June 30, 2006

Getty Paid Trustee's Legal Fees; Changes at Christie's, MoMA

The New York Times' Lawrence van Gelder reports that the Getty Trust paid $64,000 in legal fees last year for Barbara Fleischman, who was then a trustee, when she testified in a deposition on behalf of former Getty curator Marion True. The Getty's board agreed to compensate Fleischman despite warnings from its lawyers in 2003 that covering such an expense could jeopardize the trust's nonprofit status. In other news, Carol Vogel reports that Ben Hall, an expert in old master paintings at Sotheby's, is moving to the auction house's archrival, Christie's, to co-head its old master painting department in New York; and in another move, MoMA has announced that Wendy Woon will succeed Deborah Schwarz as deputy director for education at the museum.

June 29, 2006

Korea Reacts to Kim's Departure; New Open Call in UK

Following news of the resignation of Sunjung Kim from her position as commissioner of Korea's participation at ARCO '07, along with solidarity resignations by curators David Ross and Charles Esche, Artnet reports that the Korean Ministry of Culture has counterattacked, accusing Kim of “attacking the national interest” and stealing public funds. Additionally, the ministry appears to be attempting to continue with the planned programs despite the absence of the curators who organized them. In other news, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation has teamed up with Artangel to present the “The Jerwood Artangel Open,” an open call for artistic projects from UK artists that makes available a total of £1 million ($1.8 million) for the realization of three new commissions. The selection committee includes Jeremy Deller, Shirin Neshat, Emma Rice, James Lingwood, and Michael Morris.

June 29, 2006

Increased Funds for the Arts in New York and LA

The New York State Council on the Arts has received $48.2 million in the final budget approved by the Governor and the legislature for fiscal year 2006-07, a thirteen percent increase from last year's appropriation of $42.7 million, reports the New York Times' Robin Pogrebin. “We have a substantially greater amount of money to work with to help arts organizations all over the state,” said Richard J. Schwartz, chairman of the council. Elsewhere, Mike Boehm reports for the Los Angeles Times that Los Angeles County more than doubled the next fiscal year's budget for arts grants—from $2.2 million to $4.5 million. The county also gave cultural institutions $20 million of a $400-million surplus that built up during the 2005-06 budget year.

June 28, 2006

Architect Anna Castelli Ferrieri Dies at Eighty-Seven

Anna Castelli Ferrieri, a pioneering architect associated with the postwar period of Italian modern design, died of lung cancer at her home in Milan at eighty-seven, the New York Times reports. In 1949, she and her husband, Giulio Castelli, founded Kartell, which became a leading furniture company known for high-quality plastic designs. “She was not only influential as a professional designer, she educated her husband, an industrialist and engineer, in the importance of quality in design,” said the architect Emilio Ambasz, who was the curator of the seminal 1972 exhibition “Italy: The New Domestic Landscape” at MoMA, which included several of Castelli Ferrieri’s works. “Together they took great risks.”

June 27, 2006

Guggenheim's First Photo Curator; Goldin Joins French Legion

The Guggenheim Museum announced today that Jennifer Blessing has been appointed the institution's first curator of photography. Blessing, who began her tenure at the museum in 1989 and has organized several exhibitions, including “Rrose is a Rrose is a Rrose: Gender Performance in Photography” in 1997, was most recently a co-organizer of Marina Abramovic's November 2005 performance series “Seven Easy Pieces.” In other news, American photographer Nan Goldin has been admitted to the French Legion of Honor, an order founded by Napoléon over 200 years ago and headed by the country's president. Each year the Legion admits a small number of foreign citizens in recognition of their achievement in letters and the arts.

June 27, 2006

Lacan Drawings at Auction; David Weiss Turns Sixty; “Force de l'Art” a Success; Curator Discusses Manifesta 6


Drawings by the late French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) are going under the hammer this week at Paris' Artcurial. As Le Monde's Clarisse Fabre reports, Jean-Michel Vappereau—a mathematician and analyst who owns the 130 works, including manuscripts—decided to sell the collection. The profits from the auction—estimated at €450,000 ($566,275)—will be used to purchase an apartment in Paris to serve as a home for Lacan's vast archives.

Lacan began to draw in the 1970s with a group of mathematicians in an attempt to solve various enigmas. “A series of graphs, sketched for the most part on A4 sheets of paper, came from this emulation, if not obsession,” writes Fabre. The graphs include “chains, braids, circles, Borromean knots (three interlaced rings), drawn with ink or a felt-tip pen.”

What would the sale be without a few Oedipal conflicts? As Fabre reports, Lacan's family has opposed the sale. According to Artcurial, the analyst's daughter Judith Miller—also a psychoanalyst—did not allow photographs of her father, published in her book Album Jacques Lacan: Visages de mon père (Jacques Lacan Album: Faces of my Father) (Seuil, 1991), to be used in the catalogue for the Artcurial sale.


Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Niklas Maak congratulates David Weiss—one half of the Swiss duo Fischli & Weiss—on his sixtieth birthday. “Without him, [Peter] Fischli is nothing,” writes Maak in his admiring assessment of the pair's impact, giving special praise to their film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), which was shown at Documenta 8 in 1987. “Without Lauf der Dinge,” notes Maak, “artists like John Bock would surely be doing another type of art today.”

Born in Zurich in 1946, Weiss started working with Fischli in 1979. For Maak, one of the duo’s most memorable efforts involved dressing up for a film as a rat and bear, “a nightmare of the art market circa 1980.” At the Venice Biennale in 2003, Fischli & Weiss were honored with the Golden Lion for posing a series of questions, including “Should I leave reality in peace?”; “Is my stupidity a warm coat?”; “Does the dog bark the whole night?”; and—the most pressing—“Does the world also exist without me?”


“La Force de l'Art”—the controversial exhibition of contemporary French art initiated by French prime minister Dominique de Villepin—has closed its doors on a successful note. As Agence France-Presse reports, 130,000 people saw the exhibition, which included 350 works produced by 200 French and France-based artists. Minister of culture Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres called the event “a popular success,” especially for a public unfamiliar with contemporary art.

But the “Force” is far from over. Donnedieu de Vabres announced that he will appoint a team to organize a second edition of the exhibition, which is now destined to become a triennial for Paris. According to the minister, the team for the next “Force”—slated for 2009—would be finalized by the beginning of September.

According to AFP, the “Force” pales in comparison to the Musée du Quai Branly, the new ethnographic museum that just opened its doors across the Seine. In the first three days, Quai Branly welcomed 28,000 visitors, including the Ur-anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, now ninety-eight years old.


Die Tageszeitung features an interview with Florian Waldvogel, part of the curatorial team for the troubled Manifesta 6, which was slated to take place in the divided city of Nicosia on Cyprus in the fall. Recently, the city and the organization Nicosia for Art (NFA) effectively cancelled the event by relieving Waldvogel, Anton Vidokle, and Mai Abu ElDahab of their curatorial duties. The municipal government and NFA disagreed with the curators' plan to include the northern part of Nicosia—occupied by Turkey since 1974—in the exhibition. Yet according to the curators, their original contract stipulated that the event would take place in both the Greek and Turkish zones of the city.

“It was clear to us from the beginning that we did not want to organize another group exhibition on Cyprus,” says Waldvogel, “which would reproduce the commercial logic of art tourism. Our idea was to establish a long-term school on both sides of the Green Line.” Waldvogel explains that the interdisciplinary school would have buttressed the infrastructure and supported the local artist scene. “From the start, it was important for us to integrate both sides, the Greek and the Turkish, so no one would be left out. We had this ensured in the contract.”

Does the failure of Manifesta 6 spell the end of Manifesta and its goal to bring contemporary art to new EU member countries? “The Manifesta Foundation must ask itself if its model is still legitimate,” said Waldvogel. “I hope this occasion sparks a caesura in the art world and that people will consider the expansion of the concept of art and not only expanding capital markets.” Along with these queries, Waldvogel is looking to the International Foundation Manifesta to compensate the travel costs for both artists and curators.

When asked if moving Manifesta 6 to another location might indeed be a last-minute option, Waldvogel is not giving any definitive answers. “For me,” the curator told the newspaper, “the failure of the project is the project.”

Jennifer Allen

June 27, 2006

New SculptureCenter Curator; Rijksmuseum Painting Attacked

The SculptureCenter in New York has announced the appointment of Sarina Basta as curator. Previously manager and designer at Acconci Studio, Basta succeeds Anthony Huberman, who left to join Paris' Palais de Tokyo as curator. In other news, Expatica reports that a sixty-nine-year-old man confessed to spraying a chemical substance on Bartholomeus van der Helst's Celebration of the Peace of Münster, 1648, a main attraction at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, in an attempt to destroy the painting. Though the substance used is not known, the Rijksmuseum said the damage was limited to the painting's coat of varnish.

June 26, 2006

Rubin Retires from Chairman Position at Brooklyn Museum

After seventeen years as the chairman of the Brooklyn Museum, Robert S. Rubin has announced that he is retiring from the position, though he will continue to serve on the museum's board, reports Carol Vogel for the New York Times. Rubin, a senior vice president at JP Morgan Chase, joined the board in 1968 and became one of the museum's major benefactors, serving as a vocal defender during its battle with Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in 1999 over “Sensation,” a show of provocative British art. Rubin's successor as chairman is Norman M. Feinberg, a real-estate developer who has served on the museum's board since 1990.

June 23, 2006

New Auction Records in London and New York

Bloomberg's Linda Sandler reports that Sotheby's took in £30.1 million ($54.8 million) and Christie's raised £25.9 million ($47.1 million) during this week's contemporary evening sales in London. At least eight artists set records at Christie's, including Eduardo Chillida, Enzo Cucchi, Joseph Beuys, Thomas Demand, Antony Gormley, and Sarah Lucas, while Sotheby's sale brought new records for eleven artists, among them David Hockney, Anselm Kiefer, and Anish Kapoor. Hockney's The Splash, 1966, sold at Sotheby's for £2.9 million ($5.3 million), making Hockney the third UK contemporary painter (after Bacon and Freud) to break above $5 million at auction. And breaking the record, perhaps, for an artist's hairpiece at auction, the Associated Press' Larry McShane reports that one of Andy Warhol's signature wigs sold for $10,800 at a sale at Christie's in New York.