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Gift to the Whitney

Category: Misc./General Career News
Article Date: March 17, 2006 | Publication: New York Times | Author: CAROL VOGEL

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While some works in the Whitney Biennial will be bought for the museum's permanent collection, the Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli has decided to give the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum his "Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal's 'Caligula.'"

The five-and-a-half-minute video made its debut at the 2005 Venice Biennale and is now playing at the Whitney. It depicts the decadent government of the Roman emperor Caligula and stars Courtney Love, Benicio Del Toro, Milla Jovovich and Helen Mirren, with Mr. Vidal narrating.

Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim's curator of contemporary art, said Tony Podesta, chairman of the museum's photography committee, and his wife, Heather, were friends of Mr. Vezzoli's. They suggested that he give his video to the Guggenheim because the Whitney generally acquires work only by artists who, if not American, live in the United States. Mr. Vezzoli lives in Italy.

There are three editions of the video. Mr. Vezzoli is giving one to the Castello di Rivoli in Turin, Italy, and is negotiating with another European institution, which he refused to name.

"We're thrilled to have it," Ms. Spector said. "When Francesco made it, he thought of it as a pointed critique of abuse of power in this country."


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