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September 14, 1998 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-14

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 14, 1998 - 13A

By Jenni Glenn
~For the Daily
In keeping with the wide range of
art in its display cases, the Museum
Srt decided to add a new exhibit
devoted to a formerly under repre-
~sented group. Two spaces within the
~Museum will be permanent galleries
f'or African and African-American
A frican art pieces collected over
the past 25 years found a home in
the new Curtis Gallery of African

'Ally' keeps the bad times good

By Michael Galloway
Daily TV/New Media Editor
A recent cover of Time Magazine sug-
gested that feminism might be dead by
displaying four floating heads on a black
cover, each head representing a certain
era. Three of the heads were famous
women of female empowerment. The
fourth, representing the '90s, was Calista
Flockhart, a.k.a. Ally McBeal.
Few shows have made as great an
impact in so short a time as "Ally
McBeal." In one season, it has become a
cultural indicator of sorts, although it's
debatable what that really says. Actually,
David E. Kelley's excursion into the
mind of one rather neurotic woman was
already making headlines halfway
through its season, becoming the new
water-cooler discussion topic and taking
criticism from National Organization for
Women for its portrayal of women.
Despite criticism on this front, "Ally
McBeal" never met with disdain for its
acting or its writing, and the second sea-
son, which kicks off tonight, promises to
be as high in quality. In the season pre-
miere, a new lawyer is approached to
join the firm. Nelle Porter (Portia de
Rossi), known as Sub-Zero Nelle for her
icy and aggressive legal maneuvers,
immediately becomes the target of
hatred by Ally, Georgia (Co.urtney
Thorne-Smith) and Elaine (Jane
Krakowski) because of her rep, good
looks and intelligence.
Nelle is to be a new regular character
on the series so the other women's jeal-
ousy of her will be a developing story

arc for this year, probably adding fuel to
the fiery debate about the show's por-
trayal of women.
As for de Rossi's performance, she
does well as an ice queen, though there
really isn't too much in the first episode.
to judge her by yet. It will be interesting
to see what develops between her and the
Biscuit (Peter MacNicol).
The much lauded Tracey Ullman also
appears in the season premiere, reprising
her role as Ally's
therapist. Ullman
is known for
being on the cut-
ting edge of com-
McBeal edy, and her pres-
ence on the show
FOX seems to be in
Tonight at 9 p.m. response to criti-
cism. After all, if
Ullman blesses
the show with her
presence, then
"Ally" can't be
that bad. But to
see Ullman's
character only in this way gives no cred-
it to its richness. The therapist tells Ally
she is a nut every other minute and dis-
plays a hilarious apathy to her patient's
feelings, choosing instead to be blunt.
And "Ally" doesn't need to be defend-
ed in the first place. Few shows have dis-
played the honesty that this one has
about what men and women actually
think, finally giving voice to a lot of
issues that remain unspoken. Those who
have seen "Picket Fences" know that

speaking on racy issues is David E.:
Kelley's stock and trade, and "Ally" does.
no less. It just approaches them in a:
humorous manner, whereas Kelley's
other brainchild, "The Practice," hits:
these issues from a more dramatic per-
spective. Hopefully, "The Practice" will
offer the same quality in its premier that
"Ally McBeal" does tonight, promising
another season of great television with:
which to avoid studying.
8:00-9:45 P. M.

Curtis Gallery
of African
and African -
American Art
Museum of Art

and African-
American Art.
Although the
Museum 's
directors col-
lected African
art as early as
the '70s, a for-
mal exhibit
never formed.
"There's a lot
that's been (at
the Museum)
for some time,
but it hasn't
been (on dis-
curator Trevor

Courtesy of the Museum of Art
Akan (Fante) Ghana's "Maternity Figure" is carved wood with blue green and red
pigment. it Is among the exhibits in the Curtis Gallery of African and African-
American Art, a new exhibit at the Museum of Art.

play)," guest

Schoonmaker said.
Donations from several sources,
including University alumni James
and Vivian Curtis, added enough to
the Museum's own pieces to form a
permanent collection in honor of the
, tises.
~40'he Museum displayed the exhib-
it beginning in June. The gallery
was officially dedicated and opened
to the public this past Friday.
Since the Museum had no African
art experts, the acting director asked
former African Art Prof. Nii
Quarcoopome and graduate student
Schoonmaker to be guest curators.
"For me, it was a terrific experience
working with (Quarcoopome),"
,r-a " t

Schoonmaker said. "At the end I got
to take over, and at the beginning he
gave great guidance."
As guest curators, they organized
the collection by function and ethnic
group. "We decided to try and show
the breadth of thecollection and the
diversity of the collection,"
Schoonmaker said. The pieces range
from dolls to swords, the origins
from South to West Africa.
Art in the exhibit reflects the
themes of secular and sacred power,
knowledge and communication and
how art transforms the sense of self.
Pieces include a Bundu/Sande
Society helmet mask, which is the
only kind of mask worn by women
dancers in a particular region of
Africa, an Asante stool, a Yoruba
beaded crown and a Chokwe throne.
Many of the masks, dolls and
thrones in the exhibit reflect rituals
in African society, including coming
of age and other traditional cere-
monies. Most of the objects are
forged out of metal or carved from

The exhibit will be up for at least one
year, Schoonmaker said.
Following this display of the permanent
collection, traveling exhibits of the same
art forms will occupy the gallery.


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____ . ..
_.__ .

Daily mass meetings.
Tomorrow and Thursday.
420 Maynard. 7:30 p.m.


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