ARTS BEAT NEWSLETTER - Last Week's Top Stories

Arts Journal Home Page
PublishingTheatreVisual ArtsArts IssuesPeople

SearchContact Us


Nov 19-24
Nov 11-18
Nov 4-10

Oct 28-Nov 3
Oct 21-27
Oct 15-20
Oct 7-14

Sept 30-Oct 6
Sept 23-29
Sept 16-22
Sept 9-15
Sept 3-8

Aug 26-Sept 2
Aug 19-25
Aug 12-18
Aug 5-11

July 29-Aug 4
July 22-28
July 15-21
July 8-14
July 1-7

June 24-30
June 17-23
June 10-16
June 3-9

May 27-June 2
May 20-26
May 13-19
May 6-12

April 29-May 5
April 22-28
April 15-21
April 8-14
April 1-7

March 25-31
March 18-24
March 11-17
March 4-10

Feb 25-Mar 3
Feb 18-24
Feb 11-17

Feb 4-10

Jan 28-Feb 3
Jan 21-27
Jan 14-20
Jan 7-13

2001 archives
2000 archives

News Service Home`Services
Digest Samples
Headline Samples








Week of  August 19-25

1. Special Interest
2. Dance
3. Media
4. Music
5. People
6. Publishing
7. Theatre
8. Visual Arts
9. Arts Issues
10. For Fun


WORLD HERITAGE IDEAS: The United Nations lists some 700 cultural treasures around the world as heritage sites. "But why limit UNESCO's validating embrace to the realm of the physical? What about manifestations of human genius that may be ubiquitous but also happen to be intangible?" Like pizza, perhaps? The Atlantic 09/01


WHEN THEY REALLY REALLY DON'T WANT YOU: Last week the Scottish Ballet informed Robert North it wouldn't be renewing his contract as artistic director. Now North has been told by the Scottish government he has to leave the country within eight days or he'll be thrown in prison... Glasgow Herald 08/22/01

BOSTON BALLET-BOUND? "Mikko Nissinen, artistic director of the Calgary-based Alberta Ballet, resigned yesterday amid rumours that he has been offered the equivalent post at Boston Ballet." National Post (Canada) 08/18/01

  • MIKKO IN BOSTON? Is Finnish choreographer Mikko Nissinen about to become artistic director of Boston Ballet? Last week Nissinen quit as head of Alberta Ballet, and he's widely assumed to be Boston bound. Boston will admit only that Nissinen's been interviewed along with "several other candidates." Boston Globe 08/24/01

WITHOUT MISSING A STEP: With so many dance companies falling apart when their founders are no longer there to guide things, it's refreshing to see one that has made a seemingly effortless transition. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago seems to be thriving after Lou Conte, its director of 23 years, moved on. The New York Times 08/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

TOURING DANCER KILLED IN CARACAS: A dancer on tour in Caracas with the National Ballet of Georgia was killed by bandits on his way home after a performance this week. The death was the latest in a crime wave that has swept Venezuela. New Jersey Online (AP) 08/21/01


MORE MULTICULTURAL TV: Five years ago only one program appeared on the most popular 20 TV show lists of both black and white American viewers. Now there are nine, and some credit the change to programming of more multi-racial casts. Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 08/24/01

NPR DUMPS WILLIAMS: National Public Radio has dumped Juan Williams as host of Talk of the Nation. He's had the job only 18 months, and the show's audience grew during that time. But it was dropped in New York, and critics complained Williams often sounded "distracted on the show. His last show will be August 30. Washington Post (second item) 08/21/01

A FOR-PROFIT BBC? "The idea that the BBC might go commercial alarms many people, both inside and outside the organisation. Yet the arguments for having a huge state-financed corporation dominate the broadcasting business were formulated in a different broadcasting era. Few hold today." The Economist 08/16/01

SHORT-TIMERS: Why do movies stick around for such a short time at local theatres? It's a strategy "that floods a film onto more than 3,000 screens the first weekend, so that a studio can make lots of money before poor word of mouth and bad reviews scare moviegoers away. The result is that theater marquees are changing faster than airport-departure monitors. More important, it's set up an unusual cultural dichotomy: More people say there's nothing they want to see, but Hollywood is making more money than ever. In fact, this weekend it expects to break the summer box-office record of $3 billion." Christian Science Monitor 08/24/01

MAYBE WE CAN HEAD THEM OFF AT THE DVD: Competing movie studios have at least one goal in common: stave off the Web pirates. But the way they're going about it is drawing heavy criticism, because "the movie industry has to learn a lesson that the music industry failed to learn, which is that you have to put a service out there that is high in quality and beats anything else that's out there. You can't lock it up. If you treat your customers like criminals, it just doesn't do any good." Chicago Tribune 08/22/01

CENSORING MOVIES: Australia is trying out some new movie censorship proposals. "The guidelines suggest new restrictions on nudity, violence, drugs and 'the inappropriate use of substances that damage health or are legally restricted to adults.' Films would be banned if 'reasonable adults' might be offended by the sight of an actor who 'looks like a person under 18' being nude, violent or taking drugs. The draft guidelines spell out a concept of 'imitability' that could provoke consumer warnings or censorship cuts: Dangerous or illegal actions within films or computer games which are authentic or close to real life that can be imitated by children." Sydney Morning Herald 08/24/01


RATTLE AND BPO COME TO TERMS: "Sir Simon Rattle has been confirmed as the artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, ending months of wrangles over the prestigious appointment." Rattle wanted the job, but held off accepting until the Berlin city government agreed to higher pay for the musicians and independent-foundation status for the orchestra. He begins the new job in September, 2002. BBC 08/22/01

WRITING NEW BEETHOVEN: In 1810, Beethoven began writing an overture to Macbeth, then later abandoned the project. Now a Dutch composer and computer programmer has pieced together fragments into an eight-minute piece which the National Symphony Orchestra will premiere in Washington next month. But some critics argue it's not Beethoven at all; it's simply "an object lesson in Beethoven mania. 'There is no Beethoven overture to Macbeth'" BBC & Washington Post 08/23/01

MUSIC SALES DOWN: Sales of recorded music were down by 10 percent last year, says the recording industry. Digital downloading and home-copies of CD's get the blame, they say. "An industry study found that half of those questioned had downloaded music from the internet in the last month, and 70% of those had burnt the songs onto CD." BBC 08/21/01

CLASSICAL ONLINE: So interest in classical music is waning, eh? How then to explain the thousands of internet sites devoted to classical? Classical fans have more access to music and information about the music than ever before. There are signs that the internet is building a new audience. National Post (KCStar) (Canada) 08/21/01

MONEY MATTERS: "As orchestras open their doors to players from all over the world, they are losing their individuality. Conservatories are forced to teach students to play not in national styles but with a one-size-fits-all technique that will allow them to get jobs anywhere. For orchestras from the former Soviet Union, however, the globalisation of music – the same is true for other forms of culture, too – has had an even more unremittingly destructive effect. Good orchestras are the result of many factors, but a prerequisite is money. Lots of it." The Independent (UK) 08/22/01

ACCEPTING GAY SINGERS: Why do some gay opera fans have difficulty accepting gay singers? Countertenor David Daniels complains that "the most opposition I get is from the gay community. There's a lot of negativity from the gay community because I'm open, and proud and honest. It's very bizarre. It makes no sense whatever. Being gay affects my singing. It just does. That's a fact, and I don't agree with people who say it's not." The Guardian (UK) 08/23/01

WHY MEDIOCRE MUSIC SUCCEEDS: "A large part of the symphony audience likes comfortable music. It likes familiar music. It likes repeating the same familiar music many times. And here we have a composer who repeats familiar sounds, repeats familiar feelings, and even repeats some of the familiar music that (except for Agon) his audience already likes. He touches on safe and tasty motifs from popular culture, even while his Greek themes make his music seem like art. Happily for sponsors, its style makes it sound like advertising. Even if he never gets to the Cleveland Orchestra, he's bound to get somewhere." NewMusicBox 08/01

NAZIS LOOTED VIOLINS: According to recently released American military documents, the Nazis looted rare violins - including dozens of Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati - during World War II. "The instruments, confiscated by a special team who followed German troops, were to be used in a proposed university in Hitler's home town of Linz, Austria, after the war." BBC 08/20/01

MIGRANT SINGERS: "Since the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, singers from the former Soviet Union, dissatisfied with conditions back home or drawn by the lure of hard currency, have flooded west, and it is widely thought that they have arrived just in time to solve some of our own operatic crises. But will these East Europeans ultimately change the shape of the operatic world, like the American singers who seized the opportunities in postwar Europe?" The New York Times 08/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

REWRITING AMERICAN: In the 20th Century, America produced a full roster of classical composers, the equal of any in the world. But somehow that isn't enough, and there's a revisionist movement working to rewrite the what was important... The Telegraph (UK) 08/18/01


IT'S A MONEY THING: Why did David Ross leave as director of San Francisco's SFMOMA? It was money. Ross saw some opportunities for himself to make some money. The museum's board thought Ross's being the head of a website that sells art was a conflict. And, as the economic downturn was affecting the museum, Ross was thought not to be the person to get the museum through it. "David is an entrepreneur - he comes up with 15 ideas an hour - and it's hard for nonprofits to deal with that. Now he has come to a point where there is an opportunity to go to a for-profit and benefit financially from his ideas. We understand. When you tell someone like David to stop, you destroy him." San Francisco Chronicle 08/21/01

ARTS CZAR STEPS DOWN: Evan Williams, Sydney's de facto arts Czar, is retiring. "Williams was the boss of the bosses of the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (the Powerhouse), the NSW State Library, the Historic Houses Trust, the Sydney Opera House, the State Records of NSW, and the NSW Film and Television Office." Sydney Morning Herald 08/23/01

BERKOFF IN THE DOCK: Playwright Steven Berkoff is considered a genius by some, a true original. "This is the dramatist who recently declared that he should take over the National and fire all its existing staff. This is the dramatist who has caused stir after stir in the theatre, back in 1975 shocking Edinburgh by using the c-word 29 times in the course of a 90-second speech. Now Berkoff faces a damages claim for £500,000 from a woman, who cannot be named, alleging that she was raped, assaulted and racially abused by him." The Times (UK) 08/24/01

  • BERKOFF DEFENDS: Berkoff says the law should be changed so that men like him couldn't be charged with rape. "It's the most terrible thing that's ever happened to me, but it will be resolved. It's ironic that it should happen now when everyone is finally beginning to see that I am sensitive." The Guardian (UK) 08/24/01

THE GREAT ART SCAMMER: Michel Cohen was such a successful player in the art markets that he could borrow $100 million to buy paintings, with few questions asked. But he also couldn't resist trying to double his money in the stock market, and when the market crashed, he vanished with a lot of other people's money. National Post (Telegraph) (Canada) 08/20/01

CLEVELAND CURATOR LEAVES: Diane De Grazia is leaving the job of chief curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art. "An expert on 17th-century European paintings and drawings, De Grazia came to Cleveland from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 08/22/01


DOWNLOADABLE READING: E-pirates are ripping off books online. "More than 7,000 copyrighted books are available for free on the Internet, including works by J.K. Rowling, John Grisham and Stephen King." CBC 08/22/01

WHAT'S WITH THE CHICK LIT? Booker Prize favorite author Beryl Bainbridge blasts the current "chick lit" genre of the Bridget Jones variety. "It's a pity that so many young women are writing like that. I wonder if they are just writing like this because they think they are going to get published." The Age (Melbourne) 08/24/01

HIT THE ROAD JACK: "Two decades ago, the author book tour was almost a novelty. Today it can be the deciding factor in a book’s success. Touring has always been as much about selling the author as the book. Turn the author into a traveling salesman, and those personal appearances generate real sales—important when a few thousand books can make a best seller—not to mention media attention on local radio and television and reviews in the local press." Newsweek 08/27/01

NY PUBLIC LIBRARY GETS KEROUAC: The New York Public Library has acquired Jack Kerouac's literary and personal archive. "The archive, the largest Kerouac holding in any institution, contains manuscripts, notebooks, letters, journals and personal items saved from the time he was 11 until his death at 47 in 1969." The New York Times 08/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

INDEPENDENT'S DAY: While Canadian book superstore Chapters has been mired in financial difficulties, and independent bookstores have been closing at a frightening pace, one Toronto independent is thriving. "Next month Book City celebrates 25 years in business with five branches around Toronto employing 71 staff, that move approximately 800,000 books and magazines annually." Toronto Star 08/18/01

POLITICS OF LITERATURE (AND CRITICISM): Why do we get the literature we get today? "A lot of today's 'literary' writing is repetitious, inexact, dull and clichéd. It is also highly formulaic, as witness the success of overblown nurse novels like Cold Mountain and The English Patient. But the most important point . . . has to do with the failure of the critical establishment. How can one explain reviewers gushing over trash it's hard to believe they've even read? Why do literary awards so often go to pretentious pulp?" Good Reports 08/18/01

SLIPPERY SLOPE? The California State University system has struck a deal with an e-publisher to offer multiple copies of electronic books at one time. "Previously, a single copy of an e-book bought for an electronic-library could only be borrowed by one reader at a time - just like a print book. But an the arrangement with NetLibrary, half of the 1,500 e-books Cal State has purchased – at no additional cost - will have unrestricted use for multiple borrowers." Wired 08/21/01

WHO RULES PUBLISHING: It's simplistic yes, but "there are a handful of people whose influence affects your reading choices in ways you never would've guessed. Each of them, to some degree, represents his or her peers. But among the blockbuster authors who help support entire publishing houses, powerful literary agents who fight tooth and nail for their clients' deals, Hollywood moguls who often bring us back to the books from which they made their hits and gatekeepers you've probably never heard of," there is a small group of such powerful publishing figures. Book Magazine 08/01


BOYCOTTING THE MAN: The American actors union Actors Equity is urging a boycott of a traveling non-union production of The Music Man. "While theatrical chestnuts like Cats often tour with non-Equity casts, that rarely happens with the first national tour of a new Broadway production." The New York Times 08/22/01 (one-time registration required for access)

A LARGE PROBLEM: "When large characters do appear on screen, they’re more often than not depicted as loveless, over-eating objects of ridicule with flatulence problems. 'Overweight people are the last politically correct prejudice. Those actors have every right to create those characters, but I don’t think they’re as sensitive as they need to be.'" New York Post 08/23/01

THEATRE ON TV: A new six-part series on the history of theatre debuts on America's PBS. "Pursuing its own areas of interest, acknowledging its bias and incompleteness upfront, Changing Stages manages a tough thing. It is general enough to appeal to the masses (at least masses of liberal arts public television types), yet specific enough to rope in avid theatergoers." Los Angeles Times 08/24/01

EXPLAINING THEATRE: Playwright Alan Ayckbourn spends a week trying to explain how theatre works. "I reckon most people were surprised that the conjurer should be so willing to give away his tricks. But it is the mediocre artists who are defensive about the way they work. Only the great are unafraid to make themselves available." The Guardian (UK) 08/22/01

GOOD/NOT GOOD: "In a way, a book comparing Stephen Sondheim's career with Andrew Lloyd Webber's looks like an interesting and sensible idea. But, on reflection, it just shows how hopelessly slack any standards of judgment in this area are. It is a bit like comparing Mozart with Salieri. Sondheim, at his best, is the nearest musical theatre has come to producing a major imagination since Kurt Weill's American musicals. Andrew Lloyd Webber is just rubbish from beginning to end." The Observer (UK) 08/19/01

STARLIGHT DIMS: The London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express is closing after 17 years. "Starlight Express, which opened in March 1984, is the second-longest-running musical in West End history, after Lloyd Webber's Cats, which began its run here in 1981. By the time it closes, it will have been performed 7,406 times and been seen by more than eight million people." Ottawa Citizen (AP) 08/21/01

THEATRE AS EVENT: Some regular theatre-goers have a deep dark secret. "Deep down they are appalled at the ineptitude that often passes for theater these days and they hate themselves for continuing to support it. They are embarrassed that there are no 21st-century O'Neills, that Tennessee is long dead and that the theater they know doesn't measure up to the glories of the past. Yet they still go. Even though they hate themselves for doing it. And you know what? I hate them for it, too. Because in a real way they create a climate where there is no theater culture in New York, only theater events." The New York Times 08/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

BETRAYING THE PAST? So David Henry Hwang is updating Flower Drum Song to remove offensive stereotypes for a Broadway-bound production. "To remove every line left from the original book is akin to repainting a work of art or rearranging a piece of classical music. Taking another's thoughts and ideas and reworking them to suit your own agenda is not being 'politically correct,' it's a blatant attempt to go back in time and develop a new culture based on concepts that didn't even exist at the time the piece was created." San Francisco Chronicle 08/21/01


SUING RICHARD SERRA: Owners of a Richard Serra sculpture are suing the artist to recover the piece. In 1989 the owners showed Serra the piece they had bought, and he told them it was broken and needed repairing, which he offered to do in return for a 50 percent share of the resale. The owners say though Serra took back the work, they have been unable to get it returned despite numerous tries. New York Post 08/22/01

GUGGENHEIM DELAYS VEGAS OPENING: The opening of the Guggenheim and Hermitage Museum outposts has been delayed three weeks to Oct. 7. "There is no single reason for the date change," Thomas Krens, Guggenheim Foundation director, said in a prepared statement. "Rather, after arduous and careful analysis of the construction and installation paths, and after consultation with all of the construction managers and museum professionals working on this project, we had come to the conclusion that there was a real possibility that we might not be ready if we maintained the Sept. 16 opening date." Las Vegas Sun 08/23/01

  • GOING DOWNCULTURE: Hilton Kramer's not in favor of the modern brand of museums - the Tates, Guggenheims etc. They are trashing the traditional idea of the museum. Tate Modern, he complains, is "a culture mall still pretending to be an art museum but resembling—in spirit, in layout, and in noise levels and general pandemonium—a cross between an airport arrivals terminal and Times Square on a bad night." And the Guggenheim? Well... New York Observer 08/22/01

CRUSHING DECISIONS: The temples at Angkor, in Cambodia, are archeological and architectural treasures. They also are slowly being crushed by the jungle, which has closed in on them over the past five centuries. Restoration poses a dilemma: "If the trees are left in place, portions of the half-ruined structures will eventually collapse. If the trees are removed, the structures may also collapse." International Herald Tribune 08/23/01

LOAN OF PARTHENON MARBLES? The British Museum is discussing temporarily loaning the Parthenon Marbles to Greece for the 2004 Olympics. "Greece said it was willing to discuss a compromise under which it would get the 2,300-year-old artefacts - or if necessary only some of them - on temporary loan. In return, Britain would borrow masterpieces of classical antiquity never seen here before." The Guardian (UK) 08/20/01

OPENING UP FRANCE: The French art market is about to open up. "Nearly 450 years of protectionism for the country's 458 auction houses will disappear in a deluge of art sales in the next few months dominated by the world's big two and the third-placed pursuer, Phillips." The Guardian (UK) 08/20/01

KEEPING ART AT HOME: The French government has passed a law providing for the government to buy art it considers national treasures to prevent it from leaving the country. "If a work of art is deemed of cultural importance and denied an export licence, within the following 30 months, the government can make an offer to purchase it on behalf of a public institution. Their offer will be set at international market value." The Art Newspaper 08/24/01

CHAGALL FOR PEACE: The Jewish Museum in New York has received an offer to return a 1914 Chagall painting stolen from the museum earlier this year. Actually, it's more of a ransom note; the gist of the one-page typewritten message says: " 'You get the painting back when peace has been achieved between Israel and Palestine.' The letter was signed by a previously unknown group, the International Committee for Art and Peace." 08/20/01


WHAT'S WRONG WITH PAINTING: "Every few years, some art critic takes pleasure in making people furious with the declaration that painting is dead. But what does it mean for painting to die? I think it's impossible to declare any form of art to be dead, inasmuch as anything is allowed these days, but why is it that painting isn't, in the most general sense, good anymore?" The Stranger 08/23/01

THE GREAT ART SCAMMER: Michel Cohen was such a successful player in the art markets that he could borrow $100 million to buy paintings, with few questions asked. But he also couldn't resist trying to double his money in the stock market, and when the market crashed, he vanished with a lot of other people's money. National Post (Telegraph) (Canada) 08/20/01

NAME VALUE: Typically, the value of an artist's work increases when he dies. But Australian Aboriginal artist Turkey Tolson's work presents a challenge to Christie's, which wants to auction it. "In Aboriginal custom, particularly in the Central Desert, where Tolson lived, a dead person's name should not be mentioned or his or her image shown to his relatives, clan and wider tribe." How to sell it then? Sydney Morning Herald 08/24/01

LA'S NEW LOOK: Los Angeles doesn't have a tradition of great public buildings. But in the past few years, "Los Angeles' civic landscape has undergone a startling transformation. As the $1-billion Getty Center was opening its doors in 1997 in Brentwood, construction was starting up on Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall and José Rafael Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels - all major works by world-renowned architects. More important, a sense of civic flowering has spread beyond a few powerful downtown institutions." Los Angeles Times 08/19/01

LOOKING FOR KHAN: An archaeological team looking for Genghis Khan's grave in Mongolia reported this week that they have found "a walled burial ground 200 miles northeast of the Mongolian capital that may contain the 13th-century conqueror's remains along with priceless artifacts." Discovery 08/17/01


REDEFINING EUROPEAN ARTS FUNDING: All across Europe - even in those places renowned as cultural hotbeds such as Austria, Germany, Italy and Russia - state funding of the arts has been declining. Arts companies have had to go hunting for other sources of funds. The Economist 08/16/01

LEAVING LONDON ALIVE: A few years ago London handed over the top jobs of three of its most important cultural icons - the Royal Opera House, South Bank and the Tate Modern - to foreigners. "Surely these high-profile international appointments were exactly the kind of acknowledgment London needed as the new centre of the arts world - the capital of Tony Blair's creative Britain? But now, within two and a half years, all three appointees have unexpectedly rejected their London roles. What went wrong?" The Observer (UK) 08/19/01

CULTURAL COST OF DEMOCRACY: "In the 10 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its ruling Communist Party, Russian culture has been limping along, surviving such indignities as shrunken budgets, distressed buildings and the onslaught of Western mass culture. In the scramble to survive, many cultural institutions have had to find commercial partners and, as Mr. Rozhdestvensky argued, dumb down their offerings in order to get audiences. Concert halls are booked with over-hyped, over-priced rock performers; imitation Broadway musicals, starring pop stars, play to sellout crowds. Film studios that once turned out prize-winning movies now churn out video clips and television cop shows." But is it all bad news? The New York Times 08/20/01 (one-time registration required for access)

THE ROAD TO DIVERSITY: A major London arts funder suggests that cultural diversity will play a role in its future funding plans. "The consequences can be plainly foretold. Theatre directors will be pressured in auditions to favour minority actors. A ballet troupe conducting its end-of-season cull will have to watch ethnic numbers or risk losing subsidy. Every string quartet will require a black viola player to conform with population norms, every art gallery a black madonna." The Telegraph (UK) 08/22/01

BUSH NAMES INTERIM NEA CHAIRMAN: Robert Sydney Martin will take on the job after William Ivey leaves at the end of September. "A veteran of the Bush tenure in Texas, Martin was the director and the librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission from 1995 to 1999. After that, he was a professor and interim director of the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Woman's University in Denton." Bush's search for a successor to Ivey continues. Washington Post 08/23/01

ANYONE WITH A WEBSITE... "In 2001, everyone’s a critic, with his own cute handle or year-end 10 Best list. The web is where traditional criticism is democratized, where the élite meet defeat at the hands of the cyber-rabble. You don’t need experience, insight or a spell- check function (Note to all websters: 'its' is a possessive, 'it’s' is a contraction), just passion and a lot of spare time." Time 08/27/01

READING THE CRITIC: So what is the critic supposed to add to an artistic experience? Martin Bernheimer thinks that "critic-haters, critic-bashers and critic-baiters have always whimpered about the eternal quest for objectivity. It's a silly quest, a futile ideal, an impossible dream." Andante 08/20/01

POWER-TRIPPING: What's the most loathsome job in the world? How about being a personal assistant to a Hollywood bigwig? "Add to these ugly and illegal activities a steady diet of screaming (a widely practiced, perfectly acceptable management technique), credit-theft and blame-delegation, and you'll understand why I'm less than surprised whenever I hear the war cries of suddenly insurgent pipsqueaks." The Guardian (UK) 08/24/01

SUPPORTING THE ARTS: New York mayor Rudy Giuliani's "decency commission" has recommended that "museums funded by the city, such as the Brooklyn Museum and the New York Public Library, should receive less money and that they should remove signs asking entering visitors for donations." Here's what the individual commissioners said... The Art Newspaper 08/24/01

QUESTIONS OF BEAUTY: There is reported to be a new movement in art which demands "music with a melody, poetry that rhymes, paintings and sculpture that look like something, architecture with grace." What could be wrong with that? "Most obviously, there is the rather smug consensus among these new traditionalists that beauty is definable, and that their definition is the right one." Washington Post 08/23/01


BANNING BILL: A Bay Area artist created a sculpture of Bill Clinton and a certain intern, entered a local fair, and won. He also won a prize at the California State Fair, but the sculpture has been banned from display. "No fewer than five representatives of the Fair ruled Loose Lips unfit for exhibition, particularly because of 'the location of Monica Lewinsky to the overall position of the president.' In this, the sculptor was simply striving for verisimilitude, giving the work educational value." National Review 08/20/01

BURGER BUGGING: The Glyndebourne audience had just settled on the lawn for picnic lunch, waiting for the performance to begin, when, "unmistakably, the smell of hamburgers, sausages and onions wafted over the South Downs and Britain's most glamorous summer opera festival was faced with one of the most embarrassing moments in its long history. An opera goer had done the unthinkable. He had constructed and lit a barbecue. For the staff his move presented an excruciating dilemma." The Independent (UK) 08/20/01

CELL PHONE RAGE: Pianist Andras Schiff stormed offstage in mid-performance at the Edinburgh Festival after getting irritated at audience noises. "The Hungarian virtuoso was in the middle of his recital of Fantasia in C minor when the noise from phones, watches and the audience coughing became too much." He returned after a few minutes. BBC 08/23/01

EVERYONE'S AN ARTIST: An American scientist has developed a software program that can transform anyone's photo or drawing into the art of a master. "The program can analyse a digital photograph and transform it into the style of any chosen artist. The software was inspired when he began wondering whether a computer could analyse an artist's style and then apply it to pictures." The Independent (UK) 08/24/01

BEAUTY MAY BE IN THE CHILDHOOD OF THE OBSERVER: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, sent a gift to its twin town in England. The English did not like it at all. In fact, they seem rather insulted by the seven-foot statue. The seven-foot plastic statue of Mr. Potato Head. ABC 08/20/01