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On June 5th, the Mark Borghi Fine Art gallery inc. is launching its new LA space with an inaugural exhibition of work by John Singer Sargent, Arthur B. Carles, Elihu Vedder and Willard Metcalf. The front of the new gallerys total 4,000 square feet, will be devoted to a permanent exhibition of 19th and 20th century art while the rear gallery will showcase the works of Mercedes Matter, Sir Stanley Spencer, Dora Maar and Maurice Sievan. This first show of early American artists, the gallerys established mtier, will coincide with the art and design walk of west hollywood fair, where MB Fine Art will have also presence. For more information, see

Anyone who has been in Madrid, Paris and London lately has discovered that these days the halls of the Prado are more crowded than art galleries at the Louvre and the National Gallery. Are more tourists flocking to the Spanish capital or is the Prado less equipped to handle the public that now visits museums in record numbers? Last year 2.3 million people broke the attendance record at the Prado, which was built in late 18th century to serve as a national museum of history.

Prado associate director for conservation and research Gabriel Finaldi, who came to the museum from London two years ago, recently unveiled architect Rafael Moneos designs for enlarged temporary exhibition galleries as well as a new library and auditorium that will be ready by spring 2005. Much of the construction has occurred beneath the cloister of a neighboring church (it was dissembled and the stones are now being returned to their original places).

By creating new facilities and moving various departments out of a structure needing all sorts of updating, 12 new picture galleries will be available to display masterpieces by Velazquez, Bosch, Titian, Rubens and Goya. Meanwhile, the Cason de Buen Retiro is being refurbished for the Prados important collection of 19th century art. Currently, about 3,000 works from the Prado are dispersed in public buildings and a variety of other official buildings, including embassies abroad.

And theres a date to circle on your calendar: Oct. 20, 2004. Thats the opening date for Spanish Portraits from El Greco to Picasso, a survey of Spanish portraiture over five centuries that features works by El Greco, Velazquez, Goya and Picasso. It sounds like a show not to be missed.                                                                                                             -- Phyllis Tuchman

The fire that swept through the Momart art warehouse in London on Monday, May 24, 2004, has destroyed untold numbers of artworks, according to press reports. Some 80 firefighters fought the blaze at the 10,000-square-foot warehouse, located in an industrial area in Leyton. Investigators have yet to establish the cause of the fire.

Momart, founded in the 1970s by former art student Jim Moyes and his friend Rees Martin, has been the leading art handler in London, with clients that range from major museums and galleries to collectors like Charles Saatchi and artists like Damien Hirst. Initial press reports have focused on the latter two, in fact: Saatchi lost Hell, a 28-square-foot tableau of a Nazi concentration camp by Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Tracey Emins embroidered tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept with 1963-1995, along with another estimated 100 works from his collection, while Hirst lost 16 of his own butterfly and spin paintings. A 22-foot-tall bronze cast of Hirst's Charity (which was owned by another collector), was at first thought lost as well, but now seems to be safe.

"I feel pretty sick, Saatchi was reported as saying. This is probably the worst thing one could imagine." Reaction to the disaster was uniformly somber, with the exception of Dinos Chapman, who told the London Telegraph that We will just make it again. It's only art.

The Seventh Annual International Exposition of Sculpture, Objects & Functional Art -- better known as SOFA -- opens June 3-6, 2004, at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York. Approximately 50 top dealers are on hand, including Garth Clark, Barry Friedman, Joan B. Mirviss and the Moderne Gallery. The special exhibition showcases art by Carlo Zauli (1926-2002), one of Europes better-known 20th-century ceramists. The gala preview on June 2 benefits the Museum of Art and Design; for tickets, call (212) 956-3535 x129. In conjunction with the fair, SOFA has organized a series of lectures as well as the Third Annual Contemporary Decorative Arts Week, a city-wide celebration. For a complete schedule, see

The global art world is getting ready to wing its way to Art 35 Basel for the annual art world family reunion, June 16-21, 2004. By the numbers, its 270 galleries, 5,000 artworks, 1,500 artists and 50,000 visitors. Special sections include Art Unlimited, a vast hall filled with big projects by 60 artists, ranging from Marina Abramovic and Vito Acconci to Mark Wallinger and Erwin Wurn. Art Statements, a section of solo shows by 17 young artists from 12 countries, includes Dirk Bell, Pierpaolo Campanini, Valentin Carron, Sunah Choi, Juan Pedro Fabra, Icelandic Love Corporation, Dr. Lakra, Mai-Thu Perret, Alex Pollard, Marcin Maciejowski, Aleksandra Mir, Anselm Reyle, Matthew Ronay, Steven Shearer, Tino Sehgal, Torbjrn Vejvi and Roe Ethridge. Art Basel has also teamed up with the Italian jewellery company Bulgari to sponsor a series of panel discussions called Art Basel Conversations. For more info, see

At the same time as Art 35 Basel, an independent fair of younger dealers opens in the converted Wartek Brewery in Basel. Now nine years old, Liste 04 - The Young Art Fair, June 15-20, 2004, features 49 galleries from 20 countries. The list at Liste: Michael Hall, Vienna; Drantmann, Brussels; Tracey Lawrence, Vancouver; Christina Wilson, Copenhagen; gb agency, Paris; Corentin Hamel, Paris; Loevenbruck, Paris; Maisonneuve, Paris; Frehrking Wiesehfer, Cologne; Vera Gliem, Cologne; Karin Guenther, Hamburg; Iris Kadel, Karlsruhe; Johann Knig, Berlin; Sies + Hke, Dusseldorf; Jan Winkelmann, Berlin; aspreyjacques, London; doggerfisher, Edinburgh; Kate MacGarry, London; Mobile Home, London; Vilma Gold, London; VTO, London; Unlimited Contemporary Art, Athens; Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam; Diana Stigter, Amsterdam; Upstream, Amsterdam; 404 Arte Contemporanea, Naples; Maze, Torino; T293, Naples; Zero, Milano; Kodama, Osaka; IBID Projects, Vilnius/London; Alimentation Gnrale - Art Contemporain, Luxembourg; Fotogalleriet, Oslo; Raster, Warsaw; Gregor Podnar, Ljubljana; ALP/Peter Bergman, Stockholm; ausstellungsraum25, Zurich; Evergreene, Geneva; Judin Belot, Zurich; Nicolas Krupp, Basel; Galerist, Istanbul; Cohan and Leslie, New York; John Connelly Presents, New York; Daniel Hug, Los Angeles; maccarone inc., New York; Moniquemeloche, Chicago; peres projects, Los Angeles; Daniel Reich, New York; Team, New York

Add another job to the portfolio of Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art curator and former Venice Biennale commissioner Francesco Bonami. Hes director of the new Azienda Speciale Villa Manin Centre for Contemporary Art in Passariano-Codroipo in Northeastern Italy. Sited in a 17th-century Palladian villa surrounded by a historic park, the new center plans extensive collaborations with other museums as well as its own programming, beginning with Love/Hate, from Magritte to Cattelan and Vernice: Pathways through Young Italian Painting, both on view May 30-Nov. 7, 2004. Curator of the center is Sarah Consulich Canarutto. For more info, see

The hot show in New York for Memorial Day is Sensacional! Mexican Street Graphics May 28-Aug. 13, 2004, at the American Institute of Graphic Arts Gallery at 164 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The exhibition, organized by photographer Juan Carlos Mena, features more than 200 images taken from beauty shops, Aztec and Maya-themed illustrations, Catholic icons, food stands, wrestling, pocket-sized comics, burlesque, taxis and more. For info, see

This coming fall, sculptor Tom Otterness is mounting an exhibition of 25 of his sculptures along Broadway in Manhattan, stretching from Columbus Circle to Washington Heights uptown, Sept. 20-Nov. 22, 2004. Tom Otterness on Broadway, as the undertaking is titled, inaugurates the 108-block-long, 10-acre stretch of the Broadway Malls as a public-art site. Works slated to be sited range from the 20-inch-tall Boy and Dog to the 20-foot-plus Escaping Leg.

The graduate art school at Columbia University in New York City has become one of the more expensive on the East Coast, according to a recent story in the New York Times. Tuition at Columbia is $39,144 a year, substantially higher than New York University ($29,540) and Yale School of Art ($21,600). On the west coast, Stanford University pays the full cost of tuition for its MFA students, as well as providing a stipend. I dont want to see it become a rich-kid program, said artist Jon Kessler, chairman of the visual arts department at Columbia.

Paris photographers Pascal Rostain and Bruno Mouron are mounting Star Trash, a show of photos of items raided from celebrity trash cans, at the eponymous Star Trash Store at 28 Wooster in SoHo, June 16-July 16, 2004. The garbage, which was neatly arranged on black velvet before being photographed, was tossed out by the likes of Pamela Anderson, Halle Berry, Mel Gibson, Madonna and John Travolta. The artists have produced lithos of the photos (in editions of 25, at $6,000 each), and say they plan to sell the works to raise funds for the homeless.

Montreal philanthropist Marjorie Bronfman has donated $350,000 to the National Gallery of Canada to establish the Marjorie and Gerald Bronfman Drawing Acquisition Endowment. Funds from the endowment have already been used to acquire 18th-century drawings by Giovanni Paolo Panini and Gottfried Bernhard Gz. Bronfman also donated to the museum a pair of drawings by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo from her own collection.