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The ambitious and well-funded millennium art event "Quiet" was shut down by the New York City Fire Department on Jan. 1, 2000. Occupying five floors in two buildings at 353 and 359 Broadway, a stone's throw from City Hall, "Quiet" was the brainchild of Pseudo founder Josh Harris -- Pseudo is a much-hyped web broadcasting network -- who worked with Brooklyn art dealer Leo Koenig on the 10-day Big Brotherish project. "Quiet" had assorted cult-like trappings, including orange and tan uniforms for the staff, an interrogation room, an orgy lounge, a transparent shower and perhaps most notably, the Capsule Hotel, 80 sleeping pods wired for sound and video. Other attractions included a banquet hall seating 100 and a "cereal bar" that served breakfast grains round the clock. It also featured artworks by scatter-sculptor Aidas Bareikas, appropriation artist Dara Birnbaum, painter Nancy Smith, installation artist Alex Arcadia and a shooting gallery devised by artist Alfredo Martinez that was armed with prop weapons. Firemen shuttered the project on New Year's Day after finding various breaches of fire-safety regulations, and alerted a SWAT team when they caught a glimpse of the shooting gallery. The police squad departed without making arrests after Martinez showed them his official NYC film permit. For a more detailed report, see the forthcoming "Gotham Dispatch" by Max Henry.

Could the former Coast Guard base on Governors Island in New York Harbor eventually be home to a new branch of the Smithsonian Institution or perhaps a Guggenheim Museum sculpture garden? The New York Times reported as much on Jan. 3, but the Gugg says the paper of record was premature and that no plans have yet been discussed. Stay tuned.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has received a $1 million grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation for "Made in California: 1900-2000," a gigantic exhibition featuring approximately 750 works of art and 350 documents. The show opens in Oct. 2000.

Calling Catherine Zeta-Jones (from Entrapment), or perhaps Rene Russo (from the Thomas Crown Affair). The brazen New Year's Eve theft of Paul Cézanne's Auvers-sur-Oise from Oxford University's Ashmolean Museum has all the earmarks of a Hollywood caper flick. Taking advantage of the noise of New Year's celebration fireworks, the unknown thief broke through the glass roof of the gallery. He (or she) then set off a smoke grenade, which obscured the view of the theft by the gallery's security cameras and also activated the fire alarm, making the robbery seem like a fire. The £3-million painting was taken in less than 10 minutes and the burglar left the same way he came in. A university porter called the fire department after noticing the smoke, and it was only when fire fighters arrived that the heist was discovered. Investigators suspect that the job was done to order.

Ovation, the only television channel devoted exclusively to the arts, is looking for a partner or buyer, the New York Post reports. The channel, launched over three years ago and led by chairman J. Carter Brown, director emeritus of the National Art Gallery, has been struggling for viewership, and approached Rainbow Programming recently for a deal. Rainbow, home of Bravo, American Movie Classics, and the Independent Film Channel, are reportedly interested in buying Ovation rather than establishing a partnership, and final word on a deal is expected within a couple of weeks.

The Whitney Museum has announced its 1999 acquisitions, which include its first sculpture by Andy Warhol, Mott's Box (Apple Juice) from 1964. Other acquisitions of note include:
  • Ida Appelbroog's eight paneled painting Emetic Fields, 1989
  • Ed Ruscha's painting Hollywood to Pico, 1998
  • Jasper Johns' monumental drawing Usuyuki, 1979
  • Arshile Gorky's Study for Mother and Son, ca. 1936, a preparatory work for Gorky's painting The Artist and His Mother, already in the Whitney's permanent collection.

  • Other artists saw their works enter the museum collection for the first time:
  • Frank Moore, Lullaby II, 1997, painting.

  • Martin Wong, Big Heat, 1988, painting.

  • Jane Hammond, Untitled, 1992, painting.

  • Betye Saar, I Got Rhythm, 1972, assemblage.

  • Other acquisitions were of artists who are included in the forthcoming 2000 Biennial, Mar. 23-June 4, 2000.
  • Vik Muniz, Babe, 1978, and the Best of Life portfolio, 1985-1995.

  • Petah Coyne's mixed media sculpture Untitled, #824, 1996.

  • Dawoud Bey's photograph Young Man Resting on an Exercise Bike, Amityville, Long Island, 1990.

  • Shirin Neshat's video installation Rapture, 1999.

    The Washington Times reports that the owners of the Showcase Theater -- charged with violating Prince George's County's nudity laws for featuring lap dancing -- plan to claim that such dancing is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. "Exotic dance is the theatrical art of fantasy," says University of Maryland anthropology professor Judith Hanna, who has agreed to serve as expert witness in the defense.