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VISUAL ARTS - May 2000

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Wednesday May 31

  • "JUST CALL IT McMOMA": Getting your museum noticed these days requires "surreal amounts of money" these days, not to mention the promotional instincts of PT Barnum. The Museum of Modern Art's Glenn Lowry has been "resculpting" MoMA so that the museum gets its fair share (of money and attention). He has hired a crack marketing team at private-sector salaries and has chosen to oversee projects that include building a Philippe art and design Web store, and renting part of the museum's art collection to a billionaire Japanese real estate mogul. New York Observer 05/31/00

  • HOW TO SAVE VENICE ART? Acid rain is eating the outdoor art of Venice. "Amputated arms, graffiti, and the black streaks caused by sulphur dioxide have marred the appearance of much Venetian sculpture, and everywhere there are examples such as Alessandro Vittoria’s statue of Saint Zaccaria on the central portal of the church, which remains faceless after its marble features disintegrated." Some want to rescue the work by taking it inside and replacing it with copies. The Art Newspaper 05/31/00

  • DANCING ON THE THAMES: Architect Terry Farrell designed two of London’s most flamboyant buildings on the Thames in the 1980s - the MI6 headquarters and the redesigned Charing Cross Station - then promptly fell out of favor without a single London commission in the 90s. Now he’s got seven major London projects in the works, all for prime sites along the river, and whether or not they’re loved, they’re sure to be noticed. London Times 05/31/00

  • REPORTS OF OUR DEATH ARE... The Royal Canadian Academy of Art decided to do a millennial show and made an open call to artists. The idea might have worked 120 years ago when the Academy was formed. "Maybe it even worked 30 years ago, when the RCA's annual exhibition finally died off. For better or worse, however, at the beginning of the 21st century it's simply not how things work - as any truly vigorous arts organization would have understood right off. Toronto Globe and Mail 05/30/00

Tuesday May 30

  • THE REAL DICK: That maybe-Richard Diebenkorn-that wasn't in that E-Bay auction that got everybody so excited a few weeks ago and forced a winning bid of $135,000? Well maybe it is real after all. Though the auction was nullified, experts are now looking at the painting to determine its patrimony. San Francisco Chronicle 05/30/00

Monday May 29

  • AN APPETITE FOR (FREE) ART: Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art gets a corporate grant to abolish its $12 admission charge. In the first four days since going free, attendance has doubled, and twice the museum has had to temporarily close its doors because of overcrowding. Sydney Morning Herald 05/29/00

  • THE STORY BEHIND THE PAINT: It's been possible to tell what lies underneath the layers of paint of a painting for some time. "However, new technologies such as infra-red analysis - one of several methods used to determine the history and construction of paintings - makes the task more precise." The technology is helping rewrite the histories of some works of art. The Age (Melbourne) 05/29/00

  • A FAKE FAKE: Fifty years ago, Australia's most important painting - thought to be by 15th-century Flemish master Jan van Eyck -  was declared a fake by experts in Brussels who ruled it was not by van Eyck and was probably not even Flemish. The painting was taken down from the National Gallery and put away. But new research shows the experts might have been wrong and now the painting may be returned to display. The Age (Melbourne) 05/29/00

  • THE STOLEN ART PROBLEM: Theft of artwork has become a major international problem. The British government wants to do something about it. But first - just how big a problem is it? No one seems to know for sure. The Telegraph (London) 05/29/00

Sunday May 28

  • ART STARS: Britain's hip new artists have become glamorous celebs. "This isn't so surprising when you consider the new wealth giving a golden glow to new British art. It's become a nice little earner." But do they lose some their hipness by traveling in these new circles?  Sunday Times (London) 05/28/00

  • MUSEUMS AS ENTERTAINMENT: "Entertainment gets a bad rap as diversionary distraction, a shallow Pied Piper ostensibly leading us away from the serious things in life. But try telling that to Shakespeare or Bernini, who managed to make extremely entertaining art. Entertainment's dual responsibilities are to hold interest and give pleasure. Why this should be considered a minor achievement is anybody's guess - especially for art - although American Puritanism is one likely culprit. But art is not brain surgery, nor the answer to perennial problems like war or world hunger." Los Angeles Times 05/28/00

Saturday May 27

  • MOMA NO-NO: Media Mogul S.I. Newhouse has been forced to give up his priuzed seat on the Museum of Modern Art board of directors (he's been a member for 27 years). "One of the world's most prolific art collectors, Newhouse stepped down to avoid being expelled for breaking a rule barring trustees from buying a painting from the museum. He bought a 1913 Picasso, Man with Guitar, that the museum had decided to de-acquisition to fund new buys. The picture, in the museum's basement, was sold to an unidentified art dealer who sold it to Mr Newhouse for $10 million." The Times (London) 05/27/00

  • NYET EXCHANGE: Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a law banning the return of stolen WWII artwork to Germany.  "The works in question include a rare Gutenberg Bible, gold artifacts from the ancient site of Troy, a drawing by Rembrandt and paintings by Claude Monet and Henri Matisse." Washington Post 05/27/00

  • NASA DE MEDICI: When you think of the US space agency, you think rockets, not art. But NASA has commissioned hundreds of artworks about space, and a number of them are currently touring the country. "Featured artists include Peter Max, Robert McCall, Robert Rauschenberg, Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth. To give them creative fodder, NASA allows selected artists wide access to events, such as shuttle launches." 05/25/00

  • MUSEUMS AS THEME PARK: Have museums been caught up in an infotainment vortex? "It is no longer enough to be the repository of objects and artifacts stored for presentation and posterity, presented to the public for their edification. Now museums have to engage with the public, competing with the rest of the entertainment industry for tourist dollars and leisure time. All the while maintaining their learning function." 05/26/00

  • PUBLIC ART PROTEST: For two months neighbors of the University of Massachusetts in Boston have been protesting the pending installation of a new piece of public art. The sculpture was due to be installed this weekend, but this week someone took a sledgehammer to the work's support piers, forcing a postponement. Boston Globe 05/27/00

Friday May 26

  • LOOT AIN’T LEGIT: The International Council of Museums has condemned the Louvre’s recent decision to exhibit two 2,000-year-old terracotta figures which were looted from Nigeria and then illegally exported by a Brussels dealer. French president Jacques Chirac has intervened to plea with Nigeria’s president to legitimize the acquisition which he hopes will have a permanent home in the Louvre’s new non-European art gallery. The Art Newspaper 05/25/00
  • FINDING FAULT: Neil MacGregor, director of London’s National Gallery, has criticized the UK government’s recent euphoria over much-publicized museum and gallery openings, including the Tate Modern. Striking at the Government's boast that it had increased access, Mr. MacGregor said: "There may be more access; but it is access to ignorance." The Independent 05/26/00
  • ART IN A CAN: Minneapolis has a graffiti problem. Some officials charge that the city's arts institutions are encouraging the taggers by sponsoring spray can art. Minneapolis Star-Tribune 05/26/00 
  • A RIGHT TO BE NAKED? A university of South Florida student labored on his art exhibition for much of the semester. He built a fiberglass cave in which he proposed to live in naked for the duration of the show. Uh-uh, said the gallery director - no one can stay overnight in the museum, and besides, we don't like the nudity thing. The artist is crying censorship. St. Petersburg Times 05/25/00 

Thursday May 25

  • CORPORATE DIVESTMENT: Sara Lee donates 52 works of art to 40 museums. It's the largest gift to the most museums in US corporate history. " The 52 works are described as representing 'a concise survey of European avant-garde painting and sculpture from 1870 to 1960.' Not much would strike a viewer as 'avant-garde,' most of the art having entered the mainstream years ago." MSNBC (Newhouse) 05/23/00
  • DIRTY LAUNDRY: UK Arts Minster Alan Howarth has selected a panel of experts to examine ways to crack down on Britain’s growing black market for smuggled art and antiquities. An estimated £500 million is laundered every year through the sale of looted artifacts from the Middle East and Africa, all of which can then be legally bought and sold in the UK. Ananova 05/24/00
  • SECOND CYBER-THOUGHTS: The Tate Museum commissioned a web artist known as Harwood. "He proposed to make a mock version of the existing Tate website, to which one in three visitors to would be diverted. Clicking through the various categories of the museum's site, visitors would be dropped into Harwood's version produced in the same structure and design, but with 'hacked' artworks" - work changed digitally by the artist. The work was to debut this week, but that's been postponed, perhaps to straighten out some reservations about the concept. The Guardian 05/25/00
  • DOME DEFENSE: Despite public outcry, shoddy attendance, and the dissenting opinions of 64 MPs, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has defended the UK government's decision to pump £29m into the Millennium Dome. BBC 05/25/00
  • DESIGN FOR LIVING: Israel’s architecture exhibit at the upcoming Venice Biennale attempts to answer the beguiling question: What, exactly, is a city? “In curator Hillel Schocken's view, modern urban planning has been an utter failure; not one successful city was created in the 20th century. He proposes a new definition of the city, one that fulfills the idea of intimate anonymity.” Ha’aretz (Israel) 05/25/00
  • COSMIC SHIFT: For the first time since Washington DC's Air and Space Museum opened in 1976, the museum is not the most popular museum ticket in town. In the battle of Smithsonians, Natural History is winning. "In the first four months of 2000, 2.3‚million people visited Air and Space. In the same span, 2.8‚million have gone through Natural History. Last month 1‚million visitors walked through Air and Space, compared with 1.3‚million at Natural History." Washington Post 05/25/00
  • The most-stolen work of art in the world goes on display. Ananova 05/25/00 
  • BELAGIO TO CLOSE SUNDAY: The Belagio Hotel gallery will close this weekend and its art will be sold. The hotel plans to reopen the gallery later with traveling exhibitions. Las Vegas Sun 05/25/00 

Wednesday May 24

  • DULWICH DOOMED? “The most architecturally venerated of London's art galleries,” the 18th-century Dulwich Picture Gallery has recently undergone extensive restoration thanks to £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. How did the revitalization affect Sir John Soane’s original collection? “It's hard not to feel a twinge of regret, as Soane's ghost has faded a little more with this new work. It feels normal, which it never was before.” London Evening Standard 05/24/00
  • ROCK ON THE BLOCK: New York’s art deco landmark Rockefeller Center is up for sale for an estimated $2-2.5 billion. The property includes 12 historic buildings and is home to Christie’s and NBC. Times of India  (Reuters) 05/24/00
  • PORTRAITS TO THE STARS: In 1969, London’s National Portrait Gallery dropped its requirement that subjects must be dead for 10 years before being portrayed on gallery walls. Ever since, celebrities have been vying for space among the canvases. “With a television star preferred any day over a worthy politician, the gallery has veered towards the voyeurist appeal of a Madame Tussaud's.” New York Times 05/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  
  • LOSE, LOSE: London’s Millennium Dome has been at the center of controversy since the day it was built. The latest stir: the Dome was given an extra £29 million from the National Lottery this week on condition that its chairman resign. He did, and then MPs protested the government’s earlier promise that no further public funds would be advanced to the Dome. The Telegraph 05/24/00
  • MARKET-MAKERS: In 1990, the now-defunct Japanese Itoman Corp. purchase some expensive artwork, "a move that caused huge damage to the trading firm" in part because the prices for the paintings were highly inflated. Last week the paintings were sold at auction and the low prices are probably deflated. The artmarket in Japan see its highs and lows. Daily Yomiuri 05/24/00

Tuesday May 23

  • WHERE'S THE MODERN IN TATE MODERN? So the opening of the Tate Modern was the art event of the century. But there are a few problems, aren't there? "The Tate owns fewer than 700 pieces of international art - not all that many really. It wasn't created to be a museum of world art at all - in fact, at about the time that the Museum of Modern Art was being established in New York, the Tate was turning up its nose at the work of Gaudier-Brzeska, and didn't really start buying 20th-century international art until well after the Second World War. The consequence of this is that, although the Tate owns 38 Picassos, it also has enormous gaps in its collection." New Statesman 05/23/00
  • WYNN TO GET BELAGIO TAX BREAKS: Casino mogul Steve Wynnis expected to benefit handsomely from major tax breaks when MGM sells off Belagio Hotel's $200 million worth of fine art in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Sun 05/23/00 
  • ART JUMBLE: The new new thing is for museums to hang art out of its traditional chronological order. This of course has some critics and curators fuming. Not Thomas Hoving, however: I applaud the jumble-jamble approach. A work of art is an act of magical genius and it essentially doesn't matter if it was created in the fifth decade of whatever century or is an example of the late middle mature style of whatever artist or school of painting. And it really doesn't edify the member of the viewing public if that work is isolated within other similar works in time or space. 05/23/00

Monday May 22

  • WATERING THE SPIRIT OF ART: A pair of "guerilla artists" walked into the new Tate Modern museum and urinated in Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain." "The pair claimed that the purpose of their action was to 'celebrate the spirit of modern art.' Bemused onlookers in the room applauded, thinking that they had just seen an officially planned performance. The artists claim that after their performance, which lasted about a minute, the Tate closed the room to the public but made no attempt to apprehend them." The Guardian 05/22/00
  • FIRE SALE: The British government is considering early plans to sell off the fantastically costly Millennium Dome at a bargain basement price. The Dome has been a popular and critical flop. The Telegraph 05/21/00 

    • BAIL OUT: Dome needs £30 million from the National Lottery to stave off bankruptcy and save the jobs of 5,000 staff. The Independent 05/22/00

  • GOLD MEDAL PERFORMANCE: Toronto-born architect Frank Gehry has won the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, "awarded on behalf of the Queen by the Royal Institute of British Architecture, and still, despite the big bucks attached to newer international prizes, the most prestigious of its kind." The Guardian 05/22/00

  • TROPHY PICTURES: Ireland's booming economy has caused a surge in Ireland's art market prices. The Telegraph (London) 05/22/00

  • ONLINE GUGGENHEIM: The Guggenheim World Empire becomes the WWW Empire. The museum "has pledged the equivalent of a real building’s budget to create the Guggenheim Virtual Museum (GVM), launched this month, on a laptop near you. Wagering that the New York-based architecture firm Asymptote can do for it in virtual space what Frank Gehry’s Bilbao did in the physical world, the Guggenheim’s commitment is not only costly but long-term: Its design and construction will be ongoing, given the fluid nature of the medium." Architecture Magazine 05/00 

Sunday May 21 

  • PICTURE PERFECT: Who says photography has to record something real? In the late '70s, a number of artists began "questioning the documentary capacity of photography. Instead of taking pictures of extant scenes, James Casebere built elaborate models and photographed them, presenting the prints rather than the constructions as his art. Other artists were coming up with similar strategies at the time, all departing from the tradition of straight photography and its commitment to reality." Los Angeles Times 05/21/00

Friday May 19

  • CHILD’S P(L)AY: Damien Hirst has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to two children’s charities to settle a copyright suit sparked by his latest work, “Hymn,” a 20ft bronze sculpture (which recently sold for £1m) that is a larger-than-life replica of a well-known child’s anatomy set. BBC 05/19/00  
  • WHY WE LIKE OUR BIG McHOUSES: Everyone, it seems, decries suburban sprawl. From the McHouse architecture to the sterile streetlife, the 'burbs make an easy target. But "for all the scorn that's heaped on the suburbs - and especially on subdivisions of nearly identical houses on the fringe of metropolitan areas - people like living there. And not just middle-class drones either." Weekly Standard 05/22/00
  • VINTAGE FAKES? Some of Louise Hine's vintage master photographs appear to have been forged. Experts are investigating. Chicago Tribune 05/19/00
  • MAN OH MANN: The governor of Virginia has objected to a slide show by photographer Sally Mann given earlier this month in a state-owned museum. In his letter to the museum's interim director the governor wrote he was 'shocked and dismayed that this type of exhibit occurred on state owned property.' " Fox News (AP) 05/19/00
  • HEY - IT'S ONLY A BUILDING: "And the opening of Tate Modern. My reaction? Stunned. Literally stunned. Suddenly, London has become the greatest city the world has to offer, the city that is positively buzzing with energy and optimism and sheer in-your-face modernity." The Guardian 05/19/00
  • TOP OF 1000 YEARS: Four American museum curators each have a go at picking their top ten artworks of the past 1,000 years.  Two of them pick Chartres as No.1. Christian Science Monitor 05/19/00 
  • I THINK I CAN: No. 3 auctioneer Phillips comes back with another auction - and has better luck selling it after last week's disaster. New York Times 05/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • SITTING ON CEREMONY: Plans to erect a statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt sitting in a wheel chair stir controversy in Washington DC. Washington Post 05/19/00

Thursday May 18

  • TWO DONUTS ON STILTS: Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project is said to look like a cross between a spaceship and a glob of playdough - what about his plans for the new Manhattan Guggenheim? “Take two donuts with holes in them, and put them up on stilts.” Disney World, say the critics. The future, say Gehry and Thomas Krens, the Guggenheim's director. Art Newspaper 05/18/00
  • TWO DONUTS ON STILTS: Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project is said to look like a cross between a spaceship and a glob of playdough - what about his plans for the new Manhattan Guggenheim? “Take two donuts with holes in them, and put them up on stilts.” Disney World, say the critics. The future, say Gehry and Thomas Krens, the Guggenheim's director. Art Newspaper 05/18/00
  • "MISS IT AND YOU'LL CURSE YOURSELF": The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto broke all of its attendance records this spring with a blockbuster show of Egyptian artifacts. But popular as ancient Egypt is, to get people through the door the museum hired a slick ad agency to whip up interest. Toronto Globe and Mail 05/18/00
  • POP DADDY: Richard Hamilton, whose 1956 collage “Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So, So Appealing?” is considered by many to have signaled the birth of British pop art, is still at the top of his game - fascinated by all things modern and by his own paintings’ iconic status. “Perhaps that is why of all living British artists he is the one whose work gets the richest showing in the opening displays at Tate Modern.” The Guardian 05/18/00  
  • DID ALBRIGHT'S FATHER STEAL ART? A new biography revives claims that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's father stole paintings after WWII and that the family still has them. Prague Post 05/17/00 
  • BUYING ART WITH YOUR MILLIONS: The newly-rich internet crowd gets into the contemporary art market in a big way. This week's Christie's sale of contemporary art was marked by record prices and spirited bidding. "It was such a young audience I thought for a moment I'd wandered into 'Gladiator.' " New York Times 05/18/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • MALEVICH SALE: A somewhat overlooked sald of a Malevich painting at the Phillips auction last week signals a final end to Stalinism. New York Observer 05/18/00
  • FAILURE TO PROTECT NATIVE ARTISTS: Indian artists tell Congress that the US government is not enforcing a law designed to protect American Indian artisans from forgers said to be cutting into a $1 billion a year business. Baltimore Sun (AP) 05/18/00

Wednesday May 17

  • MONUMENT TO MUSIC: Frank Gehry's swoopy droopy Experience Music Project (please don't call it a museum) is opening soon in Seattle. Says Gehry: "This building is supposed to be a lot of fun. That's what Paul Allen wanted. Fun. It's supposed to be unusual. The (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum) in Cleveland wanted a straight-forward corporate look. Paul didn't want that. He wanted what he called a swoopy building. Nobody has seen this before or will see it again. Nobody will build another one." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 05/16/00
    • A BUILDING OR A METAPHOR? "Up close, the latest offering from architect Frank Gehry looks like a cross between a giant spaceship and globs of playdough." National Post (Canada) 05/17/00
  • TRACES OF GENIUS: Scientists plan to test DNA found in smudges and fingerprints in Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and sketches to better understand the master and distinguish his work from that of his apprentices. “Vezzosi believes that the best traces can be found in ink stains on the handwritten pages of Leonardo's notebooks, as the master himself recommended using saliva to thicken black ink.” 05/16/00
  • PICKING UP THE PIECES: At one time the top spot running Sotheby's would have been considered a real dream job. But with scandals and investigations and uncertainties, William Ruprecht confesses that he "took a very deep breath and had a moment of hesitation" before accepting the assignment last February. After last week's successful spring auctions, it appears some of the storm has passed. Financial Times 05/16/00
  • A REAL CIRCUS: The State of Florida decides to give control of Sarasota's Ringling Museum (with a fine collection of Old Master paintings) to Florida State University. Now the museum's director has resigned and the Board, University, and public are in conflict. Sarasota Herald-Tribune 05/15/00

Tuesday May 16

  • THE REAL PAINTING STARS OF LONDON: Curious that as the Tate Modern opens, virtually ignoring painting from the past 20 years, London galleries are full of it - and a lot of it is figurative and quite interesting. This is where the enduring contemporary stars of the painting world are hanging out. Financial Times 05/16/00 
  • PIANO PRESTO: Renzo Piano just might be the world's busiest architect: For Hermès he is designing a Far East headquarters in Tokyo. In America, he is working on the Harvard Art Museum, the Chicago Art Institute, an art campus in Atlanta and a sculpture gallery in Dallas. There is a telecom HQ in Rotterdam, a Paul Klee museum in Switzerland, a trio of new concert halls in Rome, an elegant tower in Sydney nearing completion, and a pilgrimage church in southern Italy which looks set to be the religious masterpiece of millennium year. In Berlin his Potsdamer Platz, a vast development spanning a blighted area on either side of the Wall, is nearly complete. The Times (London) 05/16/00
  • SOME STRIKING MOMA WORKERS RETURN TO WORK: About 40 percent of the 250 workers striking against the Museum of Modern Art in New York over poor wages and job security have crossed the picket line, says museum management. New York Times 05/16/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • ONE SICK PUPPY: Even his admirers call Gottfried Helnwein that. "He earned his first gallery show in the 70s by driving around his native Vienna dressed in Nazi uniform, his head bandaged, fake blood trickling from his mouth. It caught the eye of an art dealer who signed him up and has remained faithful to Austria's enfant terrible ever since." The Guardian 05/16/00
  • A BOARD HELD ACCOUNTABLE: Leaders of Vancouver's arts community hold a summit with the board of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The VAG has been under attack since the murky departure of of the museum's director and some questionable actions by the board of directors. Vancouver Province 05/16/00

Monday May 15

  • LONG TERM STRATEGY: Even though last week's auction in New York by Phillips - pushing hard to gain a toehold on Sotheby's and Christie's - was little short of a disaster and cost the company a great deal of money, Phillips is in to stay. "It would be a mistake to believe that it can be done quickly. It will take three to five years to reposition ourselves and grow from there. This is by no means a quick fix." The Telegraph (London) 05/15/00
  • THE WORLD'S TALLEST YACHT'S MAST: "In the very heart of Chicago, work is about to begin on the tallest building in the world. Including its twin 450ft lightning-conducting digital communications antennae, 7 South Dearborn will be 2,000ft tall, with 108 floors." It will be as beautiful as it is tall, as innovative as it is graceful. The Guardian 05/15/00
  • THE HISTORY OF THE WOLRD: Berlin's answer to London's Millennium Dome is an ambitious exhibition called "Seven Hills - Images and Signs of the 21st Century," a celebration of humankind's future and a catalog of its past. Die Welt 05/15/00
  • MY BODY MY ART: A number of artists are tapping into a vein of concern about what some see as runaway technology in medical science. "The debate's over what we do with our bodies - science is catalyzing these debates - but where they play them out are culturally, personally, and legally. The artwork becomes a corporate body to mimic what happens in reality." Wired 05/15/00
  • WILL CLICK FOR ART? Last week's sham sale of a fake Diebenkorn over an E-Bay auction had plenty of people scratching their heads. Of course there was all the business about the speculation over the painting. And yes it was peculiar how gullible some people apparently are. But what really threw skeptics was the fact that someone would actually pay six-figures for a piece of art by clicking a mouse. Maybe the internet can sell online art after all. New York Times 05/15/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • WHEN MARY SUED SALLE: In January New York art dealer Mary Boone signed David Salle to her stable. Now she's suing him for $1 million. Evidently "Boone promised to advance Salle $500,000, in return for which he would consign work worth at least $850,000 to her gallery. She'd pay all the promotional costs, and they'd split the sales, 60-40 in his favor." Boone says Salle failed to deliver on the promised work. New York Daily News 05/14/00 
  • ART OF THE WEB? Last week the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gave out a big award for online art. Did anyone care? A panel in SF talked about web art at the museum this weekend.  "Asked whether artists working on the Net need or want the collaboration of traditional art institutions, Webby-winner Michael Samyn - prefacing his response by remarking he didn't understand the question because he is 'a designer, not an artist' - said 'No.' " Wired 05/15/00
  • GUGGENHEIM AWARD: The Council of Europe has awarded Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum its Best Museum in Europe award. BBC 05/15/00
  • STRONG START: Australian art sales have surged in the first part of this year. Sydney Morning Herald 05/15/00
  • BUT HOW TO PAY THE TAX? Under a new Australian tax system, all small businesses (including artists) must have an Australian Business Number or face having 48.5 per cent withholding tax taken out of every payment they receive. But many aboriginal artists on the edge of the Tanami Desert in the Northern Territory operate largely outside the formal economy. "Advocates for the Aboriginal arts industry claim it is unrealistic to expect most of the estimated 18,000 Aboriginal artists who derive an income from their creative work to comply with the details of the new tax system." Sydney Morning Herald 05/15/00

Sunday May 14

  • NEW YORK TO ARCHITECTURE - DROP DEAD: The new zoning rule overhaul put forward by NY mayor Rudy Giuliani amounts to a direct attack on the creativity of architects. Just how far can a government go with restrictions on building design before it violates constitutional principles? New York Times 05/14/00 (One-time registration required for entry)
  • NO LIBEL: A French appeals court has ruled that art historian Hector Feliciano did not commit libel for suggesting in his book about art stolen by the Nazis that the late art dealer Georges Wildenstein may have collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. Nandotimes 05/13/00
  • ART BY ANY OTHER NAME: Why must the cards labeling works of art be so vacuous? "Now, though, even the most venerable institutions have succumbed to the pull of populism: exhibitions have been dumbed down. And for this, I blame the curators and the catalogues and wall labels they provide. It is not the artists chosen that are at fault but rather the commentaries on them and quality of information supplied in the galleries." The Telegraph (London) 05/14/00
  • THE BREAK BETWEEN ARCHITECTS AND THE REAL WORLD: Los Angeles is booming. But architects aren't smiling. "The reason is that once again the profession's creative elite has been relegated to the sidelines, designing scattered landmark residences while the majority of new housing remains in the hands of corporate developers. The break between the worlds of first-rate architecture and conventional home building - never close in the first place - is now a chasm." Los Angeles Times 05/14/00
  • NEW IRISH ARCHITECTURE: Ireland didn't produce much in the way of decent architecture in the 1980s. Most of the large civic projects were roads and bridges. "Disengaged from the infrastructural process, architects felt envious and threatened. One prominent architect nominated for an award remarked that he would hate his building to be 'beaten by a runway' at Dublin airport." Now some new signs of life. Sunday Times (London) 05/14/00

Friday May 12

  • HITLER'S ART DEALER, Karl Haberstock, has been a major ongoing donor of Germany’s Municipal Art Museum in Ausburg. The museum, which has been publicly denounced by the World Jewish Congress, has finally agreed to investigate the provenance of the museum’s more questionable works and to open its archives to the public over the Internet. Wired 05/11/00 (Reuters) 
  • THE STARS COME OUT: The Tate Modern opens with a powerhouse collection of high-wattage luminaries. The Guardian 05/12/00
  • WHO GOT THE BUZZ? Artists, that's who. "It is pointless to start flinging labels around and referring to art as the new rock 'n' roll or the new fashion or even the new film industry, since what actually seems to have happened is that the art world has subsumed all these things and turned them into, well, art. At the same time, the players at the centre of all the excitement, the artists themselves, have emerged as the absolute celebrities of the moment, with the (now, not so) Young British Artists attaining a kind of super-supremacy, like the super-models and rock superstars before them." London Evening Standard 05/12/00
  • SO MUCH FOR THAT EXPERIMENT: MGM Grand has announced it will sell off its part of the $400 million worth of artwork it acquired with its purchase of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Former owner Steve Wynn had opened a gallery in the hotel to show the art, and charged visitors admission. MGM says it will use the money to finance its acquisition of the hotel. Las Vegas Sun 05/12/00 
  • THE ART OF THE E-AUCTION: "The eBay con artists get all the attention, but what about the lesser-known eBay artists? That's right. There is a new breed of artist using the Internet auction site as a forum for creative expression. Their work is hard to categorize; it's a combination of conceptual art and performance art, sort of like a digital happening in cyberspace. Where else can an artist reach a potential audience of millions? What better place to make a wry comment on our materialistic consumer culture?" Boston Globe 05/12/00
  • EXPENSIVE CHALLENGE: Bernard Arnault is trying to challenge Sotheby's and Christie's by pumping life (and a lot of money) into No. 3 auctioneer Philips. The company debuted this week's auction with an ambitious lineup with about $81 million in art. Less than two thirds sold, however - bringing in just $40.1 million - so Arnault will have to make up the difference himself  because of the minimum prices he guaranteed to his sellers. New York Post 05/12/00
    • CHARITY AUCTION OR SERIOUS ART SALE? "The auction began nearly an hour late, and then it started with an announcement that 3 percent of the hammer prices would go to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Dressed in a bright orange dress with matching lipstick, the movie star Sharon Stone, campaign chairwoman for the charity, made a speech about AIDS. Throughout the evening, she wandered up and down the aisles trying to drum up excitement in the otherwise dead room." New York Times 05/12/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • TWENTY YEARS OF MAKEOVER: In an era of rapid change in the museum world, James Wood has been director of the Arts Institute of Chicago for 20 years. "During his time, all the museum's departments were renovated; the original beaux-arts building was restored; a wing was built; a department of architecture founded; a program of publications resumed; a constellation of conservation labs established; and curators of nearly every department were replaced." Not to mention two decades-worth of exhibitions of art. Wood reflects on the past and future of American museums. Chicago Tribune 05/12/00
  • POST-DESERT STORM ART: Iraq’s national museum, which has been closed since the Gulf War, has finally reopened to the public. More than 10,000 artifacts are on display, including rare Sumerian and Babylonian sculpture and archeological treasure. CNN 05/11/00
  • LONGA THANKGA: The longest and largest Tibetan painting - a thankga about six football fields long - has gone on display in the Revolutionary Museum in Beijing. CNN 05/12/00
  • CONTEMPO-PLINTH: A panel decided to make the vacant plinth in London's Trafalgar Square an ongoing showcase for contemporary art. BBC 05/12/00
  • E-MINIMALISM: It's the digital equivalent of watching paint dry. An artist takes minimalism to the net: "On the computer screen, 'Film Task' appears to be a simple black square that, over eight hours, gradually turns white. Since it takes about 30 minutes for the eye to discern a change, patience is required (along with the Shockwave plug-in). A monotonous sine wave serves as the soundtrack, the only accompaniment." New York Times 05/12/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Thursday May 11

  • NAKED, NUDE, STARKERS: No, no, no - certainly no one would suggest that Larry Gagosian's first exhibit in his new London gallery was cynically sensation - it was art after all, featuring an artist "who pays 23 tall, slender women to spend three hours being stared at while naked except for stilettos. The 23 women were chosen for their height their figures, pale skins and auburn hair, as well as attributes best not inquired after. For three hours they stared back dispassionately as London's art world arrived, had a long look, and then had a free drink across the road in a bar called Strawberry Moons." London Evening Standard 05/11/00 
  • SWEAT EQUITY: The Smithsonian's traveling exhibition exploring American sweatshops - consisting of archival photos and a few historical artifacts, including mass-produced slave workshirts, union posters from the '20s onward and objects seized in the infamous 1995 El Monte sweatshop raid - would have seemed to have been a natural for LA's Museum of Tolerance. But the show wasn't even advertised or the press notified. How come? LA Weekly 05/11/00
  • QUEEN ELIZABETH opens the eagerly-anticipated Tate Modern today. Gala parties to follow. BBC 05/11/00
    • THE GLOBAL MUSEUM SWEEPSTAKES: The cliche in art these days is that museums are the modern cathedrals. Who cares if there isn't enough to go inside. Increasingly visitors come to experience the architecture - "an experiential encounter that competes with, and often dwarfs, our encounters with the art inside." Thus opens the new Tate Modern. LA Weekly 05/11/00
    • SUBJECTIVE OPINION: Instead of hanging art chronologically at the new Tate Modern, curators have taken a thematic approach, jumbling eras and ages to trace themes. The Art Newspaper 05/11/00 
    • GREAT AT THE TATE: "I've got complaints about Tate Modern - but because they perhaps have less to do with the museum than my own un-grooviness, I'll save them until later. Art is what counts; and the art at Tate Modern - much of it heaped up and hidden away until now in the vaults of the old Tate Gallery (now become Tate Britain) - is marvellously served." National Post (Canada) 05/11/00
  • GOING ONCE...AH, FORGET IT: Ebay cancels the accounts of a man who was selling a painting many believed was a Diebenkorn. The online auctioeer said the man listed the work in a way that "artificially inflated the price" and accused him of "shill bidding" in which he entered bids on his own items. New York Times 05/11/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • RECORD PRICE: An Emily Carr painting is auctioned for $1 million in Vancouver - a record for the artist, and the most ever paid for a piece of art at auction in Western Canada. CBC 05/11/00

Wednesday May 10

  • CON ARTIST: The man who put the purported Diebenkorn painting for sale on eBay Monday (and received a final bid of $135,805) “acknowledged yesterday that he concocted part of the story he used to describe the work and said he would be willing to let the buyer out of the sale. Far from being a married homeowner who cleaned the painting out of his garage to please his wife, he is single and has sold a raft of paintings on eBay.” New York Times 05/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • $14 MILLION AN HOUR: Christie’s 20th century art auction Tuesday night had one blockbuster: a 1932 Picasso portrait of his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, that sold for $28.6 million. It took Picasso just two and a half hours to paint it. New York Times 05/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • AUCTIONS AWAY FROM NEW YORK: Tonight one of Emily Carr's best paintings goes up for auction in Vancouver. It's expected to bring the highest price for a painting ever paid in Western Canada. How much?  Between $300,000 and $500,000. "The current record for an Emily Carr painting sold at auction was "In the Circle," which sold in Toronto in 1987 for $297,000. The current record in Western Canada for a painting sold at auction is $231,000. And the current national auction record is Lawren Harris' "Lake Superior III," which sold for $1.56-million." National Post 05/10/00

  • ART CATHEDRAL: In the time of Frank Gehry, one may begin to think an innovative new museum requires an innovative new structure to house it. But the new Tate Modern has found its home in a reused power station that has been transformed into a work of art unto its own. “With one neat sidestep Sir Nicholas Serota avoided all the controversy that would inevitably have raged had he commissioned a new building. He picked a site which makes the most of that much-underused London asset, the Thames, and has a stunningly powerful relationship with St Paul's Cathedral.” The Telegraph 05/10/00

    • DANGER - 650,000 VOLTS: That pretty much describes the impact the new Tate Modern has. "We are trying both to create a museum of modern art and rethink what a museum of modern art is." San Francisco Chronicle 05/10/00

    • OR THE LATEST BEHEMOTH? “What are people going to say in 100 years about all these new museums for modern art that we're building, which seem to be getting almost as big as the Met?” New York Times 05/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

Tuesday May 9

  • TIME WILL TELL: “Sinister, bleak and elitist? Or cool, beautiful and welcoming?” London’s new Tate Modern opens officially on Thursday, but three days of parties and lavish preview receptions - expected to draw 10,000 people - are already underway. And no one’s without an opinion on how the new gallery will or will not transform the city’s cultural life. The Telegraph 05/09/00  
  • "WATERSHED OF BRITISH CULTURAL LIFE": The big bold Tate Modern "signals the importance of the art of our times, and its centrality in our culture." The Guardian 05/09/00
  • ONLINE SALES FRENZY: A California man recently put a "'great big wild abstract painting' that he said was bought years ago at a garage sale in Berkeley and had a small hole inflicted by a son wielding a plastic tricycle” up for sale on eBay. Bidding started at 25 cents, and within minutes had soared to $135,805, due to speculation that it was actually a 1952 Diebenkorn. “A six-figure sale would not only be one of the highest prices paid online for art, it would also be a powerful testimony to the ability of the Internet to ignite a sales frenzy.” New York Times 05/09/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 
  • AUSTRALIAN ART BOOM: Melbourne antique dealer John Furphy was proud to announce that the Australian art market has experienced an unprecedented boom over the last three years - due in part to the growing popularity of Aboriginal “dot” paintings - with total sales doubling (to $69 million) between 1997 and 1999. The Age (Melbourne) 05/09/00  
  • GENETICALLY TESTED ART: A gallery owner in Auckland, New Zealand is using DNA testing of a few hairs trapped under the paint to verify if his painting is a genuine Gauguin. CBC 05/08/00

Monday May 8

  • DANCING WITH THE TRUTH: Most writing about Marcel Duchamp focuses on what he said or wrote. But "through most of his subsequent career, Duchamp worked harder at burnishing his persona than he ever did at creating art. And he certainly spent more time plotting ways to expand an extremely limited oeuvre than he did poring over his signature accessory, the chess board (but that's another story)." The Idler 05/08/00
  • "PART OF A DECEPTION?" Two men say they were hired by Georgia O'Keeffe to do chores for her. "John Poling, a philosophy professor at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, and Jacobo 'Jackie' Suazo, a retired state employee in Santa Fe, each recall being welcomed by O'Keeffe at her Albuquerque home, doing chores and, ultimately, being allowed to paint with her." What became of the paintings is part of a tangled legacy. CNN 05/05/00
  • MAKING A MOVE IN THE PASSING LANE... The spring auctions are on this week in New York, and while Sotheby's and Christie's still dominate, some attention is going to No. 3, Philips, recently bought by Bernard Arnault, the "billionaire French entrepreneur and bitter rival of Christie's proprietor François Pinault. The works to be auctioned at the American Craft Museum, away from Phillips's own inadequate saleroom, are impressive. The auctioneer that has traditionally sold pictures of five- and six-figure values has moved into a new league." The Telegraph (London) 05/08/00
  • AWKWARD TRANSITION: A familiar face will be absent at this week's Sotheby's auctions. Diana Brooks was the face of Sotheby's as its president and chief executive before she resigned amidst widening auction house investigations in February. But "so big was her role at Sotheby's that it was impossible for her simply to walk away, officials at the company say." New York Times 05/08/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • THE VISION THING: How could New York not build itself Frank Gehry's new Guggenheim in Lower Manhattan? It will have to be considered the most important new piece of architecture to be added to the cityscape since Frank Lloyd Wright's original spiral. "The Guggenheim spiral is crotchety architecture that has generated a sentimental allegiance. But the Guggenheim plan for lower Manhattan induces dazed admiration, and a shuddering recognition of how much is still possible in today's architecture. This is the key concept: possibility. If New York is the new Rome, it too needs its follies and risk-takers, its architecture of vision and vulgarity. If we don't build this museum now, we'll never forgive ourselves. And a hundred years hence, neither will anyone else." Feed 05/05/00


Sunday May 7

  • CITY OF MURALS: Philadelphia is mural crazy, covering every blank wall it can with murals - some commissioned and painted by professional artists, but many others the cheerful product of community pride. "Last year at this time the mural count was about 1,800. Now it is 1,900, which prompts the question, how many will be enough? Has mural-painting become a bureaucratic cottage industry? Has it become so important to the city's tourist promotion that no one will ever recognize a practical limit?" Philadelphia Inquirer 05/07/00
  • THE FASCINATING TATE: "The intense interest in this latest Tate is not just to do with the fact that it has cost £134 million, is constructed within Sir Giles Gilbert Scott's monumental Bankside power station by the iconoclastic Swiss modernists Herzog and de Meuron; and is about to open with a gruelling round of celebrity parties. Nor is it just about the negotiation with a wealthy American collector, Kent Logan, over the possible gift of a chunk of his £100m Saatchi-esque stash of contemporary art. No: it is the fact that the collection on display has been, so to speak, jumbled up." Sunday Times 05/07/00

    • TAKING ON THE TATE: Among the building excitement about this week's opening of the new Tate Modern in London, not all the critics are enthusiastic. "Tate Modern is a graceless, gimmicky name for a building that is Britain's best example of fascist architecture, speaking in its modern abstract classicism of Hitler, Mussolini and Atatürk rather than the timid aspirations of Attlee in 1947, the year of its foundation." London Evening Standard 05/05/00


Saturday May 6

  • NO EYE FOR ART: A Berlin thief named Krysztof stole a van and discovered the next day that he had pulled off one of the city's biggest art thefts ever. Too bad. He'd gotten rid of most of it. "Chagall and Miro he had never heard of, so he sold them to a fence for the equivalent of a few hundred pounds. But some of the loot, estimated to be worth DM1.6m (£500,000), was thrown away, conscientiously sorted into the relevant bins at the city dump. A portfolio of drawings went into the paper recycling skip, the metal sculpture and engravings were discarded in the box marked 'scrap'. Some paintings had to be cut up because they would not fit. But Krysztof enjoyed the task. He never did like post-modernism." The Independent 05/06/00
  • A BLOODY MESS: An exhibit in London seeks to confront its audience. The piece that provoked the strongest reaction was a punching bag filled with pig's blood hanging in a boxing ring which, one of the curators explained was meant as a comment on the sport. "Unfortunately one of the guests ignored the 'Do Not Touch' signs and punched it so hard it burst. Blood went everywhere, spattering the floors, the walls and even the startled bystanders, many of whom started screaming." The Independent 05/06/00
  • WOODMAN CUSTODY: In a memorabilia dispute, the Detroit Institute of Arts is battling with the family of a Connecticut pupeteer over who gets custody of the original Howdy Doody puppet. The museum claims the puppet was promised to it, and wants to add it to its collection of puppets. The family claims the puppeteer made no such promise. Detroit News 05/06/00

Friday May 5

  • LOUVRE SHUT DOWN: Security guards at the Louvre in Paris went out on strike Thursday, forcing the museum to close. The guards struck in sympathy with cafeteria workers who have been on strike for four weeks. The museum attracts 16,000 visitors a day this time of year. The Independent 05/05/00
  • MOVING ON UP: Though it attracts a million visitors a year, London's National Portrait Gallery has always been upstaged by its more prominent neighbor, the National Gallery. But a new makeover courtesy of an £11.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and another £4 million from private donations, has transformed the gallery into somethinjg much much more. London Times 05/05/00
  • DISCERNING TASTE: Noted architecture critic Donald Trump has come out against the Guggenheim Museum's proposal to build a new Frank Gehry-designed branch in Lower Manhattan. "This building could potentially destroy the skyline of lower Manhattan. There are some people that equate [the design] to a junkyard," says The Donald. New York Post 05/05/00
  • GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER: A high-profile artist has withdrawn the promise of a multi-million donation of his art collection to the Vancouver Art Gallery in the wake of leadership turmoil. CBC 05/05/00
  • DEMOCRATIC ART: The German parliament has voted to allow Hans Haacke's controversial artwork to be installed in the Reichstag. "The work consists of a huge wooden container sunk into the floor to be filled with earth from the constituencies of the 660 members of the German parliament. Seeds from all over Germany are to be planted in the earth to produce a garden that will be left to grow wild. A neon inscription above the container will read “Der Bevölkerung” (To the people), a deliberate subversion of the words which were inscribed in bronze on the façade of the Reichstag in 1915: “Dem Deutschen Volke” (To the German people)." The Art Newspaper 05/05/00

Thursday May 4

  • UNDERSTANDING IMPRESSIONISM: In the spring of 1886, your opinion of impressionism seemed determined by whether you lived in Paris or New York: "In New York, critics aligned impressionism with cubism by emphasizing their rationalist aspects, whereas in Paris their differences as perceptualist and structuralist modes took priority." A 21-page pamphlet entitled "Science and Philosophy in Art" was circulated at an exhibition in New York and eventually made its way back the French impressionist painters, who took it up excitedly and distributed it amongst themselves.  The writer turned out to be a 29-year-old American woman chemist, Helen Cecilia de Silver Abbott, whose particular defense of impressionism was before its time. American Art Spring 2000
  • FINDERS NOT KEEPERS: Last December, Chinese police caught seven midnight marauders digging in an area on the outskirts of Beijing.  The leader of the seven men confessed they had long suspected there was an ancient tomb in the area - sure enough, when  "archaeologists from the Beijing Cultural Relics Bureau continued the dig [they] concluded that, not only were they on the brink of uncovering a tomb, but given the initial findings it could be the resting place of a Han dynasty king."  Time Asia 05/08/00

Wednesday May 3

  • ARTFUL BUYBACK: Failing to convince Christie's auction house not to sell what they consider to be looted cultural treasures, Beijingers bid on the items in Hong Kong auctions to keep the artwork in China.  "We spent half an hour calling our group leaders in Europe to report the feelings of Hong Kong's people, the attitude of Christie's and the statement of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics. Our leaders' decision was that if Christie's insisted on going ahead to sell the looted treasures, we would grab them . . . and the only way was to join the bidding." South China Morning Post 05/02/00
  • LARRY DOES LONDON: Manhattan art dealer Larry Gagosian, known as one of the brashest dealers on the art scene, is taking his larger-than-life gig to London where a new branch of his gallery will open May 9. “Gagosian has been described as "the hottest art dealer in the world,” known for persuading people to part with art they never knew they wanted to sell, and convincing others to buy it at prices they never knew they were prepared to pay.” London Evening Standard 05/03/00
  • JUST ANOTHER STATUE: Boston has not had a good record of choosing public art. Last weekend a symposium sought to identify ways to turn that record around. "More artist input, and less community involvement in dictating content and style, was a subplot that simmered without reaching a boil. The community that asks for and gets another figurative statue of a local hero is a community unaware of the world of other options - the world artists know. But 'community involvement' has become such a lightning rod that many people in the arts are afraid to question it. Boston Globe 05/03/00
  • ART OUTPOST: "Usually, new government buildings forage for their furnishings and decoration after the builders have left. Art is an afterthought. But in Moscow the British government specially commissioned furniture, textiles and works of art by British artists while the building was still under construction. The result is a tribute to their foresight, for if diplomacy is the art of presenting your country in the best possible light, the new embassy is itself a symbol of the achievements that have made Britain so pre-eminent in the visual arts in recent years. The Telegraph (London) 05/03/00
  • NOT TO BE UPSTAGED: London's Royal Academy - the good folks who brought you "Sensation" are out to do it again. Just in case anyone thought the RA was going to cede the contemporary turf to the about-to-open Tate Modern, the RA announces a sure-to-shock show focused on beauty and horror. The Guardian 05/03/00

Tuesday May 2

  • PUTTING ON AIRS: A government report released today by UK Arts Minster Alan Howarth concludes that “snobbery and discrimination” by museum staffs may prevent the poor and socially disenfranchised from visiting. The report urges cultural institutions to combat social exclusion by urging staff to be less intimidating and by taking steps, like putting catalogs on the internet to reach broader, more diverse audiences. The Independent 05/02/00 
  • FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE: An impressive number of Japanese homeowners have hired avant-garde architects to design inventive homes with no exterior walls or made entirely from glass. “These houses are not the work of oddball individualists, but creative attempts by cutting-edge architects to redefine the management of space, light, privacy and nature in the Japanese home.” Smithsonian 05/00  
  • THE POLITICS OF ARTIFACTS: Honolulu's Bishop Museum used to have an excellent reputation for the study of Polynesian culture. But times have changed. Recently, the museum allowed 83 ancient Hawaiian artifacts worth millions of dollars to be turned over to a Native Hawaiian organization as provided for by the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. But a dispute has erupted over whether the artifacts will be cared for properly and if the group that now has possession is actually entitled to the work. Archeology Magazine 05/00
  • DESIGNER DISCARDS: Designer Karl Lagerfeld’s astonishing collection of 18th century furniture and art objects fetched $21.7 million at Christie’s - the second-biggest sale ever for the Christie’s Monaco auction house. Times of India 05/02/00

Monday May 1

  • SELLING HERITAGE: The Chinese government tried to stop Christie's auction house from selling two sculptures at auction in Hong Kong. The sale went ahead anyway, and the pieces were bought by a Beijing man, who says he bought them for "the Chinese people." According to China's State Bureau of Cultural Relics, "both sculptures came from a set of 12 bronze animal heads that adorned the Zodiac Fountain at Yuanmingyuan, or the Old Summer Palace, which was looted by British and French troops during the second Opium War in 1860." China Times 05/01/00
  • Chinese angry at auction house over auction. New York Times 05/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • POWER IN KNOWLEDGE: Several projects are underway to put online records of art sales. Once, collectors had to rely on what dealers and auction houses told them about a painting's history. Now, at the click of a button, they can do their own research and perhaps establish a partial, and sometimes a complete, provenance. The Telegraph (London) 05/01/00
  • TODAY MELBOURNE, TOMORROW... Deutscher Menzies controls the Melbourne auction business and has a leg up in Sydney. "Once the saleroom is established nationally, it will take on the big two [Sotheby's and Christie's] on their home turfs in London and New York. In December Menzies made a bid for the world's third oldest auction house, the London-based Phillips. He was one of a group of shortlisted bidders but lost out to French financier Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury products group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The Age (Melbourne) 05/01/00
  • SOMETHING TO GO INSIDE: The about-to-open Tate Modern is negotiating with San Francisco entrepreneur Kent Logan who may be "about to give part of his £100 million art collection - one of the world's largest in private hands - to the new museum. The Guardian 05/01/00
  • MUSEUM WITH A PLAN: London's new Tate Modern opens next week. "From the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, examples of museums promoting urban renewal are plentiful. But for the Tate this angle proved a useful marketing tool. Having picked the site for an annex, museum officials needed to raise $214 million to convert the abandoned power plant. And they understood that a museum that promised economic and social benefits to the city would be an easier sell than art for art's sake."  New York Times 05/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • EARLY ARTISTS: British archeologists have found evidence that  suggests humans were producing art 350,000 to 400,000 years ago. The evidence - found in a cave in Zambia - suggests the area's Stone Age inhabitants were producing painted art before they evolved into our species. The Independent 05/01/00
  • BOOTY EXCHANGE: On Saturday Germany and Russia met in St. Petersburg to swap art they had stolen from one another during World War II. "In exchange for the intricately inlaid chest and glistening mosaic from Peter the Great's famed Amber Room, Russia has agreed to return 101 artworks looted from Germany by Soviet troops after World War II. A Russian law largely bans repatriating booty art, seen by Russians as compensation for an estimated several hundred thousand items destroyed or lost during the Nazi occupation." Chicago Tribune 05/01/00
  • NO MADAME TUSSAUD'S, BUT... London's Royal Academy show of Monet last year raked in the visitors, making it the eighth most-visited attraction in the UK. Visitor numbers at the RA leapt from 912,714 in 1998 to 1.39m last year, boosting the academy from 19th to eighth place. But before anyone gets too excited, consider that Madame Tussaud's at No. 2 on the list logged more than twice as many visitors. BBC 05/01/0