DILLER + SCOFIDIO FOR BOSTON ICA
New York architects Diller + Scofidio have been selected as designers for the new waterfront facility for the Institute of Fine Arts, Boston. Completion of the new 60,000-square-foot museum, the first major project of the husband-and-wife team of Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, is slated for 2004. Diller + Scofidio did the popular renovation of the Brasserie restaurant in New York and were the first architects to win the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant. The new ICA facility is described as the "cultural cornerstone" of Boston's nine-block, $1.2 billion Fan Pier waterfront development, slated to include 650 residential units, 770 hotel rooms and 107,000 square feet of civic space.
A German professor's macabre artworks -- human corpses preserved as sculptures by replacing body fluids with silicone -- are making international news. Gunther von Hagens' exhibition "Body Worlds," which includes 25 complete human corpses as well as fetuses, various body parts and a full-size dead horse, has been on view at the Postbahnhof am Ostbahnhof in Berlin since Feb. 10, and has also appeared in Tokyo, Vienna, Basel and other German cities. The webzine Feed reports that visitors pay $10 a pop to check out the grotesque but very popular show -- more than 6.5 million people have seen it internationally. The London Guardian notes that von Hagens, known as "Mr. Plastinator," poses a male corpse stripped of its skin with the skin draped over its arm, while another corpse is posed on the horse, holding its brain in one hand and the horse's in the other. Even the New York Post has reported on the fuss in its Page Six gossip column in a story headlined, "Mummies are toast of art world," claiming that it's only a matter of time before the show comes to New York -- "perhaps the Brooklyn Museum of Art."
Religious leaders have protested the exhibition, comparing von Hagens' efforts to the recycling techniques of the Nazi death camps. Catholic and evangelical churches have held a requiem mass for those whose bodies are in the exhibition. And the Moscow Times reports that local prosecutors suspect von Hagens of using the bodies of Siberian prisoners, which would be against Russian law. Von Hagen has denied the charges, saying all the whole-body specimens came from consenting donors. Von Hagens says that he has plastinated approximately 3,200 bodies over the last 15 years. The exhibition is expected to travel next to London.
SMITHSONIAN AXES FIVE DIVISIONS
The Smithsonian Institution has announced plans to axe five divisions in an effort to modernize the institution and trim its budget, the Washington Post reports. The departments to be cut are the Smithsonian Center for Materials and Research, an art conservation laboratory in Suitland, Va.; the multimedia center at Smithsonian Productions, which manages educational electronic media; three offices of the Smithsonian Libraries; a document duplicating center; and the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center for endangered animals. Up to 200 jobs would be eliminated, about three percent of the Smithsonian's 6,000-person workforce. The proposal is part of the Smithsonian's $494 million budget for 2002, a $40-million increase from this year.
DOGS OUT AT CANADA NATIONAL GALLERY?
Members of the labor organization Public Service Alliance of Canada voted to strike this week if need arises at the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Last week, the employees put on a "dog and pony show," as the PSAC website termed it, in front of the museum to protest the faltering negotiations over working conditions and higher wages. The PSAC members showed up with their dogs in tow, poking fun at museum director Pierre Théberge's two constant companions, his Airedales "Bobinette" and "Pistache."
ATHENS MUSEUM REOPENS
The Athens National Museum reopened nine galleries this week that had been damaged in an earthquake back in September 1999. Among the works now back on view are marbles dating from the 5th-7th centuries B.C. At the ceremony, Greek culture minister Evangelos Venizelos promised $31.2 million from the government to aid in modernizing the museum, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has unveiled its plan for a $90 million expansion and renovation project. The design is by this year's Pritzker Prize winners, the Swiss team of Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron, who recently completed the new Tate Modern in London. The Walker seeks to double its size with a new two-level addition, due to begin construction in 2003. The museum also plans to expand its 11-acre sculpture park by four more acres in 2004.
RELIGIOUS RIOT IN SANTA FE
A near-riot by religiously inspired protestors caused the postponement of a community meeting called to discuss the controversial "Cyber Arte" exhibition at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, which includes Alma Lopez's digital depiction of a bikini-wearing Virgin Mary. Fearing violence, police shut down the Apr. 4 meeting after more than 800 people showed up. The new forum is to be held at 10 a.m. at Sante Fe's Sweeney Center on Apr. 16. In the meanwhile, the provocative picture remains on view.
LEONARDO AT AUCTION
A Leonardo da Vinci preparatory study for The Adoration of the Magi is scheduled for sale at Christie's London on July 10, 2001. The drawing of a horse and rider, which had been on exhibition at Florence's Uffizi Gallery, is consigned by former National Gallery of Art director J. Carter Brown as part of his "estate planning." Brown's father, John Nicholas Brown (who founded Brown University), bought the Leonardo in 1928. It is estimated to sell for $5 million.
ART ON THE BOSPHORUS
New York gallerist Elga Wimmer is extending her global reach, organizing the provocatively titled "Les Voluptes" at the Borusan Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey. The show, which opened Apr. 7, 2001, includes 14 artists who work with the human body, including Lucian Freud, Catherine Howe, Jenny Saville, Carolee Schneeman and Lisa Yuskavage.
GOOD AT FLORIDA MUSEUM
A photography exhibition by Francie Bishop Good has opened at the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Apr. 6-July 15, 2001. The show, titled "Carly TV," features photographs and digital portraits of the artist's niece juxtaposed with television and advertising images. The Florida-based artist exhibits with Gallery Camino Real in Boca Raton, Fla., and in New York at Denise Bibro Fine Art.
ARTERY LITERARY SPECIAL
Art-world activist Robert Atkins has announced a "Spring Literary Special" on Artery, the website that focuses on the AIDS crisis and its effect on the arts. Among the features are a gallery of portraits of writers who have died of AIDS by photographer Robert Giard, a memoir of artist Joe Brainard by Andrew Soloman and Keith McDermott, and three essays from the "Loss Within Loss" writers anthology.
MARIAN GOODMAN GOES ONLINE
The Marian Goodman Gallery, home to artists ranging from Giovanni Anselmo and Richard Artschwager to Lawrence Weiner and Francesca Woodman, has launched its own website at www.mariangoodman.com.
-- compiled by Sherry Wong
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