Monet Coup: Sotheby's will auction off one of Claude Monet's celebrated "Haystacks" paintings in London in June. Owned by a French family, the painting went on view in London on Thursday in what Sotheby's said is its first public viewing since 1895. The 1890 painting, which Sotheby's expects to sell for between $7.2 million and $10 million, depicts two large haystacks creating long shadows in evening sunlight, and is one of eight Monet "Haystacks" remaining in private hands. Fifteen "Haystacks" paintings are housed in major museums throughout the world.
Space Sounds: Dennis Tito, the California aero-space-engineer-turned-investment-banker who's spending $20 million to blast off Saturday with Russian cosmonauts on a Soyuz rocket to the International Space Station, plans to take the arts along with him. Tito, a Los Angeles Opera board member, will take the space station crew a selection of opera CDs, including works by Puccini, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Verdi, Wagner and Strauss.
TV & MOVIES
Identity Questions: The Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday that a man interviewed on CNN twice this week about the war on drugs in light of the downing of a missionary plane in Peru had misrepresented himself as a former CIA agent. The agency said that Kenneth Bucchi, identified on CNN as a "former CIA narcotics officer," never worked for the agency in any capacity. CNN twice on Wednesday offered viewers an explanation--but not an apology--for interviewing Bucchi. The network said Bucchi had published a book about the CIA and had done numerous previous TV and radio interviews without challenge from the government agency. Bucchi charged that the CIA worked together with Colombian drug traffickers to wipe out small smugglers, and in return let the big cartels maintain a limited flow of cocaine into the country--claims the CIA has denied. Bucchi, who said he worked for the CIA while in the U.S. Air Force, called the CIA's denial of his employment "Discredit 101," but added that he would do the same if he were in their position. CNN said it did not check out Bucchi's claim of CIA employment before the interview, but noted that the agency routinely does not reveal whether someone has worked for them.