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FRANCIS BACON, TAX DODGER?|
Francis Bacon failed to declare millions in earnings that he kept in a Swiss bank account, an article in this month's issue of Vanity Fair alleges. The magazine reports that the British painter deposited at least £4.2 million in payments from the Liechtenstein branch of Marlborough Fine Art into the secret account, but then had the bank return £1.6 million when he realized he would have to show some income in the U.K. The payments made by Marlborough were legal, but Bacon's failure to declare them was not. The shady doings have come to light due to the ongoing legal struggle in which the artist's estate accuses the gallery of systematically defrauding the late painter and of being unable to account for the whereabouts of 33 works worth as much as £30 million. Marlborough claims that Bacon sold or gave away the missing works himself.
TUG OF WAR OVER PICASSO
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is not entitled to $18 million from the heirs of its longtime patron Madeline Haas Russell in a dispute over a Picasso painting, according to a ruling by California Superior Court Judge David Garcia. In the bizarre lawsuit, SF MOMA is suing Russell's children -- Alice Russell Shapiro, Charles P. Russell and Christine H. Russell -- for reneging on what the museum says was an oral promise to sell Pablo Picasso's Nu au Fauteuil Noir (1932) to the museum for $44 million. The heirs say they made no such promise. Twelve works from the Haas collection were auctioned at Christie's New York last November, including the Picasso, which sold to Limited chairman Leslie Wexner for $45.1 million. SF MOMA declined to comment. A Russell family spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle that "the museum's lawsuit is an embarrassment."
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ART CON
Michael Douglas is set to star in and produce a film based on one the biggest art-fraud scandals in recent memory, reports Variety. Douglas stars as John Drewe, the mastermind behind the forgery of some 200 works of art produced by frustrated artist John Myatt. Drewe created havoc in the art world from the mid-1980s to the mid-'90s by forging declarations of authenticity and doctoring one-of-a-kind documents for works in the style of Braque, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Matisse and others. To this day, only 73 of the bogus pieces have been taken out of circulation. The film's script is being written by David Henry Hwang of M. Butterfly fame and is based on an investigative article by Peter Landesman in the New York Times.
HUGO BOSS PRIZE 2000 SHORTLIST
The Guggenheim Museum has announced the shortlist for its $50,000 Hugo Boss Prize, which is awarded every two years to an artist whose work represents a significant development in contemporary art. The candidates this year are performance pioneer Vito Acconci, conceptual prankster Maurizio Cattelan, the Scandinavian conceptual team of Ingar Dragset and Michael Elmgreen, eccentric sculptor Tom Friedman, Post-Minimalist Barry LeVa, Slovenian installation artist Marjetica Potrc and Brazilian sculptor and performance artist Tunga. The prize's first winner was British film artist Douglas Gordon in 1998.
ART BASEL TO MIAMI BEACH
The expansion of the Swiss art fair Art Basel to the sunny climes of Florida is now a sure thing. Art Basel Miami Beach, as the fair is to be known, is scheduled to make its debut Dec. 12-16, 2001, at the Miami Beach Convention Center with between 100 and 150 international galleries. Looking cautiously at these developments are the organizers for Art Miami, the art fair held in January for the past ten years, drawing about 40,000 visitors this year and with its 87 participating galleries reporting approximately $35 million in sales.
NOTHING PERMANENT FOR TRAFALGAR PLINTH
That empty plinth in London's Trafalgar Square will be dedicated to temporary sculptures by international artists rather than a permanent work as originally planned, reports the London Times. The decision was made by Sir John Mortimer's Vacant Plinth Advisory Group after reviewing 8,000 proposals submitted by the public. The plinth, unoccupied for over 150 years, has recently been the host to works by Mark Wallinger and Bill Woodrow, and is to feature a sculpture by Rachel Whiteread in the fall.
NYFA FELLOWS 2000
The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced the recipients of its Artist Fellowships 2000, which in this year's round included the categories of painting, photography, architecture/environmental structures, video, choreography, fiction, music composition and playwriting/screenwriting. The grants come with a $7,000 cash prize. Painting: John Allen, Francisco Alvarado, Alfredo Arcia, Michael Bramwell, Beverly Brodsky, Emily Cantrell, Gregory Coates, Diana Cooper, Katherine Daniels, Lisa Corinne Davis, Sara Eichner, Donald Groscost, Charles Hewitt, Kenneth J. Jackson, Vytenis Jankunas, Noah Jemisin Stephen Maine, Debra Priestly, Gloria Rodriguez, Michael J. Singletary, Takashi Usui, Leigh Wen, Dan Witz, Su-En Wong, Elizabeth Zawada. Photography: Shimon Attie, Craig J. Barber, Ernesto Bazan, Charles Biasiny-Rivera, Terry E. Boddie, Angela Capetta, Sylvia De Swaan, Carole Gallagher, Bruce Gilden, Chadwick Gray and Laura Spector, Marilyn Nance, Karen L. Norton, Tetsu Okuhara, Mel Rosenthal, Vincent Serbin, Accra Shepp, Clarissa Sligh, Beuford Smith, Michael Spano, Oliver Wasow, Jennette Williams. Video: Peggy Ahwesh, Doug Aitken, Vivek Bald, Jonathan Berman, Justin Bryant, Tina DiFeliciantonio, Yuko Edwards, Joseph Gibbons, Roderick Giles, Yunah Hong, Kate Howard, Dereck C. Janniere, So Yong Kim, Amy Kraft, Julia Loktev, Eve Sandler, Tomiyo Sasaki, Shelly Silver. Architecture/environmental structures: Vito Acconci, Manuel A. Baez, Lee Boroson, Michele Brody, Stephen Cassell/Adam Yarinsky, Mehrdad Hadighi, Lisa Hein/Robert Seng, Frederic Levrat/Zolaykha Sherzad, David Lewis/Paul Lewis/Marc Tsurumaki, Shadi Nazarian, Linda Pollak, Ann E. Riechlin, Karla Maria Rothstein/Joel Towers, Christine Schiavo, Maura Sheehan.
Next year's categories are computer arts, crafts, film, nonfiction literature, performance art/multidisciplinary work, poetry, printmaking/drawing/artists' books and sculpture. The deadline for applications is Oct. 3, 2000; see NYFA's website for more details.
WINDOWS TO THE WORLD
Heads-up, space-hungry artists, the deadline for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's World Views winter studio residency program at the World Trade Center is Aug. 31. The five-month residency, available to artists living a "reasonable" distance from the studios, begins the second week of November and includes a small stipend from the Jerome Foundation. Check out the council's website for details.
PARRISH GETS SMART
The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y., has received $3 million from philanthropist and trustee Carroll Petrie for the purchase and renovation of the historic Rogers Memorial Library into an art-education center. The gift, to be announced on July 15 at the museum's midsummer gala, is the Parrish's largest-ever individual donation.
MICHIGAN ARTIST MAY SUE PONTIAC FOR OBSCENITY CHARGES
Pontiac's Chief Judge has dropped charges of displaying obscene images against Michigan artist Jef Bourgeau, but the story might not be over yet. The artist, who faced 90 days in prison for displaying works as part of a forum on censorship, taste and morality, is considering bringing a federal suit against the city of Pontiac for violating his civil rights, the Detroit News reports. "These types of cases can have a chilling effect on artists. It's critically important to have the right of free expression without the fear of prosecution," says Bourgeau.
-- compiled by Giovanni Garcia-Fenech