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A deluxe trip to Las Vegas to attend the grand opening of Steve Martin's private art collection at the Bellagio Gallery in Las Vegas on Apr. 6, 2001, was knocked down on eBay for a grand total of $5,700 in an auction that closed on Mar. 31. A total of 91 bids vied for the "Steve Martin Magical Art Experience Bellagio," beginning at $1, a common lure for sellers on eBay. The proceeds of the auction benefit the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation. The package includes round-trip airfare for two from anywhere in the USA, two nights at the Bellagio resort, two tickets to the opening on Apr. 6 (where works by Picasso, Bacon, Lichtenstein, Hopper, Eric Fischl and Cindy Sherman, among others, will be on view), a personally dedicated catalogue (with essay by Steve Martin), two tickets for Cirque du Soleil and, of course, the opportunity to be photographed with Steve Martin. As of press time, the winner of the item remains anonymous.

Famed nudie photog Spencer Tunick, who has taken his fight to pose his subjects nude in public to the U.S. Supreme Court, is now featured on HBO. Naked States, a documentary produced and directed by Arlene Donnelly, premieres on the pay-cable channel this Sunday, Apr. 8, at 10 p.m. EST, right after the latest episode of The Sopranos. The film follows Tunick on a cross-country voyage during which he sought to photograph as many naked people in as many states as possible. The documentary ends at Tunick's successful opening night at Chelsea's I-20 Gallery. HBO repeats the film on Apr. 11 at midnight.

Lame duck New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is continuing his embarrassing quest to establish a "decency panel" to oversee New York City's art institutions and the blasphemous things they seem inclined to exhibit. Giuliani recently floated some candidates for the as-yet-unformed panel, including Leonard Garment (one-time advisor to fallen President Richard Nixon), artist Peter Max (pursued by the IRS for tax evasion), lawyer Raoul Felder (the mayor's divorce attorney) and NYC parks commissioner Henry J. Stern (whose office is under investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged racial discrimination). Playboy magazine artist Leroy Neiman has turned down a spot on the vaudevillian panel.

After entering the art world with its "Curiously Strong Collection" of contemporary art, recently debuting at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, the Altoids mint company has done it again. This time, three artists have created limited-edition designs for the trademark Altoids tin. Downtown celebrity photog Jessica Craig-Martin -- whose glamorous self was featured in last Sunday's New York Times Home Magazine -- is joined in the project by fellow artists Virgil Marti and Dario Robleto. Curious? Click here to see the new designs.

Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron have received this year's $100,000 Pritzker Architecture Prize, to be awarded at Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, on May 7, 2001. The pair's art-related designs include the Tate Modern in London plus commissions for an expansion for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and a new building for the de Young Museum in San Francisco. They are also working on a new Astor Hotel in New York with 2000 Pritzker laureate Rem Koolhaas.

HOLLIS SIGLER, 1948-2001
Hollis Sigler, 53, Chicago-based painter whose autobiographical works focused on her own struggle with breast cancer, died of the disease on Mar. 29 at her home in Prairie View, Ill. She exhibited with Carl Hammer Gallery and Printworks Gallery in Chicago and Steven Scott Gallery in Baltimore, and was a founding member of the women's collaborative Artemisia in Chicago. Earlier this year she was awarded the College Art Association's distinguished artist award for lifetime achievement.
-- compiled by Sherry Wong
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