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Artnet News
Oct. 26, 2010

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts may have prevailed in its legal battle against Joe Simon, but it has certainly lost the last shreds of its credibility. This weekend’s news that Simon has decided to drop his long-running lawsuit to confirm the authenticity of his 1964 Andy Warhol Self-Portrait was especially surprising, since his case was all but proven: The painting was clearly viewed as authentic by the artist himself, as well as by many of his acolytes. But no, the might of Andy’s legacy -- assets worth more than $300 million and legal firepower led by no less than David Boies -- essentially bullied Simon into silence. Simon was swamped by "the numerous motions filed by lawyers for the Warhol Foundation," and is now "impecunious."

This latest misadventure comes fast on the heels of several others. The Warhol Foundation recently attempted to get out from under a dispute involving more than 100 Brillo Boxes, now widely acknowledged as bogus, that the foundation had authenticated. And who can forget the risible exchange of letters in 2009 between the foundation and art critic Richard Dorment in the pages of the New York Review of Books? There, Dorment pointed out the "sublime idiocy" of the foundation’s admission, in regard to the Warhol self-portrait, that "said work is NOT the work of Andy Warhol, but that said work was signed, dedicated and dated by him."

No reasonable explanation has been offered for the Warhol Foundation’s approach to this matter, though sadly it is seen in some quarters as evidence that the "art world" is dominated by a corrupt cabal of insiders. The Warhol Foundation -- and the exceptionally well-paid functionaries that run it -- should be ashamed.

Art has the creative cachet, while fashion has the mass audience (and the professional models) -- it’s a marriage that had to happen. And it’s happening in something called "MOVE!" at MoMA PS1 on Oct. 30-31, 2010, thanks to MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach, style journalist David Colman and Visionaire magazine co-founder Celia Dean.

So what is it? A two-day performance-theater-installation event that jams up individual artists and designers, including Kalup Linzy and Diane Von Furstenberg; Rob Pruitt and Marc Jacobs; Terence Koh and Italo Zucchelli (Calvin Klein Collection); Tauba Auerbach and Ohne Titel; Olaf Breuning and Cynthia Rowley; Brody Condon and Rodarte; Rashaad Newsome and Alexander Wang; Dan Colen and Proenza Schouler; and several others.

Suggested admission is $10.

When not just one, but three new art spaces announce that they are opening in New York in just one week, does that mean that boom times are back? We leave that for the reader to judge, but herewith a summary of This Week in New Galleries:

* The intriguing Blain|Di Donna gallery, set to open at an unspecified Upper East Side location in November, is the brainchild of former Sotheby’s vice chairman Emmanuel Di Donna (who left the auction house in September) and Harry Blain, co-founder of supergallery Haunch of Venison, which was purchased by Christie’s in 2007 and from which he decamped this summer. The new space, which is to specialize in secondary market impressionist, modern and contemporary art via three shows per year, is not to be confused with Blain|Southern, the London gallery that Blain launched this month with his former Haunch cohort Graham Southern.

* Cristin Tierney gallery debuts on Oct. 28, 2010, at 546 West 29th Street in Chelsea with with "Calling for Shantih," a seven-screen installation of video landscapes by Peter Campus. Tierney, a former private art advisor turned dealer, plans shows by Melanie Baker, Adam Cvijanovic, Joe Fig and Alois Kronschlaeger. See for more details.
* And Lu Magnus gallery launches on Nov. 5, 2010, at 55 Hester Street down on the Lower East Side. According to co-founder Amelia Abdullahsani, the space is designed to have a feeling that is "a cross between Chelsea & the LES. . . a bit grand, a bit cozy." First show is by French artist Agathe de Bailliencourt, who presents a colorful bunch of paintings. Check out the new space’s website,

You thought you’d never hear from her again: Aliza Shvarts, the young, Yale-trained artist who caused a stir -- and headaches for her peers, professors and Yale art school dean Robert Storr -- when she announced that her final project two years ago would involve her collecting the bloody remains of multiple self-induced herbal abortions, and displaying them as art, touching off a media firestorm [see Artnet News, May 2, 2008]. But think again! In the weirdest mass-media/fine-art teaming since, well, since Bravo brought on Andres Serrano to explain art to Middle America on Work of Art, MTV recently tapped Shvarts as an esthetic authority to help viewers understand the artistic aspirations of Kanye West’s new opus, the 30-minute-plus plus video Runaway. The central metaphor of the film is the "phoenix," as Kanye interfaces with a lingerie-clad being from another planet, and moves through a dream world involving ballerinas and banquets.

So, what’s Shvarts’ take on Runaway? The artist, who once said that her own abortion-as-art performance "creates an ambiguity that isolates the locus of ontology to an act of readership," helpfully explains that Kanye is seeking "the transcendent sublime," exploring the idea that "somehow we have to be open to unmaking ourselves to remake ourselves in other ways." Runaway, with its phoenix imagery, is said to be Kanye’s play at a comeback -- but could it also be Shvarts’, as she remakes herself as art pundit? Stay tuned.

Looking for a really special artwork for a loved one? Why not buy them "control" over artist William Brovelli? For an "interactive" art project titled the Seven Year Itch, Brovelli is auctioning off the right to suspend his creative output on eBay. Essentially, he is offering any collector the legal right to force him to "suspend production of any new ideas, projects, or new art works in any form whatsoever including but not limited to derivative works be it conceptual, visual, musical, performance based or collaborative works," for up to seven years, starting at the time of the purchaser’s choosing.

An intriguing idea, though -- note to Brovelli -- if this suspension is itself an art project, doesn’t the purchase result in logical paradox? But the project does give a chance to get the going market rate for "control" of an artist. With only one bid placed and five days of the online auction left, right now the price is $1,000. To get in on the action, head over to Ebay.

Can’t get enough of influential feminist artist Kiki Smith? Then get a whiff of Kiki, the new "limited-edition" perfume by Smith, from Artware Editions, the West Village boutique dedicated to art-and-design pairings. A collaboration with French fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel, the scent is "unabashedly green and fresh while deeply and unexpectedly, lush, warm and dynamic." Laudamiel, reportedly worked with Smith to tap her "most significant olfactory memories," resulting in hints of musk, boxwood, patchouli and sandalwood, alongside foliage and fig leaf notes. A 1.6-ounch bottle is $175, from an edition of 4,000. Purchase your bottle here

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