Sunday, Oct 18, 1997
Albany, NY

The N.Y. Times this morning has an article by
Alan Riding detailing events to date in Bilbao,
surrounding the new Guggenheim Museum and
its grand opening party there last night. Militant
members of the Herri Batasuna faction of the
Basque separatist group, E.T.A. (BasqueHomeland and Freedom)
"apparently planned to disrupt the openning
events to be hosted by King Juan Carlos. The ceremony went ahead as
planned under heavy security, but celebrations were muted by mourning
for Jose Maria Agirre", security guard at the Museum, killed by three
guerillas after he discovered them during their attempt to smuggle
rocket propelled grenades onto the Museum grounds. The three militants
dressed as gardeners were planning to "install the 12 remote-controlled
devices in a large flower-covered sculpture called "Puppy" by Jeff
Koons. Agirre spotted false number plates on their delivery van,
and approached the militants, who shot him."

Thomas Krens, director of the NYC Guggenheim said that "during six years
of coming here, he had received no threats from E.T.A. '...I don't
think this will be an ongoing issue. After all, the museum is a
Basque institution.'"

"Puppy" is a re-creation of the scupture Koons made as an un-official
entry two years ago, for the Venice Biennale. Seeing the photo of
"Puppy" with the Bilbao Guggenheim in the background set me to
imagining "Puppy" installed in Albany, outside of the
Pepsi/Knickerbocker Arena, the closest thing here to Gehery's structure.
"Puppy" would look terrific, but the Arena needs some work. I think that
12 remote-controlled rocket propelled grenade launchers mounted on top
of the Egg Performing Arts Center and aimed at the bowels of the Arena,
when launched would create a very definite Bilbao effect, right in
the solar plexus of Albany's downtown. It would require concerted
action on the part of the Albanian separatist faction, Hairy Buttinski,
and could be timed to coincide with the Governor's appearance at the
Julio Iglasias concert next month. However, we'll be in Madrid or
Sevilla at that point, so we won't even know about it, unless it
makes the Herald-Tribune International edition. Such havoc would
certainly give the Arena a quasi-Guggenheim Bilbao look, and at that
point, "Puppy" would have an exciting dog-house to call home.

Meanwhile, I look forward to having Lillian take my picture standing
between the front paws of "Puppy" three weeks from today, when we pay
our visit to Bilbao to see the opening exhibition "The Guggenheim
Museums and the Art of this Century". "We have used the 19 galleries
to provide chapters of a -not the- story of modern art, from Braque
and Picasso to Damien Hirst," said Lisa Demmison, chief curator at
the Guggenheim.

Copyright: 1999
Jan Galligan Jan Galligan c/o Sprynet
All Rights Reserved
Last modified Dec 10, 1999