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AIDS SOTHEBY'S: "Shares of Sotheby's Holdings rose more
than 15 percent yesterday after the board of the beleaguered auction
house agreed to pay $256 million to settle a class-action claim
that it colluded with Christie's to fix commissions charged to
buyers and sellers." New York
Times 09/26/00 (one-time registration
required for entry)
DIVERSITY: Delegates to an international cultural conference
in Greece have decided to form the International Network for
Cultural Diversity. The organization will endeavor to protect
local cultures. "We want this to be a legal and enforceable
agreement that will give countries the ability to support culture
and diversity and to stand up to trade measures that are infringing
on their cultural sovereignty."
ON TOP: Time was when the Russians used to dominate international
piano competitions. But this year's Leeds International was dominated
by the Italians - three of the top six finalists were Italian.
The Telegraph (London) 09/25/00
WINS LEEDS: Alessio Bax, at 22 the youngest of three finalists,
is the first Italian ever to win at Leeds.
The Times 09/25/00
IT'S OUR MUSEUM: Daniel Terra's jingoistic promotion of American
art was difficult to take. And the reputation of his small museum
of American art suffered in the museum world for his antics and
boasts. But now that his widow wants to take the museum out of
town (Chicagoans don't appreciate it enough, she says) a feeling
of community pride wells up in those who want it to stay.
Chicago Tribune 10/01/00
SUIT: Giotto has been considered the father of modern painting
But anewly discovered fresco by Pietro Cavallini in Rome could
rewrite the arts history books. "The crucial thing is to
determine whether it was done before 1288, when work began in
Assisi on the Cycle of St Francis, or after. If it was before,
it means that it was Cavallini who was the master, and thus the
father of modern painting. If it was painted afterwards, then
it will still go down as a beautiful and very important work of
art to be discovered - but nothing more."
The Telegraph (London) 09/28/00
ART SALES: Worldwide art auction sales increased 16 percent
in the 1999-2000 season. "The US sold $922 million worth
of art and the UK sold £578 million; closest behind them were
France with £93 million ($130.8 million) and Germany at £46 million
($64.7 million). Italy came fifth with £26 million ($36.6 million)."
The Art Newspaper 09/27/00
MUSEUM OPENS: Museum dedicated to the history and accomplishments
of women opens in Dallas. "The heart of the Women's Museum
is its exhibits, two dozen in all, ranging from an elaborate
time line of women's achievements to a short film about female
comedians and portraits of female artists and athletes."
Dallas Morning News 09/25/00
A WOMEN'S MUSEUM? "Fewer than 5 percent of the nation's
historic landmarks focus on women's achievements, the organizers
point out. Fewer than 2 percent of textbooks are about women's
history. In cities known for their veneration of the past,
such as Boston and Washington, few monuments to women exist."
Washington Post 09/28/00
GOT OUR ATTENTION": Hollywood studio execs appear before
Congressional hearings on violence and the entertainment industry.
"All eight studio executives who attended the hearing agreed
to follow a set of 12 voluntary guidelines issued the day before
by the Motion Picture Association of America. Those rules include
not showing previews for R-rated movies before a G-rated film;
not 'knowingly' including children under 17 in audiences for
research screenings unless they are accompanied by a parent;
and seeking ways to include the reasons for a movie's rating
in advertisements and packaging, such as noting excessive violence
or sexuality. Washington Post 09/28/00
TO MOVIE EXECS: "If the industry doesn't take additional
steps to keep violent films away from young children, "you're
going to see some kind of legislation," said Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison, Texas Republican. "I'm sending a signal across
the bow." Washington Times 09/28/00
TO EXECS: After studios
promise to try harder on ratings Senate panel chairman John
McCain remained unconvinced: ''My friends, that language is
not good enough because it leaves a subjective judgment and
some very bad subjective decisions were made in the past.''
INTO THE VOID: Government funding for the arts in Canada has
declined precipitously in recent years - down by $41 million a
year in Toronto alone. But Canada doesn't have a tradition of
individual giving to the arts. "Canadians donated $4.44-billion
to charitable and non-profit organizations between 1996 and 1997,
but only 3 per cent went to arts and culture."
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/27/00
OF CONTROL: Canada's Ontario government decides to turn control
of the disputed McMichael Gallery back to the gallery's founders.
The decision could have a wide impact. "The spectre of government
intrusion into the direction of a gallery robs curators of other
galleries of the ability to assure potential donors that their
artworks will be held securely in the future, said Richard Darroch
of the Canadian Museums Association."
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/27/00
COUPLE: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's collaborative
musical opens in London's West End. "Sadly, hopes that The
Beautiful Game might prove a Northern Irish West Side Story are
hardly realised. Indeed, at worst the piece comes over like Grease-meets-Riverdance
with the odd bit of earnest Eltonesque moralising thrown in. Working
with Elton has certainly loosened Lloyd Webber up as both composer
and producer." The Telegraph
PARTNERS: "Well, they don't come together quite as
successfully as they clearly hope that peace-loving Ulster
Catholics will come together both with Protestants and with
their own more bellicose elements." The
Times (London) 09/28/00
Ireland's censor has revoked a ban on a 1967 movie version of
Joyce's "Ulysses." ~ Berlin's
Brandenburg Gate to get $5 million cleaning ~ For
nine successive weeks US movie admissions have been down compared
to a year ago. So far in September, ticket sales are down 22 percent
Barnes Collection considers selling some objects ~ Digital music company MP3.com launched its "million e-mail
march" lobbying to change copyright law ~ Art
critic Robert Hughes will have to face a retrial of his dangerous
driving charges from a May 1999 accident ~
Cooper-Hewitt Museum hires new
director ~ Soaring art auction prices
last summer have gallery owners complaining.
SYDNEY GOT HER OPERA HOUSE: "Some think of the Opera
House as a superb example of Goethe's frozen music; others imagine
a beached white whale, a galleon sailing off to Elfland, nine
ears cocked to hear some heavenly aria, nine nuns playing football.
'A bunch of toenails clipped from a large albino dog', the Sydney
journalist Ron Saw once wrote." London
Review of Books 10/05/00
NEW LIT CRIT: "Run
mostly by thirtysomething writers and editors, this latest generation
of New York literary journals are stylishly packaged, serving
up a mix of prominent names, undiscovered aspirants, and lost
treasures from the vaults. Each has staked out a different aesthetic
territory, but between them they cover a wide swath of contemporary
literature." Village Voice 09/00
STAR: Finding ways to "brand" your artistic director
goes a long way towards defining the success of your arts organization.
The Canadian Opera Comapny's Richard Bradshaw has remade "one
of the fustiest cultural institutions in the land into one of
the hippest". Conversely, the Toronto Symphony tried to position
Jukka-Pekka Sarasate as a stud and turned off the orchestra's
traditional supporters. The Globe
and Mail (Toronto) 09/28/00
THE WALL: Canada's museums and galleries are having a rough
time. "The rapid shift in funding patterns has caused tremendous
stresses within the traditional values and structures of the art
museum. In Canada, where in the past such institutions were majorly
funded through government support, the new environment presents
special challenges and opportunities. But institutions are slow
to change, and in my opinion there is evidence that all is not
well and happy in our galleries - at least not in my experience."
PROFIT OR NOT TO PROFIT: The line between non-profit and commercial
theatre has all but disappeared. Non-profits are trying to be
more entrepreneurial in hopes of generating more income, while
commercial theatre looks to mitigate its risks. Hartford
FAME GAME: Artists are a hot commodity in London right now.
Newspapers vie to put artists in their columns, and he or she
who makes something outrageous is sure to get plenty of attention.
But it's all so very predictable... New
York Times 09/25/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
OF ITS DEATH… Even before the British Arts Council promised
£37 million in additional funding, there were plenty of signs
that regional theater is already thriving. Audiences are growing,
communities are showing support, and theaters are discovering
that their power is in numbers. “If one regional theatre thrives,
so will others. If one closes, it threatens others. If you've
got leprosy and your hand drops off, it doesn't benefit the rest
of the body. It's still dying.” The Guardian (London) 09/27/00
ARTS MAYOR? Chicago's Mayor Daly doesn't just pay lip service
to the arts. "He has realized that good arts and entertainment
is good for the city, and, in a non-artsy way, he has given the
arts of Chicago a public and accessible forum." Better yet,
his attentions are resulting in things happening for the arts.
Chicago Tribune 10/01/00
ARE NOT DYING: A music critic who wrote about the "dysfunctionality"
of the modern symphony orchestra hears plenty of dissent from
readers. National Post (Canada) 09/26/00
LIFTING: It's not so easy being a male dancer, writes one
of Canada's most famous male dancers. "Working for four hours
at a stretch, without a break, trying to get it perfect, is fine
if you are the one being lifted. For the lifter, it is not so
fine. It is gruelling. Perfection, in this instance, can go hand
in hand with abuse of another human being. It is so very easy
for the man in classical ballet to feel resentful, depressed,
discouraged, even vindictive, as he fights to be a worthy partner,
dancing behind the ballerina, trying to display her at her best."
Ottawa Citizen 09/26/00
PLAY FOR THE BIG TIME: Admittedly, there have been skeptics
of Placido Domingo's ability to take Los Angeles Opera into the
big time. "History has not been kind to superstar performers
recast in management roles, in opera and in other fields as well.
But Domingo’s first major moves here since taking office, as noted
in not one but two press conferences a couple of weeks ago, have
been particularly shrewd in addressing some of the most-discussed
company weaknesses. LA Weekly 09/29/00
MAKER TO SAVE BOLSHOI? "Last month, in a shocking putsch
on the eve of the fall season, the Kremlin announced it had fired
the Bolshoi's director, the legendary ballet dancer Vladimir Vasilyev,
and replaced him with a team of business-oriented managers. The
coup was planned with such secrecy that Russian journalists compared
it with a KGB operation." But can the company be saved?
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 09/26/00
POLITICS: If the winner of a major international competition
feels it necessary to later enter another big competition, what
does that say about the first competition that it wasn't able
to properly launch the career of its winner. "As this all
suggests, the piano competition circuit is rather more of a lottery
than most competition organisers would like the public to realise."
Irish Times 09/27/00
- PLAY BY PLAY: A look at one New York repertory
company’s play-selection process: "A nonprofit theater's
season planning is a craft all its own, one of mundane logistical
maneuvering as well as lofty creative ambition; of sleepless-night
angst and pride-swelling triumph; of big-picture matters like
building audiences and details as precise as choosing a hat."
New York Times 09/28/00 (one-time registration required
PUT ON A SHOW: Big theatre producers get together to talk
about the realities of producing musical theatre. "Comments
on Saturday from representatives of the biggest L.A.-based commercial
theater producers - Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal - were
considered by many in the audience to be so discouraging that
Indonesia might look even more inviting."
Los Angeles Times 09/26/00
Jay McInerney's regrets about the Brat Pack ~ Why
did Canada's CBC take serious classical music programming off
its Radio Two network? ~ New
productions signify a new
era for serious American opera ~ Fibreglass
public cow art fuels
debate on public art ~ Jean-Michel
Basquiat's artwork is the top-selling of the 1980s. "Does
the artist's work live up to the market's hype? ~
are big players/funders in London's current cultural boom.
inventor Shawn Fanning is the very model of the at-home innovator
Jose Symphony recently gave its musicians a 7 percent pay increase.
But the orchestras has a growing deficit, and the budget is on a
collision course with reality ~ San
Francisco Opera premieres Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally's
new opera "Dead Man Walking" this week ~ Music piracy
is flourishing in China, in part to get around the censors
movie-makers' conflict between art and money.
4 LESS CONCERT HALL? Big donors are essential to financing
art these days, particularly arts buildings and big opera productions.
But the largesse as often as not comes with strings. Slapping
a picture of your most prominent donor in the program is one thing.
But renaming your home or producing art because a donor wants
to fund it is something else. Los
Angeles Times 10/01/00
TO BLAME: The Gore/Lieberman attacks on Hollywood miss the
mark. "The premise behind the argument once made by Cheney
and Robert Bork, and now by Lieberman and Gore, is that the
marketing of violence and sex to children leads to higher levels
of teenage violence, sex, drug use, illegitimacy, social breakdown,
and so on. But even a cursory glance at reality shows that the
opposite is true. The era that has seen the popular culture
ratchet up its drug-addled, bigoted, violent messages to new
levels of depravity has also seen one of the sharpest declines
in teen violence, sex, and drug use ever. If corporate America
is out to poison our children's minds, it's failing in spectacular
fashion." The New Republic
TO TELL: Is the short story an endangered artform? A conference
debates the question: "Society's view of literature's importance
has shifted. It is no longer shameful to be ignorant of it.
Teachers of literature apparently believe that one book cannot
be judged as better than another, that evaluation is an impossibility
- the sort of people rug dealers dream of having as merchants."
National Post (Canada) 09/25/00
THE COST: London theatre dresses an actor up as duck rather
than use the real thing. Why? "Thespian ducks cost £250
a day, while the union minimum for an actor is £292.84 for a
week's work in the West End. If you're thinking of putting your
daughter on the stage, train her to be a duck, or at least a
duck handler." The Telegraph (London)
LIFE'S A STAGE: Jeffrey Archer's new play opened in London
last week. But its convoluted plot was "no stranger than
real-life on the day that the former Conservative deputy chairman
was charged with perverting the course of justice, perjury and
'using a false instrument', he was also making his (official)
world debut as an actor." Sunday
Times (London) 10/01/00
IT SO: The handwriting of the ancient queen Cleopatra has
been discovered on papyrus stored in a mummy in Berlin. "Cleopatra's
signature can be found in just one word: 'genestho,' which means
'Make it so!' It is the formula for the royal authorization, and
had to be added by the ruler's own hand."
A DRAG: A male percussionist/composer with the New Zealand
Orchestra has a thing for dressing up in drag. When he appeared
onstage for a concert dressed as a women, orchestra management
"read him the riot act." But the act turned into a gig
writing a piece for the orchestra for percussionist-in-drag.
Sydney Morning Herald 09/26/00
ME THE MONEY: In India, where the average income is about
$215 a year, the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire"
has become a wild hit. "Streets are half deserted when 'KBC'
comes on, suddenly it's easy to get a seat at late evening movies,
pubs in some cities say business has been hit, and bookshops are
packed with books to guide you through the quiz programme."
The Times of India 09/26/00
UP: German Chancellor Gerhard Shroeder is about to become
a pop star. "Earlier this year Mr Schroeder joked to an autograph
hunter 'Get me a beer or I'll go on strike!' as he toured eastern
Germany to rally support for his centre-left Social Democrats.
But his remark was recorded, and comedian Stefan Raab mixed it
into a drinking song called Get Me A Beer!" BBC
MATTER OF MANNERS: New York Magazine critic John Simon goes
for director Atom Egoyan's jugular at a press conference about
Egoyan's project filming all of the Beckett plays. "I have seen
at least 12 productions of this play," he began, "all more touching
than yours. Was this deliberate or just incompetence on your part?"