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Ten days after its reopening, the Pompidou Centre in Paris was closed on Jan. 10 by a strike by its employees over working conditions and pay. Workers walked out after the museum failed to give salary increases to a third of the museum's 900 employees. The strike resulted in the cancellation of a scheduled Jan. 11 visit by French president Jacques Chirac and 200 international dignitaries for the opening of an exhibition entitled "Time Quickly." Museum officials said that only 10 percent of the employees supported the strike and that they were holding others as hostages. Employees of the Pompidou Centre have frequently closed the museum with walkouts and other job actions. The first took place in 1978 just before the opening of a Dalí exhibition, and strikes by cleaning staff closed the Center in 1982 and again in 1989.

-- Adrian Darmon

Remember Billy Beer, with President Jimmy Carter's sibling on its label? Well, forget about it -- Beck's Beer has got a Tracy Emin label, in which the bad girl gives the St. Pauli Girl a run for her money with a pic of the naked artist taking a bath (not unlike her controversial ad in Artforum last year). Another Beck's label designer is Hugo Boss award winner Douglas Gordon. Gordon's label features a series of hands signaling "drink me" in sign language. Previous labels have been designed by artists such as Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Gilbert & George, David Hammons and Tony Oursler. The limited edition labels have become highly collectible, with some bottles going for over £500, according to Art and Auction.

What's the going rate for an art museum director? The Boston Herald reports that ceo salaries at nonprofits in 1998 (the most recent year that IRS tax forms were available for public review) include:
  • Malcolm Rogers, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, $392,852.
  • Dan Monroe, executive director of the Peabody Essex Museum, $195,818.
  • Anne Hawley, director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, $159,868. Since 1993 she is the only woman to place in the top 10.
  • James Welu, director of the Worcester Art Museum, $139,651.
  • Paul Master-Karnik, director of the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, $113,300.
  • The newspaper includes two New York salaries for comparison purposes: Nathan Leventhal, president of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts earned $525,247 and Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim Museum earned $395,617.

    The 21st century has begun in the London art world with an enigma regarding the performance duo Gilbert and George. On Jan. 10, the pair sent the London Times a fax reading, "Please take note that, as from this date, Gilbert and George are no longer represented by Anthony D'Offay Gallery." The gallery -- which represented the artists for the last 20 years -- had an equally inscrutable response, saying that its "long association with the artists remains a lasting source of pride." Stay tuned.

    Ten pieces of Native American pottery have been stolen from San Diego's Museum of Man in Balboa Park just days before the scheduled opening of the exhibition in which the works were to be featured. Thieves broke into the museum Jan. 10 at 2:30 a.m. and took pottery by Maria Martinez and relatives of the Hopi potter Nampeyo, ignoring items of greater value, leading museum officials to speculate that the thieves were looking for specific works. "The Magic of Mata Ortiz," featuring 250 pieces by Martinez, Nampeyo, Juan Quezada and potters influenced by them, opens to the public Jan. 16.

    Some of the world's leading artists have been commissioned to reinterpret two dozen of Britain's National Gallery's Old Masters for an upcoming show surveying the history of European art up to 1900. The line-up includes Frank Auerbach, Balthus, Louise Bourgeois, Sir Anthony Caro, Patrick Caulfield, Francesco Clemente, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Howard Hodgkin, Jasper Johns, Anselm Keifer, R.B. Kitaj, Leon Kossoff, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Paula Rego, Anthony Tàpies, Cy Twombly and Bill Viola. A number of yBas were invited to be in the show but the London Telegraph reports that they all declined. "Encounters: New Art From Old" runs June 14-Sept. 17, 2000.

    The Whitney Museum has hired two new curators: Christiane Paul, editor and publisher of Intelligent Agent becomes adjunct curator of new media arts and Michael Hays, professor of architectural theory at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, becomes adjunct curator of architecture. The position of curator of contemporary art remains vacant.

    Mark Rosenthal joins Christie's auction house as senior vice president and an international director for 19th- and 20th-century art. Rosenthal has been Guggenheim Museum adjunct curator of 20th-century art since 1996, where he organized "Abstraction in the 20th Century: Total Risk, Freedom, Discipline." He also co-curated the 1998 Mark Rothko retrospective at the Whitney Museum.

    Police questioned pub owner Nigel Ashby about what appeared to be Paul Cézanne's Auver-Sur-Oise, stolen from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on New Year's Eve, hanging in the Malt Shovel tavern in Coventry. The work in question turned out to be Ashby's own version of the masterpiece, accompanied by a sign reading "One previous careless owner. No reserve. All reasonable offers considered." The London Telegraph quotes Ashby as saying, "A chimpanzee could paint that! So I set about painting my own version."

    A sequel to Sister Wendy Beckett's popular series, "Sister Wendy's Story of Painting," will concentrate on six major museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Sister Wendy's American Collection" will run on PBS in spring 2001.

    A forthcoming movie called Burnt Sienna promises to give new meaning to the term "Action Painter." Pierce Brosnan is producing the new flick, in which he plays an artist living in Mexico who gets caught up in an international arms smuggling operation. Brosnan, who played an art aficionado in the Thomas Crown Affair, is reportedly an avid amateur painter. Burnt Sienna is based on the book by David Morrell, who also wrote First Blood, the original Rambo tale.

    Marcantonio Vilaça, 37, owner of one of São Paulo's best galleries, Galería Camargo Vilaça, suffered a stroke and died in his sleep at his family's home in Recife, Brazil, on Jan. 1. Vilaça was well known for his indefatigable dedication to promoting Brazilian arts abroad.