AUCTION BIGWIGS INDICTED...
A federal grand jury in New York has indicted former Sotheby's chairman A. Alfred Taubman and former Christie's International chairman Anthony J. Tennant on price-fixing charges in the ongoing auction scandal, according to a report by the Associated Press. Taubman and Tennant, who have both adamantly denied the charges in the past, could face three-year prison terms and fines of $350,000 or more if convicted. "The case will show that these individuals mastered the art of price fixing," said James A. Griffin, deputy attorney general in charge of the criminal antitrust enforcement division. Sotheby's former chief executive, Diana D. Brooks, pled guilty to price-fixing charges last October; she has not yet been sentenced.
...AND THEIR AUCTION HOUSES MAY BE FOR SALE
Both Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses may be on the block themselves, according to today's New York Times. In her expert preview of next week's sales of Impressionist and modern art, Carol Vogel noted that François Pinault, the French luxury mogul who bought Christie's in May 1998 for about $1.2 billion, "has been quietly approaching investors to try to unload what has become a highly expensive asset." As for the 70-something Taubman, he has previously declared his intent to unload his controlling interest in Sotheby's.
In her report, Vogel also noted that the mood of the art market "could best be described as jittery," and suggested that the number three player in the high-end art auction business, Phillips Auctioneers, had guaranteed Heinz Berggruen a total of $120 million to nab auction rights to his collection of five Cézannes and two van Goghs. If so, it is an expensive gamble. "It is thought that the collection will bring more than $80 million when it is offered on Monday," May 7, 2001, Vogel wrote.
INAUGURATIONS... Moniquemeloche gallery opens on May 4, 2001, at 951 W. Fulton Market in Chicago's West Loop. Meloche has worked at the Chicago MCA and at Rhona Hoffman Gallery and the Vedanta Gallery; she debuts her new space with a show of works by Joel Ross. Additional news from www.moniquemeloche.com... Julia Friedman Gallery opens at 118 N. Peoria in Chicago on May 4 as well with an installation by Eduardo Kac. Other artists showing at the gallery are Shu Lea Cheang, Jun'ya Yamaide, Natalia Blanch and Joseph Nechvatal. For more, contact email@example.com... Michael Kohn Gallery inaugurates its new location in Los Angeles at 8071 Beverly Boulevard at the corner of Crescent Heights with a group exhibition, May 18-June 16, 2001. Among the exhibitors are Bruce Conner, Walton Ford, April Gornick, Mark Innerst, James Nares, Katherine Sherwood and Mark Tansey. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org...
...AND A CORRECTION Artnet News listed an incorrect address a few days ago for the new Los Angeles branch of New York's Forum Gallery; it debuts the new space with a group show on May 18 at 8069 Beverly Boulevard at Crescent Heights. At the same time, Forum plans to expand here in New York. Currently located on the fifth floor of 745 Fifth Avenue, Forum inaugurates a new fourth floor space, dubbed Forum on Four, on May 23, 2001, with "Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Movie Theatre Paintings of Davis Cone." The exhibition subsequently appears in the L.A. gallery.
ROLE OF THE ART CRITIC IN L.A.
No jokes, please! The Art Dealers Association of California (ADAC) presents a panel discussion on "The Role of the Art Critic in L.A." on Thursday, May 3, 2001, at 7 p.m. at Butterfields, 7601 Sunset Boulevard. Participants include critics Peter Frank and Michael Duncan and art historian Betty Ann Brown, moderated by Paul Karlstrom, West Coast Director of the Archives of American Art. For reservations or further information, please phone (310) 652-7465.