last week's stories
newsletter sign up
VISUAL ARTS - June 2000

Arts Journal Home Page
PublishingTheatreVisual ArtsArts IssuesPeople

common threadsarts watchletters
issues archive

October 02
September 02
August 02
July 02
June 02
May 02
April 02
March 02
February 02
January 02

December 01
November 01
October 01
September 01
August 01
July 01
June 01
May 01
April 01
March 01
February 01
January 01

December 00
November 00
October 00
September 00
August 00
July 00
June 00
May 00

April 00

March 00
Feb 00
Jan 00

Dec 99
Nov 99
Oct 99
Sept 99

yesterday's storiesArts BeatSearchContact Us

News Service Home`ServicesDigest SamplesHeadline Samples








Friday June 30

  • BUYING FREEDOM ONLINE: At around 6pm EST on June 29th, an original first printing of The  Declaration of Independence sold for $8.14 million on The same copy, which was last sold for $2.4 million, failed to sell at a regular auction in 1993. So maybe it was the new technology, which allows viewers to examine the document, and the fourth of July holiday that spurred the buyer on. MSNBC 06/29/00

    • CELEBRITY BUYER: Television producer Norman Lear was the buyer. The price was a record sum for an online auction and far more than the estimated selling price of $4 million to $6 million. Los Angeles Times 06/30/00

  • JUST WHAT IS MODERN ART? Arthur Danto ponders the meaning of modern and modernism. "The date 1880 cannot be defended as the beginning of modern art, nor is there any consensus as to when modern art began. Nor can that question be separated from the deeper question of how Modernism is to be defined. The Nation 07/17/00

  • NOT THE USUAL SUSPECTS: The Guggenheim Museum announces the finalists for this year's Hugo Boss Prize. National Post (Canada) 06/30/00

  • ONE OF CEZANNE’S MOST IMPORTANT WORKS, “Still Life with Fruit and Pot of Ginger,” sold well above its expected price for $18 million at Christie’s in London Thursday night. The Age (Melbourne) AP 06/30/00

  • WALL TEXT FOR THE SMART SET? An interview with Charles Esche, curator of Tate Britain's upcoming “Intelligence” exhibit of contemporary British art. “Rather than fixing little wall plaques next to each exhibit containing the curator's interpretation of the work, the smart thinking of this exhibition shows in its lack of reassurance over the works' meaning. "With a lot of work, you know instantly what it has to say and you move on, but I think that good art is about a lack of clarity. The handle that you get on it is the handle that you choose; it is as much up to you as it is up to the artist." London Times 06/30/00

  • RECORD ART SALES DOWN UNDER: Three major art auctions in Australia this week have generated a record $21 million in sales in just four days. Christie’s, Sotheby’s, and Deutscher-Menzies all saw unprecedented attendance and fiercely competitive bidding from collectors around the world. Sydney Morning Herald 06/30/00

  • MOMA ON THE MOVE: The Museum of Modern Art will vacate its midtown Manhattan location in the spring of 2002 and move to a temporary exhibition space in Queens for the two-year expansion of 53rd St. MOMA. New York Times 06/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)  

Thursday June 29

  • THE MEANING OF COLOR: Why do we think of certain colors as possessing beauty or emotion? "Flamboyant colour has always been associated with the pursuit of the beautiful, with aestheticism, with hedonist visual pleasure. Think of Matisse and his painting The Red Studio, in which every object in the room is choreographed to the rhythm of an overwhelming red; the boundaries of walls, a table and a clock are visible only as traces in redness. The very vocabulary of colour is saturated in ideas of beauty; the word "hue" comes from the Old English for 'beauty'." The Guardian 06/29/00

  • THAMES BRIDGE TO STAY CLOSED: London's Millennial footbridge across the Thames will likely be closed for months while engineers try to correct a problem with severe swaying whilst people are on the structure.  Engineers "concluded the movement was caused by 'synchronized footfall,' or hundreds of pedestrians stepping in unison. "I am disappointed, but not ashamed." Times of India (AP) 06/29/00

    • Architect Norman Foster defends London's "bouncing bridge", the £18.2 million Millennium Bridge, insisting that its problem had been diagnosed and the solution would be designed, although the structure might remain closed for months. The Guardian 06/29/00

Wednesday June 28

  • FALLING OUT OF FASHION: Tate Modern has already seen more than one million visitors since its opening six weeks ago. Meanwhile, at Tate Britain (dedicated to national British art) weekly totals have been plummeting since its April opening. Have audiences lost interest in anything other than contemporary art? Or are the curators at fault for putting together stodgy shows?” The Guardian 06/28/00

  • THE GOOG DOES LAS VEGAS? The Guggenheim Museum has been negotiating with Las Vegas' Venetian Hotel to bring the Guggenheim's most successful show ever to the Vegas Strip. "It's not a display of Picassos but 'The Art of the Motorcycle.' Featuring more than 100 motorcycles, the exhibition debuted in New York two years ago and currently is parked at the Guggenheim's acclaimed Frank Gehry-designed museum in Bilbao, Spain. Los Angeles Times 06/28/00

  • WHERE WOULD HOME BE? Okay, let's say by some remarkable change of heart, Britain gave up its plunder and did decide to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. Just where would they go? The Art Newspaper 06/00

  • MONUMENTAL CLEANUP: Rome spent two years sprucing up - scrubbed, repaired, or repainted monuments, villas, churches, and fountains, cleaning its buildings and monuments for an expected influx of tourists for the millennial year. All look more glorious than they have in several generations. Cleansed of soot and painstakingly restored to their 17th-century visage, the city's baroque architectural masterpieces are at their best. But so far the expected rush of new visitors hasn't appeared. Boston Globe (Washington Post) 06/28/00

  • THE ENVY OF ITS PEERS: “London isn’t the only European city to have unveiled something big, dazzling and avant-garde this summer.” Munich’s Bavarian state gallery now has an astonishing collection of late-20th-century art, recently donated by a wealthy German couple. “In Munich, art-lovers are rubbing their eyes in disbelief. No fewer than 550 astonishing pieces have just been donated. A year ago Munich had virtually no notable avant-garde art. Now it has a collection that is the envy of Berlin, Paris and - yes, let's be honest - even Tate Modern itself.” London Times 06/28/00

  • AN ABORIGINAL ART BOOM has been sweeping the Australian art market in recent years. On Monday, Sotheby’s in Melbourne set a new world auction record for an Aboriginal artist when a painting by Johnny Warangkula sold for nearly $1/2 million. “The rise of interest in Aboriginal art has been astonishing. In 1990, a mere $169,000 worth of Aboriginal art was sold at auction. By 1996, sales amounted to $1.36 million; within two years turnover exceeded $5 million.” Sydney Morning Herald 06/28/00

    • BUT IT’S STILL BUST FOR SOME: Meanwhile, the 68-year-old artist - who was among those who pioneered the popular “dot painting” style nearly 30 years ago - was shocked to hear of the sale (as was his family, when they learned they had no legal claim to the proceeds). Warangkula sold the painting to an Alice Springs artist in 1972 for $150. Now the Aboriginal art group Desart is pressuring Sotheby's and other art dealers to pass on some of the proceeds of these sales to Aboriginal artists. Sydney Morning Herald 06/28/00

Tuesday June 27

  • MEXICAN ART TAKES HIT: Last month the Museo de Monterrey - one of Mexico's leading art museums - closed when the industrial group FEMSA announced that it was pulling its support. The consensus in Mexico is that a new generation of corporate leaders is abandoning its predecessors' commitment to arts and cultural institutions." San Antonio Express-News 06/26/00

  • MODEL CITIES: The Venice Biennale's architecture show is the most expensive and extensive ever mounted. The exhibts have brought out "thrilling use of film and photography, accompanied by an astonishing number of superb models. Never before has it been possible to represent cities so vividly, sometimes on a scale approaching life-size, as in the fantastic 1,000ft-long screen in the old Ropery of the Arsenale, where full-size trains flash down the vista." The Times (London) 06/27/00

  • BUYING ART UNSEEN: There has been much conjecture in traditional gallery circles that collectors were not likely to buy works of art over the internet without first seeing them in person. But surprise - that's not proving to be the case. "'That we would be selling works in the $20,000, $30,000, and $40,000 range is a surprise,'' says the president of, which was launched by its Manhattan auction-house parent in January" 06/26/00

  • TAKING ADVANTAGE: “For far too long many non-indigenous people have exploited indigenous culture through the production of Aboriginal art and cultural products not of Aboriginal origin. Artists whose paintings sell for tens of thousands of dollars have been paid in cans of beer. Ancient taboos have been broken by companies that reproduce sacred totems on dish towels and underwear. Allegations of fakery abound." 06/26/00

  • BEWARE FAKE ART: An indigenous arts organization in Australia has warned Australia could be flooded with fake Aboriginal artwork in the lead-up to the Olympics. "People have been importing from Indonesia and other places thousands of didgeridoos already made up and then getting other people, backpackers, to paint them up here." The Age 06/27/00

  • TALES FROM THE ART CRYPT: Richard Feigen is one of the foremost dealers in Old Master paintings - and a famously difficult personality. His new book illuminates some of the more shadowy corners of the art world. "There is, for example, a scathing account of the shenanigans several years ago at the Barnes Foundation, the fabled museum outside Philadelphia, when trustees attempted to sell off holdings in violation of its founder's will - an attempt Feigen all but single-handedly scotched. Or there's his comparing the exhibitions policy at New York's Metropolitan Museum, with its 'random mixture of box-office frivolity with serious art,' to 'a nice girl of good family who just once in a while goes out and turns tricks for some pocket change.' " Boston Globe 06/27/00

  • SOUTH AFRICA'S HOMAGE TO WOMEN: Forty-four years ago, 20,000 members of the Federation of South African Women marched on the headquarters of the prime minister to demand equal gender laws. The South African government has commissioned a monument which will attempt to "avoid a sense of the “heroic” as we have come to expect of bronze and granite monoliths, but in so doing, not to cheat women of their heroism, and to take into account the polyphonic and multivalent qualities of [their] culture." Daily Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 06/26/00

Monday June 26

  • EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES: San Francisco art collectors Vicki and Kent Logan have proposed donating 400 pieces of their remarkable collection of contemporary art to the Tate Museum. But the proposed gift is so unusual and so vast, the Tate is still "thinking it over" as to what to do. The Telegraph (London) 06/26/00 

  • PRE-FABBED OBSOLESCENCE: With buildings becoming more and more pre-fabricated, who's got need of an architect anymore? "And yet Britain has something like 30,000 architects. What do they do? Few seem to be involved at any great depth in the design of what really matters, such as new housing, even though Britain is being smothered in a feverish rash of the red-brick, three-bedroom stuff." The Guardian 06/26/00

  • LEGALIZING PLUNDER: The Archeological Institute of America has told Congress that a potential change in US law would increase the pillage of archeological artifacts internationally. The Art Newspaper 06/26/00

  • WALLED HISTORY: The history of Northern Ireland is painted on its walls. "People have painted murals in Northern Ireland for almost a century. For most of that time, they were almost entirely unionist. Every year on 12 July, unionists decorated their streets to celebrate the victory of the Protestant William III over the Catholic James II in 1690. When new trolley and electricity lines interrupted this annual custom, unionists began to paint "King Billy" on their gable walls instead. For the next 60 years, these portraits were repainted every summer. Then came the Troubles, which inspired republican murals, and dramatically transformed loyalist murals, too." New Statesman 06/26/00

  • HOOF AND MOUTH DISEASE: The fiberglass animal craze is spreading to cities all over America. Latest to catch it is San Jose, which proposes to deploy 1,000 fiberglass bulls throughout Silicon Valley. At least the title of the project acknowledges the idea's commercial underpinnings: ``Silicon Valley Stampede: Home of the Bull Market.'' San Jose Mercury News 06/25/00

  • ART BUST I: Egyptian police have foiled smugglers' attempts to transport $35 million worth of Egyptian, Roman and Greek artifacts out of Egypt. CBC 06/26/00

  • ART BUST II: Police bust thieves in Turkey trying to unload a stolen 1938 Picasso. BBC 06/26/00

  • RICHARD SERRA on art, museums and life: "I think basically I'm not interested in people following my work or making work like my work. But what does interest me is the notion that if you do a lot of work it means there's a potential for other people to understand that a lot of things are possible with a sustained effort and that the broadening of experiences is possible and I think that's all art can be." Coagula 06/00

Sunday June 25

  • NOT EVERYONE CAN BE MICHAEL JORDAN: Critics have always savaged American Impressionism for being second-rate and sentimental. But what they're really upset about is that "American painters failed to measure up to the French genius of Claude Monet. This is like damning all golfers for not being Tiger Woods." Hartford Courant 06/25/00

  • WHEN SMALL MUSEUMS TRY TO BE BIG: "Art means less to people than it used to. Hype means so much more. People go to museums to be entertained, not to be moved. We no longer believe in putting intellectual effort into our museum experiences. We demand them on a plate. Prefabricated. Fast. These are conditions in which grandeur and largeness play better than intimacy and compactness. In our national museum-going, we have regressed to the stage where we like things to be written out in capitals." Sunday Times (London) 06/25/00

  • ART ON THE RAILS: Los Angeles opened the last part of its mass transit rail system this week. "A city that recognizes the power and value of cosmopolitanism would sanctify the social spaces in which it's fostered. Alas, L.A. chose not to. Metro Rail's aesthetic mediocrity was assured at the start, when a bureaucratic decision was made that an engineering firm, not an architect, would design the far-flung system. Designing meaningful civic spaces is an architect's job, not an engineer's." Los Angeles Times 06/25/00

  • THE ART OF MIS-DESIGN: LA's subway is best known for its $6.1-billion price tag, scandalous mismanagement and ineffectiveness as a transportation network. But the new stations also reveal a profound misunderstanding of Los Angeles' civic identity. Built at a cost of $63 million to $82 million each, the stations are essentially decorated sheds, massive concrete boxes where architecture and art are used to create a thin veneer of fantasy. Los Angeles Times 06/25/00

Friday June 23

  • KEEPING ART AT HOME: Australian curators are seeking a ban of exports of aboriginal art from the country. Next week there's an important auction of about 1000 aboriginal works of art. "Alarmed by the number of early Aboriginal paintings being sold to overseas collectors, the curators and other critics were successful last year in having changes made to the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act. Now, an export permit must be obtained for Aboriginal art works more than 20 years old and valued at $10,000 or more." Sydney Morning Herald 06/23/00

  • STEALING HISTORY: A major new study details a brief history of looting of cultural artifacts and treasures. "Maya ceramics from the Petén that bring the looter $200 to $500, may ultimately fetch $100,000. In the case of five big-ticket items (a Song Dynasty head, Morgantina acroliths, Euphronius krater, Achyris phiale, and Marsyas statue), where we know the initial payout and the final price, middlemen received 98% of the money." Archeology Magazine 06/21/00

  • I AM CRITIC, I AM MAYOR: Frank Gehry's proposed design for a new bridge in Chicago has run head-on into the city's most prominent architecture critic - Mayor Daley. "I've designed 10 new ones since I heard he doesn't like it," Gehry says. "The bridge flap is the latest example of Daley's involvement in aesthetic issues that other mayors typically delegate to aides. Daley personally reviews major building projects, and his passion for beautification has resulted in a string of initiatives - fountains, flowers, trees and median planter boxes - that make both the city and the mayor look good." Chicago Tribune 06/23/00

  • SEATTLE'S ROCK PILE OPENS TODAY: "Paul Allen, 47, is the third or fourth richest man on the planet, having earned something close to $30 billion by co-founding Microsoft Corp., and his zeal for greenbacks is matched only by his affection for the artifacts and totems of pop history. So when he decides to give the public a peek at his stash, he's not going to build a shed." So we get the Experience Music Project. Washington Post 06/23/00

Thursday June 22

  • DOING BATTLE WITH THE PAST: Over the last 30 years, the Italian government has been cleaning and restoring some of the most famous frescoes of the Renaissance. "Apart from carrying out the essential work of cleaning, repairing structural damage, and protecting the frescoes from damp, restorers have also used the latest technology to try to determine the exact nature of the original painting; and have used that analysis to offer a definitive image of the work for future generations." That's where the controversy begins. The Independent 06/20/00

  • IT'S SNOWING IN LONDON: Artist Andy Goldsworthy brought 13 five-foot-round snowballs to London to melt in the heat of the longest day of the year. So how will Londoners confront the balls? Will they choose to stand back and admire, or stage impromptu summer snowball fights before a day at school or the office? London Evening Standard 06/22/00

  • Gehry's EMP building is startling, but no one will rank it with his best work. It has been described as the architect's rendering of one of the guitars Hendrix regularly smashed in performance, but it looks more like a pile of melted metal. Boston Herald 06/22/00

    • "A $240 million monument built by a baby boomer with the means to make his adolescent dreams come true." Orange County Register (AP) 06/22/00

Wednesday June 21

  • DESIGN BY EXAMPLE: Roman architect and writer Pino Scaglione has been urging discussion in Rome about encouraging more contemporary architecture in the tradition-bound city. To that end, he’s organized an exhibit in Rome of Berlin’s 20th-century design highlights. “Scaglione eyes Berlin enviously - unlike Rome, which looks back, it looks forward.” Die Welt (Berlin) 06/21/00  

  • THE GOOG ONLINE: The Guggenheim Museum's most ambitious architecture may have nothing to do with Frank Gehry. The Goog has bet the budget equivalent of one of its land galleries on developing a radical "virtual" museum online. "Though much has been made of the marriage of computers and architecture, the computer is still used chiefly as a facilitator—a tool to help conceptualize or produce a final object. But what of an autonomous digital architecture—an architecture that is conceived of, rendered, built, and exists and is experienced solely on the computer?" Architecture Magazine 05/00

  • RESTORING THE PATH OF FAITH: This month, Coptic Christians in Egypt are celebrating the 2000th anniversary of the Holy Family's travel through Egypt. In preparation for the thousands of pious pilgrims that will come to retrace their path, the Egyptian Heritage Revival Association is pouring millions of Egyptian Pounds into the restoration of tombs, icons, altars...and the installation of restrooms. Egypt Today 06/00

  • WHAT KIND OF PRIORITY? While museum's on America's East Coast struggle to track down provenance of their artwork for the time around World War II, California museums lag far behind.  "It's a high priority, but we don't have the resources in place," says a spokesperson for the Armand Hammer Museum. Meanwhile, the Getty Museum, just completing a first phase of inquiry, "has found that more than half of its paintings collection has wartime gaps - 248 of its 425 works." Washington Post 06/21/00

  • FEAR OF THE NEW? “The Wallace Collection is a hugely loved, gilded time-warp set in a magnificent house in the center of London. Its superb works of art - including the best collection of French 18th-century artifacts outside France - were collected by one family and left to the nation. Small wonder that it inspires a rare passion and woe betide anyone who attempts to alter so much as a strand of horsehair stuffing.” That’s exactly why so many are nervous about Wallace’s reopening this week after a thoroughly modernizing remodel. London Evening Standard 06/21/00  

Tuesday June 20

  • ART PACT: The Guggenheim Foundation and St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum have inked a deal to share their collections, collaborate on exhibitions, and help each other develop a worldwide network of museums. New York Times 06/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • HERE MOOSIE MOOSIE: Several North American cities have been overrun this summer with painted fiberglass animals. Toronto has 300 moose distributed around its downtown streets. "The Toronto moose are clearly about urban boosterism, corporate publicity, civic high spirits, tourist marketing."  And not about art. Shouldn't the things we put up in our urban landscape aim for a little more? Toronto Globe and Mail 06/20/00

  • SEX AND THE CITY: The Venice Biennale's International Architecture Exhibition poses questions about how we live. "It prompts the myriad architects, landscape architects and urban designers featured here to say where they stand in the 'disorder affecting a society in rapid transformation' and 'the turmoil of globalization.' It asks them to use information and technology to improve the human condition, and 'make forecasts about the future once again.' " National Post (Canada) 06/20/00

  • FROM THE OUTSIDE IN: The New Republic's art critic Jed Perl has a new book purporting to sort out the ills of the artworld. "Perl belongs to that strange tradition of art critics who are at odds with the art world at large — something for which there is no precise parallel, certainly not in the worlds of mass-circulation film or music criticism, for example. In a way Perl seems to be arguing for a culture and for artists who are no more accomplished, brilliant, or relevant than Perl himself. It’s a middlebrow context that makes him look good." Artforum 06/00

  • THE BALLOON EFFECT: After years of design delays and budgetary haggling, Berlin’s Jewish Museum is finally on schedule to open in September 2001. Originally conceived as a department within a Berlin history museum, “the concept ballooned to meet the space available. With over 4,000 square meters of exhibition space to fill, the existing Berlin collection was dwarfed: bit by bit the Jewish Museum took it on itself to document the history of the Jews in the whole German-speaking world.” Die Welt (Berlin) 06/20/00  

  • RAGS TO RICHES: Scottish painter Jack Vettriano’s life story reads like Horatio Alger: a miner’s son, he only started painting at 21 and was rejected from art school repeatedly. But now he’s Britain’s most commercially popular artist, with original work selling for up to £40,000 and posters of his work outselling those of  Monet. London Telegraph 06/20/00  

  • THE LINE KING: Al Hirschfeld turns 97 on Wednesday, and he’s still going strong, regularly caricaturing the worlds of stage, dance, music, and film. “I’m enchanted with line, what makes it work, how it communicates recognition to the viewer,” roars the man they dubbed The Line King. “That sounds like a ridiculous, insane kind of thing to devote your life to, but that’s what I’ve done. I find it fascinating, and I’m closer to a definition of it than when I started.” MSNBC 06/19/00  

Monday June 19

  • GETTY DIRECTOR RESIGNS: John Walsh announced he will step down this fall after heading the J. Paul Getty Museum for 17 years, during which he broadened the Getty’s collections and oversaw the museum’s transition to its lavish new Brentwood home two years ago. Getty chief curator Deborah Gribbon will step into Walsh’s position in September. New Jersey Online (AP) 06/18/00

  • THE TATE IS A FRAUD? Jed Perl is down on the new Tate. "People tell me that they love Tate Modern. When I ask for specifics, they don't seem to be able to say why. The public has such an insatiable hunger for the best things in life - which, needless to say, include museum visits - that they would rather suspend judgment than go away disappointed. There are no more than four dozen paintings or sculptures of consequence dribbled through Tate Modern's nearly endless galleries, yet somehow this does not matter. The museum has become a funhouse enclosed in a gigantic site-specific sculpture." The New Republic 06/19/00

  • CASUALTIES OF WAR: The art of Chechnya is being destroyed in that republic's struggle with Russia. “Many of the republic’s archeological and architectural sites are being destroyed since they are located at the centre of hostilities. War is war, and art and archeology are caught in the crossfire.” The Art Newspaper 06/19/00

  • SURGE OR SLUMP? The well-publicized sums paid at auction last week for two Victorian-era paintings (£6.6 million by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber for John William Waterhouse’s “Saint Cecilia” and £2.6 million by Australian collector John Schaeffer for Dante Gabriel Rossetti's “Pandora”) may not tell the whole story about what’s really happening in the world of Victorian art sales. In fact, Sotheby’s failed to sell 40% of its British art on the block last week, while Phillips’ unsold lots (of mainly Victorian pictures) totaled 50 percent. London Telegraph 06/19/00 

  • ETHICAL URBANISM? The theme of the seventh annual Venice Biennale of Architecture is "cities: less aesthetics, more ethics." Not a bad goal, but “it’s a particularly tall order in Venice: the city has been in decline since the 18th century, and hasn't been a real, workaday place since the great flood of November 1966, which marked the beginning of a major international effort to conserve [the city]. From then on Venice was pickled in aspic, becoming a tourist ghetto and a place known equally for its aesthetics and its lack of ethics when it came to dealing with the millions of visitors who flood into St Mark's Square every year.” The Guardian 06/19/00

  • FRENCH WAR MUSEUM OPENS: On Sunday, French President Jacques Chirac inaugurated France’s first museum dedicated to France’s role in World War II. The inauguration was held on the 60th anniversary of de Gaulle’s famous call to resist the occupying Nazis. CNN (AP) 06/18/00

  • IMAGEMAKER: London’s Serpentine Gallery, a “pocket-sized park pavilion” in Kensington Gardens, celebrates its 30th anniversary tomorrow. Julia Peyton-Jones, the gallery’s director since 1991, is widely credited as the force behind Serpentine’s cutting-edge shows and its growing reputation as Britain’s most successful small gallery. London Telegraph 06/19/00

  • GRAFFITI, ANYONE? : New York fêted graffiti artists with two events this week: an auction of the work of 100 “night writers” and two gallery retrospectives. But, opinions still vary widely over whether graffiti belongs in galleries and museums at all or should be left alone on the streets. New York Times 06/19/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

Sunday June 18

  • TAKING BACK THE WALL: The land where the Berlin Wall once stood has held out both a promise and caution for the future. Now an important new building opens. "Here, on a chunk of land where just 10 years ago there was nothing but empty space and buildings pockmarked with shrapnel, a city is being reborn -one that is a real place, not just a tourist quarter." Chicago Tribune 06/18/00

  • THE MORALITY OF PAINTINGS: You're an art dealer or curator and you're invited to someone's house and discover an art treasure that the owner doesn't know he has. Do you tell? The answer is a lot more complicated than simple yes or no, concludes author Michael Frayn. The Telegraph (London) 06/18/00

  • FOSTER'S WOBBLE: Norman Foster is Britain's most famous working architect, with a string of successes. But when his Millennium Bridge across the Thames opened last Saturday, it swayed and wobbled and terrified the crowds pounding across it. "What an embarrassment," he tells Hugh Pearlman. The Sunday Times 06/18/00

  • NO MORE PLOP ART: In the past seven years, Britain has erected some 7,000 pieces of public art sculptures. The kinds of art being put up is changing though:  "Younger artists, in particular, prefer to make works that involve people and real life. They are not interested in parachuting in a big bit of sculpture." The Telegraph (London) 06/18/00

Friday June 16

  • BETTER LEFT UNDONE? Art historians have always puzzled over the large number of  paintings left “unfinished” by Paul Cezanne. Now a major exhibit of his “unfinished” works are on exhibit at Zurich’s Kunsthaus museum. As Cezanne wrote home to his mother in 1874: “I have to work constantly, (but) not in order to arrive at the finish, which attracts the admiration of imbeciles. I must strive to complete only for the satisfaction of becoming truer and wiser.” MSNBC 06/16/00 

  • THE ART LISTS: It's been two months since American museums put up lists of artwork with questionable provenance during the Nazi era. "So far, no claimants have come forward to identify and seek restitution for objects on the Web sites put up by the Museum of Fine Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, or the Art Institute of Chicago. Nor have the sites yielded significant evidence that could lead to the recovery of stolen objects." Boston Globe 06/16/00

  • PRINTS OF WALES: Thirty of the Prince of Wales’s watercolor paintings - signed only “C”- went on display today in London, along with 26 oils by Saudi prince Khalid Al-Faisal, in the exhibition “Painting and Patronage.” Times of India (AP) 06/16/00

  • FRANCE COMES CLEAN: It’s been more than five decades since World War II, and France is just now beginning to look openly, in history books and art exhibits, at its collaborationist past. A new museum opens in Paris this week dedicated to shedding light on just what transpired during the Vichy regime. “The museum pulls no punches: it shows that collaboration with the Nazis was a major phenomenon in wartime France and that French police were as dangerous for resistance fighters and Jews as the Gestapo.” Times of India (Reuters) 06/16/00

  • TRACES OF ROYALTY:  "Researchers plan to test DNA from a mummy that sat in an oddity museum in Canada for decades to see if it is the body of an Egyptian pharaoh. The Niagara Falls Museum in Ontario displayed the mummy for 138 years as part of its collection, which included two-headed cows, a five-legged pig, Wild Bill Hickok's saddle and a humpback whale skeleton." Chicago Sun-Times 06/16/00

  • MR GEHRY'S ROCK MUSEUM: Frank Gehry's Experience Music Project opens in Seattle. "Finding a form for a museum devoted to rock is a difficult task. Rock requires little from architecture, other than cheap rent, good locks, and isolation from noise-sensitive neighbors. The architectural forms associated with rock and roll are garages, basements, industrial buildings; all walls soundproofed with scraps of carpet and egg cartons."  The Stranger 06/15/00

Thursday June 15

  • THE ART OF PATRONAGE: "When it comes to telling the stories of living patrons—that is, collectors who buy contemporary art and give it to museums—the most blatant conflicts of interest make it all but impossible to give the public a candid, disabused account of the way our system of contemporary art patronage actually works." So what's actually wrong with this picture? New York Observer 06/14/00

  • A BUILDING ABOUT... Okay, so the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music project is a building about music (but it's not a museum). But what, exactly, is it? "When EMP opens, visitors will step inside a museum that's also a technological showcase, an educational institution, a research facility, a brick-and-mortar (or rather steel-and-plywood) companion to the Web site, and a musical amusement park. Or is it a concert venue, a restaurant and bar, and a tourist trap?" Seattle Weekly 06/15/00

  • TURNER PRIZE SHORTLIST: Britain's Turner Prize has somewhat of an infamous reputation, with some saying that gimmicks are rewarded at the expense of more thoughtful art. This year's shortlist, revealed Wednesday, is no exception. Yahoo! (Reuters) 06/14/00

    • SO MUCH FOR THE "B" IN YBA: Three of this year's four Turner Prize finalists were born outside the UK. " 'People not born in the UK can make a tremendous contribution to life in this country.' Although the Turner Prize is, in theory, awarded to a British artist, anyone working in the UK who has mounted an exhibition in the past year qualifies." Financial Times 06/15/00

  • THERE'S A RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO DO IT: Two museums with different missions and objectives - fair enough. But the North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Museum of History also exemplify a right and a wrong way to go about being a museum. The Idler 06/15/00

  • ETHIOPIAN CHRISTIAN ART FOR 400: Everything you ever wanted to know on this subject. Addis Tribune (Ethiopia) 06/00

  • A THING FOR PRE-RAPHAEL: Andrew Lloyd-Webber has paid £6 million - a record for a piece of Victorian art - for a Pre-Raphaelite painting of a sleeping St Cecilia. Lloyd-Webber paid nearly twice the pre-sale estimates for the auction at Christie's. The Independent 06/15/00

  • ARCHITECTURE ON TV: A new Australian television show proves that architecture can be done on TV. "In the Mind of an Architect," the ABC's first major arts production to be sold overseas, explains "the vision and content behind modern spaces...and architectural concepts to the masses." The Age (Melbourne) 06/15/00 

Wednesday June 14

  • ABRUPT RETURN: Russia's Hermitage Museum loaned Matisse's "La Danse" for an exhibition in Italy. It was the first time the collection had been seen outside Russia and after the exhibition finished last weekend in Rome, the art was scheduled to be put on show in Milan until August. "But in a surprise legal move the heirs of the original owner demanded that the Italian courts confiscate the huge painting. So the painting was quickly transported back to Russia before it could be enmeshed in legal action." The Independent 06/14/00

    • DISPUTED ART WHISKED BACK TO RUSSIA:" 'La Danse', painted in 1910, was one of many works of art confiscated from private collections by Lenin and the Bolsheviks a year after the Russian Revolution of 1917. It belonged to one of pre-revolutionary Russia's most eminent art connoisseurs, Sergei Ivanovich Shukin, who came from a Russian-Jewish family that made its fortune in textiles." The Times (London) 06/14/00

  • POLITICS OF PUBLIC ART: The University of Massachusetts thought it was doing a neighborhood-improvement thing when it tried to organize a sculpture garden of important work. But now the neighborhood is objecting big time, and someone even went so far as to smash the base for one of the sculptures. "The big issue isn't the desirability of a sculpture park filled with millions of dollars' worth of work that would go a long way toward improving Boston's current reputation as a completely dysfunctional city when it comes to public art. The issue is town-gown friction, a variation on what happens every time Harvard wants to expand its art museums, world-class institutions that enrich not just the university community, but the community at large." Boston Globe 06/14/00

  • THE NAKED TRUTH: Spencer Tunick has been arrested five times for organizing his photo shoots of crowds of naked people. So he sued the city of New York and last weekend a judge ruled he could go ahead with a project placing 125 naked volunteers under a Manhattan bridge. "I like that it brings more attention to the background of the photograph. There's equal tension. First you look at the background, and then your eyes are drawn to the body and the relationship between the vulnerability of human nakedness and the public space." National Post (Canada) 06/14/00

  • A MATTER OF MANAGEMENT: Australia's National Gallery has money problems. Why?  In part, because the museum "has paid more than $560,000 in relation to 19 former employees who have left since the appointment of Dr Brian Kennedy as director three years ago. The gallery's legal expenses budget has blown out to more than $200,000 this financial year - more than four times its $50,000 annual allocation." Sydney Morning Herald 06/14/00

Tuesday June 13

  • WHOLE LOTTA LOOTING GOIN’ ON: An estimated £150 million-£2 billion worth of art treasures are looted from sites around the world every year, according to a new Institute for Archaeological Research report. “Buddhas in Cambodia have been decapitated with power saws and the illegal trade in fossil hunting stretches from Nebraska to the Gobi Desert.” The report urges Britain to sign the 1970 UNESCO Convention prohibiting illegal exports and imports of artifacts, claiming up to 90% of antiquities auctioned in London over the past 20 years were sold without any details of provenance. Yahoo! News (Reuters) 06/12/00

  • AFFIRMATIVE EMBRACE: George Segal, who died at age 75 last Friday, is remembered not only as a preeminent pop artist, but also as a sculptor whose depiction of sexual freedom and tolerance of difference were way ahead of his time. “It’s significant that in 1983 (in his “Gay Liberation” sculpture commemorating New York’s Stonewall riots) he had already sought to include gays and lesbians as a part of his vision of America.” Salon 06/12/00

  • LETTING IT ALL HANG OUT: For more than 50 years, painter Alice Neel created provocative, painfully revealing - and often nude and famously unflattering - portraits of art-world insiders. On the eve of the Whitney Museum’s Neel retrospective, eleven of her former subjects reflect on what it was like to sit for “a genius at detecting her subjects' inner lives and notorious for exposing - and exaggerating - her subjects' flaws. New York Magazine 06/19/00

  • STOLEN PICASSO FOUND: A painting recovered in Izmir, Turkey, last week is believed to be a 1908 Picasso (“La Fermiere”) stolen from the Kuwaiti royal palace by an Iraqi army captain during the Gulf War. Times of India (AP) 06/13/00

  • MAXING OUT THE GIFTING EXPERIENCE: Museums have discovered that online sales of museum merchandise do better than giftshop sales in the museum. It's a large an untapped market, say online retailers. "People are giving suboptimal gifts. We want them to give gifts based on the finest works of art in the world." New York Times 06/13/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • NEW HOME FOR OLD MASTERS: London’s Wallace Collection, a private museum of 18th-century furniture, ceramics, and Old Master paintings, has undergone a £10.6 million restoration and a modern facelift in the hopes of becoming the UK’s hub for the study of the 18th-century decorative arts. The new galleries open to the public next week. London Telegraph 06/13/00

  • JUBILEE CELEBRATION: “It cost seven times more than the dome, was finished a year and a half late, and its teething problems have driven thousands of commuters round the twist. But all was forgiven yesterday when the sleek Jubilee Line extension won the title of millennium building of the year.” The Guardian 06/13/00

  • BOTCHED BRIDGE: Less than a month after its opening, London’s £18.2 million Millennium Bridge has closed to the public for engineering tests, due to reports by the crowds that the aluminum and steel bridge bounced and swayed dramatically. The Guardian 06/13/00

  • 55 YEARS IN THE MAKING: The Art Institute of Chicago has announced the settlement of a claim to one of its sculptures by heirs of a prominent Jewish art collector in France whose holdings were auctioned by the French government during World War II. Chicago Tribune 06/13/00

  • INSIDE THE FBI INVESTIGATION of the 1990 $200 million art heist from Boston's Gardner Museum. Newly-released documents identify FBI targets and strategies for solving the dramatic crime. Boston Globe 06/13/00

Monday June 12

  • PROVING THE FIX: Prosecutors are racing to ready their case of collusion against Christie's and Sotheby's. "If the Justice Department is successful in establishing that the price-fixing dates back nine years, civil awards could cripple both companies. One lawyer suing the auction houses said that the damages could run well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, which, when tripled under provisions in such cases, could mean combined losses to Sotheby's and Christie's of close to $1.5 billion." New York Times 06/12/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • JUST WHERE DID I PUT THAT PAINTING? The Austrian government accuses Vienna's Österreichische Galerie Belvedere of financial mismanagement and of having "mislaid" 3,200 of its 10,000 works. The Belvedere museum collects Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present. The Art Newspaper 06/12/00

  • REMEMBERING JACOB LAWRENCE: "His body of work tapped great social and philosophical themes, captured the economic and racial ruptures and shifts that have defined our culture and, amazingly enough, found beauty in struggle." Washington Post 06/12/00

  • TO PAINT OR NOT TO PAINT... "Why dwell on artists anyway? What makes them so special compared to 'ordinary' humans? My considered view is that there is no essential difference, as the human condition is innately artistic. Everyone is potentially an artist: all it takes to become one is the self-realisation that that's what you already are. It is not what you do that makes you an artist, but your awareness of something within that constitutes an artistic or aesthetic dimension." *spark-online 06/00

  • LOVED TO DEATH: About 35 million people visit the Smithsonian museums in Washington every year, making them the most heavily-trafficked museums in the world. But the buildings are crumbling, and the Smithsonian is asking Congress for $500 million to fix them. CNN 06/12/00
    •  A DANGER TO ITSELF: "I'm amazed that you could have the greatest portrait in the United States, of George Washington; you could have the Declaration of Independence desk, the desk on which it was written; you could have the hat that Abraham Lincoln had on the day he died, in buildings that really not only possibly endanger them, but the American people coming to look at them." CNN 06/12/00
  • SANITIZING ROCK? Frank Gehry's latest project opens next week - the Experience Music Project in Seattle. "Gehry—who admits he prefers Haydn to Hendrix—bought a bunch of electric guitars in Seattle, took them back to L.A., chopped them up and reassembled the pieces into architectural shapes. That didn't quite work, although the building—a lot rounder—stayed largely Stratocaster-colored. From a distance—say, a high hotel room about a mile away—the 140,000-square-foot EMP looks like a peculiar dessert: purple, red, silver, gold and baby-blue Jell-O with a garnish of green trees. Up close, it's a trademark Gehry design, a mix of metals cladding 'swoopy' shells covering a careful floor plan." Newsweek 06/12/00
  • RIGHT ANGLE: Work to correct some of the tilt of the leaning tower of Pisa has been so successful, limited access to the building will resume next week. The tower had been closed because of concerns for safety. [First item] CBC 06/12/00 

Sunday June 11

  • SEGAL DIES: Pop artist George Segal dies in New Jersey at age 75. CBC 06/11/00

    • SEGAL: "He had a very sophisticated and deep understanding of people and expressed that through his sculpture." Newsweek 06/11/00
  • PAINTER JACOB LAWRENCE dies in Seattle. He was 82. "Lawrence rose to fame in 1941 after creating one of the most original and forceful series of narrative works in the history of American art - the 'Migration of the Negro.' " Seattle Post-Intelligencer 06/10/00

  • SO THIS IS DISNEYLAND? Malcolm Rogers has been in charge of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for five years. The museum's debt is down, attendance is up and the institution is reaching into the community. But the MFA has also been charged with controversy. No question the museum is being reinvented. Is it for the better? Boston Globe 06/11/00

  • RESPONDING TO THE PAST: London is besotted by contemporary art. But the National Gallery, by definition a collector of things past, has not participated. But now an "inspired" plan to ask today's art stars to produce works based on the National's collection. The Sunday Times (London) 06/11/00 

  • "NAKED SOY SAUCE AND KETCHUP FIRGHT AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE": They romped all over Tracy Emins bed at the Tate and peed in Marcel Duchamps' urinal. But two London performance artists say their actions are serious art - not pranks. So what is the point? The Observer 06/11/00

  • ART THEFT AND INTRIGUE: A former Azerbaijani prosecutor has been convicted and sentenced for his role in the bizarre theft of some 200 prints and drawings, including a dozen rare works by Old Masters Albrecht Dürer , Rembrandt and Jacob van Ruisdail worth as much as $10 million dollars. MSNBC 06/11/00

  • SMUGGLERS CAUGHT: Two English teachers have been caught at Istanbul's airport trying to smuggle 925 ancient Byzantine and Roman artifacts out of Turkey. Turkish Daily News 06/11/00 

Friday June 9

  • THE ART OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: In an attempt for broaden the appeal of British museums, the British government has given museums quotas for attracting minorities into the museums. Their public funding will depend on meeting the quotas. All Things Considered, NPR 06/08/00

  • AUGMENTED REALITY: Augmented reality is a way to layer the virtual world on top of the real world, without replacing reality. Museums are experimenting - by donning a set of glasses and looking at an artifact or piece of art, images and information come to life around them. The Times of India (Reuters) 06/09/00

  • TO BE YOUNG, BRITISH AND AN ARTIST is to be glamorous and a celebrity. But, "is the state of British art or that of any other country where Damien Hirst’s shark-in-a-tank has been exhibited the better for it? Absolutely not." So what is the legacy of the Young British Artists? New York Press 06/08/00

  • WHITE-COLLAR WALK-OUT: Museum of Modern Art workers have been on strike since April, and as the days go on and workers continue to trickle across the picket line, things seem to be getting uglier. One thing that distinguishes this strike is that it involves white-collar workers, many of whom have had no experience with a union. The Village Voice 06/12/00

  • GETTING A GEELONG GUGGENHEIM: On June 29th Guggenheim Foundation director Thomas Krens meets with Australian Premier Steve Bracks to discuss the possibility of putting the next Guggenheim in Geelong. The meeting, they hope, will help decide who's going to finance what. The Age (AAP) 06/09/00

  • CHANGING CHIEFS: Chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada to take chief curator job at New York's Frick. CBC 06/09/00

  • THE VIRTUAL GUGGENHEIM: About the new online Guggenheim, currently under development: "Why not, in fact, (create) an entirely new experience given this content that's already emerging and try to push the content further?" Wired 06/09/00

  • SAVING FACE: The Chinese government has protested the showing of "Inside Out: New Chinese Art" in Australia, saying the exhibition could damage their "international standing." A disclaimer note above the entrance to the exhibit reads: "The National Gallery of Australia wishes to advise that this performance contains nudity, live animals and Chinese firecrackers." What on earth are they worried about? South China Morning Post 06/08/00 

  • BLACK AND WHITE MEMORY: Due to the political climate of North Korea in the 1950's, there is very little art or recorded literature to help Koreans remember that period of history. A newly discovered photographic collection is helping people fill in the blanks. The Korean Times 06/08/00

  • SOTHEBY'S MOVES TO WEB: Sotheby's has decided to move its regular February auction to the web, given how successful the online operation has been. New York Times 06/09/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • BUILDING PRACTICES: The Pritzker is often described as the Nobel Prize of architecture. But does it celebrate and boost the field of architecture, or pander to the "worst celebrity aspects of architectural practice?" Toronto Globe and Mail 06/09/00

  • QUAKE-PROOF: San Francisco's de Young Museum was damaged in the 1989 earthquake. Plans are well along to rebuild. But "if local community activists have their way, the design for the ambitious $135 million project will soon be subjected to a process that many observers believe could doom it. And although the proposed building, by acclaimed Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron Architekten AG, has been hailed by those culturally-in-the-know as a masterpiece of contemporary Modernism, it has come in for some blistering criticism from an unexpected quarter: other architects." Metropolis 06/00

Thursday June 8

  • PERFECTION IN SQUINTING: "For centuries, Michelangelo's sculpture David has been held up as the ultimate in male physical beauty. But now a laser scan of his face has revealed the truth: he squints." New Scientist 06/08/00

  • THE ART OF WAR: The Russian government recovers a stolen Franz Rubeau painting from Chechen rebels who planned to sell it for $1 million to help finance their war against the Russians. The Art Newspaper 06/08/00

  • SHILL BIDDING: New York Times arts reporter Judith Dobrzynski discusses the current FBI investigation of the recent fraudulent bidding for a purported Diebenkorn painting on E-Bay. NPR 06/07/00 [Real audio file]

  • ART DEBS: Now is the time of year when art schools present their degree shows - “the art world's coming-out parties” - and dealers, curators, and collectors make the rounds looking for new talent. Royal College of Art grads in London are already fetching four-figure sums for their student work. What does this say about the fickle British art market? “If we have learned one thing from the sensational success of British art in the past decade, it is that talent or skill alone has nothing to do with becoming a famous artist. This is not because art is a con, but because it is an intellectual game. It's a game of recognition, of constantly stretching the parameters of what can be defined as art.” The Guardian 06/08/00

  • BROOKLYN MUSEUM'S SUNNY SUMMER: The Brooklyn Museum has had enough controversy for awhile. So this summer they will present a Maxfield Parrish and William Merritt Chase exhibition - peaceful perfection filled with blue skies and still ponds. Fittingly, both artists had their own experience with giving the public what it wants a hundred year ago. Parrish, for instance, "knew how to market paradise; he understood that in America the beautiful, innocence sells." New York Magazine 06/12/00

Wednesday June 7

  • THE FBI is reportedly investigating the troublesome fake (?) Diebenkorn auction a few weeks ago on the Ebay auction site. New Jersey Online (AP) 06/07/00

  • BRITS HONOR HOLOCAUST: London’s first permanent Holocaust exhibition opened Tuesday at the Imperial War Museum. The $27 million exhibition is the largest Holocaust memorial display outside Israel and the U.S. New Jersey Online (AP) 06/07/00

  • BRITS HONOR HOLOCAUST: London’s first permanent Holocaust exhibition opened Tuesday at the Imperial War Museum. The $27 million exhibition is the largest Holocaust memorial display outside Israel and the U.S. BBC 06/06/00

  • UNDERWATER WORLD: Two ancient Egyptian cities, Herakleion and Canopus - known only from ancient legends and Greek tragedies - were discovered off the Egyptian coast last weekend by French and Egyptian researchers. The 2,500-year-old finds are being heralded as “the most exciting find in the history of marine archaeology. They are intact. Frozen in time and totally untouched.” London Times 06/07/00

  • MASSIVE MASTERWORKS: The permanent collection at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum contains an unrivalled range of 17th-century Dutch paintings. This year the museum celebrates its 200th anniversary and has acquired additional masterpieces from other Dutch collections for a massive exhibition showcasing the definitive sweep of the period. The Telegraph 06/07/00

  • MGM SELLS BELLAGIO ART: The MGM sells off  eleven of the paintings it inherited with its purchase of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, taking in $124 million. Three of the paintings were bought by Steve Wynn, former Bellagio owner. DigitalCity 06/06/00 

  • MAKING THE ART-SITE DANCE: Thomas Hoving, art-world showman and former Met Museum director, has signed on to direct the considerable editorial content of He calls himself "just another Internet hack trying to break some stories." BusinessWeek 06/06/00

  • COW CLONES: Last summer Chicago placed 300 fibreglass art cows on its downtown streets and the city claims 2 million visitors came to see them, generating more that $200 million in economic activity. Sniffing a hit, some 30 North American cities are planning urban animal installations this summer - among them Toronto, which this week put up 100 10-foot-tall moose around its downtown. Chicago Tribune 06/07/00

Tuesday June 6

  • FLASH OF INSPIRATION: Architect Norman Foster’s Millennium Bridge, linking Tate Modern with the north bank of the Thames, opens Saturday. The positive buzz about his design and its potential to transform London’s waterfront has been mounting. So what was Foster’s inspiration for the project? “The blade of light that used to shoot out across the canyon and so save Flash Gordon from his evil pursuers in the Saturday-morning cinema that was such a feature of his youth. For Foster, the Millennium Bridge is that blade of light, leaping across the Thames.” The Telegraph 06/06/ 00

  • LONDON LOVES ART: “To be in London these days is to be endlessly entertained by art, by the museums that show it, the multiplying galleries that sell it and the masses who have become weirdly fascinated by it.” Tate Modern and a swell of new galleries have just opened, and the city is buzzing with exhibits - each more bizarre than the next. New York Times 06/05/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • A BUSINESS DECISION, NOT A CURIOSITY: After five months in operation Sotheby's online auction operation is doing about $1 million in sales a week. Now the company is selling a copy of the Declaration of Indepdence online without a "flesh-and-blood auctioneer drumming up excitement and coaxing bids from collectors." Los Angeles Times 06/06/00

  • WOMEN’S WORK: An unprecedented number of women artists, filmmakers, and writers in Korea have been creating work that directly confronts gender-identity issues and sexism. Three upcoming exhibits will feature the work of 489 women artists - the largest number to ever exhibit in Korea. Korea Herald 06/06/00

  • FREEZE FRAME: Eccentric Englishman Eadweard Muybridge discovered the photographic system that would revolutionize scientific understanding and the process for naturalist art. Was this dedicated craftsmen "a mad scientist, promoting his lab experiments as photographic art? Or was he an artistic opportunist, using science to gratify his flair for fantasy?" Civilization 06/00

  • NEENER NEENER - A LABEL BY ANY OTHER NAME: Deconstructing a new name for art on the internet. Does it fit? Feed 06/06/00

Monday June 5

  • PROSECUTING MUSEUMS FOR BORROWING: New York state governor signs a law that gives prosecutors the power to bring criminal charges against institutions that borrow stolen work. New York museums have opposed the law, saying it will hurt their ability to borrow artwork. The Art Newspaper 06/05/00

  • ANCIENT CITY UNCOVERED: Archeologists has put on display some of the treasures they have uncovered from a nearly complete ancient city they discovered. "The city, untouched for more than 1000 years, was found less than 10 metres under the waters of the Mediterranean about six kilometres off the coast near Alexandria, Egypt." The Age (LA Times, Reuters) 06/05/00

  • GANGS SMUGGLE AFRICA'S ART: Demand for Africa's ancient art is so high that gangs of thieves are taking advantage smuggling out artifacts to London in a trade that's said to be worth £500 million a year. Sunday Times (London) 06/05/00

  • A "VENDETTA" AGAINST A PICTURE: A self-proclaimed "fake hunter" insists that a painting in Britain's National Gallery said to be by Rubens is a fake. Pay no attention to this man, writes one expert. "An amateur in the worst sense of the word, he has become a man with an obsession, apparently deaf and blind to evidence, disingenuous to a menacing degree, prepared to take words out of context with a knowing and triumphant Gotcha! and thoughtlessly prepared to traduce all who disagree with him; in this bitter feud against the National Gallery he makes an ass of himself." London Evening Standard 06/05/00

  • PHOTOGRAPHER WINS: A day after the Supreme Court declined to stop them, 150 people posed nude under New York's Williamsburg Bridge for a photographer. 06/04/00

  • YOU BREAK IT... "A patron at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts on Sunday disregarded a do-not-touch sign, climbed atop a display platform and sat down on a chair dating to the Ming Dynasty, breaking it in three places." The chair was worth "six figures." St. Paul Pioneer Press 06/05/00

  • ANOTHER PLEA FOR RETURNING THE ELGINS: Greece calls again for the return of the Elgin marbles from the British Museum, but says it might be interested in sharing ownership of the artwork. BBC 06/05/00

  • SORTING OUT OWNERSHIP: Boston's Museum of Fine Art debates the proper way to list artwork with questionable provenance on the internet. Boston Herald 06/05/00 

Sunday June 4

  • LOOTED ART TO STAY IN RALEIGH: After agreeing to give up a painting by Cranach to heirs of the collector it was stolen by the Nazis from, The North Carolina Museum of Art gets a surprise. Rather than selling it on the open market, the heirs sell it back to the museum for a fraction of its value. Scripps Howard 06/03/00 

  • AN ARCHITECTURAL LEGACY: After a decade of high-profile projects, Norman Foster is the pre-eminent British architect of the day. But  how will history judge his work? The Telegraph 06/04/00

  • BRIDGES TO THE FUTURE: A new wave of interesting public architecture being built in London shows up the embarrassing efforts of the 70s and 80s. Sunday Times (London) 06/04/00

  • THE ONLINE ART-BUYER: So who would buy art online without seeing it in person? The buyer who is intimidated by the gallery "scene" and the traditional culture around buying art. "I like going to galleries, but I've found that if you don't have thousands of dollars to spend, the attitude is they won't give you the time of day.'' San Jose Mercury News 06/04/00

  • A GLORIOUS MESS: "The show, now at the Guggenheim Museum, is called '1900 - Art at the Crossroads,' which it isn't, really. It's more like 'Art on Tumble Dry,' which is to say art as the usual mess, any year you could pick. The curators have not only dragged out 1900's frolicking nymphs, adored virgins, symbolist tombs and gloomy peasants painted and sculpted by people you never heard of; no, the outrage is that they're hung next to Cezanne, Picasso, Munch, Sargent, on and on, as if they were all equals. Washington Post 06/04/00

  • THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND HOCKEY: Self-taught artist John Mahnic has spent some 2,900 hours over eight years recreating paintings of the Sistine Chapel - but where Michelangelo used Biblical figures, Mahnic's is an homage to hockey. "The masterpiece shows 162 recognizable hockey players emerging from temple columns. Whereas Michelangelo's most famous scene depicts God's forefinger touching that of the newly created Adam, Mahnic reprises this image showing hockey hero Bobby Orr falling toward the celestial digit after scoring the winning goal in the 1970 Stanley Cup final." National Post (Canada) 06/04/00

Friday June 2

  • CHECKING OUT THE SYDNEY BIENNALE: "If it seems glib, after a few hours' lurching about in a media ruck, to give a simple thumbs up to an exhibition of such scale and diversity as the Biennale of Sydney 2000, there is nevertheless a point here worth insisting on: if you choose interesting work by terrific artists rather than forcefeeding art through a predetermined, predigested theme, you come up with an exciting show." The Age (Melbourne) 06/02/00

  • PAVING OVER HISTORY: Developers, archeologists, and Greek government officials are the players in the dramatic story of the new six-lane Athens-Thessaloniki national highway in Greece. The new road, which passes over the ancient city of Alos, has spurred over 25 new excavations and put scholars on the trail to new discoveries on antiquity. Unfortunately, the Greek Ministry for the Environment and Public Works, which seems to be calling all the wrong shots, may end up destroying some of the precious works they've set out to save. Archaeology 06/00

  • WHAT'S IN A NAME? What to call web art? Calling it "web art" is so...well, dull and uninspired. So why wait around for the art historians to name it? "Names are rock and roll: They bring friends to the party," says Miltos Manetas, (cool name Milt) who embarked on a project to find a name for the art and he approached some professional namers (yes, they do exist) They came up with... Wired 06/02/00

  • SHILLING FOR SALES: The budding business of online art auctions is still trying to work out some of the kinks, as last month's sham auction of a fake(?) Diebenkorn showed. "A close analysis of that and other eBay art auctions reveals that the flourishing cyberauction world faces a deeper, more intransigent problem than lone self-bidders: the prospect of rings of shill bidders, acting as partners." New York Times 06/02/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • COPIES TO SIZE: Artists in Vietnam are so good at reproducing international paintings that the Vietnamese government has asked them to make the copies three centimeters (1.2 inches) smaller or larger than the originals. Yahoo (Reuters) 06/02/00

Thursday June 1

  • CEMETERY PLOT FAKES OUT MEDIA: The latest in everlasting bliss: the Final Curtain cemetery theme park, where you can have a dance floor installed over your gravesite, or a video camera in your coffin to show time-lapse display of your corporeal decay. Too strange to be true?  Not to 39 newspapers, 19 radio stations, six TV stations, 10 magazines and 20 Web sites who fell for the story. Performance artist and media scammer Joey Skaggs strikes again. Salon 05/31/00

  • PICASSO IN COLOMBIA: An entrepreneur asks museums and galleries around the world to loan their Picassos for a symbolic exhibition of peace in war-torn Bogota, Colombia. Only one in 100 says yes - but our friend manages to collect 37 paintings. Were loaners afraid for the safety of their treasures? "Actually, walking along this street, I'm probably more in danger than the paintings back at the museum," he says. Then he admitted that one asked for "war insurance," which doesn't exist. Toronto Globe and Mail 06/01/00

  • BROKEN SYNAPSE: Robert Rauschenberg’s latest work, “Synapsis Shuffle,” is comprised of 52 nine-foot panels adorned with his signature hand-painted passages and photographic screens. What’s unusual is that he’s asking a new group of artist- (and celebrity) friends to re-assemble them every time they’re exhibited. "At first I thought we should ask the first 12 taxi drivers who passed the museum to put panels together." New York Times 06/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • IN THE SPIRIT OF ART:  Artists and religious groups got together last week in London to create dialogue between contemporary art and faith. Twelve places of worship in and around London are hosting performances and exhibiting the work of contemporary British artists - including Damien Hirst’s “Last Supper.” “It consists of 13 unappetising silk screens of text mimicking pharmaceutical packaging but prescribing food to be taken like medicine.” London Evening Standard 06/01/00