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Artnet News
2/15/00
 
     
  CECILY BROWN IN THE NEWS
The artworld was saddened to see recent rumors about artist Cecily Brown's personal life reiterated in the New York Post's "Page Six" column on Feb. 11. Page Six honcho Richard Johnson details the attempted suicide of Brown's boyfriend, artist and curator Russell Haswell. According to Page Six, Haswell, who is one of the curators of PS1 and MoMA's "Greater New York" show, slashed his throat during a party at Brown's loft then leapt from her second-story window when the gash failed to kill him.

The Daily News published slightly different news of the incident in its Feb. 12 edition, quoting an unnamed source claiming that the suicide attempt actually happened while Haswell and Brown were alone, and that Haswell did not slash himself, but was cut by broken glass as he jumped out the window. Sources tell Artnet News that Haswell has since come out of a coma but remains in critical condition at Bellevue Hospital.

GETTY SUED BY NEIGHBORS
Homeowners from communities neighboring the Malibu J. Paul Getty Museum site are suing the city of Los Angeles to block the museum's expansion of its villa, home of its previous headquarters, the Wall Street Journal reports. The suit contends that the city council ignored zoning regulations when it approved the museum's expansion plan to build a 950-seat outdoor theater in the neighborhood. The museum plans include the renovation and expansion of its villa to house its Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities when it reopens in 2002.

SWITCH TO MOMA
Montgomery Securities co-founder Thomas Weisel has purchased Richard Serra's Switch, 1999, and pledged it to the Museum of Modern Art. The gigantic piece, composed of six identical Cor-Ten hot-rolled steel plates, each 28 tons,13 feet high, 50 feet long and 2 inches thick, is installed in Gagosian's new gallery in Chelsea through Feb. 26, 2000. MoMA would not disclose the price of the work, but it's estimated to have cost more than $2 million. The work will not be installed in the museum until 2002, when MoMA completes the renovation of its 53rd Street location, and there are no plans for it to be on public view in the interim.

CHIEF CURATOR LEAVES TAM
Tacoma Art Museum's chief curator Barbara Johns has announced her resignation after nine years as the chief organizer of exhibitions. Johns, who received much praise for her focus on art from the Pacific Northwest, says she has no immediate plans and will work at the museum on a part-time basis through March. The museum is launching a national search and hopes to have a new curator in place by May.

ROSA TO CARNEGIE
The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh recently announced the selection of Joseph Rosa as the museum's curator of the Heinz Architectural Center. Rosa was previously the chief curator of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and replaces Dennis McFadden, who left the museum in June 1999 to become associate director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center in Massachusetts.

HIRST DOES BECKETT
Brit bad boy Damien Hirst is slated to direct and film a production of Samuel Beckett's Breath. The project is part of a plan to produce all of Beckett's 19 plays for television, following the addition of the Irish author's work to Britain's education curriculum, the London Telegraph reports. The play consists of a 45-second long scream.

DISPUTED "GAUGUINS" FOR SALE IN NEW ZEALAND
Six works of art attributed to Paul Gauguin have been offered for sale by dealer Tony Martin via the Copthorne Gallery in Auckland, the New Zealand Herald reports. The works -- one painting, four drawings and a carving -- were supposedly produced during Gauguin's six-day visit to Auckland in August 1895, as documented by Bronwen Nicholson in his 1995 book, Gauguin and Maori Art. Martin claims he was approached in 1998 by descendants of a sea captain whom Gauguin befriended and gave the works to as payment for his trip. John Perry, curator of a Gauguin exhibition in Auckland in 1995, has said that the works are fakes, and the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, the world's foremost authority on Gauguin, will not even look at the paintings or sketches. None of the works have sold yet, but Martin says that he has heard from a number of interested parties.

ARTISTS CAUGHT IN DEFAMATION SUIT
Ottawa artists Mary Faught and C.J. Fleury have landed in the middle of a legal dispute for their Enclave Women's Monument Against Violence, a granite memorial to women murdered by men, CBC Radio reports. The work was commissioned by a group called Women's Urgent Action five years ago, and features the name of Sandra Campbell carved among those of the victims. Susan Campbell's husband Robert Campbell was charged with her murder in 1993, but a judge recently stayed the first-degree murder charge against him. Campbell's lawyer says the monument defames him and wants it removed. Faught says that the names were provided by the women's group, and that they would remove the stone, or at least the offending name, as soon as possible. Reportedly, Women's Urgent Action has not responded to the lawyer's demand, however.

BATTLE FOR THE PLINTH
A committee chaired by Sir John Mortimer is to decide which statue will be placed permanently in a plinth in London's Trafalgar square. One of the main contenders is a "women in war" statue, whose popularity is superceded only by a statue commemorating "animals in war." The plinth had been empty for 150 years, but recently held a series of contemporary works, including a statue of Christ by Mark Wallinger and Rachel Whiteread's upside-down cast of the plinth itself. It presently features Bill Woodrow's giant bronze Regardless of History.

PRIVATE VIEWING OF THE ART SHOW
The Young Art Dealers of the ADAA are holding a special private viewing of the 12th annual Art Show, Feb. 24-28, 2000, at the Park Avenue Armory. On Feb. 25, 2000, from 7 to 9 p.m., aspiring collectors will be able to meet dealers and artists one-on-one. Tickets for the event, which include cocktails and music, cost $60 and benefit the Henry Street Settlement House. Call (212) 766-9200 ext. 248 for tickets. A limited number will also be available at the door for $75.

DUCHAMP AND JOHNS AT YALE
On Feb. 25 and 26, 2000, The Yale University Art Gallery is holding "Marcel Duchamp/Jasper Johns, A Symposium" featuring talks by curator of prints, drawings and photographs Richard S. Field, art historian and critic Catherine Craft, art historian Molly Nesbit, Yale art history professor Thomas Crow and others. The talks are being held in conjunction with "Jasper Johns: New Paintings and Works on Paper," which runs through Apr. 9, 2000. Call (203) 432-0612 for more info.

AFA LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
The American Federation of Arts, the nation's oldest non-profit art museum service organization, has launched its website. The site presents the programs and activities of the AFA, online educational opportunities, highlights from current exhibitions (there are now 31 in development and six touring the U.S.) and related news.

ONE-MAN SALES FOR FRENCH AUCTIONEERS
After the triumphant sale last fall of French designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann's furniture -- 54 works from 1913 to 1933 sold for a total of $6,800,000 -- French auctioneers Millon-Robert and Cabinet Camard have decided to focus again on the accomplishments of one man. On Mar. 10, 2000, at Drouot Montaigne in Paris, Millon-Robert and Cabinet Camard are featuring exclusively the work of French 1950s furniture designer Jean Royère, whose mixture of organic, fantastic forms, bright colors and functionality set the tone for a new generation of post-war consumers. The auctioneers are producing a swank catalogue for the sale, which, like the 335-page book they put out for Ruhlman, should serve as an unofficial reference guide on the designer. Call 01-42-46-99-54 in Paris for more information.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech