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Artnet News

In case you weren't paying attention, New York's spring auction season began last week with a photography sale at Christie's, Apr. 18, 2001. Results were mixed, with only 58 percent of the 385 lots finding buyers. The sale totaled $2,539,175 on 222 lots sold. Among the top ten were photos by Diane Arbus ($88,125), Sam Taylor-Wood ($64,625), Man Ray ($52,875 and $47,000), Brassai ($44,650), Andreas Feininger ($41,125), Ansel Adams ($41,125 -- a print of Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico made in 1978) and Walker Evans ($37,600). The only record in the top ten, however, was set by Radio City Music Hall, NYC (1977), a time-lapse photo of a glowing movie screen by Hiroshi Sugimoto that went for $30,550, a record for the artist.

The photo sales continue this week, with a sale auctioning "photographs from the Museum of Modern Art" that starts tomorrow. Stay tuned.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a leader in cyberspace as well as in the flesh-and-blood world of actual objects. The Met's site -- at, of course -- has long featured an online store, an image bank of 3,500 objects from the collection and a feature that allows users to customize their own selections from the Met collection. Now, the museum website has gone 3D, offering "virtual reality" tours of six period rooms in the American wing, ranging from the 1674 Hart Room to the 1859 Gothic Library and a domestic interior space from 1912-14 by Frank Lloyd Wright. The sexy high-tech feature offers 360-degree pans of each room, and provides historical and contextual information on the decorative objects on view. The VR was designed by Icon Medialab. The Met says its website has gotten 5.2 million hits since its launch in Jan. 2000.

Artifacts from the holy Temple Mount site are being sold on the black market in Israel, according to New York Post columnist Uri Dan. The items include silver coins and ostrakons (pottery with Hebrew ink inscriptions) from the First and Second Temple eras, Dan says. Palestinian plunderers recently were offering a decorated menorah from the Temple Mount site for $1 million. Dan says the illegal trade can be traced to digging by the Muslim religious directorate for a new mosque.

The Henry Luce Foundation has granted $10 million to the Brooklyn Museum of Art to construct a Luce Center for American Art with more than 3,000 objects from the collection on public view. The center is slated to open in 2002.

More art dealers are pulling up stakes and heading for the West Chelsea art district in New York City. After 20 years and seven locations, the East Village art scene founder Gracie Mansion is opening her new gallery at 504 W. 22nd Street on May 2, 2001, with an exhibition of works by the Belgian artist Jimi Dams. And SoHo bigfoot Sean Kelly opens on Apr. 28, 2001, at his new Chelsea space at 528 W. 29th with a show of new works by Jim Casebere (picturing the gallery space as if it were flooded with water). Kelly's 7,000 square feet were designed by Stephen Lerner.

The newest addition to the Miami gallery scene is Casas Riegner, founded by 28-year-old Bogota native Catalina Casas to focus on emerging Latin artists. The 3,000-square-foot new space, designed by Juan Carlos Arcila Duque at 21 NE 39th Street in Miami's chic new Design District, opens on May 3 with an installation by Colombian artist Ana Mercedes Hoyos. The exhibition, titled "Sustitucion de un Cultivito," a reference to a government program encouraging farmers to plant crops other than coca, includes serigraphs of 60 sunflowers. Future shows are to feature works by Argentine artists Patricio Reig and Matilde Marin.

Wendy's New York Armory Show goes on view at the Seventh Regiment Armory at Park Avenue and 67th Street, April. 25-29, 2001. Over 100 international dealers are on hand with their wares, which include an impressive selection of antique garden items just in time for spring. Admission is $10. For more info, call (914) 698-3442.

Britain's Channel Four created its own yBa in a month for a program titled "Faking it." Decorator Paul O'Hare was issued a hip outfit, thick black glasses and even had to chop off his mullet to achieve the artist look necessary to fool the London scene. Slade-trained artist Laura Godfrey Isaacs briefed the Liverpool man in everything necessary to paint, talk and socialize like an artist. Upon viewing a collection of other young contemporary artists, O'Hare related only to Damien Hirst's butterfly paintings, "I have had insects get caught up in my paint like that before, and I always feel sorry for them," he said.

His work, self portraits of himself as a child, finally appeared alongside other contemporary paintings by Nigel Love, Ollie Beck, Shane Bradford and Richard Bartle. Critics had to guess which artist was the fake. Tim Marlow, editor of Tate Magazine, and Rose Aidin, a critic for the Independent on Sunday, picked out an embarrassed Richard Bartle as the fake. Blue Gallery director Giles Baker Smith, on the other hand, was able to spot the true phony. An exhibition of Paul O'Hare's work opens next week at E1 Gallery, 63 Squirries St., London.

The Cleveland Museum of Art recently acquired The Dream (1931) by Salvador Dalí. The painting was one of three works Dalí himself selected for the "First International Surrealist Exhibition" in London in 1936. The painting goes on view Apr. 27 for six months before entering the museum's conservation studio.