MUSEUM DIRECTORS GET PAID . . .
What's the going rate for a museum director these days? According to the September 24 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, around $238,810 -- for a Glenn D. Lowry, anyway (director of the Museum of Modern Art.) He also gets $6,883 in benefits. IRS rules require nonprofits to disclose the pay and benefits of their top five officials. Phillippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art earns about $271,085 per year, (plus $27,354 in benefits) the exact same as his departing colleague William H. Luers, who has been Met president. In addition, they each have an expense allowance around $80,000. James N. Wood, director of the Art Institute of Chicago rakes in about $260,346, (plus $67,802 in benefits) while Ira Michael Heyman, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, gets $240,387 (plus $87,397 in benefits). The former president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, Harold M. Williams, earned a whopping $619,621, and $345,856 in benefits.
MAENZ COLLECTION TO WEIMAR
Superdealer Paul Maenz has donated over 300 works from his collection to be the core of the new Neues Museum Weimar. Housed in the former Grand Ducal Museum, the new museum will be the first important contemporary art facility in the former East Germany. Maenz, who operated his gallery in Cologne from 1970 to 1990, collected everything from Donald Judd's minimalist pieces to Sylvie Fleury's girly installations, both on view in the exhibition. The museum opens on Jan. 1, 1999, and commemorates the beginning of Weimar's year as the Cultural Capital of Europe.
ART THIEVES IN CHINA SENTENCED TO DEATH
According to Reuters, the Chinese government has sentenced four people to death and incarcerated nine others for the theft and sale of 15 frescoes from the tomb of a Tang dynasty (617-907) imperial concubine. The China Daily reports that the thieves made a key to the museum in Xianyang with the help of museum worker and stole the ancient wall-paintings over the course of two years (1992-1994). They were then sold in the southern province of Guangdong and smuggled overseas. Only two of the frescoes have been recovered.
RIGHT-WING POLITICIAN WANTS MORE ART CENSORSHIP
At the request of Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, federal prosecutors are investigating whether a photographer running a seminar at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., should be charged with showing pornography to minors. A group of teenage girls attending a week of photography training at the museum were shown two photographs of leather-clad women posing as dominatrixes. Photographer Annie Adjachavanich, and museum chairwoman Wilhelmina Cole Holladay both insist that the photos are no more explicit than something the girls would find in the media. The seminar is part of an arts education program called "Shooting Back," conceived for teenagers from local disadvantaged families.
MUSEUM CURATOR JAILED FOR ART THEFT
The curator of the Nice Fine Arts Museum was arrested last week for the theft of two paintings from the museum on September 21, 1998. Curator Jean Forneris had reported that two armed men broke into his home and forced him at gunpoint to let them into the museum. The armed robbers bound and gagged some employees before driving off in Forneris' car with Claude Monet's Cliffs at Dieppe and Alfred Sisley's Lane Lined with Poplars near Moret.
Police became suspicious of Forneris during the interrogation, when his description of the event seemed incongruous. Forneris finally admitted that he was good friends with one of the thieves, a man in dire financial trouble who had recently lost his brother and father, divorced his wife, and had no financial resources. Forneris agreed to help him with the heist. The paintings, valued at up to $6 million, were found hidden in an anchored yacht in the port of Nice.
NEW YORKER GETS NEW ART CRITIC Peter Schjeldahl, art writer for the Village Voice, is leaving the downtown paper. He has been named the new art critic for the New Yorker.
GOLD ARTIFACTS CONFISCATED FROM MUSEUM
FBI agents confiscated three gold artifacts from the Museum of New Mexico's "Art of Ancient America, 1500 B.C.-1500 A.D." exhibition at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M. Investigators believe that the gold pieces were looted from a Peruvian tomb and smuggled into the United States. The artifacts came to the museum from a private collector, who believed the pieces were legitimate. Museum director Tom Chavez had the items examined before the exhibition opened, and was also told they were o.k. The FBI is continuing its investigation, and Chavez and the unidentified collector are said to be cooperating.
UTA BARTH GETS EXHIBITION
The Lannan Foundation has awarded the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle a $40,000 grant for a mid-career retrospective of the art of Uta Barth. In the past few years Barth's misty all-but-abstract color photos of landscapes have become widely sought after by collectors. The show opens Mar. 23, 1999, and will tour internationally.
ADAA ELECTS NEW BOARD
The Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) has elected six new members to its board of directors: Carolyn Alexander (Alexander and Bonin), Jill Weinberg Adams (Lennon, Weinberg), Jay Gorney (Gorney, Bravin & Lee), Robert Mnuchin (C&M Arts), Susan Sheehan (Susan Sheehan Gallery) and Manny Silverman (Manny Silverman Gallery). The current president of the not-for-profit organization is Richard Gray of the Richard Gray Gallery.
MET CREATES NEW CURATORIAL POSTS Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang have given $2.5 million to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to endow two new curatorships in the field of American art. Morrison H. Heckscher will be the first Anthony W. and Lulu C. Wang Curator in the department of American Decorative Arts.
The Brown Foundation is funding a new curatorial position in the Department of American Paintings and Sculpture, in memory of its founder, Alice Pratt Brown. The first Alice Pratt Brown Curator will be H. Barbara Weinberg.
SAN DIEGO MUSEUMS COHABIT
On February 13, 1999, the Museum of Photographic Arts is to move in with the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego for 12 months, while MOPA's Balboa Park building closes for construction. The expanded MOPA is scheduled to open in the Spring, 2000. It will be more than triple in size. Both museums will continue to present their own exhibitions, though they will be sharing the MOCA's downtown gallery space.