Published: January 9, 2001
Trade News from around the World
The sentencing previously scheduled for January 5 of Diana Brooks, former president and chief auctioneer of Sotheby’s, has been postponed until May 23. Brooks is scheduled to appear before Judge Richard Berman of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York at 11 am on that date. According to a January 5 article in The New York Times, prosecutors sought a postponement in order to establish Brooks as a cooperative witness in the case against A. Alfred Taubman, former chairman of the board of Sotheby’s.
Falling water levels on the Missouri River have made the shoreline a target for people to loot Indian graves or make off with Indian artifacts. When human remains from graves were exposed near the Fort Randall Dam and again near Wakpala in the past year, tribal members stood watch to prevent theft and desecration. The market for such antiquities and artifacts makes it a problem, Larry Zimmerman, a former University of South Dakota professor who now chairs American Indian and Native Studies at the University of Iowa, told AP. Corps of Engineers officials estimate there are at least 2,500 archaeological sites in what they call the Missouri River trench. Those are just the known sites. Nationally, only 10 percent of 743 million acres of federal and tribal land have been inventoried for archaeological value.
EBay’s auction service went down for more than three hours on January 3, was up for a half hour, then stopped working again. A company spokesman told the Associated Press the parallel systems that operates eBay’s auction service both went down. The cause of the problem was unknown, but eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove denied the service had been hacked or interfered with from an outside intruder.
Selma, Ala. attorney Rose Sanders has requested a federal probe of vandalism at the National Voting Rights Museum where 30 to 40 photographs of the Selma-to-Montgomery march were destroyed and a Ku Klux Klan hood stolen. Sanders told AP she’s asked the federal Justice Department to investigate the incident as a hate crime. She believes the break-in was linked to attempts by blacks to remove a statute of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from city property. It was second burglary in less than two weeks at the museum, visited by President Clinton earlier this year when he spoke at the 35th anniversary of the landmark civil rights event.
Thousands came to bid farewell to the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif., which shut its doors Sunday, December 31, to prepare for its demolition. In celebration of its 105 years of existence, the museum, which will open again in 2005 in a new building, was free during its last week, and attracted 70,000 people. The museum held marathon hours in its final days, staying open day and night from Saturday morning until the last visitors were ushered out 32 hours later. The eight-building museum dates back to 1919 and is getting torn down because it’s not earthquake-safe. A campaign for the new, safer building on the site has raised $135 million. The staff of 70 will get to keep their jobs, and either be reassigned to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, another fine arts museum, or to a storage area where the collection from the de Young will be catalogued, the Associated Press reports.
Museum of New Mexico officials hope plans for a new free shuttle bus route and Web site (museumofnewmexico.org) will boost sagging attendance at four state museums – the Palace of the Governors, Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of International Folk Art and Museum of Indian Art and Culture. For fiscal year 2000, which ended June 30, attendance at the Santa Fe museum system was down 12 percent from the previous year, according to museum figures. About 263,000 visitors attended the four museums that make up the system from January through November 2000, a dropoff of about 31,560 from the previous year. Attendance between the peak months of July and August of 2000 was 60,647 visitors. That number was 73,643 during the same period in 1999. Spokeswoman Barbara Hagood told the AP that a disastrous ski season, the Cerro Grande and Viveash fires, and a rise in gasoline prices were to blame.
The aforementioned Museum of Indian Art and Culture, perhaps in another bid for public attention, is looking for kitsch sold along the famed Route 66, especially objects with a Southwestern twist. The 2,448-mile highway that ran through eight states, including New Mexico, generated memorabilia from the 1920s through the 1980s. The museum has invited people to “Kick in Your Kitsch” events January 27 and 28 to encourage them to lend or give the museum Route 66 souvenirs. “We’re not trying to anticipate what’s important,” Joseph Traugott, a Museum of Fine Arts curator who is putting together the exhibit, told the Associated Press. “We’re asking the public for their contribution, their commentary. We’re looking for their take.” The exhibit will open July 15, shortly before the 75th anniversary of the highway’s commissioning in 1926.
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