Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Aimee Blanchette, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.
Joan Rothfuss, author of "Topless Cellist: the Improbable Life of Chralotte Moorman."
Forget Pablo Casals and Yo-Yo Ma. Sure they were, and are, brilliant cellists, but those guys kept their clothes on. For sheer spectacle, madcap antics,exhibitionism and a generous dollop of cello skills, you want Julliard-trained Charlotte Moorman, a gal from Little Rock, AK who grabbed the avant garde by the scruff of its self-absorbed neck and -- in the 1960s and '70 -- dragged it onto the public glare of television variety and talk shows (Mike Douglas, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin), shopping malls and prisons, and to New York City's Central Park, Shea Stadium and Grand Central Terminal.
In former Walker Art Center curator Joan Rothfuss, Moorman has found her perfect biographer. Rothfuss's "Topless Cellist: The Improbable Life of Charlotte Moorman," (MIT Press, $34.95) is fast paced, thoroughly researched, amusing, witty, compassionate, deeply informed and filled with jaw-dropping stories. Rothfuss will talk about Moorman and sign copies of the book at 2 p.m. October 5 in the Walker Cinema, 1750 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis. Free. 612-375-7600 or www.walkerart.org
Moorman played the cello while suspended from balloons floating over Australia's Sydney Opera House, performed on a cello made of ice, and often did her shows topless, in the buff, wrapped in cellophane, or wearing the "TV Bra," a contraption that sported two mini-televisions, one for each breast, in plexiglass boxes attached to transparent straps.
In February 1967 she was arrested (during a topless performance), tried and, in a sensationalized trial that generated huge publicity, convicted for violating "community standards of decency." Though humiliated by the incident, she embraced the "Topless Cellist" nickname that it spawned.
"TV Bra," was designed and built by Moorman's longtime companion and fellow avant-gardist Nam June Paik and is sometimes blamed for the breast cancer from which she died in 1991, age 57. To test that assumption, Rothfuss had the bra checked by a physicist who measured the radiation it emitted and concluded that it was highly unlikely that Moorman would have gotten cancer as a result of her performances while wearing it. "TV Bra" is now in the collection of Walker Art Center along with Paik's "TV Cello" and other Moorman/Paik memorabilia.
As a friend, colleague, pal and sometimes irritant to many contemporary artists, Moorman is remembered in Rothfuss' book by Yoko Ono, Jasper Johns, Allan Kaprow, and others too numerous to mention.
"Topless Cellist" is a brilliant portrait of a true original and the chaotic, confrontational, destructive, absurd era in which she lived. It's also a must read for anyone who was flirting with Artland back then, or wishes they'd been on the scene. A portrait of the times as much as the woman, "Topless Cellist," gives a full measure of a life lived with "extreme passion, extreme sex, extreme beauty."
RIP Charlotte Moorman, 1933-1991
The Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona has added a 5,000 sq. ft. gallery and loans of eight new paintings to its already impressive collection of water-themed art. The new Richard and Jane Manoogian Gallery will officially open to the public Sunday, Sept. 28.
The new paintings include images by English landscape master John Constable (1776-1837), German Expressionist Max Beckmann (1884-1950), American Modernist Stuart Davis (1892-1964), and the romantic American naturalist Martin Johnson Heade (1819-1904) whose "View from Fern-Tree Walk," (1887), above, is a star addition. The pictures are on loan from the museum's founders Robert "Bob" Kierlin and his wife Mary Burrichter.
Detroit-native Richard Manoogian, a prominent collector of American art, is heir to a faucet-manufacturing fortune derived from Masco Corporation which was founded by his father. With support from a foundation established by the Manoogians, the Winona museum added a gallery that will primarily house paintings from its collection and long-term loans of Hudson River School, French and American Impressionist, and European and American modernist paintings.
(10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tues.-Sun., $7 adults. Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Dr., Winona. 1-507-474-6626 or 1-866-940-6626 toll free; or www.mmaam.org)
It’s been 10 years since Minnesotans last saw David Bowie in person at his breathtaking Target Center concert, and who knows if and how long we’ll ever see him again. A couple upcoming to-do’s could give local fans a nice little fix in the meantime.
Lagoon Cinema in Uptown will screen the new documentary, “David Bowie Is,” on Sept. 23 (info and tickets here). Check out the movie trailer below. The new film is timed to the opening – also Sept. 23 -- of a new exhibit of the same name a half-day’s ride away from the Twin Cities at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Fans will have until January to make the trek to see it there.
Both the movie and the exhibit are centered on the British rock legend’s fashion and imagery, and they originated last year at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The Guardian said of the exhibit at the V&A, “[It] transforms the human being into a mutant, the pop star into a poet, the pin-up into a culture vulture who prepared for his career, according to an early Decca press release, by 'reading through The Oxford Companion of [sic] Music, memorising much of it.' "
More Bowie news: Two new songs will be packaged into a new career-spanning anthology, “Nothing Has Changed,” which drops Nov. 18.
The Oslund and Associates landscape architecture firm, in association with Snow Kreilich Architects, is expected to be picked for a $10 million reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardenand renovation of the Cowles Conservatory.
Money for the project came from the Minnesota State Legislature which appropriated $8.5 million in state bonding funds in May 2014, and from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) which is providing up to $1.5 million for new stormwater management systems.
The 11 acre Sculpture Garden, sited across the street from Walker Art Center near downtown Minneapolis, is built on former marshland owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). The Sculpture Garden, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opened in 1988 and hosts 45 sculptures that are owned by the Walker.
The Oslund team was chosen from three finalists. The team will be recommended to a committee of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for action on August 20 and, if approved there, to the full MPRB for action on September 3. If approved by the MPRB, as expected in September, the team will begin getting input from community meetings starting in October. Designs will be drafted over the winter, and construction should start in summer 2015.
The project will include repair or replacement of "deteriorated and inadequate infrastructure," the MPRB said in a statement. Among those items will be irrigation, drainage and stormwater systems, walkways and retaining walls.
The garden and conservatory will be closed throughout construction which is scheduled to be finished in fall 2016.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has hired Jill Ahlberg Yohe to be Assistant Curator of Native American Art in the department of Africa and the Americas. Ahlberg Yohe, who will start work in Minneapolis on August 4, comes from the Saint Louis Art Museum where she has been an assistant curator of Native American Art since 2013 and a Mellon Fellow since 2011. She replaces Joe Horse-Capture, former associate curator of Native American Art, who moved to Washington, D. C. in May 2013 for a post at the National Museum of the American Indian.
Ahlberg Yohe earned a doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of New Mexico with a dissertation on "The Social Life of Weaving in Contemporary Navaho Life." Previously she was a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. She co-curated the exhibition "Mother Earth, Father Sky: Textiles from the Navajo World," which is currently on view at the St. Louis Art Museum.
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