Murphy, Emmett, Art Business News
* Officials of the American Red Cross chapter in this Connecticut town have removed a sculpture from the agency's front lawn, after critics complained that the artwork was obscene and frightening to children. The piece is part of a community art project involving 22 sculptures of submarine designs. The sculpture, called "A Cry for Help," depicted a half-naked woman with an expression of agony sitting atop a submarine. Its creator, Paul Perrotti, called the criticism "narrow-minded." Joan Heybruck, a spokesperson for the organization, said the work was removed because the work posed a safety hazard by distracting drivers.
* One hundred and sixty million Brazilians are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the country's discovery by Portugal with two art exhibitions, one here, the other in Rio de Janeiro. Costing $30 million, "Brazil + 500: An Exhibition in Rediscovery" consists of 15,000 pieces divided into 13 thematic sections celebrating Brazilian art from the great pre-colonial cultures to the present. The show in Rio commemorates the 60 years (1580-1640) when Brazil was under the Spanish crown. "The Splendours of Spain from El Greco to Velazquez" consists of 130 works at the Museum Nacional de Belas-Artes.
* Spurred by a $5 million grant from the California-based Packard Humanities Institute, an international team of archaeologists is digging in a race against time and rising water to preserve the ancient Roman town of Zeugma before it disappears forever. A new lake is being formed as water from the Euphrates River backs up behind a new dam that will provide electricity and irrigation for southeastern Turkey. Zeugma was on the famed Silk Road whose trade made many merchants wealthy, who decorated the floors of their homes with elaborate mosaics.
* In a new twist on current debates about the legal limits of appropriation, one of Hong Kong's major art schools, the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, said it intends to sue Curator Herald Szeeman, artist Cai Gao Quiang and the Venice Biennale for "violation of copyright." At the heart of the suit is Cai's installation "Venice Rent Collector's Courtyard," which won the International Prize at the 1999 Biennale. The plaintiffs' original work was a 1965 Socialist Realist work created at the height of the Great Cultural Revolution as a collaboration between teachers and students at the Sichuan Academy.
* Although the gambling mecca may be losing Steve Wynn and the art collection he put together for the Bellagio Hotel, the Phillips Collection of Washington D.C., and the Guggenheim are both heading for the desert resort. The Phillips has signed on to plan an exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist work which will be open 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, replacing the sold works at the Bellagio with works on loan. The Guggenheim is following a familiar course--build a new museum in another part of the world, designed by a big-name architect, in this case Rem Koolhass, who recently won the Pritzker Prize and was profiled in September's ABN.
* An anonymous letter received recently by a Buddhist scholar here may lead to another Sino-Japanese war, at least on the cultural frontier. Accompanying the letter was evidence that Japan's new antiquities showplace, the Mio Museum near Kyoto, is showing an elegant 47 1/2-inch stone carving of a Buddhist figure that is one of the national treasures of China which disappeared in July, 1994. "We see so many Chinese relics appearing overseas, and they've virtually all been stolen and spirited out," said Yu Weichao, retired director of the National Museum of Chinese History. "As one who has worked in archaeology for a lifetime, I feel heartbroken."
* Hundreds of works in the city's multimillion-dollar art collection are missing, and many more are stored in a warehouse without climate control. …