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2002

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Week of April 22-28, 2002

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

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1. SPECIAL INTEREST
 
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#specialinterest
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DEFINING EVENT: Los Angeles erupted in riots in April 1992 after the Rodney King trial. And "a generation of paintings, murals, songs, books and plays was born amid the anxiety and violence of spring 1992, and many were weaned on the philanthropic programs that followed. With the exception of Anna Deavere Smith's one-woman show Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, most of those works have faded from public memory. But behind them stands a group of artists whose creative lives were reshaped, in sometimes startling ways, by the riots." Los Angeles Times 04/27/02

PUTTING A NUMBER TO ART: There is nothing some artists hate more than being quantified. Art is art, say the high-minded, and statistical analysis simply doesn't apply. Don't tell that to David Galenson, who recently "came up with a notion about modern art, a notion born of the unlikely fusion of economic analysis and creative epiphany." Chicago Tribune 04/25/02

DECLINE OF WESTERN CIV? You either see culture changing and growing, or you don't. Harper's editor Lewis Lapham sees signs of the decline of Western civilization everywhere. "The people that have (wrecked the culture) - it's the (Rupert) Murdochs of the world. Those are the people who say, 'Whatever the market will bear.' The market doesn't think. The market isn't a cultivated person. It's a ball bearing. It will go immediately to what sells. That's what wrecks the culture'." As for literate magazines: "Most of the magazines that Lapham categorized as similar in nature - the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, the New Republic, the Nation, the Weekly Standard, and possibly the National Review - all lose money, he said, and depend on foundations and patrons. 'It's like running an 18th century orchestra. Esterhazy bankrolled Haydn, and the Harper's Foundation bankrolls us'." San Francisco Chronicle 04/25/02

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2.
DANCE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#dance
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DANCE - OR IDENTITY POLITICS? "Today the Alvin Ailey company is usually thought of as 'black.' Yet this was not Ailey's intention. When Ailey started his own company in New York in 1958, he did so with a particular mission, which is often overlooked today. His idea was to create an American repertory company that would showcase the work of twentieth-century American modern dance choreographers. Ailey seems to have been keenly aware that he was living at an important juncture in the history of dance, and he wanted to bring these works and styles to 'the people.' But which people?" The New Republic 04/22/02

SEEKING A BALLET IN MINNESOTA: "Why have the Twin Cities never added a ballet company to their roster of major arts institutions? Minnesotans are known to go weak in the knees at the very mention of phrases like 'flagship institution' (the Guthrie Theater) and 'internationally renowned' (the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra). Yet civic pride has never produced a major ballet troupe. Is dance just the poor relation of theater, music, and the visual arts--shortchanged by the Cities' male boosters? Or have the Twin Cities, with their reputation for creativity and innovation in dance, bypassed a monolithic ballet company in favor of smaller, more experimental troupes?" City Pages (Minneapolis/Saint Paul) 04/24/02

STAR CRITICIZES HER COMPANY: Evelyn Hart has been one of Canada's top dancers since she broke into the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1975. But she's hinting she might retire, citing not age, but what she considers the deterioration of the RWB. "When you're young, you can still progress just by doing the role. When you are older, you really need people with a lot of experience to help take you forward, people who understand what it's like to be in that position. And we don't have that at the Winnipeg Ballet at the moment." CBC 04/26/02

BELIEF IN STUDENTS: What makes a good dance teacher? Four of New York's best, "all long-time producers of gifted and interesting performers, suggested that toughness and a belief in students' individuality and potential may be among the most important qualities, along with a solid sense of craft and artistry and how to communicate that." The New York Times 04/28/02

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3. MEDIA

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#media
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MEMORABLE TV: Almost half of all British television viewers cannot remember anything interesting from the previous night's programmes, a survey suggests. "But 59% single out TV as their best source in the media for trustworthy information and 'curiosity satisfaction'." BBC 04/26/02

CANNES LINEUP: Twenty-two movies have been chosen for this year's Cannes Film Festival. "Organisers of 2002's event on Wednesday revealed that they had chosen three US films, three UK movies and one from Canada to vie for the coveted top prize of the Palme d'Or." BBC 04/24/02

CANAL PLUS CHILL: France is mourning the sudden sacking of the head of TV channel Canal Plus. The channel, "which has been broadcasting since 1984, was a generous gift of the late President Mitterrand to his supporters in the cultural world. While exploiting a monopoly of the burgeoning market of pay television, the new channel was also given the role of subsidising French cinema. By last year it was spending $140 million, around 12 per cent of its revenues, on French film projects, and it had become the most important patron of the French film industry." The Telegraph (UK) 04/27/02

WHAT'S A DEFINITION OF CANADIAN? The Canadian government tries to encourage Canadian TV and movie projects with tax breaks and exposure in Canada. But trying to determine what is Canadian and why is a much stickier process than mere labeling. Toronto Star 04/27/02

MOVIES GO BIG: Superscreen IMAX movies aren't just for the local science center anymore. "Mainstream Hollywood films meant to entertain, not educate, are being altered to fit the IMAX format. And super-sized screens some as much as eight stories high are popping up in some unlikely places. New venues such as theme parks, malls, and even a Natick, Mass., furniture store are changing the image of big- screen viewing." Christian Science Monitor 04/26/02

NPR CHANGES EXPLAINED: National Public Radio programmer Jay Kernis has been taking a beating in the media for his plans to restructure cultural programming at NPR. Why is he making changes to NPR's successful formula? "The public radio listener - yeah! - likes foreign films, a lot. Likes independent films. But the public radio listener goes to big blockbuster movies and rents big blockbuster DVDs. And all I've ever said is that when we cover popular culture, we should cover it with the same journalism filters that we use when we cover a news event, which is to say do the reporting - ask tough questions - tell a real story. I have never said more popular culture, more popular culture. But I have said: Don't be afraid to cover popular culture." On the Media (NPR) 04/21/02

SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR DISNEY? An ex-reporter for the New York Post sues the Post and Disney for $10 million after the Post fired her after stories critical of Disney. The case gives an inside look at  how big-time entertainment coverage is conducted. Village Voice 04/23/02  

FOOD FIGHT: "Now get ready for a gunfight between the Blame Canada crowd in L.A. and the producers happily taking advantage of lower costs and friendlier working conditions on this side of the longest undefended. It's shaping up as the most bizarre scuffle you've ever heard of between people who make movies and the unions representing the actors who appear in them." Toronto Star 04/21/02

DIVERSITY - NOT JUST ABOUT NUMBERS: "It seems like you can't pick up a newspaper these days without reading about how TV, and Hollywood in general, needs to become more 'diverse.' As an African American actor, I suppose I should applaud these efforts to increase the presence of minorities on TV. But I've been in this business long enough to know that an issue like TV diversity is far more complex than it is often portrayed." Los Angeles Times 04/22/02

WE WANT CREDIT: Studies show that TV viewers switch channels when credits roll at the end of a program. So some Disney owned channels are dropping the credits. But the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences objects. "People want to stand up for the right to be credited for the work that they do. That's been a historic right in Hollywood and the entertainment industry." Philadelphia Inquirer (AP) 04/22/02

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4
. MUSIC

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#music
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BRITS DROP OUT OF U.S.: For the first time in 38 years there are no British songs on the US Top 100 charts. By comparison "in April 1964 the Beatles held all of the top five positions and exactly 20 years later there were 40 UK singles in the top 100." BBC 04/23/02

MUSICIANS TO JUDGE - RECORDING COMPANIES DON"T REPRESENT OUR INTERESTS: Some musicians charge that recording companies don't pay royalties owed them. "The record companies' representation that they are legitimate agents for their artists is false. The only payments they make are to those who have the means to force them to be accountable; to the rest, a vast majority, they pay nothing. Therefore, allowing them to collect fees in our behalf does not serve the public interest. I personally would prefer to allow my music to be freely shared, to the present situation, in which only the corporations stand to gain. Until this is changed, the record companies and publishers deserve nothing." Salon 04/23/02

MONEY WOES FORCE USE OF HOMEGROWN TALENT: Argentine opera companies have long depended on international stars to populate their well-regarded productions. But the country's financial crises has forced the companies to use local talent they had formerly rejected. And the reviews haven't been bad... Andante 04/23/02

ORCHESTRAS OF VALUE: Over the past few months, the BBC and Classic FM have been signing exclusive deals with orchestras. The substance of these contracts does not always withstand daylight scrutiny, but the gestural value alone is enough to put heart into ailing orchestras - and the strategic shift at the heart of classical broadcasting is almost enough to take one's breath away. For the first time in a generation, orchestras are being pursued as genuine objects of value." London Evening Standard 04/24/02

CLASSICAL BRIT NOMINEES: Singer Cecilia Bartoli leads the nominations for this year's Classical Brit Awards. "Bartoli was nominated in three categories at a ceremony in central London on Wednesday, including best female artist, the critics award and best album for Gluck, Italian Arias." BBC 04/24/02

A CAPPELLA MADNESS: Okay, so it's not like being a starter on a Division I football team, but being a member of a college a cappella group is fast becoming a prestige position on American campuses. Once the purview of barbershop quartet refugees and general music dorks, a cappella groups are springing up all over, and their work is of a caliber that might surprise the casual observer. The New York Times 04/25/02

MUSICIAN ABUSE: Tyrant conductors are notorious - both for their tempers and (often) for their impressive results. But "over the last 30 years, as unionized North American orchestral musicians fought successfully for good pay, reasonable working conditions and more say in artistic matters, the autocratic conductor became increasingly outmoded. Or so it seemed until the recent blowup at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra." Once musicians in Montreal began talking, they sounded like battered spouses... The New York Times 04/28/02

THE BEST ARTS PRIZE IN THE WORLD? Michigan's Gilmore Award for pianists just might be the best prize in all of the arts. Artists don't even know they're being considered for it, when suddenly the lucky winner is informed he or she has won $300,000. Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski (On-der-shev-ski) is this year's winner and will receive "$50,000 in cash and $250,000 for any career-related projects, such as purchasing a new piano, commissioning new music or a recording project." Detroit Free Press 04/25/02

PART OF THE PERFORMANCE: Mikel Rouse's opera Dennis Cleveland makes for a suspicious audience. "You're listening in the audience, and suddenly Mr. Rouse, playing the talk-show host, walks up and sticks the microphone in the face of the person next to you, who stands up and sings. Pretty soon you're looking at all your neighbors with suspicion: did they pay to see the show, or are they in the cast? You might even start to fear that Mr. Rouse/Dennis will stick the mike in your face, and you'll have to come up with a story for the folks." The New York Times 04/28/02

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5. PEOPLE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#people
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ARREST WARRANT FOR HUGHES: An arrest warrant has been issued in Australia for art critic Robert Hughes after he missed a court date to face charges of dangerous driving. "The charges stem from a crash in which Hughes, the art critic for Time magazine, was almost killed in May 1999 while in Australia filming a documentary for the BBC." BBC 04/24/02

MARK ERMLER'S LEGACY: Conductor Mark Ermler died last week at age 69 after collapsing on the podium in front of the Seoul Philharmonic. "He will be remembered in Russia chiefly for a host of distinguished opera and ballet performances at the Bolshoi - with a prolific discography to match - and, in Britain, for returning the music of the Tchaikovsky ballets to centre-stage at Covent Garden." The Guardian (UK) 04/23/02

NOBLE'S LEAVING, BUT WHY? Some are suggesting that Adrian Noble is leaving the Royal Shakespeare Company because he is having success with a new musical in London's West End. Noble says that's not true. Others are betting that he simply got sick of all the criticism that comes with the RSC's top job. Noble says that's not it either. So why did he resign? Noble's not saying, apparently. BBC 04/25/02

SINGULAR SENSATION: Suzan-Lori Parks has had a big month, winning a Pulitzer and having her play open on Broadway. But it wasn't overnight success. "At 38, Ms. Parks has been at the drama thing for a long time, ever since, as a Mount Holyoke student, her creative-writing teacher encouraged her to write plays. She wanted to write novels. Still, when your teacher is James Baldwin and he tells you you should be writing plays, well, you find yourself writing plays." Dallas Morning News 04/23/02

VONNEGUT RETIRING FROM PUBLIC? Writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 79, told a college crowd in Michigan this weekend that they had probably witnessed his last public appearance. "He did not offer an explanation, though he did ask that his evening speech be videotaped so he 'could see how he looks'." Nando Times (AP) 04/22/02

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6
. PUBLISHING
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#publishing
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RECREATING ALEXANDRIA: Big celebrations were planned for the opening of Egypt's historic new Alexandria library. "But those celebratory plans were scuttled because of the heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Instead, Bibliotheca Alexandrina - which ostensibly replaces the original that was destroyed more than a thousand years ago - opened quietly to the public this week." Wired 04/25/02 

UNIVERSITY PRESSES ENDANGERED: University presses are under pressure all over America. And the largest of them - the University of California - is cutting back. "As part of a general retrenchment, the UC Press will no longer produce books on philosophy, architecture, archaeology, political science or geography. It will publish dramatically less literature and far fewer works of literary theory. Twelve jobs have been eliminated through attrition, and further job cuts are planned." San Jose Mercury News (LAT) 04/26/02

E-BOOK AWARDS DISCONTINUED: The Frankfurt E-book Awards have been discontinued, to almost no one's surprise. "While lack of funding killed the awards, the show had a problem that money couldn't resolve: It was an award show created for a new technological form, yet judged on literary merit. That created confusion, especially because, as critics pointed out, many of the judges were unfamiliar with the new technology." Wired 04/23/03

BOOKER BOOST: The Booker Prize is already one of the world's most prestigious. Now it's also becoming one of the most lucrative. "This autumn's winner will take home 50,000, dwarfing the 20,000 prize money given last year to Peter Carey's novel True History of the Kelly Gang. All six shortlisted writers will also get 2,500 compared with 1,000 in 2001." The Guardian (UK) 04/26/02

BOOK CLUBS AS DO-GOODYISM: "I'm deeply bored by the U.S. citywide reading projects, and by the CBC's Canada Reads book club, which was just another exercise in good-for-you-ism. If it were really about literary values it wouldn't have involved actors and singers (who admitted they hadn't read, you know, every single word . . .). I don't think these things encourage a love of literature; they encourage patriotism. They may even discourage the disaffected -- and I'm thinking of myself at about 20 here -- who already see novels as some kind of community-service niceness club, and will find that view confirmed by the kinds of inoffensive books chosen by national committees, and who may never read again." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/27/02

ALL THAT'S NEEDED IS COMPETITION: When Canadians order books from Amazon - even if it's a book by a Canadian publisher - the company would send out the American edition. Canadian publishers lose $40 million a year to this. But now there's a Canadian version of Amazon, and some new competition in the Canadian book market. Did I just feel the earth mover? National Post 04/27/02

NORA WHO? "Nora Roberts is one of the best-kept secrets in American book publishing, the (petite, red-haired) elephant in the middle of the room. She sold about 14 million mass-market paperbacks last year, more than John Grisham, Tom Clancy or Stephen King. In the past 20 years, she has produced 145 novels and had 69 New York Times best sellers." Chicago Tribune 04/23/02

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7. THEATRE
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#theatre
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FLOPS SO GOOD THEY'RE BAD: There's a thriving market in recordings of Broadway flop productions. "The train-wreck appeal of seeing the mighty fall is enormous. Gloating aside, you can also better appreciate artistic triumphs if you know failures. And then there are the backstage stories. Flops have particularly rich ones, and hearing their music in that context can give them a dramatic new dimension." Philadelphia Inquirer 04/21/02

TRENDS: Louisville's Humana Festival is America's foremost showcase for new plays. It's generally a bad idea to look for themes among the assembled offerings. On the other hand... Boston Phoenix 04/25/02

APPRECIATING STEPHEN: Stephen Sondheim is "widely acknowledged to be the greatest living theater lyricist-composer. But that understanding continues to evolve with revivals of his dense, richly textured and challenging productions, the majority of which neither succeeded commercially on Broadway nor, for that matter, received unqualified critical praise." On the eve of a massive retrospective of his work in Washington DC, some of the theatre artists most strongly identified with his work talk about his influence." Los Angeles Times 04/28/02

JUST FOR OLD TIMES? "There are currently 11 revivals and 24 new shows on Broadway; off-Broadway, there are six revivals and 28 new shows." Is this too many revivals? "Why is there this hunger for new plays or new musicals, so that revival virtually becomes a dirty word? Unlike, say, classical music, the theater is not a fuddy-duddy art devoted fundamentally to fresh interpretation of a glorious past. And yet our own glorious past is ingloriously neglected. If you have never seen Hamlet before, then Hamlet is not a revival but a new experience - in effect, a new play." New York Post 04/28/02

SHOW AS STAR: The recent casting flap over replacing Nathan Lane in The Producers was a clue to the show's need to keep the show going without bankable stars. "The goal at The Producers is to make the show the star. It must have been problematic when Lane and Broderick were perceived as essential to the big-ticket experience. After all, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Cats have packed the seats for decades without audiences caring who was playing what." Newsday 04/28/02

LOOKING FOR THE UNION LABEL: The controversial national tour of last year's Broadway revival of The Music Man is rolling into Southern California, where it will continue to attract protests over its use of non-union actors and musicians.For the unions, this is an important battle, since the show is the first national tour of a Broadway production, a designation that traditionally comes with a union label. Los Angeles Times 04/25/02

ANGLA FRANCA: This year's Montreal and Quebec City international theatre festivals offer something not often seen on Quebec stages in recent years - English. "Partly that's just coincidence and partly it's due to the growing use of English as a lingua franca in Europe, but there are also signs here of blossoming relationships between Quebeckers and artists in the rest of Canada." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 04/24/02

NOBLE QUITTING RSC: Adrian Noble, who drew the wrath of theatre fans across the UK with his plan to demolish the Royal Shakespeare Company's home in Stratford-upon-Avon and replace it with a modern theatre complex, is resigning from his position as the RSC's artistic director. Noble was a controversial figure from the moment he assumed the top position at the world's most famous Shakespeare company in 1991, but few would deny that he is a skilled director and shrewd businessman. BBC 04/24/02

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8
. VISUAL ARTS
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#visualarts
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TOO BIG? "From Los Angeles' Getty to the Tate Modern in London, many of the prominent museums to open in the last four of five years are about as big, and as impersonal, as airports. Making slow progress through their hangarlike halls, you brace yourself for the news that the exhibit you came to see has been moved to far-off Terminal D or delayed by bad weather in Chicago." Where museums are concerned, bigger isn't always better. Slate 04/23/02

ARE GALLERIES THE NEW MUSEUMS? "There has always been a relationship, even interdependence, between the commercial world and the museum. If galleries test the water, museums are supposed to develop the context for works of art. But what has changed is that the commercial galleries in London are starting to resemble the museums." London Evening Standard 04/23/02

ACKNOWLEDGING THE NEW: For 'traditional' art museums, the notion of collecting and exhibiting the work of living artists has long been anathema. But as the 20th century fades into the past, museums nationwide have had to confront the reality that a continued snubbing of contemporary art would degrade their status as displayers of the world's great works. In Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts has made a decision to reverse the long-standing 'nothing new' policy, and other museums may follow. Boston Globe 04/24/02

PAYBACK: Alfred Taubman, Sotheby's former chairman and principal owner has been sentenced to one year in prison and fined $7.5 million by a federal judge in New York. Taubman was convicted of colluding with Christie's former chairman Anthony Tennant to fix prices. "Prosecutors accused Mr. Taubman and Sir Anthony of running a price-fixing scheme for six years that violated federal antitrust law by eliminating competitive choice, which ultimately cost customers millions of dollars." The New York Times 04/23/02

NOW EUROPE TAKES ON AUCTION HOUSES: Having already been prosecuted for price fixing in the US, Sotheby's and Christie's are under threat by the European Commission. "Although the commission conceded that the cartel had now been dissolved, it said the case was so serious that it was launching a full investigation which could lead to either firm being fined tens of millions of pounds." The Guardian (UK) 04/21/02

STATE OF CONTEMPORARY ART? "For several decades, wealthy Missourians have been competing with one another to build collections and then arrange for them to be viewed publicly. If some people on the East and West coasts still think they have a greater intrinsic interest in vanguard art than their brethren in the Midwest, the flowering of these museums suggests they may be mistaken. Their collecting has spurred the growth of art schools and helped create a steadily expanding crop of museumgoers. This mini-boom may be turning Missouri into a destination for art lovers from around the Midwest. Museum administrators say they are seeing an increasing number of patrons from states nearby, some of which offer very little in the way of contemporary art." The New York Times 04/24/02

SHORT TERM MEMORY: Los Angeles is a transitory place, a place fixed on the moment. "But even by the standards of a region notorious for its short-term memory, the recent spate of landmark demolitions is stunning. In the last year, half a dozen Modernist works have been destroyed or severely disfigured." Los Angeles Times 04/28/02

INTRIGUE IN VENICE: Confused about the political antics of this year's Venice Biennale (and who isn't)? Here's a good map of the political comings and goings of leadership at the top and who's winning and who's losing in the art world's biggest soap opera. The Art Newspaper 04/26/02

LONG-TERM HURT: Though attendance at New York museums has rebounded since September 11, long-distance tourists still haven't returned. "After enjoying roughly five million annual visitors apiece in recent years, the museums are now welcoming around one million fewer visitors. That decrease, of course, has a direct impact on admission receipts, as well as on income from sources like restaurant and gift shop sales." The New York Times 04/24/02

A WORLD AWAY: Performance art of the 60s and 70s - "happenings" - seems so far away now. "What a world, it seems now and what a world away, in its extremity, its sincerity, its optimism. These acts, sometimes wildly spontaneous, sometimes painfully methodical, generally involving nudity, sticky messes (paint or blood), embarrassing intimacy, actual suffering, degradation and violence, duration and endurance, often trying to pull the audience in and put them through it they were staged as purgation rites, caustic, ecstatic, mind-blowing. (Some of them were funny, too.) They weren't shows to be spectated; they were experiences, and after one or two outings they weren't repeated or revived. Performance art wasn't meant to last." And yet, last week some of the most famous stunts were reprised. The Independent (UK) 04/24/02

CHINA'S GREATEST ART FIND? In northeast China, a trove of 400 Buddhist statues dating for the 5th and 6th centuries. "At the time these statues were made, it could hardly have been further from the hub of Empire. Yet there is nothing provincial about them, nothing clumsy or crude. For these are among the greatest sculptures ever discovered in China." The Observer (UK) 04/21/02

VAGUE TO GREATNESS: The Victoria & Albert Museum's new 150 million plan is vague as vague can be. "This must be one of the least masterful masterplans ever produced, in that it prescribes very little about what might go where. It's basically a map of the museum with areas coloured in to show where exhibits might go, but then again, if curators change their minds, might not." London Evening Standard 04/19/02

PAINTING OVER LEONARDO: A year ago the Uffizi found itself at the center of controversy when it wanted to perform a restoration on Leonardo's The Adoration of the Magi, a work many art historians considered to fragile to be worked on. Now one of the experts who consulted with the Uffizi say that "None of the paint we see on the Adoration today was put there by Leonardo. God knows who did, but it was not Leonardo.'' New York Times Magazine 04/21/02

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9
. ISSUES

http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#issues
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BOMBS AWAY: It's official - this year's Adelaide Festival was a complete disaster. The controversy-laden festival attracted only 35,000 customers to its events, the lowest number in a decade. The festival received $8 million in grant support, but took in only $1 million - some $625,000 short of projections. The Age (Melbourne) 04/23/02

CULTURE, NOT BOMBS: Think of Belfast and culture isn't the first thing that springs to mind. But the city is campaigning to be named Europe's Capital of Culture for 2008. "We're not trying to say Belfast is an undiscovered joy or anything like that and we're not going to try and disguise that there's been a conflict here for 30 years because everybody knows about it. The drive behind the project is aspirational - it's not a reward for good behavior or what you've done. We want to use culture as a tool to change the society we live in." Lycos News (Reuters) 04/21/02

MASSACHUSETTS TO CUT CULTURE: Massachusetts is facing a budget crisis so the state is making budget cuts. The biggest cut will probably be in culture. The state legislature recommends a 48 percent cut in the Massachusetts Cultural Council budget, from just over $19 million this year to about $10 million next. Boston Globe 04/26/02

AUSTRALIA COUNCIL - MISSING IN ACTION? What's the purpose/vision of the Australia Council? Some see the body as largely irrelevant these days. "In its recent Planning for the Future report, the council suggested it ought to invest more on risky artistic works. A year and two chair appointments later, debate has begun on whether the body itself is too risk averse. Is it any wonder outsiders aren't sure what the council is about any more? Where does it stand, for instance, on copyright, one of the most pressing issues for artists in this digital age? On the digital agenda generally? Global open markets?" Sydney Morning Herald 04/26/02

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10. FOR FUN 
http://www.artsjournal.com/Arts%20beat.htm#forfun 
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TREE RETURNS AS INSTRUMENT: Years ago lightning killed a pine tree at the Interlochen Music School. "The wood of the old-growth tree was saved, cured and shaped into a new work of art - and on Thursday it returned to the place where it grew." It returned as a double bass played on campus by a student. Traverse City Record-Eagle 04/19/02

MOM AND POP PUBLISHERS LAND MEGABOOK: The sequel to The Bridges of Madison County is being released this week. The book is a hot property, a followup to "the best-selling hardcover novel of all time." But when Robert James Waller's editors at Warner Books turned down the book, he went to his hometown bookstore in search of a publisher. "This is the story of how the proprietors of a mom-and-pop bookstore in rural Texas landed the North American rights to the sequel of the best-selling hardcover novel of all time." Baltimore Sun 04/23/02

BOOK WINNER REVEALED IN ADVANCE BY WAREHOUSE JOE: Canada's CBC Radio is choosing a book for the entire country to read together. It's to be announced today, after a weeklong series "featuring five prominent Canadians who had each picked works of Canadian literature they thought the country should read. The panel then voted the books off the list one by one during discussions." So which book wins? Turns out the winner has been revealed in advance by a book warehouse worker hired to slap CBC stickers on the book. National Post (Canada) 04/23/02

 

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