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Twenty-six New York and London dealers, who had planned to show at Brian and Anna Haughton's recently canceled International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show, formerly slated for Oct. 19-25 in the Park Avenue Armory, are instead planning special gallery openings during those dates. "We are heeding Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's advice and asking people to come to New York," says Andrew Chait of Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc., who is spearheading the effort.

A charity benefit for the opening night, Oct. 18, is being developed. That evening event will be invitation only. Some of the fair participants, like private dealer Carswell Rush Berlin, have lined up alternative venues. He will be showing at Israel Sack. London dealer Blairman will be showing its cache of Gothic Revival furnishings and Jonathan Horne will be exhibiting English ceramics at Dean Levy during the same time period. "I had shipped everything for the fair over to the States," says Blairman's Martin Levy.

The overwhelming majority of the Haughton fair dealers, who rejected the fair organizers plan to hold the event at Sotheby's 10th floor gallery, urged the Haughtons to find an alternative site at a later date. Brian Haughton had canvassed alternative sites when he was in New York last week for two days. The Waldorf Astoria, as well as other hotels, institutions and raw space, have been considered, according to their spokesperson, Magda Grigorian.
-- Brook S. Mason

As the Museum Of Modern Art readies itself for a two-year closure and expansion of its midtown Manhattan facility, the museum's chief curator of painting and sculpture, Kirk Varnedoe, has announced his resignation, effective January 2002. He takes a new post across the Hudson on the faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where he will work on "several writing projects" and the Mellon Lectures to be held at the National Gallery of Art. Varnedoe has been chief curator at MoMA for nearly 15 years; he collaborated with William Rubin on the museum's controversial "Primitivism" exhibition, and subsequently organized "High and Low" (1990, with Adam Gopnik), retrospectives of Cy Twombly (1994), Jasper Johns (1996) and Jackson Pollock (1998, with Pepe Karmel). MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry said a search for a successor would begin soon.

The British Museum, fresh from unveiling its grand, Norman Foster-designed Great Court last year, now says it is shelving plans for further expansion, notably a £80-million, 12-story study center in Holborn, central London, intended to house the museum's conservation research and half its curatorial departments. Also cut is new hiring, and £1 million in maintenance. What happened? Museum c.e.o Suzanna Taverne blames the New Labor government, saying that this year's grant of £36 million wasn't enough. A department of culture spokesperson, however, noted that the British Museum's spending had ballooned from £65 million in 1998 to £103 million this year. "It is for the museum to manage the funds available to it," the spokesperson said.

The Smithsonian Institution saw a dramatic drop in attendance at its museums following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a report by the Associated Press. Attendance at Smithsonian facilities (including the Air and Space and American History museums) totaled 1.8 million in September 2000; it was only 1.1 million last month. Smithsonian officials hope the reopening of Reagan National Airport and a weekend of free bus and subway rides in D.C. in mid-October will boost visits to the museums.

A Brazilian court has refused to allow the loan of a 45-foot-wide, gold-covered 18th-century baroque altarpiece to the "Brazil: Body and Soul" exhibition scheduled to open at the Guggenheim Museum on Oct. 19, 2001. Edemar Cid Ferreira, head of BrasilConnects, which is organizing the show, told Reuters that "They argue that Brazil's patrimony could be at risk in possible U.S. terrorist attacks." Julian Zugazagoitia, who is working on the show in New York, still hopes the altar can make the show.