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VISUAL ARTS - August 2000

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Thursday August 31

  • RAISING MONEY FOR POLITICS: Seventy American artists including Chuck Close, Robert Rauschenberg and Roy Lichtenstein have donated artwork to raise money for the Democratic National Committee. Some 1,500 works will be put up for sale on a web art auction. 08/30/00

  • DEALING WITH THE LAW: Crispo, a Manhattan art dealer who was "acquitted in a 1980s sex-torture case was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday for threatening to kidnap a lawyer's daughter in an attempt to get money from a bankruptcy trustee." Yahoo! (Reuters) 08/30/00

  • FRINGE BENEFITS: As part of his job Thomas Foley, U.S. ambassador to Japan, gets a mansion to live in, a driver, full in-house staff...and his own private art collection. A beneficiary of JFK's 1964 "Art in Embassies Program," Foley is particularly fond of American Abstract Expressionist you can tell by looking at his website. Japan Times 08/31/00

  • ODE TO DANTO: Arthur Danto is a prominent philosopher as well as art critic for The Nation. "Philosophers, at least in theory, are seekers after truth. Truth, the poet says, is beauty. Thus it makes perfect sense that Danto, who philosophizes by day, should moonlight as one of America's best-known art critics." Boston Globe 08/31/00

  • ASSEMBLY-LINE KITSCH: Who are these "artists" who paint the "genuine oil paintings" for $29.95, and why do they have to be so bad? "The pedestrian banality, if not downright kitsch, of these offerings is as numbing as a TV sitcom or Norman Rockwell Christmas card. Seagulls, sand dunes, beached rowboats, heeling sailboats, wooden pilings, twinkly lighthouses and ineptly drawn old-time sailing ships parade endlessly by as evocatively as place mat decorations." Chicago Tribune 08/31/00

  • BSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST MOVIE: Jackson Pollock movie to debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Variety 08/31/00

Wednesday August 30

  • TANKS AND BOMBS AND PLANES, OH MY: "Britain's art world is shaking its head over an unknown British artist who spent a decade chronicling the Gulf War. The artist is about to sell his entire output to a Saudi Arabian prince for £17million." Glasgow Herald 08/30/00

  • DECLARING YOUR SYMPATHIES: Under pressure, Austrian state governor Jorg Haider is having Nazi artwork removed from the state parliament buildings. But instead of painting over the fresco, he's having a new museum built for it so it can be restored to its former glory. Ananova 08/30/00  

  • PAYING FOR MUSEUM ART: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's new Eames show has raised charges of conflict-of-interest. The show is sponsored by makers of some of the Eames furniture in the show. LACMA's gift shop also sells copies of some of the furniture in the show. "If the museum has a problem funding the Eames exhibition without the sponsorship of the company that makes the furniture, they oughtn't to do the show. The conflict of interest is too blatant." Los Angles Times 08/30/00

  • FILMING FRIDA KAHLO: "No Mexican cultural figure has ever been as sought after by Hollywood. For years, filmmakers here have tried to make a movie based on Kahlo's gripping and tragic life story, but they have found their projects derailed by bickering parties, mediocre scripts, lack of financing and controversy about casting decisions.The latest chapter in the making-of-the-Frida-Kahlo-movie saga is the fierce competition between three bio-pics rushing to be the first in production. They involve some of the biggest Latino names in filmmaking." Los Angeles Times 08/30/00

  • ART BEHIND THE POLITICS: News stories are almost never about the art itself; they're almost always about the people that make art happen, or try to take it down. That's why I had my doubts about the artistic interest of the stuff I was likely to see in Dust on the Road, the show of Indian art activism now on at Toronto's York Quay Gallery; despite its very modest scale and ambitions, it has sparked a widespread controversy over the last few weeks. Many of the pictures on display were no great shakes, but the issues that they raised are so important to how art works these days that the stuff is worth a good close look." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 08/30/00

Tuesday August 29

  • THE MET LOOKS EAST: Once a bastion of exclusively Western art, New York's Metropolitan Museum now has more than 50 permanent galleries devoted to the largest and most comprehensive collection of Asian art under one roof. Wen C. Fong, who headed the museum’s Asian art department from 1970 until his retirement this summer, is largely responsible for the transformation. New York Times 08/29/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • RESHUFFLING THE DECK: The Museum of Modern Art has been the arbiter of all things modern since it opened in 1929, and has always championed a linear view of art history as the evolution of one “ism” after another. The museum is currently re-hanging its permanent collection by theme rather than era. “The assumption behind MOMA's reshuffle, like the Tate's, appears to be that to continue creating, we have to free ourselves from a burdensome history. Picasso has to be put in his place.” The Guardian (London) 08/29/00

  • THE PLUNDERING OF ZEUGMA: Turkish mosaics have been ripped from their sites and sold internationally. Does anyone care? "The excavations uncovered a Roman villa. The news was published. The mosaic was to stay in situ and locked up. Six years went by. One night, thieves came, cut out two-thirds of the mosaic and made off with it. Interpol has been searching the entire world for it since 1998." 08/29/00

  • STONE COLD: The British Museum and English Heritage continue hassling over the Case of the Wrong Stone, laid for a new portico for the museum. They also "resist any suggestions that the entire structure could be condemned, although Camden council has not ruled out this possibility." Instead the stone could be "color-washed" to make it blend with the surrounding stone. London Evening Standard 08/29/00

  • UK REGIONAL MUSEUMS IN CRISIS: "Hundreds of museums could close without investment from the government and the local authorities that are largely responsible for regional collections. Funding from central government to the museum service has fallen by 15% in real terms since 1997, and hundreds of museums around the country are sacking staff, cutting opening hours and seeing treasures kept in inadequate storage crumble because of a lack of funding." The Guardian 08/29/00

  • REPORTS OF MY DEATH... "The skyscraper is back, and little wonder. Big egos like big buildings. Megalomaniac real estate developers do not believe that 'less is more.' Skyscrapers provide instant status symbols for emerging economies. Besides, there's nothing like a little face-to-face contact to make the wheels of capitalism turn smoothly." Chicago Tribune 08/29/00

  • ART OF SELLING: Legendary dealer Richard Feigen has written a dealer tell-all about the art business.  He "promises tales about 'the painters, the museums, the curators, the collectors, the auctions, the art.' That's a tall order, too tall even for a well informed insider. And it's far too ambitious for an author who rambles, who digresses, and who loves to preach rip-snorting sermons on too many topics." The Idler 08/29/00

Monday August 28

  • WHEN SHOCK BECOMES SHLOCK: Shock, disgust, and horror are common themes at the heart of numerous contemporary artists’ work. Relying on the grotesque to shake viewers from the complacency of modern life’s distractions and luxuries may be an honorable goal, but is it succeeding? “Disgust is a drug whose effects quickly abate with overdosing. If art aspires to disgust and nothing more, then disgust will rapidly become the pallid salon style of the day - and that is exactly what has happened. Disgusting is now simply what art is; it has lost its shock value." Sunday Times (London) 08/27/00

  • DOUBLES ANYONE? Chicago's Mayor Daley and the Chicago Sun-Times are feuding. Not about taxes or police or misdeeds. It's about ping-pong tables. This summer, in a follow-up to last summer's art cows, the city has placed ping pong tables through downtown. The newspaper called the project a flop and the mayor's fuming; the city ordered the table in front of the Sun-Times building removed. Chicago Sun-Times 08/26/00

  • THE ART OF NOT KNOWING: An interview with American art legend Robert Rauschenberg who, at age 74, is still creating, improvising, and expounding freely on “the way a serendipitist works.” “For me, art shouldn't be a fixed idea that I have before I start making it. I want it to include all the fragility and doubt that I go through the day with. Sometimes I'll take a walk just to forget whatever good idea I had that day because I like to go into the studio not having any ideas. I want the insecurity of not knowing.” New York Times 08/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Saturday August 26

  • BUILDING STARS: In the 80s architects and the buildings they created were reviled in Britain. But a whole new generation of buildings has made building the hot visual art of the moment. "Architecture is a profession that matures late, and there are innumerable young practices with potential. What follows are five to watch out for, architects who have already demonstrated their potential but have yet to achieve their best work. If they are not clearly established as household names by the end of the decade, then the fault will lie not in their own talents, but in Britain's traditional failure of will when it comes to commissioning young architects." The Telegraph (London) 08/26/00

  • SHOCK OF THE NEW: What is it about being shocked that artists and viewers find so...invigorating? "Notoriously, ever since the dawn of Impressionism, modern art has delivered the shock of the new. Whether you find it a bracing blast of novelty or a dastardly attack on everything sacred is partly a matter of temperament - and taste." The Telegraph (London) 08/26/00

Friday August 25

  • MATERIALS ARE EVERYTHING: Wednesday, the British Museum revealed it had been "duped" by a stonemason who had used cheaper stone than had been agreed upon for a new $97 million portico under construction at the British Museum. But evidently the switch was discovered a year ago and workers were allowed to continue. Now everyone is "aghast" at the mismatch in stone color as the scaffolding is being removed. The Guardian 08/25/00

    • NOW FUNDING WOES: Britain's Lottery, which is helping to fund the new British Museum portico to the tune of £15.75 million, said it will withhold £2 million because the right stone was not used. London Evening Standard 08/25/00
  • NATIONAL GALLERY CANCELS SHOWS: The National Gallery of Canada has canceled two big shows planned for next year. The reason? Money. "The deficit for the 1998-99 fiscal year was $5.4 million, almost half of which can be attributed to a drop in funds from Parliament. Gallery officials earlier this year had predicted the 1999-2000 fiscal year deficit would be lower, but the figures have yet to be made public." And to make it worse, the current "blockbuster" impressionist show only brought in 74 percent of expected attendance. Ottawa Citizen 08/25/00

  • ART SCHOOL TO SUE VENICE BIENNALE: China's Sichuan Academy of Fine Art - one of China’s three major art schools - says it intends to sue the Venice Biennale, curator Harald Szeeman, and artist Cai Guo Qiang, who won the Biennale's 1999 International Prize, for violation of copyright. "Behind the suit are a group of elderly propaganda artists enraged at Cai’s appropriation of their work" in Cai Guo Qiang's “Venice Rent Collector’s Courtyard.” The Art Newspaper 08/25/00

  • MY RICH UNCLE IN MANHATTAN: British cultural institutions are increasingly looking to donors in the US for funding. "London’s Royal Academy was the first to break ground in the US in 1983. Since then they have received close to $32 million in donations. The Tate has followed, formally opening an office in Manhattan last September. The fact that their parent bodies are 3,000 miles away seems no impediment to raising millions of dollars in record time." The Art Newspaper 08/25/00

  • FINDING THE NEXT STARS: Who are the next YBA's? That is to say - who are the next British art phenomena? "This year, the biggest buzz was at the Royal College of Art's fine art MA show. Several of the painting students have since received studio visits from White Cube representatives, with many other galleries – from Beaux Arts to Percy Miller and Nylon – expressing interest in taking on certain artists." The Independent (London) 08/25/00

  • DAMAGES FROM RESTORATION: Scientists tell the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society that "collectors and curators have been unknowingly using risky techniques that cause the polymers forming their paints to fall apart. Poor preservation techniques, including the cleaning of paintings using harsh chemicals, could soften and deform the paint." Ananova 08/24/00

  • ROOM FOR EXPRESSION: The director of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art defends contemporary art: "It seems to have escaped the attention of many media commentators in Australia that contemporary art is in fact a very wide discipline. There is no longer one school or type of art that prevails. Contemporary artists continue to make interesting work with traditional media while at the same time embracing new forms of artistic expression." Sydney Morning Herald 08/25/00

Thursday August 24

  • ARTIST SUED OVER WOODS TRADEMARK: An Alabama artist painted a picture of golfer Tiger Woods winning the 1997 Master's tournament. Woods sued the artist claiming violation of trademark. Though a Cleveland judge threw out the case, Woods has appealed and new organizations "believe that if Woods' appeal is successful, it would increase the potential for publicity rights laws to extend into the newsgathering process." USA Today (AP) 08/24/00

  • BRITISH MUSEUM SCAMMED: The British Museum was scammed by a stonemasonry company that substituted a cheap stone for the stone it had offered as a sample for building a portico for the museum. The company "mixed samples of Portland stone with a cheaper French limestone to get approval - and then secretly went ahead with building in the French stone. The result has appalled experts. The portico is dazzling white and stands out from the Portland stone that surrounds it. 'We were mugged,' said the museum's managing director Suzanna Taverne." London Evening Standard 08/24/00

Wednesday August 23

  • WORKING OUT THE BUGS: Last week it was revealed that the National Gallery of Australia had known about the presence of bugs that cause Legionaire's disease for at least five years. Further investigation shows the gallery's director sent a letter of concern about the bug problem just days before a high-profile Matisse exhibition - and managed to keep her letter out of the official registry and away from the press. Sydney Morning Herald 08/23/00

  • HISTORY OF UNREST: A number of prominent artists have come out in support of striking workers in the four-month-long strike at the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA director Glenn Lowry had similar troubles at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where he was director from 1990 to 1994. "During that time, labour unrest roiled the gallery as Lowry oversaw enormous cutbacks in the budget. After the provincial government slashed funding in 1992, Lowry laid off half the staff of 450 and extended a planned three-month closing for renovations by an additional four months. Many felt the gallery suffered afterward from his extreme approach." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 08/23/00

  • TRIPLE CELEBRATION: This year is the 200th anniversary of Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, opened as the Nationale Konst-Galllerij in 1800. "Since the emphasis of the museum's collections has always been on the art of the Dutch Golden Age, what more appropriate than a giant show to mark the millennium, the bicentenary, and the initiation of a major structural overhaul for the fabric of the museum itself?" The Times (London) 08/23/00

  • HIRST UNDER GLASS: Damien Hirst has pickled cows to sharks. So what's the subject of his latest artwork? "In a piece titled "Contemplating a Self Portrait (as a Pharmacist)", Hirst has taken the trappings of the figurative painter; easel, canvas, smock, palette, brushes and tubes of oil paint, and encased them in a series of glass boxes." The Guardian (London) 08/23/00

Tuesday August 22

  • TOOLS OF THE TRADE: A growing number of artists are incorporating scientific techniques into their work - everything from X-rays and MRIs to anatomical drawings and bacterial cultures. “Reductive science collects more data than we can perceive. We need new ways of looking at the world around us. This is essentially what artists do.” ABC News 08/21/00

  • MARKING TIME: It's looking like a large new monument marking World War II will be built on the the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. "Tearing down part of an existing, widely beloved national memorial and building a new one on the ashes of the old raises an obvious question. What does this project mean for the future of historic preservation in our nation's capital?" Los Angeles Times 08/22/00

Monday August 21

  • THE POWER OF JUNK: The trash hadn't even been collected from the floor of last week's Democratic Convention in Los Angeles when two curators from the Smithsonian Museum swept in to see what they could pick up. Trash that is - for the museum. "We're looking for that one expressive object" that will help tell in a tangible way the story of the campaign and convention. Yahoo! (Reuters) 08/20/00

Sunday August 20

  • REDEVELOPING THROUGH ART: North Adams, Massachusetts is a small town far away from major population, and who would think a contemporary art center would make it? But "by most measures, MASS MoCA's inaugural year was a smashing success. More than 100,000 people visited its galleries. Another 25,000 turned out for performances, movies, or community dances and parties in the sprawling 27-building complex that once housed the Sprague Electric Factory. High-tech start-ups that set up shop on the site grew so quickly and spawned enough like-minded local enterprise that The Wall Street Journal last fall touted North Adams - a town that didn't have touch-tone telephone service until 1990 - as a silicon village.'' Boston Globe 08/20/00

  • HOME AWAY FROM... "There was a time when hotels did all they could to persuade us we hadn't left home. Now they do all they can to show us how different they are from home and, paradoxically, the effect is to go on making everywhere look the same." The Observer (London) 08/20/00

  • WIRED ART: With artists, galleries and museums  exploring possibilities of the internet, there is a scramble to redefine who has the power and where the audiences are for art on the web. Sunday Times (London) 08/20/00 

  • LUCIEN FREUD REPAINTS CEZANNE: "In some ways, Freud's new painting is very close to his Cézanne, in other ways entirely different. For one thing, the Cézanne is tiny, just over 11 inches by 15, while the Freud is huge, with figures approaching life-size -so big, in fact, that it had to leave Freud's studio by the skylight. And, while the Cézanne is a standard rectangular shape, at an early stage Freud's grew an extension at the top left that contains the upper part of the maidservant." The Telegraph (London) 08/20/00

  • RAIL ART: "Since it began 29 years ago, Artrain USA, one of the oldest of an increasing number of museums on wheels, has brought original artworks by Picasso and Warhol, Calder and O'Keeffe, Norman Rockwell and Robert Rauschenberg, to more than 600 towns and cities in 44 states. It has gone to big cities like Baltimore, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Washington, but more often its destination isn't even a whistle stop anymore - places like Zeeland, Mich.; Plant City, Fla., and Parkers Prairie, Minn." New York Times 08/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Friday August 18

  • RETURN TO SENDER: "Britain may have lost its former colonial territories, but its national museums still hold vast cultural treasures; the surviving legacy of hundreds of years of empire. These museums are now becoming increasingly out of step with museums around the world which have been handing back material over which there have been claims. Indeed the Australian Museum has been a leader in the field for more than 20 years, having returned significant items to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands." Sydney Morning Herald 08/18/00

  • AFGHAN MUSEUM REOPENS: Though many of its treasures have been looted, the National Museum of Afghanistan has reopened after a decade of being closed during the civil war. BBC 08/18/00

  • OUT DAMN BUGS: The National Gallery of Australia has bugs - of the kind that cause Legionaire's disease and are potentially very dangerous. The museum has apparently known about the problem for five years, according to documents. Sydney Morning Herald 08/18/00

  • TOKYO ART CENTER:  "Mori Building is starting a ¥270bn ($2.5bn) development in the Roppongi area of Tokyo, which aims to transform the district, best known as a sleazy centre for international night life, into a cultural metropolis by 2003. And the crowning piece of this project, which will cover 27 acres and feature hotels, offices, homes and shops, will be the Mori Art Center - on the top five floors of a 54-storey skyscraper. It promises to be one of the most lavish and ambitious art spaces that Tokyo has ever seen." Financial Times 08/18/00

Thursday August 17

  • MOMA MATTERS: Artists Robert Rauschenberg and Art Spiegelman, filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese and performers Laurie Anderson and David Byrne have spoken out in support of striking employees at the Museum of Modern Art. The first strike in 27 years by museum employees -- including archivists, conservators, curators, librarians and other professionals is now in its seventh month. New Jersey Online (AP) 08/16/00

  • TOOLS IS TOOLS: David Hockney charges that Constable painted his remarkable skies with the aid of mechanical device. As if this is a scandal. So what? Artists have always used tools to help them with their work. The Guardian 08/17/00 

  • HAVE MONEY WILL TRAVEL: The Phillips Collection will "lend 26 major paintings and sculptures from its collection for a six-month show at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts, the hotel's state-of-the-art gallery built by former owner and famed art collector Steve Wynn. Billed as "Masterworks From the Phillips Collection at Bellagio," the show will include major works by Monet, Degas, Bonnard, van Gogh, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and El Greco." Why do it? The museum hopes to collect $1 million from the deal. Washington Post 08/17/00

  • THE MEANING OF ART: "With a typically enigmatic installation that won high honors at the most recent Venice Biennale, the expatriate Conceptual artist Cai Guo-Qiang has unexpectedly achieved every artist's dream: he has provoked a debate, long overdue, in his officially stifled native country about the meaning of art, originality and the avant-garde." New York Times 08/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • THE ALLURE OF THE MUNDANE: Britart/"Sensation" photographer Richard Billingham has had a rapid rise to fame; one minute he was taking pictures of his speed-addled brother playing video games and his mum smoking fags - the next minute, his work was being collected by Saatchi, Rockefeller and New York's Metropolitan Museum. He and his family are a bit bemused: "has no one seen a dog licking the floor before?" The Irish Times 08/17/00

  • BALANCE OF TRADE: "Britain runs a massive national trade surplus in architecture. Our architects can be proud of the European symbols they have created – the Pompidou Centre by Richard Rogers, the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and the Reichstag dome, both by Norman Foster, the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart by James Stirling and the new Berlin embassy by his former partner Michael Wilford. But the corollary has been a creativity deficit here which is only now beginning to be cut." The Independent (London) 08/13/00

Wednesday August 16

  • VISUAL AID: David Hockney believes that Constable's amazing sky pictures were accomplished with the aid of optical devices. "Meteorologists look at skies in a different way to most people. They study clouds professionally. They say that only Constable got them right.'' National Post (Telegraph) 08/16/00

  • STOPPED TRAFFIC: Israeli port officials in Haifa intercepted a crate bound for the U.S. that was filled with valuable artifacts (ranging from 3000 BC–1000 AD) looted from Israeli archeological sites and believed to be headed for sale on the international antiquities black market. Times of India (AP) 08/16/00

  • HOUSE ORGAN? Bernard Arnault has bought Art & Auction Magazine. "The tricky part comes when you notice that Art & Auction - whose audience is a small but influential cabal of art sellers and buyers - has suddenly become a corporate sibling of Phillips, the world's third-largest art auctioneer. Meanwhile, Christie's auction house is owned by Arnault's archrival, Pinault Printemps Redoute. 08/16/00

  • NO ONE CALLED IT “ROADKILL” AT THE TATE: She may be unknown by name, but taxidermist Emily Mayer’s work is already wildly famous - she made the severed cow's head and stuffed bear for Damien Hirst's hits. Now she’s setting out to make a career as a sculptor - but, to the shock of many, her medium’s still the same. “A lot of the animals I work with come from road-kill. I'll be driving along when I suddenly see something and slam on my brakes.” London Times 08/16/00

  • MONUMENT TO BAD TASTE: Small towns in Canada - mostly on the prairies, have erected giant statues to all sorts of things: "giant deer antlers, a giant turtle, a giant mushroom, giant wheat sheaves, a giant space ship like Star Trek's USS Enterprise at a town called Vulcan, and the giant Happy Rock - a slab of rock with a happy face painted on it." There are about 220 of them across the country. "It's an embarrassment to some of the communities, but at the same time it attracts attention." Chicago Tribune (Reuters) 08/16/00

Tuesday August 15

  • THE ART OF EXPANSION: On the heels of the Guggenheim’s smash success in Bilbao, cities all over the world are clamoring for a Guggenheim of their own. “No less than six cities in Italy have applied to build Guggenheim museums. There are bids in from South Africa and Australia too, but the next is almost certain to go to a city in Latin America.” Not to mention an $800 million Soho museum targeted to open in 2006. London Times 08/15/00

  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL LAND MINES: For the last 18 years, one of Israel's top archaeologists has been digging at Mt. Gerizim, home of the world’s small remaining Samaritan community, on the West Bank. Amongst his many discoveries, the archeologist has unearthed the fact that "if digging in Israel is like working in a thorn field of political and religious sensitivities, archaeology in the territories is thornier yet." The Jerusalem Report 08/14/00

  • DESIGN DEBACLES: Since relocating to Berlin a year ago, the German government has planned several major cultural projects commemorating the Holocaust and Germany's lost Jews. But most of the them are plagued by delays and red tape. “As things stand, the so-called triangle of major new Jewish projects form a bizarre picture: a building without an exhibition (the Jewish Museum), an exhibition without a building (the Topography of Terror site at the former SS headquarters) and an embarrassingly vacant central lot (the numbingly debated Holocaust Memorial).” New York Times 08/15/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • UNTANGLING IDEOLOGY: An interview with Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, whose popular “Women of Allah” photo series and video installations subvert stereotypes of Muslim women. “There's the stereotype about the women - they're all victims and submissive - and they're not. Slowly I subvert that image by showing in the most subtle and candid way how strong these women are.” Time (Europe) 08/14/00

  • THE SYDNEY SYNDROME: Architect Kazuyo Sejima was under the impression that she had been selected to design a new building for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney; while the city became subsumed with Olympics-frenzy and the MCA battled for funding, Sejima has been left wondering if she has the job. Has the MCA blown their chance with her? Sydney Morning Herald 08/15/00

Monday August 14

  • AUSTRALIAN ART PRICES SOAR: Australian art collectors are driving up demand for contemporary art. A new record was set this weekend for the highest price paid for a contemporary Australian painting at Christie's inaugural contemporary Australian art auction in Sydney. The Australian 08/14/00

  • BUILDINGS AND BODIES: The Zandra Rhodes Museum of Fashion, designed by architect Richard Legorreta, is slated to open in South London in 2002. The museum will address why “architecture and fashion move remarkably closely together at some points in history. The connections are intriguing, for buildings are in many ways a representation of ourselves, our bodies and the ways in which we clothe ourselves. We build facades for ourselves, not just for our buildings." The Guardian (London) 08/14/00

Sunday August 13

  • ART FAKERY: A senior Vatican official is being investigated for "allegedly selling works of art with fake Vatican-stamped certificates representing them as masterpieces by artists such as Michelangelo." The Times (London) 08/12/00

  • NET EFFECT: The internet is revolutionizing the way museums do business. "We're seeing a revolution, really. Museums are having to completely redefine who they are as well as who are their audiences." Chicago Tribune 08/13/00

  • TERM OF THE MOMENT: What exactly does "contemporary" art mean? "Look at what happened to Modern art, which today is considered to have begun as far back as the mid-19th Century. At first the term described the art of its day, but since then the term has been assigned to a certain historical period. Could the category of contemporary art be used one day to classify art of the second half of the 20th Century? What then - the ghastly 'post-contemporary'?" Chicago Tribune 08/13/00

  • UNTANGLING THE BOARD: Fort Worth's Kimbell Museum has been damaged with revelations that two members of its board of directors take a combined salary of $1.5 million per year.  "I just hope this doesn't set a precedent, because if highly qualified people will only serve on nonprofit boards if they are paid then it changes the American system of governance for nonprofits and impacts it negatively." Dallas Morning News 08/13/00

  • TOFFING UP THE V&A: Is London's Victoria and Albert Museum in trouble? "Ever since Elizabeth Esteve-Coll offered us that memorable marketing pitch of 'An ace caff with quite a nice museum attached' - and told us via the BBC World Service that the problem with her museum was that it dealt in historical artefacts - we have been left with the impression that, for the powers-that-be at the V&A  the contents of this great, amorphous, impossible, wonderful institution are, somehow, faintly embarrassing." London Evening Standard 08/13/00

  • CITYSCAPE: "Shaping a city is typically a matter of striking a balance between competing priorities - cars versus people on foot, privately owned buildings versus public space. And so it is just east of Lake Shore Drive, where the Adler Planetarium finished a major expansion last year, the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium have big additions of their own in the works, and the Chicago Bears want to renovate Soldier Field, which sits just south of the campus." Chicago Tribune 08/13/00

  • LEAVING THE GETTY: Getty Museum director John Walsh says goodbye after 17 years. "Walsh arrived a year after the Getty Trust received its fortune. As the endowment has grown from $1.2 billion to $5 billion, the Getty Museum has not only spent huge sums on its collections, but also beefed up educational programs, developed what Walsh says is now the best publishing program of any museum in the world and built the new facility at the Getty Center." Los Angeles Times 08/13/00

  • SELLING CONTEMPORARY ART: A year ago the Huntington Beach Art Center was a mess - fiscally as well as creatively. After closing for a breather, the center is back - sort of. What does it take to pitch contemporary art today? Orange County Register 08/13/00

  • IN SEARCH OF FAKES: Van Gogh is wildly popular these days, but what about the fakes?  "Serious research is still at a fairly young age, and early research was colored too much with the myth of the mad genius." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 08/13/00

  • ACCESSIBILITY AFOOT? "Conceptual art, performance art and hard abstraction still often dominate the art magazines. But in New York, there is a feast of representational art this summer. I decided to check it out to see if there was anything in these exhibits that would give me a clue as to what is afoot." Washington Post 08/13/00

Friday August 11

  • SON OF SENSATION: The Royal Academy is about to open another show aiming to shock. "Three years after 'Sensation!', the 1997 show that prompted the resignation of three Royal Academicians, the show is equally defiant in the face of political correctness. Exhibits include Jake and Dinos Chapman’s nine-part, swastika-shaped sculpture containing 10,000 figures and Maurizio Cattelan’s Pope John Paul II crushed by a meteorite." The Art Newspaper 08/11/00

  • GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE… Australia’s art market is thriving to such a degree that auction houses are trying to meet demand for new work by repeatedly reselling a handful of top-rated works. A 19th-century landscape that sold for $550,000 in November is expected to fetch more than $1 million at auction on Monday. Sydney Morning Herald 08/11/00

  • FINDING A WAY: Blind woman finds new career as a painter. "She uses a technique she describes as mental mapping to work her way around a canvas, by dividing it up into quadrants. And how does she find the right colours? In water colours, I used to differentiate between colours by dipping my fingers in it." BBC 08/11/00

  • THAT SINKING FEELING: When the Renzo Piano-designed Osaka airport - based on the wings of a glider - opened in 1994, it was hailed as a marvel of architectural and technological achievement. "Due to the extreme constrictions of space in Japan, the airport was built on a 1.7 kilometre long, man-made island of mud, rock and sand which has since descended eleven metres into Osaka Bay." What to do? The Art Newspaper 08/11/00

  • 18,000 MANUSCRIPTS, BOOKS, AND MUSIC COMPOSITIONS stolen by Russia’s Red Army after World War II and since kept in Armenia’s Academy of Sciences were returned to Germany this week. Armenia first returned war booty to Germany in 1998 with a huge shipment of antiques. Germany’s culture minister is confident the remaining artifacts will be returned shortly. Russia Today (Reuters) 08/10/00

  • GUILTY UNTIL... An artist is arrested after a photo processing store calls the police because the photos are of the artist's naked children. "I felt they had decided I was guilty and treated me as such right up to the day when charges were dropped." The Times (London) 08/10/00

Thursday August 10

  • LEARNING TO LOVE: "There is a basic myth of modernism, essential to its ideology, that all great works of art are initially repellent. It is only natural that this should give rise to the suspicion that any art which seems repellent at first is perhaps, after all, daring and provocative. In the past, however, the assimilation of a new style which was originally detested was most often the work not of critics but of the artists themselves." New York Review of Books 08/10/00

  • WITH THE TWIRL OF HIS PEN the Lord Mayor of Sydney has signed three memorandums that will help ensure a brighter financial future of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art. The MCA will now receive nearly $2 million a year in public funding, and no longer has to worry about paying off its debt to the University of Sydney. Sydney Morning Herald 08/10/00

  • BIRD'S EYE ART: A Japanese artist has new meaning to the word "detail"; he rents a helicopter, photographs a particular city, and then recreates it on paper with a magnifying glass, drafting pens and calligraphy brushes. Recently he spent 12 hours photographing Manhattan. "From the Hudson River to the East River, every rooftop chicken coop and streetside hot dog stand has surely been accounted for. There are people, too: some 8,000 pinpricks among the 5,000 cars and 230,000 buildings." Daily Yomiuri 08/10/00

  • BACK TO BASICS: While YBAs Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst have pushed traditional artistic boundaries with their unmade beds and pickled animals, the Royal Academy of Arts in London believes in the simple power of the line: drawing. This October, the Academy will sponsor a program in which more than 500 galleries and museums in Britain will offer sessions for adults and children to draw with artists, designers, mathematicians. Sydney Morning Herald (AP) 08/10/00

  • THE POWER OF PRINT: The new National Opera house in Beijing, designed by a French architect in the shape of an enormous titanium bubble, has sparked a raging debate in mainland China. Days before authorities are to make the final decision on the project, the China Daily newspaper publishes petitions by more than 150 Chinese intellectuals who believe the futuristic building is all wrong for China. China Times 08/10/00

Wednesday August 9

  • MR. MODERN: Nicholas Serota is smiling. And why not? Serota, director of the Tate Museum, is "one of the handful of culture gurus who have persuaded conservative Britons to cast aside their instinctual suspicion of modern art. Serota has, with Tate Modern, simultaneously catapulted Britain to the forefront of the international contemporary art world, up there with New York's MOMA and the Pompidou in Paris." Los Angeles Times 08/09/00

  • MISSING BOOKS: The Japanese embassy in London has been hit by art thieves. "For the past two years, it is thought, a British voluntary librarian allegedly stole about 150 books, selling them via the auction house and to private dealers. The collection had been stored at the embassy by the Japan Society, which promotes relations between Britain and Japan, because it had run out of space and wanted greater security." The Telegraph (London) 08/08/00

  • FAILURE TO PROTECT: British police are "failing to take the theft of fine arts and antiques seriously, undermining a Government initiative to make it harder for criminals to sell stolen property, according to a leading figure in the arts market." The Telegraph (London) 08/04/00

  • COOKING IN CANBERRA: Canberra's National Portrait Gallery buys a picture for $5.3 million - the highest price paid for an art work by any Australian public gallery or private collector - for a portrait of Captain James Cook. The Age (Melbourne) 08/09/00

  • ANTIQUES CLICKSHOW: Internet auctions have transformed the antique business. But "while the online market has helped to boost antique prices as demand grows, some dealers say online auctions are stripping antiquing of its romance, reducing the thrill of the hunt to a bland point and click. CNN 08/08/00

  • CLEANING THE ACROPOLIS: In preparation for the 2004 Olympics, "teams of archeologists are restoring and cleaning the 2,500-year-old Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, the walls fortifying the Acropolis, and the Propylaia, the main entrance to the monuments. Projects also include work on the Erechtheion, with its porch of statues of young women known as caryatids." Boston Globe 08/09/00

Tuesday August 8

  • BESIDES, WRITING'S MORE FUN: When Australia's National Gallery hired a critic as its curator of Australian art last year, there were plenty of complaints that John McDonald "had no curatorial experience and was hostile to contemporary art." Now, less than a year into the job McDonald is considering quitting, complaining that 90 per cent of the job is administrative, "whereas he had originally thought paperwork would take only half his time." The Australian 08/08/00

  • HOW DO THEY DO THAT? At its top, the Tower of Pisa is 15 feet out of alignment with the bottom, in danger of tipping over. But the lean is being painstakingly corrected. It's "a delicate operation in which dirt is being extracted through thin drill pipes— the geotechnical equivalent of laboratory pipettes— from under the north, upstream side of the tower foundations, allowing it to settle toward the upright direction. The rate of soil extraction amounts to just a few dozen shovelfuls a day; anything faster might jolt the tower over the brink." Discover Magazine 08/00

  • ART IN GRIM PLACES: Life expectancy for a Russian orphan is 26 years. A Russian artist went into an orphanage bringing art and invited the orphans to draw their dreams. "They painted brilliant rainbows, pink buses and staircases to cotton-candy skies. They were joyous images that belied their grim surroundings. The purpose of this project is not to turn children into artists. The purpose is to help them to overcome the various obstacles that they face because they're orphans." Minneapolis Star-Tribune 08/08/00

  • CLUTTERED ATTIC? America has finally gotten better at protecting its cultural past, trying to preserve important pieces of its history. But are we going to far, now? "Here, for instance, we find millions of dollars allocated for tenement and prison renovation, the repair of fetid laundry rooms and leaky school roofs. Yes, there is funding for traditional cultural activity such as repair of classic houses designed by H.H. Richardson and Frank Lloyd Wright. But there is also money for sprucing up tourist traps and old scrapbooks." Philadelphia Inquirer 08/08/00

Monday August 7

  • STRIPPING FOR ART: The Guggenheim Museum and the Phillips Collection are making deals to open outposts on the Las Vegas Strip. "The first exhibition of twenty-five pictures including Van Gogh’s 'Entrance to the Public Gardens in Arles' and El Greco’s 'The Repentant St.Peter' is set to open in September, with more to follow." The Art Newspaper 08/04/00

  • VIRTUAL ARCHEOLOGY: Virtual reality now lets viewers wander through ancient cities. "Although virtual exhibitions and computer-based museums have been a promising possibility since the first works of art were scanned and stored, technology has only just caught up with the expectations placed upon it. The Art Newspaper 08/05/00

  • STRIKING FOR ART: About half of the Museum of Modern Art's 250 administrative employees have been on strike against the museum since April. But though some of the museum's educational programs have had to be canceled, the strike seems to have had little impact on the museum's operations. New York Post 08/07/00

  • BANKING ON ART: An art sale in Mexico is attracting a lot of attention. The work for sale was stripped from the walls of Mexico's failed banks. "The exhibition is the first time many of the works have been displayed publicly since being seized by the government following Mexico's 1994-95 banking crisis. The auction - part of the government's efforts to recoup some $100 billion paid to bail out the industry - has sparked a 'morbid curiosity'." Financial Times 08/07/00

Sunday August 6

  • THE O'KEEFFE FIASCO: The controversy over the authenticity of a set of watercolors purported to be by Georgia O'Keeffe is the biggest scandal in years to hit the National Gallery of Art. "Whether a grand deception or just a garage-sale dream gone wrong, it never should have happened. The warning signs were there from the start, but they were swept away by a tsunami of money and wishful thinking." Washington Post 08/06/00

  • MONET TROVE: A new museum in Paris is home to the world's largest collection of Monets. "The elegant building, now called the Marmottan-Claude Monet Museum, is one of Paris' best-kept secrets." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 08/05/00

  • SF-LAND: Plans for a huge history museum with "fake fog, a mini Golden Gate Bridge and a re-creation of the 1960s-era Haight-Ashbury district" have Bay Area residents conflicted. "Opponents deride the plan as a kitschy, Las Vegas-style tourist trap and consider the fight to stop the 70,000-square-foot San Francisco Interactive History Museum no less than a battle for the city's soul." Cleveland Plain Dealer 08/06/00

Friday August 4

  • GET THE PICTURE? Think digital cameras are going to take over the art of photography? Not hardly. "Even a $10 single-use camera offers 10 times better resolution than today's $1,000 digital." Now a French chemist "has developed a new method of 'doping' film emulsions that promises to make them five times better at capturing light. 'If it can be widely applied, it will certainly be one of the greatest inventions in photography in the last 60 years.' " Discover Magazine 08/00

  • ALLURE OF LONDON: A group of New York artists working in London talk about the differences between the two cities. "They're impressed by the apparent importance attached to contemporary art in Britain. Stories about artists make the front page of newspapers; television documentaries about art are informative and well made. No matter how crude its terms, Britain, and specifically London, engages in a national debate about art. This does not happen to the same extent in America and New York." London Evening Standard 08/04/00

  • SO THEY'RE WORTH IT: The board of Fort Worth's Kimbell Museum defends the $1.5 million salaries it pays to two of its board members for their services to the museum. The museum has been criticized for paying the two for services which are usually voluntary. Dallas Morning News 08/04/00 

  • WHO CONTROLS THE ART: There's a battle raging for control of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art. "People on powerful committees are there because they have a contribution to make, and there is usually an ego commensurate with that capacity to contribute. When such people's views are bypassed, or worse, not sought in the first place, there is usually trouble." Sydney Morning Herald 08/04/00

  • SCANDAL EFFECT: Sotheby's earnings decline 5 percent, though revenue was up in the second quarter. "Sotheby's shares have declined by more than a third this year as Internet spending and legal fees from the price-fixing investigation and related lawsuits cut into earnings." New York Times 08/03/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Thursday August 3

  • ACQUIRING ETHICS: The American Association of Museums, comprised of 3,000 museums and 11,400 museum professionals and trustees, will adopt new ethical guidelines for how museums deal with art borrowed from private collections. Following in the wake of the Brooklyn Museum scandal in which it was discovered that Charles Saatchi, the exhibit's largest donor, was also its single largest financial backer, the question of curatorial ethics has loomed large at arts organizations around America. The New York Times 08/03/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • WHERE SHOULD BEAUTY LIVE? The hypothetical question of where the Elgin Marbles would go if they were returned to Greece has incited a debate over the proper context for items of beauty. Do we have a responsibility to make sure works of art remain in the place that gives them artistic life? "It's our loss if we find reasons not to worship beauty and condemn ourselves to a life of aesthetic squalor." The Guardian 08/03/00

  • FAKING IT: You probably didn't know you could find one of Michelangelo's frescoes from the Sistine Chapel or Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" in a museum in Naruto, Japan. The priceless pieces are among 1,074 artworks from 190 museums that have been reproduced for the new Otsuka Museum of Art, the world's first "ceramic archive." Why would you want to spend your time looking at a fake? For one thing, the works can be displayed under bright lights, revealing details that could never be seen in a traditional museum. The Daily Yomiuri 08/03/00

  • EXPLOSIVE ART: A Bosnian artist is digging up dirt from minefields and selling it in what she calls a "special artistic performance." "I've already sold one minefield for 500 marks. Mom and I sew bags that contain 10, 20, 30 and 50 kilograms. I sold quite a few bags the first day." New Jersey Online 08/03/00

  • A MUSEUM FOR POMERANIAN HISTORY: The last and newest of Germany’s Federal State museums has just opened in the town of Greifswald on the Baltic Coast. The Pommersches Landesmuseum will focus on its historic links with neighbors Sweden and Denmark. It's Picture Gallery, housed in a converted Franciscan monastery, will also feature the works of Frans Hals, Caspar David Friedrich, Phillip Otto Runge, Max Liebermann and Vincent van Gogh. The Art Newspaper 08/03/00

  • FIVE-STAR HOTEL, FIVE-STAR ART: It's so hard to find a hotel with really good art in it anymore...if only the inn at Murecina, a little south of Pompeii, were an operating hotel/spa - as it was in A.D. 79 - instead of of an archaeological dig site, it would surely be booked year-round. Archaeologists first discovered the inn in 1959, and found several delicate frescoes that had been preserved when the explosion from Mount Vesuvius buried the building in ash. Since then the scientists have unearthed a reclining river god holding a cornucopia, a winged Minerva, and an image in miniature of an elegant maritime villa. Archaeology 08/00

Wednesday August 2

  • BEYOND THE FATAL SHORES: "There is no complaint that Robert Hughes left Australia more than three decades ago and established a successful niche as art critic for Time magazine in New York. Good luck to him. But Australians are entitled to ask why the ABC still sees value in airing the thoughts of Robert Hughes as an 'intimate perspective' on contemporary Australia. It isn't." The Age (Melbourne) 08/02/00

  • AN ANIMATED FUTURE: At the Venice Biennale, US architects present the future. "The emerging generation of architects represented here uses animation software to study the effects of natural forces on different forms, and film- and Web software to produce virtual environments and atmospheric effects. Moreover, they say, they are among the first architects to respond to the way that digital technologies have altered people's aesthetics, even their very sense of space." Chronicle of Higher Education 08/02/00

  • SPACEMAN: The man doing the sophisticated computer modeling for the designs of Australia's National Gallery of Victoria is a big fan of the museum. He's also a prisoner. "Max" works on the project from prison. "I find it fascinating that a man who has been incarcerated for so much of his life has such an interest in space, and dimensions and images. I doubt it's purely coincidental." The Age 08/02/00

Tuesday August 1

  • TO SEE AND BE SEEN: The New York art scene is hotter than ever. “Gone are the somnolent years of the early ‘90s, when ‘art party’ conjured up images of cramped gallery openings or struggling artists convening at someone's loft to consume white wine from plastic cups and white powder from bathroom counters. With the economy revving like the ‘80s, the art market is also back to eighties-style extravagance, from the inflated price tags to the high-velocity socializing.” New York Magazine 08/07/00

  • UNESCO TO THE RESCUE: UNESCO, the UN’s cultural and educational agency, is coordinating a $250 million international effort to rebuild Moscow’s 19th-century Bolshoi Theatre, which is crumbling and close to collapse due to years of neglect. Theatres from around the world have already rallied around the cause by sending in contributions equal to one night’s earnings. NPR 07/31/00 [Real audio file]

  • GETTYS SUED OVER ARTWORK: Artist Garth Benton has sued Ann and Gordon Getty because, he claims, the San Francisco philanthropists and socialites painted over his $327,000 mural on the wall of their mansion, "violating a rarely used California law barring the destruction of fine art." San Francisco Examiner 07/31/00