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The New York Times delivered itself of an interminable think-piece on the Whitney Museum in last Sunday's magazine, written by Arthur Lubow and titled "The Curse of the Whitney." Kudos to the artists who did the accompanying illustrations, which all used as their starting point the same black-and-white photo of the museum. Kenny Scharf's Whitney Head was affecting on the magazine cover and Gary Simmons' Whitney as whirling dervish is perhaps his best work ever. In the meantime, the article was chock full of insults and info. A sampling:

· Whitney director Max Anderson has "news-center hair," was thought to be clueless about contemporary art by his former colleagues in Toronto (where he headed the Art Museum of Ontario), "used his Jewish ancestry on his mother's side to his advantage" with the art patrons in Toronto's "tightknit Jewish community" and is likely to "make the Whitney more sober, predictable and respectable."
· Former director David Ross mounted "sloppily curated, badly installed exhibitions" and "failed to give the museum either a comprehensive identity or financial stability."
· Former museum director Tom Armstrong was dismissed after 16 years because board member Laurence Tisch thought him anti-Semitic and the rest of the trustees considered the bow-tie wearing director a goof.
· Following the Whitney Biennial 2000, the museum will reserve two floors for the permanent collection (instead of one, as presently).
· Recent exhibitions apparently designed to draw crowds -- Andrew Wyeth landscapes and a "large, boring Duane Hanson show" -- posted disappointing attendance figures.
· Last year's operating deficit was $1 million in a $20-million budget.

A year after the Austrian government returned a $40-million collection of 250 works of art and antiquities to the Austrian branch of the Rothschild family, the 75-year-old Baroness Bettina der Rothschild has decided to sell the art at Christie's London. Highlights include a Frans Hals portrait (est. $4 million-$5.6 million), a medieval Latin Book of Hours (est. $2.4 million-$3.2 million) and a Louis XVI marquetry commode (est. $2.4 million-$4 million). The sale is being held in London rather than New York because some of the collection, including four Persian carpets and ivory-laden objects, cannot be imported into the U.S.

The collection was seized from the Rothschild palaces by the Nazis in 1938 and has been housed in Austrian museums ever since. Last year the Austrian government finally returned the Nazi-seized art to its original owners. The planned auction means that much of the art will leave Austria permanently. A spokesperson for the Austrian culture ministry told the New York Times, "Our responsibility is over, and now it is up to the family to decide what happens next."

The sale takes place on July 8; a selection of the material will be on view in New York on Apr. 26 when Christie's opens its new Rockefeller Center headquarters.

When it comes to DiMaggio-mania, even the august Metropolitan Museum of Art is getting into the act. Seven baseball cards spanning the career of the legendary Joe DiMaggio, who died on Mar. 8, will go on display there on Apr. 20, in anticipation of Joe DiMaggio Day at Yankee Stadium on Apr. 25. The cards, dating from his rookie year in 1936 through to 1945, come from the holdings of electrician Jefferson R. Burdick, who left the Met 300,000 cards (baseball and otherwise) before his death in 1963. The cards are on view in the American Wing through the World Series, Oct. 31, 1999.

Where does Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute curator Richard Martin get his acquisitions? Why, at the downtown Manhattan discounter, Century 21. Or so he confessed to the New York Times on the occasion of a show of new acquisitions in the Costume Institute galleries. The acquisition in question is a bias-cut Galliano dress, which he obtained for $200.

New Brooklyn Museum of Art chief Arnold Lehman is doing his best to put some zest into art programming in New York's biggest borough. When an exhibition devoted to Hip-Hop Culture was delayed, a traveling show of works by the ever-popular Mariko Mori was slotted in with two weeks notice. Now Brooklyn has announced a booking for Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, Oct. 2, 1999-Jan. 9, 2000. Among the show's top draws: a dead shark floating in a tank of formaldehyde by Damien Hirst, a cast of a man's head made of frozen blood by Marc Quinn and Ron Mueck's sculpture of his naked, dead father. Lehman told the New York Times that all he needs is $1 million to bring the show here….

The American Association of Museums holds its 94th annual meeting at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, Oh., Apr. 25-29, 1999. Called "Reinventing the Museum: Relevance & Renewal," the fest features some 140 panels as well as MuseumExpo99. Visit the AAM website [] or call (202) 289-1818 for more info.

South Bronx installation artist Pepon Osorio is the 1999 recipient of the CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts for Visual Arts. The $50,000 grant comes courtesy of CalArts and the Herb Alpert Foundation.

Stephen Henry Madoff in this month's Vogue on the art tastes of new cyber-millionaires like Eileen and Peter Norton and Pam and Dick KramlichJohn Richardson on Brice "The Greatest Painter of his Generation" Marden in this month's Vanity FairTodd Eberle's lovely photograph of Ann Hamilton in last week's New Yorker …. Art in America managing editor Richard Vine in the brochure for Marta Chilindrón's installation at El Museo del Barrio in New York….Jasper Johns in a guest-voice appearance on Sunday's The Simpsons, saying "So long, suckers!"

Leading muralist and social activist Eva Cockcroft died of breast cancer in Los Angeles on April 1, 1999. She taught art history and studio art at California State University at Long Beach, UCLA and the University of California at Irvine. Her last mural, Homage to Siqueiros, is a reconstruction of that artist's lost American Tropical, was painted in East Los Angeles in 1998 with Alessandra Moctesuma.