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VISUAL ARTS - November 1999

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  • BRITISH MUSEUM ACCUSED OF COVER-UP: A new report published yesterday accuses the British Museum of severely damaging the Elgin Marbles 60 years ago in an ill-advised cleaning, then covering up the incident. Toronto Globe and Mail 11/30/99
  • TOPPING THE YBA: Young British Artists might have caused a sensation in Brooklyn, but on the eve of this year's Turner Prize announcement, signs that the YBA's have been absorbed into the wider London art world. New York Times 11/30/99 (one time registration required) 
  • HANDS ON REMBRANDT: Simon Schama's new Rembrandt book works to make its subject come alive with every brush stroke. Boston Globe 11/30/99
  • CANCELLATION SENSATION: Australia's National Gallery of Art cancels planned visit of the infamous "Sensation" show. Sydney Morning Herald 11/29/99 
  • TRADING WITH THE ENEMY DEPARTMENT: As World War II was winding down, the British tried to figure out what to do with the German-owned art it had confiscated. Return it to its rightful owners? Uh-uh - it was sold at auction. London Telegraph 11/29/99
  • RECONSTRUCTION: Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi reopened this weekend after repairs from 1997 earthquake. London Telegraph 11/29/99
  • THE PROBLEM WITH NET ART: Just where do you hang it? Store it? Look at it? Wired 11/29/99
  • THAT THEATRICAL QUALITY: A trap for the imagination - remembering installation art. New York Times 11/28/99 (one time registration required)  
  • RETHINKING MODERN ART: Shocking developments at the Museum of Modern Art - a new way at looking at art of (nearly) our time. Dallas Morning News 11/28/99
  • OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE: Legendary dealer Max Protech reflects on a career of representing architects. "I cannot imagine being interested in art and not interested in architecture, and vice versa," he says. Architecture Magazine 11/26/99 
  • DIGITAL BIENNIAL: For the first time, the Whitney Museum plans to include digital artists in its Biennial, scheduled for next year. New York Times 11/25/99 (one time registration required)
  • BOUGHTA-BOTICELLI: They were getting the packing crates ready to ship 15 million Boticelli from the UK to Fort Worth's Kimbell Museum. At the last minute the director of the Scottish National Gallery managed to put the money together and... The Guardian 11/25/99
  • SCAFFOLDING AND GREY PLASTIC SHEETING EVERYWHERE: Italy is cleaning up its architecture and monuments for the millennium. Too bad someone can't stop the cars and industrial pollution that got them dirty in the first place. 11/25/99
  • WHEN APES MAKE ART: Observing apes paint can tell us something about the human impulse to make art. Chronicle of Higher Education 11/99
  • BUYING PICASSOS ONLINE: But how can you tell if it's a fake? Wired 11/23/99
  • FROM ICON TO DIRTY WORD (AND BACK?): Norman Rockwell is hot again. New show tours blue-chip museums. And now a generous TV documentary reappraisal of Rockwell's stature -- Abstract Expressionism be damned. San Francisco Chronicle 11/24/99
  • RUN BY 17 PEOPLE?: Debate over Turner Prize has some wondering if the group making decisions about British contemporary art is too small. Has this small coterie dictating contemporary taste lost touch? London Sunday Times 11/21/99 
  • ABSTRACT FAILURE: At Toronto auction last week, the Emily Carrs went flying out the door. The more abstract contemporary work failed to sell. "The value of good art is supposed to soar as time goes by, but with work by a contemporary Canadian artist, it's more like buying a car: You're likely to lose as soon as you take it home." Toronto Globe and Mail 11/22/99
  • CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE: In the wake of the Brooklyn Museum dustup, it behooves we who write about contemporary art for a living to ask ourselves: What is it that holds contemporary art back from the popularity it so richly deserves? Toronto Globe and Mail 11/22/99
  • FORGET THOSE SNOOTY GALLERIES: Buying art online is starting to take off. "We're seeing a lot of new buyers who may be intimidated by the traditional art world environment," says one online dealer. Wired 11/22/99
  • FAKE O'KEEFFES: Twenty-eight paintings in a Kansas City Museum may be frauds. CBC 11/20/00
  • FOURTEEN MODELS/THREE DIFFERENT SCHEMES: And it still wasn't enough to satisfy them. Architects Herzog & de Meuron of Basel, Switzerland (architects for the new Tate Modern in London), have quit the $60 million University of Texas Blanton Museum of Art project in Austin. Trustees insisted on dictating traditional design. Dallas Morning News 11/19/99
  • SAY HIGH TO HOUSTON: High Museum director Ned Rifkin will leave Atlanta to direct Houston's Menil Collection. Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11/19/99
  • "THE WORLD'S BIGGEST GRADUATE STUDENT SHOW": In "theatricalizing Bruce Nauman's already devastatingly theatrical take on late 20th century social life" artists in Brooklyn Museum's "Sensation" show have produced only an unassimilated pastiche. Christopher Knight reviews it. 
    Los Angeles Times 11/19/99
  • MORE MOVEMENT AT THE MFA: Shakeups continue at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Wednesday, longtime star curator Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. abruptly resigned. "I have now worked long enough in this job, and have experienced enough of the restructured `one museum' that is the MFA today, that in good faith I cannot continue," he writes. Boston Globe 11/18/99
  • "ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FINDS IN YEARS": Cezanne stolen 21 years ago has been recovered in a police sweep. Prosecution of the thieves is said to be unlikely. The painting will be sold at auction in London - said to be "one of the most important paintings offered in London this decade. It was completed when Cezanne was at the peak of his powers." BBC 11/18/99
  • EVEN AT THESE PRICES, A BARGAIN: Latest art auction scrum "a blast" to watch. 11/18/99
         AND: LATEST AUCTION CONFIRMS BOOM: Wednesday's contemporary sale "felt more solid" than the night before.
    New York Times 11/18/99 (one-time registration required)
         PREVIOUSLY: "LIKE SPOILED CHILDREN": Bids at the Christie auction of contemporary art Tuesday night set record prices for 18 artists from Jeff Koons to Damien Hirst. Prices were so high and so reckless they were "unhealthy." New York Times 11/17/99 (one-time registration required)
    AND: Click here for AJ's fall auction stories archives
  • WHIFF OF COLOGNE: Three hundred dealers/70,000 people sniff out the latest in contemporary art at the Cologne Art Fair, Europe's biggest new-art bazaar. Financial Times 11/17/99
  • OUT OF AFRICA: Smithsonian, undergoing $100 million renovation, has difficulty finding funds for large new gallery on African culture, set to open next month. Washington Post 11/17/99
  • COURTING CONTROVERSY - NOT: Reforms in public art since "Tilted Arc" have improved process, blandized art. The Nation 11/29/99
  • MAKE NICE SUBVERSIVES: Installation art at Pittsburgh's Carnegie International - "the thrill is always finite, comprehensible and either fun or morally uplifting, digestible and quickly gone." New York Times 11/17/99 (one-time registration required)
  • GEHRY AT MIT: A "drunken barn dance as it might be represented in a Disney cartoon." That's what Frank Gehry's proposed computer center for MIT strikes one observer. Boston Globe 11/16/99
  • OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE LARGER THAN THEY APPEAR: Disappointing Diego Rivera retrospective fails to show range, sweep of artist's work. Dallas Morning News 11/14/99
  • GET A LIFE: TV addict spent years of commercial breaks drawing intricate, architecturally accurate blueprints of TV sitcom buildings. Discovered by LA art dealer, he became toast of West Coast art scene. National Post (Canada) 11/15/99
  • DUMMIES FOR ART: Say it loud. Say it proud. New "Art For Dummies" book works to appeal to those happy to proclaim their educational deficiencies. 
    Globe and Mail 11/13/99 
  • STRONG BUT THIN: Last week's auctions at Sotheby's produced sales of $144 million, including 5 paintings which went for more than $10 apiece. Here's a scorecard. 11/12/99
    And: The story behind the star - Picasso's Femme Assise dans un Jardin (painted in 1938), goes for $49.5 million. 11/12/99
  • THE OUT-OF-TOWN ARCHITECT: Let's put this puppy to bed once and for all. Chicago Tribune 11/14/99
  • ROCKWELL ROCKS: What does it say about us and our point in art history that Norman Rockwell is getting some positive critical attention? The Idler 11/12/99
  • PILFERED PAINTINGS PRODUCED: Twenty-one years ago thieves broke into a San Francisco museum and made off with four paintings - including one thought to have been painted by Rembrandt. Now three of the works have mysteriously turned up. New York Times 11/12/99 (Registration required for access)
  • MIDLIST LIVES: The top of the art market auctions has bloomed. But it's the middle range where the really interesting action is. 11/12/99 
  • ART OF THE GAME: When artists invade construction of sports stadiums, the "public" in public art is challenged. New stadia are working out complicated relationships with public artists. 11/11/99 
  • GOING ONCE...Antique dealers and auction houses have always had a complicated relationship. Now, one of London's grandest names in Oriental art decides to sell off its Japanese collection - at auction. Financial Times 11/12/99 
  • NOT POP ART: But popular culture - the raw, vulgar, greasily commercialized stuff disdained by artistic traditionalists and modernists alike. LA curator puts pop into traditional art spaces. His specialty is not public art, not political or gender-driven art, not multicultural art -- often, it's not even contemporary art -- but pop culture and its "artifacts" as art. New Times LA 11/12/99
  • ART SINCE THE WALL: A new New York show takes a look at visual art in Berlin in the decade since the wall fell. And there's not a painting in sight. New York Times 11/12/99 (Moved to paid archives)
  • FINALISTS for this year's Turner Prize are announced in London. Winner to be announced November 30. 11/21/99
  • NEW MUSEUM: To show Austrian and German fine and decorative art from first half of the 20th Century. Has prestigious 5th Ave. New York address and blue-chip founders. New York Times 11/12/99 (Moved to paid archives)
  • SOMETHING ABOUT MARY: In the past few months in South Central Los Angeles someone has been defacing community murals depicting the Virgen de Guadalupe. Art critics? fanatics? vandals? LA Weekly 11/12/99
  • NOT BAD FOR A DAY'S WORK: Picasso's "Nude on a Black Armchair," which he painted in one day, sold at auction for $45 million in New York. The art market roars back to life. New York Times 11/10/99 (Registration required for access)
  • FALLING MARBLE: Last week a big section of marble fell from the ceiling of the Medici Chapel in Florence. The chapel's stone has eroded and the structure has now been closed. The Italian press calls it a disaster. 11/9/99
  • A MONET FOR $22.5 MILLION: Latest round of art auctions begins in New York. New York Times 11/9/99 (registration required for access)
  • ANOTHER NAZI ART CLAIM: Two sisters in North Carolina make claim on a 16th Century Madonna. CBC 11/9/99 
  • NEW JEWISH MUSEUM opens in Berlin, ten years after the wall comes down. It's "one of the city's most striking new structures." A talk with the architect Daniel Libeskind. CBC 11/9/99

  • THE NEW ENGLISH ART CLUB: "Preponderantly representational, and hung more to practical than to museum standards," but it offers more artists the opportunity to show, and the public a wider range of work to see and buy, than any other exhibiting venue in Britain. 
    Financial Times 11/9/99

  • IN HIS IMAGINATION, Paul Mellon - son of the founder of the National Gallery in DC - hung out with painters. In real life he collected paintings. Now a "modest show" of some of his collection in the museum's East Wing, which he commissioned. 
    Washington Post 11/9/99

  • THE BLOOMSBURY BUNCH: Snobs with the morals of a chimpanzee. They painted like chimpanzees and poisoned the good name of modernism for the entire century. The Tate does a show. London Sunday Times 11/7/99

  • ADDING ON: A row over a proposed Michael Graves-designed addition to the WPA-built Arts Council of Princeton. Sometimes a building's not just a building. New York Times 11/8/99 (registration required for access)

  • E-CURIOUS: The internet has completely changed the world of collecting. From antiques to baseball cards, the good stuff is increasingly found not in the shops but online. Hartford Courant 11/6/99

  • REWRITING THE RULES: Computer design is allowing forward-thinking architects the freedom to redefine their craft. London Telegraph 11/8/99

  • BETWEEN NAKED AND NUDE: Idealism and reality blur in contemporary explorations of the unclothed body. 11/4/99

  • BEHIND THE PRITZKER: Carnegie International celebrates 20 years of architecture's Nobel. 
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 11/4/99

  • AWKWARD EQUINE: US entrepreneur donates bronze "Da Vinci" horse to Milan. City relegates it to obscure location at race track. The reasons are not so obscure. New York Times 11/4/99 (registration required for access)

  • HOPE ALL THOSE T's ARE CROSSED: New York City attorneys say they'll closely examine Brooklyn Museum's funding arrangements with sponsors of controversial "Sensations" show. Meanwhile, more support for museum from city arts institutions. 
    New York Times 11/4/99
    (registration required for access)

  • TIME TO SELL: The stock market's booming, the economy's good. Discretionary art sellers wonder if now's a good time to sell. Next week some $4 million-worth of art goes up for sale in New York's fall art auctions. Observers ponder return of 80s art boom. 
    New York Times 11/4/99 (registration required for access)

  • READER RESPONDS: taking on Kenneth Baker and "pretentious" art reviews in the newspaper. "Just because we disagree, doesn't mean we're Velvet Elvis lovers." 
    San Francisco Chronicle 11/3/99

  • DEFENDING THE BROOKLYN: Judge's ruling in favor of museum Monday wasn't a surprise, but museums gave a sigh of relief anyway. Museum went too far with private collectors, but that's just the way things are. 
    New York Times 11/3/99 (registration required for access)
         AND: New York mayor attacks judge on ruling. NYT 11/3/99

  • GIANT 12th-CENTURY FRESCO measuring 500 square meters is discovered in a church near Rome's Coliseum. 11/1/99 

  • JUDGE TO GIULIANI: Hands off the Brooklyn Museum. "There is no federal constitutional issue more grave than the effort by government officials to censor works of expression and to threaten the vitality of a major cultural institution as punishment for failing to abide by governmental demands for orthodoxy." Giuliani calls decision "knee-jerk." New York Times 11/2/99 (registration required for access)
         AND: Toronto Globe and Mail story,
     Washington Post story
         PREVIOUSLY: FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS New York City to resume funding of Brooklyn Museum in ruling delivered Monday morning. 
    CBC 11/1/99

  • HERMITAGE MUSEUM announces plans to open a branch in London. Here's how the collaboration happened. 
    London Telegraph 11/1/99
         AND: New York Times account. (registration required for access)