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Artnet News
The Whitney Biennial 2000 is making front-page news at the New York Times -- two weeks before the show opens. In the Mar. 9 edition, cultural affairs reporter Judith H. Dobrzynski previews Hans Haacke's Sanitation, a work that "puts New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in the company of the Nazis." The installation features a row of garbage cans with speakers playing the sound of marching troops, plus a framed reproduction of the First Amendment and quotes from the mayor in Gothic script. "I have no qualms about showing it," said Whitney director Max Anderson, "though on a personal level I don't share the premise of the work, which is to liken various public officials to Nazis." The Haacke work is to have its own gallery on the museum's third floor.

On Mar. 2,'s online auction hammered down Robert Rauschenberg's historic work Pull (1974) for $13,000, well over its high estimate of $10,000. Consignor was San Francisco photographer Morton Beebe, who back in the 1970s sued Rauschenberg for incorporating Beebe photographs into Rauschenberg Pop art collages. Rauschenberg settled the suit by giving a copy of the print to Beebe, and subsequently began taking his own photographs to use in his works. The documentation of the sale featured letters from the artist and the original source photographs that Rauschenberg used. Beebe also offered a signed copy of his original photograph.

Artnet has also broken auction records for several works that appeared in the special "Abstraction" auction that ended on February 15. Among the highlights: Sam Francis's early print Coldest Stone (1960) set a new record price of $5,040; Willem de Kooning's lithograph The Man and the Big Blond (1982) fetched $9,450; and Robert Motherwell's print Perpetual Summer (1985) sold for a new record of $5,040. A total of 44 prints sold over the three-week online auction for a total of $78,0675, including's five percent buyer's premium.

Cantankerous Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes faces two charges of "driving in a manner causing grievous bodily harm" in Australian court, according to press reports. Hughes was in Australia working on a documentary on the outback for the BBC last May when he suffered the accident that almost cost him his right leg. He is accused of causing the crash by veering into the path of an oncoming car, injuring three people in the other vehicle. Hughes, who faces up to 18 months in jail, pleaded innocent to the charges. The trial is slated to begin on May 8; he plans to stay in Australia until that date, utilizing his time there by completing the documentary and researching a book on the crash.

Right-wing Austrian politico Jörg Haider, who recently engineered the inclusion of his Freedom Party in Austria's new coalition government, has made attacks on art part of his populist campaign. According to the London Times, Haider has been waging a war against a proposed fresco for the Carinthian parliament by Cornelius Kolig. In an ironic twist that shows that history does repeat itself, the Nazis defaced the parliament's original paintings by Cornelius' grandfather, Anton Kolig, in 1938, denouncing the works as immoral, a charge Haider now lobs at the younger Kolig. In his capacity as Carinthian president, Haider also revoked the decision to buy a piece by avant-garde artist Meina Schellander, a move the artist believes is due to her work being "too modern," and the musical theater group Arbos has lost its subsidy in favor of projects focusing on folk music.

The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London is hosting "Beck's Futures," an exhibition sponsored by Beck's beer, showcasing "promising but unknown" British artists, Mar. 17-May 17, 2000. Beck's is also sponsoring a new prize totaling £45,000, which makes it Britain's largest art award (£20,000 goes to the winner and the rest is shared by the five other finalists), to be awarded Apr. 18. The winners are to be selected by a celebrity panel including Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, designer Agnès B, Frankfurt School of Art head Kasper König, Newcastle's Baltic Center for Contemporary Art director Sune Nordgren and video artists Jane and Louise Wilson. Damien Hirst was also supposed to be a judge, but according to reports he failed to show up due to "family problems." The ICA website features a preview of the show.

An exhibition of art in which the posers are artists rather than models? White Columns presents "Posers," a group exhibition of artists exploring the representation of self through role-playing, Mar. 24-Apr. 30, 2000. The show features posers deluxe Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, David Henry Brown, Jr., Johanna Burke, Fritz Chesnut, Charley Friedman, Anthony Goicolea, Oliver Irwin, Jennifer Karady, Nina Levy and Elizabeth Shapiro, and was conceived and organized by Chesnut and Karady. Call (212) 924-4212 for more info.

To inaugurate the opening of its new website, the Alternative Museum is offering four $3,000 stipends to artists who make art solely for the Internet. The deal also includes residencies with Alternative Museum webmasters Virgil Wong and Michael Pinto. For complete details and applications, send a SASE to the Alternative Museum, 594 Broadway, New York City 10012, or email

San Francisco nonprofit art space New Langton Arts has announced this year's winners of the Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, an award of $10,000 given to Bay Area artists for community-based projects that address issues of the local "urban ecology." The winners are Al Luhan for Corn in the Front Yard, a film addressing the effects of gentrification in the Mission district; Susan Leibovitz Steinman for Gardens-to-Go, a portable sculpture/garden in West Oakland; and Pearl Ubungen and Glenda Drew for Makibaka! Performance Project, a public march and series of performance workshops addressing the political situation of Filipino Americans in the South Market District (Makibaka means "struggle" in Tagalog).

A new policy requiring a state-issued certificate to work as a curator at South Korean museums awaits presidential approval. The law, which would start in 2004, requires private museums to hire only applicants that have passed a state-run curatorship test on museology and foreign language and 12 optional subjects including archaeology, art history and esthetics, reports the Korea Times.

Insiders tell us that Polly Sartori, senior director of the 19th-Century and Impressionist department at Christie's, has been lured away by rival Sotheby's. Sartori had been with the firm since 1984. It's not clear what her role will be at Sotheby's, and the auction house declined to comment on it.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech