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Lars Nittve is leaving his post as the first director of London's Tate Modern to become director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, effective at the end of July. According to a story in the London Telegraph by Nigel Reynolds, Swedish Prime Minister Gran Persson personally telephoned Nittve and asked him to take the position. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to direct the national museum of modern art in my own country," Nittve said in a prepared statement. The gossipy London report also noted that Nittve, who is divorced, may want to be closer to his young son, who lives in Stockholm. Sources denied that Nittve's move resulted from friction with his boss, Nicholas Serota, the overall director of all four Tate galleries. No news yet on a successor at the Tate Modern.

New York's Creative Capital Foundation has awarded over $400,000 in grants of $5,000-$15,000 for projects in the visual and media arts to 43 artists from 17 states. Founded in 1999 to take up the slack after right-wingers in Congress cut the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital supports individual artists pursuing innovative and experimental projects and provides its grantees with career counseling as well as funding. Winning grantees were selected from 2,788 submissions. Visual arts: Chris Burnett/Michael Rees, Gaye Chan, Mel Chin, Elena del Rivero, Sam Easterson, Hirokazu Kosaka, Catherine Lord, Jeannette Louie, Mary Lucier, Beverly McIver, Kay Miller, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, William Pope.L, Dread Scott, Paul Shambroom, Arthur Simms, Bentley Spang, Christine Tarkowski, Lynne Yamamoto. Media: Steven Bognar, Bill Brown, Ellen Bruno, Erica Cho, Ricardo Dominguez, James Duesing, Kevin Everson, Vicky Funari, Joe Gibbons, Sam Green, Vanalyne Green, Rachel Mayeri, Leslie McCleave, Jon Moritsugu, Bill Morrison, Suzan Pitt, Reynold Reynolds, Eric Saks, Jeffrey Scher, Elizabeth Subrin, Chel White, David Wilson, Caveh Zahedi, Marina Zurkow.

Maybe marketing museum get-togethers to swoony young singles isn't such a good idea after all. Apparently, a thief took the opportunity of a singles cocktail reception at the Jewish Museum on June 7 to rip from the wall Marc Chagall's Study for 'Over Vitebsk'. The 8-by-10-inch oil painting of a Jewish beggar floating over the town's St. Ilinskaa Cathedral -- valued at $1 million -- is part of "Marc Chagall: Early Works from Russian Collections," on view at the museum till Oct. 14, 2001. According to museum spokeswoman Anne Scher, the painting is insured and was on loan from a private collector in St. Petersburg, Russia. The museum has offered a $25,000 reward, and New York City police and the FBI's art-theft squad are on the case.

New York architect Richard Meier has been selected to design a new $13-million facility for the Frieder Burda Foundation in Baden-Baden, Germany. The collection, which is directed by Edward Jaeger-Booth, is known for its holdings of international contemporary art concentrating on German and Austrian works. The new building is due to open in early 2004. Meier already has a number of museums on his resume, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A. and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona.

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) has inaugurated a "digital gallery" on its museum website with a project by John Baldessari. The West Coast conceptualist's first digital work, dubbed "Still Life -- Choosing and Arranging," allows web-surfers to select images of a variety of objects (a can of Swanson's soup, a candlestick, a green pepper) and arrange them into a custom-still-life on a gray shelf. The project is supported by the James Irvine Foundation; to be alerted about MOCA's new online projects, sign up at

The first formal solo exhibition in L.A. of multiples by Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) is to be held at Griffin Contemporary (at 55 North Venice Blvd.) in conjunction with the L.A. International art fair, July 14-Sept. 1, 2001. "Joseph Beuys -- Multiples and Other Forms of Politics" features well-known pieces like Intuition Box (1968) and Felt Suit (1970).

New York's International Center of Photography wants you -- or your contributions, anyway. To raise funds for the new facility for its famed school of photography -- which closes in August at the ICP uptown building and moves to the basement of the Grace Building at the southeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 43rd Street -- the ICP has launched a $23.9-million "Campus Campaign." But don't worry, all but $1.9 million is already in the kitty. ICP needs to get the rest by Dec. 31, 2001 in order to receive its Kresge Foundation's challenge grant of $800,000. For more info, contact the "Campus Campaign" office at (212) 860-1778 ext. 140.

The 318-year-old Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, which ordinarily specializes in Old Masters and antiquities, opened its first gallery for modern art on June 20, 2001. According to a report in the London Guardian, Ashmolean director Christopher Brown and the museum trustees have been acquiring works by Antony Gormley and Rachel Whiteread, a group of paintings by Walter Sickert, and a collection of works ranging from Matisse and Picasso to Augustus John and Lucian Freud. Ribbon-cutting duties were performed by Howard Hodgkin, one of the few big names in British Art whose work is absent from the collection.

West Coast auctioneer Butterfields has named Laura King Pfaff as chairman. She formerly was a senior vice president at Christie's, specializing in liaison with trust officers and estate planning professionals in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Butterfields also recently launched a new "arts of the West" department, headed by Denise "Dede" Loftus.

David Sylvester, 76, English art critic and curator, died of colon cancer in London on June 18, 2001. He organized exhibitions at the Tate Gallery of Henry Moore (1951), Stanley Spencer (1954), Rene Magritte (1969), Robert Morris (1971) and late Picasso (1988), among others. He was on the acquisitions committee of the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris from 1984 to 1996, and was at work on the five-volume catalogue raisonné of Magritte's work. His other books include Interviews with Francis Bacon and About Modern Art (1996). He was the father of painter Cecily Brown.