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Artnet News
That giant sucking sound you'll hear in Manhattan on Monday, Feb. 21, is all 149 artists of "Greater New York" leaving the city for P.S. 1 in Queens, where Harper's Bazaar fashion magazine is mounting a massive photo-shoot touting the art-world's latest new young stars. Behind the lens is California kinkster Catherine Opie, known for her fabulous gender-bending portraits as well as recent commercial work for the newly revamped, cutting-edge, Katherine Betts Bazaar. "Spencer Tunick should do an unclothed version," said one art-world wag in reference to the famous nudie photog. "I don't know of any exhibition that has caused more friction among young New York artists," said another. The show opens to the public on Sunday, Feb. 27, featuring work by Cecily Brown, Inka Essenhigh, Jeff Gauntt, Dana Hoey, Brad Kahlhamer, Justine Kurland, Nikki Lee, Elizabeth Peyton, Ruth Root, Alex Ross and others.

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh is reaching into the heart of New York's performance-art scene to bolster its bleeding-edge programming. Artswire reports that the Warhol Museum is contracting with P.S. 122 in Manhattan's East Village for six to eight performances by small groups or solo performers -- and the Warhol will cover most of the costs. P.S. 122 already helps book performances for the Brooks Museum in Memphis, Tenn., Pica in Portland, Sushi in San Diego, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and other museums. Neither the Warhol museum nor P.S. 122 would comment; stay tuned for details.

American artist Cindy Sherman has won the 1999 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, a prize of 500,000 Swedish Kronen -- approximately $57,700 -- from the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation. The award ceremony is scheduled for Mar. 4, 2000, in Göteborg, Sweden, and is accompanied by a new exhibition of Sherman's work at the Göteborg Museum of Art, where Hasselblad has permanent exhibition space. The jury consisted of Museum of Frederiksborg curator Tove Thage, National Gallery of Art curator Sarah Greenough, Finnish artist Jan Kaila and Czech editor and curator Daniela Mrázková. Previous winners include William Eggleston, Robert Häusser and Susan Meiselas.

Something's in the mail -- could it be writing utensils? The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York has sent out a gold-painted pencil to promote the forthcoming "National Design Triennial: Design Culture Now," that opens Mar. 7-Aug. 6, 2000. "This is the year of design" is imprinted on the pencil's side. And Creative Time, the arts organization known for the summer "Art in the Anchorage" festival on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, has distributed a pen containing a plastic New York cityscape with a floating "Creative Time" logo. "It stands for the sun," said a spokesperson. The pen doesn't promote any particular show, though Creative Time's next major project is Leap, "a public video monument" by artist Chris Doyle that goes on view at Columbus Circle, Apr. 27-30, 2000.

The Detroit Institute of Arts has paid $12,500 to Michigan artist Jef Bourgeau to compensate for canceling his exhibition, "Art Until Now," before its scheduled opening on Nov. 17, 1999. New museum director Graham Beal called the show "racial" and "sacrilegious," and claimed it would "cause offense to important parts of our community." One disputed work was a Brazil nut held by an alligator clamp and labeled with the word "nigger" and a reference to Jean-Michel Basquiat. A second work, titled Bathtub Jesus, was a doll wearing a condom supposedly made by Chris Ofili. Bourgeau, a 49-year-old artist who lives in Pontiac, Mich., titled the show "Van Gogh's Ear" and described it as "a series of 12 one-week installations that explore the course of 20th century art." The payment is for the artist's time and materials, and is not a legal settlement, a museum spokeswoman told the Detroit News. Bourgeau said he would use the money towards establishing "a permanent Museum of Contemporary Art for Metro Detroit."

The estate of graffiti painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose in 1988, has shut down, a noncommercial educational site dedicated to the popular artist. The site, created by John Seed, one-time assistant to Basquiat and art department chair for Mt. San Jacinto College in Cal., featured a personal account of Seed's experiences with Basquiat, a lengthy biography, numerous images and a popular message board. Seed says Basquiat estate lawyer Robert Cinque rejected his claim to "fair use" of the copyrighted Basquiat works, saying that used the images to advertise itself -- and threatened fines up to $100,000. Seed says he offered editorial control of the site to the estate, but the compromise was a no-go.

Gerard Basquiat, the artist's father, is known to keep tight rein on the estate; for instance, he reportedly blocked Julian Schnabel from using any Basquiat images in his 1998 biopic of the artist (Schnabel did his own "prop" Basquiats). Art-world insiders say the estate doesn't have many masterpieces left -- most were sold through Robert Miller Gallery and Paris dealer Enrico Navarra -- but still generates substantial fees from reproduction rights. received approximately 19,000 visitors in the less than five months that it existed between Oct. 1999 and Feb. 2000. Cinque indicated that the Basquiat estate may well be planning to launch its own website dedicated to the graffiti artist.

While video-art superstar Nam June Paik enjoys a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, Feb. 11-Apr. 26, 2000, his wife has work on view at a downtown art gallery. Pioneer Fluxus video artist Shigeko Kubota presents Sexual Healing, a group of seven new video sculptures documenting her everyday life with Paik, focusing particularly on his rehabilitation after his 1996 stroke. The exhibition is on view at Lance Fung Gallery, 537 Broadway, Mar. 2-Apr. 1, 2000. Call (212) 334-6242 for more info.

A new Nazi art loot claim has entangled a trademark work at the Museum of Modern Art. Heirs of Bauhaus painter Oskar Schlemmer are claiming the museum shortchanged the artist in its original purchase of his 1932 painting Bauhaus Staircase, paying him 1,200 Reichsmarks rather than the 12,000 Reichsmarks specified in a cable about the transaction. Architect Philip Johnson -- a curator at MoMA at the time -- says that the higher price was a typo. The Schlemmer family insists that the artist was forced to sell the painting at a discount after being labeled a "degenerate artist" by the Nazis and pushed out of his teaching post. Johnson says Schlemmer must have been satisfied, since he sold another painting to him later that year. A German court has even issued an injunction barring the return to MoMA of Bauhaus Staircase from an exhibition at the National Gallery in Berlin -- but the painting had already been shipped back to New York, according to the New York Times.

Performance artists, that is. The Franklin Furnace is giving out grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for new works produced in New York state. Artists worldwide are invited to apply by the deadline, Apr. 1, 2000. Franklin Furnace also is offering a month-long residency at Parsons School of Design for "producing Internet-oriented temporal artwork." For info check out the Franklin Furnace website.

The 12 frescoes comprising Piero della Francesca's cycle of "The Legend of the True Cross" in the Church of St. Francis at Arezzo, Tuscany, are finally being unveiled after 15 years of restoration, the London Times reports. The works, painted between 1452 and 1466, measure a total of approximately 990 sq. feet, and had suffered from centuries of damp, becoming encrusted in a film of condensed salts and flowering chalk. The restored paintings reveal the delicate light of dawn appearing on what previously looked like a night sky, and obscured figures of Adam and Hercules are once again visible. The church will open to the public in April 2000.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech