November 16, 2007

Artists Announced for 2008 Whitney Biennial

As the countdown to the 2008 Whitney Biennial begins, details are emerging about that giant survey of American art that takes over most of the museum’s Marcel Breuer building, reports Carol Vogel for the New York Times. The next one, opening on March 6, will briefly spill into the Seventh Regiment Armory, with performances, installations, and other events put on by the Whitney in collaboration with Art Production Fund. The Biennial is curated by Henriette Huldisch, assistant curator at the Whitney, and Shamim M. Momin, associate curator at the Whitney and branch director of the Whitney Museum at Altria, and overseen by Donna De Salvo, the museum’s chief curator. Three advisors worked with the team as well: Studio Museum director Thelma Golden, Wexner Center director of media arts Billl Horrigan, and independent curator Linda Norden. The eighty-one artists selected to participate are as follows:

Rita Ackermann, Natalia Almada, Edgar Arceneaux, Fia Backström, John Baldessari, Robert Bechtle, Walead Beshty, Carol Bove, Joe Bradley, Matthew Brannon, Bozidar Brazda, Olaf Breuning, Jedediah Caesar, William Cordova, Dexter Sinister, Harry (Harriet) Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Shannon Ebner, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Roe Ethridge, Kevin Jerome Everson, Omer Fast, Robert Fenz, Coco Fusco, Gang Gang Dance, Amy Granat and Drew Heitzler, Rashawn Griffin, Adler Guerrier, MK Guth, Fritz Haeg, Rachel Harrison, Ellen Harvey, Mary Heilmann, Leslie Hewitt, Patrick Hill, William E. Jones, Karen Kilimnik, Alice Könitz, Louise Lawler, Spike Lee, Sherrie Levine, Charles Long, Lucky Dragons, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Corey McCorkle, Rodney McMillian, Julia Meltzer and David Thorne, Jennifer Montgomery, Olivier Mosset, Matt Mullican, Neighborhood Public Radio (NPR), Ruben Ochoa, DJ Olive, Mitzi Pederson, Kembra Pfahler/The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Seth Price, Stephen Prina, Adam Putnam, Michael Queenland, Jason Rhoades, Ry Rocklen, Bert Rodriguez, Marina Rosenfeld, Amanda Ross-Ho, Mika Rottenberg, Heather Rowe, Eduardo Sarabia. Melanie Schiff, Amie Siegel, Lisa Sigal, Gretchen Skogerson, Michael Smith, Agathe Snow, Frances Stark, Mika Tajima/New Humans, Javier Téllez, Cheyney Thompson, Mungo Thomson, Leslie Thornton, Phoebe Washburn, James Welling, and Mario Ybarra Jr.

November 16, 2007

Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards Announced; LeWitt Estate to Be Represented by Pace

The winners of the UK's largest art prizes, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards, were announced last night, reports Bloomberg. Five artists and three musicians have won Ł45,000 ($92,000) each. This year’s art winners are Claire Barclay, Phyllida Barlow, Michael Fullerton, Ryan Gander, and Mark Leckey. This year’s panel of judges included a number of curators, a critic, and the artist Phil Collins.

Elsewhere, Carol Vogel reports in the New York Times that PaceWildenstein has been selected as the sole representive of artist Sol LeWitt's estate. Pace has handled LeWitt’s work since 1965. Arne Glimcher, PaceWildenstein’s chairman, said the gallery was planning a special LeWitt show, “Exchanges,” for the summer of 2009. “Throughout his life Sol exchanged works with artists like Eva Hesse, Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Richard Serra, and Robert Mangold,” he said. “The exhibition will show all the great art in the LeWitt collection, and the works he exchanged them for.”

November 16, 2007

Awards and Criticism for Abu Dhabi Guggenheim's Planners

Earlier this week, the American Federation of Arts bestowed its annual Cultural Leadership Awards on individuals who have made important contributions to the museum world. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority and Tourism Development and Investment Company, received one of the awards, for his vision in creating the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island. Other winners were Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim Foundation, for his role in developing the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum, and architect Frank Gehry, for his “innovative approach to museum design, most recently demonstrated in his proposal for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum.”

Meanwhile, according to Colleen Long of the Associated Press, the Guggenheim Museum has come under criticism from a human rights organization: The Persian Gulf nation has “systemic” abuse problems at construction sites, Human Rights Watch spokeswoman Sarah Leah Whitson said, citing hazardous work conditions, withheld wages, and confiscated passports. The group believes that Guggenheim Museum officials have not addressed concerns about the treatment of workers who will build the Abu Dhabi branch.

November 15, 2007

Ann Hamilton and Edgar Arcenaux Among Winners of Fifty USA Fellowships

United States Artists (USA), a national organization that provides direct support for living artists, today announced the recipients of fifty USA Fellowships for 2007 totaling $2.5 million. This marks the second year of the USA Fellows program, which annually awards fifty fifty-thousand-dollar unrestricted grants to artists of all disciplines from across the country, in recognition of the caliber and impact of their work. Expert panels selected the fifty-three winning artists (including three collaboratives) from among 344 nominated applicants ranging from twenty-three to ninety-seven years of age and hailing from forty-two states. The USA Fellows for 2007 will be honored on November 17 in Los Angeles. Artists working in eight artistic disciplines were awarded, including three in architecture and design, five in crafts and traditional arts, six in dance, nine in literature, five in media, six in music, six in theater arts, and ten in visual arts. Among the winners are choreographers Anna Halprin and Bill T. Jones, visual artists Ann Hamilton and Edgar Arcenaux, composer and pianist Jason Moran, architects Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Tehranti of office dA, and writer Charles D’Ambrosio. For more information, see the press release here.

November 15, 2007

Sotheby's $315.9 Million Sale Highlights Market's Continuing Strength

The art world continued its shopping spree last night at Sotheby’s, where contemporary art collectors and dealers dropped a cool $315.9 million—a record auction total for Sotheby’s, reports Carol Vogel in the New York Times. Of the seventy-one lots offered at Sotheby’s, only six failed to sell. “On Tuesday night, people didn’t know what to expect,” Philippe Ségalot, a Manhattan dealer who bought several works for three different clients, said at Sotheby’s. “But tonight the mood was far better.” Second Version of Study for Bullfight No. 1, 1969, on a theme that Francis Bacon was obsessed with, was the evening’s most expensive painting, selling for $45.9 million. Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold), 1994–2006, a monumental bright-red sculpture by Jeff Koons that adorned the cover of Sotheby’s auction catalog, went for $23.5 million. A gray and black canvas by Mark Rothko sold for $10.7 million, against its estimate of $12 million to $18 million. (The price with premium was $12 million.) The sellers were the Iowa collectors John and Mary Pappajohn, who had bought the canvas at Christie’s for $800,000 in 1996.

November 15, 2007

National Medal of Arts Winners; Castello di Rivoli Grant Winner Announced

The artist Andrew Wyeth was among nine recipients of the National Medal of Arts announced yesterday by President Bush, reports Lawrence van Gelder in the New York Times. The nominations were managed by the National Endowment for the Arts. Other recipients of the medal included the painter George Tooker and arts patrons Roy R. Neuberger and Henry Steinway.

Castello di Rivoli has announced that a 2007 Fellowship for Young Italian Artists has been awarded to Christian Frosi. The winning artist, selected every year from a list of candidates under the age of forty, receives a grant of twenty thousand euros (twenty-nine thousand dollars). Selected by Marcella Beccaria, curator at Castello di Rivoli, Frosi joins the ranks of 2007 fellowship winners Alex Cecchetti and Alice Guareschi.

November 15, 2007

New Seventy-Five-Story Nouvel Tower for Site Next to MoMA

A new seventy-five-story tower designed by the architect Jean Nouvel for a site next to the Museum of Modern Art in New York promises a faceted exterior, tapering to a series of crystalline peaks, suggesting an atavistic preoccupation with celestial heights. New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff writes that it brings to mind John Ruskin’s praise for the irrationality of Gothic architecture: “It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.” Commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer, the tower will house a hotel, luxury apartments, and three floors that will be used by MoMA to expand its exhibition space. Although MoMA completed an $858 million expansion three years ago, it sold the midtown lot to Hines for $125 million earlier this year as part of an elaborate plan to grow still further. Hines would benefit from the museum’s prestige; MoMA would get roughly forty thousand square feet of additional gallery space in the new tower, which will connect to its second-, fourth-, and fifth-floor galleries just to the east. The $125 million would go toward its endowment.

UPDATE, 11/16, 415 PM: Renderings of the proposed building have been published at the website

November 15, 2007

New Art Restitution Office to Open in Berlin in January

A new office within Germany's Institute for Museum Research is opening in January to help identify and research art stolen by the Nazis, the Associated Press reports (via the Boston Globe). The office, which comes under the State Museums of Berlin, will help museums, libraries, and archives identify items that were taken from their rightful owners during the Nazi period, Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said. “I expect from this an important push in Germany in the clarifying of restitution questions,” he said. Neumann founded a working group to look into how to deal with restitution issues, after Berlin sparked controversy with a decision last year to return Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Berlin Street Scene to the heirs of a Jewish collector who said the Nazis forced the family to sell it in the 1930s. Some art experts questioned whether the Expressionist work was sold under duress and whether its return was legal. With the new office, which has a $1.47 million annual budget, Neumann said he hoped the restitution process would be better coordinated and more transparent.

November 14, 2007

Enthusiastic Bidders Set Records at Christie's Contemporary Art Sale

Despite fears that the art market might finally begin to crack, an overflowing salesroom of enthusiastic bidders last night at Christie’s proved the naysayers wrong as sixteen record prices, for artists including Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter, and Lucian Freud, propelled the market for postwar and contemporary art to new heights, writes Carol Vogel in today’s New York Times. The entire sale produced a strong total: $325 million, against an estimate of $271.2 million to $373.3 million. Of the sixty-six works offered, all but five sold. David Rockefeller’s success last spring in selling his 1950 Rothko for $72.8 million, a record price for the artist, has drawn many more Rothkos to auction. Untitled (Red, Blue, Orange), a classic abstract canvas from 1955, became the most expensive work of the evening. Five bidders tried for the painting, which sold to a telephone bidder for $34.2 million, against a high estimate of $30 million. Betting on the strength of the market, Kent Logan, a San Francisco collector, offered Burning Gas Station, a 1965–66 painting by Ed Ruscha. His gamble paid off. The painting, which was estimated at $4 million to $6 million, was snapped up by Larry Gagosian for $6.9 million, another record price. Norman and Norah Stone, also from San Francisco, were the sellers of Piney Woods Nurse, 2002, by Richard Prince, whose retrospective is now at the Guggenheim Museum. Prince also scored a record price. The painting was bought by Jay Jopling, the London dealer, for $6 million, soaring above its $2.2 million high estimate.