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PaceWildenstein Gallery
in Chelsea is hosting a benefit on the evening of Oct. 7, 2004, for the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundations Campaign for a Landmine Free World, which treats and rehabilitates landmine survivors and engages in public advocacy for a landmine ban. Hosted by Jo Harvey Allen, Terry Allen and Kiki Smith, the benefit event includes food and drink, live music and a silent auction of donated artworks by approximately 60 contemporary artists, ranging from Polly Apfelbaum, Burt Barr and Genevieve Cadieux to Pat Steir, Fred Tomaselli and Rachel Whiteread. Tickets are $100 per person. For info see, or contact (202) 557-7586.

Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau has received guilty pleas for failing to collect sales taxes from two Manhattan galleries and a jewelry store, which have paid a total of $925,000 in fines and tax restitution. Historical Design, Inc., the first-rate decorative arts dealer at 306 East 61st Street, paid over $470,000 in back taxes and a $5,000 fine. In one instance, according to the D.A., Historical Design sold items worth more than $1 million to a Manhattan family, collected no sales tax and shipped empty boxes to West Coast addresses -- a common device used in attempts to avoid local sales taxes.

Keshishian Ltd., the carpet and tapestry dealer at 24 West 57th Street, paid over $94,000 in tax restitution and a $5,000 fine. In one case, Keshishian delivered a $300,000 carpet to a New Yorkers storage unit and presented an invoice on the letterhead of a Swiss company so that it appeared that the rug had been shipped out of state. The third firm caught in the D.A.s ongoing tax investigation is the Federal Diamond Corporation on West 47th Street.

Morgenthau has now snagged 11 New York art dealers and others in his sales tax investigation, which is ongoing. The prosecutions have recovered over $26 million in taxes for New York city and state.

A sculpture by Dennis Oppenheim proposed for the Stanford University campus in California has proved itself too controversial for Stanford president John Hennessy, who cancelled the commission after complaints from the schools dean for religious life. The 25-foot-tall sculpture, called Device to Root Out Evil, is a latticework church that has been turned upside-down and stuck into the ground by its steeple; a version of the work was presented at the 1997 Venice Biennale. A Stanford alumnus, Oppenheim says the cancelled commission has cost him "$100,000 easy." The work "really did root out evil in a strange, circuitous way," Oppenheim told the Stanford Daily. "The president and others have conservative views and are afraid of a work of art, and now we know about it."

A provocative painting by Damian Loeb has caused a rumpus in Hartford, Conn. Loebs 1999 Blow Job (Three Little Boys), which shows a trio of blueblood boys in the foreground with a teen girl performing oral sex on a boy in the background, was abruptly pulled from the equally provocative new show, "The Charged Image: Work from the Collection of Douglas Cramer" at the University of Harford Joseloff Gallery. The reason given was copyright infringement, and the museum refused to comment further -- but the Hartford Courant got on the case and discovered that the image of the three boys was copied from a photograph by Tina Barney of the sons of a prominent local art patron and former member of the Wadsworth Atheneum board.

Presumably, the powerful patron didnt like the association and demanded that the picture be suppressed. The Courant wrote a long story on the controversy, noting that Loeb has made his reputation by reproducing appropriated imagery in his paintings, often in suggestive combinations. Subsequently, Steven Holmes, director of visual arts at the Hartford alternative space Real Art Ways, wrote a commentary in the paper urging the museum to provide the forum for dialogue that the exhibition promised in the first place. "If the real reason for the removal of the painting was to protect the privacy of a family," he wrote, "why not say so?"

A new exhibition of Romanian modernist art has opened at the Federal Reserve headquarters building in Washington, D.C. "Bucharest/Paris: Romanian Artists in Paris, 1880-1910," Sept. 27-Nov. 30, 2004, presents works by five painters and two sculptors from three Romanian museums. Organized by Mary Anne Goley, director of the Feds fine arts program, the show includes two early portrait bronzes by Constantin Brancusi as well as works by Theodor Aman (1831-91), Nicolae Grigorescu 1838-1907), Ion Andreescu 1850-82), Stefan Luchian (1868-1916), Theodor Pallady (1871-1956) and Dimitrie Paciurea (ca. 1873-1932).

Fed chairman Alan Greenspan hosted a reception for the exhibition along with Mugur Isarescu, governor of the National Bank of Romania. The show commemorates the role the Fed has played since 1991 in supplying technical support to Romanias central bank. Since 1975, Goley has built the Feds art collection to more than 300 works, installed in three buildings. For more information about the show, call (202) 452-3778.

Raphaels La Fornarina (ca. 1520), a sumptuous three-quarter nude portrait of a woman long thought to be the artists lover and muse, comes to the U.S. for the first time in a three-city tour, beginning at the Frick Collection in New York, Dec. 2, 2004-Jan. 30, 2005, and subsequently appearing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The "little baker girl" has traditionally been identified as Margherita Luti, daughter of a Siena baker, and Raphaels infatuation for the girl, according to Vasari, led to the fever that killed him at the age of 37. The painting is on loan from the National Gallery of Art at the Palazzo Barberini in Rome.

The Guggenheim Museum may be derided by critics for emphasizing expansion over exhibitions, but the famed museum nevertheless has an impressive roster of shows lined up for 2005, with big surveys dedicated to Paul Czanne, Daniel Buren and Hilla Rebay. After this months "The Aztec Empire" blockbuster closes in February 2005, the Gugg premieres "Czanne: The Dawn of Modern Art," Feb. 10-May 8, 2005, a show co-organized with the Museum Folkwang, Essen, and matching Czannes works by subject with those of Lger, Matisse, Picasso and other artists of the following generation. Next up is "The Hugo Boss Prize 2004," Mar. 11-June 5, 2005; a survey of works by French conceptualist painter Daniel Buren, Mar. 17-May 15, 2005; and "Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim," May 19-Aug. 7, 2005, the first exhibition dedicated to artist and Guggenheim advisor Hilla Rebay (1890-1967). The show is organized by Karole Vail and includes a recreation of the "Art of Tomorrow" show held at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting in 1939.

The Naples (Fla.) Museum of Art is presenting "Victor Vasarely: Founder of Op Art," Nov. 2, 2004-Apr. 3, 2005, the first major U.S. retrospective of the artists work in more than two decades. Organized in collaboration with Michle-Catherine Vasarely, the artists daughter-in-law and chairman of the Vasarely Foundation in France, the show features 44 paintings, including loans from the Guggenheim Museum and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue from George Braziller, Inc., with a text by Robert C. Morgan.

Master printer Ken Tyler, founder of Gemini Ltd. in Los Angeles, has donated 460 prints by 28 artists to the Tate in London. According to a report in the Independent newspaper, the gift brings 15 artists to the Tate for the first time, including Joan Mitchell, Michael Heizer, Ed Baynard and Terence La Noue. Exhibitions of selections from the donation open at the Tate Liverpool and Tate Modern in November.

The Boston Institute of Contemporary Art has broken ground for its new museum facility at the downtown Boston waterfront, a 65,000-square-foot design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro that is slated to open in 2006. The ICA has raised more than 55 percent of the $62 million it needs for its new home, to be located on Fan Pier along with a new Rafael Violy-designed convention center and adjacent to a 23-acre retail and residential complex called Waterside Place.

The endless fount of Andy Warhol books now gives us Greetings from Andy: Christmas at Tiffanys (Abrams, $25), which features the holiday greeting cards that the famed Pop artist made as a commercial designer for Tiffany & Co. from 1956 to 1963. The 96-page book has a text by Tiffany design director John Loring.

Millionaire tobacco attorney Robert Montgomery considered shutting down his private museum, the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, after he parted ways with director Michael Rush, according to the Miami Herald. But instead, he hired Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art curator Dominic Molon to organize a show for the winter season, one that would fill the museum as well as a space in the Miami Design District during Art Basel Miami Beach. "I Feel Mysterious Today," Nov. 20, 2004-Mar. 27, 2005, features fantastic, dysfunctional or mystifying works by more than 25 artists, ranging from Douglas Gordon and Mike Kelley to Mary Redmond, Katja Strunz and Kirstine Roepstorff.

Colognes top artists, collectors and dealers want to found a new contemporary museum in the city, and have organized a successful benefit auction to raise funds for the project. The sale for the Europische Kunsthalle Kln (the European Exhibition Hall Cologne), held at Kunsthaus Lempertz on Oct. 2, 2004, included 70 paintings and other donated works. According to the Klner Stadtanzeiger newspaper, a small abstract Gerhard Richter painting from 2000 sold for 115 000, and works by Hanne Darboven, Katharina Grosse, Leiko Ikemura, Imi Knoebel and Rosemarie Trockel brought five-figure prices.

Known by the appropriately bohemian name Das Loch (The Hole), the private initiative includes art dealer Christian Nagel and artists Marcel Odenbach and Rosemarie Trockel. The plan would establish the new exhibition hall at Colognes Neumarkt in the center of the city, where some time ago the Josef-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, an exhibition hall that was built during the 1950s, was torn down by the city administration. A director for the nascent exhibition space is slated to be selected by the end of the year.

The New Museum of Contemporary Art has added 23 works to its collection, courtesy of the Altoids mint company. The "Altoids Curiously Strong Collection" includes works by Terence Koh (aka asianpunkboy), Conrad Bakker, Hernan Bas, Iona Rozeal Brown, Ann Craven, Daniel Davidson, Rob DeMar, Elizabeth Demaray, Joe Fig, Naomi Fisher, Tony Gray, Mala Iqbal, Nina Katchadourian, Lisa Kereszi, Nick Lowe, Wangechi Mutu, Clare Rojas, Aida Ruilova, Assume Vivid Astro Focus, Paul Swenbeck, Brad Tucker, Monique van Genderen and Daniel Zeller. The works go on view at the museums Chelsea outpost, Oct. 29-Nov. 20, 2004.

The private art collection of publisher Frieder Burda opens in Baden-Baden, Germany, on Oct. 22, 2004. Designed by New York architect Richard Meier, the new museum has 3,280 square feet for exhibitions, and is linked to the Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. Burdas collection numbers nearly 500 modern and contemporary works, including paintings by Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and August Macke, sculptures by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, late work by Pablo Picasso, Abstract Expressionist works by Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, and works by German contemporary artists Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke. The ca. 15 million cost of the museum is paid by the Foundation Frieder Burda. The museums founding director is curator and art historian Klaus Gallwitz.

James B. Wyman has been appointed chief curator at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor. Formerly director of the Kennedy Museum of Art in Athens, Ohio, Wyman comes to the university museum as it plans a new $35-million, 57,000-square-foot wing and renovation project.

Richard Avedon, 81, artful photographer of celebrities and fashion models who had a substantial following in the art world, died of a brain hemorrhage on Oct. 1 while on assignment in San Antonio for the New Yorker. Avedon began his career at Harpers Bazaar, moved to Vogue and became the first staff photographer for the New Yorker in 1992. He had retrospectives at the Smithsonian Institution (1962), the Metropolitan Museum (1978), the Whitney Museum (1994) and the Metropolitan Museum (2002).

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