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The 49th annual Winter Antiques Show, Jan. 21-30, 2005, opens with more than 70 dealers from around the world in the 54,000-square-foot drill hall of the imposing red brick Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue in New York. Top-flight galleries on hand range from A La Vieille Russie (New York), W. Graham Arader III (Philadelphia) and Associated Artists (Southport, Conn.) to Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz (Paris), Rupert Wace Ancient Art (London) and Taylor B. Williams Antiques (Chicago). This year's show has a single new dealer, James and Nancy Glazer, American furniture specialists from Bailey Island, Maine. Another attraction is a $5 million painting by Winslow Homer, The Sand Dune (1872), at Adelson Galleries from New York.

The special loan exhibition is "The New-York Historical Society Bicentennial: Celebrating Two Centuries of Collecting," a display of more than 50 treasures from the city's oldest museum, designed by Stephen Saitas and underwritten by the Chubb Group. Daily admission is $20, and includes a copy of the show catalogue. The show's gala preview on Jan. 20 -- tonight -- is chaired by New York Governor and Mrs. George E. Pataki, with Oscar de la Renta serving as vice-chair, and benefits the East Side House Settlement in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. For more info, see

In addition to the Winter Antiques Show, New York is hosting several other antiques extravaganzas on the occasion of "Americana Week." The 6th annual New York Ceramics Fair, with 40 dealers, is on view at the National Academy Museum, Jan. 20-23, 2005. Over on the Hudson River piers in midtown is Antiques @ the Piers, Jan. 22-23, 2005, while Antiques at the Armory, featuring 100 exhibitors, is at the downtown armory at Lexington Avenue and 26th Street, Jan. 20-23, 2005. And last but not least, the American Antiques Show, sponsored by the American Folk Art Museum, opens in the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, Jan. 20-23, 2005

Superwealthy Cleveland auto-insurance magnate Peter B. Lewis, the Guggenheim Museum trustee who has repeatedly stepped in to bail out the free-spending museum, has resigned as board chairman, citing differences of vision with Gugg director Thomas Krens. Lewis was quoted in the New York Times saying that he wished the museum would "concentrate more on New York and less on being scattered all over the world" [see "Artnet News," Jan. 13, 2005]. Lewis has donated almost $77 million to the Guggenheim, including $15 million to restore the Frank Lloyd Wright building's rotunda.

The museum board still has plenty of deep pockets, including new members Stephen M. Ross, ceo of the Related Companies, a real estate firm, and William Mack, founder of Apollo Real Estate Advisors. The Guggenheim, whose endowment is a modest $45 million (down from $56 million in 1998), has embarked on a capital campaign that reportedly has raised $30 million in cash and pledges.

Despite a fire having gutted the top 20 or so floors of an adjoining office and residential tower last October, Vivian Rivas, the director of the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas Sofia Imber, goes to work every day. But the only other people Rivas sees at her museum are security guards who watch over MACCSI's world class collection, including major examples of the art of Picasso, Braque, Leger, Reveron, Gego and George Segal, which currently occupies the museum's cavernous storerooms. No one, including founding director Sofia Imber, expects the facility to reopen. The towering inferno damaged the complex's superstructure beyond repair. MACCSI needs a new home -- and a younger version of Sofia Imber to get it built.

Meanwhile, at the Museo de Bellas Artes, director Maria Luz Cardenas and chief curator Jacqueline Rousset have transformed a sleepy city gallery into a place meriting a detour on the international art tourist's map. Both women assisted Imber for years and learned their lessons well. Art history comes alive here, from the sculpture garden, which is filled with work by Calder, Lipchitz, Otero and the like, to the museum's own collection of important early 20th century art (Cubism, Duchamp, Kupka) and a recent exhibition of paintings from Murillo and Goya to Esteban Vicente and Antonio Saura borrowed from the Banco Provincial in Bilbao. With new exhibition spaces recovered from offices and storage, there's now room for displays of Egyptian art holdings; porcelain from around the world, and a pairing of prints by Goya and Posada. Look for the elegant Museo de Bellas Artes publications to start garnering awards. Who knew?
                                                                                                                 -- Phyllis Tuchman

Guest of Cindy Sherman, a feature-length documentary by Gallery Beat television star Paul H-O and veteran filmmaker Tom Donahue is currently in post-production, with hopes for a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006. Starring the celebrated art-world chameleon Cindy Sherman (whose celluloid appeal shouldn't be underestimated), the film is based on H-O's experiences in the fast-paced New York art world where, as a producer of a Manhattan public access TV show on contemporary art, he first interviews Sherman and then romances her. It turns out, however, that love with a famous artist has its difficulties, as our hero vows vengeance on the art A-list after his name is left off a place card at a tony post-opening dinner.

The film includes classic footage from Art TV Gallery Beat, which ran on New York cable television during 1993-2000, featuring frank studio interviews with Cecily Brown and Sean Landers. Others who appear in the documentary are Jeanne Tripplehorn and Carol Kane (who starred in Sherman's 1996 movie, Office Killer), plus artists Charlie Clough, Eric Fischl, Laurie Simmons and Robert Longo, critics Charlie Finch and Roberta Smith, curator David Ross, collector Eli Broad and art dealers Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring of Metro Pictures, Sherman's longtime gallery. For more info, and a brief clip, see

In his controversial 2004 book, The End of Art, the celebrated critic (and Artnet Magazine contributor) Donald Kuspit celebrates artists who reject the easy gestures of an enervated avant-garde in favor of a sophisticated figurative art that draws from Renaissance technique as well as contemporary ideas. Now, he has put his money where his mouth is (so to speak), and organized an exhibition titled "California New Old Masters," Jan. 27-Mar. 26, 2004, at Gallery C in Hermosa Beach, Ca. Artists in the show include Chester Arnold, Sandow Birk, Timothy Cummings, Guy Diehl, James Doolin, Kenny Harris, F. Scott Hess, Li Huayi, Benjamin Bryce Kelley, Margaret Lazzari, David Ligare, Enjeong Noh, Ron Pastucha, Ron Rizk, Richard Ryan, Robert Schwartz, Roni Stretch, Jon Swihart, Masami Teraoka, Marc Trujillo, Mrton Vr, Ruth Weisberg and Peter Zokosky. For more info, see

Daniel Walker, who has been curator of Islamic art at the Metropolitan Museum since 1988, has been appointed director of the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. He assumes his new post on May 1, 2005.

Jesús Rafael Soto, 81, Venezuela-born artist who settled in Paris in 1950 and began making his signature Op Art abstractions and kinetic wall reliefs, died of cancer in Paris and was buried in the city's Montparnasse cemetary in a quiet ceremony on Jan. 18, 2005. Soto was included along with Victor Vasarely, Yaacov Agam, Jean Tinguely, Pol Bury and others in the 1955 exhibition "Le Mouvement" at the Galerie Denise Ren in Paris that launched the Kinetic Art movment. He had a retrospective exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1974. The Jesus Soto Museum of Modern Art was established in Cuidad Bolivar in 1973.

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