Weekly News Round Up

Venice preview

BBC News reports that the British Council has chosen Tracey Emin to produce a show of new work for the British Pavilion at next year’s 52nd Venice Biennale. The council’s Andrea Rose called the forty-three-year-old Emin ‘a storyteller with an extraordinary ability to scratch away the surfaces to what lies below.’ Emin will be the second woman to produce a solo show for the UK at the Venice Biennale, following Rachel Whiteread in 1997.

Sculptor Isa Genzken has been selected to represent Germany at the Biennale as well. She ‘represents the uncompromising artist of today,’ said Nicolaus Schafhausen, who is curator of the German pavilion. Images of Genzken’s work can be seen at the website of her longtime dealer, Galerie Daniel Buchholz.

Light, action

Artist Chuck Close is gearing up for a full-fledged battle with Olmstead Properties over a five-story condo the company wants to build next door to his NoHo co-op, reports Angela Montefinise for the New York Post. The complex would plunge Close’s studio into darkness, he says. Both the Met and MoMA wrote letters of support for Close, who said, ‘I can accept a loss of some light. I’m not unreasonable. But it would be a very good sign if the developer respected the artists who pioneered this neighborhood and came up with a compromise.’ Olmstead is ‘negotiating in good faith’ with neighbors, said president Sam Rosenblatt.

As reported in the LA Times, the FBI is investigating allegations that self-styled ‘Painter of Light’ Thomas Kinkade and some of his top executives fraudulently induced investors to open galleries and then ruined them financially, former dealers contacted by federal agents said. Investigators are focusing on issues raised in civil litigation by at least six former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners, people who have been contacted by the FBI said. The ex-owners allege in arbitration claims that, among other things, the artist known for his dreamily luminous landscapes and street scenes used his Christian faith to persuade them to invest in the independently owned stores, which sell only Kinkade’s work. “They really knew how to bait the hook,” said one former dealer who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case. “They certainly used the Christian hook.” Kinkade has denied the allegations in the civil litigation.

Looking back

As the fifth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center approaches, the World Trade Memorial Museum (due to be built by 2009) has installed some photos on the steel fence surrounding Ground Zero, an offering that has considerable poignancy. Titled “Here,” the open-air exhibition features 41 photographs from “Here Is New York: A Democracy of Photographs,” the collection of hundreds of 9/11 pictures taken by ordinary people and professionals alike that was originally projected in a SoHo storefront and later exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and other museums. The installation also includes ten photos by Chris Callis of remnants of the Trade Center, now in storage at a hangar at Kennedy Airport.

Auction room troubles

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Federal Court of Canada has rebuked Sotheby’s for fixing prices from 1993 to 2000, ordering the auction house to prevent “future illegal activities” and pay for competition regulators’ investigative costs. The order, obtained by Canada’s Competition Bureau, directs Sotheby’s to take measures to ensure it complies with existing rules. Sotheby’s also must pay for the C$800,000 ($720,000) probe and is barred from “doing any act or thing directed in the commission of an offence” forbidden by Canada’s competition law. Sotheby’s, the world’s second-biggest auction house, admitted to a U.S. court in October 2000 that it had conspired with larger rival Christie’s International to fix prices in international auctions.

Awards and commissions

The celebrated Kölner Dom, otherwise known as the Cologne Cathedral, has commissioned 74-year-old postmodernist painter Gerhard Richter to design a new 110-square-meter stained-glass window for the Gothic landmark. Richter’s window, which follows his early “color chart” pictures and uses glass squares in 80 different colors, is slated for an existing opening whose original glass was destroyed during World War II, and its design lost. The project is scheduled to be completed in early 2007. The artist is making a gift of the work, whose production cost, some €350,000, is being covered by donations.

Rebecca Horn has been awarded the tenth Piepenbrock prize for sculpture. As Die Zeit reports, the sixty-two-year-old artist was recognized for her wide range of works, which include installations, performances, texts, and films. The prize, accompanied by €50,000 ($64,000), will be presented to Horn by German president Horst Köhler during a ceremony on August 30 at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. Additionally, the Piepenbrock Förderpreis für Skulptur–a €12,500 ($16,000) biannual prize for younger sculptors–has been awarded to Felix Schramm. The artist, born in Düsseldorf in 1970, works with plaster boards, paint, wood, and found objects. An exhibition of his works, titled “Soft Corrosion,” is on view in the Hamburger Bahnhof’s WerkRaum through September 3.


Marion Cajori, an independent filmmaker who chronicled the creative process in documentaries about artists, has died of cancer at age fifty-six, reports the New York Times’ Roberta Smith. Over her career, Cajori worked as a director, producer, and writer. She earned her BFA from SVA in 1974, and was a member of the feminist editorial collective Heresies in the early ’70s. Her first film, Sept. 11, 1972, a Minimalist portrait of sunlight in her studio, was made with Joseph Kosuth. She also collaborated with the video artist Joan Jonas and the director Lizzie Borden. White Lies, her narrative short-form film of 1981, gave Willem Dafoe one of his first cinematic roles. A feature film on Chuck Close, her second about the artist, is to be released this year (from Artforum)

The online gallery

Artnet reports on an exhibition that might be of interest to any video art post-ers out there..Internet artist Guthrie Lonergan has come up with an ingenious curatorial project, organizing an online exhibition of 20 MySpace intro videos as part of “Time Shares,” a series of web-art exhibitions organized by Rhizome.net in collaboration with the New Museum. According to artist and critic Tom Moody, the MySpace intros are “the essence of traditional video art, which deals with themes of construction of identity, guerilla theater, acting out and ‘problematizing’ the medium (i.e., using it so badly that it becomes self-conscious).” Lonergan told Artnet News that he was drawn to these vids because the authors are “non-nerds dealing with technology, making their own websites. . . . all of them talking about the exact same things, addressing random visitors to their pages, though each in a slightly different way. I was really astonished by how many of these videos exist.” MySpace is, of course, the massively popular social-networking website, whose members can post short introductory videos — typically, members say hello and welcome visitors to their page — via the massively popular YouTube website of online videos. Lonergan’s selection of Myspace Intros can be accessed by clicking here.

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