News

  • Where is the Go-Go Guggenheim Going?

    The most talked-about show by a living artist in New York this spring was one that failed to open. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum caused a ruckus when it postponed a survey of Matthew Barney, an esteemed sculptor and filmmaker whose work extracts a surprising grandeur from subjects like satyrs, car wrecks, and homicidal dentists. But this time the uproar did not involve morally offended sensibilities. It was simply a matter of saving money. Kasimir Malevich and James Rosenquist, slated for major retrospectives later this year, were also bumped from the Guggenheim's calendar. The result is that

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  • World's Oldest Photo Goes Under the Microscope

    Propped up in a darkened room and illuminated at an oblique angle, the flat rectangle of pewter reluctantly reveals the scene it has faithfully held for 176 years. “You have to dance around it to get a good view,” Dusan Stulik, a senior scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, said as he hovered nearby. You do, and the plate flashes gold before going dark. A step forward, one back, and somewhere in between an image emerges. A farm building. Pear and poplar trees. A dovecote. Together, the objects appear just as they did to Joseph Nicephore Niepce (pronounced Nee'-sah-for Nee'-yeps) in

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  • A Jolt to the Modernist Spirit

    When New York's Museum of Modern Art first opened its doors on the twelfth floor of a Fifth Avenue office building in 1929, it marked the beginning of a bold adventure. Modern art was fresh and vigorous, and the museum's brash founding director, Alfred Barr, had a mission: to bring Modernism to a still semiprovincial America. Seventy-three years later, modernism is the language of the cultural establishment, powerful as ever but no longer threatening. The new Museum of Modern Art in Queens, which opens to the public Saturday, is a momentary return to that earlier revolutionary spirit.

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  • Merrill Lynch Exec to Oversee WTC Memorial

    Moving to fill what will be one of the most scrutinized jobs in the rebuilding of downtown, the agency in charge of the effort is preparing to appoint a Merrill Lynch executive, Anita F. Contini, a longtime organizer of downtown cultural events, to oversee the creation of a memorial to the victims of the September 11 attack, according to officials involved in the effort.

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  • Adjusting to a Shift in Modern Art's Axis

    Michael Maltzan's design for the temporary Queens location of the Museum of Modern Art provides an elemental introduction to the art of changing your point of view. This concept is doubly apt. The Modern stands at a historical moment of transition as well as physical transition. The shift is philosophical as well as physical. Maltzan has captured the moment. His design, created in collaboration with Scott Newman of the New York firm Cooper, Robertson & Partners, feeds into the future by recapitulating the history of modern vision.

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  • Picasso Sets Auction Record

    A Picasso masterpiece not seen by the public for sixty years was sold at auction for more than £15 million yesterday. Nu au collier (Nude with necklace) fetched £15,956,650—almost double the estimate of up to £9 million. The painting was the main attraction of auctioneers Christie's annual sale of Impressionist art in central London and has become the most expensive painting to be sold in London this year.

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  • Impoverishing the British Museum

    The British Museum is so underfunded by government that it is barely able to perform its core functions and will have to cut even those if the grant is not increased, the outgoing director, Robert Anderson, told British legislators yesterday. Last week Dr. Anderson became the first director in 250 years to weather the closure of the Bloomsbury museum by a strike of its own staff, from security officers to curators.

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  • The Modern Moves With a Bang (Several)

    Talk about excuses for a party. Forced out of its West 53rd Street Manhattan location by an earth-churning, ear-splitting reconstruction project, the Museum of Modern Art has now officially, if temporarily, moved to Queens. And that, apparently, is good enough reason to go wild.

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  • Boston MFA Director Plans Major Expansion

    A few years ago the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Malcolm Rogers, emerged victorious from an ugly confrontation with a handful of powerful donors and long-serving curators. Now he has set out to renovate and expand the institution. To pay for it all, the museum has embarked on a drive to raise a daunting $425 million. Officials here say this is the largest fund-raising effort ever undertaken by an art institution outside New York City. The new building is expected to cost $180 million and be completed in 2007.

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  • Art as History

    At night on a heaving sea off the shore of Charleston, South Carolina, the Morris Island lighthouse seems to walk on water. Its sand spit is sinking, and so is the post–Civil War lighthouse. At high tide the island disappears, and a needle of brick appears to float upright in a foaming blackness. The searchlight was dismantled forty years ago, but in Kim Sooja's installation, A Lighthouse Woman, for the Spoleto Festival USA, the lighthouse itself glowed in colors from a bank of lights at its top. The meditative mood has infected the whole Spoleto art program, “Evoking History,” which is on view

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