "Not Quite Open for Business," a show that is to feature some nine artists from the Deitch stable, including Kembra Pfahler and Evan Gruzis, according to the Wall Street Journal. Future shows are planned with the likes of Mat Brinkman, Kenny Scharf and Dearraindrop.
According to the Journal story, Grayson and Coleman are leasing the space from property developer and art patron Tony Goldman, who had apparently been plotting a Deitch-conceived "evening-hours gallery and café" at the location before the dealer decided to leave town. Hole is reportedly backed by capital from Jeff Vespa, a co-founder of the photo agency WireImage. Most intriguing, however, are some of the more quirky plans for the new space, including a back-room art-book space dubbed Holey Books, and an "artist dating service" to be called Hole Lotta Love.
"CREAMIER" IS COMING
Phaidon is accepting pre-orders for Creamier: Contemporary Art in Culture, a 324-page newspaper-type tome promising 100 new artists that are ostensibly of interest to contemporary collectors and other art lovers. The lineup -- selected by ten curators, including Douglas Fogle of the Hammer Museum and Yukie Kamiya of the Hiroshima City Museum -- ranges from Gabriel Acevedo Valarde, Nevin Alada and Can Altay to Andro Wekua, Xijing Men and Haegue Yang. The price is $39.95; visitors to ArtBasel can attend a launch of the book on June 17, 2010, at 6 pm. Creamier follows in the footsteps of earlier versions, including Cream, Fresh Cream, Cream 3 and Ice-Cream.
NEW ART FOR MUSEUMS VIA PINTA FAIR FUNDING
Pinta, the Latin American art fair, took its show to London for the first time last week, June 3-6, 2010, to success all around, at least according to the organizers. It also announced a series of museum acquisitions affected with the help of its matching grant program, which supplied approximately $250,000 to help museums buy works from fair exhibitors.
Among the purchasers were Tate in London, which acquired an ink drawing by Lygia Pape from Arevalo Arte and four works on paper by Paolo Brusky from Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo; the Centre Georges Pompidou, which acquired a work by Marta Minujin from Henrique Faria Fine Art, New York; the Reina Sofia in Madrid, which acquired a video by David Lamelas from Henrique Faria; and the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art, which acquired works by Ana Sacerdote and Gaston Olalde from Sammer Galleries, Marbella, Spain, and works by Demián Flores from Galeria Ginocchio, Mexico city.
WHITNEY TEAMS WITH KEDS FOR CONTEST
Hey MFAs! Fancy a chance to be in a show sponsored by a major museum? Also, do you love shoes? If your answer to these questions is yes, then have we got a contest for you, because the Whitney Museum of American Art has teamed with Keds sneakers to sponsor a "KedsWhitney" window display at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City. And they are looking for three current MFA students to be part of "a live-action exhibition of the artistic process" – that is, to collaborate live in the store window on an art installation -- for a display they are calling "Works on Canvas," July 8-21, 2010.
The winning MFAs are to be selected by Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg, Bloomie’s "executive vice president of creative services" Jack Hruska and Keds president Kristin Burrows. The tagline of the contest is, "Are you ready to celebrate your American creative spirit?" To apply, go to www.theoriginalsneaker.com/worksoncanvas