The week became progressively calm as final reports trickled in from Venice and Basel, where strong projects, decent sales, and a party or ten left fairgoers tired, but satiated. Stateside, The Armory Show announced the commission of British artist Susan Collis to create a new visual identity for its 2010 fair. Collis meticulously recreates mundane objects; the Armory’s Wesite cites Made Good (2007), a Phillips screw made of gems and precious metals, as a typical example of her work, which will help establish the fair’s image. The Frieze Art Foundation announced its 2009 curatorial program, including Frieze Projects and the Cartier Award. Curated by artist Neville Wakefield, Frieze Projects will feature seven site-specific commissions by artists Mike Bouchet, Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth, Ruth Ewan, Ryan Gander, Per-Oskar Leu, Monika Sosnowska and Stephanie Syjuco.
In New York, owner Becky Smith announced the closure of her Chelsea space, Bellwether Gallery. Smith opened the gallery a decade ago in Williamsburg, and plans to continue working with artists in a private capacity. Other galleries are shoring up for the summer, too: 303 Gallery will consolidate its two spaces following the closure of its current show, and The Proposition will remain an online-only entity until it finds a new space.
In museum news, the UC Hammer Museum was awarded a $1 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation’s Arts Innovation Fund, along with $2 million in private grant money which will help ease its operating costs. Elsewhere in California, the Orange County Museum of Art is under fire for quietly selling of 18 California Impressionist paintings to an anonymous collector, thus removing them from public view. A U.S. District Justice issued a memo chastising the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum for secretly settling out of court with a family who claimed ownership to two Picassos, MoMA’s Boy Leading a Horse (1906), and the Guggenheim’s Le Moulin de la Galette (1900). On a more positive note, what is widely believed to be Michangelo's first painting, one of the Renaissnce master's four canvases (and the only one held in an American collection) is now on view to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
[“Michelangelo’s First Painting” remains through Sept. 7 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; image courtesy the Kimball Art Museum.]