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OKAY FOR MOMA EXPANSION|
The Museum of Modern Art has gotten the go-ahead from the New York City Planning Commission for its $600-million expansion project, currently in the early stages. During this summer's vituperative PASTA-MOMA strike -- settled a little over a month ago -- union supporters had threatened to hold up city approval for a zoning change necessary for the construction. Meanwhile, as a signal that all is well at the world's best modern art museum, MoMA unveiled "Open Ends," Oct. 19, 2000-Jan. 30, 2001, the third and final installation of works from its permanent collection. The show, organized by curators Kirk Varnedoe, Paola Antonelli and Joshua Siegel, focuses on art since 1960, and includes lots of recent acquisitions in a series of 11 thematic installations and 14 large-scale individual projects.
FRENCH ART BEHEMOTHS CLASH
The dueling luxury-good tycoons who are taking over the art world -- Christie's owner François Pinault and Phillips owner Bernard Arnault -- have moved their rivalry over into the vanity-museum arena. Pinault recently announced plans to build a 320,000-square-foot Pinault Foundation museum on Seguin Island in the Seine in western Paris. Now, Arnault has hired long-time Sotheby's Impressionist hand Michel Strauss to oversee an undisclosed project that observers speculate will be Arnault's own museum, according to Paul Tharp in the New York Post. Stay tuned.
DE PURY TO PHILLIPS
Art-auction observers who miss the suave gaveling of Swiss auctioneer Simon de Pury -- "I can sell it, I can sell it right now!" he would proclaim in his inimitable continental accent -- are pleased to hear that the former Sotheby's chief auctioneer is now working for Phillips Auctioneers. De Pury takes up the hammer for Phillips at its forthcoming autumn sales, scheduled once again for the American Craft Museum (Impressionist and Modern on Nov. 6, and contemporary on Nov. 13). De Pury left Sotheby's in 1997 to found art dealing and advisory firm de Pury Luxembourg Art.
FRANCE GETS 109 MASTERPIECES FROM MYSTERY DONOR
France's Musee d'Orsay is exhibiting 109 major works of art donated to the state by an anonymous donor, according to published reports. The gift, called "one of the most generous donations of the past century," includes works by artists including Bonnard, Cézanne, Degas, Giacometti, Leger, Manet, Matisse and Picasso. Provincial daily La Provence speculates that the donor is medical researcher and noted arts supporter Philippe Meyer, who is known to have previously contributed generously to the museum.
ART AND POLITICIANS
The British press is up in arms after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott slagged off native-son artist Henry Moore during a ceremony in Beijing. Unveiling an abstract sculpture in the first stop of a show of monumental works touring China, Prescott asked "He didn't like heads, did he? What's with the heads?" Looking at another figurative piece featuring arms but no hands, he remarked "hands are very hard to get right, aren't they?" "I think we can safely say that Henry Moore's reputation will withstand Mr. Prescott's comments," sniffed Roger Berthoud, the sculptor's biographer.
POLL: MUSEUMS MOST TRUSTWORTHY INFORMATION SOURCE
Forget television and the Internet -- a new study reveals that 43 percent of Americans consider museums to be more trustworthy than any other information source. A national poll commissioned by museum exhibit design firm Ueland Junker McCauley and Nicholson finds that more than a third of Americans have visited a museum in the last 12 months. Respondents ranked museums second only to libraries as an important part of the American cultural fabric, with 37 percent agreeing that they provide the most rewarding learning experience. More information on the survey can be found at the UJMN website.
HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL ON VIEW
The New-York Historical Society is putting some of its legendary collection of Hudson River School paintings on view in "Intimate Friends: Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and William Cullen Bryant," Oct. 24, 2000-Feb. 4, 2001. The show is organized by art scholars Barbara Novak and Ella M. Foshay, and complements "Art and the Empire City: New York, 1825-61" at the Metropolitan Museum. The show features approximately 50 works by Durand and Cole plus Bryant's journals and writings, and subsequently tours Europe in mid-2001.
SLEEP WITH AN ARTIST IN CHELSEA
Want a one-night stand with intimate performance artist Lee Ming-Wei? Call Lombard-Freid Fine Arts on West 26th Street in Chelsea, (212) 967-8040, and sign up to participate in "The Sleeping Project," Oct. 21-Nov. 22, 2000. You'll have to bring your own sleepover paraphernalia -- clock, photos, stuffed toys, etc. -- and leave it there for the duration of the show. But don't worry, the piece includes separate beds. The installation also boasts 25 minimalist dressing tables (one per guest) designed in collaboration with Good Design Inc. and Mingwei's recent digital paintings, which are called "Dreaming." Mingwei previously exhibited "The Letter Writing Project" at the Whitney Museum.
Want to know all about hip Las Vegas-based art critic Dave Hickey's new art movement, Ultralounge? Then subscribe to Artpix, the nonprofit CD-ROM journal of contemporary art published twice annually in Houston, Tx. Artpix 2 features Ultralounge plus news on "Colorfields: Now and Then," curated by L.A. critic David Pagel. Forthcoming editions of the vinyl periodical feature the art of New Zealand and a documentation of "DiverseDialogues" at DiverseWorks in Houston. Single issues are $30; for more info, contact Artpix, PO Box 131527, Houston, Tx., or go to www.artpix.org.
-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech