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Artnet News
Lawyers for beleaguered auction house Sotheby's went to U.S. Federal District Court in Manhattan on Apr. 12 to register a formal denial of all accusations of wrongdoing in response to civil suits stemming from the U.S. Justice Department's notorious allegations of price-fixing in the art auction market. Sotheby's, which asked the judge to dismiss the civil suits, admits only that company employees coordinated sale dates with Christie's personnel to allow prospective clients to attend sales at both houses. No response to the civil suits has been released yet from Christie's.

Veteran D.C. curator Terrie Sultan, who ran the contemporary art show at the Corcoran Gallery for 12 years, has been appointed director of the Blaffer Gallery at the University of Houston. Sultan initiated the Corcoran's "Gallery One" series addressing current trends in contemporary art, and has been responsible for more than 40 shows during her tenure, including those featuring the work of Ida Applebroog, Petah Coyne, William T. Wiley, Robert Morris and Louise Bourgeois. Since 1991 she was organizing curator of the Corcoran Biennial exhibitions. At the Blaffer she succeeds Don Bacigalupi, who recently left to become director of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Following the lead of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which went online Apr. 10 with a list of paintings whose provenance suggests that they may have been looted during the Holocaust, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have listed works with questionable ownership histories on their websites. The AIC lists 548 sculptures and paintings, including works by Max Beckmann, Paul Klee and Auguste Rodin, while the Met names 393 questionable works in its European paintings collection, which numbers 2,700 works. The Museum of Modern Art is set to follow suit, posting information and images of 15 paintings with murky provenances this week.

The Boston MFA announced yesterday that a family has made a valid claim to a painting in its collection that was stolen and sold during the Nazi occupation in France, according to the Boston Herald. The museum is discussing an amicable resolution with the claimants, who reportedly want the painting to remain at the MFA. The museum has declined to reveal the identity of the family or details about the painting.

New York investment advisor Dana Giacchetto, indicted for securities fraud after allegedly stealing a total of $6 million from high-profile Hollywood clients, was busted again at Newark International Airport on Apr. 13. Prosecutors say he was trying to flee the country carrying $4,000 in small bills, 88 airline tickets to various destinations including Tokyo, Frankfurt and Singapore and an expired passport altered to look like it was valid. According to S.E.C. filings, Giacchetto's art world clients included dealers Marianne Boesky, Mary Boone and PaceWildenstein chairman Arnie Glimcher, and painters Diti Almog, Ross Bleckner, George Condo, Karin Davie, Robert Ginder and David Salle, as well as dancer/choreographer Karole Armitage.

High-end Fifth Avenue retailer Bergdorf Goodman is featuring works of art in its windows from Apr. 14 to 25 as part of a charity benefit for the Christopher Reeves Paralysis Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injury Project at Rutgers University. The benefit features works by 45 artists, including Jennifer Bartlett, Ross Bleckner, Christo, Chuck Close, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg and Julian Schnabel. The auction is slated to be held at Sotheby's on May 8.

Dr. Wen C. Fong has announced his retirement as the Metropolitan Museum of Art's first consultative chairman of the department of Asian art and the museum's curator of Chinese painting and calligraphy, effective June 30. Fong, who has been with the Met for nearly 30 years, oversaw the museum's expansion and renovation of its Asian art galleries and organized dozens of exhibitions, including "the Great Bronze Age of China" in 1980, "Splendors of Imperial China: Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei" in 1996 and most recently, "the Artist as Collector: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the C.C. Wang Family Collection" in 1999. A search has been instituted to find a successor to head the department of Asian art.

Art collectors take note -- the Rema Hort Mann Foundation holds its silent auction fundraiser on Apr. 27 at 8:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m. featuring a guided group tour at MoMA and items donated by e-flux, Gucci and Sony, among others. The auction is being held at 155 Hudson St.; tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door, and patron tickets are $100 ($50 to be applied to the first auction purchase). For more info call (212) 431-1622. The foundation, which funds emerging artists in New York as well as providing support to people suffering from cancer, was established in 1995 by art collectors Michael and Susan Hort in honor of their late daughter.

Another chance for savvy art collectors to do a good deed and possibly scoop up contemporary art at bargain prices. The Little Red School House, a small private school that's a Greenwich Village institution, is holding a silent auction May 4-6 at Thread Waxing Space. Among the works up for grabs are submissions by Donald Baechler, Amanda Church, Todd Oldham and Ruth Root. Call (212) 477-5316 for more details.

Attention, artists: the Dostoevsky Foundation is accepting submissions for the Third International Festival of Experiment and Performance taking place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in Aug. 2000. The call is open to all artists working in areas of conceptual art, multimedia, video, photography, performance and live arts who are exploring "new and unconventional directions in art." The deadline is April 28; call Tim Gadasky in London at 081-858-6831 for more info.

Eurotrash zooming into New York for SoHo art weekends will soon have a new place to hang their hats when the TriBeCa Grand Hotel opens Apr. 30. Located at 2 Ave. of the Americas (between Walker St. and White St.), the sister building to the famed SoHo Grand Hotel has all the five-star features, including high-speed Internet access in every room, allowing perusal of Artnet Magazine to see what's going on at the galleries nearby. The hotel is the work of Hartz Mountain Industries pet food magnate Leonard Stern and his son Emanuel Stern, and nightly rates there range from an immoderate $399 for a room to an extravagant $1499 for a suite. Call (212) 519-6600 for more details.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech