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1/16/98


WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW OPENS
Don't miss the 44th annual Winter Antiques Show, which opens at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue in New York City, Jan. 16-25, 1998. Special exhibitor this year is Historic Deerfield in northwest Massachusetts, specializing in 18th- and 19th-century furniture from the Connecticut River Valley. Of the 72 exhibitors, four are new, including Stephen & Carol Huber from Old Saybrook, Conn., who specialize in antique samplers and needlework. The show is expected to raise around $500,000 to benefit East Side Settlement House in the Bronx. General admission is $16; for more info call (718) 292-7392.

LEOPOLD FIGHTS BACK
The 72-year-old Austrian art collector Rudolf Leopold, accused of acquiring two works in his extensive Egon Schiele collection from Nazi collaborators, has gone on the offensive. According to Die Presse in Vienna, Leopold says that he bought the contested works -- Dead City (1911) and Portrait of Wally (1912), now seized as evidence in New York -- in 1956 from the Kornfeld Gallery, Bern, where they were supposedly consigned by an unnamed heir of the original owner. The catalogue of the exhibition lists 15 other Schiele works, five of which Leopold says are in U.S. museums. They include Black Girl (1911) at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Oh.; a portrait of Edith Schiele (1915) at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and a painting of a girl putting on a shoe (1910) at the Museum of Modern Art. At least 11 other drawings and watercolors are in private hands in the US, says Leopold.

LOOTED ARTIFACTS AT BOSTON MFA?
The governments of both Guatemala and Mali have accused the Boston Museum of Fine Arts of exhibiting stolen cultural property in its new galleries of pre-Columbian and African art, according to reporters John Yemma and Walter V. Robinson in the Boston Globe. The Mayan pieces in question were donated in 1988 by businessman Landon T. Clay, a longtime trustee of the museum, who said he purchased the objects legally. The two terra cotta figures from Mali are lent to the show by museum overseer William E. Teel, and were looted from Malian burial grounds, according to Mali officials. Officials of both countries promised legal action against the MFA if their artifacts are not returned. MFA director Malcolm Rogers that he would have to confer with the museum's board of trustees.

MUSEUMS AND TITLE IX
A group of arts activists plans to file a Title IX complaint with the National Endowment for the Arts against New York museums, charging that they discriminate against women under the provisions of the 1972 Civil Rights Act, which covers educational institutions receiving federal funding. To support the complaint, Art Resources Transfer is assembling a database of women artists in conjunction with a series of three shows of women artists, Jan. 15-Mar. 15, 1998, at Dorfman Projects, 529 W. 20th St., New York, N.Y. 10011. Title IX is the law that has revolutionized college sports, requiring many schools to institute new programs for women. For more info email artresources@compuserve.com.

ARTIST ARRESTED AT CITY HALL
A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists' Response To Illegal State Tactics) president Robert Lederman was arrested in front of New York City Hall on Jan. 14 during Mayor Rudolf Giuliani's state of the city speech. Lederman had used a piece of chalk to write "GIULIANI =POLICE STATE" on the street near Giuliani's parked white sports utility vehicle. Lederman was immediately surrounded by police, arrested and taken to the basement of City Hall where he says he watched the Mayor's speech on a T.V. monitor while surrounded by police officers. Lederman was charged with defacement of property, though police officials had washed the chalk off the street. This is Lederman's 17th arrest on speech-related charges connected with his battle against the city ban against artists showing their works on city sidewalks; he has never been found guilty on any of the charges. For information e-mail artistpres@aol.com.

WALKER POP-UP BOOK
Artist Kara Walker has produced a new pop-up silhouette book called "Freedom: A Fable, a curious interpretation of the wit of a Negress in Troubled Times." The beautiful leather-bound book, produced in an edition of 4,000, tells a bizarre tale of a black woman after the Civil War who sails via ship to Liberia to become a god. The edition is published by the Norton Family Foundation, which celebrates the holidays each year by commissioning an art edition and distributing it as a gift to toilers in the art-world trenches.

KING TO O'KEEFFE
George King, director of the Katonah Museum in Katonah, New York, has been appointed director of the six-month-old Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M. Long considered one of the museum-world's underappreciated assets, King oversaw the move of the Westchester County museum to a new E.L. Barnes building in 1990 and organized "Object as Insight: Japanese Buddhist Art and Ritual" (1996) and an early survey of portraiture by Florine Stettheimer (1993). In Santa Fe, King says he hopes to do changing exhibitions of O'Keeffe's contemporaries and even some shows by contemporary artists.

DROUOT SALES INCREASE
Paris auctioneers at Hôtel Drouot registered total sales of 2.7 billion francs inclusive of premiums ($436.6 million) during 1997. The total without premium is FF 2.4 billion. This result showed a 15 percent increase compared with 1996. Ten works sold for over FF 5 million ($820,000), including a Degas pastel that fetched FF 25 million ($4.1 million) and a Gauguin oil that sold for FF 24 million ($3.9 million) The only piece of furniture that sold for over 5 million francs was a commode by Adam Weisweiler, which fetched FF 5.5 million ($908,000). Paris remains far behind Christie's and Sotheby's, which will be allowed to hold sales in the French capital in six months time. As a result, both houses might provoke a substantial fall in the turnover of Drouot for 1998.           -- Adrian Darmon

DE MONTEBELLO IN CHARGE
Following a profile by Calvin Tomkins last month in the New Yorker, the New York Times has weighed in with a report that Metropolitan Museum director Philippe de Montebello would become the c.e.o. of the museum once president William H. Luers retires at age 70 in 1999. De Montebello is in charge of curatorial matters, while the president administers the budget, supervises the physical plant and deals with government; both have fund-raising duties. The director has always been antibicephalous, ever since the system was set up in 1986. The new chairman will report to him.

NEW BOOK BY LYNNE TILLMAN
Art-world writer Lynne Tillman's new novel, No Lease on Life has just been published by Hartcourt Brace ($21). The publisher calls the book "a mordantly funny comedy, with overtones of Kafka, on one woman's complicated relationship with her East Village neighborhood." It also features appearances by the "crusties" -- a first in literature? Tillman's other recent books include The Velvet Years: Warhol's Factory 1965-1967 and The Broad Picture, a collection of essays.

OUTSIDER ART FAIR
The 1998 Outsider Art Fair goes up at the Puck Building in SoHo Jan. 23-25, 1998, organized by Sanford L. Smith & Associates. About 35 galleries from the U.S. and Europe are participating. This year's symposium, to be held at NYU (Barney building, 34 Stuyvesant Street, room 105) on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m., features talks by Folk Art Institute director Lee Kogan, Galerie St. Etienne director Jane Kallir, Aldrich Museum assistant director Richard Klein, Philadelphia dealer John Ollman and Raw Vision magazine editor John Maizels. General admission is $10.

ART FAIRS TAKE SAN FRANCISCO
Two major contemporary art fairs are scheduled for San Francisco this year, a sign "that the international art scene is reaching a sophisticated art community on the West Coast," according to Shields Communications. First is ART San Francisco, which opens in March. The San Francisco International Art Expo, produced by Tom Blackman & Associates, opens at Fort Mason Center, Oct. 1-4.

NEW CHAIRMAN AT ART LOSS REGISTER
Ronald S. Tauber, former president of Blenheim Investments in Somerset, N.J., has been named chairman of the Art Loss Register in New York. The company compiles the cooperative database of stolen art (formerly at the International Foundation for Art Resources), now with some 100,000 items, and is supported largely by insurance-industry subscriptions. About 1,200 objects a month are presently being reported to the register.

OOH, THAT GETTY PARKING
The new $1-billion Getty Center in Los Angeles may be architect Richard Meier's crowning achievement, but his parking garage there is getting panned. In this week's issue, New York Observer art columnist Jeffrey Hogrefe reports that the Getty has only 1,200 parking places and that the short trip from the freeway to the garage took 45 minutes traveling at an "ant's pace." Hogrefe wrote that "it's hard to imaging what kind of thinking" went into the design of the parking garage entrance, which has "a circular driveway smaller than Aaron Spelling's."