Published: March 13, 2001
Aiming to eliminate idolatry from Afghanistan, troops from the Taliban religious militia used explosives and rockets March 3 to destroy two soaring statues of Buddha. Militia officials told Amir Shah of the Associated Press they had already eliminated two-thirds of the country’s statues. What had not already been turned to rubble was slated to come down on Sunday and Monday, despite pleas from cultural, political and religious officials worldwide to save the priceless treasures. Most of the country’s ancient Buddhist relics, fragments of Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic past, were destroyed. Most of an estimated 6,000 statues in the Kabul Museum were as well, although the Taliban refused to allow anyone inside the war-battered building.
Artist Dale Chihuly and those he has influenced have made earthquake-prone Seattle a world center of glass art. Glass artists, studios and galleries confronted the down side of that mix February 28 when the region was rattled by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake. Area museums, after years of quake-proofing, reported few losses. But in some cases, gravity won. Artist Sonja Blomdahl credits her cats with saving some of her best pieces. They were on a table in her studio. “I was afraid the cats would jump on the table and break something, so I packed everything in individual boxes on the floor,” she told the Associated Press. Still, Blomdahl lost roughly 30 of the colored, blown-glass vessels in her studio, and more at her gallery.
Leo Kenney, 75, a leading artist in the Northwest School of painters, died February 26 in Seattle, Wash., after a long battle with cancer and emphysema, reports AP. At the height of his career, in the 1970s, Kenney’s fans included such writers as Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell and novelist Tom Robbins, who hailed him as the crown prince of the Northwest School. His last major showing was a 50-year retrospective of his luminous and intricate abstract paintings at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner last June, including works he had not seen in decades.
On September 8, Barn Star Productions will reinstate a classic of the past: Russell Carrell’s “Antiques in a Cow Pasture Antiques Show,” in Salisbury, Conn. The event will feature more than 135 well-known dealers in an informal outdoor gathering at the original site of Carrell’s show. In 1958, Russell brought the phrase “flea market” back from Paris, France, where he had visited outdoor fairs with this unusual name. His decision to use this phrase to describe his first outdoor antiques show in Salisbury caught the attention of The New York Times and started the phenomenon which is now a part of American culture. The event’s promoter, Frank Gaglio, has invited all former exhibitors of the original show to join him.
Being closed for remodeling, writes AP’s Carl Hartman, hardly has kept visitors away from the world’s biggest collection of American art. In fact, thanks to the Internet, more people are gazing at a broader display of the 38,000-plus objects from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., than the public could before the museum shut its doors in January 2000. In December 1999, the last month it was open, 54,099 visitors came to the museum. Last December, the museum’s Web site – americanart.si.edu – registered visits from 57,970 computers, compared with 35,950 in December 1999.
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