last week's stories
newsletter sign up
VISUAL ARTS - December 1999

Arts Journal Home Page
PublishingTheatreVisual ArtsArts IssuesPeople

common threadsarts watchletters
issues archive

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

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

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

April 00

March 00
Feb 00
Jan 00

Dec 99
Nov 99
Oct 99
Sept 99

yesterday's storiesArts BeatSearchContact Us

News Service Home`ServicesDigest SamplesHeadline Samples








  • WHERE WE'VE BEEN, WHERE WE'RE GOING: A group of prominent British artists gets together to talk with the Guardian about the state of the arts. London Telegraph 12/31/99
  • BETWEEN GENIUS AND CONTEXT: Simon Schama talks about his new Rembrandt book. The Art Newspaper 12/31/99
  • END OF THE WORLD - A POPULAR THEME: Apocalypse is an idea that grabs ahold of our imagination. London Telegraph 12/31/99 
    • Previously: DOOMSDAYISM: British Museum looks at a millennium of apocalypse and art. New York Times 12/30/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • VIRTUALLY REAL: In Seattle, Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas is creating a new form of library for the information age, attempting to create a communal center for learning that hovers somewhere between the virtual and the real city. Los Angeles Times 12/31/99 
  • VIRTUAL DRAIN: Young architects are leaving the built real world to join the cyber landscape. "The demand for architects can only grow as the graphical sense of place explored by computer games is used to organize information on CD-ROMs and Internet sites." Architecture Magazine 12/99
  • REVOLUTIONARY ZEAL: Maybe technology has led to some self-indulgence in modern architecture. But: "historians will surely draw parallels between the computer-driven proliferation of architectural forms at the end of the millennium, and the formal cornucopia that followed the advent of representational tools such as perspective during the Renaissance and projective geometry during the baroque era." Architecture Magazines 12/29/99
  • MUSEUM OF BAD ART: How to explain the proliferation of internet sites dedicated to the dissemination of bad art? National Post (Canada) 12/29/99 
  • DEFINITELY WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: Twenty-five years after Vermeer's "Guitar Player" was stolen from London's Kenwood House, the mystery of its theft and mysterious return still remains unresolved. London Evening Standard 12/28/99
  • YOUR AD HERE: "With rare exceptions - prisons, churches, Bilbao - buildings no longer say very much to most people." But advertising - billboards, signs - advertising grabs the imagination. "One could cast this as a battle for citizens' hearts and minds, but for a long time now bright lights have been winning all hearts, hands down." Architecture Magazine 12/99
  • APPLY YOURSELF: The applied arts are thriving in Kyrgyzstan, when traditional crafts are incorporating new Western ideas. New York Times 12/28/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • BEST KEPT SECRET IN BRITISH ART: That's how reclusive 80-year-old artist Prunella Clough was described. Earlier this year she won the prestigious £30,000 Jerwood Prize for Painting, and Clough described it as a reward "for a lifetime's grafting." True to her nature, she promptly gave the money away to struggling artists. She died Sunday. BBC 12/28/99
  • HIDDEN TREASURE: University of Sydney collection is one of the best in Australia, rich in the history of Australian art. Yet, most of its 2,500 pieces of art are hidden away or distributed among buildings the public never gets to see. Is this any way to treat a national treasure? Sydney Morning Herald 12/28/99
  • EVERLASTING EXPRESSION: French artists fuel a new craze in artistic tombstones - they're not just granite anymore. (Reuters) Chicago Tribune 12/27/99
  • ENOUGH FANCY PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE: On January 20 the British culture secretary will launch what's claimed to be the biggest program of museum and gallery openings in British history. Over £400m has been invested in creating new cultural venues, designed by some of Europe's best architects. "These new cultural attractions," says the press release, "will transform the country and confirm London's position as the leading cultural capital of the world." Okay, but how about some housing? The Guardian 12/27/99
  • VENI VENICE: The Biennale may have been a bust, but Venice does matter in the world of art. "Renaissance Venice and the North" is one of those great exhibitions that you are lucky to see once or twice a decade, if you travel frequently. San Francisco Examiner 12/27/99
  • CROSSFIRE: Berlin Gallery - modern art museum, homeless since 1998 caught in political paralysis over financing new home. Die Welt 12/27/99
  • HOLIDAY WHITE HOUSE: This season a celebration of national cultural heritage. Philadelphia Inquirer 12/24/99
  • TROUBLED TURNAROUND: When Malcolm Rogers became director of Boston's Museum of Fine Art five years ago he inherited a $4 million operating deficit. Last year the MFA had a $437,000 surplus. He helped the museum complete a $137 million capital campaign. Last year's 1.7 million visitors set an attendance record, and membership has nearly doubled in five years. Even so, his detractors are legion: "his acquisitions, his exhibition policies, everything that has to do with art is a disaster." New York Times 12/23/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • KEMPER O'KEEFFES FAKED: Twenty-eight paintings attributed to Georgia O'Keeffe in Kansas City's Kemper Museum are declared fake by a panel of experts. CBC 12/23/99
  • SMITHSONIAN SITUATION: Behind a $60 million renovation, a battle for turf between the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American Art. Washington Post 12/23/99
  • TWO FACES OF CHRISTMAS: Tale of two DC Christmas trees says a lot in decoration. Washington Post 12/23/99
  • HARDLY A VINTAGE YEAR: 1999 wasn't a great year for new architecture. But from New York to London it wasn't a stinker either. Financial Times 12/23/99
  • MISSING FRENCH MASTERPIECES DISCOVERED: "Twenty-four of the paintings and drawings which vanished from the great collection of the Rouart family, who are descendants of Edouard Manet and Berthe Morisot, have mysteriously turned up in the Swiss bank vault belonging to the Renoir expert, François Daulte, who died in April 1998." The Art Newspaper 12/23/99
  • I CAME TO BE AMAZED AND ASTOUNDED: And, let's face it, also to sneer and feel superior. But the art in London's Millennial Experience -supposedly by Britain's best and brightest - is underwhelming. The Guardian 12/23/99 
    • A REAL MESS: The Millennial Dome is a mishmash more at home in the 70s. This is looking ahead? This is visionary? "Asking clever architects to do their bit here was rather like giving children boxes of very different glitterballs and fairy lights and asking them to decorate a Christmas tree." The Guardian 12/23/99
  • POMPIDOU REOPENING: An ambitious $90 million makeover accompanied with some hard thinking about the center's future. One of Paris's top attractions, with 150 million visitors in its first 20 years, the Pompidou Center was undeniably a success. Now a rethinking of its creative spirit. New York Times 12/22/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • FUTURE OF THE FRENCH ART MARKET: On Wednesday the French National Assembly takes up the question of making auctions an ordinary commercial activity. Up to now auctions have been a privilege granted to judiciary officers. Predictably, with no rational regulated system, the art auction market has not flourished in France. 12/20/99
  • OLD MASTERS SURGE: At London art sales last week, Old Master paintings followed Impressionists with a run-up in sales prices. London Telegraph 12/20/99
  • CITY OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN: Glasgow's year-long celebration of architecture and design comes to a close. Some lessons and reflections. The Guardian 12/20/99
  • WISH LIST FOR THE ART WORLD: If Thomas Hoving could have anything... 12/20/99
  • BERLIN WALL FALL: Ten years ago, as East Germany was dissolving, a long section of the Berlin Wall was turned into a canvas for 114 artists from 21 countries. Now Berlin's famous open-air art attraction is in peril, and finding someone to bail it out financially has so far turned up empty. Die Welt (Germany) 12/19/99
  • COLLECTIBLES MARKET soars with the stock market. New York Times 12/19/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • BUILDING AS PACKAGING: "If architecture is an art - the greatest art, some have claimed - then too many buildings today look like the packing crate the art must have come in." Boston Globe 12/19/99
  • CONCERT HALL ON THE FLY: Paul Andreu is a designer of airports. But his design for an egg-shaped performing arts complex with an opera house, concert hall and two theaters will make a distinctive mark on downtown Beijing. New York Times 12/19/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • MILLENNIAL MALAISE: "Art museums haven't escaped the end-of-century urge to take things apart and sum them up. Most of the resulting shows exhaust you with good intentions, grand ambitions, murky thinking and too many things." Boston Globe 12/17/99
  • SUMMING UP THE SMITHSONIAN: Departing director of the Smithsonian reflects on his five years in charge Washington Post 12/17/99
  • GERMANY TO POST LIST of artwork it "acquired" between 1933 and 1945. Government still holds 13,000 pieces of art taken through forced sales, confiscation, theft and pillage, from Jews and the countries conquered by the Nazis. The Art Newspaper 12/17/99
  • LEAVING ONE MOMA FOR ANOTHER: Gary Garrels leaves chief curator job at SF-MOMA for curatorship of paintings and drawings at NY-MOMA. San Francisco Chronicle 12/17/99
  • THE LOUVRE opens nine sumptuous new galleries. Hartford Courant (AP) 12/16/99
  • MOMA ON TRIAL: Museum of Modern Art director lays out his museum's case on two Egon Schiele paintings looted by the Nazis. "Nobody wants to have works of art that are tainted." Toronto Globe and Mail 12/16/99
  • A MUDFLAT ON THE THAMES: London's Millennial Dome is a theme park for the masses, a jumble of architectural styles. Echoes of the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition of 1851. London Telegraph 12/16/99
  • VIRTUAL CITIES: Virtual reality technology, some of it borrowed from the military, is being used by architects for urban planning models - a new way to see cities that transcends models and blueprints. New York Times 12/16/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • ARCHITECTURE IS THE ART WE LIVE WITH: So why, in the land of the birth of the skyscraper, are the latest tall buildings so dreadful? Chicago Tribune 12/15/99
  • IT'S A BROOKLYN PROBLEM...Guggenheim Museum will do an Armani show - but museum failed to reveal the designer had pledged a $15 million gift to the museum. New York Times 12/15/99 (moved to NYT paid archives)
  • FRANCE RETURNS ART stolen by the Nazis. Toronto Globe and Mail 12/15/99
  • AFRICAN VOICES: Ambitious new African gallery opens at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. "What we were trying to show is that what Africa is, what Africa has been, and what it can become, can be told through the creative skills of the people. What Africa is has often been lost in crisis," said C. Payne Lucas, the president of Africare, a nonprofit aid organization and one of the advisers to the show. Washington Post 12/15/99 New York Times account
    • PREVIOUSLY: 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
  • LIVING ON $28,000 (AND THIS IS NEW YORK): Curatorial workers, librarians, secretaries, archivists and bookstore clerks at the Museum of Modern Art go on strike for a living wage.  New York Times 12/15/99 (moved to paid NYT archive)
  • IN CHINESE ART THERE IS NO RULEBOOK: A dozen experts meet in New York to determine whether a large painting at the Metropolitan is a rare 10th century Chinese masterpiece or a forgery cooked up just a few decades ago. "You take any great classical [Chinese] painting and call up twenty different art historians and you'd probably get twenty different opinions," says one expert, who finds the lack of consensus "embarrassing." 12/15/99
  • GARBAGE IN...: Artists tackle the problem of what to do with a giant mountain of garbage in Israel. A pond? Homes? A photovoltaic garden? Financial Times 12/15/99
  • ARTIST PAUL CADMUS: dead at 94. New York Times 12/15/99 (moved to paid NYT archive)
  • THE HAYSEED WITHIN: "Funny how the minute an ultracool architect like Frank Gehry comes to town, some folks get maniacally insecure and start up with the talk about how utterly uncool Washington is." Washington City Paper 12/16/99 
  • MISUNDERSTANDING IMPRESSIONISM: "As the dwindling of art supplies forces onto the auction scene the less conventional works that were hitherto conveniently ignored, the neat labeling we had become accustomed to becomes increasingly irrelevant." 12/14/99
  • MAKING NEW FRIENDS: The interior makeover of LA's Norton Simon Museum is aimed at cultivating the art of conversation. Christian Science Monitor 12/14/99
  • WHY ARE PEOPLE SO QUICK TO DECLARE PAINTING DEAD? A critic goes looking for evidence to the contrary and finds three shows he likes. Financial Times 12/14/99 
  • MARY BOONE ON HER ARREST FOR DISTRIBUTING LIVE AMMO IN HER GALLERY: "Honey, you don't stage 30 hours in jail as a publicity stunt -- not without hair and makeup!" New York Times 12/14/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • MOMA BUYS A VAN GOGH: Museum of Modern Art lost two Van Goghs from its collection last year. Last week bought a drawing for $8.5 million at Sotheby's. New York Times 12/14/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • GUGGENHEIM PLANS NEW MUSEUM FOR VENICE: New museum in a 17th Century customs house will be only steps away from the Guggenheim Collection already in Venice. CBC 12/13/99
  • £70 MILLION ON ART: That's how much last week's London art auctions took in, well above last year's £38 million. London Telegraph 12/13/99
  • DO CANADIANS LIKE ART? An Ontario police department decides to sell off the art in its station to buy exercise equipment. A critic wonders if this is an aberration or reflects a national attitude towards art. Toronto Globe and Mail 12/13/99
  • ART IN EXILE: Kosovar artists say living in exile is killing their work. The Observer 12/12/99
  • NOW THAT WAS A PARTY: Paris' celebration of the dawn of 1900 attracted 50 million people in seven months and helped shape the present day city. The Royal Academy's new show will look again at the state of art 100 years ago, and to look at it in the same way that contemporaries saw it at the Exposition Universelle. That is, not yet sorted, winnowed and neatly docketed by generations of art historians. London Telegraph 12/12/99
  • "EXPLAINING IN A MEANINGFUL WAY": It's been two years since the Getty opened its hilltop acropolis. The crowds have thinned a bit, the museum has acquired some astonishing pieces, and all eyes are fixed on the future. Washington Post 12/12/99
  • CLICK-AND-BUY: Not quite. It's been a good year for selling art. But selling it online hasn't exactly gotten customers' pulses racing. Still, that hasn't stopped the ambitions. Financial Times 12/10/99
  • A STROLL THROUGH THE SMITHSONIAN: Telling American history through its art is a deeply personal story. So what now should be the role of a museum of American art, asks the director of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. American Art 12/10/99
  • MARKET RESEARCH: In the old days, museum directors usually came from the ranks of academics and curators who had proven themselves amidst the collections. Now, with higher stakes and more complex business decisions to be made, the top job requires professional managers and those with the ability to market and promote. London's V&A is a case in point. Financial Times 12/9/99
  • VERSACE ART SALE: Sale of the late designer's art collection brings in $66 million in London. San Francisco Examiner 12/9/99
  • THE SHOW EVERYBODY LOVES TO HATE: Hot names to surprises - the artists who made the cut with the curatorial team choosing next March's Whitney Biennial.  New York Times 12/8/99 (one-time registration required)
  • CEZANNE SELLS FOR £18 MILLION at London auction. BBC 12/8/99
  • PITTSBURGH gets a major new Michael Graves-designed home for theater. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12/8/99
  • CENSORING MYTHOLOGY: It's as American as Huck Finn. When Seattle artist Michael Spafford added his version of the Hercules labors to the Washington state legislature's neo-baroque chamber, lawmakers were scandalized and had them covered, then removed after years of controversy. The Oregonian 12/8/99
  • CHARGES DROPPED: Earlier this fall, prominent New York art dealer Mary Boone was arrested after her gallery gave out live ammunition accompanying a show by artist Tom Sachs. Her brush with New York's legal system was a "kind of interesting adventure," she says  New York Times 12/7/99 (one-time registration required)
  • COLORING INSIDE THE LINES: Gary Hume is the UK's latest new thing, and galleries and museums are lining up for a chance at his work. But his "woeful, inadequate, flat" work leaves one reviewer perplexed as to what all the fuss is about. Financial Times 12/7/99
  • VERSACE'S ART COLLECTION to go at auction. BBC 12/7/99
  • VAN GOGHS TO PICASSOS: Last month's sky-high prices at New York art auctions are on everyone's minds going into this week's London sales. London Telegraph 12/6/99
  • ART ON TRIAL: Chinese scroll at the Metropolitan Museum is accused of being fake. Now a trial to decide. If real, the Met will own one of the most important Chinese paintings in any collection. New York Times 12/5/99 (one-time registration required)
  • O'KEEFFES AMISS: Curators at Washington's National Gallery have some serious explaining to do. Six years ago they convinced one of America's richest men to buy 28 Georgia O'Keeffe watercolors for $5.5 million. Now those curators say the paintings are worthless. Washington Post 12/3/99 
  • TURNING ON TURNER: Two English art critics post-mortem the Turner Prize. Just what do we believe art to be? BBC 12/3/99
  • CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL: The oldest regular survey of contemporary art in North America opens in Pittsburgh. This edition has work by 41 artists, billed as "emerging and established," from 22 countries. But to anyone who follows the international art scene, there are more familiar figures here than new discoveries. Toronto Globe and Mail 12/3/99
  • ILLICIT ART BOOM: Gangs are linked to art theft. ''As a rule of thumb, if there's a resurgence in the art market there will be a resurgence in the forgery market,'' a fraud squad investigator tells an Australian conference on art crime. Sydney Morning Herald 12/3/99
  • OLD IN ALL SIZES: It's antiquities month in New York - beginning with New York University professor Christopher Ratte's annual illustrated report on his excavations in Aphrodisias in western Turkey. New York Times 12/3/99 (one-time registration required)
  • MALEVICH PAINTINGS TO BE RETURNED: Harvard museum to return two Maleviches which the artist left in Berlin at his death and which belong to his heirs. Boston Globe 12/2/99
  • DUMBBELL ART: Police department in Ontario city decides to sell off artwork at the station so it can buy gym equipment. CBC 12/2/99
  • STEVE MCQUEEN WINS: Video artist beats out favorite to win this year's Turner Prize. London Telegraph 12/1/99
  • TROPHY TOWERS: Manhattan's vintage sky scrapers are changing hands for record prices. Developers who a decade ago dismissed the landmark towers as money-losers, now covet them as status symbols. And, they're investing hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade neglected buildings. Architecture Magazine 12/99
  • NO GOOD/NO BAD: Distinctions between good and bad art have melted away. Arguably there is only interesting art - which grabs our imagination - and uninteresting art - which fails to do so. "The more that art generates thought, the more interesting it becomes. The more it ignites negative feedback and debate, the more notorious and sensational it becomes, the closer it approaches entertainment." *spark-online 12/1/99
  • THE RENAISSANCE ON TV: As a subject, the Renaissance should have made great TV. Just point and shoot the art, hire someone who knows about the period to write the script, and you've hooked your audience. Yet the BBC's new six part series views like a "Travel Show" marathon. Yet again, "the BBC has demonstrated that it is incapable of delivering a serious program on the visual arts." London Telegraph 12/1/99
  • FROM ARTSPEAK TO NOW: Critic Matthew Collings' new book pierces the veil of artspeak and looks at the rituals, silliness, gossip and integrity of the art world. Salon 12/1/99