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French luxury-goods tycoon François Pinault has reportedly recruited former Pompidou Museum president François Barré to organize the projected Pinault Foundation's art collection. Pinault is thought to have already gathered some 1,500 artworks for the new 320,000-square-foot museum on Seguin Island in the river Seine in western Paris. Among the works that may be destined to grace the new space are Damien Hirst's sculpture of cigarette butts arranged in a vitrine, Dead Ends Died Out, Examined (1993), recently purchased for $508,500 at Phillips, and Dan Flavin's Alternate Diagonals of March 2, 1964, bought for a record $335,750 at Sotheby's. It is also expected that Jeff Koons' $1.8 million Split Rocker will be used as a frontispiece to the foundation.
-- Adrian Darmon
Efforts by the Irish Museum of Modern Art's board to oust director Declan McGonagle might cost the institution the gift of a $50 million collection, reports Ireland's Sunday Business Post. Upon hearing the news surrounding the clash, American collectors Kent and Vicki Logan are reconsidering the possible offer of their contemporary art collection to the Irish museum, reportedly eyeing the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and London's Tate Modern as more likely recipients. McGonagle recently applied to Ireland's High Court for an injunction restraining the museum from publicly advertising for candidates for his post when the board moved to look for a replacement some months after his second term ended. The dispute is said to be over the museum's focus, with the board pushing for blockbuster exhibitions and a more international approach.

The National Gallery of Canada says that as many as 100 works in its collection have questionable provenance and may be Nazi loot, reports the Ottawa Citizen. In response to new guidelines set by the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization, the museum plans to post images of the artworks on its website, which would be a first for Canada. The gallery aims to have the site ready within three weeks, and the Art Gallery of Ontario plans to follow suit by early next year.

In other Nazi plunder news, the World Jewish Congress has called on France to rush the return to their rightful owners of approximately 2,000 artworks -- including works by Cézanne, Delacroix, Monet and Renoir -- still held by museums given "temporary" custody of them in 1949. Also in France, an appeals court has ruled that the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art must give Gustav Klimt's The Accomplishment (1905) to the heir of Viennese dealer Karl Grunwald, from whom the work was confiscated during the war. The museum, which had appealed an earlier ruling, has agreed to abide by the decision.

17 paintings worth millions of dollars were reported stolen in Japan over a span of two days in mid-August, reports the Japan Times. Six paintings -- including a $1.5 million Renoir and two Chagalls -- were stolen from a private residency in Tokyo on Aug. 14, and 11 paintings worth $655,000 were found missing the following day from the Ikebukuro branch of the Tobu Department Store Company from an unlocked storage room. A Tokyo gallery owner reported receiving an offer from an unidentified caller trying to sell the missing Renoir the same day. Police officials have not announced any leads or determined whether the crimes were connected.

Antique dealers in Britain are balking at a new pilot program intended to catch sellers of hot property, reports the London Times. In a test for a potentially nationwide plan, Kent police have begun distributing fingerprint kits and Polaroid cameras to dealers, urging them to photograph and ask vendors to leave their thumbprint with the object they are offering for sale. Malcolm Hord, chief executive of dealer organization LAPADA is outraged by the scheme, finding support from civil liberties watchdog organization Liberty, which has expressed concern about collecting personal data on people without grounds for suspicion.

Moderna Galerija, the museum of modern art in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is presenting "Vulgata," the third triennale of contemporary Slovene art, Dec. 14, 2000-Feb. 18, 2001. Named after a 4th-century translation of the Bible that made the scriptures available to a wider audience in simpler language, the exhibition focuses on ethnic identities and national consciousness. The show, curated by Škuc Gallery director Gregor Podnar, features works by artists living and working in the city, including Vuk Cosic, Vadim Fishkin, Bojan Gorenec, Dejan Habicht & Tanja Lazetic, Ivan Ilic, Irwin, Milena Kosec, Marko A. Kovacic, Damijan Kracina, Darij Kreuh, Maja Licul, Marko Peljhan, Alenka Pirman, Tadej Pogacar, Katarina Toman and Irena Wölle. Visit the museum's website for more information.

Media Z Lounge -- the New Museum's recent new media addition -- is ringing in the season with Christian Marclay's "The Sounds of Christmas," an archive of the artist's collection of over 1,000 LPs celebrating the holidays, Dec. 14-31. Four evenings have been scheduled for live DJ remixes, Dec. 14, 16, 23 and 30, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Visit the museum's website for a detailed list of performers.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles has elected conceptual artist John Baldessari as a new trustee... California's Griffin Contemporary gallery has moved to 55 North Venice Boulevard in Venice Beach after three years at its Electric Avenue location… The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Mo., has acquired Jacques Lipchitz' two-ton, 15-foot-high Bellerophon Taming Pegasus, Large Version (1964-66)... The Jewish Museum San Francisco has relaunched its website with a new design and content.

KNUD W. JENSEN, 1916-2000
Knud W. Jensen, 84, founder of Denmark's Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, died in his sleep after a brief illness. Once the head of a cheese wholesale company, Jensen bought an old villa 20 miles north of Copenhagen in 1958 and converted it into one of the country's most popular museums.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
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