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VISUAL ARTS - April 2000

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Sunday April 30

  • ART CAPITAL: Modern London is bursting with museum openings this year. "There is a tremendous on-rush. Wherever you look, there are things happening," said Richard Cork, art critic for the Times of London. "It is incredibly important, particularly the Tate Modern. At last we've got the full-fledged museum of modern art in this country that we've needed for 50 years. Finally, Britain is taking modern art seriously." Los Angeles Times 04/30/00
  • STARS OF BASEL (AND LONDON): Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron are architecture stars of the moment with this month's opening of London's new Tate Modern. "All famous architects have mighty egos, and Herzog is unusual only in the openness with which he displays his. If he weren't brilliant he would be insufferable, but it isn't unduly flattering to say that he is brilliant. His immodesty is also redeemed by a talent for collaboration with others, most notably his childhood friend and business partner de Meuron. Both are turning 50 this year. They are young - in the slow-moving world of architecture - to have got to their present status." London Evening Standard 04/29/00
  • ART OF RECONCILIATION: The UK's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, is blocking plans for a peace sculpture made of decommissioned weapons to be erected in Belfast. Richard Branson has commissioned a £50,000 work from 97-year-old Josefina de Vasconcellos, the world's oldest living sculptor. "The idea of the sculpture has been widely welcomed by politicians in Northern Ireland. However, the proposal to make the new work from decommissioned weapons is causing disquiet at the Northern Ireland Office." The Independent 04/30/00
  • THE MEANING OF MODERN: New York's Museum of Modern Art is trying to catch up with its name. On the eve of a major expansion it's taking a look at its own collections with a sharpened eye. "It's a chance for a monumental institution, one with a reputation for having a glacial metabolism when it comes to change, to rethink the modern-art tradition that it helped to invent, and to consider its own identity in what is often called a postmodern world."  New York Times 04/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • LATENT ARTISTS: Some artists know right from the beginning that they want to make art. For others it takes a little longer - after establishing themselves in other ways, some take to art as a second career. Is it any less of one? National Post (Canada) 04/29/00
  • COMING HOME: A decade after a federal law gave Native American tribes the right to reclaim human remains and sacred artifacts from museums, less than 10 percent of the human remains believed to be in the custody of federal agencies, museums and universities have been returned to tribes. Chicago Tribune 04/30/00

Friday April 28

  • A CRUSHING BLOW: Porters at Sotheby's London mistakenly put a crate containing a £100,000 Lucien Freud painting arriving for a sale into the trash, where it was hauled away and crushed in a machine. The mistake was not, Sotheby's officials hasten to explain, a comment by the porters on the artwork. The Independent 04/28/00
  • IDENTITY CRISIS: Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project, soon to open in Seattle is one of a new generation of experiential museums "characterized by a sometimes brash and loopy mix of commercialism and high-tech exhibition space. These facilities often "celebrate not the past but the present of American popular culture: from Virginia’s Newseum to the Grateful Dead’s prospective Terrapin Station in San Francisco, from numerous science museums such as the Museum of Innovation in San Jose to the various halls of fame. The new museums are sometimes more akin to dazzling amusement arcades or electronic playgrounds than to the somber and solidly physical dignities of the Met. Visitors are called upon to play, participate, and buy, rather than contemplate. Some curators, indeed, question whether they are really museums at all and not entertainment complexes with a loose educational veneer. Metropolis 04/00
  • STILL TOO HOT TO HANDLE: After reducing the time some of Robert Mapplethorpe's more explicit photographs are shown in its documentary about the 1990 obscenity trial over the work, Showtime's "Dirty Pictures" gets an "R" rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. As originally edited, the film would have been tagged with an NC-17 which would mean the network couldn't have shown it in prime time. Newsweek (Variety) 04/27/00 

Thursday April 27

  • MONUMENTAL CONCERN: "Throughout the centuries, the grand, open-air museum that is Italy has been an easy target for thieves. The peninsula is littered not only with Roman ruins but also Etruscan, Phoenician and Greek artifacts - not to mention the vestiges of countless pre-Roman peoples and even prehistoric settlements. Today, the plundering of Italy's archaeological treasures has become a highly lucrative business involving a sophisticated network of tombaroli, ravagers of archaeological sites; expert fences in Italy, Switzerland and England; and knowing buyers in the United States, Japan, Australia and elsewhere." Washington Post 04/24/00
  • YO PICASSO: Heirs of a French collector come forward to lay claim to Picasso work owned by New York's Museum of Modern Art. New York Times 04/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • A LITTLE DISTANCE PLEASE: Okay, so Sotheby's chairman has resigned in the midst of the auction house investigations. But if his people still control the board of directors, how will the company make a clean break from possible misdeeds of the past? Financial Times 04/27/00
    • TARNISHED TALE: Sotheby's chairman Alfred Taubman rebuilt Sotheby's and helped make it successful - it was all a kind of fairy tale. But sometimes fairy tales write their own dark endings... New York Times 04/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • HANDICAPPING THE GUGGENHEIM: What are the chances the Guggenheim's proposed Gehry building for lower Manhattan will ever get built? Not entirely solid. On the other hand, "these days the Guggenheim name is as much a prestige brand as BMW, Bollinger or Armani and not one that is lightly dismissed especially in its home town. [Guggenheim director Thomas] Krens says 'more than 50' cities and towns around the world have invited the Guggenheim to set up shop. Sydney Morning Herald 04/27/00
    • BOLD STROKE: No museum has been so defined by its architecture as the Guggenheim. That helps explain the grand scale of what the proposed lower Manhattan Guggenheim would be. New York Magazine 04/16/00
  • MUTUAL RETURN: This weekend Germany and Russia meet to exchange some of the art they stole from one another in World War II. New York Times 04/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Wednesday April 26

  • HEAD HUNTERS: Thieves are literally chiseling off the heads of statues at Cambodia's Angkor Wat, built some 1000 years ago. The trade in international cultural artifacts is hot - an epidemic that is irreparably ruining some of the world's cultural treasures. CNN 04/25/00 
  • BUILDING LOBBIES: Architects on big public projects often have to deal with the petty political concerns of their politician/clients. They usually keep their disputes quiet. But the architects working on Melbourne's landmark Federation Square have gone public with their complaints, mounting a campaign throughout Australia to lobby on their behalf. Sydney Morning Herald 04/26/00
  • A MILLION POUNDS OF ART: Charles Saatchi just paid a million pounds for Damien Hirst's latest: a 20-foot-high plastic model of the human body. Hirst makes a lot of junk, says one critic. But when he's on... " 'Hymn' is the first key work of British art for the new century. To risk an overused term, it is a masterpiece." The Telegraph (London) 04/26/00
  • UNDUE INFLUENCE? Sotheby's postpones it annual meeting as its largest shareholder pushes the auction house to distance itself from its former chairman amidst growing investigations into the company's practices. New York Times 04/26/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • ART WRITE OFF: Casino/hotel tycoon Steve Wynn helped get a tax break passed in Nevada last year that looks like it will allow him to get a tax break for the $5.5 million he charges the Bellagio Hotel to "rent" part of his art collection. Las Vegas Review-Journal 04/26/00

Tuesday April 25

  • ART OF POLITICS: Do you know what your senator has hanging on his walls? Does it tell you anything about him or her? The Canadian Government's Art Bank provides art to members of parliament. Too bad more of them don't take up the offer. National Post (Canada) 04/25/00 
  • DIGITART: Does putting art on the internet change the meaning of art? Students at Berkley and Sonoma State Universities are posting and critiquing art to explore how the medium changes the process of art. "We are using the Net as our medium instead of print." Wired 04/25/00
  • DAILY RITUAL: There is no other 20th-century painter quite like Balthus. At the age of 92 he still paints, still in his own way, as always, resolutely ignoring the art-isms of his time - "I was never interested in other modern painters because I had my painting, which preoccupied my mind more than anything else." Financial Times 04/25/00

Monday April 24

  • DEATH WATCH: In the furious competition for artwork to sell, today's big auction houses skin their elbows trying to land prestigious - read lucrative - art to sell. That means combing the daily obits. And it means... New York Times 04/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • PRIMITIVE PROVENANCE: Only a few days after the Louvre opened its new collection of primitive art to the public, experts are saying that some of the pieces were almost certainly stolen. The Observer 04/23/00
  • MAD FOR MONET: London's Royal Academy decided to stay open all night during its recent Monet show. It worked. The museum has become one of the top ten tourist attractions in Britain. "The exhibition, which cost £1.8 million to stage and four years to assemble, boosted the number of visitors to the gallery to 1.39 million last year, up from 912,714 in 1998. Nearly 8,600 people attended the show each day despite the queues and the high entrance charge of £9." The Independent 04/24/00

Sunday April 23

  • IF THEY BUILD IT... Last week the Guggenheim showed off Frank Gehry's models for a new extravagant museum in lower Manhattan. But the distinctive architecture faces fierce opposition from those who feel its radical style would mar an image of New York that "has been immortalised in thousands of movies." There is also a competing plan for the land - from a hotel and casino developer. Some on Wall Street are also concerned about "the idea of thousands of tourists invading the financial district." BBC 04/23/00
  • JUST WHERE WERE YOU LAST THURSDAY? Being sure about the provenance of a work of art isn't such an easy matter, as the recent Nazi stolen art lists have shown. When did we start to care about the history of a painting? "I think it entered the written history of art probably at the time that people started collecting art as something that one appreciates rather than something one has for its function. It's really when there was a shift over from stuff that you accumulated because it was a part of your life, religious devotion or practice to things you appreciated for their own sake. And that, I guess, happened about 1500." Chicago Tribune 04/23/00
  • BRIT EPICENTER: "The greatest concentration of contemporary British art anywhere in the world is to be found in 50,000 square metres of an east London warehouse. Momart is where private collections are put out to pasture, where works that are too big, too precious, too fragile or simply supernumerary to their owners' homes are discreetly tended by expert staff. This is where the totems of Sensation go when they are not on global tour - the waxworks, the mannequins, the ageing shark." The Observer 04/23/00
  • OF DIRT AND GENIUS: The recent cleaning of the Sistine Chapel has been described as the most important art event of the 20th century. Because the uncleaned art had looked so dark and forbidding, we believed Michelangelo's vision to be dark and forbidding. "And we came to believe that this darkness was synonymous with true creativity. In my mind, there is no doubt that the legend of the Sistine ceiling contributed mightily to the facile fantasy of the tormented genius: to the falsehood that an artist who was not in pain was not a real artist. The profound cost of five centuries of smoke and soot darkening the Sistine surfaces turns out not to have been in damage done to the frescoes themselves - underneath the charcoal haze they were wonderfully well preserved - but in the serious warping of our image of genius." Sunday Times (London) 04/23/00
  • PART OF THE CULTURE: August Wilson on his personal odyssey through African American history in his plays: "Before I am anything, a man or a playwright, I am an African-American. The tributary streams of culture, history and experience have provided me with the materials out of which I make my art. As an African-American playwright, I have many forebears who have pioneered and hacked out of the underbrush an aesthetic that embraced and elevated the cultural values of black Americans to a level equal to those of their European counterparts." New York Times 04/23/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • WHAT MODERN ART IS (AND ISN'T): The Museum of Modern Art has been interpreting modern art throughout its history. Now a new series of shows reinterprets those interpretations. "In a sense, the museum is looking back at its own history and concluding that, while the term modernism might have seemed self-evident in 1929, when the museum was founded, it means something very different today." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/23/00
  • THE ART OF DIPLOMACY: Few ordinary citizens get to visit their country's embassies around the world. The artwork on display in those embassies represents home culture to the international diplomats who come calling. "If you don't agree on trade issues or you argue about oil, at least you can talk about the art. It puts another face on us and provides information about who we are." Now an attempt to collect important artworks for American embassies abroad. Los Angeles Times 04/23/00 
  • THE PHOTOGRAPHY PROBLEM: Collectors are willing to pay exorbitant prices for art when they think it's rare. But photography has this problem of reproducibility, which was got around by the concept of the "vintage" print. "How problematic the theory has become is further illustrated by two recent scandals involving counterfeit vintage prints by Man Ray and Lewis Hine, and by the Walker Evans retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum, carefully stocked with old prints when newer and, in some cases, finer ones were readily available." New York Times 04/23/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Friday April 21

  • CERTAIN RETURN: Germany says it expects to find owners for all the art stolen by Nazis, and rejects the suggestion by the World Jewish Congress "that heirless assets be auctioned, like the so-called Mauerbach collection, which consisted of unclaimed Jewish art in Austria and was sold several years ago for the benefit of the Jewish community. That auction raised more than $13 million." Jerusalem Post 04/21/00
  • MUSEUMS BUSTING OUT ALL OVER: London is bursting with new cultural venues - new museums, new art. It's a feast paid for with national lottery proceeds. "The Lottery is clearing out the musty nooks and attics of London's large and small art galleries and museums, and with them the crabby spooks of the curators, scholars and civil servants whose eccentric decisions were embedded in the buildings' fading fabric." London Evening Standard 04/21/00
  • LOOK WITHIN FOR ENLIGHTENMENT: Four documents, which were discovered inside an ancient Japanese Buddhist statue while it was undergoing restoration in Kyoto, have helped art experts confirm the dates of the birth and death of Kaikei, a famous sculptor of Buddhist images during the 13th century. The documents included a mourning schedule in honor of the artist. Daily Yomiuri 04/00
  • STATE OF THE ART - ER, SORT OF: For the first time this year, the Whitney Biennial includes internet art. But "it's clear that if 2000 is remembered as a turning point in the history of Internet art, it may be not because of the Biennial but in spite of it. It took the Whitney until five days after the show opened to get a suite of computers operational in the lower level gallery, despite assurances at the press preview that the computers would be available to viewers as soon as the pre-show parties had ended." New Republic 04/13/00
  • VERY VERY OLD: Pottery found in Eastern China dating back 4,800 years has inscriptions of Chinese characters. This predates by some 2000 years what were previously thought to the earliest Chinese characters found on bones and tortoise shells. China Times 04/21/00
  • ARE YOU INSANE? Well, actually, yes. A new show of art "consists primarily of drawings and paintings on paper gathered during the early decades of the 20th century from asylums in Germany, Switzerland and Austria by doctors at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Heidelberg." New York Times 04/21/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • ROAD MAP FOR ART: The Detroit Institute of Arts has put up a flip chart next to a Barnett Newman painting. The pages attempt to walk viewers through the painting explaining it. "People aren't born knowing how to look at a work of art," says Nancy Jones, DIA education director. "It's a skill. We need to help all people have a viable experience and that's a fairly new approach. The old approach used to be 'Here it is. Good luck.' " Detroit Free Press 04/21/00
  • WAIT AND SEE: Art dealers are rushing to the web, and some are even claiming to be making money at it already. The Art Newspaper talks to art dealers about the experience so far. The Art Newspaper 04/21/00

Added Thursday April 20

  • YOU WIN SOME, YOU LOSE SOME: London’s Marlborough Gallery, convicted of defrauding the Mark Rothko estate in 1975 and accused last month of cheating the Francis Bacon estate, has also been fighting a legal battle over the estate of the German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters for the past two years. In 1998 a Norway court ruled against the gallery (to the tune of nearly $4 million to be paid to Schwitters’ family), but last month an Oslo appeals court reversed the decision. Now the family owes Marlborough $1.2 million in compensation. New York Times 04/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • LOST AND FOUND: A growing number of stolen Chinese artifacts have been turning up in Japan, a trend Chinese archaeologists view “as a clear-cut example of a rampant global problem: the theft of cultural relics that are then given a false provenance and sold to private collectors and museums. The greatest number of such thefts occur in China, where farmers, construction workers and criminal gangs unearth thousands of relics, large and small, each year and quickly sell them to smugglers.” New York Times 04/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • TUT TUT TATE: The newly renamed Tate Britain aims to re-present British art thematically. Does it work? "The Tate, it seems, has fallen into the hands of experts, not in art, but in marketing and presentation, and the pun in representing, worn thin already, is thrust home in every printing of the word as Representing - how much did they pay the wit who thought of that?" London Evening Standard 04/19/00

  • THINKING BIG, BUT... The proposed new $450 million Frank Gehry Guggenheim Museum for Lower Manhattan is staggering in its ambitions. It would "transform" the city's cultural life (if that's truly possible in New York). But will it ever get built. There are plenty of doubters. Los Angeles Times 04/18/00 

  • DAMIEN DOESN'T JUST SHOCK: Of late, British corporations have been a little more adventurous with the art they hang on their walls. "Over the past 15 years the profile of contemporary art has become much higher because of the media coverage of Damien Hirst and exhibitions such as 'Sensation.' The consequence is that chief executives are opening up to new approaches." London Times 04/19/00

  • ART VS RELIGION: Art and religion have a long history together. Russia's Church of the Intercession is "the only intact example of 17th-century Moscow Baroque to have survived the ransacking of Napoleonic invaders and the desecrations of Stalin. It is a jewel of the Baroque, lovingly preserved by curators from the Rublev Museum. But President Vladimir Putin plans to restore the building to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is likely to return it to its original function as a parish church open to the public 12 hours a day. Art experts aghast at the prospect of a pious crush of stout, wet-coated babushki imperiling the fragile interior. So what to do? Defend and preserve it or use and lose it? London Times 04/19/00

  • EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT MUSEUMS: The New York Times' special section on the art and state of the modern museum. New York Times 04/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • COLOSSUS II - THE RETURN: The Colossus of Rhodes was built in about 300 BC and came to be one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Now Rhodes has decided to rebuild and is commissioning a new modern Colossus, which it hopes will be completed by the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. CBC 04/19/00 

  • MUSEUM FEARS FUNDING LOSS: Grappling with making up a budget shortfall, the Vancouver Art Gallery worries about the affect its fight with its former director will have on fundraising. "There is concern the public dispute could prompt the gallery's major funding agencies to hold back money, forcing cuts to programs and staff," says the museum's board president. Vancouver Sun 04/17/00

  • GANTLETS, GAUNTLETS...WHATEVER - FORE! Vancouver's art community is furious about the resignation of the Vancouver Art Gallery director and elevation of a board member as temporary director. The man appointed to the job says he'd rather be out playing golf. But: "We have really tough business decisions we have to address," he says. "They haven't got time to say we'll put it all on hold." So the board decided: "Let somebody handle the business side. Let's go ask old Joe." Toronto Globe and Mail 04/18/00

  • GRIDLOCK RELIEF: Europe's museums and monuments have become so clogged in recent years it's difficult to get near them in tourist season. So Italy has announced that starting this summer it is extending hours hours of admission on Sundays to 11 pm. MSNBC (Reuters) 04/17/00

  • YES IT'S DRAMATIC, BUT... Critics call the design for Beijing's new opera house "extravagant" and culturally insensitive, like a "medieval castle," or a "glass submarine" which could become a "tomb like the Titanic." Nonetheless, the French architect who conceived the project predicts his design will get official approval in a few weeks. China Times 04/18/00 

  • AT LEAST THERE'S NO STAGE EQUIPMENT TO GET STUCK: London’s National Portrait Gallery now has a dramatic new extension - including a top-floor atrium with panoramic views of the city - designed by Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones, architects of the remodeled Royal Opera House. The Guardian 04/17/00

  • REM KOOLHAAS has won this year's Pritzker Prize for architecture. New York Times 04/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • HIGH STAKES SUIT: The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is suing the heirs of a local collector for $18 million for refusing to come to an agreement about the sale of a Picasso painting. "On one side you have SFMOMA, furious that its generous offer — $3 million more than the family realized at auction — was rejected. On the other, you have the family, furious that its right to dispose of its inheritance as it sees fit is being questioned. How do you explain SFMOMA's lawsuit, which, even if it is won by the museum, might jeopardize its relationship with many potential donors?" San Francisco Examiner 04/15/00

  • THE RUSH TO E-COMMERCE: The Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Museum team up on a commercial website for art. Plans include selling commissioned design products and offering educational programs such as live webcasts of lectures and concerts. It will also carry archival material on art. Profits from the site will help pay the museums' operating expenses.  New York Times 04/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • HAVE ART, NEED HOME: New Zealand's big state-owned company ECNZ is going out of business. So what's to become of the company's publicly-owned  "highly discriminating corporate art collection" of some of the country's best artists? By law, the collection has to be displayed for the public, but... New Zealand Herald 04/17/00

  • (NO) EYE FOR ART: A University of Toronto professor of psychology says that paying close attention to the blind may tell us a whole lot about art. "Over three decades of experiments, the Irish-born scientist has shown that the blind can make and understand pictures in ways that no one had imagined. And that fact forces us to rethink many of our preconceptions about representational art in general." Toronto Globe and Mail 04/17/00

  • A GIRL CAN DREAM, CAN'T SHE? This week the Guggenheim shows New York the Frank Gehry building it wants to build in Lower Manhattan. Will the project really get built? Hard to say, but "like other sideshows that have kept New York in denial about the mediocrity of the buildings it puts up, the feasibility question distracts from the challenge presented by the design. This is the top form architecture comes in these days. Want some?" New York Times 04/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  

  • TROPHY ART: Russia's Pushkin Museum has put the controversial Gold of Troy on permanent display. The Troy collection was secretly taken from Germany by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, and was believed lost until the Russian government revealed, in the early 1990s, that the collection was in Moscow. Germany and Russia are arguing over the return of artwork captured in World War II. The Art Newspaper 04/16/00

  • THEY'RE BACK: How old do you have to be before you're not a YBA (Young British Artist) anymore? In any case, the YBA's have new shows up, including an effort at the new White Cube branch office. London Times 04/16/00  

  • BATTLE FOR THE NEW: New York's Whitney Museum has its Biennial stocked with 97 artists; across town P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center has its "Greater New York" show, a "spirited affair that rounds up enough youngish artists (146 in all) to start a day camp. The latest art-world trend is untrendy artists. Which show does it better? New York Times 04/16/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • A USE FOR DEAD TREES: A Detroit sculptor sees a picture of a sculpture on the pages of the Detroit Free Press that was stolen from him last fall and goes out to claim it. Detroit Free Press 04/15/00 

  • RUSSIAN RETURN: Police have recovered 16 paintings stolen from St. Petersburg's Academy of Arts last year, and two suspects have been detained. Last December thieves broke into the second floor of the museum and took the paintings, most of which dated from the 19th century. "One of the burglars pretended to be an art historian and obtained false documents allowing him to visit the academy's library for [a period of] nearly two months. He repeatedly cut the alarm system in several places, so that people got used to it sounding constantly and became less attentive, making it easier to steal the paintings." St. Petersburg Times (Russia) 04/14/00

  • GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Last fall a series of watercolors attributed to Georgia O'Keeffe owned by the Kemper Museum was thrown into dispute when experts cast doubt on their authenticity. The controversy was heightened because other experts from the National Gallery in Washington had previously praised the work and recommended them. The Santa Fe New Mexican delves into the tangled story behind the art transactions. Santa Fe New Mexican 04/14/00

  • THEY LOVES THEIR DRINKING HOLES IN SOUTH-EAST: Investing in interesting architecture and yoking it to an artistic purpose has become the preferred way of driving economic and cultural renewal in many a distressed community - can you say Bilbao? But a landmark building in southeast Britain is about to join the ranks of missed opportunities. It's about to be wholesaled off by city councilors. "Offered the chance to transform the pavilion into the leading arts centre for the South-East, they prefer to turn it into a pub." London Telegraph 04/14/00

  • RUSSIAN RETURN: Police have recovered 16 paintings stolen from St. Petersburg's Academy of Arts last year, and two suspects have been detained. Last December thieves broke into the second floor of the museum and took the paintings, most of which dated from the 19th century. "One of the burglars pretended to be an art historian and obtained false documents allowing him to visit the academy's library for [a period of] nearly two months. He repeatedly cut the alarm system in several places, so that people got used to it sounding constantly and became less attentive, making it easier to steal the paintings." St. Petersburg Times (Russia) 04/14/00

  • GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Last fall a series of watercolors attributed to Georgia O'Keeffe owned by the Kemper Museum was thrown into dispute when experts cast doubt on their authenticity. The controversy was heightened because other experts from the National Gallery in Washington had previously praised the work and recommended them. The Santa Fe New Mexican delves into the tangled story behind the art transactions. Santa Fe New Mexican 04/14/00

  • THEY LOVES THEIR DRINKING HOLES IN SOUTH-EAST: Investing in interesting architecture and yoking it to an artistic purpose has become the preferred way of driving economic and cultural renewal in many a distressed community - can you say Bilbao? But a landmark building in southeast Britain is about to join the ranks of missed opportunities. It's about to be wholesaled off by city councilors. "Offered the chance to transform the pavilion into the leading arts centre for the South-East, they prefer to turn it into a pub." London Telegraph 04/14/00

  • A ROVING EYE FOR ART: Someone is stealing Detroit's outdoor bronze statues. In the past six months dozens of pieces of outdoor artwork have disappeared, probably to be sold by thieves overseas. Detroit Free Press 04/14/00

  • ARCHEOLOGY WITHOUT A LICENSE: The Indian army and the country's State Archeology Directorate have gotten into a battle over the discovery of rock paintings in Kaimur Hills of central Bihar. The army says it has discovered 52 rock shelters replete with prehistoric paintings, while the Archaeology Directorate rebuffs the claim as being "unprofessional, inadmissible and doubtful". Hindustan Times (India) 04/14/00

  • WAS IT A SANDSTORM? Archaeologists are planning a foray into Egypt's Western Desert next month to try to solve an ancient mystery -  the fate of the lost Persian army of Cambyses. Experts think they may have discovered the place where the army of Persian King Cambyses, who finished off the 26th dynasty of the Pharaohs in 525 BC, ushering in two centuries of Persian rule in ancient Egypt, disappeared and perished in the desert. ABC

  • GERMANY AND RUSSIA to exchange artwork looted from one another during World War II. CBC 04/14/00

  • FOLLOW THE LEADER: Given the quick success of British and German web lists of artwork of questionable provenance, American museums discover the internet as well. Yesterday the Metropolitan Museum posted a list of 393 paintings whose ownership histories have any gap between 1933 and 1945. Then the Museum of Modern Art followed suit with a list of the known provenance of 15 works acquired after 1933. New York Times 04/13/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • DITTO CHICAGO'S ART INSTITUTE: 500 works listed by the museum. Chicago Tribune 04/13/00

  • WHY NOW? And by the way, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets asked the heads of four major museums yesterday, just how serious are you about this issue? And why is Boston's Museum of Fine Art's list so thin? Boston Herald 04/13/00 

  • THE MET, MOMA AND THE MFA trooped before the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets Wednesday to declare their intention to resolve provenance issues. The commission acts as a national body examining what stolen war-era assets exist in the United States and oversees the research to identify them. Newsday 04/13/00

  • FIRST CLAIMS: Boston's MFA acknowledges that a family has made a claim for one of the European paintings in the museum's collection that was stolen and sold in France during the Nazi occupation. The MFA responds: "We have researched the claim and found it to be completely valid and have since been discussing an amicable resolution with the claimant. The claim-ant wishes to keep the painting at the MFA and we are working toward that end.'' Boston Herald 04/13/00

  • MINISTER OF DEFENSE: British arts minister Alan Howarth announced the creation of a new panel to further investigate the Nazi provenance of art in British collections. But he also tried to defuse the recent publicity, declaring: “In fact, the museums and galleries were simply announcing findings about uncertain provenance. It does not follow that because there is a gap in the recorded history of a particular item it must have been looted. Whatever wrongs were done in the Nazi era, works of art held in our public collections were - we should start by assuming - acquired in good faith and have probably been held for the public benefit.” The Guardian 04/13/00  

  • A FORMAL DENIAL: In response to the recently filed civil suit alleging price-fixing, Sotheby's officially denied conspiring with its rival auction house Christie's to fix commissions and asked a federal judge to dismiss the charges. New York Times 04/13/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • THE VALUE OF ART: Five years after French President Jacques Chirac urged the Louvre to create a permanent place for “primitive art,” the museum has opened the doors to its first galleries of African, Asian, Oceanic, and American art. “The idea is that, from now on, the 112 works on display there should be treated as the aesthetic equals of the Egyptian, Greek or Renaissance art elsewhere in the building.” But “a good many unhappy curators” are are grumbling about the shift. New York Times 04/13/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  

  • AMERICAN BIAS: About 300 union cartoonists in Los Angeles say they plan to picket KCET-TV, LA's PBS affiliate, to protest what they claim is increased use of Canadian cartoons on public television. The cartoonists say their jobs are being lost to Canadians "This is sort of the last straw that PBS is giving tax dollars to foreign companies," says one animator. But a PBS spokesperson says: "Of 17 children's programs on the air at this point, I believe three are produced in Canada, and none of them have any federal money in them." Los Angeles Daily News 04/13/00

  • CANCELLATION COMPENSATION: A Hartford artist whose exhibition of artwork depicting sex aids was canceled last fall by nervous city officials, has made a settlement with Hartford City Council. The city will pay the artist $2,500 after she complained that the city had violated her First Amendment rights by canceling her show. Hartford Courant 04/11/00

  • JUNKYARD CHIC: “Brixton Breakers was a rubbish-strewn, rat-infested junkyard in south London, over-run by bikers and drug dealers.” Then artists started working in its run-down Minet Road studios - including Damien Hirst, who made all his formaldehyde pieces there -  and “after the artists came the collectors, dragging their Gucci through the mire, and it became a compulsory stop-over on the international collectors' circuit.” Now Brixton’s the cradle of one of the most exciting new art movements London’s seen in years.  The Guardian 04/13/00 

  • DIZZYING HEIGHTS Lucian Freud’s most recent painting, “Night Portrait, Face Down,” just went on view in New York and has visitors commenting that the prone nude figure seems to be “plunging down through space.” “The idea is that when you stand back from it you feel a little dizzy,” Freud says. (Freud holds the auction record, at £2.8 million, for any living British artist, and the new painting has already been sold for an undisclosed price.) The Telegraph 04/13/00

  • SPOTTED AT AUCTION: Six years ago thieves broke into Bobby Henderson's Cleveland home and stole a valuable stained glass window. It was created by English artist William Morris more than 100 years ago, measures 9 feet 9 inches high by 5 feet 6 inches wide, and weighs about 600 pounds. So it was some feat to get it out of the house. Six weeks ago, Henderson's friends spotted the distinctive piece of art on the Internet auction site, eBay. They contacted Henderson, who contacted authorities. Cleveland Plain Dealer 04/13/00

  • IF THE INFORMATION HAD BEEN AVAILABLE IN THE FIRST PLACE... Less than two hours after Boston's Museum of Fine Arts put up a website Monday providing details about seven paintings that might have been looted during the Holocaust, the museum received an e-mail providing information about one of the paintings. Boston Herald 04/12/00

  • St. Louis Museum investigating four of its paintings - including a Max Beckman and a Matisse to check Nazi provenance. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 04/12/00

  • YOUR PICTURE HERE: The largest poster art project ever seen in Britain is currently on display on billboards throughout London’s East End. Artist Alison Marchant gathered candid snapshots from local families’ albums and enlarged them on 126 billboards and 85 freestanding posters. “It's as if suddenly all the houses in the East End were made of glass.” London Evening Standard 04/12/00

  • THE ART OF ONLINE: "Ten years ago, we used to have 500 people coming to an opening. Now it's closer to five than 500." Art galleries discover that many people prefer the comfort of choosing art online. CBC 04/12/00 

  • VANCOUVER ART MUSEUM stands by its recent leadership decisions, despite petition by prominent artists condemning them. CBC 04/12/00

  • "SAD SITUATION": A blue-chip roster of leaders from the Vancouver cultural community, including architect Arthur Erickson, author/curator Doris Shadbolt and artist Gordon Smith, is calling for the resignations of the executive board and the interim director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Vancouver Sun 04/11/00

  • FISH (MAMMAL?) OUT OF WATER: Whale painter Wyland, who has made a career of wandering up and down the West Coast painting giant sea-life paintings on the sides of buildings, has proposed to bring his show inland. To Oklahoma City, no less. But the city's arts commission has declared the project isn't in keeping with the character of the historic district in which Wyland proposes to work, and turned down permission for it. The Oklahoman 04/11/00

  • NOW EVERYONE'S GOT TO DO IT: Last summer Chicago's art cows were the hit of the town. Now Cincinnati is planning a Big Pig Gig and Toronto is courting moose (mooses?). So Buffalo, well, what else would the city deploy but the big brown beasts? The project has been a hit with artists, sponsors and the public. Look for the first herd in May. Buffalo News 04/11/00

  • SAFE HERITAGE: In February Hawaii's Bishop Museum turned over rare Hawaiian artifacts to Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai‘i Nei in accoradance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Hui Malama officials told museum staff the artifacts were reburied in a Big Island cave. But now some critics say the items should go back to the Honolulu museum because of concerns over their security. Honolulu Advertiser 04/11/00

  • YOUR LIST OF LISTS: Germany posts list of Nazi-stolen art on the internet. "Over 2,200 works of art, as well as 10,000 books and coins have already been indexed on the pages of These works have been called the "Linzer Collection" because they include paintings intended by Hitler for a "Führer Museum" in the Austrian city of Linz." Die Welt 04/11/00

  • NEW TOOL: "The Internet makes this information available to the most people possible. Those who have survived can now easily search for what they have lost. If they are unable, their children or grandchildren can search for them." Wired 04/11/00

  • Boston's Museum of Fine Arts posts web list of  seven European paintings whose provenance, or history of ownership, may implicate them in the widespread looting of art in Europe during the Nazi era. Boston Globe 04/11/00

  • MFA acknowledges that "there are gaps in the ownership history of at least 200 other works in its European collection and that some of these artworks also could be cause for concern." Boston Herald 04/11/00

  • STARS IN THEIR EYES? Some 100 of Vancouver's most prominent visual artists and critics have signed a petition demanding the resignation of the Vancouver Art Gallery's acting director and the the museum's board of directors who appointed him. The petition says that "to appoint an unqualified individual with no experience directing a gallery or public institution is irresponsible and reckless." The museum's previous director "left in the wake of series of disagreements with the board, the most recent a clash in which he was pressured to mount a show of photographs by rock star Bryan Adams." Toronto Globe and Mail 04/11/00

  • "I'm very bothered by the conflict of interest of having a board member take over as director of the gallery." CBC 04/11/00

  • AUCTION HOUSE DEFECTION: Russian heirs of the pioneering abstract artist Kasimir Malevich (1878-1935) have decided to sell a painting estimated to be worth £13 million at Phillips, the London auction house which has long stood in the shadow of Christie's and Sotheby's. 04/11/00

  • QUESTIONS OF WHERE: All well and good to talk about tracking down provenance of a work of art - of course it's the right thing to do. But actually doing it and making it stick isn't always so easy. Boston Globe 04/10/00 

  • NO ONE SAID IT WOULD BE EASY: Efforts by the Art Loss Register to repatriate Nazi-confiscated artworks to their rightful owners have been stymied by a little-known German tax code. “We certainly have the impression that there exists a willingness to return property to its legal owners,” says the Register’s director Sara Jackson. “However, it is unclear to us how this willingness corresponds with a German law that went into effect in 1988.” Ha’aretz 04/09/00

  • CULT OF THE NEW: "Every year fresh new ranks of art-producers rise up almost fully-formed from the art schools, au fait with the current ways of art-knowingness, hard on the heels of their predecessors, intent on subverting the art world hierarchy and establishing their own rightful niches within it. They have to be seen to be doing something different from what was done before, or revamping the old in contemporary guise, to live up to and perpetuate the Western art tradition of continual innovation." That we're in a new millennium only accelerates the quest. *spark-online 04/00

  • HIT ‘EM WITH A ONE-TWO PUNCH: After more than four years without a major show, Damien Hirst - the “original enfant terrible” of the contemporary British art scene, whose shark in formaldehyde stirred up controversy at the Brooklyn Art Museum - is back with a new batch of work, and it’s just as theatrical and button-pushing as ever. “You get people to think one thing, and then you come round from another direction." The Guardian 04/10/00

  • PURE MARKETING GENIUS: Hirst’s new work “Hymn” is at the center of a new plagiarism controversy. The sculpture - a 20-foot replica of a children’s anatomy kit - was bought for an alleged $1.5 million by gallery owner Charles Saatchi, yet no one has yet to see the work in person. NPR 04/09/00  

  • IT’S OUT THERE: East London’s Hoxton neighborhood is quickly acquiring “status as the new center of the capital's contemporary art market.” More than 30 new galleries have popped up there in the last few years, including the White Cube2, which opens later this week with its inaugural show, “Out There.” The Telegraph 04/10/00

  • DEVELOPMENT DREAMS: Last chance, says a Boston developer, to do something dramatic with a piece of the city's waterfront. "One scenario features a dramatic structure resembling the Sydney Opera House, surrounded by green space on 4.6 acres on choice waterfront property. A second would involve a smaller civic building being built near the Federal Court House on a two-thirds acre plot." Boston Herald 04/10/00

  • NOT AT LIBERTY: A Los Angeles artist, stopped from painting a 12-story Statue of Liberty mural on a  building because he didn't have the required permit, draped a 24-foot black banner with the word "CENSORED" across Liberty's face. Los Angeles Daily News 04/10/00

  • TAKING THE ELITE OUT OF SELLING ART: By some estimates, there are currently some 20,000 Web sites involved in selling art, and more are on the way. "Marketing experts say these sites will permanently alter the way art is sold and radically expand the market. Whether the sudden flood of art sites is truly the dawn of a new era bringing riches to sellers and creators of art or just a shift down-market disguised as technological progress, only time will tell." Washington Post 04/09/00

  • WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? A few weeks ago Christie's proposed to auction a stolen 10th Century Chinese wall panel. Then American customs agents stepped in to block the sale. "At best, the auction house’s willingness to cooperate can be described as an exercise in damage limitation in a case that raises serious questions about Christie’s thoroughness in examining the provenance of the works of art it offers for sale." The Art Newspaper 04/07/00

  • THE POWER OF ART: Five years ago, a derelict power station on the south bank of the Thames fit right into its desolate surroundings. Now, £135 million later, the building has been transformed to house the new Tate Modern, one of the great modern art collections in the world. Sunday Telegraph 04/09/00

  • THE POWER OF TRANSFORMATION: "It is all rich vindication for the once-mocked activity of making contemporary art, which has moved in only a couple of generations from marginal status in a philistine, insular culture, via such famous scandals as Carl André's bricks and the Turner Prize dust-ups, to become the most glamorous, honky-tonky wriggle and pout in today's self-consciously globalist Britain." The Observer 04/09/00

  • TICKET TO THE BIGS: Designing a major new museum has become the price of admission into the architectural big league. Now it's happening for Herzog & de Meuron. The Observer 04/09/00

  • PULLED PAINTING: A painting depicting a pope with an eye patch has been replaced in an Oklahoma  state capitol exhibition after a conservative lawmaker called it anti-Christian. Washington Post 04/09/00
  • TOO EXPLICIT? Producer Arthur Cohn has gone to Israel to talk about the inclusion of  forensic photographs of Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics in his Academy Award-winning  documentary "One Day in September." Relatives of the slain athletes want the footage removed. Jerusalem Post 04/09/00 
  • ONLY 55 YEARS LATE: Germany will publish a list of several thousand works of art stolen from museums and individuals across Europe in an effort to restore some of it with its rightful owners. Financial Times 04/06/00
  • CONSPIRACY THEORY: Prosecutors in the federal antitrust investigation of Sotheby's and Christie's have evidence that the chairmen of both auction houses personally set in motion a price-fixing scheme to limit competition. Both men deny the accusations, but “the allegation that a conspiracy was devised at the very top of the venerable auction houses raises the stakes in the investigation, which has already roiled the world of art collectors.” New York Times 04/07/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  
  • LET THE FREAK FLAG FLY: “In many ways, Frank O. Gehry is to architecture what Jimi Hendrix was to rock music - a wild, original, creative genius with a giddy, international appeal.” So he was the logical choice to design Seattle’s new interactive music museum, the Experience Music Project, which opens to the public in June. Gehry’s colorful, free-form design pays homage to Hendrix, and rock music in general, and was inspired in part by the look and style of electric guitars “which he cut up and used as the basis for the design.” (Story includes timeline of Gehry’s best-known buildings.) The Guardian 04/06/00  
  • OUTSIDE APPEARANCES ARE MISLEADING: In the past five years attendance at the Vancouver Art Museum has doubled. Then suddenly last week, the museum's director resigned. Why? Some say it was over a dispute with the board of directors over whether the gallery should exhibit photography by rock star Bryan Adams as part of a fund-raising venture for the museum. But from behind the scenes emerges a story of turmoil. Vancouver Sun 04/06/00
  • YO PICASSO: For 20 years they all thought the picture on the wall behind the boss's desk was just an odd portrait, maybe even an unflattering one of the boss himself. But upon appraisal, the "poster" turns out to be a genuine signed Picasso. Flint Journal 04/06/00
  • SILVER FOR SALE: Christie’s will auction German diamond baron Sir Julius Wernher’s extravagant collection of antique silver and Old Master paintings. “We haven't had a sale of this quality since World War II," said Harry Williams-Bulkeley, head of Christie's silver department. The Times of India (AP) 04/07/00  
  • THERE HE GOES AGAIN: Hans Haacke, fresh off his Whitney imbroglio, is into another, this time in Germany where his proposed project for the new Reischtag - a wooden flower trough, 23 feet wide and 70 feet long - has also sparked controversy. "The trough is to be filled with dirt brought by each of the 669 legislators from their hometowns - something that many lawmakers across party lines say draws an awkward allusion to the mythical veneration of German "blood and soil'' practiced by the Nazis." Fox News 04/05/00
  • HE SAID, THEY SAID: Two prominent San Francisco families are arguing over the sale of a $45 million Picasso. The painting was to be bought jointly by a wealthy art patron and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The sellers agreed to the sale, thinking the museum would own it. When it became clear the patron and SFMOMA would co-own it, the sellers pulled out. San Francisco Chronicle 04/06/00
  • SO YOU'VE GOT SOMETHING AGAINST BIG RED METAL SPIDERS? Sculptor Mark di Suvero’s design for a “gateway sculpture” under consideration for a prominent spot in Sydney’s Sculpture Walk has prompted “responses from rapture to dread.” Sydney Morning Herald 04/06/00
  • INSIDE OUT: A number of artists are experimenting with medical testing in their art. Scans, endoscopy, genetic testing - "to obtain images of their insides, artists are pushing the boundaries of self-exposure, subjecting themselves to painful scrutiny on many levels." ARTNews 04/00
  • FRESCO TECHNOLOGY: Using computer re-creations and chemical technology to expose underlayers, after 15 years of arduous restoration a dozen 15th-century wall paintings by Renaissance master Piero della Francesca will be unveiled to the public Friday in the Church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy. Twenty years ago such a job would not have been possible. New York Times 04/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  
  • GOTCHA!: Two men believed to be responsible for the rash of recent art heists around Montreal have been arrested. Police have seized several statues, but say artwork worth millions of dollars may be unrecoverable. CBC 04/05/00  
  • A DEEP LOVE OF ART? "Up to 16 times since the beginning of autumn, some of Canada's toniest residences on the island of Montreal were hit by art thieves who absconded with millions of dollars worth of works by famous masters, including 10 by the prolific 19th-century painter Cornelius Krieghoff and six by James Wilson Morrice, the first Canadian-born painter to achieve an international reputation." Toronto Globe and Mail 04/05/00
  • TECHNOLOGY TAKES MANHATTAN: This spring New York's museums are full of technology. "These artists were just working with what surrounds them, and technology is so dominant, TV, computer and Internet-wise, that artists have to confront these technologies." Wired 04/05/00
  • WE DIDN'T INVENT NEW, YOU KNOW: of the 1890s. Newspapers and magazines were full of articles celebrating the new woman, the new journalism, the new fiction, the new sculpture and, above all, the new art - l'art nouveau." A new exhibit London's Victoria & Albert Museum highlights the currents of change in design and aesthetics that swept through Europe from 1890-1914. The Telegraph 04/05/00
  • OR WAS IT "GAUDY"?: "infectious dominance" and bizarrely extravagant ornamentation.  London Times 04/04/00
  • OR MAYBE "SEXY"?: "The most startling among 400 objects in the largest exhibition of art nouveau ever mounted has been lent on condition that no salacious comments are made about it." The Guardian 04/05/00
  • PERIPHERAL VISION: Somehow Picasso paying restaurant bills by sketching on menus seems a lot more palatable than the current craze for artists' "peripheral works" - like the inky faxed pages of David Hockney's works that sold for $17,000 last year. Now snapshots from a roll of film taken by Hockney are going on sale next week and they're "being hyped as a potential investment." The Age (Melbourne) 04/05/00
  • WHO KNEW? Georgia O'Keeffe was fond of secrets. But everyone thinks they know the artist's work. Turns out not as well as people might think. In compiling the O'Keeffe catalogue raisonné its author "was stunned to find hundreds of carefully preserved sketchbooks, tiny line drawings, detailed renderings of landscapes, luminous floral pastels, and completely abstract late watercolors. The works on paper make up about half of the slightly more than 2,000 entries in the two-volume catalogue." ARTNews 04/00
  • TRADING ART AND ARTISTS: Hong Kong and Berlin aren't two cities usually associated with one another. But this summer artwork by 1000 Berlin and Hong Kong artists will be swapped for large exhibitions. Then, 200 artists from each will visit the other and do residences. Organizers of the project feel there are natural links between the two cities - "both have been politically reorganized and are currently trying to redefine themselves, particularly in the cultural, economic and political spheres; both function as a window (Hong Kong to China, and Berlin to Eastern Europe); and both are in the process of transformation." South China Morning Post 04/04/00
  • RETURN TO SENDER: At a Europe/Africa summit conference, representatives of 52 African countries have asked European countries to return cultural treasures taken during colonial times. Items "in dispute include the Sphinx's beard from Egypt, an obelisk from Ethiopia and a golden throne from Ghana." CBC 04/04/00
  • FOOD FIGHT: Australia's newly competitive art markets have caused art auction houses to slash their commissions and offer inducements  like "frequent buyer" programs to customers in an attempt to increase business. Sydney Morning Herald 04/04/00 
  • SO MAYBE IT'S GOOD THE ARCHITECTURE DOESN'T FIT IN? Groundbreaking for Beijing's new French-designed $567 million performing arts center took place this week. Plans for an official celebration were called off because of controversy over the project. "Critics of the project say the futuristic design by French architect Paul Andreu is a waste of money and is out of keeping with Chinese and Stalinist architecture of China's capital." China Times 04/04/00
  • WHERE ART AND COMMERCE CONVERGE (COLLIDE?): Vittorio Radice has seen Bilbao. He's seen what Frank Gehry has done for an out-of-the-way Spanish city. And he wants to work the same magic on Birmingham, England. Not a museum, though. Radice runs a store and his great grand shiny shimmery confection would be a tribute to retailing. Daily Telegraph (London) 04/04/00
  • OLD LOOT LAWS: Someone's doing some work on your property. They find a cache of buried gold coins. They claim it for their own. Do they have a right to it? "Idaho Supreme Court will soon hear a dispute pitting media mogul Jann Wenner, the owner of Rolling Stone magazine, against  a construction worker who discovered a cache of gold coins buried on Wenner's land near the Sun Valley resort area. The worker made his claim based on the ancient common law rule of treasure trove, which awards title of an artifact to the finder, be he looter or archaeologist." Is this fair? Archeology Magazine 04/00
  • FASCINATED BY CANOES: The first-ever Bill Mason art exhibit and sale opened Friday in a tiny gallery outside Ottawa, but don't bring your checkbook - all 50 paintings were sold within 22 minutes of the show's opening. Phone purchases were scheduled to begin half an hour after the doors opened - but that was already eight minutes after the last 'sold' sticker went up. "It's almost as if Mason created these tiny glimpses of art just for people who appreciate the charms made accessible by a canoe" All About Canoes News 03/29/00
  • HOW BAD IS BAD? As though the word had a static meaning. Nonetheless, academic art has had a bad rep for a long time. But there are signs that is changing. Atlantic Monthly 04/00 
  • HAM AND FLIES ON... Belgian artist covered entry pillars of a Ghent museum with 8,000 slices of ham. He hopes that over three months the "sculpture" will attract swarms of flies and be a "living" piece of art. "Good art must stink a bit," he said. Critics have so far disagreed. Singapore Straits Times (Reuters) 04/03/00
  • MORE THAN A TRIP TO HOME DEPOT: The Smithsonian badly needs repairs - about $500 million worth. Though artifacts are largely protected, a visit to some of the research and storage rooms on the Mall showed how the neglect could damage irreplaceable collections. Washington Post 04/02/00
  • THE TATE USED TO BE A MUSEUM: But with its makeover into the House of Britain, it's fallen down on the job, writes one critic. "Now it is a card table on which teams of spectacularly ignorant modern curators play snap with the nation's heritage. Here's a 17th-century portrait of a squat Englishman. Here's a 20th-century portrait of a squat English dog. They're both squat, so let's hang them together. Snap!" The Sunday Times 04/02/00
  • BLOCK THAT SALE: A 10th-century Chinese sculptured wall panel stolen from the Five Dynasties (A.D. 906-960) tomb of Wang Chuzhi in Hebei Province in 1994 has been ordered seized in New York. The artwork was due to be auctioned at Christie's but the US Customs office wants to return it to China. Archeology Magazine 03/30/00
  • WHO OWNS ART: In the 1950s Maxfield Parrish gave employees of the Windsor County National Bank a painting he had done to thank them for the help they gave him, month after month, balancing his accounts. The bank's been sold a couple of times, and the painting has appreciated in value; it's worth several hundred thousand dollars. The bank's new owners tried to sell it, but the townspeople are mobilized for action to save their much-loved civic treasure. Boston Globe 04/02/00