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  • COLLATERAL DAMAGE: Since only a small percentage of artists are able to support themselves working full-time on their art, the vast majority rely on income from other salaried work. Now the Australian government is drafting legislation to limit artists' tax deductions that could make it that much harder to earn a living wage. The government's real target has been tax evasion by rich professionals, but artists writing off work expenses and losses will be the "collateral victims." Sydney Morning Herald 3/31/00

  • UNLIKELY HERO: Australian Federal Arts Minister Richard Alston, who has been criticized in the past for his preoccupation with the communications industries, is set to "become an unlikely hero when he announces a massive increase in arts funding next week." After a nationwide performing arts report found many Australian arts companies to be burdened by debt, Alston is "proposing that funding to Australia's 31 major performing arts companies be increased by about $67 million over four years." The Age (Melbourne) 3/31/00

  • HEART OF A NATION: The New Zealand government has appointed a commission of cultural experts to study how the country can boost culture and help make it better contribute to the economy. "What we don't want to happen is for everyone to trundle up and say, 'Give me a lot of money and I could do a lot better.' We assume that." New Zealand Herald 03/30/00

  • THE POCKETBOOK ARGUMENT: Berlin's cultural institutions are crying about being underfunded. Now the city's tourism office warns that any further cuts in cultural funding will imperil the city's tourism. "Key to solving the acrimonious debate between cultural institutions, city politicians and national culture officials over who can best to manage the capital's culture, how to manage it, and how much money to spend, is a willingness to begin deep-going restructuring," says the official charged with promoting tourism. Die Welt 03/30/00

  • DOWN FROM THE MOUNT: Charlton Heston, speaking at Georgetown University last night, declared a culture war. "Our culture has traded in the bloody arena fights of ancient Rome for state fights on Sally, Ricki, Jerry, Maury, Jenny and Rosie. . . . Our one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all, now seems more like the fractured streets of Beirut, echoing with anger." Washington Post 03/30/00

  • PONY UP OR THEY'LL LEAVE: Novelist Margaret Atwood tells the Toronto City Council they need to spend more on the arts or artists will leave the city. "Currently, the City of Toronto spends $11 per capita on arts and culture. Vancouver spends nearly twice that: $21 per capita annually. And New York City spends $63 per person per year on the arts" CBC 03/20/00

  • DEATH OR TRANSFIGURATION? Sven Birkerts says computers are eroding our ability to read deeply. Internet speed discourages reflective reading of literature and we skip across oceans of information without diving deep. "We've reached a critical juncture in the transition from print culture to screen culture," he says, and "We're metamorphosing from individual and private people to fungible, Web-linked brain connectors in a bright, buzzy, gregarious info-hive." He couldn't be more wrong, declares one critic. Salon 03/30/00

  • THE FUTURE OF TRADITIONAL ARTS: Performing arts scholars meet to discuss the future of traditional performing arts in India, concluding that concern over their impending death is exaggerated. The Times of India 03/30/00

  • REDO BEFORE THE REDO: On the eve of a major redevelopment of Lincoln Center, its president resigns. Norman Leventhal can't take credit for all the artistic successes in his 17 years running America's premiere arts campus, but he helped transform the institution into a year-round destination and helped diversify its programming. New York Times 03/29/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • SO LONG, FAREWELL: Nathan Leventhal announced he would step down as president of Lincoln Center after nearly 17 at the helm. His departure "comes at a crucial time for the center, which is considering a $1.5 billion campaign to upgrade its 40-year-old 11-acre campus." New York Times 03/28/00

  • LOSING THE LEAD: A study released by the European Fine Art Foundation predicts that next year the European art market's sales figures will lag behind those of the U.S. market for the first time. Who's responsible? Analysts are pointing their fingers at a range of factors: stringent EU tax regulations, increasing competition among auction houses, a dearth of available masterworks, and the success of Internet auctioneers. "The very nature of the art business is in flux." Time (Europe) 4/3/00

  • CRIME & PUNISHMENT: As part of Eastern Connecticut University's "Alternative Restitution Program," students committing infractions on campus may now choose their course of punishment; community service...or an opera performance. It's hard to predict what results this program will have on its subjects, but it certainly can't be the best way to send a positive message about the arts to young people. "This business of opera as punishment may be the worst thing to hit classical music since the Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange, which juxtaposed Beethoven with coldblooded violence." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/28/00

  • END OF AN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE: The Boston Museum of Art sent out a letter to educators last week saying they would no longer be able to access the museum's slide library for use in their classes. The slides, which are used in senior and community centers to educate the public about the MFA's collection, are being stashed while the museum focuses its energies on putting digitized images on its Web site. A discouraged teacher laments, ending "'rental privileges for slides from the MFA slide collection takes away our most valuable teaching tool, and the loss of this tool will result in the cancellation of many of our courses,''' and possibly the loss of the 15,000 - 30,000 new MFA customers each year. The Boston Globe 03/28/00

  • NO NEVER MIND: Word is that the spring's auction house sales will be as strong as ever in a robust market, despite investigations of Sotheby's/Christie's. New York Times 03/27/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • IN LIEU OF: Britain's museums don't have the acquisition resources of their American counterparts. So the government set up a plan that allows estates faced with paying large sums of inheritance tax to settle part of these bills by handing over works of art in lieu of money to the Government. These are passed to institutions such as the Tate Gallery or the National Gallery. It's been a boon to museums. Daily Telegraph 03/27/00

  • GIVE ME A (TAX) BREAK: If wealthy collectors can claim tax breaks when they donate art to museums, why shouldn't artists get the same deal? The director of the Whitney takes on the cause. Los Angeles Times 03/26/00

  • THE POLITICS OF CONTROVERSY: It hasn't been lost on anyone that New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is in the middle of a hot campaign for election to the US Senate. Artist Hans Haacke's artwork for the Whitney Biennial makes fun of the mayor, but does it achieve anything? Washington Post 03/25/00

  • LET THE FUNDING SEASON BEGIN: Heads of the national arts and humanities endowments testify that they desperately need the funding increases proposed by the Clinton administration. "We have a dramatic inability to fund projects," they said before the appropriations committee. Washington Post 03/24/00 

  • YANKEE ART BOOM: A new survey of the art markets shows that the United States is on the verge of exceeding Europe in art sales. While European art sales rose 26 percent between 1994-1998, the American market increased 81 percent in the same period. The Art Newspaper 03/24/00

  • THE NEGOTIATOR: The Mayor of Boston has stepped in to help resolve a development dispute over the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End. The proposal for the new $69 million complex, which will include two new theaters and artists' studios, was being held up because the BCA's neighbors objected to the placement of a loading dock. The Boston Globe 03/23/00 

  • ROCK ON: Rock n Roll attorney named to head California's state arts commission. Says that arts education in schools is his top priority for the $20 million agency. San Francisco Chronicle 03/23/00

  • A NEED TO REMEMBER: After initial plans to create a Holocaust memorial gallery within the new Canadian War Museum drew protests from veterans, the Canadian Jewish Congress is renewing its demand that the federal government fund a national Holocaust museum in Ottawa. CBC 03/22/00

  • WHITE LIKE ME: Here comes New Zealand's Prime Minister promising her constituents a push for "quality TV." But what is quality? One pop culture expert says that when politicians talk about quality TV, "they are usually talking about ensuring that television reflects their own middle-class values and interests." New Zealand Herald 03/23/00

  • VISUAL CONSUMPTION: The Whitney Biennial Exhibition, which opens tomorrow, is reminiscent of the Paris Salons of the 19th century - a smattering of collected art crammed under one roof.  With an added abundance of film, video, and Internet art, there's no way any of the projects will get the attention they deserve, but the "Salons, both old and new, are about visual consumption -- a breezy shopping trip for mind and eye in the art world's megamall." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 03/22/00

  • LIFE LESSONS: Armed with recent data showing the long-term benefits on children of studying the arts in school, a star-studded panel of actor/activists made a plea in Washington for increased federal arts spending. A UCLA study "found that students who studied the arts in grades eight to 10 made higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, and were less likely to drop out of school." The 200 attending representatives of arts advocacy groups pledged to pass on the message to lawmakers. New Jersey Online (AP) 3/21/00

  • FEELING THE SQUEEZE: Berlin's state-subsidized opera houses, theaters, and orchestras are straining to make ends meet due to the city's crippling budget deficits. "If we cut any more staff, we'll not be able to function," laments the State Opera House's general manager. Rumors are spreading that renowned conductor Daniel Barenboim may leave Berlin when his contract at the State Opera House expires if the government doesn't allocate more funds to support the arts. Die Welt 3/22/00

  • GIDDY ABOUT TECHNOLOGY: Musicians weren't the real stars of this years' South By Southwest music conference. It was "the techies and entrepreneurs who spoke on packed panels, sponsored lavish parties and displayed their wares at a trade show overflowing with free goods. Promoting Internet radio stations, entertainment guides, online stores and multi-service sites, these networking demons were the week's real rock stars, riding a wave of hype and vision." New York Times 3/22/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • A STRONG SHOW OF SUPPORT: According to a statement from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, U.S. states plan to spend a record $396 million, more than $30 million more than last year, to promote the arts. The combined states' spending dwarfs the $100 million annual budget of the NEA. New Jersey Online (AP) 0 3/20/00

  • SINKING YOUR OWN CULTURAL FLAGSHIPS: The priorities of the Canadian government? "Three levels of government have cheerfully committed between $17-million and $22-million to Toronto's Olympic bid -- yes, that's just the bid. But the Canadian Opera Company's desperately needed new home is dead in the water, because those same levels of government are squabbling over each other's obligations." Not to mention the country's premiere recital hall - the George Weston - which "has been turned into a glorified community centre, with scarcely a peep of protest." National Post (Canada) 0 3/21/00

  • PLAYS THE POPE WON'T SEE: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has come out with its annual report on anti-Catholicism; the arts section lists 18 plays that contain "anti-Catholic motifs," including one work by Nobel prize-winning author Dario Fo. The league objected to Fo's play, which depicts "Pope John Paul II as endorsing birth control and drug legalization after 'being confronted with thousands of third world orphans.' Fo's pope also suffers from paranoia, and is under the care of a witch doctor." Backstage 3/21/00

  • MONOSYLLABIC MEN: Bush, Gore. Any coincidence that the two presidential candidates have one-syllable last names? Some linguistics think not. One simple explanation: short names "are processed more quickly by our brains and cause a more positive reaction." (Apparently 'Bradley' and 'McCain' were too much for American minds.) Chicago Tribune 3/21/00

  • AUCTIONING THE BOTTOM LINE: Beneath the pleasantries attending the opening of the European Fine Art Fair, an undercurrent of worry. The buzz is about how the art markets might change with the investigation of auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's. New York Times 03/20/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • CONFLICT? WHAT CONFLICT? As NEA money for the arts has dried up in America, should we be surprised that private financing interests have moved in and that charges of conflict of interest are being leveled at museums and theaters?  Robert Brustein writes that: "the high arts have become an endangered species in this country, being picked off by a variety of sharpshooters, including commercial producers, populists, politicians, multi-culturalists, middlebrow critics and, not least of all, the foundations. At the event celebrating thirty-five years of the NEA, I imagined that I saw the heads of many of those extinct animals mounted on the walls, under a plaque designated 'Art with a capital `A.' ' New Republic 03/27/00

  • IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES? Record profits and good times defined the past few years in the art auction business. But the prosperity might have been an unsustainable illusion for auction giants Sotheby's and Christie's. "Their old-money monopoly on taste had been unraveling for years, as the Internet began to make buying-by-bid both digital and - gasp - democratic." New York Magazine 03/20/00

  • I'M AN ACTOR (OR, "HOW I GOT SCREWED BY HOLLYWOOD"): One actor's disappointing odyssey from theater to film. "These 'creative people' never went to writing school, acting school or storytelling school and have no idea what is happening in the communities of North America, let alone the world. But they sure know how to sell some Nikes, boy." The Nation 03/20/00

  • MEET THE POVERTY ELITE: They can barely afford bus fare. But "the junior stylists, assistant editors, associate marketing managers, and assorted other aspiring media executives, mostly middle-class and private-college-educated, spend their days greasing the wheels of Manhattan's entertainment-industrial complex." Their salaries are real-world modest, forcing ingenuity in their personal budgets. But they "spend their nights at Pastis, wrapped in trade-price Burberry scarves, chatting on loaner StarTACs, or in clients' courtside Knicks seats drinking expensed Bud Lights," all courtesy of the clients trying to woo their favors. New York Magazine 03/20/00 

  • WHEN CORPORATIONS BUY ART:  "No corporation will tell you it buys art as an investment. Art isn't liquid enough for most companies, and there's no real tax advantage to collecting. What really happens is that the nature of physical space calls for you to put things on the wall. But if you can put things up that increase in value, that's a good financial investment. Why put up hotel art when, for relatively little more, you can invest in your community and in a point of view?" Chicago Tribune 03/19/00

  • FAUX SAVINGS: Until it closed last month, the 84-year-old Universal Studios Research Library was the oldest and largest collection of its sort in Hollywood - a remarkable resource for screenwriters, producers, art directors and set designers who relied on its books, magazines and indexed images to give their projects factual and atmospheric credibility. Now the library has been closed to save money, and its users worry about the fate of its collections. San Francisco Chronicle 03/19/00

  • WHAT'S IN THE CLOSET: British museums - like those in most countries - have only a fraction of their collections on display. But some treasures haven't been out of storage in decades. Now a British government initiative to get more of the art out to be seen. The Independent 03/19/00

  • FUTURE PERFECT: Is "modern" art soon to be relegated to the dustbin of history, recognized for the dead end some want to consider it, as Tom Wolfe prophesies? Not so fast, writes one critic. If history teaches us anything... National Post 03/18/00

  • STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Artistic partnerships are a mysterious alchemy. When they work, they produce art that exceeds either partner's solo efforts. How they work seems to follow no recipe. Feed 03/17/00 

  • BOLSHOI EMERGENCY: The famed theater is in such disrepair that experts want to shut it down. Despairing that the state won't come through in time with needed funds to repair the long neglected building, theater managers have sent out an SOS to the world. The Guardian 03/17/00 

  • TOO MANY MFA's: Are there too many artists with university degrees? "We can no longer justify preparing more and more graduates to compete more stylishly for fewer and fewer jobs inside the academic pyramid. But, the important question remains: What do we do instead? Do something, is the obvious answer. But what?" New Art Examiner 03/17/00

  • SHARE THE WEALTH: But not for another 15 years. Britain agrees to grant artists a share of the resale price when their work is resold, bringing it into line with other European countries. London's art sellers predict disaster. The Independent 03/16/00 

    • JOB (IN)SECURITY: Now that Britain has accepted European Union proposals to impose a levy on art sales, employees at the UK’s biggest auction houses are worried about losing revenues – not to mention their jobs. The Guardian 03/16/00

    • A WATERED DOWN AGREEMENT: European Commission is unhappy with the deal. BBC 03/16/00

  • YOUR AD HERE: We can't simply have a Rose Bowl or a Chicago Stadium anymore. They have to be the RotoRooter Rose Bowl and the Wonder Bread Center. And now an airline has got its name plastered all over a Broadway theater. What's next, actors trotting around stage with "Joe's Sandwich Shop" stitched across their backs? Chicago Tribune 03/16/00  

  • THEY'RE BACK... The culture wars of the 1980s and early 90s centered around public funding for the arts. After quieting down for awhile, art controversies are back - but this time museums are on the front lines. New York Times 03/15/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • CZECH BULLDOZERS DIG UP A CONTROVERSY:  A medieval Jewish cemetery in the center of Prague has become a battleground between Orthodox rabbis and a local insurance company that would like to build a garage and offices above the 13th-century burial ground. Washington Post 3/14/2000

  • FEAR OF FORM: "Sophisticated gallery-goers are now armored gallery-goers, afraid of trusting their instincts. Worse yet, they are afraid of their conflicting instincts--of their wish for some clarity of form, and then for something else. Yet what is wrong with asking artists for layers, for ambiguities? If we are afraid to ask artists for anything much, this may be because we are worried about getting in too deep, about being forced to revise our ideas. By now there is an unwillingness to think about underlying issues - about factors that run through all art. This unwillingness casts a pall over gallery-going." The New Republic 03/20/00

  • COMPUTER-AGE CARNEGIE: High-tech billionaire Michael Saylor, worth $13 billion at the ripe old age of 35, plans to give $100 million to launch a free online university. Washington Post 3/15/2000

  • HOW TO GET RICH ON ART? Ask Steve Wynn. Casino mogul owns half the art in Vegas' Bellagio Hotel, which he leases to the hotel for $5 million a year. As Wynn made a deal to sell the hotel, he retained first right of refusal to buy any of the rest of the $400 million worth of art in the hotel. Las Vegas Sun 03/15/00

  • ART BY ANY OTHER MEDIUM: Okay, so the new Whitney Biennial includes some internet art. SFMOMA has its $50,000 prize for net art. And the emerging genre certainly has buzz. But does all this validation make it any easier to buy, sell or even define art on the web? Salon 03/15/00

  • NEW CANADIAN REPORT calls for more support for artists. Study says that twice as many people are entering the cultural workforce in British Columbia than any other industry. CBC 03/15/00

  • HIGH AND LOW: What's the different between "high" culture and "low" culture, anyway? Between Mozart and Madonna, Picasso and the World Wide Wrestling Federation? Is one superior to the other? Not necessarily. The old cultural arbiters, whose job was to decide what was `good' in the sense of `valuable,' have largely been replaced by a new type of arbiter, whose skill was to define "good" in terms of "popular." Ignore them at your peril. Chicago Tribune 03/14/00

  • ARBITER OF TASTE: In our still-glowing economy, where technology-crazed consumers are snapping up purple iMac's and falling for bubbled cars, high style design is no longer just for the elite. "Where design used to be considered vaguely precious, the province of the Sub-Zero-refrigerator-owning elite, it's now available to all - from the crowd that shops at Target to those aesthetes who can pick out an Enzo Mari from 20 paces."  Pardon me, but what is the definition of "high style" these days, anyway? Time 03/20/00

  • WHY DETROIT? How Detroit landed the honor of being the opening venue for an important new Van Gogh exhibition. Boston Herald 03/14/00 

  • AWASH IN MONEY: The world's two auction giants may be having their difficulties, but the art market is the strongest it's been in years. London Telegraph 03/13/00

  • FRENCH FRIED: Seventy-eight percent of the world's websites are in English - only 1.2 percent are in French. "More than any other medium of recent years, the Internet is challenging France’s attempts to control and protect its culture. Its pride in its culture is fierce. No other country—save Spain—has a body quite like the Académie Française, dedicating itself for the past 365 years to the defense of the national language." The Economist 03/13/00

  • REASON TO SAVE: To help arts institutions stop living paycheck to paycheck, the Missouri Cultural Trust has a proposition: for every dollar arts groups put aside for a rainy day, the Trust will add 50 cents. It's working. By 2008, the Trust expects to have given away $100 million. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 03/13/00 

  • AFRICA FOR THE CULTURE: "For a long time, people saw Africa as only animals," said Comfort Opoku Wave of the Ghana tourism board. "Now they're realizing that there is culture, fabrics, lakes, rivers." Die Welt 03/13/00

  • MASS RETIREMENT: As the wave of college professors hired in the 60s and 70s to teach baby boomers nears retirement age, universities are bracing for a major turnover in their faculties. Chronicle of Higher Education 03/13/00 

  • FORGET MY MTV: Digital technology is turning all corners of the entertainment world upside down. Music, radio, books, movies - all are being reborn out of new technologies and new ways of making and getting product to market. Boston Globe 03/12/00

  • SWOONA in LAGUNA: In a lease dispute, the venerable 68-year-old Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters has told the California beach town of Laguna Beach it might leave. Uproar ensues. Orange County Register 03/12/00 

  • POWER OF POETRY: The Israeli minister of education decided last week to add the poetry of a Palestinian to the school curriculum. Sure, they're love poems, but "loving" is the last word to describe the political row that's erupted. Salon 03/11/00 

  • "HEART OF THE CITY": After decades of dreams and empty promises, the Greek culture minister says that building an opera house for Athens is a priority of the government. Athens News 03/10/00

  • CULTURAL MANIPULATION? Critics charge that a Malaysian broadcaster is airing too many foreign programs and that by watching, young Malaysians will lose their sense of patriotism and national identity. They want the government to impose content restrictions to boost Malay content. The Star (Malaysia) 03/10/00

  • "RECKLESS INDISCRIMINATE SEDUCTION": Media critic Todd Gitlin says that rather than uplift and educate people, modern media conglomerates are a Band-aid. "Fortunes are to be made in offering ever-reliable analgesics to a public hungry for fast relief,'' he says. The guys who run the networks, the newspapers, the studios, the magazine and music companies are getting richer while our civic life grows poorer. Toronto Star 03/09/00

  • DOES ART MATTER? CALL....: Students at the Ottawa School of Art have put up statues all over town with cards attached to them reading: "Does Art Matter? Call this number to argue your case." If people decide to call, they have three minutes to sound off. It's part of a class project to find out how much the average person on the street cares about art. CBC 03/09/00

  • BEGINNING OF THE CORPORATE END: So American Airlines supported the arts by giving New York's Roundabout Theater $850,000 a year for 10 years. In return the airline gets its name on the theater. But "American Airlines isn’t supporting the arts, bless them. They are paying a tax-deductible fee in order to advertise and sell their corporate logo on Broadway. Philanthropy has sweet zilch to do with it." New York Observer 03/07/00

  • MARGINAL UNTIL THEY'RE NOT: A couple of weeks ago the NEA's present and past chairs got together to talk about the role of arts in America. "What emerged most pointedly was how the panelists attempted to define artists and the arts as utilitarian tools. The underlying sentiment seemed to be if we don’t cast the arts in terms of their social-political-economic usefulness, how can we justify underwriting them at public expense?" Backstage 03/08/00

  • EDINBURGH IN HEAT: The Adelaide Festival - 530 events in 100 venues in three weeks - is like Edinburgh only in the blazing summer heat. This year the eye dominates the ear. The Guardian 03/08/00

  • IT'S HOWDY LAWSUITY TIME: The Detroit Institute of the Arts has sued the estate of Rufus Rose, the creator of Howdy Doody, saying that the puppeteer had promised to give Howdy to the museum. Rose's family says there was no such deal. CBC 03/08/00

  • VANDALISM IN THE THEATER: Cell phones and pagers going off in concerts and theater performances have become a crisis of sorts. "To receive a cell phone call during a performance is an act of violence, not terribly different from aiming a spray gun at a Botticelli. It's worse, in fact, since a damaged painting can be restored." Los Angeles Times 03/07/00

  • NOW A WOMAN CAN SING ONSTAGE! For the first time in two decades a woman is allowed to sing onstage in Iran. "We cried when she was singing, with a feeling of happiness and sorrow, thinking of all those years that we had been deprived of the art of a woman's voice," one Iranian man said. Under their strict interpretation of the Koran, women were prohibited from singing in public, except to a carefully segregated female-only audience. The ayatollahs were afraid the voice of a woman soloist might arouse impure thoughts in men's minds. Toronto Globe and Mail 03/07/00

  • EVERYONE'S (NOT) A CRITIC? "There seems to be no critical culture in America today. A critical culture is one that struggles actively over how human beings should live and what our life means. Most of us can remember living in the critical culture of the sixties-a few of us can even remember the critical culture of the thirties-and we can feel the difference. When a critical culture breaks down or wears out or fades away, sources of joy dry up. What makes this happen? Why has it happened now?" Dissent 03/00

  • KANT BUY ME LOVE: It's fashionable these days to lament the dumbing down of our culture. But there are some 2,500 "Great Books" societies across North America, and the growing number of such study groups suggests that many thirst for learning more. "In these tiny cells of unofficial civilization, intellectual discourse moves outside the universities and becomes a question of personal initiative, energy, insight and need." National Post 03/07/00

  • SPOLETO BOYCOTT: Several artists have decided to boycott this year's Spoleto Festival in Charleston, as NAACP calls for economic boycott of South Carolina to protest confederate flag. New York Times 03/06/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND YOU: Know where your US presidential candidate of choice stands on arts issues? Now might be a good time to find out. Boston Herald 03/06/00


      • McCain: "I oppose federal funding of the National Endowment for the Arts because of the obscene and inappropriate projects this organization has supported with tax dollars." 

      • Bush: "I want to continue federal funding for the arts, but give states a greater say in how the money is spent."

      • Bradley: "He has always supported funding for the NEA; he has voted against efforts to cut it and efforts to censor it."

      • Gore: "...the administration is proposing doubling arts in education programs, which Gore strongly supports." 
        Los Angeles Times 03/06/00

  • CRITIC-PROOF: After studying the life of critic Clement Greenberg, an amateur artist declares his manifesto: "In my private universe the act of creativity is always just in its beginning, formative, emergent stages, before it becomes crystallized into the known, predictable, and dismissible. Art has not yet been hijacked by anyone to be critiqued, theorized, and deconstructed; subverted into something unintended, opposite and unforeseen; used against itself in the cause of one tyranny after another." *spark-online 03/00

  • PROP UP: Only about four of Australia's major performing arts groups can be described as financially secure. Now the government is considering a plan to spend $40 million over the next four years to help stabilize the rest of them. Australian Financial Review 03/04/00

  • INTELLECTUAL COMING-OF-AGE: Is the breakthrough of 1960s North American intellectuals the real legacy of that decade? Salon 03/04/00 

  • WHEN YOU'VE SEEN ONE AFRICAN PERFORMANCE, YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THEM ALL: The Kennedy Center has just completed its three-year "African Odyssey" initiative. It staged 260 events of contemporary dance, theater and music from 40 countries, as well as presentations by African artists living in America and American creations inspired by Africa. Was this attempt to reach out beyond traditional European art successful? Washington Post 03/04/00.

  • HERR HAIDER AS CULTURAL PATRON: In Joerg Haider's province in Austria, he is his own culture minister. Haider has two rhetorical enemies: foreigners who sponge up social benefits, and artists who crave subsidies and then refuse to toe the line. Herr Haider believes that art should be for the people. Avant garde artists have lost commissions because their work is too modern. What do people want? plenty of folk music. Herr Haider's cultural adviser is Andreas Mölzer, whose view is that artists "behave like whores". London Times 03/04/00

  • VIENNA'S OPERA BALL is the highlight of the city's social calendar. This year's version was controversial before it even started, with much protest about the latest Austrian politics. And the ball itself, an actor made up to be Hitler, jumped out of a Rolls,  "marched straight into the opera house, giving Hitler's salute and nodding to astonished guests in white tie, tails and ball gowns." As the actor - who claimed he was making an anti-Haider protest - was dragged away by security staff, he shouted "I'm back. I'm here to greet my people". London Evening Standard 03/03/00

  • BAZILLIONAIRE TEACHERS: There's a new class of college professor, recently made wealthy by their internet ventures. And yet, while they may dress better and take more leaves, their multi-millions are no reason to quit, they say. Chronicle of Higher Education 03/03/00

  • EMPOWERING THE ARTS: Former cultural officers in a Zimbabwean province have banded together to found a Performing Arts Empowerment Foundation, aimed at promoting the arts while improving the welfare of artists in the province. The group will set up a fund, contract with medical services and implement a retirement scheme. “We intend to empower artists, most of whom did not own houses and left their families in abject poverty when they died." Zimbabwe Mirror 03/03/00

  • ARTLISTING: Publication of a list of 350 artworks in Britain with questionable provenance during Nazi years, had British museum organization on the defensive Tuesday. "in Britain some museum directors after the war had not been 'fastidious' about checking whether paintings they bought or were given might have had a Nazi connection. But the organization believes many of the gaps in history are innocent but cannot yet be explained because papers have been lost, owners have died or dealers and auction houses are unwilling to release documents." London Telegraph 03/01/00

  • ME TOO: Three weeks after rival Christie's lowers its sales commissions, Sotheby's follows suit. Did you talk to each other about the new fees, guys?  Nah.... "We did this in light of the competitive environment we're in," said William F. Ruprecht, Sotheby's new president and chief executive. New York Times 03/01/00 (one-time registration required for entry)

  • THE ART OF POLITICS: Artists' reaction to Austrian politics is problematic. "It is generally accepted in Western societies that the arts are a democratic safety valve, articulating ideals around which public sentiment can refocus. Artistic freedom has become as sacrosanct, in principle, as freedom of the press. All agree that it is abhorrent for politicians to interfere with the arts. At what point, however, does it become unacceptable for the arts to meddle in politics?" London Telegraph 03/01/00

  • PROTECT THIS: "There is an inherent conflict between intellectual property rights and freedom of speech, a tension between your right to control a story you've written and my right to use it as raw material for my own work. Thanks to two trends, that tension is turning rapidly into a collision." Reason 03/0