SMELLS LIKE GASOLINE
Everyone must know by now that the Guggenheim Museum is opening "The Art of the Motorcycle" on June 26, sponsored by BMW and complete with more than 100 hawgs and choppers, screenings of The Wild One and Easy Rider, summer beer tastings and god knows what else. But -- what about perfume?!? The artist collective Department for Public Appearances is handling that end, thank you, with its own gasoline-scented virtual fragrance act (art culture technology) in a flacon shaped after Frank Lloyd Wright's spiral-stepped museum design with a top fashioned after the BMW logo, "positioned like a coin about to drop in the money-box." For more info, visit the project launch event on June 20 at White Columns, or go to the Department website. And look for special scratch 'n' sniff sample cards.
TAX TO SQUASH LONDON ART MARKET?
The newly formed British Art Market Federation, headed by former Tory Heritage Secretary Peter Brooke, vows to fight the five percent value-added tax proposed for art and antiques imports in England. The European Union wants the new tax by mid-1999 to bring Britain into line with other European states. But the British say the VAT will give art markets in Switzerland and the U.S. an unfair advantage.
According to a BAMF study, the British art market totals £2.2 billion (over $3.6 billion) a year -- more spending than the £1.6-billion music business. Almost 40 percent of the total is due to sales at the Big Four auctioneers: Bonham's, Christie's, Phillips and Sotheby's, which together do £16 million ($26 million) a week in sales. The UK's 9,463 art dealers sell about £27.8 million ($46 million) a week. The study also claims that since Britain set a 2.5 percent VAT rate in 1994, imports of art for sale have dropped by 40 percent, a total of almost £450 million ($740 million).
FOGG GOES MODERN Harvard University museums chief James Cuno is scheming to make the Fogg Art Museum a modern art powerhouse. Beginning with the anonymous $5-million gift it received in 1996, he's launched a new Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and hired two new curators -- National Gallery of Art Mondrian expert Harry Cooper for "modern" and Bard College professor Linda Norden for "contemporary" (she was co-curator of the Dusseldorf Kunsthalle's 1987 Similia/Dissimilia).
Next spring the department gets its own exhibition space in Harvard's Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, courtesy architect Renzo Piano. Recent Fogg acquisitions in the contemporary arena include works by Ellsworth Kelly, Kiki Smith, Eva Hesse, Brice Marden, Ed Ruscha, Sol LeWitt, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Nancy Spero and more. Future exhibitions include "America Abstract" (opening in December 1998), "Ellsworth Kelly: The Early Drawings, 1948-1955, curated by Yves-Alain Bois, and a Mondrian show.
PS: Beginning July 1, entry to the Fogg as well as Harvard's Busch-Reisinger and Sackler museums is free of charge on Wednesdays!
DIA SELLS ONLINE
Cybercommerce, here we come. Following Amazon.com's lead, the Dia Center has launched an online bookstore. Buy Dia exhibition catalogues (books on Dan Graham, Richard Serra, Joseph Beuys, Blinky Palermo, Brice Marden), Dia's "Discussions in Contemporary Culture" series (edited by Hal Foster, Brian Wallis, Phil Mariani, Peter Wollen, Gretchen Bender), multiples (by Kiki Smith, Katarina Fritsch, Jessica Stockholder), even poetry (Rene Ricard, Alice Notley) -- all online with a credit card. No gift wrap, though. Dia members get a 10 percent discount. Programming for the project is courtesy oo-design.
NOLDE TOPS VILLA GRISEBACH SALE
Germany's leading auction house Villa Grisebach announced the results of its Spring Sale in Berlin June 5-6. The sale totaled over $7.6 million, slightly above the presale estimate. Top lot was Emil Nolde's Girl with Auburn Hair (1919), which sold to an American for about $1,070,000, three times its presale estimate. Other high prices were paid for Otto Mueller's melancholic Gypsywoman in a Garden, which went for $259,000; Gustav Klimt's Study of Two Reclining Half Nudes (1917-18), which sold for $75,000; and the Wassily Kandinsky woodcut Green Woman, which was bought for $87,500.
BIRD IN CYBERSPACE?
The Philadelphia Museum now has a 3-D virtual exhibition on its website presenting three versions of Constantin Brancusi's Mademoiselle Pogany (1912, 1919 and 1931). But look out -- you'll need the high-end net programs Netscape 4 and SGI's Cosmo 2 to view the project. The vrml deal is produced by Narrative Rooms, a new company formed by ArtNet graphic wiz Anthony McCall. Other things in the works at NR include a virtual Gilbert & George as singing sculptures and a 3-D mapping of Richard Serra's Torqued Ellipses that may show up on the website for his forthcoming LAMOCA retrospective.
FRANCE BUYS FASHION
A dress from the 1997-98 haute couture collection of fashion designer Adeline André has been purchased by the Fonds National d'Art Contemporaine (FNAC) for the French national collection. The "double long dress in flesh tone silk georgette crepe covered with 24 carat gold leaf layers" caused a sensation when it was presented at the Cartier Foundation in Paris. André, the inventor of the three arm-hole garment, is known for clothes that suggest a seamless relationship between the fabric structure and the female form. The purchase marks the first time that the French Ministry of Culture and Communication has added fashion to its mission, which until now has been limited to contemporary art, industrial design and decorative art.
MOOS TO BMA
The Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Art has hired David Moos as its new curator of painting, sculpture and graphic art. Formerly he was curator at the Ulrich Museum at Wichita (Kansas) State University.
PHILLPOT LECTURES IN BROOKLYN
Former MoMA librarian Clive Phillpot (currently consulting curator to the British Council) lectures on artists' books at the Brooklyn Museum, 2 p.m., Saturday, June 27. It's the 175th birthday of the museum library.
HIGH MUSEUM PHOTO GUY Thomas Southall has been named photography curator at Atlanta's High Museum of Art. Previously he was photo curator at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, Tex.
SAN DIEGO MCA GETS $1.5 MILLION
The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, has received $1.5 million for its endowment from Helen and David Copley and the James S. Copley Foundation. The gift permanently endows the director's chair in the name of David C. Copley, president and ceo of newspaper publisher Copley Press and an MCA trustee since 1995. The MCA endowment now totals $5.5 million.
NEW CHINESE GALLERIES FOR LACMA
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has unveiled its six new galleries for Chinese art with an installation of over 500 works, ranging from early bronze vessels to a recreation of an 11th-century artist-scholar's studio. "Chinese art at LACMA has never looked better," wrote critic Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times.
DIGITAL MUSEUM RISES IN CHELSEA Johnson & Johnson heir John Johnson and his nonprofit Eyebeam Atelier break ground next month for construction of a new 12,000-square-foot Digital Museum on West 21st Street next to Paula Cooper Gallery in New York's Chelsea district. Johnson will direct the museum and freelance curators will organize both real-world and web exhibitions of new media and technological art. The ten-story building, designed by architects Meltzer/Mandl and Garrett W. Heher, is scheduled to open in spring 2000. Johnson also recently founded the Filmmakers Collaborative, which provides office and editing facilities for independent filmmakers.
JAPANESE PM SHOWS PHOTOS IN MOSCOW
An exhibition of photographs by Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto opened in early June at the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow. The show includes pictures taken during Hashimoto's summit meeting with Russian president Boris Yeltsin last winter, and is part of a Moscow-wide festival of Japanese culture that is designed to improve ties between the two countries.
BOSTON MFA RETURNS SHARDS TO GREECE
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has returned a collection of 270 ancient Greek vase fragments to the Greek government. A 1997 review of the museum's holdings revealed that the collection had been received anonymously in 1958 for return, but had instead been mistakenly treated as a loan from a private collection.
CHRISTIE'S SELLS BOND Christie's South Kensington has scheduled the first-ever James Bond 007 auction for Sept. 17, 1998, to feature all kinds of stuff from the Bond films, from Dr. No (1962) to Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Closing date for entries was June 12, but if you have some really great Bond memorabilia call Cary Wallace or Sarah Hodgson (0171) 321 3275 or 3281.
PRINZ VON HOHENZOLLERN TO CHRISTIE'S
Christie's has appointed Johann Georg Prinz von Hohenzollern as non-executive chairman of Christie's Germany. He was formerly curator and then director at the Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen.
QUEER NET ART
The Queer Arts Resource Juried International Net Art Exhibition, Net Selections '98, is now accepting submissions from queer artists with Internet-based work. Jurors are critic Robert Atkins, SF MoMA curator Aaron Betsky and others. For a prospectus go to Queer Arts or email email@example.com.
POSTMASTERS, SILVERSTEIN CHELSEA BOUND
Two more New York galleries are leaving SoHo for the Chelsea art district. "Come and kiss the old walls good-bye," says Postmistress Magda Sawon, announcing that after nine years on Greene Street, Postmasters is moving to a 4,000-square-foot former garage at 459 West 19th Street, opening in September with an as-yet-unspecified line-up. The gallery's infamous "peep hole" exhibition space will now be in the basement, viewed through a hole in the floor. Also moving, Dan Silverstein, who opens on Sept 10 next to Paula Cooper at 520 West 21st Street.
LOIS MAILLOU JONES, 1905-1998 Lois Mailou Jones, 92, African American painter whose work addressed a wide range of African American themes in an equally wide range of styles, died at her home in Washington, D.C., on June 16. A fixture on the Washington, D.C., art scene, she taught for nearly 50 years at Howard University there. Her work is included in the current show, "Rhapsodies in Black," at the Corcoran Gallery.
LUCIO COSTA, 1902-1998 Lucio Costa, 96, French-born Brazilian architect who laid out the cross-shaped design of the modernist Brazilian capital Brasilia, died at his home in Rio de Janeiro on June 13.