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2002

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Week of  September 24-30, 2001

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

Editor's Note: We've added 37 arts stories last week related to the terrorism acts in the United States on September 11. Stories include news, background, and artists' reaction and interpretation of the events. Our archive now includes some 200 such stories which you can access here.

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1. SPECIAL INTEREST
 
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#specialinterest
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ART IN A TIME OF FEAR: "Art can appear so insignificant when the world gets crazy. But the world has always been crazy, even if it hasn't been as horrifying. Art's been around a long time. It knows how to handle good times and bad. And it's never really been insignificant. Most art is superficial. However, the aesthetic experience (the term always rings tinny), the enigmatic interior place we go when we make or look at art, is still what it's always been: complex, rich, rewarding, meaningful, and moving. It is a place we will always return to. A place, presumably, we all come from. A place, moreover, that tells us things we didn't know we needed to know until we knew them." Village Voice 09/25/01

HOW WE READ/WATCH: A new book suggests "that recent developments in cultural and critical theory have obscured, or more accurately ignored, the experience of working-class audiences of books, plays and paintings. Theorists have been so keen to speculate on the way in which Great Expectations, Billy Bunter or the Tarzan films reproduced the dominant class and race relations of their time that they have not bothered to wonder how individual men and women received and interpreted these built-in biases." The Economist 09/28/01

TOUGH TIMES FOR CULTURAL JOURNALISTS: As the world's attention focused on the disaster in New York, arts journalists have had to think hard about their roles. "Interviewers and interviewees would agree they felt distracted, that today's topic seemed unimportant in comparison, and then trot through the usual questions and answers about the forthcoming book or the venerable dance troupe. Editors and producers were left scratching their heads as they tried to decide whether they would seem more insensitive by running unrelated stories ("Orchestra looking for new conductor") or by running related ones ("Whither the disaster movie?")" Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/27/01

 

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2.
DANCE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#dance
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ATTACKING THE CRITIC: Houston Ballet didn't like a story about the company in the alternative weekly Houston Press. So the company has withheld review tickets from he publication's critic and refuse to talk to reporters. Houston Press 09/26/01 [second item]

  • WHAT HOLDS HOUSTON BALLET BACK? "Ben Stevenson is the longest-serving head of a major American ballet company." He's built the company into a respected institution. So why is it that "every five years or so, it seems he might be out of a job"? Houston Press 09/01

SUZANNE FARRELL - FROM DANCER TO ARTISTIC DIRECTOR: "The greatest ballerina this country has produced is moving into a new sphere as a leader. The woman who for nearly 30 years did what she was told is now calling the shots. For dance lovers, her arrival here as artistic director of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet - an entity conceived and wholly funded by the Kennedy Center - is as momentous as basketball great Michael Jordan moving in to run the Wizards." Washington Post 09/26/01

ROOM FOR POP CULTURE IN THE HIGH ARTS: The Scottish Arts Minister has attacked what he calls elitism in the arts, saying, "I think there is, in certain quarters, intense snobbery that still prevails. People get hung up on classical ballet - the whole point of the business plan is to have dance in the widest sense." The Herald (UK) 09/25/01

  • CLASSICS BEFORE MODERN: Scottish National Ballet recently got rid of its artistic director and announced it was abandoning classical ballet to reinvent as a modern company. Now top dancers with the company may strike in protest of the plan. The Scotsman 09/23/01
  • MAD PLANS: Dancers also object to a board proposal to sell their historic headquarters. The 36-strong troupe is "also demanding the removal of the current Scottish Ballet board and the scrapping of the restructuring plans, which they describe as 'madness'." The Sunday Times (UK) 09/23/01

IN SEARCH OF SUPPORT: Alberta Ballet faces a life-threatening deficit. The company's "financial problems reflect an inability to match expansionary artistic ambitions with the realities of its fundraising prospects. Calgary is a rich city in a rich province. On a per capita basis, its citizens support charitable causes as generously as does any other Canadian city, but they are notoriously niggardly when it comes to supporting Calgary's struggling non-profit arts groups." National Post 09/26/01

DISCARDING A STAR: For the past 11 years, Irek Mukhamedovhas was the Royal Ballet's biggest star. But 'there was no regretful but grateful meeting between star and boss to declare time on a lustrous career, let alone an announcement." The dancer even had to organize his own public farewell. The Telegraph (UK) 09/25/01

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3. MEDIA

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#media
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ALL ABOUT THE PRODUCT TIE-INS: Two blockbuster movies are about to come out - installing the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises on the big screen. But aside from questions about whether or not the movies will be any good, are the merchandising issues. There are billions (yes that's with a 'b') at stake. The Telegraph (UK) 09/29/01

WHAT MOVIES DO: Do violent movies reflect society or influence it? A long-pondered question. "Apart from their profitability for producers, simplified treatments of disturbing topics give audiences a feeling of togetherness in a world that's sometimes too scattered and confusing for comfort. This can have a calming effect, but it can also promote negative attitudes of prejudice and xenophobia." Christian Science Monitor 09/26/01

EMMY AWARDS TO BE LOW-KEY: The TV awards show, postponed from September 16 to October 7, will be a dress-down affair. No glamorous outfits, no red carpet. And because of the changed schedule, the new complications of cross-country travel, and doubts about the appropriateness of awards at this time, several nominees and winners may not be there either. New York Post 09/27/01

HELPING OR EXPLOITING? "Do movies distort our views of past events? Or do they do a service by arousing our curiosity to find out what really happened? At the moment, it's hard to imagine Hollywood making a movie based on the events of Sept. 11. But the industry track record shows it is merely a matter of time." The Christian Science Monitor 09/28/01

SCREEN TEST: "Using test audiences to see how a film plays during editing has long been standard practice in Hollywood. Traditionally, Australian film-makers have filled screenings with collaborators, advisers and trusted friends without formally measuring their response. This is partly a reflection of the industry's defiant independence from Hollywood commerciality; partly scepticism about using market research to improve films; and partly a reflection of limited budgets for test screenings and correcting problems. But faced with the ever-tougher challenge of competing in cinemas, test screenings are becoming more frequent." Sydney Morning Herald 09/25/01

CHANGING HOLLYWOOD: "Everywhere you look in Hollywood since that tragic day, the entertainment landscape has been transformed, as if ripped asunder by a massive earthquake. People have come to work feeling like jittery sleepwalkers, especially after the studios received FBI warnings late last week that they could be possible targets for terrorism. Nearly every studio has been postponing films, giving them face lifts or tossing scripts out the window." Los Angeles Times 09/25/01

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4
. MUSIC

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#music
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TOP 10 CONDUCTORS: Who are the top ten conductors in the UK, as chosen by conductors? A new survey reveals Simon Rattle on top, American Marin Alsop, the first woman to be music director of a major British orchestra comes second... The Independent 09/23/01

TORONTO SYMPHONY IN PERIL: The Toronto Symphony is one of Canada's premiere arts organizations. But "due to lower than expected revenues, the symphony must secure $1.5-million in new operating funds by Nov. 30 and increase its operating line of credit by more than $1-million to survive." Otherwise, the orchestra is in danger of going out of business. National Post (Canada) 09/26/01

  • TORONTO SYMPHONY IN DISARRAY: Less than a year after taking the job, Edward Smith is leaving as Executive Director of the TSO. "The cancer has spread too far into the body," Smith explained. "It's not just a matter of treating one limb or one organ. These are strong words, I know. But that's the best analogy I can think of. The cancer within the TSO is everywhere." Toronto Star 09/27/01
  • TORONTO SYMPHONY BLUES: "Now in its 80th season, the TSO has a cumulative deficit of nearly $7 million. Its subscription sales over the past few years have declined to 30,000 from a peak of 45,000. 'Over the past five to 10 years, the capacity of symphony orchestras to sustain revenues, to hold audiences, and to deepen the connection to the communities they serve have all been severely tested...around the world'." CNN.com 09/27/01
  • QUITTING POLITICS: The TSO's executive director resigned from the orchestra not because of a $7 million deficit, but because of internal politics, he says. CBC 09/28/01
  • WHEN IN DOUBT - BLAME THE FUNDERS: The Toronto Symphony's near-bankruptcy is just the highest-profile difficulty facing Canadian orchestras. Many are on the brink. Could it be the funders' fault? "What we have now is the blowback from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council building up the funding levels [during the eighties] and then dropping them. That created a void that none of these organizations ever recovered from." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/29/01

MUSIC, FOOD & SEX: "Researchers have found that melodies can stimulate the same parts of the brain as food and sex. 'People now are using music to help them deal with sadness and fear. We are showing in our study that music is triggering systems in the brain that makes them feel happy." Nando Times (AP) 09/24/01

ORCHESTRA BATTLES WHEN PEACE HITS: The Ulster Orchestra was founded in 1966 in Belfast, and though it dodged bombs, riots and martial law, it always played on. Now that the politics have calmed down, the orchestra's survival challenges are changed. The Times (UK) 09/25/01

ANOTHER STERN TRIBUTE: Violinist Isaac Stern "changed the very idea of what a classical musician does. Musicians once stayed on the political sidelines, practicing scales and bringing beauty to the world. Stern was a highly effective activist, so much so that he was too often guilty of not practicing scales." Philadelphia Inquirer 09/25/01

CAN HE DO IT? "As chalices go, the Royal Opera House seems pretty comprehensively poisoned. Rumour suggests that opera bosses around the world who were approached just laughed. And yet here is Tony Hall, an Oxford graduate in politics, philosophy and economics, a smiling, occasionally giggling and distinctly boyish 50- year-old, emerging from 27 years at the BBC to take over Covent Garden's cream gilded palace. Everything about this man is, in the context of the ROH, improbable." Sunday Times (UK) 09/23/01

CHICAGO SYMPHONY KILLS BROADCASTS: "Because of a lack of funding, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will terminate its 25-year series of weekly nationally syndicated radio broadcasts after this weekend... The CSO was the last remaining U.S. orchestra to be heard on the radio 52 weeks a year." Chicago Tribune 09/28/01

WHOSE MUSIC IS DYING NOW? Global recording giant EMI will post significant losses for the first half of fiscal 2001 due to what the company describes as "a Ďmarked deteriorationí in market conditions." Interestingly, as record labels worldwide are junking or severely cutting back their classical music divisions, EMI Classics was one of the only divisions that did well for it's corporate parent. Gramophone 09/27/01

ORCHESTRA LOCKOUT: The Calgary Philharmonic is $650,000 in debt. "The CPO could be bankrupt by Christmas unless it can sort out its financial affairs - including reaching an agreement to roll back pay and benefits for its 65 full-time players." So the orchestra is asking musicians for a pay cut, or the players will be locked out. Calgary Herald 09/25/01

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5. PEOPLE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#people
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THE DIFFICULT MR. STOCKHAUSEN: Did composer Karlheinz Stockhausen really tell a journalist that the attack on the World Trade Center towers was "the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos"? He says not and that he was misquoted. "Stockhausen the composer, and indeed the man, has always generated both horror and adulation. His total dedication to his work is admired and feared, his criticisms of almost every other musical genre (other than his own) are legendary, his demands that we throw away our attachments to 'the music of the past' seem like the strictures of a feared schoolmaster, and his grandiose spiritual pronouncements are often greeted with derision. And yet he is universally regarded, even by his opponents, as one of the key figures in contemporary music, and he is revered by a new generation of electronic pop and dance acts as a mentor." The Telegraph (UK) 09/29/01

  • DID HE MISS THE POINT, OR DID WE? "Stockhausen, in focusing on the formal and visual elements of the terrorist deathwork, forgot the idea that (as Bach indicated in all of his manuscripts) all art should be created for the greater glory of God ó unless, of course, you have some perverted notion of what God is." Andante 09/30/01
  • HELP CREATE OR DESTROY IT? "Karlheinz Stockhausen is one of the great figures in modern composition, a revolutionary whose shadow stretches across contemporary music in all its incarnations. Along with such avant garde goliaths as Pierre Boulez and John Cage, he embodies the iconoclastic spirit that has torn away old certainties such as melody and fixed time-signatures, and recast the fundamentals of music in the 20th century." The Guardian (UK) 09/29/01

JENS NYGAARD, 69: Jens Nygaard, founder and conductor of the Jupiter Symphony, died at his home in New York. His energetic conducting was legendary, as was his idiosyncratic programming. "I never programmed a piece I was not completely, 100-percent committed to," Mr. Nygaard said. "And I'm fortunate because I can love a Stephen Foster song, a Spohr symphony, a Caccini motet and a Beethoven symphony equally." The New York Times 09/26/01 (one-time registration required for access)

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6
. PUBLISHING
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#publishing
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IN GOOD COMPANY: The American Library Association has issued its latest list of books that have been yanked from shelves or challenged for their "suitability." J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series tops the list with numerous claims that the books promote satanism, presumably in the same way the Mark Twain promoted racism and John Steinbeck promoted the beating of people from Oklahoma. BBC 09/28/01

HARRY GOES PLATINUM: JK Rowling has won four platinum awards for her Harry Potter books. "The British book industry created the prizes, modeled after the music industry's gold and platinum records. The awards are based on sales in bookstores, supermarkets and over the Internet. Platinum awards recognize sales of more than a million books. Rowling is believed to have sold more than 100 million books worldwide." Raleigh News & Observer (AP) 09/23/01

AUSSIE BOOK GLUT? Is Australia's book industry publishing too many books? Some say yes - the 200 or so Australian novels published this year were almost double the number published 10 years ago. "This glut on the market has created a 'literary logjam' that was 'suffocating' readers and cutting into authors' incomes, while the proliferation of creative writing courses has created a climate of unrealistic expectations and a 'false sense of reality' among aspiring writers. More and more novels are then being published and the infrastructure of reviewing, media attention and bookshop space is not coping." Sydney Morning Herald 09/26/01

EDITH WHARTON COMES INTO HER OWN: For forty years she was dismissed as "a reactionary, an antimodernist, a rich old-school genteel snob, and a minor female version of Henry James." Now it's Henry James who is being overlooked, and Edith Wharton "no longer has to be judged by his standards." New York Review of Books 10/04/01

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7. THEATRE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#theatre
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MISS SAIGON DIRECTOR TO HEAD NATIONAL: Nicholas Hytner has been named director of London's National Theatre, succeeding Trevor Nunn. "Hytner is a director of real distinction, with a host of successes to his name. He is extremely confident when it comes to filling big stages, and has been in charge of some of the National's most ambitious and popular successes over the years." The Telegraph (UK) 09/26/01

  • TAKES OVER IN 2003: Hytner is the fourth middle-aged, white, Cambridge graduate to head the National, but Hytner says "I am not against older folk coming here and having a good time, but the age of the audience will come down when we reflect something other than the homogeneous concerns of a white, middle-aged, middle-class audience." The Guardian (UK) 09/26/01
  • POPULAR CHOICE: "Is the affable Hytner his own man? What will he bring to the job that Trevor Nunn didnít? Hytner has a five-year contract, but is continuity rather than change likely to be his watchword? Up to a point, yes." The Times (UK) 09/26/01
  • GOOD CHOICE: "He's hugely popular within the building and has real substance. And, although he pays due and proper tribute to his predecessor, there are already encouraging signs that, at the National, Hytner will be very much his own man." The Guardian (UK) 09/26/01

 

BROADWAY BACK UP: Audiences returned to Broadway theatres this past weekend. "A number of Broadway shows played to standing-room-only crowds on Saturday and Sunday, though tickets to all but the most popular productions were heavily discounted. Yesterday, many producers said 25 percent to 50 percent of their business this past weekend came from the half-price TKTS booth in Times Square." New York Post 09/25/01

  • NY THEATRE FAMILY CRISIS: Broadway's sudden downturn is the worst and most abrupt ever experienced in New York. "Will the tourists return? Will old shows close? Will new shows come in? The questions affect everyone from the makers of wigs, shoes and marquees to restaurateurs, fight directors, ticket sellers and those who write advertisements or publish programs: all of whom depend for their livelihoods on the Great White Way." The New York Times 09/25/01 (one-time registration required for access)
  • BRIGHT FUTURE FOR BROADWAY? One of New York's senior theatre critics thinks that the doomsayers are overstating the crisis facing Broadway. "During World War II in London, I recall watching theater while Hitler's doodle-bug, pilotless missiles droned and spluttered overhead. Later, von Braun's rockets plopped down and caused indiscriminate devastation. There was nothing one could do about them. The thinking was: One may as well go to the theater." New York Post 09/30/01
  • ACTING PROACTIVE: No sector of the arts world has suffered in the wake of the September 11 tragedy like the theatre. While many people look to music, literature, and visual art to help sooth their troubled souls, the prospect of an evening of song and dance or high drama still appears to be uninviting to most of the public. In Boston, one of America's great regional theatre centers, companies have banded together to try and draw the public back into their world. Boston Globe 09/28/01
  • PROFESSOR HAROLD HILL LEAVES TOWN: "Broadway's most powerful union has told the The Music Man to take a hike. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is the only union that has not offered to help The Music Man. The other theater unions - including Actors' Equity - have agreed to the cuts. IATSE, which represents stagehands and other members of the backstage crew, has also suspended discussions with two other shows, Proof and The Tale of the Allergist's Wife." New York Post 09/26/01
  • KEEPING KATE ALIVE: "Kiss Me Kate posted its closing notice last week on Broadway after business bombed. But on Sunday, the show's cast and crew decided not only to take a 25 percent pay cut to keep the show open, but also to spend 25 percent of their salaries on buying tickets to the show, which they'll then donate. Sunday "the play began with an actor walking on stage, sweeping off the closing notice and singing the first few words of the first song in the Cole Porter musical, Another Op'nin', Another Show. The audience cheered." Nando Times (AP) 09/24/01

FROM STREET TO GLOBAL ENTERPRISE: Cirque du Soleil has made the leap. But how to keep the creative edge without becoming corporate? Maybe by expanding beyond tents. "We're talking about a hotel where basic hotel services would be offered, but there might also be a butler character that pops up at different occasions during the daytime with surprises for the customer that would make them crack a smile. A butler with a crazy face would serve you breakfast in the morning, so maybe that would brighten your day. But we're also talking about restaurants, clubs, spas and bus stations." Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/25/01

WEST END WORRIES: As Broadway ticket sales tank, London's West End worries it too will find business dissolving. "In an average year, Americans and Canadians buy between 7 and 10 per cent of all West End seats, and overseas visitors account for about a third of the total. The concern in and around Shatfesbury Avenue is that, unlike during the Gulf War, when there was only a significant drop in the number of North American tourists, the West Endís continental and Australasian customers will also dwindle, as thousands cancel international flights." The Times (UK) 09/24/01

SELLING THE NATIONAL THEATRE: The president of Nigeria wants to raise money for his impoverished government. So he's planning to sell off government enterprises - including the country's National Arts Theatre - to the highest bidders. "But groups of Nigerian musicians, actors and actresses are staging a series of performances and road marches in protest at the sell-off plans. 'We have made it clear to the government that the National Arts Theatre is the soul of the nation and it should not be sold'." BBC 09/28/01

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8
. VISUAL ARTS
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#visualarts
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SMITHSONIAN HIT HARD: The world's most-visited museum complex has been crippled by the September 11 events. "Some days Smithsonian-wide attendance has dropped almost three-quarters from the same day last year. For example, last Sunday only 22,000 people visited the Smithsonian's museums on the Mall, compared with 75,000 on the same Sunday a year ago." Washington Post 09/28/01

IS VAN GOGH ACTUALLY A GAUGUIN? Is a sunflower painting thought to be by Van Gogh really by Gauguin? "After examining letters between the two artists and other correspondence" a respected Italian art magazine says the painting "was copied by Gauguin from a genuine Van Gogh." National Post (Canada) 09/26/01

WHAT IS POSSIBLE: "What was possible in Berlin in 1995 after decades of preparation is no longer thinkable today. The euphoria has faded, disillusionment and skepticism have taken over. Also, discourse in art has struck more solemn notes in recent years. The gestures and services known as "social action" are preferred to singular, monumental works." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 09/27/01

HOW SHOULD ARCHITECTURE WORK? Is a building important mostly for how it looks or for how people interact with it? "Why are architects so obsessed with models, which always take pride of place in their offices? Why are buildings always photographed empty? Too often, the 'user' is seen as an annoyance who gets in the way of the rationality of the structure. But life is messy and buildings have to take account of that." The Guardian (UK) 09/29/01

TOWERING LIGHTS: "A team of artists and architects is planning to erect a massive light sculpture to simulate the outline of the 110-storey World Trade Center. Beams of xenon light stabbing skyward would coalesce into a kind of apparition of the fallen twin towers." Toronto Star (first item) 09/29/01

A LAND NO LONGER THERE: "Written in 1977 by Nancy Hatch Dupree, An Historical Guide to Afghanistan is a painful read. The book evokes a country that has now completely vanished: of miniskirted schoolgirls cruising round Kabul; of fascinating Buddhist relics; and of donkeys plodding across the mountains loaded with the wine harvest. Most of the chapters are now redundant. The Taliban has pulverised the Kabul museum (chapter four) and dynamited the Bamiyan Buddhas ('one of man's most remarkable achievements', chapter seven)." The Guardian (UK) 09/29/01

THE GREAT AUCTION FRAUD: Now it can be revealed that a glittering art auction held 11 years ago, involving work by Picasso, Modigliani, Dubuffet, Derain and Mirů and netting £49 million, involved a tangled story of embezzlement, paper companies, and "the exploitation of two elderly art lovers who entrusted their collection's disposal" to the respected Drouot auction house. The Observer (UK) 09/23/01

WHY HER? What is it about the Mona Lisa that has made it such a cultural icon? "The renown and meanings of the Mona Lisa have been the product of a long history of political and geographical accidents, fantasies conjured up, connections made, and images manufactured. There is no single explanation for the origins and development of the global craze surrounding this painting." New Statesman 09/24/01

THE ON-LINE HERMITAGE: With 3 million items spread over 14 square kilometers, Russia's Hermitage Museum is one of the largest - and least-fully-explored - art treasuries in the world. Many of its prized pieces from each period are now on display on-line, along with views of the inside of the museum itself. The Moscow Times 09/26/01

ENSURING ADDED COST: A new Australian law mandates that Aussie museums start getting commercial insurance for exhibitions. "The outsourced insurance policy supersedes a Commonwealth-managed, self-funded insurance program, Art Indemnity Australia, which for 20 years operated with internationally recognised success at almost no cost." The new commercial alternative will cost $1.5 million a year." Sydney Morning Herald 09/26/01

SCROLLING ON BY: The Dead Sea Scrolls were supposed to be put on display in Salt Lake City during the 2002 Olympics. But concerns over travel and the precious documents' security have forced cancellation. BBC 09/25/01

WTC ART LOSSES: Estimates of losses of art (only in the destroyed World Trade Towers, not in surrounding buildings) are estimated at $100 million by AXA Nordstern Art Insurance, the world's largest art insurer. The Art Newspaper 09/24/01

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9
. ISSUES

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#issues
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LINCOLN CENTER EXEC RESIGNS: Gordon Davis has resigned as president of Lincoln Center, amidst rumors of infighting between Davis and chairwoman Beverly Sills. "Arts executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that department heads at Lincoln Center complained to Ms. Sills that Mr. Davis had dealt harshly with staff members and driven some to tears. Ms. Sills, they said, initially defended Mr. Davis but eventually saw merit in the complaints." The resignation throws into doubt the center's $1.5 billion refurbishment plans. The New York Times 09/29/01 (one-time registration required for access)

PROTECTING INTERNATIONAL CULTURE: "Artists from 33 countries are calling for a treaty on international culture. Eighty-five members of the International Network for Cultural Diversity wound up a two-day meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. The artists say it's time governments took their concerns for protecting culture seriously." CBC 09/26/01

RUMORS OF OUR DEATH... So irony is dead now, at least according to numerous U.S. pundits. So are beauty, truth, innocence, and trust. "The concept of a deadly terrorist attack fuelling an international debate on what was once just a literary term seems a bit odd. However, the temptation for commentators to sound the death knell is nothing new." National Post 09/28/01

WHY ART: Robert Brustein ponders the role of art in dark times. "It is necessary to look past the waved flags, and the silent moments of prayer, and the choruses of God Bless America, and try to keep the arts in focus. By lighting up the dark corridors of human nature, literature, drama, music, and painting can help temper our righteous demand for vengeance with a humanizing restraint. The American theater presently stands, like Estragon and Vladimir, under that leafless tree in Beckett's blasted plain. The show can't go on. It must go on. There can be no time when it's no time for comedy." The New Republic 09/27/01

THE PROBLEM WITH AUSSIE ARTS: Australia's arts are in their greatest crisis in 30 years. A panel, made up of arts professionals, has been studying the problems, including "a shrinking middle-class market - traditionally a core audience base - and rising production costs." Solutions include "greater focus on Australian stories and voices, more risk taking and a culture of United States-style private patronage." Sydney Morning Herald 09/24/01

HOW THE ARTS MAY CHANGE: "If the consensus is correct, the arts may change dramatically. No one can know what those changes will look like. In Western society, the response of art to a change in social conditions is never uniform and rarely obvious. And there is no guarantee whatsoever that art will rise to the occasion. Frivolous, decadent periods can produce brilliant art; serious times can produce pious bunk. If there is to be a profound change in art, however, its early harbinger will be impatience - even disgust - with the broad worldview that has sustained art during the past 40 years." New York Magazine 09/24/01

BIGTIME DONATING: Friday night's Hollywood telethon broadcast on some 40 channels to raise money for disaster relief raised $150 million, organizers say. "The money will be distributed through the United Way with no administrative costs deducted, organizers said on Monday." Nando Times (AP) 09/25/01

WHO GETS TO REMEMBER: Historians debating their role in society suggest that they have been pushed into a role of merely collecting facts for the future. Telling the narrative of history has been taken over by the media. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 09/26/01

CONTEXT CHANGES ART: Art is changed by the context it is in. And that can change with events. "With the destruction of the World Trade Center this dynamic went into play. American culture was on instant high alert, scrambling both to accommodate what was happening and to avoid giving offense. Television shows were rescripted; films were pulled from release; Broadway plays discreetly dropped bits that might seem insensitive. By contrast, gallery shows opened pretty much as planned. Most art isn't amenable to last-minute editing. And the art world resists self-censorship, for good reason." The New York Times 09/25/01 (one-time registration required for access)

RETHINKING AFTER TERRORISM: What's a play, movie, book or recording to do after September 11's terrorism? "The self-scrutiny is unprecedented in scale, sweeping aside hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that may no longer seem appropriate. Like the calls to curb violence in popular entertainment after the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, the reaction may be helpful in the short term. But creators and producers are just beginning to grapple with more difficult, long-range questions of what the public will want once the initial shock from the terrorist attacks wears off." The New York Times 09/24/01 (one-time registration required for access)

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9
. FOR FUN

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#forfun
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MAKE 'EM LAUGH: Ever since the attacks of September 11, comedians of all stripes have been walking on eggshells. Some offer deadly serious messages of condolence, some skirt the subject entirely, but no one has tried to make comedic hay from the tragedy. Then, this week, the latest issue of the satirical newspaper The Onion hit newsstands, with content devoted entirely to the fallout from the attacks. Daring? Yes. In poor taste? Perhaps. But very, very funny. Wired 09/27/01

 

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