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Artnet News
4/18/00
 
     
  RAUSCHENBERG TROVE FOR NEW GEHRY GUGG?
Robert Rauschenberg has promised to give more than 100 major paintings and sculptures, plus drawings and photos, to help fill a proposed new Guggenheim Museum designed by deconstructivist architect Frank O. Gehry on the South Manhattan waterfront. Under the scheme, the Gehry facility would have 12,000 square feet of permanent gallery space devoted to Rauschenberg, plus a study center, the artist's archives and administrative offices for the Rauschenberg Foundation. Guggenheim director Thomas Krens is selling the Gehry proposal hard, unveiling a gallery full of models, drawings and high-tech renderings of the fantastic design on Apr. 18 at the Gugg's Frank Lloyd Wright facility. The 520,000-square-foot building, to be erected on connecting platforms resting on three East River piers, would cost an estimated $900 million. It would feature contemporary work, while the Wright building would hold classic moderns. Stay tuned.

MOMA, TATE TEAM UP FOR E-BUSINESS
The Museum of Modern Art in New York and London's Tate Gallery are joining the Internet gold rush. The transatlantic supermuseums used their personal PR agency, the New York Times, to announce plans for a new profit-making e-business partnership that would sell everything from furniture, books and accessories to tickets for art events. "A steady stream of income to ensure a strong future is critical," said MoMA chief Glenn Lowry.

The venture seems speculative at this point -- it has no name, an uncertain launch date and fuzzy financing details -- but Lowry assured art reporter Carol Vogel that it didn't conflict with the museum's educational mission. "No trustee or staff member of either museum can invest in this company should it go public," he said. "It will have an independent board." Other observers saw the scheme as yet another move away from scholarship towards marketing. "It's about greed and overexpansion," exclaimed one cranky curator. "Sounds to me like they're racing down Bullshit Boulevard!"

HACKERS HIT GUGG BILBAO
Hackers broke into the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao website for a few hours on Apr. 16, inserting slogans praising the Basque terrorist group ETA, showing photographs of imprisoned ETA members and featuring pro-separatist statements in English. The site was fixed later that day and no traces remain of the intrusion.

The Bilbao museum has been an ETA target before: a policeman was killed late Oct. 1997 in a shoot-out with three terrorists who were disguised as gardeners working on Jeff Koons' giant Puppy sculpture. ETA, by the way, stands for Euskadi ta Askatuta, which translates as "Basque Homeland and Liberty."

CRIME WAVE HITS DETROIT ART
Public institutions and private collectors in Detroit, Mich. are tightening security and looking over their shoulders after a rash of brazen thefts of valuable (and heavy) outdoor art, the Detroit Free Press reports. FBI officials aren't sure whether the thefts are connected, but they suspect that the works are being resold to unwary collectors worldwide. Among the recent losses:
  • Five bronze boys from a composite piece weighing 350 pounds stolen in February from the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.

  • Four bronze sculptures valued at more than $32,000 taken in August from late sculptor Marshall Fredericks' lakefront property.

  • 13 bronze-and-wrought iron light fixtures stolen last fall from outside campus buildings at Marygrove College.

  • A four foot-tall bronze lamp valued at $27,000 stolen in October from the Assumption Grotto Church.

  • Five antique bronze eight foot-tall lampposts stolen in December from a Hare Krishna mansion in east Detroit.

  • Four light fixtures and six light posts valued at $50,000 filched during winter break from the University of Detroit Mercy.

  • A sculpture of bronze dolphins weighing 300 pounds stolen from the Cranbrook Art Academy last week.

BUCKSBAUM AWARD TO PAUL PFEIFFER
Video artist Paul Pfeiffer, whose Fragment of a Crucifixion in the Whitney Biennial 2000's was a critical fave, is seeing his star rise even higher. Pfeiffer has been selected as the first recipient of the Whitney's new $100,000 Bucksbaum Award. On May 1, the New York artist will receive a chic trapezoidal trophy designed by Tiffany & Co. and become the museum's official artist-in-residence for the next two years.

The award was launched by Whitney trustee Melva Bucksbaum's Bucksbaum Family Foundation "to honor our nation's most promising artists." This year's jury consists of director Maxwell Anderson, contemporary art curator Lawrence Rinder, Renaissance Society education director Hamza Walker, Stuart Collection director Mary L. Beebe and ArtPace founder Linda Pace.

GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIPS 2000
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded this year's fellowships totaling $6,345,000 to 182 U.S. and Canadian artists, scholars and scientists (that's an average of $34,860 each). Among the winners are artists Joan Banach, Tom Bills, Nina Bovasso, Diana Cooper, Jessica Diamond, Jill Godmilow, Vanalyne Green, Alicia Henry, Michael B. Holden, Steve Keister, Jill Levine, Stephen Mueller, Ed Osborn, Richard Ryan, Jacqueline Saccoccio, Glen Seator, Judy Stevens and Gwen Strahle, and photographers Ernesto Bazan, Veronica Day, Laura Letinsky, Marian Roth, Stephen Tourlentes and Jeanette Williams. Other Gugg fellows include sometime Artforum critic Hilton Als, art historian Lawrence Nees, art critic Ingrid D. Rowland, Georgia O'Keeffe biographer Roxana Robinson and art historian Kristine Stiles.

READINGS AT THE DRAWING CENTER
The Drawing Center in SoHo follows up its wildly popular series of Wednesday night readings organized by novelist and critic Linda Yablonsky with "Line Reading," a new series of literary events organized by poet and critic Lytle Shaw. The readings feature works that are hybrids of literature and art, and are accompanied by "Line Reading for Children," specializing in readings by children's book authors accompanied by visual presentations. The first installment of "Line Reading," is tonight, Apr. 18, at 7 p.m., and boasts poets Kenward Elmslie, Bernadette Mayer and Brian Kim Stefans; admission is $5. The first children's event, on Apr. 27 at 4 p.m., features Ivan Charmayeff; admission is free. Call (212) 219-2166 for more information.

PHILLY FETES GRAFFITI
Three Philadelphia art institutions are teaming up to present "Wall Power," May 13-July 30, 2000, a show "exploring the social, political and artistic impact of mural-based art." The Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art shows graffiti art by Espo (Steve Powers), Reas (Todd James) and Twist (Barry McGee), as well as photos by Joseph Bartscherer. The Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial is presenting "Philadelphia Murals: 1970-2000," with works by Lynn Denton, Patricia Ingersoll, Cavin Jones, Don Kaiser and Clarence Wood, Diane Keller, David McShane, Dan Polanco, Meg Saligman, Paul Santoleri, Parris Stancell, Michael Webb, Lily Yeh and Isaiah Zagar. And the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program offers weekend tours of a selection of the city's 1,900 murals. For more info, go to the web -- the ICA, the Fleisher or the Mural Arts Program.

ICP INFINITY AWARDS
The International Center of Photography presents its 16th annual Infinity Awards on May 11. Silhouettist supreme Adam Fuss wins the art award and Zach Gold the young photographer award. Other prizes go to Nathan Lyons (lifetime achievement), James Nachtwey (photojournalism), Helmut Newton (publication, for Sumo) and Andy Grundberg (criticism). The Cornell Capa Award for distinguished achievement in photography will be revealed at the event, which is being hosted ABC journalist Peter Jennings. Call (212) 860-1777, ext. 141, for tickets.

NAUMAN, RODNEY GRAHAM AT DIA
The next big long-term installation at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York is called ...the nearest faraway place..., an installation featuring Rodney Graham and Bruce Nauman, May 10-June 18. The exhibition features new and recent works reflecting both artists' interest in cinema Westerns.

BRITAIN TO CONFRONT TRADE IN STOLEN ANTIQUES
British arts minister Alan Howarth is set to announce the creation of a panel of experts to examine the illicit trade in art, antiques and antiquities in the U.K., which the London Times says is one of the worst in the world and second in value only to narcotics. The move comes at a time when the country's Commons culture committee prepares to question the British Art Market Federation, which represents auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's and the Antiques Dealers Association. It is expected that the committee will call for dealers to be licensed and to keep an "art log book" to trace previous owners and the history of works offered for sale.

EDWARD GOREY, 1925-2000
Edward Gorey, 75, artist and author of over 100 books featuring a macabre gothic sensibility and a Surrealist love of the absurd, died of a heart attack on Apr. 15 at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass. In an interview in 1998 he said to the Los Angeles Times, "I'm just sitting here in an ever-increasing pile of debris. No, I'm just sitting here, coughing."

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech