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Tuesday October 31

  • FAIR PLAY: What are the elements that make a successful world's fair? The Hannover World's Fair is about to end. "No one will consider it one of the best, despite the unexpected increase in attendance over the last few weeks and although paying visitors were always more impressed than the critics who received complimentary tickets." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/31/00
  • LESS IS STILL MORE: Germany’s 80-year-old Bauhaus design movement, whose guiding principle of "less is more" was popularized in the ‘20s, is inspiring a whole new generation of designers ready Sto apply its tenets to enlivening urban architecture and creating affordable design choices for the average city dweller. "The idea here is not to reproduce the Bauhaus. The idea now is to try to pick up where it was before it suffered an unnatural death and apply it to today's challenges presented by globalization." Los Angeles Times 10/30/00
  • AN EXPENSIVE WOBBLY BRIDGE: There are more engineers studying how to fix the wobble in Norman Foster's Millennium footbridge across the Thames than there are people who have been to the Millennium Dome. "Yet the £5 million currently quoted for a remedy to the famous wobble is a colossal sum compared both to the original estimate of £9 million and the much increased 'final' figure of £18 million. The Times (London) 10/31/00

Monday October 30

  • GETTY MUSEUM BLOCKED: "The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles has been blocked by a judge from building renovations and additions to its villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At issue is the $150 million project to modernise the Roman-style structure that opened in 1974 as the original J. Paul Getty Museum. The museum stands on what is officially classified agricultural land." The Art Newspaper 10/30/00
  • SOMETHING AMISS AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM? For centuries the British Museum has been the very symbol of British rectitude and order. But a recent scandal over stone used for a new portico, and a new exhibition about ancient Rome that features film clips from the movie "Gladiator" has critics wonder whether the museum has sold its soul. The Independent (London) 10/29/00
  • HOW DO YOU SAY ‘KA-CHING’ IN ITALIAN? Twentieth-century Italian art made quite a showing at Sotheby’s recent London auctions, far outselling the work of other, more well-known European artists. "Although lacking heavyweight material by Modigliani or the Futurists, Sotheby's realised £7.5 million for just 54 lots and set half a dozen new artists' records in the process. Were it a football match, the result, on the basis of these figures, would have read Italy 4, Germany 2." The Telegraph (London) 10/30/00
  • THE GRAVES BUSINESS: "In the 1980s, Graves became the darling of postmodernist architecture. Then he designed a tea kettle for Alessi, with a bird on the spout, that became an icon of sophisticated home design. Today, he is a self-proclaimed 'old fogey' who designs toasters for Target - and, by the way, more buildings than ever." Minneapolis Star-Tribune 10/30/00
  • WHEN IN DOUBT, SEE THE ART TEACHER: "Watching my class of potential Rembrandts and Van Goghs in action last week, I reflected for a moment on how it was that I had become that ever-popular enigma: the 'art teacher.' You know who I mean. The teacher that is always just a little lost, a little dirty and can never quite seem to find anything. For the most part, we are popular with the students because we never seem to be very concerned with discipline and we remain close to the hearts of fellow colleagues who are always in a constant search for bristol board and construction paper." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/30/00

Sunday October 29

  • THE SHOCKING TURNER PRIZE: What happened to this year's Turner Prize exhibition? We're used to controversy, shock, bad art. "This year's show is tasteful, steady and, in two cases, highly accomplished. There's nothing wilfully bad, flash or obscure here: the services of the Tate's head of interpretation will not be required. Take your grandmother, take your children - the only shock is that there isn't a single video." The Observer 10/29/00
  • NEWLY GLAMOROUS ARCHITECTS: Who says architects have to be dull? The Stirling Prize, awarded for "the architects of the European building which has made the greatest contribution to British architecture" in the past year, has "taken a good look round and decided that the best way to raise its profile, part of its self-conscious rebranding, is to make its rather worthy annual awards glamorous." The Telegraph (London) 10/29/00
  • BRITAIN AT THE VENICE BIENNALE: "Britain has made a mistake. It has decided that Mark Wallinger should represent us at the next Venice Biennale. The Biennale is the most prestigious art event in the world. Quite how hilarious a mistake it is to send Wallinger is made clear by the catch-up survey of his career so far that has been organised by the Liverpool Tate. Actually, it is one of very few things that are made clear by it." Sunday Times (London) 10/29/00
  • CLOSE TO GREATNESS: Whether it's Jimi Hendrix's guitar or Leonardo's snuff box, we've always had a fascination for relics. "Russell Martin’s new book, "Beethoven’s Hair," is a wonderful contemplation of how relics can become bridges between people separated by time, culture and death. "Beethoven’s Hair" also gives us a long, inspiring look at passion in several forms." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/29/00

Friday October 27

  • THE HOUSTON-MOSCOW CONNECTION: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow announce a long-term alliance to share and exchange artwork. "The first exchange will send 200 objects from the MFA's Glassell Collection of African Gold to the Russian museum in 2001, the first time in its 100-year history that it will exhibit African art. In December 2002, a trove of French paintings by such masters as Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso will travel to Houston." Houston Chronicle 10/26/00
  • THE ANTI-TURNERISTS: There are those who think that the best thing about the Turner Prize is that it inevitably irritates a lot of people. "This year, the Turner Prize's promotional budget is being helped along by the Stuckists arts group, who are calling for a return to the values of modernism and an acknowledgment that painting is the only true expressive art form." London Evening Standard 10/27/00
  • BELLAGIO COLLECTION ON THE BLOCK: Steve Wynn's collection from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas is being sold off piece by piece. New York Times 10/27/00 (onetime registration required for entry)

Thursday October 26

  • TATE TOPS WITH CROWDS: It only opened last May, but already this year the Tate Modern has topped 3 million visitors, averaging 18,000 people a day. How does it compare to other attractions in the capital? "The British Museum was top of last year's list, recording 5.5 million visitors, and the National Gallery was in second place with five million." London Evening Standard 10/26/00
  • A SLIPPERY SLOPE: A set of big bronze Henry Moore sculptures is resting in a park in central Beijing. How did they get there, and why choose Moore to represent British art? Turns out they're just the thing...The Guardian (London) 10/26/00
  • FINDING THE RIGHT MIX: Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art is back from the brink of oblivion. But it's got to got to terms with balancing good art and pulling in the crowds. New director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor "is under great pressure to pull in the crowds. But she is yet to prove that elaborately marketed shows with a sometimes tenuous relation to art are the way to go. Asked about the exhibition of elephant paintings, she laughed loudly." Sydney Morning Herald 10/26/00

Wednesday October 25

  • COURTING CONTROVERSY: Works by the four artists shortlisted for this year’s Turner Prize have gone on view at London’s Tate Britain. The UK’s premier art award, the Turner (which will be announced next month) has developed a reputation for generating substantial controversy - Damien Hirst’s sheep in formaldehyde and Chris Ofili’s cow-dung paintings were past winners - and this year’s no different. Only one finalist is actually British, to the consternation of many. BBC 10/24/00
  • THE ABCs OF ART APPRECIATION: The first in a week-long discussion of John Armstrong’s new book "Move Closer," a primer for "those who sweat when confronted with art" on the pleasures of viewing. "Can a stubbornly unvisual person - someone who might love a picture but might be unable to describe it coherently five minutes later - be taught to see things differently, in a less ham-handed way?" Slate 10/24/00
  • VIVA LAS VEGAS: The Guggenheim and the Hermitage Museums are coming to Las Vegas. What will their new buildings look like? "Whether or not they succeed as architecture will go a long way in answering a question that has secretly terrified the profession for more than a decade: How does architecture assert its value in a world saturated by manipulative advertising and mass-market entertainment?" Los Angeles Times 10/25/00
  • HIGH FASHION/HIGH PAY/HIGH INFLUENCE? The Guggenheim's new show of Armani fashion has reviewers in a tizzy. "Reviewers stumbled out of this array of some 400 garments in a higher-than-usual state of befuddlement, and have delivered themselves of reports written in rapturous poetry or horror-struck prose or, in some cases, both. And how do we factor in the US$15-million Giorgio Armani has reportedly given to the Guggenheim for its worldwide projects? Rich people have been giving tons of money to museums, and getting back favours, since the beginning of time. That's perhaps a horrifying idea. But has anybody really suffered?" National Post (Canada) 10/25/00
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE: "William Thorsell, who was appointed head of the Royal Ontario Museum - Canada's largest museum - four months ago, wants to strip away decades of alterations that have left the original galleries a dark shadow of their former selves." Toronto Star 10/25/00

Tuesday October 24

  • CHINESE RAPPROACHEMENT: Leaders of Chinese Palace Museums (in Beijing and Taipei) meet to talk about exchanging artworks. The move is historic because Mainland China has in the past charged that Taipei's collection was plundered when the Nationalists left the Mainland. China Times (Taiwan) 10/24/00
  • TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION: The Guggenheim seems bent on being the Starbucks of the artworld - one on every corner. "The combined Guggenheim collections now run to 8,000 paintings, sculptures and installations and the pace of expansion seems unstoppable, feeding on a barely tapped global appetite for democratic art in spectacular surroundings." The Independent 10/24/00

    • AND MORE POWER TO THEM: Two of the most prestigious art institutions in the world, the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation of New York and the State Hermitage Museum of St Petersburg, have reached a conclusion that, until even a few years ago, would have seemed insane. Las Vegas, better known as a desert shrine to all that is base and gaudy, neon and greedy, is actually an ideal place to show fine art. The Independent 10/24/00
  • VIENNA'S NEW HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL: Vienna's controversial new Holocaust Memorial in the Judenplatz is a wonder. "The artist herself has consistently refused to explain or interpret her work, but it speaks for itself in a number of different ways. While from a distance, it is reminiscent of a temple, close up it looks more like a hermetically sealed library. Its walls are concrete casts of row upon row of books. Yet the books are facing the wrong way. Their spines, and titles, are facing inwards so we will never know what these books are called and what they contain. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/24/00
  • IT'S TURNER TIME: "This year's Turner prize show opens to the public at Tate Britain tomorrow. The shortlist for the £20,000 prize, which will be awarded on November 28, has already generated a small controversy. Only one finalist, Glenn Brown, is actually British, although the other three all live and work in Britain." The Guardian 10/24/00
  • RUNNING OUT OF WOOD? Kenya's $20 million wood-carving industry is booming, born of the initiative of the Wakamba people of south-central Kenya. "But it has reached a difficult juncture. Favourite woods for carving, such as African blackwood, also known as ebony, or mpingo locally, are rapidly being depleted. Carvers and conservationists are assessing the future of the industry that each year fells 50,000 Kenyan trees, even as it employs 80,000 carvers." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/24/00
  • PAOLOZZI ILL: Sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, one of the most prolific and distinctive British artists of the 20th century, is in a persistent vegetative state after collapsing at his studio. It is thought unlikely that the prolific Scottish-born artist will recover." The Age (Melbourne) 10/24/00

Monday October 23

  • SAYING HIGH TO LOW: "Just last week, architect Daniel Libeskind suggested that contemporary museum designers could learn a lot from shopping malls. Contemporary experience is riddled with such categorical confusions. The commonplace becomes the aristocratic, an elite finds its values affirmed in the everyday. As much as debate on high and low culture seeks to affirm their difference, increasingly what emerges is a recognition of their equivalence." The Age (Melbourne) 10/23/00
  • SAN FRANCISCO'S SPLIT FEELINGS ON GRAFITTI: "While Mayor Willie Brown and a force of volunteers armed with solvents gathered at Yerba Buena Gardens on Saturday for a city-organized effort to stamp out graffiti, San Francisco-based video-game maker Sega of America played host to an art show featuring some of the nation's best taggers just a few blocks away." San Jose Mercury News 10/22/00
  • A LOOK AT A NEWLY-DISCOVERED MICHELANGELO: One of Michelangelo's early drawings, discovered recently, is being offered by Sotheby's auction house for an estimated $8-11 million. "The drawing, dated to around 1505, lay entirely unknown to art historians since at least the mid-18th century. It is a striking work in ink, about 10 in. by 6 in., representing a draped figure in mourning. It has about it the solemn air of antiquity." Christian Science Monitor 10/23/00

Sunday October 22

  • NEW MELBOURNE MUSEUM OF ART OPENS: "The overriding message from the speakers was that this was a museum devoted to reconciliation, at a time when issues surrounding reconciliation occupy a great deal of our national consciousness." The Age (Melbourne) 10/22/00
  • HENRY MOORE GOES TO CHINA: One of the largest exhibitions of Henry Moore's sculpture ever assembled is on show in Beijing, part of the British Council's drive to raise the UK's profile in China. "This was as much a political event as a cultural one. For the 12 giant bronzes shipped half-way round the world are the first true pieces of modern sculpture that have ever been seen in China. The Telegraph (London) 10/21/00
  • PICASSO'S RED PERIOD: Pablo Picasso was famously a member of the Communist Party, which considered him one of its most important members. He got a lot of attention for his political views (and a thick FBI file). But then came that portrait of Stalin, and... The Guardian (London) 10/21/00
  • POLITICS OF IMPERMANENCE: Museums generally take great pains to protect and care for the artwork that comes to them. But what is their responsibility toward conceptual art in which the artist often intends its decay or obliteration to be part of the work? Chicago Tribune 10/22/00
  • GUGGENHEIM LAS VEGAS: "Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas, it will feature 20 works from the Russian museum and 20 from Guggenheim that will rotate every six months. For larger displays, plans call for a 63,700-square-foot building between the hotel's casino and the parking garage for large-scale traveling exhibitions, director Thomas Krens said." Las Vegas Sun (AP) 10/21/00
  • AFTER THE PO-MO IS GONE: "As we enter an era that could well be post-post-modern, questions are increasingly being asked about just what Modernism was or even whether it was really anything at all. It is almost as if Modernism were now being recast in the image of pomo. Modernism, in these reinterpretations, is gnomic, ironic, wavering. The New York Times 10/21/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Friday October 20

  • DONATION WITHDRAWN: The art collector who had promised Canada's National Gallery $20 million of art - 1600 mostly Chinese antiquities - and then abruptly withdrew the donation last week, may have had some provenance problems, a chinese art expert says. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/20/00
  • DONOR X: An anonymous French art collector has donated an astonishing collection of more than 100 masterworks - by Cézanne, Manet, Picasso, and others - to France. Although the mystery donor insisted on remaining nameless, rumors abound that it’s actually a well-known and wildly generous Parisian medical researcher. "I can think of no comparable donation in the recent history of this country's museums." BBC 10/19/00
  • TATE TURNER DEAL: The Tate Museum has struck a deal with insurers over the 1994 theft of two of its Turner paintings. The insurers had paid out £24 million on the loss. But the museum was afraid to spend the money lest the paintings turn up and the insurance had to be paid back... The Art Newspaper 10/20/00
  • CRITICAL MASS: Clement Greenberg's personal art collection of 152 works has been given to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. "It wasn't a consciously assembled collection: All the artworks were gifts to Greenberg. These were all people we knew. These were the people absolutely the closest in our lives. They were family and still are." Seattle Times 10/20/00
  • "ONE LAST BINGE" BEFORE OLD AGE... The Museum of Modern Art's temporary home for the years that its main campus will be under construction "will be a radical departure from the tasteful, cosmopolitan feel of MOMA's 53rd Street home. With a labyrinthine entry leading to gaping, warehouse-like galleries, the project recalls Frank O. Gehry's Geffen Contemporary, which was originally designed in 1983 as a temporary space for Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art." Los Angeles Times 10/20/00
  • OPPOSITES ATTRACT: In a bizarre meeting of high and low culture, Russia’s Hermitage Museum is joining forces with New York’s Guggenheim Museum to open a minimuseum in the lobby of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The museum will be designed by Rem Koolhaas and will exhibit two rotating exhibits from each museum’s collection every year. The project marks the first step in a collaboration between the two museums announced last June. New York Times 10/20/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THE V&A CONSIDERS OFFLOADING ART: London's Victoria & Albert Musem is suffering from falling attendence and aconfused mission. Now a suggestion that the V&A offload some of its artwork to other museums. “We have marvellous pictures, but people don’t come to see them here and they don’t immediately think of Constables at the V&A. Even when they come for the paintings, it is hard to find them. Either we should rehang the paintings in the galleries where they were originally shown or offer them on long-term loan to other museums." The Art Newspaper 10/20/00
  • SCHIELE SURPRISE : A 1918 portrait by Egon Schiele stirred up a surprising amount of interest among bidders at a London Sotheby’s auction Wednesday and sold for $10 million - more than twice the highest price ever paid for one of his works. CNN 10/19/00
  • APPARENT HEIR: Boston's Museum of Fine Art has made a deal with the heirs to a painting sold under court order in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. "The parties came to a part-purchase, part-donation agreement that will allow the painting to remain in the MFA's collection, and on display in its European paintings galleries." Boston Globe 10/20/00
    • The MFA purchased the painting from a London dealer in 1992 and has had it on display since. The museum was notified of the claim in February and first discussed the situation at a federal hearing on Nazi-looted art in New York City in April. Boston Herald 10/20/00

Thursday October 19

  • MOMA'S NEW DIGS: New York's Museum of Modern Art will have to vacate its home for a few years while its massive renovation is ongoing. So it has unveiled a site in Queens for its temporary home during the interim. "How long the museum will display its artworks at the provisional site, a former Swingline stapler factory, depends on how long it takes to finish its Midtown Manhattan renovation, designed by the Japanese architect Yoshio Taniguchi. That project, which won unanimous approval yesterday from the City Planning Commission, is scheduled to be completed in late 2004 or early 2005." New York Times 10/19/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • HOW DO WE LOOK AT ART? A new show at London's National Gallery is measurung the eye movements of viewers to see how we see. "The results so far are not stunning. When people look at Albert Cuyp's The Maas at Dordrecht in a Storm (1645-50), a painting of sail boats being thrown about on a tempestuous sea off the Dutch shore, they look first and longest at the boats. When they contemplate Paul Delaroche's sentimental 19th-century history painting The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1833), their eyes tend to be drawn to the central white-clad figure of the kneeling woman about to have her head cut off." The Guardian (London) 10/19/00
  • RETURN TO MAKER: For years the Canadian government's Art Bank bought artwork so it could be rented out, collecting some 18,000 works of art. Now the bank wants to clear out work that is rarely rented. Artists will be offered a chance to buy back their work; any remaining unwanted art will be deaccessioned. Critics "say the Art Bank's 'revitalization' is going to hurt artists and the art market by transforming a government agency into a pseudo-corporation more intent on competing with the private sector than in advancing Canadian art." Ottawa Citizen 10/19/00
  • ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT DEFINES A CAREER (FOR BETTER AND WORSE): Maya Lin's Vietnam Memorial in Washington was so controversial that "when it was over, I wanted to pretend it never happened. I went back to school and tried to forget it. I refused to talk about the memorial or do another one." Now she's out with a new book about her career. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 10/19/00
  • FIRST GLIMMERS OF AMERICA: The Library of Congress is rushing to raise $14 million to try and buy a map made in 1507 that "represents the very first symbolization of America in any kind of medium. It also represents the first document that truly understands, at least from a European perspective, the way the world is constructed." Washington Post 10/19/00

Wednesday October 18

  • DESIGNING MEMORY: Vienna’s Holocaust Memorial, designed by sculptor Rachel Whiteread, has courted controversy since its inception and will finally be unveiled next week. "It is a library, but it looks like a bunker. I was thinking of brutalist architecture, but I tried to make something sombre and poetic." The Guardian (London) 10/17/00
  • IN SEARCH OF WYETH: The White House is looking for a painting by NC Wyeth depicting George Washington standing in front of a partially completed White House. The painting, worth as much as $1 million, has gone missing. Philadelphia Inquirer 10/18/00
  • GLOWWORM: A genetically-altered French bunny named Alba that glows green in the dark is at the center of an international controversy." Eduardo Kac--an intense, cutting-edge artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago--claims he conceived of Alba and spurred scientists to create her for the sake of art. He wanted to use her living being as a canvas, if you will, to generate debate about the future of genetic engineering. Art?! you exclaim. Greening a living thing as art?!" Washington Post 10/18/00
  • ACTIVE CRITIC: A retired teacher who defaced a painting at last year's controversial "Sensation" show at the Brooklyn Museum says it was his constitiutional right to do so. "It was his response to an obscenity against his beloved Virgin Mary. He was offended by the nature of that painting, and that's what the museum wanted." New York Daily News 10/18/00

Tuesday October 17

  • PHILANTHROPIST DEMANDS ARTWORK BACK: Ottawa's National Gallery of Canada recently landed a $20 million private collection of Chinese and Mid-Eastern antiquities, and the donation was seen as quite a coup. But now, after giving the some 1,800 objects to the museum, the donor has abruptly demanded them back. "They couldn't meet the conditions that I imposed. They weren't able to meet it, so we said, screw it." The museum has been under ongoing financial difficulties. Ottawa Citizen 10/17/00

  • MAYAN PUZZLE FILLING IN: Why did Mayan culture collapse centuries ago? New large archeological finds in Central America are filling in the puzzle. "Some estimates put the Maya population in the lowland jungles at a staggering 500 people per square mile, roughly twice the current density in Florida. Just before the collapse there are more Maya around then ever before, and they're packed into cities that are larger, more numerous, and more closely spaced. The slightest added stress could have precipitated a catastrophic spiral of collapse. A drought, war, or crop failure could have pushed the society over the edge." Chronicle of Higher Education 10/16/00

  • LOST CITY: An enormous Etruscan city dating from the 5th Century BC has been unearthed under a plain in Tuscany. Workers were excavating for a new truck yard. 10/16/00

  • BYE BYE TO THE LYRICAL PENGUIN: Australian artist  John Perceval, a member of the group of Melbourne artists known in the 1940s as the "Angry Penguins," has died at the age of 77. The group developed modern painting techniques generally unfamiliar to Australia at the time. Sydney Morning Herald 10/17/00

Monday October 16

  • IS COLLECTING ELITIST? Some British museums are having difficulty convincing their governing boards that adding to their collections is an important thing to do. "A fashionable theory that objects are less important than visitors' experiences, and that collecting is little more than elitist hoarding, is now in vogue among some museum governing bodies." The Telegraph (London) 10/16/00

  • HOW WE SEE ART: Over the next few months scientists will be tracking the eye movements of thousands of visitors to an exhibition at the National Gallery in London. "It will be the biggest investigation ever carried out into how humans absorb images and how artists' use of colour and texture affects the way a painting 'works'." The Independent (London) 10/15/00

Sunday October 15

  • LIVING AROUND ART: Design is hot right now - it has a grip on the popular imagination in a way it hasn't since the 1960s. What does it mean for the way we think about the things around us? "As expressions of The New, these products have inherited the myth of progress, modernity's defining legend. This is not the first time design has embodied that myth... New York Times 10/15/00 (one-time registration required for entry) 

  • "CULTURAL ASSETS RELOCATED DUE TO WAR": Germany has long suspected that many of the artworks taken by the Soviets from Germany at the end of World War II and listed as 'lost' were in fact living in Russian museums. "After 55 Years, German officials get to take a brief look at looted art from Berlin's Museum of East Asian Art. Important works categorized as "irreplaceable" and once believed to be lost forever were among the treasures." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/15/00

  • WHAT'S WITH ALL THIS TEPID NEW PUBLIC ART? "The distinctions that have been made between art in architecture, art as decoration, outdoor sculpture and public art still have not fully entered the consciousness of the visual-art community. Many find it easier to blame local authorities for their highly compromised, so-called public art schemes, but perhaps it is time to point the finger closer to home." Sunday Times (London) 10/15/00

Friday October 13

  • SEATTLE ART MUSEUM SETTLES CLAIMS: The Seattle Art Museum has settled with New York's Knoedler Gallery over a Matisse stolen by the Nazis, and sold by Knoedler to collectors who later donated it to the museum (follow all that?). The Seattle Museum sued Knoedler after returning the painting to heirs of the original owner. "We can't specify a dollar amount but we are being reimbursed for our legal fees, research and travel costs as well as the loss of the painting." That will include the museum choosing a piece of artwork from Knoedler's collection. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 10/13/00
  • SHOULD ALL ARTWORK BE RETURNED? At a time when returning cultural artifacts to their countries of origin has become a goal, "the most distinguished specialist on Nigerian antiquities is now urging that looted and stolen artefacts should no longer be returned to Nigeria, because of endemic corruption in the country." The Art Newspaper 10/12/00
  • RUSSIAN BUILDINGS IN DANGER: "Russia boasts a staggering 90,000 official architectural landmarks, including churches and palaces from every era in its history, according to the Culture Ministry - and many are in danger of extinction. New-York based World Monuments Watch named seven Russian sites in this year's list of the world's 100 most endangered landmarks - more than any other country." (AP) 10/12/00
  • SEA BOUNTY: New technologies make exploring the deep oceans easier and bring thousands of previously inaccessible shipwrecks within the reach of explorers. "While various nations have taken steps to protect, preserve and manage historic shipwrecks within their territorial waters, the same has not been the case for shipwrecks in international waters where there is no comprehensive legal regime that protects underwater sites and little or no sovereign jurisdiction." The Art Newspaper 10/12/00

Thursday October 12

  • A TRUST BETRAYED? When Rev. William Wolcott died in 1911 he donated his art collection - including a Monet and two Pissarros - to Boston's Museum of Fine Art. Though three of the paintings have been on continuous display in the museum ever since, much of the rest of the collection has lived in storage. So the trustees of Wolcott's trust sued the museum to get the paintings back so they could sell them and establish education projects in Wolcott's home town. Yesterday a judge said no. Boston Herald 10/12/00
  • UNCOVERING STOLEN ART: Australia's museums have come under criticism for not doing enough to return art in their collections that may have been stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Now the National Gallery of Victoria will list 24 works from its collection on the internet to see if anyone comes forward to claim them. The Age (Melbourne) 10/12/00
  • SHOCK OF THE SAME OLD SAME OLD: A new book charges that the contemporary art world has become far too narrow-minded. "Shock art is the safest kind of art that an artist can go into the business of making today. The real mavericks of our time have been working quietly and carefully for years in their studios producing wonderful work few people have seen. And that even though the NEA is not the cause of the various ills we've seen, it is to a great degree an embodiment of the problem." Salon 10/12/00
  • LIFE-SIZE CRITIC: Artists create a life-size wax statue of London Evening Standard art critic Brian Sewell and put it in a show. Sewell is depicted staring at a wall label which explains what the artwork is. Sewell is not amused. "I can tell you that they have been desperately trying to get me there to do the boring thing of photographing us together. It means I shall not be going to the exhibition." London Evening Standard 10/12/00
  • PROMOTION IN NUMBERS: Artists in Edinburgh were having trouble getting their work out, promoted and seen. So a group of about 20 artists got together and combined their resources to work and promote their work. "As individuals we couldn’t afford a campaign like this, but together we can." The Scotsman 10/12/00
  • VERSAILLES ON-LINE: The palace at Versailles is in need of help to repair after a damaging New Year's storm. Now an opulently illustrated (and fun) website about the palace has been set up full of everything you ever wanted to know about Versailles. The hope is to spur international donations to the restoration efforts. New York Times 10/12/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Wednesday October 11

  • MICHELANGELO DRAWING DISCOVERED: A previously unknown 500-year-old Michelangelo drawing, a study of a mourning woman valued at up to £8 million, was discovered by a Sotheby’s agent during a routine insurance visit to an estate in North Yorkshire. The ink drawing was pasted into an otherwise unremarkable scrapbook. "It is the most significant Michelangelo work to be discovered in living memory." The Telegraph (London) 10/11/00
  • HOW I SNOOKERED SOTHEBY'S: Michel Van Rijn, infamous art dealer, smuggler, and author is full of stories about his dealings with the auction house, including a claim he faked artwork that Sotheby's then sold. Are the stories true? Who knows, but they're entertaining reading. 10/11/00
  • THE WRITING ON THE WALL: Two New York graffiti artists getting ready to open a gallery show of their work are arrested. "These individuals have been long known to the police department, and they have a history of damaging property. It has nothing to do with the show." Nando Times (AP) 10/10/00

Tuesday October 10

  • MAJORITY RULES: Canada's Ontario government is attempting to force the McMichael Gallery to return to its roots. "In doing so, the government is indirectly forcing the gallery to dispose of thousands of works of art, jeopardizing its future, and repudiating the collective wisdom of artists, curators and art critics." Is this the result of 'majority rule' politics? The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/10/00

  • STOLEN PAINTINGS IN SYDNEY: Last year thieves stole four paintings from the Australia's National Gallery of Victoria. Now police have reason to believe that the thieves are trying to sell the artwork in Sydney. The Age (Melbourne) 10/10/00

  • POMPEII LIGHTS UP: After 2000 years, the lights are back on in Pompeii. "The $5 million lighting project sponsored by the Culture Ministry means that the ruins, one of Italy's biggest tourist draws, will eventually be open at night. It also means the city's stone amphitheaters will once again host performances." Discovery 10/09/00

  • PICASSOS RECOVERED IN TURKEY? Paintings recovered by police in Turkey are believed to be by Picasso. "Police and cultural officials speculate that the works were plundered 10 years ago from the palaces and museums of Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion that led to the Persian Gulf war." But others believe the art is fake. New York Times 10/10/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

Monday October 9

  • MELBOURNE'S NEW ART MUSEUM: The about-to-open Melbourne Art Museum, with its sleek contemporary architecture, is a bit of a shock at first encounter. "Sitting alongside the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building, with its majestic Florentine-inspired cupola, the new building will be viewed as an extreme contrast of what museums have been and where they are going. The Age (Melbourne) 10/09/00

  • FRENCH FEAR SCARY AUCTION FUTURE: French art auctioneers have had the French art market to themselves for 450 years. But that monopoly is due to be phased out after British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened with the French government. Now the French auctioneers are fretting over the future. The Telegraph (London) 10/09/00

  • COLLECTION BY COURT ORDER: Ontario's McMichael Gallery is about to be forced to return control of its collection over to the original founders. The Ontario government is convinced that the gallery has lost its way from its original mission. But what would the Group of Seven - the artists whose work forms the core of the collection - think of all this intervention? Not much, thinks one art historian. The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/09/00 

Sunday October 8

  • A PLAN FOR BUILDINGS THAT MATTER: British Prime Minister Tony Blair called a meeting last week to talk turkey about English architecture. By moving design center stage, he was making the "implicit promise of a new generation of social security offices, barracks, embassies and primary schools that would make Britain a byword for great architecture. It would, so Blair and his advisers blithely promised, have the effect not just of producing good buildings, but also of saving money and producing a healthier, happier society." The Observer 10/08/00

  • THE TATE'S TROUBLED BRIT: The Tate Britain museums has not been having a good year. Despite a handsome remodel, the Brit has been thoroughly overshadowed by the Tate Modern. Attendance has been spotty, and now comes word that new Tate Britain galleries at Millbank won't be ready for another year, after a basement flood last spring slowed construction. London Evening Standard 10/08/00 

  • THEMATICALLY SPEAKING... Earlier this year the Tate (Modern and Britain) arranged the artwork in their galleries thematically rather than in the more traditional chronological order. Curators and critics have been debating the trend of showing art this way, even as more museums adopt the idea. Does it increase understanding or muddy the conversation? The Telegraph (London) 10/08/00

Friday October 6

  • MOMA'S POST-MODERNIST AGENDA? The final installment of the Museum of Modern Art's reimagining art of the 20th Century has opened. "It brings to completion a project very dear to the hearts and minds of the museum’s current curatorial cadre: the de-aestheticization of the museum’s policies and programs. Aesthetic judgments have now been abandoned in favor of sociological classification at MoMA, and to assist in this transformation the museum has established a department of Writing Services, which may or may not account for the unfortunate Open Ends title itself, already a subject of much ribald humor." New York Observer 10/04/00
  • CHRISTIE'S/SOTHEBY'S DEAL PUT ON HOLD: A judge puts a hold on the $512 million settlement reached late last month by the boards of both Christie's and Sotheby's, saying that not all the plaintiffs have had a chance to sign off on the agreement. CNN 10/05/00
  • RESTORING CALCUTTA: The Calcutta government has asked the British to help restore Calcutta's British colonial architecture. "The Marxist government sees the conservation-led regeneration of the city’s neglected colonial past as part of a larger scheme for social and economic revival by promoting it as a business and tourist attraction. It feels the need to alter the city’s image from what Kipling described as the 'city of dreadful night' — summoning up the Black Hole and the slums where Mother Teresa worked—to 'The gifted city', as it will be promoted, emphasising its rich cultural and architectural traditions." The Art Newspaper 10/06/00
  • PRECIOUS SALES: Just what can explain the popularity of Jeff Koons? "Koons has had an impressive run at auction. Starting in November 1999, records for Koons weren't just set, they were obliterated. Several of his exquisitely crafted porcelain sculptures came up and easily cruised through the million-dollar barrier. Suddenly, Jeff Koons prices were in Andy Warhol territory." Who's buying this stuff? 10/05/00

Thursday October 5

  • OPEN SECRETS: The U.S. and Russia reached a breakthrough agreement Wednesday at an international conference on the restitution of Holocaust-era art to open their archives to help recover Nazi-looted treasures. Access to Russian archives has been ofcrucial concern to Jewish groups pressing for restitution. Yahoo! News (Reuters) 10/04/00
  • FOR HER EYES ONLY: Britain's Royal Collection of artwork, housed among the country's various royal palaces, will go on view to the public in new galleries in Edinburgh and at Buckingham Palace over the next two years. But why isn't the impressive collection (including the world's most significant archive of drawings by Leonardo) on permanent, accessible display? "The only way the Queen can do justice to the Royal Collection is to give it to us." The Guardian (London) 10/05/00
  • ANDY AND THE AYATOLLAH: "Since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, a priceless collection of modern art, bought by the Shah of Iran's wife and ranging from Picasso and Van Gogh to Bacon and Pollock, has been lost to the viewing world, buried in the vaults of a museum in Teheran. But as the Iranian government has cautiously begun the process of liberalisation during the past two years, some of the paintings have gone on display. The response has been extraordinary, and some of the images produced by the crowds even more extraordinary: women in chadors gazing intently at Andy Warhol's Marilyn and brown-robed mullahs appraising a Roy Lichtenstein." The Telegraph (London) 10/05/00
  • ARTIST ON THE ATTACK: The Melbourne Art Fair got underway this week amid well-publicized criticism by Chilean painter Juan Davila that the Australian art world is "ruthlessly mercantile" and expresses a "bankrupt cultural scenario." "His comments were intended to highlight the 'serfdom' to which artists were reduced in the art market because their dealers took 40 to 50 percent of the sale of a painting." The Age (Melbourne) 10/05/00
  • BEAGLE INVASION: Much like the fiberglass cow craze that swept other cities earlier this year, downtown St. Paul, Minnesota has been overrun by 101 statues of Snoopy which were commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of St. Paul native Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" strip. NPR 10/05/00 [Real audio file]
  • KID'S PLAY: Children's museums are on the increase. "The Association of Youth Museums (AYM) reports that 100 new children's museums are in the planning phase, eager to join the approximately 200 that attracted more than 32 million visitors last year." Christian Science Monitor 10/04/00
  • IMAGINE THIS: The world's first John Lennon Museum opens this week, and it's not in Liverpool, London, or New York. It's in a Japanese town 30 km north of Tokyo. Why there? "Could have something to do with money. Construction company Taisei Corp. reached an agreement with Yoko Ono last year to build the museum on two floors of the spanking-new Saitama Super Arena." Daily Yomiuri (Japan) 10/05/00
  • NEW SAN JOSE MUSEUM DIRECTOR: The San Jose Museum of Art has named Daniel T. Keegan as its new director. "Keegan, 51, comes to the San Jose museum from the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., after three years as director there." San Francisco Chronicle 10/05/00

Wednesday October 4

  • SIZE MATTERS: The opening of Tate Modern has coincided with a sudden fever in the art world for colossal work. Damien Hirst, Mona Hatoum, Jeff Koons, and now Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz all work in a size and distorted scale that dwarfs everything around them. "One day this museum will have to face the implications of its own architecture. Bigness is an aesthetic value, and as the popularity of Tate Modern demonstrates, we all like to feel small sometimes." The Guardian (London) 10/04/00
  • THE V&A's PROBLEMS: London's Victoria and Albert Museum is in disarray. Attendance is down, raising money is tough, and the museum's leadership is feuding amongst themselves. "There is a feeling among some of the trustees that the V&A doesn’t know where it is going. Having a director and chairman at odds only adds to the problems, and decisions on many key issues are now being postponed." The Art Newspaper 10/03/00
  • A MIXED YEAR IN CANBERRA: Canberra's National Gallery has had a mized year. First, it canceled the tour stop of the controversial "Sensation" show when it got too hot in Brooklyn. Then the museum's controversial curator of Australian art resigned after less than a year on the job. On the other hand, attendance is up 50 percent, and the museum's director is upbeat. The Age (Melbourne) 10/04/00

Tuesday October 3

  • BOARD MEMBERS TURN BACK SALARIES: In August, supporters of Dallas's Kimbell Museum were surprised to find out that two of the museum's directors were receiving salaries of $500,000 a year for services that were traditionally considered voluntary. Now the salaries will be discontinued. "After careful consideration, we have decided that it is no longer in the best interest of the Kimbell Art Foundation and the Kimbell Art Museum for Ben and me to receive compensation for the work we perform for the foundation and the museum." Dallas Morning News 10/03/00
  • WHAT BECOMES AN ART DEALER? New York art dealer Larry Gagosian is "not a discoverer of artists, but rather a cultivator of those on the rise and a seducer of collectors. It is not all about the big deal, he says. It's fun to sell a big painting, it's also profitable, I won't deny that, and I spend a lot of time and energy doing that. But my relationship with the artist is probably the most rewarding, the most difficult part of my profession." The Telegraph (London) 10/03/00
  • ANCIENT CITY SAVED: In the past three months in Turkey, the ancient city of Zeugma, "a key transit point across the Euphrates River believed to have been more than three times the size of the Roman city of Pompeii", was threatened by flooding. A team of 250 international archeologists and other specialists fought to rescue elaborate mosaics and other ancient Greek and Roman remains. The Globe and Mail (AP) (Toronto) 10/03/00
  • CHEAP BUT GOOD LOOKING: Who says that buildings that don't cost a lot have to be architecturally uninteresting? "Samuel Mockbee creates homes for the poor that are cheap, practical - and unconventionally beautiful. 'Architecture is a social art. It has to function in an ethical, moral way to help people'." Time Magazine 10/02/00
  • I'LL TRADE YOU TWO HOCKNEYS FOR A BASQUIAT: Artist trading cards are a growing phenomenon internationally. The cards are traded like Pokemon or baseball cards, but feature different artists. "Like the Dada movement of the early 20th century, trading cards are a way of breaking down the hierarchy of the art world. CBC 10/02/00
  • A NEW KIND OF ART CONSORTIUM: Seattle art dealer Linda Farris closed up her gallery a few years ago and took a trip. When she came back she re-invented, putting together a group of Seattle tech high-rollers in an art consortium. Farris finds the on-the-edge international artwork, the group shares it amongst themselves. And after a few goes on public display and the members of the group consider giving it to a museum. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 10/03/00
  • MELBOURNE ART BIENNIAL OPENS: Sixy-eight galleries, 800 Australian and international artists and 20,000 people expected for this year's Melbourne Biennial Art Fair. The Age (Melbourne) 10/03/00

Monday October 2

  • MASTER FORGER SENTENCED: Last week, after a remarkable trial a French judge sentenced a man called by French police "the most sophisticated and prolific master-forger in the history of European art" to one year in prison. "The extraordinary progress of the 57-year-old Geert Jan Jansen from the School of Fine Art in Amsterdam to a small-town courtroom 50 miles from Paris, is a story of two false names, seven fake bank accounts and up to 1,500 fake works of art." The Age (Telegraph) (Melbourne) 10/02/00
  • EATEN ALIVE: Floods and water aren't the only menace to Venice's art. The woodworm has struck in a serious way. "The nuisance, attributed to warm, humid weather, is devouring not only ancient books and precious paintings but also the beams and panels of some of the city's most beautiful churches, local officials said yesterday." The Times (London) 10/02/00
  • THE POLITICS OF PROTEST ART: "Much as most people in the art world are loath to admit it, their activities are strongly influenced by the state of the economy. In boom times, there tends to be a revival of painting and other decorative media, and a proliferation of vacuous or ideologically rebarbative objects meant to hang or sit in the living rooms of patrons. All large exhibitions - and even the rearrangement of works in public collections - now require sponsors, which means that art that is not attractive to sponsors is rarely seen." New Statesman 10/02/00
  • NEW TWIST ON THE OLD: "Many classical architects give the impression that the world stopped in 1830, or that it should have done. So the rotunda that Lord Sainsbury has just completed at his home at Preston Candover in Hampshire is something of a surprise." The Telegraph (London) 10/02/00
  • CLICKS AND MORTAR ART: Online art auctions are making a play for a piece of lucrative business. "What’s for sale online? You can find everything from landscape paintings by little known contemporary artists for $1,000 or less, to a $50,000 Tiffany lamp or a $3.5 million oil painting by French painter Maurice De Vlaminck." MSNBC 10/01/00
  • CHEESEY ART SCAM: Three mobsters planning to pass off fake Picassos and Chagalls were caught be police. "Prosecutors said the defendants planned to sell the fakes through an upscale Manhattan gallery for $32 million. Federal agents, using wiretaps and an informant, disrupted the alleged scheme and no paintings were sold." CNN 09/30/00

Sunday October 1

  • JACKSON POLLOCK, ARTIST: Most movies about artists are high on the corn factor, with few capturing the sense of the person or the understanding of their work. Ed Harris' new movie of Jackson Pollock is different. "What we're witnessing isn't a succession of exploding cars, but an utterly convincing release of pure feeling deployed with the concentration and discipline of a natural athlete executing an unparalleled feat after years of preparation. There's also an added element of magic, of conjuring, as something emerges out of nothing, and the blank canvas at Pollock's feet is transformed into a thickening, swirling, emotionally charged tangle of color." New York Times 09/30/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • BUT IT'S OUR MUSEUM: Daniel Terra's jingoistic promotion of American art was difficult to take. And the reputation of his small museum of American art suffered in the museum world for his antics and boasts. But now that his widow wants to take the museum out of town (Chicagoans don't appreciate it enough, she says) a feeling of community pride wells up in those who want it to stay. Chicago Tribune 10/01/00
  • NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET: It's fashion week in London. "Fashion, the cuckoo of popular culture, has been using an assortment of modern galleries and London museums as venues for the drunken wastages of resources that are known as fashion launches. A few artists have gone to some of these parties. This is all the evidence it takes for a shower of journalistic Sloane-brains to put one and one together, and arrive at three. But art and fashion are not growing closer together." Sunday Times (London) 10/01/00