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|ART SELLS ON ARTNET.COM|
Three weeks after launching the first serious online auction of fine art, artnet.com has announced sales results for its top ten lots. The star of the sale is Lucio Fontana's painting Concetto Spaziale, Attese (1959), which sold for $168,000. Other results include $22,050 for Marc Chagall's color litho Red Maternity (1980); $18,900 for Roy Lichtenstein's 1965 color screenprint Sweet Dreams Baby!; $12,600 for David Hockney's 1985 color litho Tyler Dining Room (1985); $11,230 for a 1960s print of Ansel Adams' Valley View, Yosemite National Park; and $8,250 for Andy Warhol's print of Mick Jagger. "It's a significant step for the art market," said artnet.com ceo Hans Neuendorf. "You can't change the art market overnight, but we are certainly pushing the envelope." Prices include the five percent buyers premium. Artnet.com has also announced that Bryan Oliphant and Karen Amiel have joined the company as auction specialists in American art and contemporary art, respectively.
GREEK REVIVAL AT THE MET
Greek art is back at the Metropolitan Museum, reinstalled in glorious new galleries in the South Wing to balance the Egyptian art that has long held sway on the North end. The public gets its first chance to see the Met's new Greek galleries today, Apr. 20, 1999, following a three-year, $80-million overhaul. Marbles, bronzes, glass, armor and jewelry, painted vases and terra-cottas dating from the archaic and classical periods (sixth through fourth centuries B.C.) are freshly installed in six large neoclassical galleries that open off a 140-foot-long barrel-vaulted Beaux-Arts space (modeled on the public baths of ancient Rome) filled with natural light from three new skylights. Highlights include the marble statue of a wounded Amazon from the Roman imperial period, an Attic sphinx, the so-called New York Kouros (miraculously cleaned and now not gray but pink in color) and a draped kore that Met curator Carlos A. Picón said has "one of the best backsides in Greek art." Plus of course there are pots, black-figure and red-figure by Lydos, Exekias, the Amasis Painter, Eupronius and other masters. The new galleries are only phase two of a three-part, $150-million project. The Met's Roman court and garden, used since 1948 as a restaurant, is scheduled to revert to gallery space for Etruscan and Roman art sometime in 2002.
WHITNEY ESTATE ON THE BLOCK
Devotees of fine objets d'art are flocking to Sotheby's New York for the presale exhibition of fine art, furnishings and books from the estate of Mr. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney, on view prior to the six-session sale scheduled for Apr. 22-25, 1999. The exhibition and auction features more than 1,200 works acquired by one-time Art in America owner "Jock" Whitney and his wife, Betsey Cushing Whitney, for their five homes in New York, London, Saratoga Springs, Masapequa and Thomasville, Ga. The series of sales is expected to total in excess of $5 million, with individual estimates ranging from $200 to $950,000. Top lots include 17 affectionate letters from Claude Monet to his wife (est. $20,000-$30,000); George Stubbs' Lion Attacking a Stag, painted in enamel on Wedgwood porcelain (est. $650,000-$950,000); a group of 10 satirical watercolors by Thomas Rowlandson, including Revelry in the Tavern (est. $7,000-$9,000); a previously undocumented desk made by John Shearer of Martinsburg, W. Va., around 1818 (est. $12,000-$18,000); a pair of George III mahogany stools, ca. 1760, upholstered with needlework (est. $70,000-$90,000); and a portrait of two blonde-haired sisters wearing red dresses by William Matthew Prior (est. $40,000-$60,000). Among the (potential) bargains are a 19th-century New England stained pine cupboard (est. $1,000-$2,500) and a carved and gilded American Eagle wall plaque, ca. 1900 (est. $2,500-$4,000).
LOGAN CENTER OPENS IN S.F.
The California College of Arts and Crafts opened its new 12,000-square-foot Kent and Vicki Logan Center in San Francisco this weekend with "Spaced Out," a show of selections from the Logan collection (including works by Sharon Lockhart, Marc Quinn, Ron Mueck, Bruce Nauman and Cindy Sherman), and an installation by Fabrice Hybert. Located in an enormous former bus shed originally built in 1951, the new space features several galleries and space for a café that will open in the fall. Since moving to the Bay Area in 1990, the Logans have become major patrons of the local scene, purchasing nearly 350 works and donating the bulk of their collection to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The CCAC is directed by former Berkeley Art Museum curator Lawrence Rinder, who is also one of the six guest curators of next year's Whitney Biennial. The Logan Center is at 1111 Eighth St.; for info call (415) 551-9210.
LUMUMBA AT AFRICAN ART MUSEUM
The Museum for African Art in SoHo is expanding its mission to include the social and political context of contemporary Africa -- witness the new exhibition "A Congo Chronicle: Patrice Lumumba in Urban Art," Apr. 23-Aug. 15, 1999. Through a cycle of 50 paintings by Tshibumba Kanda-Matulu, the show depicts the rise and fall of Lumumba, the Congolese leader who became the country's first freely elected prime minister in 1960 only to be assassinated by a CIA-sponsored coup.
CONCEPTUALISM IN QUEENS
The Queens Museum of Art presents "Global Conceptualism: Points of Origin, 1950s-1980s," Apr. 28-Aug. 29, 1999, an exhibition of over 240 works by more than 135 artists. Organizers are Queens curator (now M.I.T. List Art Center director) Jane Farver, artist Luis Camnitzer and School of the Art Institute of Chicago prof Rachel Weiss. The show promises to put a political spin on the infamously dematerialized (and generally depoliticized) art movement, including works by artists in Eastern Europe, South Africa, China and Korea as well as Europe and the U.S.
TURNER PRIZE NOMINATIONS
Care to pass on some suggestions to the jury for next year's Turner Prize, the £20,000 award given by the Tate Gallery to honor the best new art in Britain? This year nominations are actually invited from the public at large, and can be made to Tate director Nicholas Serota via email through a form you fill out on the gallery's website, www.tate.org.uk. The deadline is May 16, 1999.
KELLY WORKS TO MOMA
Ellsworth Kelly has given the Museum of Modern Art three preparatory drawings for Sculpture for a Large Wall, the pivotal 1957 work acquired last year by the museum. Originally commissioned for the Philadelphia bus station, the 65-foot-long work was rescued from the shuttered building two years ago by the artist and his dealer, Matthew Marks. Kelly also gave the museum an early painting, and another early painting was promised to the museum by its chairman, Ronald S. Lauder, and his wife, Jo Carole Lauder. All of the works are on view at the museum in a special exhibition till July 6.
PRITZKER TO FOSTER
London architect Norman Foster has won the 1999 Pritzker Architecture Prize, the 22nd recipient of the $100,000 award. Foster, 63, has designed the new glass-and-steel dome crowning the renovated Reichstag in Berlin, the Y-shaped Hong Kong International Airport, subway stations in Bilbao, the headquarters skyscraper for Commerzbank in Frankfurt and an addition to the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
WHITNEY PHOTO CURATOR
The Whitney Museum has appointed Sylvia Wolf as its first full-time photo curator. She has been associate curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Whitney has also named Melissa Phillips, founding director of the Media Workshop, as head of education and programming. She succeeds Constance Wolf, who now directs the Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
TATE BANKSIDE TO RULE: SEROTA
London's new Tate Gallery of Modern Art, due to open in Bankside Power Station in May 2000, is "bound to transform artists' ambitions," Tate director Nicholas Serota told the London Sunday Times. Brit artists are fervid for the new Tate, the paper reports. "It's about a new world, a new culture that rises out of the ashes of the industrial revolution," said sculptor Antony Gormley. The 1940s power station was renovated by Swiss architects Herzog & De Meuron. Art from 1900 to the present will be displayed on three floors, in rooms up to 60 feet high. Almost every space has natural light, the top two floors are made of glass and have views across London. This summer, New York artist Mark Dion will beachcomb the Thames in front of the old and new Tates and exhibit the results in a show that is part local history, part art.
AUCTION SLUMP IN ASIA
Auction sales in Asia dropped 40 percent last year, a casualty of the regional economic crisis, according to Sotheby's. Carlton Rochell Jr., Sotheby's managing director for China and Southeast Asia, told Reuters that "middle market" items -- valued at HK$35,000 to HK$350,000 -- were off, but at the top end of the market, items worth above HK$350,000 were still selling briskly. Rochell said that Hong Kong residents led in the bidding, followed by Taiwanese and then Singaporeans. Sotheby's Hong Kong is holding its next series of auctions on Apr. 26-28.
SFMOMA GETS BANK HOARD
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has acquired 10 major 20th-century paintings for about $60 million. Among them are a 1960 Jasper Johns, 0 through 9, Chuck Close's 1984 portrait Phyllis, and works by Sam Francis, Yves Klein and Fernand Léger. Though SFMOMA declined to comment, New York Times reporter Carol Vogel identified the seller as Japan's Fukuoka City Bank.
SUSHI, SAKE AND SEX AT ASIAN ART MUSEUM
San Francisco art critic David Bonetti reports that the Asian Art Museum, as part of its "ill-conceived move" to the city's former Main Library, plans to remove the historical murals in the building to create what architect Gae Aulenti conceives as a two-level lobby that will double as a party space. To celebrate city approval of the plan, the museum hosted a "Sushi, Sake and Sex" party in which erotic Japanese prints were projected on the walls as part of the festivities. "When we talk about the museum being transformed from temple to entertainment center," Bonetti wrote, "no one really had sex club in mind. Only in San Francisco!"
BALKAN BULLETIN BOARD
Postmasters gallery in New York's Chelsea district has issued an open call to artists to post art works and other expressions of opinion on the war in the Balkans, beginning Apr. 25, at the gallery, 459 West 19th Street. The postings go on public view Apr. 27-May 8. A corresponding digital bulletin board on the web is hosted at the Thing.
NEW MEMBERS ELECTED TO ADAA
Bringing the membership up to 148 galleries worldwide, the Art Dealers Association of America has invited three New York dealers to join the organization -- Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Matthew Marks and Jill Newhouse.
WOLOHOJIAN TO FOGG
Stephan Wolohojian has been appointed associate curator of paintings, sculpture and decorative arts at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard. Wolohojian currently teaches art history at the University of Delaware.