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Artnet News
10/22/99
 
     
  FOLK ART MUSEUM BREAKS GROUND
The Museum of American Folk Art broke ground for its new $20-million, 30,000-square-foot museum, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates, on Oct. 13, 1999. The eight-level structure -- six floors above ground and two below -- is sited on West 53rd Street near the Museum of Modern Art and the American Craft Museum. The museum will retain its present location at 65th Street and Columbus Avenue.

PHILLIE MUSEUM TO EXPAND
Searching for new space to display its collection of 300,000 objects, the Philadelphia Art Museum plans to buy the Reliance Standard Life Insurance building, a 1928 Art Deco landmark just north of the museum's current Neo-Classical home. Museum trustees are raising $15 million of the $17-million purchase price, with the city kicking in the rest. The five-story, 76,000-square-foot structure, which has a library, cafeteria, office space and a 124-space parking lot, was designed by Zantzinger, Borie and Medary, the same architects who did the museum. Detailed plans are being developed

TOP AUCTION PRICES RENEGOTIATED: DECKER
Sometime Artnet Magazine auction correspondent Andrew Decker reports in this week's New York Observer that two headline-making record sales at New York auction houses were later quietly renegotiated at much lower prices. Cézanne's Still Life with Curtain, Pitcher and Bowl of Fruit (ca. 1893-94), which ostensibly sold at Sotheby's for $60.5 million on May 5, 1999, actually went for less three months later -- to Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn (who had dropped out of the bidding at $54 million, the story says). And Jean-Michel Basquiat's Self-Portrait (1982), which was knocked down for a record $3.3 million at Christie's on Nov. 12, 1998, in fact sold for about $2 million. The buyer was Greek shipping heir Philip Niarchos, whom Decker says refused to pay the $3.3 million, demanding proof that he had competed against a legitimate bidder.

£80,000 FOR EMIN NOVEL
British bad-girl artist Tracey Emin, the leading candidate to win this year's Turner Prize from the Tate Gallery, has sold her first novel for £80,000. The as-yet-unwritten book was purchased for Sceptre press by Nicholas Blincoe, who had been on the job for two weeks, according to the London Times. Comparing Emin to Sylvia Plath, he said, "It is a Bell Jar for the new millennium."

ART-WORLD PORTRAIT AT MARY BOONE
The art world gets to look at itself in "Artworld: 700 Portraits," the new exhibition by super-chic East Village portrait photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders that opens at Mary Boone Gallery on Oct. 30. Greenfield-Sanders began his art-world portrait project in the early 1980s with a series on then-surviving Abstract Expressionists and soon branched out to photograph everyone who is anyone in the art world. Among those pictured are artnet.com's own modern and contemporary auction specialist Karen Amiel and magazine editor Walter Robinson. Yikes!

SOTHEBY'S UNVEILS NEW HEADQUARTERS
Tout le auction world flocked to Sotheby's on Oct. 19 to marvel at the auction house's expansive new 22,000-square-foot rooftop gallery, designed by New York architect Richard Gluckman and featuring 18-foot-tall ceilings and a wraparound balcony with dramatic city views. Sotheby's renovated and expanded facility, in which a 240,000-square foot, six-story structure was built on top of its four-story headquarters at York and 72nd, puts the 9,500-square-foot main salesroom on the seventh floor, and earmarks the second, third and fifth floors for sales too. Renovation of the first four floors, featuring a nine-story atrium, is scheduled to be completed next fall.

OLD MASTERS WERE PHOTOREALISTS: HOCKNEY
In a recent talk at the National Gallery of Australia, painter David Hockney noted that the rise of naturalism in the Renaissance corresponded with the discovery, made in the 1600s, of how to make high-quality lenses. "I would suggest that painters have used a lens for 300 years," he said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Hockney claims that Ingres must have used a "camera lucida," an instrument that can be used to project the image of an object on a canvas, as did Holbein, Caravaggio and Velázquez. Hockey has used the camera lucida to make portraits of friends such as Lucian Freud, reports the Sydney paper, and the works looked similar to that of Ingres. Hockney was in Sydney to celebrate the museum's acquisition of his 25-foot-wide painting, A Bigger Grand Canyon.

NORTON GOES POSTMODERN
The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena has unveiled its $6.5-million renovation by famed postmodernist architect Frank O. Gehry. The museum looks the same from the outside, but the interior now has raised ceilings, new wood and limestone floors, new stone benches and sculpture bases, and walls painted avocado, violet and ochre.

FRICK CURATOR TO RETIRE
After 35 years, Edgar Munhall is retiring as chief curator of the Frick Collection in New York. It's the first time the Frick has had such an important staff opening in years.

NEW CURATOR AT NGA
Jeffrey Weiss has been named curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., succeeding Marla Prather, who was recently named curator of postwar art at the Whitney Museum, a new position. Weiss, 41, has been at the NGA since winning a Paul Mellon Fellowship there in 1987. He curated the gallery's 1998 Mark Rothko retrospective and is currently organizing "Pure Painting: Cubism, Futurism, Abstraction," scheduled to open in 2002.

LACMA BUYS KOREAN ART
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has paid an undisclosed sum for 250 works spanning 2,000 years of Korean history. The ceramics, paintings, textiles, furniture, bronze statuary and gold jewelry come from L.A. dealer and collector Robert W. Moore. LACMA's previous holdings consisted of only 75 objects and 800 pottery shards. Selections from the collection are currently on view in the museum's Ahmanson Wing.

MORE ACQUISITIONS AT S.F. MOMA
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art just can't stop with those contemporary art acquisitions. Robert Rauschenberg recently made a gift of his Hiccups (1978) in honor of trustee Phyllis Wattis, who in turn gave funds to acquire works by Eva Hesse and Brice Marden. Hiccups, by the way, is 63 feet long and consists of 97 linked transfer drawings on sheets of handmade paper. S.F. MOMA also received a "fractional gift" of 19 works by contemporary British artists from Bay Area collectors Vicki and Kent Logan. The newly donated works were recently on view in "Now It's My Turn to Scream" at the Haines Gallery in San Francisco.

LOMBARD-FREID TO CHELSEA
After five years in SoHo, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts opens at 531 West 26th Street in Chelsea on Nov. 19 with "Surveying the Landscape," a group show including works by Miriam Backstrom, Seamus Nicolson, Gerhard Stromberg and other artists. For more info, email lomfrd@echonyc.com.

LEE LOZANO, R.I.P.
Lee Lozano, 68, a conceptual artist who was active in New York in the 1970s, died of cervical cancer in Dallas on Oct. 2. After settling in Dallas, Lonzano boycotted women, working only with male curators and dealers.