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The New Museum benefit on Apr. 29, 2001, held at the exclusive Regent Wall Street restaurant, featured actress Stockard Channing as honorary chair and Phillips chief Simon de Pury as auctioneer of the donated art, by Doug Aitken, Ross Bleckner, Los Carpinteros, Carroll Dunham, Zoe Leonard and many others. But highlight of the night was the "special presentation" made by Neo-Pop superstar Jeff Koons in honor of dealer Ileana Sonnabend -- a sculpture of a bikini (with no woman in it, apparently). It was promptly auctioned off for a revealing $100,000 to an eager bidder. Koons' 1998 porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) is the star lot in Sotheby's contemporary art sale in New York on May 15. It carries a presale estimate of $3 million-$4 million.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, is fortifying its forthcoming fall season with a survey of works by the Scottish artist Douglas Gordon, Sept. 16, 2001-Jan. 20, 2002. The eponymous show, billed as the first to appear in the U.S. and the most comprehensive assessment of his work to date, features photo and text works, video re-presentations of classic Hollywood films like Psycho and The Searchers, and several new works and special custom-made off-site projects.

Falling ad revenues have prompted the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to lay off 19 employees, including Joan Altabe, the newspaper's outspoken art and architecture critic. An editor explained that Altabe's role as a critic made it difficult to assign her to covering other news stories, and said that other reporters would cover her beat. Altabe's latest column was a less-than-enthusiastic assessment of a new public commission by James Rosenquist for the University of South Florida's $12-million pediatric research facility in St. Petersburg -- a 30-foot-long sculpture of a used band-aid, complete with a spot of dried blood. "Yuck," wrote Altabe in her lede.

The Los Angeles Antiques Show opens with its gala preview on May 3, 2001, benefiting the Women's Guild of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, before the show's 68 exhibitors get down to business May 4-6. Held at Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Air Center -- after it was transformed into a lavish set by the Los Angeles Design Group -- the fair features a collection of 200 art deco costume and set designs belonging to Judy Garland, shown publicly for the first time at the booth of Berry-Hill Galleries from New York.

Among the other top dealers are Bauman Rare Books (Philadelphia), Birdsall-Haase (St. Paul, Minn.), Rita Bucheit (Chicago), Ralph M. Chait Galleries (New York), Dillingham and Co. (San Francisco), The Finnegan Gallery (Chicago), Kenshire Galleries (New York) and Jayne Thompson Antiques (Harrodsburg, Ky.). Lectures on offer include Barbara Guggenheim of Guggenheim Asher Associates on "The Art of Collecting Art: What's Hot and What's Not," at 2 p.m. on May 4. Tickets to the gala begin at $250; for more info contact the Women's Guild, (310) 423-3667.

David Stuart Elliott has been named director of the new Mori Art Museum of the Mori Arts Center that is scheduled to open in 2003 on the top two floors -- the 52nd and 53rd -- of the Roppongi Hills development in central Tokyo. Elliott has headed the Moderna Museet in Stockholm since 1996 and earlier was director of the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, England. The Mori museum, underwritten by Japanese super-developer Minoru Mori (uncle to avant-garde art superstar Mariko Mori) and designed by New York architect Richard Gluckman, is planned as a 93,000-square-foot facility that will draw its exhibitions through collaborations with leading museums around the world.

In the selection of its founding director, the Mori was guided by an international committee of museum directors that included MoMA head Glenn Lowry, Pompidou chief Alfred Pacquement, Royal Academy exhibitions secretary Norman Rosenthal and Tate director Nicolas Serota. "David Elliott has a reputation for making exhibitions which explore new territory," said Serota, "and his appointment is a signal that the Mori Arts Center will be a center for innovation." "He will bring to the Mori Arts Center a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise," said Lowry, "as well as extensive international contacts that will be invaluable...."

London's Victoria and Albert Museum plans to drop its entry fees on Nov. 22, 2001, when it opens its new £31-million British Galleries. The announcement was made by new V&A chief Mark Jones on his first day on the job. Entrance to the museum currently costs £5 for adults. The 13 new British Galleries hold 3,000 objects surveying British design from the reign of Henry VIII to Queen Victoria.

Philadelphia-based artist (and sometime Artnet Magazine correspondent) Roberta Fallon and artist Libby Rosof launch their free art giveaway in downtown Pittsburgh today, May 1, 2001. The two artists, who have been collaborating for 10 years, have established something called the Zero .1 Percent for Art Commission, designed to distribute art for free to the public. As self-appointed presidents of the commission, Fallon and Rosof are passing out 500 interactive paper sculptures to the general public at and around Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh. The sculptures come in a white paper snack bag, which makes the entire package -- the artists ensure us -- "completely disposable, lightweight, and convenient to carry" (for photographs of a similar event, see A videotape of the give-away is to be included in the "Sculpture Now" show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, May 18-July 1, which coincides with the International Sculpture Center in Pittsburgh, June 6-10, 2001.

The winners of the annual DM 10,000 prizes at the Bonn Kunsthalle "Videonale 9" are Calin Dan (b. 1955, Romania, lives in Amsterdam); Killu Sukmit and Mari Laanemets (both b. 1975 Estonia, living in Tallin); and Kenny MacLeod (b. 1967 in Great Britain, lives in Amsterdam).

The J. Paul Getty Trust and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission have awarded more than $1 million to 164 organizations to support 305 summer internships at L.A. arts organizations. As a rule, students receive $3,000 for a 10-week internship. Info on applying for museum and visual arts internships can be found at the Getty's website.

The Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies presents a two-day conference on "The History of Exhibition" on May 11-12, 2001. Among the panelists are Princeton art historian Carol Armstrong, Columbia prof Benjamin Buchloh, Norton Family Foundation program director Susan Cahan, French National Museums curator Catherine David, Poznán art historian Piotr Piotrowski and U. Cal. Santa Barbara art historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau. Conference sessions take place at Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard's campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. For more info, email

In honor of May Day, the Mejor Vida Corp. -- the "Better Life Corporation" launched by artist Minerva Cuevas in 1998 and maintaining headquarters in Mexico City -- is issuing a free MVC Student ID Card that ostensibly can be used to obtain free or reduced museum admissions, discounts on airfare, ground transportation, travel accommodations and other benefits. Application for the card can be made online at, the New York company that distributes arts info via email. Cuevas, who is currently in residence at the Delfina Studio Program in London, established MVC "as a means of exploring the politics of contemporary hope .... with an unheard-of modality of esthetic and political intervention involving systematic acts of generosity purportedly fulfilling urgent demands from the public."

Rats, more than five years after launching Artnet Magazine, we finally have company in the online art biz. That would be, which launches today, May 1, 2001, edited by Saul Anton (he wrote for this site -- once) and promising the usual array of stuff. Check it out.

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