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GUGGENHEIM LAS VEGAS?|
The Guggenheim Museum is negotiating with the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino to bring "The Art of the Motorcycle" to Las Vegas, reports the Los Angeles Times. The exhibition of 100 bikes, which broke attendance records when it attracted 300,000 viewers to the museum in 1998, is currently being displayed at the Guggenheim Bilbao, and would travel to the gambling city in September 2000 if a proper display area can be worked out. But not all Vegas residents are excited at the prospect -- cranky art critic Dave Hickey said "We need that about as much as we need more hookers... I can't imagine the cultural agenda, except for the gate receipts."
OPENING MOMA SUMMERGARDEN CONCERTS CANCELLED
The Museum of Modern Art's June 30 and July 1 opening weekend Summergarden outdoor concerts have been cancelled after members of the New York Musicians' Union Local 802 and sympathizing Julliard students declined to perform in support of striking museum employees. This is the latest in a string of cancellations and postponements in MoMA's public programs resulting from the nine-week old strike by PASTA-MOMA members, including a number of lectures, screenings and a benefit concert by singer Sheryl Crow. At issue are what union members call healthcare givebacks, blatant union-busting, job security and substandard wages that start at $17,000 a year for full-time work.
FRENCH AUCTION REFORM PASSES
After years of deliberation, France's parliament has unanimously approved a plan privatizing the art auction market and opening it to foreign and online auctioneers, reports the Agence France-Presse. The French government has agreed to compensate the 468 licensed French auctioneers -- who have held a monopoly on art auctions in France since 1556 -- for their expected business losses due to the changes. Reform proponents hope that the move will result in renewed activity in the French art market, which has a total estimated annual turnover of three billion francs (approximately $432 million), amounting to a five percent share of the world market, down from a post-war high of 90 percent.
TATE MODERN TROUNCES TATE BRITAIN -- IN ATTENDANCE
A scant six weeks after the Tate Modern's opening, its sister institution Tate Britain is falling far behind in admissions, reports the London Guardian. Last April, when the Tate Gallery became Tate Britain, it received 162,000 visitors in the month; when Tate Modern opened a month later, Tate Britain figures plummeted to 99,000, and now, near the end of June, the figure has declined further to 60,000. Tate Modern, on the other hand, has celebrated its one-millionth visitor, and the projected attendance figures of two million for the first year are being revised to three and a half to four million.
BRITAIN BUYS AUCTION-HOUSE CIMABUE
A 13th-century panel painting by the Renaissance master Cimabue depicting the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels, scheduled to be sold at Sotheby's London on July 6, has instead been "saved for Britain" and acquired by London's National Gallery, partly in lieu of tax. The painting had hung unrecognized at the country house of the Gooch family in Suffolk since the 19th century until Richard Charlton-Jones, a director of the auction house's Old Master paintings department, discovered it. Research showed that the work came from the same tabernacle as another small panel in New York's Frick Collection often attributed to the artist. The work is one of only seven or eight independent panel paintings by Cimabue that survive and the only one known in private hands. The picture is being acquired by the National Gallery in lieu of £6.5 million in tax, plus an additional £700,000 paid by the museum.
ARTNET.COM LAUNCHES AFRICAN ART DATABASE...
After two years of preparation, Artnet.com is about to unveil its African Art Auctions Database, containing over 38,000 works of African art sold from 1927 to the present at 94 international auction houses. The unprecedented resource for dealers and collectors in the field includes information on style, medium, provenance, exhibitions and literature, as well as price. Artnet is offering a free, one-month trial subscription to the database.
...AND ANNOUNCES ALLIANCE WITH GROVEART.COM
Artnet.com and Groveart.com have agreed on an unusual joint venture in which over 15,000 thumbnail artists biographies from the award-winning Grove Dictionary of Art will be featured on Artnet.com's network of over 1,000 galleries and online art auctions. As part of the deal, visitors to Artnet.com can subscribe to the complete Groveart.com reference library for reduced rates.
SUMMER IMPRESSIONIST AUCTION RESULTS
The results are in from the summer Impressionist and modern art sales in London, and they're as hot as the weather: Edgar Degas' bronze Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans (1879-1881) sold at Sotheby's London on June 27 for £7,703,500 (est. £7 million-£9 million), the highest auction price for any sculpture sold in Europe. Another cast of the same work sold at Sotheby's New York last fall for $12.3 million (£7,544,090). The sale's top lot was Claude Monet's La Plage à Trouville (1870), which sold for £11,003,500 (est. £10 million). The total for the evening sale was £45,837,000, which increased to more than £48 million when Pablo Picasso's Les Blondes Chevelures (1901) sold after the sale for £3,083,500 (est. £3 million-£4 million).
The next day, on June 28, Christie's London sold Impressionist, Post-Impressionist art and 20th-century art for a total of £46,523,750. Paul Cézanne's Still Life with Fruit and Pot of Ginger (ca. 1895), never offered at auction before, reached £12,103,750 (est. £9 million-£12 million) and Robert Delaunay's L'homme à la tulipe (1906) sold for £1,983,750 (est. £1 million-£1.4 million). The recently rediscovered Francis Bacon Study for Portrait (Man Screaming) (1952), sold for £2,973,750 (est. £1.4 million-£1.8 million). New auction records were set for Lásló Moholy-Nagy, whose A XI (1923) brought in £718,750 (est. £450,000-£550,000) and Lucio Fontana, whose Concetta spaziale, All'alba Venezia era tutta d'argento (1961) sold for £685,750 (est. £300,000-£400,000).
CENSORSHIP SHOW CHARGED OBSCENE
Michigan artist Jef Bourgeau has been charged with displaying obscene images in an exhibition that, ironically, was part of a forum on censorship, taste and morality, reports the Detroit Free Press. The symposium at the Oakland Arts Center in Pontiac had been prompted by the cancellation last November of an exhibition of Bourgeau's art at the Detroit Institute of Arts by new museum director Graham Beal, who said he feared the show would "cause offense to important parts of our community." Bourgeau says that on the morning of the conference, two Pontiac police officers showed up at the gallery and snapped Polaroids of the artwork, then issued him the obscenity citation. The show completed its run without further incident. The American Civil Liberties Union is providing a lawyer for the pretrial hearing, calling the charge a violation of the First Amendment.
-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech