INTERNATIONAL INSTANBUL BIENNIAL 2001
The chips are falling into place for the seventh International Instanbul Biennial, Sept. 22-Nov. 17, 200. Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of Japan's Contemporary Art Museum in Kanazawa, is selecting works for the exposition. This year's installment carries the unwieldy title "Egofugal: Fugue from Ego for the Next Emergence" and focuses on the transition from the concepts of "man, money and materialism" to "collective consciousness, collective intelligence and co-existence."
Don't bother running to the dictionary to find out what "egofugal" means -- it's not in there. Hasegawa says she coined the word to embrace the contradiction inherent in liberating oneself from one's ego while maintaining self-esteem. "The term is a combination of ego and fugal in Latin. Fugal is also an English adjective for the fugue, a style of music wherein an original melody is gradually transformed, pursued by its counterparts," she explains. "Egofugal is an unfamiliar word, weighted down by the existence of ego; at the same time, implying the lightness and rhythm intrinsic to moving away from the ego, transforming oneself just like a fugue, creating new life and a new source of significance."
Hasegawa has served as a visiting curator at the Whitney Museum and was on the jury for the 1999 Venice Biennial. She is currently a board member of the International Council of Museum's Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art. For more information on the Turkish art festival, visit the biennial's website.
PHILLY SNARES CALDER MUSEUM
It's confirmed -- the Calder Foundation has selected Philadelphia to house to a new museum dedicated to three generations of sculptors named Alexander Calder, reports Inga Saffron in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Japanese architect Tadao Ando, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1995, has been selected to design the new museum. Among the few details released in a press conference yesterday: the new 35,000-square-foot building is to be built on the Benjamin Parkway across from the Rodin Museum; its main galleries are to be located on two underground levels to reserve most of the small, two-acre site for a sculpture garden; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is administering the museum, is planning to get started immediately on raising $35 million for construction and $15 million for an endowment. No date has been announced yet for construction to begin. The museum is expected to focus mainly on Alexander "Sandy" Calder, inventor of the mobile, but will also include works by his father and grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder and Alexander Stirling Calder. Philadelphia was chosen after two years of courting the foundation in intense competition with New York and San Francisco.
MILWAUKEE RECONSIDERS OPPENHEIM SCULPTURE
Veteran conceptual artist Dennis Oppenheim is waiting to see if Milwaukee will take his shirt -- literally. The Milwaukee County Board's Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee is holding a special voting session today to decide whether to cancel the $220,000 contract for Oppenheim's two-story Blue Shirt sculpture commissioned for a parking structure at Mitchell International Airport, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At issue are complaints, some from county board members, that the piece, a 34-foot-tall man's button-down shirt made of blue translucent glass and containing assorted objects like barbells and punching bags, is a condescending reference to the city's blue-collar past. Opponents also claim the work is not sufficiently integrated into the building. Oppenheim, who has already invested $75,000 for engineering research, fabrication contracts and staff time, says "I can somehow sympathize a little bit with the population there, even though I don't at all support their position." No tax dollars are involved in the project -- the contract is being funded by the airlines, which contribute to airport improvements.
MARILYN MONROE FOR SALE Butterfields, a subsidiary of the online auction giant eBay, is selling Tom Kelley's "Red Velvet Images," five nude photographs -- and their copyright -- of a young Marilyn Monroe from the same sessions that produced the famous first centerfold for Playboy Magazine. The live online auction includes original chromes and the rights to the legendary actress' name and likeness from the photographs for trade and advertising purposes. The winning bidder also gets the original model release signed by the blonde bombshell. But hold on to your wallet, junior -- bids start at $350,000 and the auctioneers estimate the photos and copyrights will fetch anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million. Monroe memorabilia for the more frugal includes the camera and tripod used in the sessions (est. $10,000-$15,000), Kelley's appointment book with Monroe's name and the amount she was paid -- a whopping $50 (est. $800-$1,200), the dress the famous blonde wore in The Prince and the Showgirl (est. $15,000-$20,000), a gown from her personal wardrobe ($5,000-$7,000) and a handwritten draft of her reasons for divorcing her first husband (est. $5,000-$7,000). The sale begins on eBay on Mar. 22, 2001.
DAILY NEWS' TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT
New York's Daily News is trying to stir up a little "Sensation"-style controversy for the Brooklyn Museum of Art's new exhibition, "Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers" -- and the operative word is trying. The two-page spread in today's paper carries the headline "Brooklyn Museum Makes Waves Again" and features images of two works that feature nude black women as Jesus Christ. Renee Cox's Yo Mama's Last Supper reproduces Leonardo's famed image with a nude African-American woman in the role of Jesus Christ and a Willie Middlebrook work pictures a topless woman on the cross. Needless to say, the Daily News blurred over the naughty bits. The article lamely declares that the museum "could be in the thick of controversy again" (our italics), but is actually quoting a single local Catholic gadfly, William Donohue, president of something called the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani did not even bother to return the newspaper's call. Curator Barbara Millstein told the paper, "I don't think he's running for office this year so I doubt there will be any problems." The show, an encyclopedic exhibition of African American photographers, opens to the public Feb. 16-Apr. 29, 2001.
JOHNNY WARANGKULA TJUPURRULA, 1926-2001 Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, 75, pioneer Aboriginal artist of the "dot painting" Western Desert Movement whose works hang in the Australian Museum, the National Gallery of Australia and a number of state art galleries, died Feb. 12 in the desert community of Papunya. Despite his painting Water Dreaming at Kalipinypa (1972) setting a record price for an Aboriginal work last year at Sotheby's when it sold for $486,500 (Aus.), Warangkula spent his last years in poverty after being exploited by unscrupulous dealers.