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  • PEACE WALL: France celebrates the unveiling of its Peace Wall 2000 beside the Eiffel Tower, a 17-meter long, 9-meter high wall covered in the word "peace" in 32 languages. Artist Clara Halter says the wall was inspired by Jerusalem's Wailing Wall. It has "holes for members of the public to place their own personal wishes." CBC 3/30/00
  • EVERYTHING OLD AND NEW AGAIN: American architect Rick Mather has been entrusted to redesign and redevelop London's South Bank. Mather has been working in London for 30 years, putting his modernist touch on a series of redevelopment projects, including the Dulwich Picture Gallery, National Maritime Museum, and Oxford's Ashmolean Museum. His South Bank scheme blends conservation and renewal.  The Telegraph 3/31/00
  • DON'T FENCE ME IN: A fence being built around the Pantheon in Rome in hopes of protecting it from vandals is earning the ire of Romans. "Should art and architectural treasures be left to be enjoyed as they are, despite the risks of vandals, thieves and pollution? Or should they be fenced off, sealed behind bulletproof glass or hauled off to museums with modern-day copies as stand-ins?" Washington Post 03/31/00
  • FOR MATURE AUDIENCES: A collection of ancient Roman erotica, unearthed from Pompeii and Herculaneum, will open to the public for the first time next month after being stashed in a Naples museum for 200 years. The so-called "secret cabinet" of artifacts ranges from "mythological scenes of love and sex between nymphs, gods, and satyrs that decorated Roman homes to erotic images which were hung in brothels." Times of India (Reuters) 3/31/00 
  • PYRAMID SCHEME: French archeologists have discovered another pyramid near Cairo, built for a queen some 4000 years ago. The find boosts the number of pyramids in Egypt to 108. Fox News (Reuters) 03/30/00
  • THE POLITICS OF STAMPS: Commemorative stamps are big big business, and the US Post Office has been releasing a flood of them - 5 billion to 6 billion a year: singles, sheets, rolls, blocks, booklets, commemorating everything from... well... Washington Post 03/31/00 
  • SAVED FROM THE BLOCK: As in auction block, of course. US customs officials in New York seized a 10th-century Chinese marble sculpture that they said had been stolen from an ancient tomb and was set to be sold at Christie's auction gallery. The sculpture is said to be one of ten ripped from the Five Dynasties tomb of Wang Chuzhi in Hebei Province, in northeastern China, in 1994. New York Times 03/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • UNSITED? The drawings (by Frank Gehry) have already been done for the Guggenheim's new branch in lower Manhattan. But the city of New York may have other plans for the site Guggenheim officials had settled on. New York Times 03/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • PILING ON: As many as 200 Australian art and antique dealers may file lawsuits against Sotheby's and Christie's, charging the auction houses with collusion on fixing commissions during the 1990s. Sydney Morning Herald 03/30/00
  • MILLENNIAL AMBITION: London's much-hyped Millennium Dome has unveiled its enduring legacy - a collection of newly commissioned artworks, all of which are to "serve as reminders of Britain's hopes, fears, dreams and achievements as it entered the third millennium."  London Evening Standard 03/29/00
  • A TRAIN WRECK WITH SURVIVORS: This year's Whitney Biennial was supposed to show that there's good art outside the main art centers. But "the show has remarkably few surprises, and most of these aren't that good. With several notable exceptions, too many of the under-known artists here turn out to be that way for a reason, which is the weakness of their work. This suggests two possible explanations. Either the centers are more permeable than we think—that is, 'good art' finds a way to get known—or the curators were too narrow. Village Voice 03/29/00 
  • BACK FROM THE BRINK: After drifting into obscurity, and to the brink of closing down, due to financial woes over the last 14 years, the Detroit Institute of Arts is back in the black due to a new management structure, an infusion of cash from private donors, and a major exhibition of van Gogh's paintings and drawings. "I haven't seen it this crowded, the lines were terrific," said one visitor. New York Times 0 3/29/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • NOT HERE, NOT NOW: In a rare show of public protest, some of China's preeminent architects and scholars are voicing their opposition to a government-backed plan to build a modern 2,500-seat opera house near Mao's mausoleum in downtown Beijing. Critics of the Grand National Theatre - or "big duck egg," as its glass-and-titanium design is becoming known - cite aesthetic as well as economic rationales. "The to cover 25 acres that supported hundreds of courtyard houses until they were bulldozed during the past few months." Financial Times 0 3/28/00
  • BUILDING POLITICS: When the government of Germany moved its capital back to Berlin, it faced a building problem. No one care much about the East German buildings thrown up in the last 55 years. But "the unique style of the Third Reich's state architecture - huge, bleak geometrical structures with endless corridors are an impressive reminder of that terrible era. Both architects and the new tenants had to modernize these relics of totalitarian rule in a way filled their offices and halls with the spirit of a modern liberal democracy." Die Welt 03/29/00
  • COURTING CONTROVERSY: With the inclusion of provocative works by Chris Ofili, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, and others, the 12th Sydney Biennale, which opens in May, seems ready (and eager?) for some Brooklyn Museum-style publicity. Museum of Contemporary Art Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor said the show will "no doubt attract attention with Guo-Qiang's naked woman on a horse...Chris Ofili, the artist who uses elephant dung, and Yayoi Kusama's soft may well create outrage." Be careful what you wish for. Sydney Morning Herald 3/28/00
  • MARRIED TO THE MOB: Scottish painter Peter Howson has come clean about his dealings with Glasgow's mafia underworld for the last 15 years. Internationally regarded for his "macho figurative paintings," Howson explains "how his strange relationship with the world of crime began when he was visited in the 1980s by the kingpin of the Glasgow crime scene, the late Arthur Thompson, Sr., who offered cash on the spot for a canvas. Howson found himself supplying paintings to the city's criminals for a fraction of the price charged by his London dealer. When he tried to renegotiate, he got death threats. Gangsters like art, it seems, but they like it cheap." The Guardian 3/28/00
  • MONEY TO BURN?:  "The art trade, the most discontented profession on earth apart from farmers, has been groaning for nine years about lack of buyers. In 1999, as times turned good, it groaned about lack of sellers. For all its moans, it has done well in pulling pictures out for sale." The Maastricht European Fine Art Fair showcased a stellar body of "hidden treasures" this year. The Fair closed yesterday, but here's a top-10 list of masterpieces still available for sale. London Evening Standard 03/28/00
  • WE WEAR CLOTHES IN BOCA: Artist's painting is removed by city employees in Florida because figures in the painting weren't wearing clothes. Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel 03/27/00 
  • LET THE LAWSUIT COMMENCE: After it was discovered the Seattle Art Museum was in possession of a Matisse stolen by the Nazis during WWII, they were ordered to return it to its original heir. Then SAM tried to sue the New York art gallery who sold them the piece, but the judge threw out the case. In light of new evidence, however, the judge has decided to let the trial go ahead. Seattle Times 03/25/00
  • EIGHT PLUS ONE: Today the Philadelphia Museum of Art will unveil eight paintings that have been donated by two pioneer American art collectors. The gift, which consists of eight paintings by the artist group known as "The Eight," and one work by an artist outside the group will substantially strengthen the museum's 20th century collection.  Five of The Eight painters were known as Ashcan realists - artists who "took their subject matter from street life, which more academically inclined artists and critics found too coarse for fine art." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/27/00
  • ON EDGE: The new Tate Britain hasn't lost any of its edge for concentrating on the Brits. London Times 03/27/00
  • REDEFINING BRITAIN'S ART: The new Tate Britain has opened with some new ideas about what art means to be British. The Observer 03/26/00
    • The Tate Modern is set to open later this spring. Here's a preview of the doings inside. Sunday Telegraph 03/26/00
  • THE PROBLEM LIST: After months of delay, Boston's Museum of Fine Art has decided to share with the world information about artwork it has that may be suspected of being stolen. The MFA will post information about these works on the internet. Boston Globe 03/25/00
  • IT'S RAINING BLOCKBUSTERS: Chicago's museums have been selling tickets at a record-breaking pace. The hottest ticket currently? The Dead Sea Scrolls at the Field Museum.  "At this rate, the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit will be "the biggest, certainly post-King Tut, in recent decades." Chicago Sun-Times 03/21/00
  • DELAYED RESPONSE: Trustees of The Boston Museum of Fine Art met last night to approve a plan to which would reveal which pieces of artwork in its collection may have been stolen by the Nazis during WWII. While the "plan" is still a mystery to the public, the MFA is expected to make a statement sometime today, and may announce some of the names of the questionable pieces as early as next month. Boston Herald 03/24//00
  • TAKE THAT, MILLENNIUM DOME: No, it wasn't the mega-expensive tribute to vanity that walked off with the honors in this year's London Civic Trust awards for excellence and innovation in urban design, architecture, and restoration. The big prize went to architect Roland Paoletti and a civic work infinitely more practical - his extension of the London Underground's Jubilee Line. London Times 03/24/00
  • ART BY COMMITTEE: So what did you expect, already? This year's Whitney Biennial is the product of a committee of curators, and the results are - BORING. (this isn't good). New York Times 03/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
    • Whitney Biennial: more for tourists than art lovers. Los Angeles Times 03/24/00
    • AND WHERE IS MR HAACKE? In a small room on the third floor, and not making much of a fuss. Given all the controversy surrounding Hans Haacke's piece about the New York mayor, it doesn't come close to setting the tone for this biennial. New York Times 03/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
    • Non-radical chic Slate 03/23/00
  • SHIFTING PERSPECTIVE: In the second part of MOMA2000, in which the New York Museum of Modern Art has dismantled and rearranged their permanent collection, "Making Choices" examines the years between 1920 - 1960. "Iconic works are plucked from their usual place in Art 101 and placed in a new context; lesser-known works, rarely seen, emerge from museum storage; all the different arts are mixed together." In this fashion, "the shows together ask not only that you, the viewer, encompass contradiction and paradox but that you acknowledge that good and evil sometimes draw from the same fires in the heart. Which is not a bad way to know the twentieth century." New York Magazine 03/27/00

  • ART SCRUM: No, it's not a pretty sight at all. Australia's top auction houses are elbowing one another out of the way for the right to sell the $10 million Mertz collection of Australian art which will return to its homeland after 35 years in the U.S. "It's an extraordinary collection of iconic Australian images," said Sotheby's Managing Director Paul Sumner. The sale's expected to be the most lucrative art auction Australia has ever seen: "Whichever firm wins will not only earn more than $1 million in commissions but will have the chance to sell the last big collection of Australian art still in 'private' hands." Sydney Morning Herald 03/24/00

  • THOU SHALT NOT... A stone sculpture by Berlin artist Alexander Polzin is at the center of a fiery debate in Israel. The culmination of seven months as an artist-in-residence working on a massive block of red Sinai granite, his sculpture "Der Steinhändler" (the trader of stones) has been attacked repeatedly. The attacks are presumed to be religiously motivated, by Orthodox Jews opposed to Polzin's violation of the commandment, "Thou shalt not make for yourself a graven image." Die Welt 03/24/00

  • SPACE WARS: While closed to the public for renovation, the National Portrait Gallery and National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC are already feuding over how to allocate space when the building they share reopens in three years. At least there's time to duke it out. Washington Post 03/23/00

  • VINTAGE MANIA: Once the sole obsession of film buffs, collecting vintage film posters has become a big business over the last 10 years. Christie's is holding its vintage film poster auction Monday, and fans - "who get their kicks from having a slice of cinema history on their living room walls" - are already speculating about record-breaking prices. "The undoubted highlight is the chance to bid for rare original 'Casablanca' posters, including Pierre Pigeot's steamy exotic 1942 design."
    The Guardian 03/24/00

  • COOL AND COLLECTED: The Whitney Biennial opens today and one can't help but be struck by the cool detachment of much of the work. "It is not indifference to connecting with viewers but a prevailing sense that the artists' responsibility is more to themselves and their work than to some theory or some agenda of activism or career ambition." San Francisco Chronicle 03/23/00

  • DUOPOLY BUSTER: While Sotheby's and Christie's have been embroiled in a complicated federal antitrust investigation, Phillips auction house - with a solid reputation in London, but usually modest sales in the U.S. - has reported that their New York business has exploded.  Their spring sale of Impressionist and modern art is poised to set an all-time revenue record for the 206-year-old firm. "Phillips sees an opportunity to crack what for decades has been a virtual duopoly that controlled more than 90 percent of the worldwide auction market."
    New York Times 03/23/00
    (one-time registration required for entry)

  • OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW: More than 50 leading UK artists have signed on to relaunch the new Tate Britain as a home for exclusively British art. The renamed gallery "will hold the major collection of British artworks ranging from Elizabethan miniaturist Hilliard to contemporary artist David Hockney." BBC 03/23/00

  • VISUAL CONSUMPTION: The Whitney Biennial Exhibition, which opens tomorrow, is reminiscent of the Paris Salons of the 19th century - a smattering of collected art crammed under one roof.  With an added abundance of film, video, and Internet art, there's no way any of the projects will get the attention they deserve, but the "Salons, both old and new, are about visual consumption -- a breezy shopping trip for mind and eye in the art world's megamall." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 03/22/00

  • IN HOT WATER, AGAIN: Back in 1983, London's Marlborough Gallery was "at the center of one of the art world's most spectacular scandals--the plundering of the estate of Mark Rothko," for which the gallery's founder was convicted of evidence tampering. Now Marlborough has been accused of cheating the late painter Francis Bacon of his financial due and systematically defrauding him and his heir of tens of millions of dollars. New York Times 3/22/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • DAMAGED GOODS: San Francisco's DeYoung Museum has put on display the three Dutch master paintings (now in desperate need of restoration) that were stolen from the museum in an infamous 1978 heist. Called a "great recovery story" by the museum's director, the stolen art works - including Rembrandt's "Portrait of a Rabbi" - mysteriously turned up last year at a New York gallery in an anonymous unmarked box.  NPR 3/21/00 [Real audio file]

  • QUIT STALLING! It's been two years since the Boston Museum of Fine Art declared they would conduct an inquiry on works that may have been stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust...with what appears to be strong evidence that the MFA is in fact in possession of looted art, critics say the museum is purposely stalling. ``'If there is a good reason for not releasing those questionable works, the museum should present that. Disclosure is important here, and sometimes people lose sight of the importance of disclosure, even if they are pursuing the truth.''' Boston Herald 0 3/21/00

  • PROTEST ART: More than 1,500 demonstrators have shown up to protest an exhibit of contemporary portraits of Ho Chi Minh. Surprisingly, the colorful collages are the work of a former U.S. serviceman who says "we need to take a closer look" at the late North Vietnamese leader's legacy. The growing throngs outside the Oakland, CA gallery - including many Vietnamese who fled N. Vietnam during the war and a strong showing of U.S. vets - have "called him a mass murderer. They've denounced him as a 'lewd monster.' But by the hundreds, demonstrators have made it clear that there's one thing Ho Chi Minh shouldn't be: art." CNN 0 3/20/00

  • EIFFEL WOULD BE PROUD: Architect Michael Hopkins, responsible for some of London's most startling modern buildings, including the stands at Lord's cricket ground and the new Glyndebourne Opera House, is at work on an entirely bronze-facaded new office building for MPs adjacent to Westminster Bridge. Despite accusations of overspending, Portcullis House is set to be one of the best places to work on the Thames. "Not for him the polished marble or granite veneer used on so many prestige London buildings. This is a design 100 percent in the tradition of the great 19th-century engineer-architects; robust, muscular, and everywhere proclaiming the materials of which it is built." London Times 0 3/21/00

  • A HALLMARK OF GIVING: Kansas City's Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has received a donation of 84 works of art, including a vast collection of renowned 20th-century sculptures, from the heirs of the founder of Hallmark Cards. Pieces by Isamu Noguchi, Claes Oldenburg, Alberto Giacometti, and Alexander Calder, among others, as well as 52 Henry Moores will find their new home at the Nelson-Atkins' "17-acre sculpture park, then and now the largest of any museum's in the country." New York Times 0 3/21/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • THE LEFT-BEHINDS: When the cool modernist artwork leaves the old Tate to fill the new Tate Modern and the old Tate becomes Tate Britain, concentrating on British art, will anyone be interested? London Times 03/20/00 

  • THE NEW NEW THING: No, it's not Haacke and Giuliani. The Whitney Biennial is about to open, and for the first time there will be internet art. Just one question, though - what qualifies as internet art (and why do you need a museum in which to see it?) U.S. News 03/27/00

  • MASTER CLASS: The world's greatest art fair is underway in the Dutch town of Maastricht. This is the place for Old Master paintings. "About two-thirds of the world's currently available supply of Dutch and Flemish Old Masters are for sale under a single roof, an irresistible magnet for collectors from all over the world." But this year the fair is trying to widen its horizons, and a record number of dealers of 20th Century art are on hand. London Telegraph 03/20/00

  • A CAR-PARK FOR ICE-CREAM VANS: "Modern Trafalgar Square is a dump: Hayling Island with statues, cut off from the rest of London by the four-ring motorway that encircles it. The pigeons are right to deposit their opinions of it." The now-famous Fourth Plinth project is "the smartest example of sculptural hype I can remember in London. I cannot imagine a more prominent urban showcase for new public sculpture than an empty platform in Trafalgar Square, opposite the National Gallery, and the wheeze of rotating the solutions on a regular basis means that nobody need ever worry unduly about the permanent impact of the results." Sunday Times 03/19/00

  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Architects have a responsibility to design buildings that look good but last long. "Buildings ought to last. They are not supposed to fall apart. They have to be able to take whatever pounding their users deliver. Or they have to be so beautiful or dignified that they all but insist that people treat them well." Chicago Tribune 03/19/00

  • A TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE: The new Tate Bankside museum, scheduled to open this week, and the first new bridge across the Thames in a century,  won't just change the experience of looking at art in London. They'll change the city itself. The Observer 03/19/00

  • A NUDE'S A NUDE'S A NUDE: Artists have been exploring images of the unclothed human body for centuries. But a new exploration of muscular women wanders outside the traditions. New York Times 03/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • GARBAGE OUT: A mountainous landfill, "25 million tons of trash piled as high as a 20-story building and stretching nearly a mile alongside the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway - a dump so huge, so rank, so grotesque and so in your face that it is now something more than a garbage heap - is the subject of a new museum show. Washington Post 03/18/00

  • CLIENT FIXING: Investigators have discovered that auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's swapped confidential lists of super-rich clients. "The shared and overlapping lists of about 50 names which include some of the world's wealthiest families were described as a crucial tool for auction houses to use in enforcing a form of price control in which certain customers were charged lower commissions, down to zero, that both houses honored."  New York Times 03/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • PLAYING FOR ALL THE MARBLES: One by one, Britain's excuses for keeping the Elgin Marbles are melting away. Now a poll shows that a majority of members of the British Parliament would vote to return the marbles to Greece. The Economist 03/17/00

  • FAMILY FEUD: The Whitney Museum row over a controversial piece of art in the upcoming Whitney Biennial has split the founding family between those who are offended and want to withdraw their support and those who want to see the museum be adventurous. Any idea who'll prevail? Salon 03/16/00

  • REINTERPRETING THE 20TH CENTURY (PART II): The Museum of Modern Art continues with its look back at the history of 20th Century art. "There has been a concerted effort to level the playing field, to take modernism out of the hands of the anointed few and show it to be an effort of hundreds of people working alone or together in a range of styles and mediums." New York Times 03/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • CHAGALL PAINTING FOUND: a 1910 Marc Chagall painting was discovered in Tel Aviv when a woman went to sell what she thought were her father's worthless art pieces. The painting, which has been valued at $50,000, will be auctioned over the internet. The Jerusalem Report 03/16/00

  • CHARGES OF MISMANAGEMENT of the Hermitage Museum  come into play in Russian election. The Art Newspaper 03/17/00

  • DIGITAL DIMENSION: Creating a digital museum doesn't just mean throwing up a bunch of images on the web - every museum does that these days. A Japanese museum has undertaken a much more ambitious sort of digital initiative - one in which its objects are digitized so visitors can "handle" them in all their dimensions. Daily Yomiuri 03/16/00

  • PROPAGANDA IN THE NAME OF ART: "There has long been a brisk trade in the kitsch symbols of communism - the hammers and sickles, portraits of Marx and Engels, red stars and Warhol's Mao. The sales of this imagery, mostly among young people for whom it has little or no real historical meaning, soared after the Berlin wall crumbled more than 10 years ago, according to collectors. These days, however, there is also a burgeoning interest in the Socialist Realist art created under communism by good and occasionally great painters who were reduced to simplistic compositions-glorified workers with chiseled faces and bulging arms, happy comrades astride tractors, bricklayers building the concrete Stalinist fortresses that now mar the cityscapes of Central Europe." Chicago Tribune 03/16/00

  • ART STASH: The Rubell Family Collection of contemporary art, with more than 1,000 works by Jeff Koons, Chris Ofili (of "Sensation" fame), Cindy Sherman, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and others, is housed in one of the art world's unlikeliest of galleries: Miami's former Drug Enforcement Agency contraband warehouse. The Rubells' masterpieces hang in "a big yellowish cinderblock fortress with a security cage for an entryway." An ironic sign of the times?  NPR 03/15/00 [Real audio clip]

  • GENERAL STINGINESS AND A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION:  "There is pitifully little well placed modern sculpture in London, or in most British cities. There are pieces hidden away in parks and buildings, but nobody is commissioning the really big public pieces by the most important contemporary sculptors - and if they did they'd be stuck in a quagmire of planning problems." So the best artists have been seeking commissions outside the country. The Guardian 03/15/00

  • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Hans Haacke's record proves he's not anti-Semitic, no matter what the charges whirling 'round his controversial Whitney work. How did the press get such a definitive sense of what Sanitation will look like, when it's not even finished yet? One theory is that the Whitney is responsible. The museum's director, Maxwell Anderson, has acknowledged that he informed City Hall about the Haacke installation 'as a courtesy.' The Whitney is battling a conservative image, and its director is widely dismissed as a newcomer to the New York scene. 'Now he's demonstrating that he's young enough, strong enough, and activist enough.' The Haacke affair is 'the first counteroffensive by the New York museum world, telling Giuliani to keep his hands off.' How does this theory account for the outburst from the Whitney heirs? "They've been out of running the museum for some time, so they may be feeling aggrieved, and this may be the way to show their anger." Village Voice 03/15/00

  • GERMAN MUSEUM returns Nazi-looted painting to heirs. Chicago Tribune (AP) 03/14/00

  • FIRST RETURNS: A painting has been returned by a British museum after a list published by the government last week. "The Three Stages of Life" (1898) a triptych by Count Leopold von Kalckreuth, part of a traveling show at the Royal Academy of Arts called "1900: Art at the Crossroads," is the first restitution of a painting on view in a British institution. New York Times 03/14/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • PRESERVATIVE ENCROACHMENT: When Korea abandoned centuries of isolationism and opened its doors to the West in the 1880s, a floodgate of Western culture arrived. Westerners built towering buildings that dwarfed traditional wooden structures and thatched huts in Seoul, major port cities and other major evangelistic posts. The buildings are now a symbol of the beginning of Western encroachment, and the government has decided to protect them as part of the country's heritage. Korea Herald 03/14/00    

  • PASSION FOR ART: In the past few months, at least nine galleries in Montreal have been looted in a rash of smash-and-grab incidents. CBC 03/14/00 

  • AT THE RISK OF BEING CYNICAL: Artist defends his controversial work for Whitney Biennial. "What I'm very upset about is the attempt to dictate to museums what they show, and the statements made by politicians in Washington that have curtailed the freedom of the National Endowment for the Arts. The attention to those issues is deflected by the spin of my supposedly having trivialized the Holocaust." New York Times 03/13/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • FAMILY FEUD: Members of the Whitney family line up against one another over controversial Hans Haacke work for the Whitney Biennial. BBC 03/13/00

  • GROSS? YES GROSS: San Francisco art student's sex-act performance deserved a F for unoriginality. But "what is going on here is part of a long and rich tradition, here recapitulated more as a whimper than as a bang. Shocking the bourgeoisie has been a goal of Western artists for the past 150 years. When Edouard Manet painted a cheeky prostitute who boldly looked back at the presumed male viewer as a decidedly non-classical nude, he helped set off an artistic challenge to shock the viewer that has escalated with every subsequent generation. But after more than a century and a half, virtually everything has been done before." San Francisco Examiner 03/13/00

  • THE NEW PUBLIC ARTISTS: "Unlike earlier artists - Dadists in the 1910s and twenties, feminists in the seventies - who have thrown grenades at the establishment from the hypothetical outside, these artists are relatively calm about their complicity with the 'system': museums, galleries, funding institutions, advertising. Call it 'new genre public art' as one 1995 book does; call it a return to the streets." Feed 03/09/00

  • SPERM SENSE: Do your sperm spend more time in museums than you do? DNA maps unlock the self and become fodder for art. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 03/13/00

  • ANOTHER NAZI CLAIM: The heir of a German industrialist is seeking a 19th-century landscape by Courbet from the Art Institute of Chicago, that she says was stolen from her father by Nazis in WWII. Her successful bid last summer for a van Gogh drawing, L'Olivette, from a Berlin museum has been widely credited with accelerating Germany's program to return looted art. Jerusalem Post 03/12/00

  • HEIR OF WHITNEY MUSEUM FOUNDER says she'll cut off her support to the museum in protest. Marylou Whitney said that a work by Hans Haacke, planned for the Whitney's 2000 Biennial, would belittle the Holocaust, politicize art and violate the principles on which the Whitney was founded by her late mother-in-law, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. New York Times 03/12/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

    • OTHER WHITNEYS DEFEND WORK: As Marylou Whitney withdrew her support of the Whitney Museum two other Whitney heirs lambasted her position. "It is regrettable that so many have chosen to lash out at an artist who has consistently been a voice of social conscience ... This country should allow the free and unfettered expression of ideas through art." New York Post 03/12/00

    • GIULIANI WON'T BE PUNITIVE he says, about a work in the Whitney Biennial that compares the New York mayor to the Nazis. New York Times 03/11/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • WHERE IS DR. GACHET? Rumors that the famous Van Gogh painting, bought by Japanese industrialist Ryoei Saito at auction in 1990 for $82.5 million, would turn up in the new Van Gogh show opening today in Detroit, prove false. Since Saito died four years ago, museums and curators have been searching for the most expensive painting ever sold. Philadelphia Inquirer 03/12/00  

  • BECKETT WITH BLOCKS AND PAINT: Thirty years into his revolution, conceptual artist Sol LeWitt is still making his audience nervous. He doesn't do his own work, doesn't make originals and doesn't follow his own rules. Salon 03/12/00

  • THE WAR IN PICTURES: In Hanoi an exhibition of photographs from 135 photojournalists - from both sides - who died in Vietnam during the war. Detroit Free Press (AP) 03/11/00 

  • AND YOU THOUGHT IT WAS JUST BRICKS AND MORTAR: Minneapolis' Walker Art Center is planning to expand. But more than just a $50 million addition, museum leaders see the the project as an opportunity to "reshape the center as a populist gathering place where myriad art forms intersect in new ways," have "the potential to alter the art center's relationship to its neighborhood and downtown Minneapolis, and to become an international model for how contemporary art is housed and valued, integrated and presented." Minneapolis Star Tribune 03/12/00

  • SPLIT DECISION: London's Tate Museum is about to split itself up in a long-overdue expansion. The moves bring questions about art and national identity. London Sunday Times 03/12/00

  • CONTEMPORARY SUCCESS: When LA's Museum of Contemporary Art hired a new director last year, many were skeptical. High on art-world credentials, Jeremy Strick lacked administrative and fund-raising experience. Eight months into the job, Strick has placated the skeptics. Los Angeles Times 03/12/00 

  • VANDALS DAMAGE famous reproduction of Canadian Confederation painting. CBC 03/12/00

  • INVESTIGATION ON: A number of American museums are now checking to see if any of the artwork they own might have been stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. Suspected works include a Rembrandt and a Courbet. CNN 03/10/00

    • MADONNA SUSPECT: The LA County Museum of Art says it is investigating whether a Madonna and Child tempura panel painted around 1425 went through the hands of one of the most important art dealers the Nazis used in their wholesale plundering of Jewish assets, Hans Wendland. Times of India (AP) 03/10/00

    • Painting uncovered on check of the museum's collection for items of questionable provenance. Los Angeles Times 03/09/00

  • SOUNDS OF SILENCE: Last summer the new $22 million Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art opened with fanfare. It's not been a hit with visitors. "How empty is it? On winter weekdays, MOCA gets about 100 visitors, including school groups. Saturday and Sunday daily attendance at least doubles that number. On some days, there are more children scampering around the newly opened (and free) Kidspace than there are black-turtlenecked cognoscenti ogling the art." Boston Globe 03/10/00

  • HIGH RISE ADVISOR: New York's Museum of Modern Art makes a deal to be "artistic advisor" to Japanese billionaire Minoru Mori, to create an art museum atop a 54-story office tower in Tokyo. Los Angeles Times 03/10/00

  • GIULIANI STRIKES BACK: NY mayor Rudy Giuliani says that he can't touch the Whitney Museum because it's privately funded. But "as a private citizen," he said he felt that artwork attacking him was "exaggerated political demagoguery" that does "a grave injustice to people who suffered in the Holocaust." New York Post 03/10/00

    • Will Giuliani go to see this year's Whitney Biennial? “Gee, I’ll put it on my schedule. Get my Palm Pilot,” he said sarcastically. MSNBC 03/10/00

    • Previously: COME AND GET US MR. MAYOR: The Whitney Biennial is about to open. You just had to know someone was going to take a poke at NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani after his pronouncements on art during last fall's "Sensation" show at the Brooklyn Museum. " 'Sanitation,' an installation by Hans Haacke, a well-known German-born New York artist, puts Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in the company of the Nazis, with quotations by him written in the Fraktur script favored by the Third Reich and the sound of jackboots marching in the background." New York Times 03/09/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • FROM PARIAH TO PIED PIPER: Frank Gehry's droopy, wonderfully-weird Experience Music Project now nearing completion in Seattle is an experience in unconventional building techniques. He enabled the engineer to design 280 different, undulating steel ribs, without anyone writing down or calculating the geometry of a single one. And he's inspired a technophobic building team to accomplish considerable engineering feats. "For high-flying architects, they are great to work with. You can't say that about all architects," says one contractor. Engineering News-Record 02/00

  • THE YEAR OF THE MUSEUM: Between record numbers for the Norman Rockwell, show, a Science and Industry Museum "Titanic" exhibit, a "Dead Sea Scrolls" show, and a "Monet to Moore" exhibition, this year looks to be a record year for Chicago museums. Chicago Tribune 03/10/00

  • A BRACING DUNK IN THE PRESENT: Consider the things around us - graphics, fashion, industrial products, architecture, interiors, furniture, toys, stage and movie sets, and computer animation... all these things are the products of someone's imagination. New York's Cooper-Hewitt Museum pulls together a national design triennial - projects by 83 designers and firms, all produced in the last three years. "We expect survey shows to be irritating, and this one does not disappoint." New York Times 03/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • HIGH STAKES ART: Van Gogh show opening this weekend is expected to attract 300,000 visitors and pump $30 million into Detroit's economy. Detroit News 03/09/00

  • HONG KONG considers building a Sydney-style opera house that would accommodate up to 60,000 spectators. South Chine Morning Post 03/09/00

  • APPEARANCES COUNT: Should museums benefit from financial deals made with collectors who lend artwork for exhibitions? In reality, say some museums, little money is involved. But the appearance of impropriety is expensive. Boston Globe 03/08/00 

  • ODE TO A CRITIC: Saluting a critic with an exhibition of art is a dicey matter. But John Ruskin, England's greatest critic, made it easy for the Tate. London Times 03/08/00

  • CHRISTIE'S sales up 17 percent last year to equal rival Sotheby's at $2.3 billion. Financial Times 03/08/00

  • CALL IN THE FBI: The discovery, eleven years ago of 28 watercolors, supposedly by Georgia O'Keeffe, brought cheers, and a $5 million sales price, largely on the word of O'Keeffe experts. Now the paintings have been declared fakes, and the lawsuits are beginning to fly. Who knew what when? New York Times 03/07/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE? Student at the San Francisco Art Institute staged a sexually-explicit performance with a volunteer that shocked this normally adventurous cutting-edge institution.  "It is considered a serious violation for you or any individual to participate in any activity, sexual or not, which involves exposing yourself or others to any bodily fluids or excretions including but not limited to feces, urine, semen, saliva and blood," reads a letter from the Institute's vice president and dean of academic affairs. Washington Post 03/05/00

  • THE ROMANCE OF DISCOVERY: Is there nothing left to discover? "Advances in technology, transport and communications have made the world a smaller place. The opportunities for adventure that lured great explorers to uncharted corners of the globe are all but exhausted; travel writing and photography have made even the remotest cultures into familiar, coffee-table images." Britain's museums climb aboard the spirit of adventure. New Statesman 03/06/00 

  • AFTER SHOCK AND SENSATION, THEN WHAT? Rich new prize for "unknown" contemporary British artists takes some getting used to the definitions of what's new and what's unknown. London Telegraph 03/07/00 

  • CURATOR NO. 7, JUNIOR GRADE, REPORTING FOR DUTY: If you want to be a curator in Korea, you'll soon have to pass a state-administered test and get a license. Korea Times 03/07/00

  • DESTRUCTION, NEGLECT AND PILLAGE: Archeological treasures in Afghanistan have been massively damaged and destroyed after years of civil war, reports a historian and archeologist who has returned from the region. The Art Newspaper 03/04/00 

  • CULTURAL BADGE OF HONOR OR MARK OF IMPERIALIST SHAME?  A century after German archaeologists hauled back Pergamon's treasures, "it's time for Berlin to consider returning some of the antediluvian relics to the land from which they were lost." Die Welt 03/06/00

  • AN INEVITABLE STATE OF AFFAIRS: "The crisis into which the auction world is now plunged was bound to break out sooner or later. The occasion was the U.S. antitrust investigation of Sotheby’s and Christie’s for possible collusion in setting commissions for buyers and sellers. But the fundamental reason is the need for revenue, caused by the rising costs of competition as art-market supplies inexorably diminish." 03/06/00 

  • ROUNDING THE FAR TURN... Reform of the French auction market is near, and the auction houses are jockeying. Among them, Christie's, opening a lavish new Paris headquarters this week. London Telegraph 03/06/00

  • DOUBLE, TRIPLE THE COST: Budget for the new Scottish parliament has taken wing. Now there has to be blame. "But the problem with the Parliament building in Edinburgh is far from being a lack of ideas about its content. In fact, a lot of the extra costs have arisen because absolutely everybody had an idea of what the Parliament should be." The Observer 03/06/00

  • BUT IT'S BASIC DESIGN: The new wave of plans approved for Sydney "are mediocre at best, and often simply ugly. Instead of 'living' they are creating a rather 'dead' city, endorsing undesirable development, particularly on small blocks. Rising like smoke stacks through the city fabric, they diminish the order and clarity of Sydney streets as enunciated in city council urban policy. Some show an ignorance of the most elementary textbook design principles, such as continuation of facades, cornices, roofscapes, consistency of fenestration, and pattern use of compatible materials. Sydney Morning Herald 03/06/00

  • TAIWAN'S Guinness Museum of World Records to close in Taipei. A sensation when it opened in 1995, the crowds have melted away since then. China Times 03/05/00

  • OWNERSHIP PROBLEM: As Britain's museums and galleries try to apply new consciousness about buying and owning art possibly stolen by Nazis in WWII, auction houses refuse to give guarantees about the provenance of the art they sell. The Independent 03/05/00

  • CONTEMPORARY IN THE HOUSE OF TRADITION: LA's Getty Museum collects the old and established. But a new show invites in a group of contemporary L.A. artists to create work inspired by whatever part of the Getty holdings might interest them. The project invites artists and audience to consider the Getty's traditional holdings in new ways. Los Angeles Times 03/05/00 

  • LITTLE ART ON THE PRAIRIE: Former Lenin Museum in the heart of the Siberian gulag reinvents itself as a museum showing contemporary art. MSNBC 03/04/00

  • ARTIFACT LAUNDERING: Israeli agents have recovered a plundered ancient Roman-era bust after a four-year hunt. In the process they busted an ancient-artifacts laundering ring, and for the first time have traced a sophisticated scheme for moving stolen artifacts. "The bust quietly passed through the hands of the thief to a number of mediators and merchants, until finally appearing this week proudly for sale in the shop window of an antiquities store on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem's Old City." Jerusalem Post 03/03/00

  • BEFORE HE DIED, "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schultz told his family he didn't want anyone else drawing his strip, and that animated shows based on the characters should end as well. But when Schultz began the strip in the 1950s cartoonists routinely gave up their copyrights to distributors.  United Media owns the "Peanuts" copyright and it got 61 percent of its $84.9 million in 1998 revenues from the comics, TV shows and licensing deals. Think they'll let the franchise go dark? San Francisco Examiner (AP) 03/02/00

  • VERONESE DAMAGE: After inspecting how the Louvre has cleaned a prominent painting by Italian master Veronese, a French conservation expert despairs: "Clothes that were originally red were now green. The whole spatial and wonderful chromatic harmony is distorted. When you look at the painting . . . black, red and blue colors seem to be floating among other colors like pieces of a broken puzzle. The light is now a cold, artificial, modern one." London Times 03/02/00

  • CAN'T TELL THE PLAYERS WITHOUT A SCORECARD: Who's who and what's what in the auction-house scandals. New York Observer 03/02/00

  • THE FUTURE OF THE PAST: Exhibitions of ancient art are sexy - a few beautiful objects organized around a theme and artfully displayed. "It is one thing to make the perfectly accurate point that all we have are a few remarkable artifacts coming out of what is largely a historical void. It is another to begin to fill in that void with a story which sounds so familiar, and hence so beguiling, to modern ears. There is no challenge to the imagination here, just a confirmation of things which we feel we must already know." Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt) 03/01/00  

  • JERUSALEM'S ISRAEL MUSEUM gets architects' approval for controversial expansion designed by American James Freed. Ha'aretz (Israel) 03/02/00

  • NOW THAT BRITAIN HAS COME CLEAN... by publishing a list of art in British museums that might have been stolen by the Nazis, what are American museums waiting for? "How is it possible that in Britain alone there are 350 works that may have been stolen and U.S. museums can't find any?" asked Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress. Seattle Post-Intelligencer (AP) 03/02/00

  • ARTLISTING: Publication of a list of 350 artworks in Britain with questionable provenance during Nazi years, had British museum organization on the defensive Tuesday. "in Britain some museum directors after the war had not been 'fastidious' about checking whether paintings they bought or were given might have had a Nazi connection. But the organization believes many of the gaps in history are innocent but cannot yet be explained because papers have been lost, owners have died or dealers and auction houses are unwilling to release documents." London Telegraph 03/01/00

  • ME TOO: Three weeks after rival Christie's lowers its sales commissions, Sotheby's follows suit. Did you talk to each other about the new fees, guys?  Nah.... "We did this in light of the competitive environment we're in," said William F. Ruprecht, Sotheby's new president and chief executive. New York Times 03/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • A VIEW TO A SALE: Theoretically any work lent to a museum by a gallery or individual is for sale. But what are the ethics? The director of Australia's Museum of Contemporary Art has advocated selling exhibitions not primarily to raise money but as a service to artists and to encourage people to buy art. "I have put into our [strategic] plan that we should be taking an active role in encouraging the market," she said. Sydney Morning Herald 03/01/00

  • BOOM TIMES: The Australian art market has taken off, with the take from auction sales doubling in the past three years. The lucrative market has attracted some new players. Sydney Morning Herald 03/01/00 

  • KIDS' STUFF: "You read them to your children at bedtime, now you can own them - at a price. The area of the art market that is now growing faster than any other is that of original illustrations to children's books." London Times 03/01/00