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Plans Revealed for new Miami Art Museum prior to Art Basel opening

Timing is everything. Just three weeks ago, with the international art world about to descend on Miami for the annual Art Basel fair, Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron unveiled their long awaited plans for the new Miami Art Museum, which will move from its current landlocked plaza near the civic center off Flagler Street to a breathtaking bayfront cultural complex.

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Located in downtown Miami in a park overlooking Biscayne Bay, the new Miami Art Museum will have 120,000 sq feet of programmable indoor exhibition space, plus 80,000 sq feet of space outside for art exhibitions, educational activities, relaxation and dining. Also located in the Museum Park will be the Miami Science Museum, as well as a branch of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, creating a tourist destination and cultural center in the heart of the city.

Tibet House US Benefit Auction @ Christie's Rockefeller Plaza, November 18, 2009

The annual Tibet House US auction was held on Wednesday, November 18, 2009. It hosted 450 generous souls and successfully raised more than 300 thousand dollars. These will go to benefit ongoing programs at the House as well as educational efforts to preserve the Tibetan language and the cultural heritage of song, dance, painting and Buddhist philosophy, both in the Dharamsala exile and also in the local New York - New Jersey Tibetan community.

The event has been a cherished spot on my social calendar for many years, and not just for its intrinsic glamour (where Uma Thurman and Donna Karan go, so shall I wish to go), nor for the gathering of so much wonderful art and fashion under one roof, so many goods and services donated to a most worthy cause. Not just for the opportunity to sample the rarefied air of Christie's Rockefeller Plaza once again. Not even for the many friends and acquaintances I invariably meet, which lends the event a homecoming feeling for the intersecting worlds of music and art and fashion that comprise the downtown demimonde.

Jon Stewart Impersonates Glenn Beck

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From Gawker on The Coming War for Glenn Beck's Internal Organs:

On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart performed a bravura 8-and-a-half minute monologue in the style of Glenn Beck on the subject of Glenn Beck's appendicitis.

The highlight is probably the unveiling of the conspiratorial internal organ chalkboard. All the notes — references to old and discredited texts, the Founding Fathers, transparently phony stabs at nonpartisanship, crying — are hit, though Stewart never quite reaches the operatic unhingedness of a genuine Beck performance. The glasses are a wonderful touch, though.

Dia To Return To Chelsea

From Lindsay Pollock:

After a lengthy search for a new home, the Dia Art Foundation will construct a brand new building in Chelsea at 545 West 22nd Street, a property the foundation already owns.

Dia, a presence in Chelsea since 1986, vacated two Chelsea venues in 2004. The foundation sold 548 West 22nd Street for $38.6 million to an unknown foreign buyer who has since lent the building to the not-for-profit X Initiative.

Dia leased a second property at 545 West 22nd Street to PaceWildenstein. Dia plans to begin construction in 2012, after Pace’s lease has terminated.

The new outpost, Dia:Chelsea, will exhibit commissioned artworks, long-term installations, as well as host public programs.

Dia is revealing little about the design or architect of the new building, other than to say it will be a “utilitarian space designed for the experience of art,” in a statement.

Early Performa 09 Wins: Guy Ben-Ner and Ragnar Kjartansson

November 3, 2009. The current edition of the Performa biennial, just a few days out of the starting gate, has already produced two winners: a video by Israeli artist Guy Ben-Ner (of Moby Dick and Stealing Beauty fame - the latter reviewed here) and Icelandic artist/musician Ragnar Kjartansson, abetted by Alterazioni Video from Italy, who premiered the drolly anarchic Symphony No. 1.

I was lucky to catch both events on Monday night, as they were scheduled a scant hour apart and threatened to overlap. Fortunately there were just a few blocks separating them in the East Village, which is shaping up as ground zero for Performa 09. An embarrassment of riches is planned over the next three weeks all over the city - exhibitions, screenings, panels, musical performances, poetry readings and spoken word, alchemical experiments, pamphleteering, street interventions, dance, new media, food and fashion shows - and can be followed on the biennial website.

Guy Ben-Ner

Editions/Artists' Books Fair Benefit: Thursday November 5, X Initiative

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E/AB is pleased to announce that the Opening Night Preview will take place on Thursday, 5 November, 2009, from 6 to 9 pm at X Initiative, 548 West 22nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue. Proceeds will benefit the Annual Exhibition Fund at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center.

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased in person at P.S.1 or at agnès b. locations throughout NYC, or online at
Each ticket is tax deductible in the amount of $30.

Dishing With John

John Lurie's show of paintings at Fredericks & Freiser Gallery occasioned the following interview in New York Press, which reveals him to be a low key, dryly caustic, self deprecating satirist, a mordantly droll observer of foibles and egos, the same fierce yet gentle iconoclast we have known and admired since the 1970s. Interspersed with the interview are images from his current show taken from the gallery website, and of course their very determinative titles.

Nancy Spero, 1926 - 2009


Nancy Spero, artist, feminist, activist, wife, mother, and a great presence in the art world, passed away yesterday. She was 83 years old. The above video snippet from last year's Art:21 gives some idea of her modesty, her fierce intelligence, her unpretentious brilliance. She will be sorely missed.

Artists Exhibiting in Vacant Commercial Spaces, New York 2009

Matthew Lusk's Untitled Hobo at the NADA County Affair

I read an article in the NY Times on Monday, October 12, 2009, entitled "Luring Artists to Lend Life to Empty Storefronts". At the time, I thought it might inspire an interesting posting, especially considering an opening I had recently attended way downtown (south of Trinity Church) which the article failed to mention. Organized by Ellen Scott's Smart Spaces, which "presents contemporary art in the windows of vacant storefronts", the exhibition Regeneration opened October 7th at 88 Greenwich Street and featured window installations by Kim Krans, Hilary Harnischfeger, and Cordy Ryman.

But somehow I lost the impetus for this posting until a series of Facebook "friends" redirected my attention to the NY Times article, the thesis of which is that

as the recession drags on and storefronts across New York remain empty, commercial landlords are turning to an unlikely new class of tenants: artists... On terms that are cut-rate and usually temporary — a few weeks or months — the artist gets a gallery or studio, and the landlord gets a vibrant attraction that may deter crime and draw the next wave of paying tenants.

Art Review Power 100 for 2009: Year of the Curator

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Art Review magazine unveiled their Power 100 list at the Frieze Art Fair in London. Damien Hirst, voted number one last year and the cover boy of Art Review's October 2009 issue, plummeted this year to number 48, indicating a possible reaction to the star artist syndrome occasioned by current economic worries. Although artists such as Bruce Nauman (number 10), Jeff Koons (13), Fischli & Weiss (19) and Mike Kelley (20) are highly placed.

Bruce Nauman

In addition to the expected mega dealers and mega collectors, a number of curators have garnered top power spots, led by omnipresent curator, panelist and art world organizer Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Swiss-born critic and co-director of Exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery. He is this year's numero uno.

Hans Ulrich Obrist

Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA, took second place; he did not even appear in last year's list. Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, came in third.

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