MEXICO CITY MUSEUM CLOSES
The 12-year-old Cultural Center for Contemporary Art in Mexico City has been closed by its corporate sponsor, the Mexican television network Televisa, in order to save its $12 million annual operating costs. Museum director Robert Littman told the New York Times that the museum collection would go into storage, but that otherwise "things are completely unclarified to me." The museum was founded by Televisa owner Emilio Azcarraga Milmo, who died last year. Among the Cultural Center's notable exhibitions were a 1987 tribute to Leo Castelli, a 1988 exhibition devoted to the Virgin of Guadalupe, a 1990 Salvador Dali show borrowed from Spain and a show the same year of contemporary art illustrating essays by Octavio Paz.
IRAN ART OUT OF HIDING
The Western art trove hidden in the vaults of the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Teheran for the past 20 years is coming out of hiding, according to an Associated Press report. Thanks to liberalization of the country's fundamentalist regime, museum curator Alireza Sami-Azar hopes to reopen the museum some time next year. Iran's contemporary art collection -- containing important works by Pollock and Giacometti as well as works by contemporary artists feted by the Shah and his wife Farah Diba -- was amassed in the 1970s, only to be consigned to storage when the mullahs took over in 1979. About five years ago Iran traded Willem de Kooning's Women III (eventually bought by David Geffen) for a $20-million Persian manuscript.
READER'S DIGEST SELLS COLLECTION
Reader's Digest is selling 39 Impressionist and modern art works valued at $100 million from its famed corporate collection at Sotheby's, New York on Nov. 16. The incredible sale includes:
* Not one but two portraits of Jeanne Hebuterne by Modigliani, estimated at $9 million-$12 million.
* An untouched Monet Nympheas, est. $9 million-$12 million.
* A Cezanne L'Estaque view through the pines, ca. 1882-85, est. $9 million-$12 million.
* A painted sculpture group of several figures from 1950 by Giacometti, est. $4 million-$6 million.
* An Auvers village scene by van Gogh, 1890, est. $4 million-$6 million
According to the New York Times, Reader's Digest will also cut its quarterly dividend from 22.5¢ to 5¢ -- costing the Metropolitan Museum, which was gifted with stock by Reader's Digest founders DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, some $10 million, much earmarked for acquisitions (and the fabulous flower arrangements in the Met's grand entrance hall).
ARREST WARRANT FOR WILDENSTEIN
A New York judge has issued an arrest warrant for art dealer Alec Wildenstein for failing to pay $500,000 to his wife Jocelyne Wildenstein in their ongoing divorce case. Wildenstein is reported to be hiding out at his 66,000-acre ranch in Kenya. A divorce settlement could cost the 54-year-old art dealer an estimated $2 billion.
BRITISH ARTS COUNCIL TO CUT STAFF
The Arts Council of England will cut its workforce by more than half to achieve savings of £2 million annually, according to new chairman Gerry Robinson. The cuts could hit as many as 177 of the council's 322 employees. The council's annual report shows that in the past year its total payroll increased from £4.91 million to £6.98 million.
IMPRESSIONIST PAINTINGS STOLEN IN NICE
Alfred Sisley's Lane of the Poplars (1890) and Claude Monet's Cliffs of Dieppe (1897) were stolen from the Beaux-Arts Museum in Nice on Sept. 21. Two armed masked men took museum curator Jean Fournis hostage at his home and forced him to take them to the museum, where they bound and gagged the museum staff and locked them in the library. The robbers drove off in the curator's car.
CHRISTIE'S EXPANDS IN CHICAGO
Christie's opens its new Chicago headquarters at the John Hancock Center at 875 North Michigan Avenue on Sept. 24. The new 4,000-square-foot space is designed by Krueck & Sexton Architects. Christie's midwest managing director Gary M. Piattoni is to oversee operations there.
CLICK INTO THE FRICK
The Frick Museum in New York once required women wear skirts. Now you can tour it in your underwear -- from your home computer! The new Frick website features a virtual tour of the 1914 Frick mansion, highlights individual works in the collection and is linked to the Frick Research Catalog Online, a reference library of Western art.
POLLOCK-KRASNER GRANTS, 1998
Grants totaling $2.3 million were given to 126 international artists by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation during the fiscal year 1997-1998. The grants range from $5,000 to $30,000, and are intended to support artist's working and living expenses for one year. Recipients: Stephen Alarid, Rosa Almeida, Micaela Amato, Ghada Amer, John Andrews, Miroslav Antic, Olive Ayhens, Ulrich Bauss, Betty Beaumont, Rick Beerhorst, Kerstin Bergendal, Robert Berlind, Istvan Birkas, Seymour Boardman, Dorr Bothwell, Frank Bowling, Lisa Breslow, Roger Bultot, Mary Ellen Carroll, Albert Chong, Cora Cohen, Lisa Collado, Thomas Creed, Pamela Crimmins, Larry Deyab, Laima Drazdauskaite, Jane Dunn, Jessica Dunne, Nancy Flanagan, Mauri Formigoni, David Gibbs, Cadence Giersbach, Charles Ginnever, Edward Giordano, Curro Gonzalez, Maria Elena Gonzalez, Robert Goodnough, Guy Goodwin, Xiaomin Gu, Hans Haagen, Scott Hadfield, Hiroyuki Hamada, Robert Hamilton, Jens Hanke, Elaine Hansen, Elizabeth Miller Harbottle, Matt Harle, Willy Heeks, Stephen Hendee, Peter Hildebrand, Tomas Hlavina, John Hultberg, Katurah Hutcheson, Sadashi Inuzuka, Damrong Jaru-on-Urai, Amy Jenkins, Yun Fei Ji, Sue Johnson, Kenneth Kemble, Barbara Kendrick, Markku Kivinen, Ronald Klein, Elisabeth Kley, Borislav Kouzmanov, Nina Kovacheva, Monika & Bohus Kubinsky, Estella Lackey, Lyne Lapointe, Heidi Lasher-Oakes, Ibram Lassaw, Ciaran Lennon, Matt Lynch, Nicholas Maffei, Ernest Mancoba, Judith Mann, Marcia Marcus, Akos Matzon, Ingo Meller, Teresa Miszkin, Janet Mullarney, Ilona Nemeth, Joshua Neustein, Darlene Nguyen-Ely, Barbara Noah, Timur Novikov, Sophie Nowicka, Morgan O'Hara, Antanas Obcarskas, Alena Ort, Paul Pagk, Livia Papai, Sky Pape, Huw Parsons, Antonella Piemontese, Alfredo Portilios, Ernesto Pujol, Ravinder Reddy, Hunter Reynolds, Eric Rhein, Celeste Roberge, Herman Rose, John Rosis, Meridel Rubinstein, Arsen Savadov, Carolee Schneeman, Mira Schor, Barry Schwartz, Rachael Selekman, Katherine Sherwood, Margaret Shields, Andras Siflis, Al Souza, Aco Stankovski, Oona Stern, Lery Tchantouria, Marco Antonio Trovamala, Edo Valderrey, Fred Valentine, Elisa Vladilo, Elizabeth Voelker, Stella Waitzkin, Ryszard Wasko, Frank Wimberley, Kitty Winslow, Philip Wofford, Janet Yake.
LEGION OF HONOR FOR D'HARNONCOURT
Philadelphia Art Museum director Anne d'Harnoncourt received the Medaille des Arts et Lettres from the French government at the gala opening of the "Delacroix: the Late Work" on Sept. 10, 1998. (The exhibition runs through Jan. 3, 1999.)
SULZBERGER TO RETIRE AS MET CHAIRMAN
Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who has served as chairman of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum for the past 11 years, plans to retire from that position by early 1999. The decision makes the Met's search for a new chairman concurrent with its ongoing search for a new museum president.
MOMA SHOP TO OPEN ON-LINE
The Museum of Modern Art is launching an online store in early October. The virtual shop will offer 225 products from the MOMA Design Store, the museum bookstore and its mail-order catalogue. Special features include special weekly discounts, a "reminder" service to help clients remember birthdays, anniversaries and other important gift-giving dates, and even a bridal registry. MoMA's site receives over 100,000 visitors a month.
CAA LAUNCHES ONLINE JOURNAL
The College Art Association is launching an online journal titled CAA.reviews to cover art-related scholarly books and catalogues. The journal will also contain reviews on museum and gallery exhibitions, academic conferences and electronic media. Articles will be commissioned from critics, curators, artists and scholars around the world. The online publication is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and will be the only web site devoted to the review of new art-related books. CAA currently publishes the Art Journal and the Art Bulletin.
BACON AT MCA SAN DIEGO
The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego is to present "Francis Bacon: The Papal Portraits of 1953," Jan. 17-Mar. 28, 1999. The exhibition of Bacon's "pope paintings," considered to be among the most important of the artist's career, is organized by MCA chief Hugh M. Davies.
SORRY GIRLS! ANOTHER ART WORLD BACHELOR BITES THE DUST!
One of the art worlds' swingiest bachelors is no more. On Sept. 12, wedding bells rang for Richard. L. Feigen and Peggy Langan-Culver. Feigen (whose paramours over the past 20 years have included Anne Bass and Martha Stewart) and his lovely blonde bride (who owns a fleet of corporate rentable airplanes and has two 11-year old twin daughters by a previous marriage) were married in their country house in Katonah, N.Y. The ceremony was attended by a small group of 110 friends and family, including George and Susan Soros, Jim Rosenquist and Mimi Thompson, Pilar Crespi and Steven Roberts, David Mortimer and Shelly Wanger, Janice Levin and Francis Beatty Adler and Alan Adler. And no art dealers? Why spoil a good party?
-- Paul Jeromack