NATIONAL ROUNDUP

FINALISTS SELECTED TO REDESIGN CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART: Michael J. Horvitz, president of the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clemusart.com), announced that six internationally renowned architecture firms have been chosen as finalists from a list of sixty-three to design the expansion and renovation of the institution: Beyer Blinder Belle (New York; Washington, DC); Foster and Partners (London, Berlin, Singapore); Frank O. Gehry & Associates (Santa Monica, CA); Pei Cobb Freed & Partners (New York); Rafael Vińoly Architects (New York); and David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services (Washington, DC; Fort Worth, TX). The CMA's Facilities Master Plan stipulates a total increase in space of approximately 100,000 square feet; this is the first major redesign of the museum in nearly thirty years.

NEW YORK POSTS OPEN: The not-for-profit exhibition space White Columns (www.whitecolumns.org) is losing its director, Paul Ha, who has been named deputy director at the Yale University Art Gallery (www.yale.edu/artgallery) in New Haven, CT, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art (www.metmuseum.org) will say good-bye to print curator Suzanne Boorsch, who will join Ha at Yale as curator of prints, drawings, and photography. Also joining the Yale University Art Gallery are Jennifer Gross, formerly a curator at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (www.gardnermuseum.org), who will be the new curator of European and contemporary art; and Jean Cadogan, an art professor at Hartford’s Trinity College, who will act as consulting curator. Artists Space (www.artistsspace.org) announced that curator Jenelle Porter is departing after two and a half years.

NEW DESIGN FOR THE HAMMER IN LA: The plans for a $25-million renovation of the UCLA Hammer Museum (www.hammer.ucla.edu) were recently announced by museum director Ann Philbin. They call for 3,700 square feet of additional gallery space, a 280-seat theater, and a new bookstore and café. The innovative plan, which promises to turn the museum into a giant light box with interior walls to be painted on directly by artists each month, was designed by Michael Maltzan in collaboration with graphic designer Bruce Mau and landscape architect Petra Blaisse. The renovation promises to create a sense of youthful, hip playfulness within the corporate tower in which the museum is located.

Reena Jana

PALAIS DE TOKYO LAUNCHES PROGRAM FOR EMERGING ARTISTS

The Palais de Tokyo in Paris (www.palaisdetokyo.com) has announced the creation of Le Pavillon, a study program for young artists that will begin in November 2001, shortly before the new center for contemporary art opens its doors to the public. The program is intended to give artists at the beginning of their careers the opportunity to produce their own works and to participate in the daily activities of the Palais de Tokyo. Only seven candidates will be selected, along with one or two curators or critics to realize individual and collective works. The deadline for applications is June 8.

The project originated from a series of workshops originally set up to operate while the Palais is under construction. In the first workshop, ten artists were sent to Morocco to make a collaborative film, which will be shown at the French film school La Fémis on June 14. Eight artists have also just returned from Corsica, where the second workshop was held.

“We wanted to give young artists a chance to produce their own works and to have the experience of working here in the eye of the storm,” explains Nicolas Bourriaud, who directs the Palais de Tokyo with Jérôme Sans. “Le Pavillon adds a platform for proposals and production.” Bourriaud also emphasizes the importance of facilitating artistic production and exchange. “We want to have artists working on site because the Palais is a place not just for the public but also for artists.”

In an attempt to insure a dynamic program, Le Pavillon will have no permanent teaching staff. Instead, French and foreign artists will be invited to oversee and guide the projects of the selected candidates. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Gabriel Orozco, and the French graphic design firm M/M (Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak) are responsible for the 2001-2002 program.

Jennifer Allen

WALKER SET TO EXPAND

There’s a reason the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis isn’t called a “museum,” says the institution’s director, Kathy Halbreich. Recently unveiled plans for the center’s $90 million expansion may well indicate why. Designed by this year’s Pritzker Prize winner, Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, the team behind the Tate Modern, the plan allots only 15,000 out of the 100,000 square feet being added to the building to galleries. Hence, though it will almost double the size of the museum, little new space will be available for exhibitions. “Our idea is to create a destination that isn’t dependent on the blockbuster. Experience itself becomes the blockbuster,” says Halbreich.

Instead of a museum, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron’s design is meant to evoke a “town square” by expanding the Walker’s garden and adding a 350-seat theater, outdoor terraces, a high-tech performance studio, and a new-media laboratory, along with a restaurant, a café, a shop, and underground parking. Construction is set to begin in 2003. “Some have already criticized it as being inefficient, circulation-wise. It’s true that we wanted to present a journey versus a linear progression,” says Halbreich. “Visitors are encouraged to wander. The possibility of bumping into someone or some idea by accident is actually what we want to happen.”

According to Halbreich, published reports that the Walker may close for up to a year for construction have been “speculative.” The expanded facility is scheduled to open in 2005. She also admits that Herzog & de Meuron wasn’t the Walker’s first choice. “We didn’t want to follow in the shadow of the Tate Modern.” Apparently, the complexity of the project mandated that the institution hire an experienced firm.

The Walker is currently beginning a fundraising campaign to raise money needed to pay for the project. While Halbreich won’t comment on how much has already been raised, she states the institution will seek $79 million from “individuals, foundations, and corporations,” with the remainder coming from its endowment.

Reena Jana

THE NEA TAPES, THE MOVIE

Sounds like the cast of an unlikely movie: Karen Finley and Andres Serrano costarring with the founder of the Christian Action Network, Martin Mawyer, and New York City mayor Rudolf Giuliani in a supporting role. But they all share screen time in the hour-long documentary film The NEA Tapes, which has been shown on the Bravo network and at a screening at Pace Wildenstein in New York. Its creators, New York artists Paul Lamarre and Melissa Wolf, are entering the documentary in film festivals this year with the hope of garnering a theatrical release.

To continue building momentum for the movie, which consists of short interviews with major players in the culture wars and the debate about government funding for the arts, Lamarre and Wolf have also just launched www.neatapes.com, which will include the entire archive of the team’s transcripts and videos of more than 300 interviews conducted since 1995. “There is a huge, vast array of viewpoints that need to be documented,” states Lamarre. “We believe it will be critical to look back at this time when the real groundwork for cultural policy is being made.”

The site currently features a selection of thirty-second QuickTime video clips featuring actor and activist Tim Robbins, and artists Chuck Close and Fred Wilson, among others. “The website allows us to continue the interviewing process and easily share what we’ve gathered with an international audience—which is an important dialogue that will help inform us in the US of other arts-funding conditions,” says Lamarre.

Reena Jana

TIMOTHY SMITH NAMED NEW ARMORY MANAGING DIRECTOR

Timothy H. Smith, a former investment banker and dot-com executive, has just been named managing director of the Armory Show.

Smith readily admits that his knowledge of the business and milieu of contemporary art stems primarily from his decade-long residence in West Chelsea—a fact, he says, that points to his understanding of that neighborhood's evolution into an art-world epicenter. Prior to his new post, he managed the New York office of AgEx.com, an online commodities exchange. Previously, he was executive vice president of the Manhattan Group, an investment banking firm.

“Anyone who remembers the early precursor's to the Gramercy shows, mounted by Pat Hearn and her colleagues, knows that they were spontaneous combustions of creative energy,” states Smith. “Hearn created something from nothing. Well, now, that something is here to stay and the business needs focused management staff.”

The 2001 Armory Show took place from February 23 through 26 on Piers 88 and 90 in New York City and featured 170 leading international galleries. Attendance more than doubled from the previous year to over 20,000 visitors. Yet many exhibiting dealers complained about the faraway location and the chaotic, two-venue structure, as well as an unprofessional staff. “I call the complaints 'feedback'. That exhibitors were disappointed wasn't a rumor, it was a fact,” states Smith. But he also insists that the Armory Show is a work in progress. “You have to acknowledge that we grew substantially, changed venue, changed vendors, and dealt with a blizzard on top of it all.”

Smith hints that the organization is considering new, more convenient venues, as well as a smaller scale. An announcement on both is forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Reena Jana