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Connoisseur-in-chief Thomas Hoving is opening an online museum store right here at ArtNet. Over 70 deluxe items, selected from museum stores around the country, will be offered in ArtNet's new Museum Store, which is slated to open for business before the end of the month. The former director of the Metropolitan Museum and editor of the now-defunct Connoisseur magazine, Hoving should know how to pick art for the masses -- not only did he make the Met's store into a major tourist attraction, but he's the son of Walter Hoving, chairman of Tiffany's.

Matthew Barney's new video epic, Cremaster 5, debuts at Portikus in Frankfurt, Germany, June 19-Aug. 10, 1997. Shot at the famous Russian Baths and Chain Bridge in Budapest (hometown of Harry Houdini, one of Barney's inspirations), Cremaster 5 is the grand finale of the five-part series (though parts 2 and 3 are still in the making). The video stars Barney in his famous getup as a red-haired goat-man in a white suit. The exhibition is organized by Portikus curator Brigitte Kölle.

Kiki Smith's wax sculpture with beads, Pee Body (1992), which sold at Sotheby's on May 6 for a record $233,500, was acquired by the Harvard University Art Museums. Harvard jointly purchased the work with art patrons Barbara Fish Lee and Emily Rauh Pulitzer, who have promised to donate their shares to Harvard eventually. Smith's life-size crouching female figure with strings of yellow beads flowing out behind goes on view soon at the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge.

The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Conn., has given its 1997 Larry Aldrich Foundation Award to California artist Charles Ray. The award includes $25,000 and a solo show at the Aldrich, slated for next spring. The museum's Larry Award goes to gallerist Ronald Feldman in honor of his continuous service to the field of contemporary art. Both awards will be presented at a benefit gala at the Pierre Hotel in New York this October.

The Public Art Fund and the Battery Park City Authority have published the appropriately named A Guide to Public Art in Battery Park City, a brochure that details the 14 pieces on display in the downtown Manhattan area. The booklet maps out the location of works such as Louise Bourgeois's The Welcoming Hands (1996), and Martin Puryear's Pylons (1995). To receive your copy, send a s.a.s.e. (with postage totaling 55 cents) to the PAF, 1 E. 53rd Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022.

When the Republicans took over in Congress in 1992 they abolished special-interest caucuses, including the Congressional Arts Caucus. But you can't keep a good art-loving politician down, and now Congressional arts advocates have formed the bipartisan Congressional Member Organization for the Arts. Led by chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and vice-chair Steve Horn (R-CA), the group has already enrolled 106 members. So far, the arts CMO (as it is annoyingly called) has registered strong support for continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts Wire reports that an elementary school in New Wilmington, Pa., has removed the Life and Works of Renoir to a restricted area of its library. The move came after a student had brought the book home and his parent objected to the nudity, saying it was not "age-appropriate." For more info, contact People for the American Way, 200 M. Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.