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7/31/98


PHILBIN TO HAMMER MUSEUM?
Though no official announcement has yet been made, the word in SoHo is that Drawing Center director Annie Philbin will go west to become director of the UCLA Hammer, as the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California Los Angeles is called. In recent years the Hammer has specialized in showcasing all kinds of traveling shows, ranging from "The Black Male" to "Angels from the Vatican." The current schedule features "Disney Architecture" and the forthcoming "Sunshine & Noir," a show of L.A. art from the '60s and '70s organized by Lars Nitve for the Louisiana Museum in Denmark. "It's a blank canvas," said Coagula Art Journal publisher Mat Gleason. "She could make a big impact here." Current Hammer director Henry Hopkins is planning to return to the UCLA faculty.

BOSS PRIZE TO DOUGLAS GORDON
The $50,000 Hugo Boss Prize for 1998 has gone to Scottish artist Douglas Gordon, who also won the 1996 Turner Prize and the Premio 2000 at the 1997 Venice Biennale. The sweepstakes-savvy Scott is perhaps best known for film installations that recall art-as-idea gestures of about 25 years ago, such as projecting Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho one frame at a time over a 24-hour period. The prize was presented by Dennis Hopper at the SoHo Guggenheim on July 29 to a standing-room-only crowd that apparently did not include the other short-listed artists (Huang Yong Ping, William Kentridge, Lee Bul, Pipilotti Rist and Lorna Simpson). In his brief acceptance remarks, Gordon said, "It's nice to be in New York and take some money away," and offered to sell the prize for $50,000 to anyone who wanted it.

WYNN RESCINDS TIFFANY PURCHASE
Las Vegas casino king Steve Wynn won't be shipping a Philadelphia landmark out to his new Bellagio resort after all. Wynn was the anonymous buyer of the 15 x 49 ft. stained-glass mural by Maxfield Parrish and Louis Comfort Tiffany that has been on view in the lobby of the Curtis Building in Philadelphia since 1916. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, after protests over the sale of Dream Garden broke out in the city, Philadelphia developer Ronald Rubin called his old friend Wynn and talked him out of the purchase. "Steve is a quality guy," Rubin said. The price of the mural was estimated to be between $5 million and $11 million. It is part of the $95-million estate of John Merriam, some of which goes to benefit the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Philadelphia mayor Edward Rendell says he will seek historic status for the mural to prevent its removal.

SQUABBLE OVER O'KEEFFE HOUSE
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum founder Anne Marion has offered $3 million to buy O'Keeffe's summer place near Abiquiu, an adobe house and 12-acre plot known as Ghost Ranch that the artist acquired in 1940. The property belongs to O'Keeffe's longtime associate and heir, Juan Hamilton, but the neighboring 21,000-acre, identically named Ghost Ranch owned by the Presbyterian Church may exercise its option to buy the property. The church uses its New Mexico property as a combination religious retreat and dude ranch, but may not have the funds to make the purchase. O'Keeffe's Ghost Ranch is important to devotees because of its view of one of her favorite subjects, the Pedenal butte, which O'Keeffe Museum director George King called "her Mont St. Victoire." Marion wants to preserve O'Keeffe's home for scholars, and has offered to donate $250,000 to the church if it lets her purchase go through.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has given the O'Keeffe Museum all of the personal tangible property he inherited from O'Keeffe at her death in 1987. The collection includes O'Keeffe's studio materials as well as found objects -- bones, shells and rocks -- that turned up as subjects of her works. The collection will form part of the museum's study center, headed by Barbara Lynes and expected to open in about a year.

The O'Keeffe Museum also announced the election of Rollin W. King, founder of Southwest Airlines, as new board president.

KACHUR LECTURES IN D C.
Art historian and ArtNet contributor Lewis Kachur lectures on Stuart Davis this Sunday, Aug. 2, at the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., locale of the current Davis retrospective. The lecture begins at 2 pm in the museum lecture room and is free.

PETERMAN ON THE PLAZA
Those ten 1,700-pound bundles of gray reprocessed plastic stacked in the plaza of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art are part of a site-specific work, called Accessories to an Event (plaza), by local artist Dan Peterman. During the summer, the artist will gradually remove the bundles to his studio and use the raw plastic planks to fabricate benches, tables, chairs, planters and other sculptures that will be returned to the plaza.

FINLEY FILM
Performance artist Karen Finley plans to direct a film titled Creating Kali for Heroica Films. The comedy, written by Finley and Kamala Lopez, is about an actress and a sadomasochist in Hollywood. Casting begins in L.A. in October.

LEVY AT EQUITABLE
All is not lost for art lovers in New York this summer. The exquisitely air-conditioned Equitable Gallery presents a show devoted to pioneering art dealer Julien Levy (1906-81), whose New York gallery introduced Surrealism, Atget and Nadar to U.S. audiences in the '30s. "Julien Levy: Portrait of an Art Gallery," curated by Ingrid Schaffner and Lisa Jacobs, goes on view Aug. 13-Oct. 31, 1998.

MONET AT THE FRICK
The Frick Collection in New York has borrowed Claude Monet's Vetheuil in Summer from the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto to display alongside the artist's Vetheuil in Winter from its own collection. Because of the Frick's tight restrictions on lending works from its collections, the Frick Monet wasn't included in the recent "Monet at Vetheuil" exhibition that brought together 12 works the artist painted in the small French village on the Seine (it appeared at the University of Michigan Museum in Ann Arbor, the Dallas Museum and the Minneapolis Institute). The Frick's juxtaposition goes on view Aug. 4-Oct. 4, 1998.

GUGG ATTENDANCE MOTORS ONWARD
The Guggenheim Museum says its attendance is booming for its summer mega-show, "The Art of the Motorcycle." For its first nine days, June 26-July 9, the show averaged 3,392 visitors per day, well over the previous record of 2,941 daily visitors for the uptown installation of "China: 5,000 Years." The most recent single-day attendance record set at the Gugg uptown was 5,345 on July 18. That's a lot of bikers!

BROOKLYN GOES NATIVE
The Brooklyn Museum of Art has unveiled a new installation of Native American art from the Southwest and California, featuring elaborately dressed 19th-century Zuni and Hopi kachina dolls, historical and contemporary Pueblo ceramics (by Margaret Tafoya, Helen Shupla, Grace Chapella, Jody Folwell, Gladys Paquin and Grace Chino), a Hupa dress and a group of finely woven Pomo baskets. The Brooklyn Museum has also extended its exhibition of legendary milliner Sally Victor to Aug. 23. "Sally Victor, Mad Hatter: 1935-1965" features hats with ethnographic motifs as well as styles adapted from works by Picasso, Matisse and Gauguin.

BYZANTINE RUINS UNCOVERED
Turkish archaeologists digging in Istanbul have discovered remains of the Great Palace of the Byzantine Empire, built by Constantine the Great in A.D. 330 when the city became capital of the Roman Empire. The palace was home to more than 50 Byzantine emperors, until Constantinople fell to Ottoman Turks in the mid 15th century. The discovery is considered of exceptional moment by archeologists, who had only found bits and pieces of the Great Palace until now.

CAVE MAN VINDICATED
A French magistrate has ruled that French archaeologist Jean-Marie Chauvet may deserve royalties for the photographs and videotape he made after discovering the world's largest trove of prehistoric cave paintings in France's Ardeche region while on vacation in December 1994. According to the magistrate, three senior officials at the French Ministry of Culture forged government papers to make it look like Chauvet was on assignment. The three will be tried this year, and could be sentenced to six months to three years in prison. A mediator is still to determine the amount of compensation Chauvet should receive for sales of his images.

AUSTRALIAN ADMITS MASSIVE FORGERIES
Australian artist William Blundell says he faked hundreds of paintings that were passed off by a dealer as originals, according to the Sunday Times of London. Copies works by artists ranging from Picasso to Pollock to the Australian Brett Whiteley were filtered into the art market by the now-deceased dealer Germain Curvers. Blundell says he believed his copies to be obvious frauds, and never intended them to be sold as originals.

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