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Feb. 15, 2011

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After he moved to the countryside near Cannes, Pablo Picasso needed a pair of ornamental bronze vases to place on either side of the terrace doors at his farmhouse at Notre-Dame-de-Vie near the village of Mougins. Of course he made his own, a ceramic sculpture with a bulbous body and sturdy handles that could double, in the artist’s transformation of his work, as the arms of a strange owl-woman creature. Picasso and his wife Jacqueline were photographed by Edward Quinn posing between two bronze casts of the vase, which framed their patio doors.

Now, one of these bronzes goes on the block at Tajan in Paris on Mar. 31, 2011, as part of the auction firm’s modern art sale, with an estimate of €30,000-€50,000. The work is particularly rare, the auction house says, as it was intended only for Picasso’s own use. The sale at Tajan also includes several examples of Russian “Cubo-Futurism” by Natalia Gontcharova, the only woman artist whose prices have soared past the eight-figure level. For more info, contact Tajan.

One of London’s high-profile contemporary art collections is coming to New York City, a least for a short visit. The Zabludowicz Collection, founded in 1994 by Poju and Anita Zabludowicz (and boasting over 2,000 works by over 500 artists), is taking over the top floor of a skyscraper at 1500 Broadway (at 43rd Street) for "Zabludowicz Collection: Six Weeks in New York," Mar. 1-Apr. 15, 2011. Anita Zabludowicz runs her own blog, called Anita’s Art Diary, while her husband is a businessman with interests in munitions and Las Vegas casinos, among other things; in 2009, the Sunday Times rated him the 18th wealthiest person in the United Kingdom.

The project is split into two parts. "The Shape We’re In (New York)" features specially commissioned works by four New York artists -- Sarah Braman, Ethan Breckenridge, Sean Dack and Nick van Woert -- and one British artist, Matthew Darbyshire, whose works are being shown with selections from the Zabludowicz Collection. The installation is curated by ZC director Elizabeth Neilson and exhibitions curator Ellen Mara De Wachter.

"Proposal for a Floor," in contrast, spotlights independent curator Alex Gartenfeld, who in consultation with recently retired Royal Academy exhibitions chief Norman Rosenthal developed a show of works by Sam Anderson, Dominic Nurre, Anselm Reyle, and several others in a show that "occupies an empty, for-lease floor in America’s most famous neighborhood" and "reconciles architecture and sculpture with a view towards economics and entropy."

In addition, new photography from Leipzig from the ZC is on view in the offices of the Tamares Group (Poju Zabludowicz’ Liechtenstein-registered investment group), which can be visited by appointment. For more info, email

Artistic Director Thierry Raspail has chosen Buenos Aires-based international curator Victoria Noorthorn as curator of the 11th Lyon Biennale, Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2011. The exposition takes its title -- "A Terrible Beauty is Born" -- from a 1916 W.B. Yeats poem about a rebel Irish uprising -- and promises to focus on the "urgent" state of global affairs. More high-falootin themes are "tension and ambivalence" and "paradox and contradiction."

Thematically organized according to a series of parcours ("trails" or "narratives"), the 11th edition of the gargantuan biennale occupies four venues -- La Sucrière, the Bullukian Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon, and the TASE Factory -- with works by approximately 60 international artists. The show’s catalogue is published by Les presses du Réel.

That’s right, ladies and gents -- ARCOmadrid 2011 starts tomorrow, Feb. 16, 2011 (at least for the press), and opens its doors to the public, Feb. 18-20, with a core program featuring 161 galleries from 21 countries. This year’s iteration features some new developments such as "Focus Russia" -- eight Soviet galleries selected by Daria Pyrkina, professor at the Lomonosoc Moscow State University -- and "Solo Projects: Focus Latin America," 13 galleries that represent emerging Latin American artists, chosen by a group of curators including Julieta González, the Tate Modern’s associate curator of Latin American art.

Beyond its congregation of 150 international collectors for its International Collectors Programme, the fair features a series of panel debates with art world professionals, including one on collecting headed by 51st Venice Biennale director Rosa Martinez, and six "Professional Encounters," featuring, among others, new dOCUMENTA (13) team member Chus Martínez and Serpentine Gallery co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Museums love to show the art collections of rich art patrons, whether the hall monitors approve or not. In that spirit, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is presenting the first large-scale exhibition of works from the collection of Greek collector Dimitris Daskalopoulos this spring, Apr. 19-Sept. 11, 2011. Daskalopoulous favors sculpture and large installations, and the show features works by Louise Bourgeois, Paul Chan, Martin Kippenberger, Nate Lowman, Paul McCarthy, Kiki Smith and Kelley Walker.

Surrealist scholars and curators Stephen Robeson Miller and Jonathon Stuhlman are collaborating on "Double Solitaire: The Surreal Works of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy," the first exhibition uniting the works of the married artists, on view at the Katonah Museum of Art, June 5-Aug. 28, 2011. The two Surrealist artists -- who would not allow themselves to be considered a "team of painters" during their lifetime -- are brought together posthumously in an exhibition of approximately 25 paintings by each, dating from 1937-1958; the show includes photos and ephemera as well. After its debut in Katonah, the exhibition appears at the Norton Museum in Palm Beach and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C. 

Consider yourself a video game buff? If so, listen up -- chances are you’ll never get this opportunity again. The Smithsonian American Art Museum has asked the public to help select the 80 video games to be included in the upcoming exhibition "The Art of Video Games," to open Mar. 16, 2012. Until Apr. 7, 2011, vote online for your favorite, selected from a pool of 240 candidates. The criteria are "graphic excellence, artistic intent and innovative game design." The exhibition is being overseen by video-game collector Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels, but the vote results are available online in May.

Fearless New York art critic Jerry Saltz once commanded artists to stop using photographs to make their art. But the Drawing Center is saying, the hell with that! "Drawn from Photography," Feb. 18-Mar. 31, 2011, includes works of exactly that sort by Andrew Bowers, Frank Selby, Mary Temple, Karl Haendel and Emily Prince. Among the complementary activities is a panel discussion on Feb. 19 at 2pm, and a reading by novelist Lynne Tillman of her essay "Drawing from a Translation Artist" on Mar. 3 at 6 pm.

The Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Wash., breaks ground of Feb. 18, 2011, for its new $9.3 million, 25,500-square-foot Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing, named after two late patrons of the museum. The two-level annex, designed by Gene Callan of GBD Architects in Portland, Ore., includes an underground floor for education, stprage and a café, a ground level with a new 1,700-square-foot gallery, and a new terrace and plaza. The target for completion is March 2012.

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