May 11, 2002

Beck's Goes to Scottish Artist Toby Paterson

Toby Paterson last night became the second Scottish artist in three years to win the Beck’s Futures prize when he collected a check for £24,000 at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London.

May 10, 2002

Brancusi Sells for Record Price

A sculpture by Constantin Brancusi has broken the world record auction price for a sculpture, going for $18,159,500 at Christie's in New York. An anonymous telephone bidder smashed the record to obtain Danaïde, the 1913 gold-leaf sculpture of a woman's head.

May 10, 2002

Historic Paris Photos Sold

Images of street battles in Paris in 1848—thought to be the first examples of photo-reportage—have been sold in London for nearly £200,000.

May 10, 2002

Duchamp's Urinal on the Block

One of the most famous of all works of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp's enamel urinal entitled Fountain, could fetch up to $2.5 million at auction on Monday.

May 10, 2002

Painting is Back, Again

The idea that painting is dead is more passé than ever, argues Roberta Smith, citing the prevalence of painting in New York's commercial galleries. Maybe dealers have put their best (selling) feet forward for the annual rite of spring auctions.

May 10, 2002

Cézanne and Degas Top of the Pack at Auctions

Sotheby's held a strong sale of Impressionist and modern art on Wednesday night, with a Cézanne still life bringing $16.7 million, a Degas pastel being snapped up for $16.5 million, and a Giacometti bust selling for $13.7 million.

May 10, 2002

Where's the Money?

Approximately 130,000 customers cheated in the price-fixing schemes of Sotheby's and Christie's are wondering if they'll ever get back their money.

May 8, 2002

Selling Andy

More than any other artist, Andy Warhol blurred the lines between art and commerce. But even the artist would probably be amazed to see the marketing blitz for the “Andy Warhol Retrospective,” which will open May 25 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. For the first time, this museum has teamed up with city government, the Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, corporate sponsors, and private donors to try to produce a blockbuster.

May 8, 2002

Documenta11, Le Pen's Culture Politics, and More

MIXED RESPONSES IN GERMANY TO DOCUMENTA DIASPORA: Initial reactions in Germany to the list of 118 artists selected for Documenta11 have been less than enthusiastic, despite the long buildup. Writing in the Tagezeitung, critic Harald Fricke was pleased with the broad internationalism of the show, but he was also irritated, somewhat inexplicably, to find “a long-forgotten artist” such as Victor Gruppo among “old stars” such as Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Wall, and Leon Golub in curator Okwui Enwezor’s “transnational and trans-generational” quinquennial: “Almost a third of the artists are around sixty, on the prime path to retirement age.” Yet Fricke embraced the selection of Candida Höfer over Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, whom he dubbed “money-printing machines.” In the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frieze editor Jörg Heiser describes Documenta11 as the “world parliament of the arts” and wonders if the urgent drive toward equality might not end up depoliticizing the exhibition through “passionless indifference.” Perhaps most skeptically, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s Thomas Wagner (not available online) takes Enwezor to task for his elusive answers to questions about how the selections were made. Enwezor is in New York this week for a press conference.

LE PEN WANTS TRUTH AND BEAUTY: In the wake of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s surprising success in the first round of French presidential elections (though he was soundly defeated in the general election), Le Monde’s Catherine Bédarida reviewed his extreme-right-wing party’s program for the arts. According to the official party platform of Le Pen’s Front National, French civilization has been “systematically destroyed” by four decades of “culture Malraux”—a reference to the writer and former minister of culture André Malraux. In addition to “cultural genocide,” the party criticizes “official art”—apparently nonfigurative art—supported by the current regime, which, in its view, is guiding museums in a “totalitarian” manner. Bernard Antony, the cultural representative for the Front National, claims, “France is living in a Nazi or Stalinist era from the point of view of art, a continuation of a system that led to millions of deaths in China.” Antony proposes to replace the Ministère de la Culture with a ministry for fine arts dedicated to “truth and beauty.” He would also eliminate “useless” funding programs, such as FRAC (Fonds Régionaux d’Art Contemporain). “One must support artistic creation,” adds Antony, “provided that it corresponds to public taste.” Read article.

NEW TEAM AT THE KUNSTVEREIN MÜNCHEN: Recently in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Justin Hoffmann spoke with Maria Lind and Søren Grammel, the new director and the new curator, respectively, at the Kunstverein München. Their first project is “Neustart” (New start), not one but four exhibitions, which opened last week. When asked to explain what one can expect to see in upcoming projects, Lind replied, “I’m interested in works that address our environment and question the relation to the everyday. There will be objects to see at the Kunstverein, but my main focus will be situation-based, process-oriented works.” Whatever the process, Lind and Grammel apparently believe in a certain amount of transparency: Apolonija Sustersic—one of several artists who worked on a new concept for the Kunstverein—placed one of the offices right in the main entrance hall.

Jennifer Allen