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Artnet News
November is studded with both contemporary and modernist art events, from the bevy of New York auctions to international art shows in major cities around the globe. But now, Brian and Anna Haughton, the Rockefellers of the art-and-antique-fair world, are serving up a fair with a difference. Their International 20th Century Arts Fair, scheduled to open at the Park Avenue Armory at 68th Street on Friday, Nov. 26 (the day after Thanksgiving), boasts a show-and-tell element. On hand opening night will be world-renowned glass artist Danny Lane with a matched pair of his "Reeling Walls." For the historical point of view, visitors can turn to Jack Lenor Larsen, the pioneering textile designer whose career begin with commissions from such leading architectural lights as Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Louis Kahn. For more info go to

-- Brook S. Mason

The International Center of Photography has sold its landmark building at 1130 Fifth Avenue and 94th Street for an undisclosed amount and plans to concentrate its exhibition activities at the ICP Midtown at Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street. Renovation and expansion of the midtown facility, where a Bill Brandt retrospective closed on Nov. 16, is by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates and is slated to be completed by September 2000. ICP director Willis Hartshorn said the expansion will increase overall gallery space. The ICP has raised over $8 million towards an $11-million capital campaign. The uptown ICP remains open at least through Feb. 13, 2000, the scheduled end of "Propaganda and Dreams: Photographing the 1930s in the USSR."

The late art dealer Serge Sabarsky's plan for the Neue Galerie New York, a museum devoted to early 20th-century German and Austrian art, finally comes to fruition in the fall of 2000. Located in a landmark Beaux-Arts building at 1048 Fifth Avenue and 86th Street, the museum is to feature works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele as well as decorative arts from the Wiener Werkstaette and the Bauhaus. Sabarsky launched the museum project after closing his gallery in 1985. Since his death in 1996, the museum has been spearheaded by Museum of Modern Art chairman Ronald S. Lauder. The 86th Street building, the former YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, was bought in 1993 for an estimated $15 million and renovated by architect Annabelle Selldorf.

The Museum of Modern Art unveils "Modern Starts: Things" Nov. 21, 1999-Mar. 14, 2000, the third and final installment of a complete reinstallation of its permanent collection for the 17-month-long millennial celebration "MoMA 2000." One highlight of "Things" is the extensive first-floor lobby mural by British-based American artist Michael Craig-Martin that covers the wall with brightly colored renderings of objects from the museum collection. Other works on view range from Duchamp Readymades to Cezanne still lifes to posters for sparkplugs. All the selections in "Modern Starts" are from 1880 to 1920. Next up is "Making Choices," focusing on art and culture from 1920 to 1960 and going on view in March 2000.

Superdealer Larry Gagosian opened his vast new space at 24th Street and 11th Avenue in New York's Chelsea district on Saturday, Nov. 20. Debut exhibition is Switch, an impressive triangular arrangement of six 52-foot-long, 13.5-foot-tall slabs of steel by Richard Serra. Gagosian paid an estimated $5.75 million for the building, which at 21,000-square-feet makes it by far the largest gallery in New York. Serra's work is on view through February; additional gallery space is due to be completed by next spring.

New Detroit Institute of Arts director Graham Beal has shelved the exhibition "Art Until Now," originally scheduled to open Nov. 17, claiming that it would "cause offense to important parts of our community." The show in question was one of a series of 12 one-week installations that explore the course of 20th-century art by Michigan installation artist Jef Bourgeau, the alleged director of something called the Pontiac Contemporary Art Museum. Beal was concerned with two of the artist's pieces he considered "racial" and "sacrilegious." The first of the disputed works was about Jean Michel Basquiat, and it consisted of a Brazil nut held by an alligator clamp and labeled with a racial epiteth. The second was Bathtub Jesus, a doll wearing a condom supposedly made by Chris Offili in response to the controversy following the exhibit of the Holy Virgin Mary at the Brooklyn Museum. To add further confusion to the debate, the Detroit News initially referred to Bourgeau as the show's curator and to the works in it as being made by the artists they referred to.

The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Tex., won't be buying that £20 million Botticelli Madonna and Child (1600-85) from Scotland's Earl of Wemyss after all. The Times of London reports that the National Gallery of Scotland is buying the painting with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Britain's leading art charity, the National Art Collections Fund. The work is the only autograph painting by Botticelli in Scotland.

High Museum of Art director Ned Rifkin has been named director of the Menil Collection in Houston, effective Feb. 1, 2000. During Rifkin's eight-year tenure at the High, the museum's endowment grew from $15 million to $56 million and its membership tripled to 40,000. Previously he had been curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Corcoran Gallery. Rifkin succeeds Paul Winkler, who resigned in February.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. has resigned his position as chair of the newly-created Arts of the Americas department a scant three months after being appointed. Stebbins says he is leaving to finish a book on the history of landscape painting in America, but his departure is seen as a response to MFA director Malcolm Rogers' radical reorganization of the museum's structure. Stebbins had been with the museum for 22 years.