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|BIENNIAL TO BE CAMEL: WHITNEY|
Absent any curators of its own, the Whitney Museum has appointed six employees of other museums to select its signature exhibition, the Whitney Biennial 2000, now one year away. The team includes Michael Auping, chief curator of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth; Valerie Cassel, director of the visiting artists program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and curator of "Fierce Cravings: Deconstructing Black Sexuality in Film and Video" there; Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Queens Museum curator Jane Faver (recently appointed director of MIT's List Visual Arts Center) who organized "Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s," opening in Queens next month; Andrea Miller-Keller, former contemporary art curator at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.; and Lawrence Rinder, former 20th-century curator at the Berkeley Art Museum.
SOTHEBY'S, CHRISTIE'S ANNOUNCE PROFITS
Sotheby's total revenues for 1998 were $447.1 million, up from $381.8 million in the previous year, the auction house announced. Net income was $45 million for 1998, compared to $40.6 million for the previous year, and the highest since 1990, according to Sotheby's president Diana D. Brooks. Worldwide auction sales at Sotheby's totaled $1,937,700,000, up five percent from 1997. Sotheby's sold 162 million-dollar lots in 1998. Christie's 1998 auction sales totaled $1,965,000,000, down three percent from the 1997 total of $2,016,000,000. Since Christie's is a private company, it doesn't release revenue and income figures. In 1998, 122 artworks sold at Christie's for over $1 million.
GALLERIES TO SHOPS AT GUGG SOHO
The Guggenheim Museum is resolutely vague about plans for the Guggenheim SoHo, which was recently closed for "reconfiguration" of its three floors, at least till summer. One thing's for sure, the street-level exhibition space is going 100 percent retail. The valuable block-long space running from Broadway to Mercer along Prince, formerly home to the Gugg shop plus a big video wall, is currently being renovated for Prada. Asking price for the 30,000-square-foot space -- $2.5 million a year. The galleries in the north half of the ground floor have been converted to hold the museum store -- already open, with a window display of furniture and pottery not unlike other tony neighborhood vendors. Now, if only the Museum of Modern Art would sell all its Picassos and become a Home Depot!
EAST VILLAGE AT CHASE MANHATTAN
SoHo art lovers can stroll down memory lane by visiting the Chase Manhattan Bank branch on Broadway just north of Houston Street, where Chase curator Manuel Gonzalez has installed a great selection of East Village art. Among the works on view is a large glitter painting by Arch Connelly, a dramatic falling-man map stencil by David Wojnarowicz, a come-hither painting of a blonde by someone named Walter Robinson and Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' incredible series of seven group photos of East Village artists, dealers and critics.
NEW ARTISTS ROYALTIES IN EU
The European Union is imposing resale royalties on the art business, and British art dealers claim the rule will drive the art market to the U.S. and Switzerland. Under the proposal, EU artists and their heirs earn up to four percent of the price of their works on resale at auctions or in galleries. At present, Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands don't impose royalties, and Germany is demanding that resale royalty laws be consistent throughout the EU to prevent unfair competition.
WEXNER PRIZE TO BOURGEOIS
Louise Bourgeois receives the $50,000 Wexner Prize on May 20, 1999, awarded by the Wexner Center in Columbus, Oh., through a gift from Abigail and Leslie H. Wexner, chairman of the Wexner Center Foundation and founder of the Limited, Inc.
HOUSTON MFA OPENS RIENZI
The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston opens Rienzi, its "house museum" dedicated to European decorative arts, on Mar. 6-7 for the Azalea Trail home and garden tour. Part Italian villa, part Georgian mansion, Rienzi was designed by local architect John Fanz Staub in 1954 and given to the MFA in 1991 by Houston philanthropists Harris Masterson III and his wife, Carroll Sterling Masterson. Museum members can tour starting Mar. 25 and the general public on May 1.
GOMBRICH TURNS 90
To celebrate the 90th birthday of Ernst Gombrich on Mar. 30, 1999, Phaidon Press is publishing The Uses of Images: Studies in the Social Function of Art and Visual Communication. The new book is the 10th in Gombrich's series of collected essays.