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New York state governor George Pataki wants to turn the Seventh Regiment Armory, home to New York City's classiest art and antique events -- including the ADAA Art Show, the International Fine Print Dealers Association Fair and the Winter Antiques Show -- into a money-making cultural center, the New York Times reports. An overhaul would cost an estimated $50 million, according to New York's economic development arm, the Empire State Development Corp. Interested parties reportedly include the Whitney Museum, the New York Philharmonic, and the Seventh Regiment Fund, which wants to convert the armory into a military museum. Meanwhile, homeless advocates want to preserve the women's shelter that the city has run on the armory's third and fifth floors for the last 15 years. The deadline for proposals is Oct. 16 and a short list of finalists is to be announced on Jan. 15, 2001. A final bid will be chosen by spring of next year.

Goodbye Les Célébrites, hello Alain Ducasse. The signature dining room of the Essex House Hotel overlooking Central Park has been usurped by the world's most famous chef, who made drastic changes in the décor. Gone are the celebrity paintings by the likes of Phyllis Diller, Gene Hackman and Elke Sommer, replaced by works by "the cosmically awful Arman" and unidentified black and white landscape photographs, according to New York Times culinary critic William Grimes. The restaurant's website identifies the artwork only as "Alain Ducasse's private collection of antique objects, contemporary photographs and works of art." Artnet News tried to find out more, but upon calling the eatery were treated to soothing classical music for several minutes before the connection was broken. A firsthand look seems out of the question -- tables are booked through October, and November reservations cannot be made until August, and that at a $150 deposit per person. Once there, one can look forward to a $160 prix-fixe menu, $50 appetizers and $74 entrees. And no more paintings by Billy Dee Williams.

Better give that paper cup a close look the next time you pick up a take-out coffee at a New York diner or deli -- it might be an artwork. Creative Time is sponsoring DNAid™, a series of cups designed by Roz Chast, Tom Tomorrow, Maira Kalman, Cary Leibowitz/CandyAss and Larry Miller on the theme of scientific innovation in genetics. Collectors can get the entire series at the SoHo boite Jerry's, and at Sacred Chow on Hudson and 10th St., the Manhattan Hero at 27th St. and 7th Ave. and the Muffin Shop on Columbus Ave. and 70th St. Other upcoming projects include an outdoor exhibition of billboards by Alexis Rockman and Nancy Burson, an online genetic game which delves into corporate responsibility and genetics designed by Natalie Bookchin and ®™Mark and a bioluminescent beacon addressing humanity's origins and accomplishments designed by Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda.

The Japan Art Association has announced winners of the 12th Praemium Imperiale 2000 awards of 15 million yen ($138,564) at a ceremony at the Tate Modern in London: Ellsworth Kelly for painting, Niki de Saint Phalle for sculpture, Richard Rodgers for architecture, Hans Werner Henze for music and Stephen Sondheim for theater/film. The awards are to be presented in Tokyo on Oct. 26 by Prince Hitachi, the brother of Japan's emperor.

Video installation maestro Doug Aitken has won the 2000 Larry Aldrich Foundation Award from the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, a $25,000 prize and the opportunity to mount a solo exhibition at the museum with an accompanying catalogue. The award presentation takes place at the Aldrich's annual Gala Awards Dinner Dance on Oct. 20 at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The prize is named after the founder of the museum.

The Denver Art Museum has chosen Daniel Libeskind to design its new wing, a $62.5-million, 146,000-square-foot facility that will double the size of the museum. Libeskind beat out Arata Isozaki and Santa Monica architect Thom Mayne for the job. Libeskind has designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the still unfinished spiral expansion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Denver project is scheduled to be completed in 2004.

The Hirshhorn Museum has named Museum of Modern Art in Oxford director Kerry Brougher as its new chief curator. He succeeds Neal Benezra, who left to become deputy director of the Art Institute of Chicago. Brougher, an American, organized a number of shows at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, including a retrospective of works by Canadian artist Jeff Wall which premiered at the Hirshhorn in 1997 before traveling to LA MOCA.

The Frederieke Taylor/TZ'Art Gallery is changing its name and making the trek from SoHo to Chelsea. The Frederieke Taylor Gallery opens its new quarters at 535 West 22nd Street with a project by the KNOWMAD Confederacy, a collaborative founded by Mel Chin, on view Oct. 15-Dec. 15. KNOWMAD/MAP: Motion + Action=Place transforms the new space into a video installation that invites the audience to drive in a race car through a series of pyramids made up of motifs that relate to African nomad tribes. The project was developed for the exhibition World Views: Maps and Art at the University of Minnesota and was exhibited at the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Feb.

New York is soon to have a new gallery specializing in Japanese art. The Scholten Japanese Art Gallery is set to open in September in the first three floors of a newly renovated townhouse at 63 E. 66th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues. The first two floors will be devoted to galleries, while the third floor will have a print-study room with an extensive library of Japanese art and culture. The proprietor and president is international dealer Dutch René Scholten and the vice-president and managing director is Katherine Martin, formerly of Sotheby's New York Japanese department.

-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
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