So Paulo Biennial Opens Doors, Jerry Saltz Ogles the Met's Sexiest Art, and More Must-Read Art News

So Paulo Biennial Opens Doors, Jerry Saltz Ogles the Met's Sexiest Art, and More Must-Read Art News

São Paulo Biennial Opens: The 29th edition of the exhibition, titled "There Is Always a Cup of Sea to Sail in" (a line from poet Jorge de Lima), will run through December 12 with work by 159 artists arrayed in a pavilion designed by Oscar Niemeyer. [Art Daily]

From Hot Pots to Erotic Art: New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz picks the five steamiest works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. There is not a single work of modern art in sight. [NYM]

Christie's Asia Dynamo Departs: Theow H. Tow, the deputy chairman who opened the auction house's critical Hong Kong and Singapore offices, is retiring after 30 years with the auctioneers. [Lindsay Pollock]

All Roads Lead to Koh: Blogger Paddy Johnson provides a terrifyingly complete account of Terence Koh's social relations in the New York art world. [NYM]

Basquiat and Blackness: Village Voice art critic Christian Viveros-Fauné considers the legacy of the downtown artist, who would have turned 50 this year. His "work retains an undeniable energy and a magpie’s love of art history," Viveros-Fauné writes, suggesting that Basquiat's commercial success bought him "a place in liberal culture that afforded him class privileges in exchange for racial ghost-busting." He was "was not black, he was famous. Except, of course, when he wanted to hail a taxi." [The Paris Review]

The Father of the Happening: Alex Ross provides an impressive guide to John Cage's life, from his tutelage under Schoenberg to his silent "4'33"" piece to his impressive knowledge of mushrooms to an unpublished piece of writing that praises Merce Cunningham's, ahem, intimate physique. [New Yorker]

Snake Oil as Art: Randy Kennedy asks if the work offibbing performers should be discredited, in the wake of a summerfilled with even more art-world liars and cheats than usual. [NYT]

Charles Saatchi is Disappointed Damien Hirst Stopped Smoking:This is one thing we learned from this Q&A with the YBA artist, whose star power took yet another knock in this weekend's Lehman Brothers sale. Anotheris how Hirst feels about money: "I think money is important foreveryone, because the lack of it is so painful." And how he feels aboutreligion: "Religion is serious shit, isn't it? We're all trying to findour way through the darkness in our lives." [Guardian]

Gwangju Biennale Prizes Awarded: South Korean sculptor Haegue Yang took home the event's young artist award, while German multimedia artist Gustav Metzger earned the the established artist award. [GB]

RIP Ralph T. Coe, Pioneering Museum Director: Coe, a former director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, was a passionate advocate for Native American art, whose embrace of the field led to the museum's opening of a much-praised set of American Indian art galleries this spring. [NYT]

The Write Stuff: Erica Cooke has been picked as Frieze magazine's 2010 Writer's Prize winner, taking home £2,000 ($3,160) and a commission for the magazine's January/February issue. [Frieze]

The Loneliest Richard Serra Sculpture: The artist's studio is keeping mum on details about one of the artist's sculptures that has been sitting in storage in the Bronx for years. It is a little bit odd that the Times chooses not to identify the bloggers — like, say, — that wrote about this years ago. [NYT]

A New, Improved Armory: The Park Avenue Armory is positioning itself as a potential art-world player after a $200 million renovation of its 55,000-square-foot Drill Hall, one of the largest single exhibition spaces in New York. [NYT]

Ségalot Aims High: Philippe Ségalot, the former head of Christie's contemporary art department, is putting the finishing touches on the sale he has organized at Phillips, which could bring in a $80 million haul. [NYT]

VIDEO OF THE DAY: In a charming interview, James Franco admits that the "class" he notoriously fell asleep during at NYU was actually a lecture by artist William Kentridge. As he explains, "They also held it later than usual, and I was tired!" (Starts at 2:55) [Showbiz 411]