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The British art world is gearing up for the gala opening of the Tate Modern on May 11, when Queen Elizabeth II will inaugurate the building. The £134-million facility, a former Bankside power station designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, was converted into a massive international art museum by the leading Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron. The brick-clad steel building, topped by a new two-story glass structure which provides natural light, features three levels of galleries as well as a café, bookstore, auditorium, bar and restaurant.

In a controversial move, the museum is presenting its permanent collection of modern art spanning the century, "Collection 2000," in four themed groups based on the genres established by the French Academy in the 17th century: Landscape, Still Life, the Nude and History. The scheme leads to unusual juxtapositions of work that would not ordinarily hang together, and has already elicited heavy criticism from Brit art writers. "Collection 2000" is accompanied by "Between Cinema and a Hard Place," a survey of art at the end of the 20th century that features works by Miroslaw Balka, Matthew Barney, Christian Boltanski, Janet Cardiff and George Bures-Miller, James Coleman, Stan Douglas, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Gary Hill, Rebecca Horn, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Anish Kapoor, Tatsuo Miyajima, Juan Munoz, Bruce Nauman, Cornelia Parker, Gabriel Orozco, Julian Opie, Thomas Schutte, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall and Rachel Whiteread, on view May 12-Dec. 2000.

The Dahesh Museum has renewed its efforts to take over the "lollipop building" at Two Columbus Circle designed in 1964 by Edward Durell Stone for A&P heir Huntington Hartford's Gallery of Modern Art. Since then, the nine-story structure has housed the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and, more recently, stood empty as a possible target for demolition. Dahesh director David Farmer says the museum, which specializes in 19th-century European academic art, is a perfect fit for Stone's Arabian Nights fantasy. But with the New York real estate market hotter than a pistol, mega-developers like Donald Trump are eyeing the prime site. A decision is due within 60 days.

Global superdealer Larry Gagosian unveils his new gallery in London's Bankside district on May 9 with Vanessa Beecroft's first solo project in the U.K., featuring her trademark tableaux of models, this time described as having "an iconic British look." The show is followed by a survey of California artist Chris Burden's performances and events from the early 1970s and '80s, May 10-June 17. The London branch is co-directed by Molly Dent-Brocklehurst, formerly of Sotheby's, and Stefan Ratibor and is designed by Caruso St. John architects.

Blue-collar rocker Sheryl Crow canceled a fundraising concert at the Museum of Modern Art planned for Tuesday, May 2, after she learned she would have to cross a picket line thrown up by the museum's striking union, the Professional and Administrative Staff of the Museum of Modern Art (PASTA-MOMA). The exclusive Crow concert -- when was the last time MoMA hosted a rock concert? -- was put together by MoMA director Glenn Lowry's office. Things have slowed down considerably at the museum, as most of the curatorial and office staff is out. Among the stars on the curatorial staff standing in solidarity with the union are Darsie Alexander (photography), Sally Berger (film and video), David Frankel (publications), Judy Hecker (prints and illustrated books), Laura Hoptman (drawings), Cary Levine (painting and sculpture), Matilda McQuaid (architecture and design) and Michelle Yun (painting and sculpture). The current starting salary for some 40 positions at the museum is $17,000 per year, and the median salary of all PASTA members is less than $29,000.

Changes are afoot at Muse X Editions, the pioneering digital print publisher in Los Angeles. The firm has spun off its commercial imaging business, which will allow Muse X to focus more strongly on editions, including projects with Nobuyosji Araki, Christian Marclay, Jack Pierson and a collaboration between Robert Longo and John Lamka. The publisher is also currently seeking a replacement for founding gallery director Jane Hart, who departed to dedicate herself more fully to Lemon Sky, an exhibition space she opened three years ago.

Dieu Donné Papermill presented its first awards to Chuck Close, Ruth Lingen, Richard Solomon and Joseph Wilfer for their collaborative contribution to the field of paper art at a ceremony attended by over 400 guests at Pace Prints. The awards were presented in conjunction with the exhibitions "Chuck Close: Recent Prints," on view at Pace Prints, Apr. 8-May 6, and "In-Progress: New Editioned Paperwork by Chuck Close," at the papermill's gallery, Apr. 22-June 3. Dieu Donné, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the art of hand papermaking, is located at 433 Broome Street; call (212) 226-0573 for more info.

The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's "Art Auction 2000" broke fundraising records for the museum, grossing $1.1 million, the highest results in a decade. More than 800 people attended the event at MOCA at the Geffen Contemporary, where 350 works by contemporary artists were auctioned. Louise Bourgeois' Nature Study (1984) was the top lot at $75,000. Other highlights included Juan Munoz's Standing Arab at London (1999), which fetched $58,000; Richard Artschwager's Untitled (Baseball Drawings) (1969), which sold for $55,000; a wall drawing commission by Raymond Pettibon, which sold for $44,000; Ed Ruscha's Fountain, Sunset Hollywood (1999), which went for $40,000; a set of seven apple woodcuts (1983) by Roy Lichtenstein, which sold for $34,000; and an untitled Chris Burden drawing (1999) that sold for $20,000.

The results are in for Doyle New York's May 2 couture and textiles sale, which was previewed in Artnet Magazine by Brook S. Mason in New Craze for Vintage Fashion. It did about as well as expected; some 97 percent of the items sold by value, bringing in a total of $365,114, (est. $300,000-$400,000). The Charles James 1953 evening gown with a boned hip line skirt from the collection of D.C. hostess Gwen Cafritz was the top lot, fetching $16,000 (est. $10,000-$15,000). The Halston animal stripe sequined sheaths didn't do quite so well, going for $400 and $450 (est. $500-$700). The Hermes Kelly bags did better, depending on their color -- black was the favorite at $7,500 (est. $4,000-$6,000), followed by cognac at $6,500 (est. $2,000-$3,000), red at $6,500 ($2,000-$3,000) and green at $6,000 (est. $4,000-$6,000). Finally, the Schiaparelli sleeve gloves and hat in emerald green velvet beat all expectations when they sold for $15,000, well over the presale estimate of $1,500-$2,000.

East Village critic and curator Richard Milazzo and his Edgewise Press have just released their latest art book, a collection of essays by realist painter Rackstraw Downes. The handy tract, In Relation to the Whole: Three Essays from Three Decades, displays the artist's response to the art world's changing reception to his work. In "What the Sixties Meant to Me," written in 1973, Downes stands in defiance to the norms of the times. The 1981 essay, "What Realism Meant to Me," discusses the politics of his work. "The Tenses of Landscape," written in 1996, allows the now-celebrated artist to refine his thoughts on the changing face of landscape. The books are $10, or $50 for limited edition signed copies. Call (212) 982-4818 for ordering info.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech