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The hottest lot in the forthcoming contemporary art auction at Christie's London on Feb. 9, 2005, is octogenarian artist Lucien Freud's large (5 x 4 ft.) painting of a nude Kate Moss, painted in 2002 when the supermodel was pregnant. Titled Naked Portrait, the picture is owned by an unnamed U.S. collector and carries a presale estimate of £2,500,000-£3,500,000 ($4.9 million-$6.8 million). Moss is shown in a typical Freudian pose, positioned on some bedding on the floor of the studio -- as Donald Kuspit has written about Freud's sitters in these pages, "cruelly and precariously positioned, as though in free fall, the model seems condemned to a lonely death." The work was reproduced in W Magazine as part of a portfolio of 17 artist's portraits of the waifish pop-culture star. Freud has also painted a portrait of a nude and pregnant Jerry Hall.

As part of the forthcoming Tim Hawkinson survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the artist is installing his giant Überorgan in the bamboo-dotted public atrium at 590 Madison Avenue (former home to the IBM Gallery of Science and Art) at 56th Street in midtown Manhattan. A fantastic sprawling construction of silvery balloons laid out in a configuration inspired by the organs in a human body, Hawkinson's Überorgan is a working 12-tone musical instrument that is programmed via a 200-foot-long paper score to play old chestnuts like Swan Lake and Sailor's Hornpipe. The Überorgan was installed in 2000 at Mass MOCA in North Adams, Mass. [see "Weekend Update," Aug. 23, 2000].

The late architect Philip Johnson became curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932 when he was 26 and later joined the museum's powerful trustee board. Now, as a memorial gesture, MoMA has installed four artworks that Johnson gave to the museum over the years. In the lobby is Andy Warhol's S&H Green Stamps (1962), given to the museum in 1998, and in the atrium are Mark Rothko's No. 10 (1950), which Johnson gave to MoMA in 1952, and two works by Willem de Kooning, Untitled V (1982) and Untitled XIX (1977), donated in 1998.

News reports that plans for a Guggenheim Museum Rio de Janeiro are "dead in the water" seem to be a bit premature. Rio mayor Cesar Maia, who was recently re-elected in a landslide and who may run for Brazil's presidency in 2006, is negotiating a new agreement with the Guggenheim Foundation that is designed to resolve the legal difficulties that stalled the original arrangement. The $170-million project, called "a cultural Titanic" by its critics, features a dramatic design by French architect Jean Nouvel. Maia said the Gugg Rio was one of his administration's "top priorities," alongside his plan to bring to the city the 2007 Pan-American Games. The new proposal would also allow the Gugg to organize exhibitions in Rio's Museo de Arte Moderna while the Nouvel facility is under development.

Former British culture secretary Chris Smith has announced that he has been HIV-positive for the past 17 years, according to a recent report in the London Sunday Times. Smith, 53, has been a Labour MP since 1983 and was appointed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to head his government's culture ministry from 1997 to 2001; Smith was recently appointed as chairman of the new London Cultural Commission. Smith said he was moved to make the announcement about his HIV status -- he has long been "out" as a gay man -- after hearing former South African president Nelson Mandela discuss the recent death of his son from AIDS. Mandela said that AIDS should be treated simply as an illness, with no social stigma attached to the condition.

Art lovers still have time to catch the "54th Carnegie International" at the Carnegie Museum of Art before it closes Mar. 20, 2005, and the museum has lined up several special events that might occasion a trip from an out-of-towner. One hot ticket is the lecture by British star painter Peter Doig on Feb. 26, and another is the set of lectures by 2004 Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller on Feb. 10-13. Last but not least, a panel discussion by curator Laura Hoptman and Chicago MCA curator Francesco Bonami is scheduled for Mar. 18. For a complete list of events, see the museum website

Fernwood Art Investments
, the new company formed by Bruce D. Taub and Michael J. Plummer to advise the super-rich on their art investments [see "Artnet News," July 22, 2004], has signed on four more high-powered art types as part of its advisory team. The new advisors are art dealer Lucy Mitchell-Innes of Mitchell-Innes & Nash; Frederic Bancroft, senior vice president of Salander-O'Reilly; art conservator and restorer David Bull; and Susan Menconi, a co-founder of Menconi & Schoelkopf Fine Art.

By its own admission, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is "getting groovy" with "The Sixties in Canada," Feb. 4-Apr. 24, 2004, a show that charts the development of Pp, Minimalism, Kinetic and Conceptual Art through some 80 works by Jack Bush, Gary Neill Kennedy, Roy Kiyioka, Michael Snow, the N.E. Thing Co., Claude Tousignant and Joyce Wieland. Also on view up north is "The Sixties: Photography in Question" at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, "The Sixties at the National Gallery of Canada" at the National Gallery Library, and "Cool ’60s Design" at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gastineau.

Out-of-work museum directors, take note -- a top job has just opened up. In a surprise announcement, Cleveland Museum of Art director Katharine Lee Reid has quit the job, saying that she will stay on until her successor is found. She resigns on the eve of a vote by the museum trustee board on whether or not to go ahead with the $225-million expansion plan designed by Rafael Violy. Reid, 53, said that she and her husband, Bryan, 79, are retiring to North Carolina -- close to family, including her father Sherman Lee, 96, who also was a director of the Cleveland Museum. With an endowment of about $700 million, the museum is considered one of the wealthier museums in the U.S.

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has named four new trustees: Elizabeth M. Ainslie, head of Elizabeth Ainslie Interiors in New York; Kurt Andersen, the novelist, radio host and former editor of New York and Spy magazines; Michael Francis, executive v.p. of marketing for Target; and John Maeda, a graphic designer, artist and computer scientist at MIT.

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