MAX ANDERSON TO HEAD WHITNEY
Maxwell Anderson, director of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto for the last three years, has been named as the new director of the Whitney Museum. A native New Yorker and a Harvard Ph.D., Anderson formerly was assistant curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Metropolitan Museum (1982-87) and director of the Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta (1987-95), where he oversaw a Michael Graves-designed expansion. One of the museum world's chief pixel-heads, Anderson launched the Art Museum Network and the Art Museum Image Consortium.
Curiously, Anderson's appointment marks the second time in recent memory that the director's chair of a major New York City modern museum was filled by a Harvard grad whose specialty was something other than 20th-century art. The first was Glenn Lowry, the Islamicist who also came from the AGO to head the Museum of Modern Art. If nothing else, the situation should foster dialogue between the two institutions!
FREE MUSEUMS IN SOCIALIST BRITAIN ...
British cultural secretary Chris Smith has earmarked some $165 million to eliminate admission charges to English museums and galleries by the year 2001. He says he's seeking to democratize access to high culture. The program starts next April with free admission for all children.
... AND NEW ARTS WATCHDOG
At the same time, Smith has announced plans for a new watchdog agency to oversee government arts-funding bodies, including the British Arts Council, the Museum and Galleries Commission, the Sports Council and English Heritage. The new "super-quango," as the Brits call it, will have a "license to meddle" and be able to overrule decisions by new Arts Council chairman Gerry Robinson. With an annual budget of some $825,000, the agency is to begin its work with a look at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Opera House.
WYNN BUYS MARILYN FROM NEWHOUSE
Conde Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr. has sold a small Andy Warhol portrait of Marilyn Monroe from his collection to Las Vegas casino king Steve Wynn -- as a kind of consolation prize, according to a report by Andrew Decker in the Wall Street Journal. Newhouse is widely believed to have out-bid Wynn last May for the record-setting $17-million Orange Marilyn. Wynn's art collection is to be unveiled next October at the opening of his new $1.6 billion Las Vegas resort, Bellagio, in a special museum that boasts former Kimbell Museum director Edmund Pillsbury as curatorial consultant.
BROAD BUYS SAATCHI'S RAYS
Los Angeles collector Eli Broad has bought Charles Saatchi's entire collection of works by artist Charles Ray. In a profile of Ray in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, journalist Christine McKenna tells how Broad originally sought to buy Ray's Fall '91, a 12-foot-tall female mannequin in a pink power suit. Saatchi agreed only on the condition that Broad buy the rest of his Rays, too, which included three photos, two sculptures and the mammoth Firetruck originally fabricated for the 1993 Whitney Biennial.
Hartz Mountain heir and hotelier Emanuel Stern, who built the upscale Soho Grand on West Broadway a few years ago, now plans an even more luxurious hotel a few blocks south. To be called the TriBeCa Grand, the $50-million, 210-room project is to be located on a triangular plot that formerly held a nursery and parking lot at White, Church and Walker Streets and Sixth Avenue.
GUGGENHEIM LAUNCHES VIRTUAL MUSEUM
The global Guggenheim Museum has a new beachhead in cyberspace. The Guggenheim Virtual Museum, designed by Hani Rashid and Lisa Anne Couture of Asymptote Architecture of New York, will feature virtual visits to Guggenheim branches as well as its own custom-made art projects and education programs. Target date for full release is Dec. 31, 1998, but in the meantime filmmaker and media artist Shu Lea Cheang has designed Brandon: A One-Year Narrative Project in Installments, derived from the sensational 1993 murder of transvestite Teena Brandon in Falls City, Neb. The project, curated by Matthew Drutt, is also to be broadcast on the Guggenheim SoHo's video-wall of 75 40-inch projection cubes.
HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS
The Lenox, Mass., home and studio of American Cubist George L.K. Morris (1905-1970) and his wife, fellow artist Suzy Frelinghuysen, has been opened to the public. The house was built by John Butler Swann in the early 1940s and is filled with the couples' murals and art collection. The unveiling coincides with a show of Morris' work at Salander-O'Reilly Galleries in New York, Aug. 5-28, 1998.
"SENSATION" IN GERMANY, AND THE U.S.?
"Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection," organized by Charles Saatchi and Royal Academy curator Norman Rosenthal, opens at the Hamburger Bahnof in Berlin, Sept. 30-Dec. 28, 1998, as part of an international celebration of 300 years of British art. The catalogue, which sold over 18,000 copies at the Academy alone, will be issued in a German translation. Negotiations to bring the provocative show of new British art to the U.S. are underway, according to a Royal Academy spokesman.
MARIKO MORI AT CHICAGO MCA
The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art opens its survey of work by Mariko Mori, Oct. 10, 1998-Mar. 14, 1999. The show is organized by MCA assistant curator Dominic Molon and includes 13 works.
BRASSAÏ AT HOUSTON MFA
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, opens its landmark retrospective of modernist photographer Brassaï (1898-1984) on Dec. 6, 1998. Curated by Anne Wilkes Tucker, "Brassaï: The Eye of Paris" features 140 photos plus drawings, sculptures and books.
JOAN BROWN IN OAKLAND
The first major retrospective of Bay Area beatnik painter Joan Brown (1938-1990), "Transformation: The Art of Joan Brown," premieres Sept. 26, 1998-Jan. 17, 1999. The show's 126 works are to be split between the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum.
QUAKE DAMAGE REVEALS FRESCO
The Assisi earthquake of Sept. 1997 has uncovered a lost fresco in the chapel of the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi. Thought to be by Perugino, the fresco shows St. Francis embracing the Cross. Experts believe the fresco was painted around 1486, and have described it as "superb."
ALTSCHULER TO CHRISTIE'S
Christie's has named Bruce J. Altschuler as director of studies for its new 15-month graduate program in connoisseurship and the art market. Altschuler was director of the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City, N.Y.
NEW MIT CURATOR
Jennifer Ridell has been named assistant curator at MIT's List Visual Arts Center, where she has been a curatorial fellow since July 1995.
ART THEFT PAYS?
Art theft pays, says art-security consultant Robert Spiel in an article on his website. Most bank thieves are caught, Spiel says, while 80 percent of art thieves get away. Banks have closed-circuit cameras to help catch the culprits, while art is often stored and if stolen can go unnoticed for long periods of time. The solution? Hang more art in banks.