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  • A Radical Humanist?

    Despite his enduring focus on technological innovation, Renzo Piano is sometimes belittled as overly conservative. Though his workshop in Genoa uses computer programs as design tools, Piano's mind is not trained on the grand horizons of the digital age. Structure and function engage him. Rather, his attitude toward materials recalls that of the Arts and Crafts movement of more than a century ago. Today, this attitude seldom generates critical excitement unless it is focused on the development and application of new materials of patently space-age genesis.

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  • BALTIC Centre Draws Attention

    The parallels between London’s Tate Modern and Gateshead’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art are strong: Both are housed in reconditioned twentieth-century industrial buildings; each is positioned on an insalubrious bank of a river that was once a vital means of commercial transport; and each has a new bridge leading almost to the entrance. Then there are the differences: The Gateshead Millennium Bridge never wobbled, and Tate Modern has a collection. Run by Swede Sune Nordgren, 54, the founding director of Stockholm's IASPIS, the center promises to go its own way.

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  • The Architecture in Art

    For many young artists internationally today, the mingling of art and architecture holds manifold attractions. It provides yet another way to blur the line between formal categories and to use new technologies. It offers access to a rich visual vocabulary and to concepts that potentially have direct social application. Plus, architecture is just fun to play with, as anyone who was ever deeply into building blocks or dollhouses understands.

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  • British Digital Arts Channel Goes Belly-Up

    The chief executive of the British pay-TV channel Artsworld has blamed the government for the closure of his service. John Hambley said the launch of BBC4—a “juggernaut” with an annual budget of up to £30 million of license-fee payers' money—was a critical factor in the demise of the cable and satellite arts channel. He said the real problem was political and the government should not have distorted the market by agreeing to the BBC's demands.

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  • London Brimming with Art

    London this summer is, as always, besotted by art in a way that only New York rivals. On a peak Saturday afternoon you may wander through the biggest museums in Germany and you'll come across about as many visitors as I did at a little gem of a Caspar David Friedrich show here at the Hermitage Rooms in Somerset House on a recent Thursday morning.

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  • Record Price for a Painting

    A lost masterpiece by Rubens last night became the most expensive picture ever sold, when a rare books dealer paid £49.5 million to acquire it for a private collector at a Sotheby's auction in London.

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  • Donald Judd's Early Years

    Donald Judd is famous in several ways. As one of the major exemplars of Minimalism, a term and a concept that he detested and never used. As a tough and opinionated critic who wrote some of the most perceptively adamant art criticism of the postwar period. As the egomaniacal, litigious founder of one of America's greatest art pilgrimages: a sprawling, aesthetically controlled domain in the small West Texas town of Marfa. By the time of his death in 1994, Judd had amassed an assembly of houses and commercial buildings, as well as an entire army fort, which he refurbished as studios, residences,

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  • A Jewish Eye?

    To be a great photographer, Garry Winogrand liked to claim during the 1970s, it was first of all necessary to be Jewish. The best ones, in his opinion—past and present, himself included, naturally—shared this birthright. Jewish photographers by his definition were nervy, ironic, disruptive of artistic norms, and proud outsiders. Eugène Atget, he happily argued (on no genealogical grounds), must have been Jewish because his photographs of French life on the tattered fringes seemed so Jewish in spirit.

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  • A Net-Art Monument to September 11

    After repeated viewings of the scene of a jet crashing into the World Trade Center on the 126 screens in the television store where he worked, Eryk Salvaggio found himself completely desensitized to the death and destruction of that day. Now, his attempt to restore a sense of reality to these images can be found in September 11th, 2001, a digital artwork that he put online last month in the Net-art section of his nonsensically titled website, www.salsabomb.com.

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  • Italy for Sale?

    Last month, the Italian parliament passed a bill put forward by the Italian minister of economics, Giulio Tremonti, to help reduce the public debt. In force from this month it sets up two share-holding companies. Everything that at present belongs to the State—land, public buildings, monuments, museums, archives, libraries, estimated by the Ministry of the Economy to be worth two trillion Euros—can now be transferred to the first company “to be turned to better advantage, managed or alienated.” It may also be transferred to the second company, so that together they become a gigantic property

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  • James Cuno Leaving Harvard Art Museums

    The talk at this summer's big events that bring the international art world together—Manifesta and Documenta in Germany, Art Basel in Switzerland—isn't all about what's on the walls. The news that James Cuno is leaving his post as director of the Harvard University Art Museums at the end of this year to become director of London's Courtauld Institute of Art broke the first day of the Basel fair. Reactions ranged from astonishment to dismay to ''Yes, I already knew''; a note had come from Harvard's president, Lawrence H. Summers.

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  • LA MoCA Feels the Donor Squeeze

    The Museum of Contemporary Art is staging what is expected to be its best-attended exhibition ever—“Andy Warhol Retrospective,” a $3 million extravaganza that has drawn 72,000 visitors during the first five weeks of a twelve-week run and, due to sponsorship fees and a donation from the city, is already in the black. But at the same time, leaders of the museum are dealing with financial setbacks. The particular challenge at MoCA is that $6.9 million of a $10 million promised donation has been delayed and may never be paid.

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