Newsgrist: The Central City..Nuts..Fresh Dates..Suspicion..Great Divide..MoMA Growing Pains?..Of Human Bondage..SEEMEN..Art History..Lounge Lizards..Ready to Ware..Direct from Waco..Artist’s Studio Sublet




where spin is art


Volume 1, no. 29  (2000)





Image of the week: telepathy



- *Favorite URL* The Central City

 - *Quote of the Week* Nuts

  - *Fresh Dates* horoscopes for the arts

   - *Suspicion* new NY museum law

    - *Great Divide* MoMA strike

     - *MoMA Growing Pains?*

      - *Of Human Bondage?* Alternative Mus. goes cyber

       - *Now You See Me…* SEEMEN at Eyebeam Atelier

        - *Remember Art History* NYU

         - *Lounge Lizards* Video Lounge

          - *Ready to Ware* Bill Jones, founder of ArtByte

           - *Deathless Proz* Direct from Waco

            - *Classified Ad* Artist's studio to sublet




*Favorite URL*



more info

Please be patient and wait for files to download; enjoy your trip.




*Quote of the week*


"The British are nuts about their artists, and by nuts I mean they are out of their



(from: NYTimes, June 6, 2000: London Journal, "The Weird Fascination of the New is

Packing Galleries and Museums," by Michael Kimmelman)




*Fresh Dates* horoscopes for the arts


Coming soon and exclusive to Newsgrist, an irregular column penned by cantankerous surfer of the celestial cortex, Axel Harvey.


Axel Harvey's horoscopic practice began in Montreal's ill-famed Swiss Hut, a meeting ground of all the more absurd human types of  the 1960s, where his first paying client (for five dollars) was a strung-out US draft-dodger in existential panic. He has since touched on various aspects of the Mother of Sciences: calculating specialized tables for colleagues, trying to shed new light on 17th-century astrological manuscripts, co-founding and editing the professional journal “Considerations,” and promoting more rigorous standards of astrology his home province, Quebec. He has lectured in Canada, the United States and France.







The Art Newspaper


Borrowing stolen works of art is now a criminal offence in New York

Museums lose battle to maintain their exemption from the seizure of art on loan


By David D’Arcy


NEW YORK. New York governor George Pataki has signed a law giving prosecutors in New York State authority to bring criminal charges against institutions that borrow stolen works of art. The move was opposed by New York museums that had previously been exempted from the seizure of art on loan under a 1968 law that exempted non-profit

institutions in New York.


The introduction of the new law follows the subpoena in January 1998 of two pictures by Egon Schiele on loan to the Museum of Modern Art from the Rudolf Leopold Foundation in Vienna on the suspicion that they had been looted from a Jewish family in Vienna during the Nazi era. Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau had the works seized after all other efforts to keep them in New York had failed. At the time, Morgenthau sought to use the pictures in a grand jury investigation into allegations that they were stolen. MoMA opposed the seizure, and overrode it on appeal. At that point, Morgenthau and his supporters in the New York State legislature proposed the bill, which passed both houses unanimously with Pataki’s support.


Museums argue that the legislation puts art institutions at risk and threatens the international loan network that supplies museum exhibitions and fuels the city’s economy. Even the Jewish Museum in Manhattan opposed the law. “Big ‘m’ little

 ‘j’”, one observer smirked.


The law was supported by all of New York City’s daily newspapers with the exception of The New York Times, which ran editorials denouncing the proposal. The Times has opposed Morgenthau’s seizure of the Schieles since 1997. Its former publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr., was chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and

remains a trustee at the Met






*Great Divide*


The Village Voice

June 7 - 13, 2000



By Tom Robbins


A Strike Divides the Staff at Museum


There is a wall of pain these days between workers at the Museum of Modern Art. A little more than half of 250 professional staff employees have been on strike since April 28, when they walked out amid deep concern over reductions to their health benefits and looming layoffs when the museum begins a huge expansion project next year.


The rest of the staff has continued to work, arriving early and leaving late to avoid the picket line and the catcalls and hoots from their striking colleagues.


As with most long-running strikes, positions have hardened and there is little talking between the sides. The last negotiating session was May 15, when the two bargaining

teams sat in separate rooms until a mediator sent them home, saying they were so far apart there was little point in meeting. The union blamed management for that failure; management cited the union.


But the museum's dispute is unlike most strikes.


It involves white-collar employees, the workforce sector in which organized labor has long been weakest. At MOMA, moreover, most strikers are young, recent college

graduates, many headed for professional careers in the arts, another group traditionally

uninterested in unions.



"They are trying to shift the responsibility [for health benefits] onto us," said

Sarah Landreth, an employee in the museum's development office.


Strikers also said they were worried about layoffs when the museum launches its $650 million expansion project next year, which will include the temporary closing

of its Manhattan site.


"What [MOMA director] Glenn Lowry wants is a new museum with no union in it," said striker Cary Levine.


Also on the list of demands, said local president Maida Rosenstein, was

the need to become an "agency shop," where union membership is optional, but dues mandatory.

Such a setup is one step below a "closed" or "union shop," where all workers must join, but gives the union more clout.


"What the museum would like is to keep us a nice little unit doing 'courtesy bargaining,' " said Rosenstein.


Batterman said the museum, faced with rising costs, needed the right to change its health benefits plan, if necessary. But Batterman said the museum has offered the alternative of a new plan, administered jointly by the union and the museum. He said the museum

has also offered severance pay and the right to return at the end of the construction

project to those who are laid off.


The real stumbling block for the union, Batterman said, is the museum's "open shop" status. "My belief is that if we gave them an agency shop we would settle everything."


Striker Mary Corliss, who has worked at the museum since 1967 and said she had relied on the health plan through two bouts with cancer, disagreed. "This is not about a closed shop or agency shop," she said. "This is about maintaining a level of health care for people who make $28,000 a year."





*MoMA Growing Pains?*


from Artnet News




The Museum of Modern Art won't close its doors for its vaunted renovation and expansion plan till 2002, but already the scheme is running into trouble, reports Dan Costello in the Wall Street Journal. The project's original $200-million budget for a 30 percent expansion has swollen to a staggering $800 million for a 50 percent increase, and so far the museum has only about half that figure in pledges. To make matters worse MoMA had hoped to remain open during the 18-month construction period, but now has decided to move until 2004 to a temporary building in Queens. The Swingline Factory, as it is being called after its previous tenant, will be able to accommodate a quarter of the museum's current attendance, significantly cutting into its income. Furthermore, there are fears that MoMA's new 53rd Street quarters will not be able to draw the million new annual visitors it hopes to attract.


The Wall Street Journal report states that the museum has been leaning on its trustees for help, allegedly switching its traditional requirement to join its prestigious 40-member board from the promise of donating a top-notch art collection to the contribution of $3 million-$4 million. Another potential source of funding is its e-business venture with London's Tate Gallery (which recently underwent a highly-touted expansion of its own), but the enterprise has raised more than a few eyebrows -- profits from internet merchandising can be quite elusive, and MoMA's own president Agnes Gund admits that the venture "could demean the integrity of the institution."


To cut costs, the museum has trimmed $50 million from the construction budget, and Gund, who says she is leaving her longtime post for reasons unrelated to the renovation, reveals that the museum has reduced the quality of its construction materials to save money.





*Of Human Bondage?*


arts @ large - NYTimes Cybertimes

By Matthew Mirapaul


June 8, 2000

Art Museum Abandons Its Real-World Space


The Alternative Museum had no alternative. After 25 years of showing art in

its downtown-Manhattan galleries, the museum has relocated to cyberspace.


On June 2, the Alternative Museum launched its site on the Web, where it will display Internet-based interactive art works and reproductions of digitally created images, as well as "virtually curated" exhibits with screen-sized versions of paintings and other works made in more traditional media. The museum closed its most recent home, a 4,000 square-foot gallery space on Broadway in SoHo, in January and has no plans to reopen in a real-world location.


"We have been freed from the bondage of the physical object in the physical space," said Geno Rodriguez, the Alternative Museum's founding director, in a telephone interview Tuesday.


By "deinstitutionalizing," as the practice of abandoning a physical space for a virtual one has come to be known in the culture world, the museum has also been liberated from the kind of expenses that can drain a cultural organization's bank account. For the nonprofit Alternative Museum, these included exhibition-related costs like art installation and removal, crating, shipping, storage and insurance, plus rent that at times soared near $100,000 a year.






*Now You See Me…*



SEEMEN at The Eyebeam Atelier, Inc.

presented by Franklin Furnace

in collaboration with the NetArt Initiative.


Saturday June 10th, 2000

doors open at 9 PM

performance at 10 PM live

The Eyebeam Atelier, Inc.

542 West 21st Street

(the Future Site of The Eyebeam Atelier, Inc. New Museum of Art and Technology)

and netcast live online at Franklin Furnace




From San Francisco, home of the world's largest robot/machine art scene, SEEMEN is not your average art group. SEEMEN creates situations in which audiences are encouraged to interact and operate their machines and robots.


SEEMEN is one of ten artists selected by Franklin Furnace to participate

in THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT 2000, a residency program to create live

art on the Internet, in collaboration with Parsons School of Design, Digital Design Department, and the NetArt Initiative.










SEEMEN is the effort of Kal Spelletich, an art drop-out and extreme

technology inventor who enjoys exploring his taste for the dark side of

technology. They see themselves as postindustrial folk artists. The

actions of their robots poetically symbolize man’s struggles and

triumphs: life/death, endurance, military grade technology.... These

machines have been inspired by a Buddhist sect that uses shock and

violence to attain enlightenment.



 The facility for this event is provided by The Eyebeam Atelier, Inc., a not-for-profit new

media arts organization that initiates, presents, supports and preserves artworks created with computers and digital tools. In the future, this site will house a new building which will contain a museum dedicated to art + technology, artist-in-residence studios, multimedia classrooms, a digital archive, theater and cafe.


Franklin Furnace, in its 24th season, presents THE FUTURE OF THE PRESENT

2000 ten presentations of live art on the Internet created during month-long residencies at Parsons School of Design.


Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.





*Remember Art History*


The Department of Art and Art Professions,

School of Education / New York University




July 12th 6:30 p.m.


“Memory, the Museum, and Contemporary Art”


presented by Hal Foster

Department of Art History, Princeton University

Author of "The Return of the Real."




July 26th, 6:30 p.m.


Martha Rosler in conversation with Brian Wallis

{in conjunction with Martha Rosler exhibition

at the New Museum of Contemporary Art}


Both events will be held in the

Einstein Auditorium

34 Stuyvesant Street (at 3rd Ave. and 9th St.)

New York, NY.


For more information, contact Dr. Benjamin Binstock at 212.998-5725 or




 *Lounge Lizards*


Video Lounge International Animation Festival Continues:



Action Videos from Mexico + Columbia

Artists Space (38 Greene St).

Featuring video that reflects the current environment, addressing issues of violence, politics and class distinctions including Silvia Gruner, Yoshua Okon, Eduardo Difarnecio and Artemio. Curated and presented by Monica de la Torre, Director of Literature and

Visual Arts at the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.


*** FRIDAY, JUNE 16 (9 pm)

Animated Short Films from Switzerland

Anthology Film Archives

 (32 Second Ave at Second Street), organized

by the Fantoche International Animation Festival; a diverse program of

15 films will be presented, including Cafe-bar, Kino and Replay by

Isabelle Favez, who will be present.


*** SATURDAY, JUNE 17 (7 pm)

Anthology Film Archives

also organized by Fantoche.

Schwizgebel will present for this program of eleven of his stunning hand-painted films.


*** SATURDAY, JUNE 17 (starts at 9:30 pm)

Outer Limits Closing Night Party

56 Walker Street (bet Church & Broadway); with

DJs Dizzy, I-Sound, NeuroPop, film/video projections, performances.

Suggested donation $5.




*Ready to Ware*


Dear Friends and Colleagues,


By now many of you are aware that I left ArtByte in April to pursue broader interests. I want to thank you all for your support during my tenure as editor.


Many of you know me as an artist as well as an editor and writer. Some of you are familiar with my long-term light/sound collaboration with musician Ben Neill, art/science collaborations with Dr. Merrill Garnett, and my photo-conceptual work of the 70s, and 80s. For over 8 months I have been working on the formation of a new company to produce digital content. I have never been satisfied just talking about something when I could be doing it.


After guiding the magazine from its inception through its first two years, I decided to devote myself full time to a project that grew out of ArtByte. The Syndi project (the sentient Internet agent from the September 1999 issue) was part of a long-running ArtByte thread concerning human identity and the virtual body. The subject was valuable editorially because it linked both old and new media worlds—art history with the Internet and beyond. At present that thread has taken the form of a new company called CharacterWare (Cware). Our mission is to populate the Internet with life-like interactive, user-controlled characters (much like Syndi), who serve, entertain, and do the day-to-day work of the Web.


ArtByte took chances that many publications would or could not by dealing with subjects out of the public eye—subjects difficult to name, much less discuss cogently for a broad readership. However, we never lost sight of the fact that our job was to reach as large an audience as possible. It was often a point of discussion, as we knowingly walked the increasingly fuzzy line between art and commerce.


Over the latter half of the 20th century, the uneasy relationship of fine to commercial art and the end of categories like high and low culture have been discussed to death. Though the topic was implicit in the form and practice of ArtByte, blurring boundaries wasn't our mission. Our mission statement was more like: “just get over it and get on with it.” We were trying to create a publication as intelligent and aware as our readers, while making difficult subjects relevant to a wide audience. It’s more complicated than saying that the lowest common denominator dictates content and direction in popular media. Any publication, no matter how pure of motive, must identify its market and be competitive. This is what ArtByte is all about: identifying and nourishing the current interest in content production in all media, fine art included. We operated on the premise that new media, in particular the Internet, made content producers and artists out of many who had just been users. To paraphrase: the art you make is equal to the art you take. I believe we identified a readership that views art as something more than arguments about high and low culture, and sees the changing technological landscape as a conceptual frame for all cultural production as well as a vehicle for expression.



Bill Jones

(former editor and founder of ArtByte : Magazine of Digital Culture)




*Deathless Proz*


Direct from Waco

by Catherine Brown, ironic projectionist


Last week disguised as a S.C. female, I picked up the little booklet at the

checkout stand, titled "Test your Psychic Powers."  "Do you ever know in

advance what someone else is going to say?" was the first question on the

test.  How stupid is that?  I always know what someone else is going to say.




*Classified Ad*


Artist's studio to sublet, July and August, 2000

400 sq.ft.  $700 for both months. 

Excellent light, top floor, south and west exposures.  Roof access, 24 hr. building. 


5 other artists in building.  Studio space is private. 

Contact Karen at (718) 274-9755.





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