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"William Blake," the first major exhibition in the U.S. of drawings, paintings, prints and watercolors by the legendary British Romantic, opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the museum's Robert Lehman Wing, Mar. 29-June 24, 2001. The show, which was organized by Tate Britain, features more than 175 works, including his celebrated illustrated books, The Songs of Innocence and Experience, color illustrations for scenes from the Bible, Milton and Shakespeare, and Blake's late illustrated poems, Milton, The Four Valas and Jerusalem. The exhibition is organized by Tate senior curator Robin Hamlyn with Michael Phillips, reader at the University of York; it was organized for the Met by curator Elizabeth Barker.

The exhibition also features several kiosks with access to the online William Blake Archive sponsored by the Library of Congress and supported by the Getty Grant Program, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, Sun Microsystems and Inso Corporation, with additional support from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Several celebs have been enlisted in popularizing the exhibition. Punk rock star Patti Smith, who started her career as a poet, presents an evening of "poetry, observations and song" on June 21; tickets are $25; call (212) 570-3949 for information. On May 5, the Met screens Dead Man (1995), Jim Jarmusch's Western starring Johnny Depp as the spiritual pioneer "William Blake." The show's audio guide, which visitors can rent for $5, includes readings of Blake poems by Robert Creely and Anne Waldman and an interpretation by Yale prof Harold Bloom, along with the narration by Met director Philippe de Montebello.

Anda Rottenberg, director of Warsaw's leading Zacheta Gallery, has resigned in the face of sometimes anti-Semitic opposition from ultra-nationalist politicians, reports the Daily Telegraph in London. The gallery stepped into controversy when it exhibited Maurizio Cattelan's sculpture of the Pope being hit by a meteorite, and Piotr Uklanski's series of photographs of actors in Nazi roles. Rottenberg, who is Jewish, resigned after nine right-wing politicians sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture calling for her dismissal. In the letter she was described as a "civil servant of Jewish descent" who should be working in Israel rather that Poland.

Bernard Jacobson Gallery in London reminds Artnet News of several forthcoming projects by American artist Frank Stella. An exhibition of 44 recent works by the artist, inspired by the writings of the 18th-century German author Heinrich von Kleist, opened on Sunday, Mar. 25, at the Sammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in Dusseldorf, and subsequently tours to museums in Hildesheim and Berlin. At Jacobson, Stella will be on hand on April 2 to launch a new book by Robert Wallace from the University of Michigan Press on the artist's "Moby Dick" series, which date from 1986 to '97. The book includes over 200 illustrations, a chronology and catalogue of the works as well as an exhibition history. Stella is also busy with his first architectural work, a band shell destined for Miami, as well as the installation of a massive sculpture in the grounds of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. commissioned by the NGA itself. The 60-foot-tall sculpture is to be sited in July.

A Buddhist organization in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has vowed to build a replica of Afghanistan's destroyed Bamiyan Buddha statues, according to the Associated Press. The private Mahabodhi Society, headed by M. Senaratne, said it would first seek to produce a smaller version of the larger statue. Buddhists comprise 69 percent of Sri Lanka's 18.6 million people.

Though Julian Schnabel's celebrated new film, Before Night Falls, was shut out at the annual Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles last night, Mar. 25, the famed painter got something of a consolation prize -- a profile in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, including a cover portrait with the quote, "I watch a movie like Cast Away and I want to commit hara-kiri." The author of the profile, Philip Weiss, approaches his self-confident subject with a degree of skepticism. After delivering encomiums as to Schnabel's generosity from fellow artists James Nares, Jeff Koons and Leo Bogin, Weiss asks Schnabel about his peers -- Eric Fischl, Robert Longo and David Salle. Schnabel notes that he doesn't like their work, and tells Weiss, "I think they're all extremely boring. Robert Longo's probably a nice guy, David's a total creep and God knows what's going on in Eric's mind. David Salle is somebody who -- people become professional artists and they betray themselves and their friends, because there's nothing there. He's a very lonely person." Stay tuned.

Pescepalla Docks Gallery at 345 Greenwich Street in New York is opening a benefit exhibition of work by 13 contemporary Salvadoran artists, Mar. 28-Apr. 1, 2001, to help build housing for victims of the two El Salvador earthquakes on Jan. 13 and Feb. 13. All proceeds from the show go to Terrae Motus, a project that is working with the town of Berlin in Usulutan province. For more info, contact Rene A. Sosa at (917) 406-8120.

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