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A British art collector who lives in the tax-haven Caribbean country of Bermuda has been given good title to a stolen Jackson Pollock painting by a British court, according to British press reports. The work in question, Pollock's Composition with Pouring I (1943), was given by the artist to New York Studio School founder Mercedes Matter and her late husband, Herbert Matter, as a wedding present in 1943. The work was stolen a year or two later, and sold at Sotheby's London by an anonymous "wealthy American industrialist" in 1965. The buyer was Marlborough Gallery, which acquired the work for Ł3,500 and sold it soon after to collector David Judah for Ł5,350. Matter began seeking return of the stolen work, which scholars consider one of Pollock's first "drip" paintings, after she spotted it in the Pollock retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1998. The current ruling came after Judah then took the 87-year-old widow to court in London, where she was forced to agree that her claim to the painting ended in 1971, after its first appearance at public auction, thanks to the six-year term of the British statute of limitations. Matter, who is reportedly in ill health in New York, did not attend the hearing.

Warsaw's Zacheta gallery has temporarily closed Polish-born Pop conceptualist Piotr Uklanski's exhibition "The Nazis" after prominent Polish actor Daniel Olbrychski -- who had a role in The Tin Drum -- destroyed several of the show's photographs with a sword. After the show opened, the actor called a news conference at the museum, where he delivered a speech declaring he was not a Nazi. As startled reporters looked on, Olbrychski pulled an antique sword from his raincoat and attacked the artwork, causing damages estimated at $80,000. Government officials say a text denouncing Nazism is to be added to the show before it reopens. No word yet on whether charges will be brought against the actor. Uklanski, who designed the poster for P.S. 1's "Greater New York" exhibition, was embroiled in another controversy in June when he crossed the picket line of striking workers at the Museum of Modern Art to attend an exhibition of his work.

The American Association of Museums and the Association of Art Museum Directors have reached an agreement with the government's Holocaust Commission which requires museums to research the provenance of all art acquired between 1933 and 1945 and to disclose the information on their websites. Museums will also be required to link their sites through an inquiry page to facilitate research. The agreement calls for a gradual schedule and carries no specific deadline.

Irish Museum of Modern Art director and chief executive Declan McGonagle is applying to Ireland's High Court for an injunction restraining the museum from publicly advertising for candidates for his post, reports the Irish Times. McGonagle was originally appointed in 1990, a year before the museum opened, and has served two five-year terms. His second term ended several months ago and was followed by the board's move, reportedly leaving the director "flabbergasted." The clash is widely seen as a dispute over the museum's focus, with the board pushing for blockbuster exhibitions and a more international approach.

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight is not very happy with New York these days, or at least not with the city's museums. In an article entitled "Follow the Money," Knight claims that efforts to lure crowds of cash customers to museum shows are having a disastrous effect on esthetic standards. Knight calls this fall's museum lineup "a motley array of mostly flaccid exhibitions." First on his hit list is the Guggenheim Museum's "Giorgio Armani," which he berates for its content and for its troubled funding, referring to Armani's $15-million donation. Next comes the Whitney Museum, which the West Coast critic says "does a lot of heavy lifting to revive the fallen reputation of deeply conservative society artist Edward Steichen." His critical eye then turns to the Museum of Modern Art's "Open Ends," which he calls a "pale addendum." He ends with the Metropolitan Museum's "The Still Lifes of Evaristo Baschenis: The Music of Silence." His comment? "It turns out there's a reason Baschenis is little known, and you can guess what it is." The one exception to Knight's attack is the Met's suvery of Chinese calligraphy, which was actually organized at Princeton University.

The Estate Project is reporting brisk sales of its 1989 Portfolio, which features prints by Chuck Close, Nan Goldin, Jim Hodges, Frank Moore, Jorge Pardo, Jack Pierson, Lari Pittman, Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons, Kiki Smith and Robert Wilson. An edition of 75, the portfolio is a bargain at $10,000 and all proceeds benefit the Estate Project's archival programs to preserve art created during the AIDS crisis. The portfolio can be seen at the Curt Marcus Gallery, Nov. 29, 2000-Jan. 6, 2001, or at

The deadline is approaching for next year's American Academy in Berlin Philip Morris Fellowships for advanced and emerging American artists. The emerging artists' fellowship is a nine-month program in Berlin beginning next Sept. and features a $35,000 stipend, airfare, partial board and a studio at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Advanced artists receive similar boons, including $25,000 and a six to eight week residency. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2001 and applications can be picked up at the Academy at 14 East 60th St., Suite 604, or online at

Colombian artist Fernando Botero is making a public appearance at Marlborough Gallery to celebrate publication of Fernando Botero: Monograph and Catalogue Raisonné, 1975-1990 (Editions Acatos), Dec. 12, at 6:00 p.m. Visitors who purchase autographed copies will receive a 10 percent discount of the $289 cover price. The gallery is located at 40 West 57th Street; call (212) 541-4900 for more info.

Amsterdam artist and curator Paul Donker Duyvis discusses his work and gives a brief introduction to various aspects of contemporary Japanese art at Apex Art, Dec. 6, at 7:00 p.m. The lecture is followed by a screening of Hiroshi Teshigahara's Japanese cinema classic Woman in the Dunes (1964). Apex Art is located at 291 Church St. and admission is free; call (212) 431-5270 for more info.

San Francisco sculptor Benbow Bullock has introduced an online international directory of over 200 sculpture parks and gardens with links and comment at

Williamsburg alternative gallery Cave is closing, at least for a while, after "Collossal Heads & Collapsing Buildings" featuring Zana Wimmer, Dec. 2-30. Call (718) 388-6780 for more info.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
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