RecaP: Smart Giving in a Troubled Climate, Yazzy's at

BallerinaIN December, Joe and Nancy Briggs sat down in their home on Lake Canandaigua in western New York to take a hard look at their donations to charity. Their investments, like those of almost everyone else, were shrinking just as the pile of requests from charities was expanding accrding to the New York Times.

“When things go down, no matter how much you have, you think you are poorer and therefore your tendency is to withdraw completely,” said Mr. Briggs, a retired legal-publishing executive. “The problem is that this is the time when you can do the most good, when you really need to give.”

So the Briggses changed their giving priorities, at least until the economy recovers. What they devised was a strategy to fit the needs of the times. “We cut back a little on some agencies, like art galleries,” Mr. Briggs said. “I sent a note with each check saying we were cutting them back so we could give more for things like food banks, where they really need the money right now.”

Over all, the worst economy since the 1930s has halved many stock portfolios. Bailouts have put bonds at risk of inflation. And even the best jobs no longer seem secure. On top of this, many prosperous Americans find themselves helping grown children and other relatives who are out of work through no fault of their own. A third of the jobless do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

Many charities face not just tough times, but disaster. At some organizations, volunteer trustees, especially those on the finance committee, have grown accustomed to monthly projections of income and expenses that are soaked in ever more red ink.

Nationwide, charities are reporting that donations are flat

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Recap: Bidding Is Thin at Christie’s in London - Yazzy's at

Peter Doig’s oil “Night Playground” (1997-98).

Summer season of evening contemporary art auctions ended here at Christie’s on Tuesday night when collectors went bargain hunting, feeling comfortable dropping $2 million, but thinking hard when the numbers started rising according to the New York Times.

Bidding was thin at the sale, which consisted of commercially appealing art by popular, time-tested names. The 40 works brought $31.7 million, in the middle of the estimate of $28.6 million to $40.9 million. Five works failed to sell.

Three paintings, including canvases by Gerhard Richter and Richard Prince, vied for the title of top seller. The winner was a work by the Scottish artist Peter Doig, who has fetched solid prices here recently. On Tuesday “Night Playground,” his densely painted landscape from 1997-98 being sold by Joel Mallin, a New York collector, went for $5 million, well above its high estimate of $3 million. Five bidders competed for the work, which went to a telephone buyer. (Last week Sotheby’s sold “Almost Grown,” a Doig canvas from 2000, for $3.3 million.)

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Portrait of a Haunted Artist Who Befriended Giant Spiders, Yazzy's at

Art Kaleidoscope Foundation
Louise Bourgeois, who is now 96, in "Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine."

From an art historical perspective, the work of Louise Bourgeois effects a startling synthesis of traditions. In the 1930s Ms. Bourgeois fell in with the Paris Surrealists, and their touch (totemic, irrational, biomorphic, uncanny) can be felt on her sculptures, installations and drawings to this day. Other Modernist influences — the elemental rigor of Brancusi, the archaic vigor of Picasso — fused, in the postwar era, with her experiments in unorthodox materials and techniques (fabrics, knitting) and disquieting new forms (distorted anatomies, giant spiders) in sync with emerging ideas of the body, gender and sexuality.

A true (and sometimes terrifying) original, Ms. Bourgeois, now 96, is more than the sum of her parts. The uncommonly elegant and evocative portrait “Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine” reveals much about this haunting and haunted master while leaving intact what Georges Braque once wrote was the only thing that mattered in art: the thing you cannot explain.

At Ms. Bourgeois’s Brooklyn studio, the filmmakers Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach attend to her rambling, entrancing ruminations on the archetype of “the runaway girl”; the necessity of silence; and the power of fear and the primacy of memory in her work — of the mangled bodies of World War I veterans, of her mother twisting fabrics in a stream, of abandonment, of dreams.

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On the Beach, Yazzy's at

Richard Misrach
Untitled 1132-04 [Flippers], 2004
chromogenic print
Collection of the Artist.

For more than thirty years, the American photographer Richard Misrach (b. 1949) has made provocative work that addresses contemporary society's relationship to nature, especially the American West. Since 2001, he has made a series of large scale (six by ten feet), lushly colored photographs of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii.

Looking down from a hotel room directly adjacent to the beach, he has eliminated all references to the horizon and sky to record people immersed in the idyllic environment. Yet, despite the beauty of the scene, a strange sense of disquietude pervades these photographs.

Made in the days immediately after September 11, 2001, these photographs speak of the unease and sense of foreboding that pervaded the country after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The title of the series, On the Beach, is drawn from Nevil Shute's cold war novel about nuclear holocaust. This exhibition will present 19 of these photographs.

Medvedev to Give $170 Million for Pushkin Art Museum Expansion, Yazzy's at


According to -- The Russian government will spend more than 4 billion rubles ($170 million) to expand and modernize the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the museum's director said.

The Pushkin Museum is Moscow's leading collection of Western European art, and owns about 650,000 items. It attracts about 1 million visitors a year, and has one of the finest collections of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, with major works by Matisse, Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh.

The museum has the backing of the Foundation for Support of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, a private organization headed by Dmitry Medvedev until he became President of Russia in May.

``President Medvedev has been deeply involved in getting this support, for which we are very grateful,'' Irina Antonova, the museum's director, said in an interview. The money, given over three years, ``will help us expand and reconstruct the museum as part of plans to mark our centenary in 2012.''

In November, the museum approved plans by U.K. architect Norman Foster to add 110,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet) to the museum's current 40,000 square meters. The Pushkin aims to mark its centenary in 2012 with four new buildings on adjacent land within sight of the Kremlin, and the renovation of several decrepit czarist-era structures.

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