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Friday September 29

  • A CITY WORTH SAVING: The city of Tel Aviv has approved a program to restore 1,100 buildings in the city’s historic center to their original condition - not the splendor of ancient Israel, but the Bauhaus style that has made Tel Aviv a modern architectural attraction. "White Tel Aviv" was recently recognized by UNESCO as a cultural asset worthy of protection. Ha’aretz (Israel) 09/28/00
  • ART THAT MOOS: Fibreglass cows and moose and even corn invaded the streets of American cities this summer. "Yet all the colorful animals and vegetables and cartoon characters are raising questions on the nature of public art, with critics branding the new works as kitsch that avoids controversy. Still, the works are drawing more praise than censure, and the trend continues to grow." Christian Science Monitor 09/29/00
  • BRANDENBURG TO BE CLEANED: Berlin will begin a $5 million cleaning of the Brandenburg Gate. "The monument survived two world wars but has straddled a major traffic axis since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 and has been afflicted by pollution." New York Times (AP) 09/28/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Thursday September 28

  • PATERNITY SUIT: Giotto has been considered the father of modern painting But anewly discovered fresco by Pietro Cavallini in Rome could rewrite the arts history books. "The crucial thing is to determine whether it was done before 1288, when work began in Assisi on the Cycle of St Francis, or after. If it was before, it means that it was Cavallini who was the master, and thus the father of modern painting. If it was painted afterwards, then it will still go down as a beautiful and very important work of art to be discovered - but nothing more." The Telegraph (London) 09/28/00
  • EXPANDING ART SALES: Worldwide art auction sales increased 16 percent in the 1999-2000 season. "The US sold $922 million worth of art and the UK sold £578 million; closest behind them were France with £93 million ($130.8 million) and Germany at £46 million ($64.7 million). Italy came fifth with £26 million ($36.6 million)." The Art Newspaper 09/27/00
  • ARTBIDDING: Art auctions are going online. Though online auctions are a relatively small business yet, the larger auction houses are setting up. And a new Australian venture is testing the waters: "The two partners say that by auctioning works on they are making 'highquality investment art' available to the general public at up to half the normal retail price." The Age (Melbourne) 09/28/00
  • PAY ATTENTION TO ME: The Terra Museum is well-endowed - to the tune of $400 million. It's got an extensive collection of "historic American art." But the museum is almost completely ignored in Chicago. So the founder's widow wants to move the collection to Washington DC. But a Chicago judge won't let her. Chicago Tribune 09/28/00
  • WOMEN'S MUSEUM OPENS: Museum dedicated to the history and accomplishments of women opens in Dallas. "The heart of the Women's Museum is its exhibits, two dozen in all, ranging from an elaborate time line of women's achievements to a short film about female comedians and portraits of female artists and athletes." Dallas Morning News 09/25/00

    • WHY A WOMEN'S MUSEUM? "Fewer than 5 percent of the nation's historic landmarks focus on women's achievements, the organizers point out. Fewer than 2 percent of textbooks are about women's history. In cities known for their veneration of the past, such as Boston and Washington, few monuments to women exist." Washington Post 09/28/00

Wednesday September 27

  • THE ART OF THE QUICK TURN-AROUND: Prices soared at contemporary art auctions this summer, and aggressive dealers seized the opportunity to turn the market upside down: “Gallery owners complain that the extravagant prices achieved recently at auction have prompted speculators to buy artists' latest works in galleries, then flip them at Sotheby's, Christie's, or Phillips for a quick profit, inflating the fragile careers of artists the galleries have painstakingly nurtured.” New York Magazine 10/02/00
  • QUESTION OF CONTROL: Canada's Ontario government decides to turn control of the disputed McMichael Gallery back to the gallery's founders. The decision could have a wide impact. "The spectre of government intrusion into the direction of a gallery robs curators of other galleries of the ability to assure potential donors that their artworks will be held securely in the future, said Richard Darroch of the Canadian Museums Association." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/27/00
  • TOO POPULIST? New book charges that Canadian museums have become too populist in trying to compensate for cutbacks in government funding in the 1990s. CBC 09/27/00
  • FIRE SALE: The Barnes Collection, deep in financial trouble, considers selling some objects. "Envisaged for the block are not the Matisses and Cezannes that the now disgraced former Barnes director Richard Glanton wanted to sell for $200 million, but pottery and other personal property which remain in the offices and other locations that belong to the foundation." The Art Newspaper 09/27/00
  • ART OF PROTEST: "Artists don't understand politics better than anyone else. Why should they? So when they turn their political views into art, something often goes wrong. Not always, of course. Goya and Picasso made great art out of political protest, but did so by going beyond the issues of the moment." A new show in London looks at protest art from the 1960s and 70s. The Telegraph (London) 09/27/00
  • PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Two of the U.S.’s major photography institutions - New York’s George Eastman House and the International Center of Photography - have entered an alliance to maximize the strengths of both collections. Educational programs, joint cataloging, and a new Web site are all planned. New York Times 09/27/00  (one-time registration required for entry)
  • HUGHES BACK TO COURT: Art critic Robert Hughes will have to face a retrial of his dangerous driving charges from a May 1999 accident. A Western Australian court upheld an appeal to reopen the case. Yahoo! News (AFP) 09/26/00

Tuesday September 26

  • SETTLEMENT AIDS SOTHEBY'S: "Shares of Sotheby's Holdings rose more than 15 percent yesterday after the board of the beleaguered auction house agreed to pay $256 million to settle a class-action claim that it colluded with Christie's to fix commissions charged to buyers and sellers." New York Times 09/26/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • FIGHT OVER MUSEUM: Daniel Terra amassed a large art collection and found a storefront on Chicago's Michigan Avenue to show it. The museum has assets worth more than $423 million, including more than 700 works by such artists as Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe and Edward Hopper, but is not well-attended. Four years after Terra's death, "internal documents obtained by The Associated Press show that a nasty battle over the Terra Museum of American Art has left board members at odds with one another as they decide whether its collection will stay in Chicago." Nando Times 09/26/00
  • NEW COOPER-HEWITT DIRECTOR: The Smithsonian has chosen Paul Warwick Thompson, director of London's Design Museum, to lead the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York." Washington Post 09/26/00
  • BETTER UNDERSTANDING THROUGH BAD ART: Jim Shaw's collection of cheap thrift store paintings are dreadful. Therein lies the fascination with them. "The paintings are awful, indefensible, crapulous. They are inept, stomach-turning and banal. These people can't draw, can't paint; these people should never be left alone with a paintbrush. Each has a story to tell, but I'm not sure I want to hear it." The Guardian (London) 09/26/00
  • SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT UNDER SEIGE: The new Scottish Parliament building, currently under construction, is now "mired in controversy and openly mocked as 'Donald's Dome'. From the original £50 million budget set by Scotland's first minister, Donald Dewar, estimated costs have spiralled to a minimum of £195 million (plus a further £14 million for landscaping and roadworks). As always, it is the architect who catches the blame." (But he died) The Times (London) 09/26/00

Monday September 25

  • LONDON GOES LATE: "In a collective outbreak of sanity, the two major auction houses have decided to move the evening sales of Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, held in London in December, to late January and early February. This should bring in more business for the London salerooms after years of drift across the Atlantic to New York." The Telegraph (London) 09/25/00
  • AGAINST THE WALL: Canada's museums and galleries are having a rough time. "The rapid shift in funding patterns has caused tremendous stresses within the traditional values and structures of the art museum. In Canada, where in the past such institutions were majorly funded through government support, the new environment presents special challenges and opportunities. But institutions are slow to change, and in my opinion there is evidence that all is not well and happy in our galleries - at least not in my experience." CBC 09/25/00
  • HOMING INSTINCT: What, exactly qualifies as "Australian" architecture? Is there such a thing as a regional identity in building design any more? Or has it all become a faceless international style? The Age (Melbourne) 09/25/00
  • SELLING JEAN-MICHEL: Jean-Michel Basquiat's artwork is the top-selling of the 1980s. "Does the artist's work live up to the market's hype? While Basquiat produced a lot of junk, if you look at his high-water mark as a painter, you can't help but be impressed by the sophistication of his compositions, painterly surface and effective use of language." 09/22/00

Sunday September 24

  • BLAIR CONCEDES DOME FIASCO: After repeatedly defending the Millennium Dome since it opened earlier this year, British Prime Minister Tony Blair finally concedes that the Dome is a dud. "We acknowledge that it has not been the runaway success that people had hoped for." The Telegraph (London) 09/24/00
  • IN HIGH FASHION: The lines between fashion photography and art are blurring. "Those worlds are increasingly entwined: not only because museums and galleries are choosing to exhibit fashion photography, but also because contemporary artists have engaged so directly with fashion. It's not just that you see them at fashion shows and parties wearing the latest Versace, Prada and Vivienne Westwood. Their involvement goes far beyond that." The Telegraph (London) 09/24/00
  • TRYING TOO HARD TO BE HIP: The Royal Academy's followup to "Sensation" is meant to shock. But "Apocalypse is to the Royal Academy what a pair of purple hipsters are to an aged librarian. The show wants so much to be out there, in the loop, feeling the buzz - but pretending you are out there is not the same as being out there, and the latest attempt by the Academy, founded in 1768, to pass itself off as a happening temple of modern culture shock ends up as a rather sad little show, even a pathetic one. This was obviously not the intention." Sunday Times (London) 09/24/00
  • WHY VIRTUAL MUSEUMS DISAPPOINT: Even as London's Tate and New York's Museum of Modern Art get set to launch ambitious virtual museums, a big question still remains: "Why is the Virtual Museum so boring? And it is. The cyber gallery is nearly always dense, confusing, difficult to navigate, devoid of passion and, worse, of intellect. Not only are these sites a betrayal of the 'muse' function at the core of the name museum, they often demand hours of downloading special software to handle special effects that are nothing special." New York Times 09/24/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • RETURNED TO OWNER (OR HEIRS): The two-year-old Commission on Art Recovery brokers a return of art stolen in World War II by the Nazis. "The heirs of Gustav Kirstein, a principal in an art printing firm in Leipzig, will recover an oil painting by Lovis Corinth and some 80 items, primarily drawings, by Max Klinger." Jerusalem Post 09/24/00
  • THE FIRST ART: A humble ancient stone turns out to be the first art. "New scientific data suggests that early humans were producing representations of life 220,000 years ago, 170,000 years earlier than previously thought. It is a discovery which could revolutionise our understanding of human development." The Independent (London) 09/24/00

Friday September 22

  • RESCUING THE BARNES: Now a plan to restore the fortunes of the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, which is on the verge of running out of money and says it might have to close if it can't trun its fortunes around. "The plan would raise 85 million dollars to re-endow the foundation and increase the budget for administering the Barnes collection." Morning Edition (NPR) 9/20/00 [Real Audio clip]

Thursday September 21

  • CLASS REUNION: A set of 92 Botticelli drawings illustrating Dante's "Divine Comedy" has been gathered and reunited in Rome after more than five centuries of being dispersed throughout Europe. The Guardian 09/21/00

  • APOCALYTIC SENSATION: The Royal Academy's "Apocalypse" is the successor to "Sensation" and the RA hopes to shock on the order of what the first show provoked. But a lot of what's up is pretty feeble, writes one critic. The Times (London) 09/21/00

  • GROWING THE GETTY: When the Getty opened its new billion-dollar home three years ago in Los Angeles, there were those who thought a period of more modest art acquisitions might follow. But though some Getty programs have quietly gone away, the museum is continuing to collect aggressively, says the museum's new director. The Art Newspaper 09/21/00

  • CHEAP KNOCKOFF: The thieves who stole a Monet from the Polish National Museum replaced it with a cheap fake. So museum officials are not certain when the painting was stolen. Ananova 09/20/00

  • BACK-SPRAY: Graffiti artists claim work in a new Brooklyn Museum show belongs to them and not the museum. New York Times 09/21/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • HARVARD MUSEUMS DRAW OPPOSITION: Harvard University has plans to build two ambitious new museums. "One would be a museum of modern and contemporary art, the other would relocate Harvard's Sackler Museum, with its rich collection of ancient, Asian and Islamic art." But neighbors, worried about crowds and congestion, are protesting the plans. Boston Herald 09/21/00

  • DISSENTING VIEW: "The Tate Modern, which opened in May and is a branch of the older Tate Gallery up the river, is surely the most hyped building of the year. Modern art doesn't thrive in demure surroundings, and the notion of placing it in the gritty venue of an abandoned power station seemed appropriate. Unfortunately, the architects of the renovation, Herzog & de Meuron of Switzerland, a respected firm, have succeeded in bleeding away most of what should have been a thrilling confrontation of art with architecture." Boston Globe 09/21/00

  • GIOTTO'S REMAINS FOUND: A skeleton found beneath Florence's Duomo 30 years ago has been identified as that of Giotto, the famed early Renaissance artist. BBC 09/20/00

Wednesday September 20

  • STOLEN MONET: Monet’s 1882 painting “Beach in Pourville” has been stolen from the Polish National Museum. Thieves cut the canvas from its frame and replaced it with a copy which was discovered Tuesday. Yahoo! News (Reuters) 09/19/00

  • THE CONTROVERSIAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL: "The National Capital Planning Commission meets in Washington DC Thursday to give final approval to the $100-million project's "finished" design, even though its thematic centerpiece is a complete unknown. This startling fact is a plain example of what a sham the review process for the World War II Memorial has been these past five years." Los Angeles Times 09/20/00 

    • DESIGN REVIEW: "That any monument could work in such a loaded context is doubtful. But it is hard to imagine one more insensitive to the spirit of the site. Pompous and unimaginative, St. Florian's ring of towering archways and repetitive stone pillars smacks of the worst kind of authoritarian architecture. To build it would not only desecrate one of the world's great democratic forums. It would do an injustice to the memory of those it is meant to celebrate." Los Angeles Times 09/20/00

  • A MUSEUM GROWS IN BROOKLYN: The Brooklyn Museum of Art "unveiled a $55 million plan yesterday to transform the institution's front entrance into a major civic plaza, with tiered seating, reflecting pools and programmable fountains flanking a modernistic new lobby of glass and steel." New York Times 09/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Tuesday September 19

  • DESIGN SUCCESS: “Half the towns in Europe now dream of building a modern masterpiece like the Bilbao Guggenheim. Amazingly, sedate Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, achieved one 65 years ago. The De La Warr Pavilion is a masterpiece twice over. First because of its supremely elegant design by Europe's leading Expressionist architect, Erich Mendelsohn, and secondly because it still functions almost exactly as intended - as a highly flexible community and arts centre, thronged with people all day, with a theatre playing to packed audiences almost every evening.” London Times 09/19/00

  • ATTACK OF THE KILLER MOLD! China’s famed 2,200-year-old terracotta army, one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century, is eroding due to an attack of virulent mold. Reports blame raised temperatures and humidity in the museum which houses the soldiers. China Times 09/18/00

  • OF THE PEOPLE: The community public art movement started 33 years ago in Chicago. "It is art where art is unexpected. And, more, it is art that is subversive. An art that undercuts expectations about creativity, ownership and power. An art that is rooted not in a fashionable world of galleries and collectors and appraisers and museums, but in neighborhoods, often poor neighborhoods, and in the people who live there." Chicago Tribune 09/19/00

  • FUNDING STORIES: California developer gives the Smithsonian $80 million to refurbish the National Museum of American History. "The museum should talk about who we are. Sometimes it is easy to forget how we started, who made the country. I hope we can put something here to inspire people to chase the American dream." Washington Post 09/19/00

  • THE FRIDA KAHLO STORY: "Julie Taymor is negotiating to direct Salma Hayek in the Miramax biopic 'Frida Kahlo'. Antonio Banderas and Ashley Judd have already agreed to appear in supporting roles, and Edward Norton in a cameo." Variety 09/19/00

Monday September 18

  • THAT OLD ALLURE: The Biennale of Paris opens. "With such a very French emphasis on style and with the opening night a cornerstone of the social calendar, the Biennale hardly suffers from a low profile. But this year the Syndicat has decided that in today's increasingly global art market it is no longer enough to be the most important fair in France; it must have a more international flavour." The Telegraph (London) 09/18/00

  • SELLING HISTORY: Publications are selling original photos from their archives. In a digital age, they say, retaining electronic copies of the images is sufficient. "But to critics of such sales, what is at stake is history itself. Newspapers and magazines can make any number of prints from their negatives, they say, but a new print, however well made, will lack the palimpsest of the past." The New York Times 09/18/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • TROUBLED MUSEUM: Los Angeles'  two-year-old Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture is in deep financial trouble. Documents obtained by the LA Times claim that "the institution's management has mishandled its financial affairs and squandered numerous fund-raising opportunities to keep the museum afloat." Los Angeles Times 09/18/00 

Sunday September 17

  • CRY FOR HELP: The Barnes Collection is in trouble again. The museum has 2000 works of art valued at $6 billion. But it's broke, and museum officials have declared an emergency. "People don't believe it when I say we don't have any more money. They ask about the [$10 million] endowment and I have to tell them it's gone." The New York Times 09/17/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • WHITE MEN ONLY: Why are only 12 percent of the architects in the UK women? And why are there only about 100 architects from black and ethnic minority backgrounds in a profession of 27,000? That is an appalling statistic. Where, for example, are all the second-generation children of the Ugandan Asians who are making such strides in other professions such as the law, accountancy or medicine?" The Telegraph (London) 09/16/00

  • AN EYE FOR CLUTTER: Francis Bacon's studio will be reconstructed exactly the way he left it and moved to Dublin to be put on display. "The curators will re-create the studio down to the precise positions where Bacon left an old newspaper or dropped a gob of paint. Most of the walls are original, with some inscrutable handwritten notes Bacon sent to himself as reminders of how to organise his compositions." The Sunday Times (London) 09/17/00

  • McCARTNEY'S PAINTINGS: Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has been painting for 20 years. Magritte and de Kooning are his big influences (Magritte inspired the Beatles' apple logo). McCartney's first public show is about to open in London. The Telegraph (London) 09/16/00 

Friday September 15

  • FOLLOW THE LEADER: What's wrong with Australian museums? Leadership. "Appointing people because they interview well, are good publicists, claim to (or do) know the rich and famous, know more than anybody else about art (or science or history) is of little use, if not dangerous. People follow leaders because they want to, because they not only believe in the vision but can see a place for themselves in the sun, because they receive genuine support." Sydney Morning Herald 09/15/00

  • THE MEANING OF ART: What is it about Tracey Emin, anyway? What makes what she does "art"? "If she decides that a tent with the names of 102 people she’s slept with is art, that’s her prerogative. That unmade bed, for instance, 'illustrates the themes of loss, sickness, fertility, copulation, conception and death'." The Scotsman 09/15/00

  • BUYING THE MUSEUM EXPERIENCE: "Museum retailing, an emblem and essence of the thriving American art museum of the 1990s, is going through turbulent times, rocked by competition in the marketplace and from cyberspace, and changing consumer shopping habits." Boston Globe 09/15/00

  • SHIFTING SANDS: Tibetan monks spent days making a sand painting at a Connecticut hospital in an attempt to aid the forces of healing there. But a couple of kids, mistaking the painting for a sandbox, destroyed it a couple of minutes. "The monks said it was good for them if the children were happy playing in the sand. They plan to start the project again." 09/15/00

Thursday September 14

  • THE NEXT SENSATION: Two curators talk about the Royal Academy's follow-up show to 1997's "Sensation." "Apart from Monet, 'Sensation' was the most successful exhibition we've had in recent years, we had 300,000 visitors and, above all, they were young visitors, and everybody likes young visitors. There's this perception that young people are more important, so Sensation gave a kind of buzz to the Royal Academy which was unique, and they said 'Do it again'." The Independent (London) 09/14/00

  • RELUCTANT COLLABORATORS: Hans Haacke’s controversial installation at the Reichstag isn't yet a success. “Because it was designed to involve MPs' active participation, the artistic statement will never be complete. It will be missing Mr Haacke's most important ingredient: earth. For the trough is supposed to be filled with dirt scraped together by MPs from their own constituencies. So far, about 30 [of 669] have filled the sacks provided by the artist." The Independent (London) 09/14/00

  • BETTER TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST? There’s never been a shortage of filmmakers (from “The Agony and the Ecstasy” to “Basquiat”) trying to get inside a painter’s mind and tell the imagined backstory of a work of art. Spanish director Carlos Saura’s new film, “Goya in Bordeaux” blames a thwarted love affair for the Spanish master’s nightmarish masterpieces. The Guardian (London) 09/14/00

  • JONI MITCHELL, ART QUEEN: By the time it closes this week, singer/artist Joni Mitchell's first-ever painting retrospective will have drawn some 80,000 visitors to a small gallery in Saskatoon, Canada. This "in a city of 210,000 people." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/14/00

  • CLOSE CALL: London’s Millennium Dome received a last-minute reprieve from demolition plans Wednesday, after its financial backers cited “grave financial consequences” if it were to close early. The Independent (London) 09/14/00

Wednesday September 13

  • BARNES COLLECTION ON VERGE OF CLOSING: Pennsylvania's Barnes Collection, which has one of the best Impressionist collections in the US, has blown through its $10 million endowment and has about six months left before it is completely out of money and has to close. "The Barnes cashed in the last of its endowment a year ago after running up a $5.3 million cash deficit in the last three years, tax filings show." Philadelphia Inquirer 09/10/00

  • WHO SHOCKS ANYMORE? For some time now, the definition of modern art was to shock us in some way, take us aback a little. "Lately, newness—changeable by nature—has transformed itself into something harder to see, especially at first sight. Now, when people aren't hit with a shock of the new, they think they haven't been hit at all. When they don't find the Next Big Thing, or find it fast enough—and this may be a contemporary definition of complacency—they blame art." Village Voice 09/13/00

  • DOME DEMOLITION? Emergency plans were drawn up to tear down the beleaguered Millennium Dome and sell its land for redevelopment after the Japanese bank Nomura pulled out of talks to purchase the monument - “a humiliating end to a project once hailed by Tony Blair as a symbol of ‘British flair and genius.’” The Guardian (London) 09/13/00

    • AND FALLOUT: If the Dome closes, approximately 1,900 employees will lose their jobs, and “the ultimate victim is likely to be the New Opportunities Fund, which gives lottery money to children, the sick and ‘green’ causes.” London Times 09/13/00

  • DIVERSITY’S IN THE DIRT: Work has started on Hans Haacke’s controversial project at the Reichstag: Each of the 669 members of Parliament has been asked to bring a bag of soil from their voting district and dump it into a 69-foot wooden trough - Haacke’s statement on ethnic and cultural diversity. Times of India (DPA) 09/13/00

  • PRANKSTERS OR GUERRILLA ARTISTS? Described variously as art terrorists, opportunists, or “gimmicky” provocateurs, Chinese performance artists Yuan Cai and Jian Jun Xi say they’re trying to “fuel artistic debate and celebrate the spirit of modern art." How, exactly? Recent pranks include urinating on Duchamp’s famous urinal and vandalizing Tracey Emin’s “My Bed” installation at the Tate. CNN 09/12/00

  • ROME REBORN: According to one critic, visiting Rome is no longer the frustrating endeavor it has long been for art lovers who encountered museums covered in scaffolding and prize treasures locked away out of view. “Jubilee Year has galvanised the owners of churches, galleries and temples into cleaning their finest possessions and placing them on view. Rome has refurbished more than 700 monuments, works of arts and sites. The results are spectacular. London Times 09/13/00

Tuesday September 12

  • STONE BLAME: A British member of parliament has attacked Suzanna Taverne, director of the British Museum, over the use of the wrong stone for a new museum portico. "It amazes me that Ms Taverne is now saying they were 'mugged'. It seems as if those responsible for the scheme are trying to pass the blame." London Evening Standard 09/12/00

  • SECOND CITY: Edinburgh has traditionally been a net exporter of artists. "But now, just as fledgling artists have always flocked to ply their trade in Paris, New York or Florence, some of today’s young talent is beginning to head for Edinburgh. It is now a city which holds more publicly funded art galleries than any other outside London." The Scotsman 09/12/00

  • HIGH TIMES FOR SMITHSONIAN: The Smithsonian is setting attendance fundraising records. "Overall attendance at the Washington and New York facilities for the first eight months of this year totaled 26.1 million, compared with 23.5 million for the same period in 1999." The Smithsonian raised $200 million last year and its endowment is close to a record $755 million and has grown by $100 million a year over the last two years. Washington Post 0912/00

  • GUATAMALAN PALACE DISCOVERED: Archeologists have found an enormous Maya palace built nearly 1,300 years ago in Gutamala. "Found at the site of Cancuén, which means 'Place of Serpents', on the Río Pasion in the Petén region, the three-story palace covers some 270,000 square feet has more than 170 rooms built around 11 courtyards. Its solid limestone masonry walls are six feet thick in places." Archeology 09/08/00

Monday September 11

  • "THE BRAVEST ART CRITIC I KNOW": Time Magazine art critic Robert Hughes survived a traumatic accident in Australia, then watched as Aussies took him to task. It's part of the country's love/hate attitudes about high culture, Hughes believes. "The whole Aussie experience has left him seriously considering throwing in his citizenship - renouncing the country he has so often defended. 'What's the point of going back? It's like a dog returning to smell its vomit,' he told me in our most recent telephone call." New Statesman 09/11/00

  • STOLEN PAINTING REHUNG: Last week the North Carolina Museum held a ceremony for a Cranach painting that had been stolen by the Nazis and had ended up at the museum. Two sisters came forward last year to claim the art as stolen from their great-uncle during World War II. "The museum struck an extraordinary agreement, persuading the sisters to sell the artwork below its market price as a tribute to the museum's sense of fair play, as well as its commitment to educating the public about the evils of the Nazi era." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/11/00

  • FIGHTING FOR CULTURE: In the you-can-rest-easier department, isn't it nice to know that NATO is protecting our interests in culture as well as in the skies? "The aim of NATOarts is to advance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s goals in the cultural realm. There was also a feeling that an organization such as NATO should take a more proactive role in the formation of international culture." New York Press 09/06/00

Sunday September 10

  • MOMA STRIKE SETTLED: The Museum of Modern Art and its union of about 250 workers have settled a four-month strike.  The agreement "awards an 18 percent wage increase over five years and promises to give jobs back to any union members furloughed when much of the museum is closed during a five-year, $650 million expansion and renovation. Some employees will be assigned to a temporary museum to be set up in Long Island City, Queens." New York Times 09/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • CROWD APPEAL: As the fall season gets underway, the gap between frothy entertaining exhibitions and higher-aiming art fare seems to be growing. In Boston you can "blame the increase in the former partly on the box-office success of the Guggenheim Museum's 1998 'The Art of the Motorcycle,' the most highly attended show in the New York institution's six-decade history." Boston Globe 09/10/00

  • STUDIO-BOUND: What influence does an artist's studio have on his or her work? "For many, the studio is a sensitive issue; Tracey Emin also didn't want to talk about hers let alone allow a stranger near such a 'private place'. Lucian Freud has painted his studio with its sagging sofa and pile of paint rags into his pictures for years. Picasso once referred to his workplace as the 'scaffold', hinting that each time he approached the canvas it was like meeting the hangman; that any public execution of him as an artist would begin at the canvas." The Observer (London) 09/10/00

  • DEEP DOME DOO-DOO: London's Millennium Dome managers have been covering up the scale of the facility's disaster. Managers knew only 4-5 million people would attend this year while public estimates were 12 million. Public anger over the mismanagement of the dome intensified last week when the commission said it had given £47m to the NMEC to prevent it from going bankrupt. The grant followed a £43m donation only last month after public assurances in July that it would be 'extremely difficult' to give the dome more money." The Sunday Times (London) 09/10/00

Friday September 8

  • I SOLD IT ON EBAY: Individual artists have discovered eBay as a way to bypass the gallery system. And they're selling their work. "It appears that the practical lessons of Warhol have been absorbed: self promotion is as American as one of Jackson Pollock's apple pies. What ebay artists have learned is to be pragmatic. They can get real and promote themselves or wait forever for a dealer to do it and create a classier veneer." 09/08/00 

  • OLD SUCCESSES: Paris' "Biennale International des Antiquaires" is the Super Bowl of antiques fairs, and this year business is great as the fair convenes. "As antiques dealers, we are experiencing a fantastic era. We are witnessing Paris's comeback on the big chessboard, which the international art market represents." New York Times 09/08/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

Thursday September 7

  • MODERN WORTH: Old master paintings come to us with a history of consideration and validation. But what makes a piece of contemporary art a masterpiece? "To find out, ARTnews asked eight people, including art historians, museum directors, curators, and an artist, to discuss what they consider to be the greatest works of three pivotal artists of the last 50 years: Jasper Johns (b. 1930), Andy Warhol (1928-87), and Gerhard Richter (b. 1932). Each focused on one of the artists while sometimes commenting on the others." Artnews 09/00

  • COSTLY LITIGATION: The Seattle Art Museum is fined by the court for causing unnecessary litigation expenses for  New York's Knoedler Gallery, whom the museum is suing over a Matisse that the gallery sold to a SAM donor. The painting later turned out to have been stolen by the Nazis, and after deliberation, the Seattle museum returned the painting to the original owners' heirs. The Art Newspaper 09/05/00 

  • BIG MONEY GAME: When casino mogul/art collector Steve Wynn sold the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas earlier this year, he got the buyer to agree to give him right of first refusal on the sale of the hotel's artwork. A shareholder is suing Wynn's company, saying Wynn will be unfairly enriched by the deal to the detriment of shareholders. Las Vegas Sun 09/06/00 

  • HITTING THE WALL: California's Bay Area has 47 wall mural businesses. The region's hot economy has piqued demand for murals to adorn buildings and they're showing up everywhere. San Francisco Chronicle 09/06/00  

  • FULL COVERAGE OF THE DOME DEBACLE: The future of London’s troubled Millennium Dome hangs in the balance after yesterday's announcement that it needs an additional £47 million to stay open until the end of the year. The Guardian (London) 09/07/00

Wednesday September 6

  • DOME DISASTER: London’s much-hyped (and much-maligned) Millennium Dome was mired in a new crisis Tuesday as it was forced, due to poor attendance, to reveal it’s on the verge of bankruptcy and ask the government for an emergency hand-out of £47 million - the Dome’s fifth cash injection in less than a year. The Independent (London) 09/06/00

  • MAKING MUSEUMS FREE: There is a general feeling in the UK that entrance to museums should be free. Many already are, but those that charge a nominal admissions fee don't do it for the money from ticket sales. They do it to exempt themselves from VAT taxes. "The system is absurd, but the problem is not intractable. A solution is now at hand." The Telegraph (London) 09/06/00

  • AND THE BID IS... Artist Julian Schnabel offers one of his famous plate paintings for a charity auction in Venice. But when the opening bid is set at $150,000 the silence is deafening. New York Observer 09/06/00

Tuesday September 5

  • NAKED FEAR: A painting of a small nude figure was removed from an exhibition in Delhi by the government over fears it might offend. In protest, all 25 artists in the show withdrew from the exhibition. BBC 09/05/00

  • GLASGOW ART SUFFERING: "Few cities in the world, let alone the UK, have public displays of old masters and cutting-edge local art to rival the works that can be seen on the walls of the Kelvingrove, or the Burrell collection in Glasgow. But unless a £10 million shortfall in funding can be found, masterpieces by the likes of Rembrandt, Botticelli and Turner – some worth far more than the grandiose buildings in which they are housed – will deteriorate beyond the point where they can be restored." The Scotsman 09/01/00

  • THE TOWERS OF LONDON: Suddenly the rush to fill London's skyline with tall towers has turned into a flood, with new proposals announced almost every week. What's behind the plans to transform the city's views? The Times (London) 09/05/00 

  • TRY TO REMEMBER: US Gulf Coast artist Jane Brokl will create memorial paintings for your loved ones - incorporating their ashes into the paintings. "Brokl's paintings are vivid and colorful, with small lines of the ash and bone pieces incorporated. They are designed to last, with memorial plates attached, and cost under $500." (Mississippi) 09/04/00

Monday September 4

  • THE POLITICS OF RETURNING STOLEN ARTWORK: Earlier this year the Seattle Art Museum returned a Matisse painting that had been stolen by the Nazis. Then the museum sued New York's Knoedler Gallery, which had originally sold the painting to some Seattle collectors back in 1954. SAM is trying to reclaim the painting's market value, now estimated at $11 million, from the gallery. "But some legal complications recently led to a court order for the museum to pay $143,000 for part of the gallery's legal fees." Seattle Times 09/04/00

  • DID PICASSO HAVE MIGRAINES? "A Dutch doctor will tell a world congress on headache which begins in London today that Pablo Picasso may have experienced bizarre visual migraine auras. Some people who suffer from migraine experience a disconcerting distortion of their vision. When they look at people or objects, they see them split into two parts, usually on the vertical plane. Others say they see just an illusion of a fractured face." The Guardian (London) 09/04/00

    • SO WHAT? Picasso was dismissive of critics who saw his Cubist paintings as philosophical exercises and tried to understand them through "mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, psychoanalysis and whatnot". He was even more dismissive of the idea that he was an abstract artist. Picasso's visual distortions are always poetic. The Guardian (London) 09/04/00

  • BETTER LIVING THROUGH DESIGN: Russian design has gone through a rough patch lately - the rockets don't fly, the submarines don't come up and the communications towers burn. Simple cause? No money for infrastructure. "Even so, it would be unwise to demean the Soviet achievement. Soviet architecture continues to inform the designs of some of the world's most intelligent and adventurous architects." The Guardian (London) 09/04/00

Sunday September 3

  • SHOWING NON-WESTERN ART: For the first time, the Louvre has opened a gallery of African and Asian art. "Some have criticized the exhibit for being merely a political maneuver; others are skeptical that it truly will help the public understand African art. What's interesting is that the controversy highlights the ambivalence with which the art world regards African and other non-Western art forms." Baltimore Sun 09/03/00

Friday September 1

  • DIVING FOR THE PAST: Shipwrecks are a rich source of history and our artistic past. There are thousands of wrecks in international waters that have yet to be found. "Archaeologists warn that with no international legal barriers, highly-sophisticated and well-funded multinational corporations seeking specific shipwrecks for the booty they may contain, will turn the high seas into the Wild West." The Art Newspaper 08/00

  • AUSSIE ART SAGS: Australia's art market has been robust in the past year. But the air seems to have suddenly gone out of the boom. "Trading in art - at least for the many anonymous auction suppliers - is much less attractive under a new regime that embraces a GST and an increased buyer's premium." Australian Financial Review 09/01/00

  • MIRROR, MIRROR (NOT) ON THE WALL: Two ancient mirrors, dating back to the 1st century B.C., have been discovered in a burial site in Fukui, Japan. While the inscriptions are illegible, mirror-ologists believe the two pieces were imported from China and used for ritualistic purposes. Daily Yomiuri 09/01/00

  • MAINE ART: Museums are not the first thing you think about Maine. But the state's natural beauty has always attracted artists. And where there are artists there are museums. Seven good ones in fact. New York Times 09/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)