Wednesday May 31
WIN EVEN WHEN YOU WIN: Ten years ago during the height of
the culture wars, the Contemporary Arts Center and Dennis Barrie,
its director, were indicted for exhibiting a show of Robert Mapplethorpe
paintings. The CAC (and Barrie) were later acquitted. But "the
disheartening implication of the Cincinnati case is that even
when you stand up to the bullies, you can't win. Barrie and the
CAC made their stand, and the First Amendment saw them through.
But this is how the current—and real-life—leader of Cincinnati's
Citizens for Community Values evaluates the impact of that trial
today: "The community at large learned that not everything
is protected by the First Amendment." Village
Australia’s new tax laws have hit artists hard. Artists who don't
actually turn a profit on their art now can't claim art-related
deductions. 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, and most will
feel the squeeze come tax time. The
Age (Melbourne) 05/31/00
IPO FOR ART:
Britain’s Year of the Artist - aiming to raise the profile of
living artists throughout the UK - kicked off on Tuesday. More
than 1,000 artists have been invited to being their art out of
the studio and into public venues.
Tuesday May 30
TAKE ON THE NEWS: A newspaper with an artist-in-residence?
Why not - it's the UK's "Year of the Artist, a £4 million
scheme to place 1,000 artists in residence in 1,000 different
places." The Guardian newspaper will sponsor two residencies:
supporting a theatre company for homeless people, and it will
appoint an artist-in-residence to work in its London offices.
TOWN BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE: A few years back the town of North
Adams, Massachusetts was so destitute, a developer suggested flooding
the place and starting over. But an unlikely art project has revitalized
the area. "In the year since it opened last Memorial Day
weekend, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, known as
Mass MOCA, has been hailed as a wild success, drawing more than
105,000 visitors to its galleries, 25,000 more to performing arts
events, and garnering architectural and preservation awards.
York Times 05/29/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
THE TWAIN SHALL MEET: Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) spent some
time in Carson City Nevada developing his writing. And the city
wants to advertise the fact in its tourist promotions. Trouble
is, Clemens' estate still holds control of the famous name and
the Mark Twain Foundation Trust has warned the city to stop or
its lawyers will come a' callin'.
ART: Performers line
up to audition for permits to play in the New York subway system.
Age (AP) Melbourne) 05/30/00
a two-year closure, Glasgow’s revitalized Tramway (a vast old
tramshed and site of some of the UK's most ground-breaking multidisciplinary
performances of the ‘90s) reopens this week. New York’s Wooster
Group will reopen the “post-industrial, dressed-down chic” space
with its first UK performances in eight years. The
Monday May 29
LITTLE SELF-PROMOTION NEVER HURT:
The arts are booming in Los
Angeles. There are 1,100 arts groups active - new theatres are
starting, new buildings being built, and the city is getting a
reputation for its new music and visual arts. But next to the
monolithic Hollywood entertainment machine, the arts can seem
invisible. So many of the artists have gotten together to promote
Los Angeles Times 05/29/00
Sunday May 28
STOLEN ART PROBLEM:
Theft of artwork has become
a major international problem. The British government wants to
do something about it. But first - just how big a problem is it?
No one seems to know for sure. The
Telegraph (London) 05/29/00
WANT FUNDING EQUITY:
Is the New Zealand government
ignoring Maori arts? Critics charge that "compared with the
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Royal New Zealand Ballet,
Maori arts were 'under-funded, under-utilised and virtually unrecognised.'
Zealand Herald 05/29/00
GET RATINGS: Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura meets with students
and talks about his veto of a bill awarding Minneapolis' Guthrie
Theatre money for a new home. "You can talk all you want,
but can the Guthrie get the ratings that wrestling gets? Because
ratings transfer to money. You can put the Guthrie on TV, and
if nobody watches it, no advertisers are going to pay to see it.
People watch wrestling.''
Pioneer Press 05/28/00
Saturday May 27
HIGHS AND LOWS OF PERSPECTIVE:
What determines the
differences between "high" and "low" art?
Hard to tell anymore. "It is so difficult to evaluate
arts, compare their virtues and weigh their achievements and the
entire debate over what was once called high culture is so politically
charged that it is tempting simply to say that different entertainments
attract different audiences. No aesthetic distinctions are needed.
Mozart and Spears do not have different statures, just different
devotees. There is no high, no low, only differing cultural attitudes
toward what is high and what is low."
York Times 05/27/00 (one-time
registration required for entry)
SPOOKS AND MR. ORWELL The CIA went into the cultural propaganda
business in a big way in the 1950s. After George Orwell died in
1950, the CIA acquired the rights to produce "Animal Farm."
But, "for the CIA to finance and distribute Animal Farm,
however, something had to be done about the ending. In Orwell's
anti-Stalinist original, the pigs who overthrow the farmer ruling
class end up mingling with their former oppressors. As pigs and
farmers toast one another in the farm house, 'the creatures outside
looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man
again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.'
The CIA solved this problem of the symbiotic relationship between
capitalism and Communism by eliminating the farmers from the final
Friday May 26
Neil MacGregor, director of London’s National Gallery, has criticized
the UK government’s recent euphoria over much-publicized museum
and gallery openings, including the Tate Modern. Striking at the
Government's boast that it had increased access, Mr. MacGregor
said: "There may be more access; but it is access to ignorance."
Festival is hurting. A boycott protesting South Carolina's flying
of the Confederate flag is having its effect. "Overall ticket
sales are down 20 percent and group sales down 45 percent from
last year. 'The silence of artists is the most painful thing for
me,' said Spoleto's general manager and director, Nigel Redden,
who has argued to his artists that they should register their
opinions through their performances, not their absence."
The AFL-CIO’s national leaders have publicly backed the month-long
actors strike being waged in New York and Los Angeles against
the commercial production industry. Backstage
SHUI CHIC: New Yorkers
are frantically jockeying to pay $500 to $1,000 for Chinese-born
artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s stone lions to solve their feng shui woes.
"It’s difficult to get one of Mr. Cai’s lions. Some museum
goers just don’t have enough bad energy. Some keep returning to
the Whitney to reapply, even though only 27 of 99 of the Cai (pronounced
"sigh") lions remain unreserved. They put on their best
co-op board-meeting faces to enter into a process that plays on
some basic New York neuroses: the need to succeed, the impulse
to throw money at a new trend and the urge to make the apartment
a thing of beauty."
York Observer 05/25/00
Thursday May 25
REPRESENTATION: Hispanics make up 11.5 percent of the US population
but "rarely occupy more than 2 percent of the available jobs
in the film and television industry," according to a study
by the Screen Actors Guild. Minorities have tried to make their
case to Hollywood as a social cause. "Studio executives will
lend half an ear to a social case, but the bottom line is that
the corporate suites are running a business, and business is about
profits or potential profits. Develop a business case, and you
will bring about change."
Morning News (AP) 05/25/00
MATTER OF ATTITUDE? "What has hurt Latino and black efforts
to pressure the industry is that these minority organizations
have lost credibility. We hear about [television viewer] boycotts,
and these boycotts aren't even conducted during [ratings] sweeps
week. Or we hear about a press conference where Latinos are going
to boycott a show, and the Nielsen ratings don't reflect a drop
in viewership." Los
Angeles Times 05/25/00
LAUNDRY: UK Arts Minster Alan Howarth has selected a panel
of experts to examine ways to crack down on Britain’s growing
black market for smuggled art and antiquities. An estimated £500
million is laundered every year through the sale of looted artifacts
from the Middle East and Africa, all of which can then be legally
bought and sold in the UK. Ananova
DEFENSE: Despite public outcry, shoddy attendance, and the
dissenting opinions of 64 MPs, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott
has defended the UK government's decision to pump £29m into the
Millennium Dome. BBC
FOR LIVING: Israel’s architecture exhibit at the upcoming
Venice Biennale attempts to answer the beguiling question: What,
exactly, is a city? “In curator Hillel Schocken's view, modern
urban planning has been an utter failure; not one successful city
was created in the 20th century. He proposes a new definition
of the city, one that fulfills the idea of intimate anonymity.”
Wednesday May 24
LOSE: London’s Millennium Dome has been at the center of controversy
since the day it was built. The latest stir: the Dome was given
an extra £29 million from the National Lottery this week on condition
that its chairman resign. He did, and then MPs protested the government’s
earlier promise that no further public funds would be advanced
to the Dome. The
As Boston contemplates
an enormous new waterfront development, artists wonder why there
has been so little discussion of how the arts might fit in to
it. "We have heard very little about the arts in this process.
We have not been able to sustain a dialogue about the arts in
Boston Herald 05/24/00
RATED FOR VIOLENCE: A new study of movie violence published
in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that
a "G" rating doesn't guarantee no violence. "G"-rated
movies "averaged 9.5 minutes of violence, with the 1998 King
Arthur tale 'Quest for Camelot' topping the list with 24 minutes
of violence, or almost 30% of the movie." Los
Angeles Times 05/24/00
"The amount of cinematic violence--ranging from body blows
to swordplay to gunshots--so alarmed researchers at the Harvard
School of Public Health that they recommended that the Motion
Picture Association of America consider changing its age-based
rating system to one that provides specific warnings about a movie's
BE OR NOT TO...
A former journalist
has gone on a crusade to "give
philosophy back to the people." He says for too long philosophy
as an art has been locked behind the walls of academia. Feed
Tuesday May 23
Even though South Carolina
will take down the Confederate flag above its statehouse June
1, a boycott of Charleston's Spoleto Festival is being felt. Ticket
sales are down and some artists won't be attending.
"The arts generally are another way of addressing social
questions, and ultimately a more effective way than politics,"
said festival general director Nigel Redden. "Not hearing
artists is an immense loss, and one I personally feel is extremely
Cleveland Plain Dealer (AP) 05/23/00
Monday May 22
Two new studies of the arts
and culture in New Zealand promise the radical reshaping of the
country's creative industries. "There’s a culture of ignorance
in the media. You can’t tell me that 88,000 people [the number
of New Zealanders employed in the cultural sector] work entirely
without effect.” New
Zealand Herald 05/22/00
Been reading those stories
about how buying concert tickets online beats the traditional
TicketMaster experience? Read on: "Fans are complaining they
are being charged for tickets that never arrive, that they can't
track their orders online, and that it is extremely difficult
to find a way to communicate their situations with the ticket-selling
Sunday May 21
Friday May 19
BOOKS AND THE MULTICULTURE: In
the US, philosophies about learning have polarized;on the one
hand there are those who believe in the "Great Books"
idea, following Western culture. On the other, there are
those who believe in the multicultural approach. From a teacher
working in Singapore, the conclusion that: "these two desiderata
do not necessarily conflict in practice. One can be a proponent
of Great Works and a multiculturalist - even a radical multiculturalist,
to the point that the curriculum is determined by the scholarly
traditions of all ethnic groups in the classroom."
FUNDING AT A PRICE: From a British perspective, the American
way of funding the arts is problematic - Americans are dependent
on conservative private funders and don't have the benefit of
significant government funding the way most European artists have.
On the other hand, the Americans don't much like the idea of government
interference in their artistic affairs. New
WE LIKE OUR BIG McHOUSES: Everyone, it seems, decries suburban
sprawl. From the McHouse architecture to the sterile streetlife,
the 'burbs make an easy target. But "for all the scorn that's
heaped on the suburbs - and especially on subdivisions of nearly
identical houses on the fringe of metropolitan areas - people
like living there. And not just middle-class drones either."
A HUNDRED FLOWERS BLOOM: If Harold Bloom's new book "How
to Read and Why" seems smug and condescending, that's because
it is. The book claims to be a practical guide to show us
how to read great literature and provide the reason why. "But
Professor Bloom's own rhetoric is so poisonously alienating to
the general reader - with its mandarin locutions and tireless
self-congratulation - that he ends up sounding like a parody of
the jargon-spouting Neo-post-whatever-ists he keeps complaining
York Magazine 05/15/00
ON CEREMONY: Plans to erect a statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
sitting in a wheel chair stir controversy in Washington DC. Washington
Thursday May 18
HUM IS BACK: When the feature film was invented all those
years ago, there was a hum of excitement about its miraculous
potential. The hum has returned, as digital technologies and the
internet once again hold out a sense of amazing possibility. "The
excitement that leaps off the news pages was much like the heat
of the Edison-Griffith days: the sense that mankind was making
a leap forward in consciousness at such speed and of such importance
that no one could yet calculate its size or reach." The
New Republic 05/11/00
1, ADVERTISERS, 0: Three weeks into their strike, morale among
members of the Screen Actors Guild is high - and commercial producers
seem to be getting their message. More than 500 interim agreements
have already been signed, guaranteeing union members pay-per-play
compensation during productions shot during the strike. “We’ve
done picket lines all week long...Everybody’s pumped up.” Backstage
Wednesday May 17
SLAM FOR THE ARTS:
Minnesota arts lover
Governor Jesse Ventura vetoed a $3 million allocation passed by
the state legislature for the Guthrie Theater's new $75 million
home in Minneapolis. An override of the veto seems unlikely.
Star Tribune 05/17/00
NICE AND SHARE: As the £134.5 million Tate Modern opened to
wild acclaim last week, other London arts venues, including the
South Bank Centre and Royal Opera House, have been struggling
to meet development goals. Why isn’t the funding boom felt by
all arts institutions alike? “The term 'arts community' is a callous
misnomer. The performing arts, in Britain and most other places,
are shackled by a stifling self-interest that prevents collaboration,
communication and common decency.” The
US MOVIES: South Korean filmmakers call for an international
coalition to break the domination of Hollywood internationally.
They "urged governments to resist what they say is the United
States' attempts to use free trade treaties to expand the reach
of American movies," echoing sentiments expressed last week
in Cannes by French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.
Tuesday May 16
ARTS IN NEW ENGLAND: A new study of the economic impact of
the arts in New England has been released. "The 'creative
industry' makes up 3.5 percent of New England's total job base
- more than our software or medical technology industries. It
is growing at a remarkable rate of 14 percent each year - nearly
twice as fast as the average rate of job growth in New England.''
Globe 05 16/00
BENEFITS: "An investment in the arts and culture
generates remarkable returns in the form of successful enterprises,
a superior work force, high quality of life and New England's
THEE TO A NOVEL: "It's said that art can heal, whether
it's fiction, poetry, music, painting, theatre or some other happy
obsession. People for whom art matters tend to agree. However
cynical we are, on some level we imagine that a Schubert quartet
or a Chekhov story or an afternoon looking at Renaissance painting
will improve us. We'll be more serene, and with luck we'll be
intellectually broader. And in some way, art will elevate us morally.
Art is made, after all, by superior creatures." But is it
Post (Canada) 05/16/00
laws have been out of date for years. "The Digital Millennium
Copyright Act of 1998 was supposed to clear up copyright issues
in the Internet era. That hasn't exactly happened. Instead, there
have been a series of lawsuits between the recording and motion
picture industries, private companies and individual users, seeking
clarification on how intellectual property is protected as music
and video moves to the digital world."
Monday May 15
HOW TO PAY THE TAX?
a new Australian tax system, all small businesses (including artists)
must have an Australian Business Number or face having 48.5 per
cent withholding tax taken out of every payment they receive.
But many aboriginal artists on the edge of the Tanami Desert in
the Northern Territory operate largely outside the formal economy.
"Advocates for the Aboriginal arts industry claim it is unrealistic
to expect most of the estimated 18,000 Aboriginal artists who
derive an income from their creative work to comply with the details
of the new tax system." Sydney
Morning Herald 05/15/00
Sunday May 14
GONNA FUND PORNOGRAPHY? Jane Alexander's new memoir recalls
the battles over arts funding while she was chair of the National
Endowment for the Arts.
French appeals court has ruled that art historian Hector Feliciano
did not commit libel for suggesting in his book about art stolen
by the Nazis that the late art dealer Georges Wildenstein may
have collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.
DYNAMO: Vivian Duffield - Britain's best and most flamboyant
fundraiser for the arts shares some of her secrets (and the news
that she will soon be leaving her job). The
Telegraph (London) 05/14/00
BONUS: In the waning moments of the Connecticut legislature's
session, a $9 million boost for the arts materializes from the
state budget surplus. Hartford
CITY ARTS ENDOWMENT:
the end of a nine-day arts festival, city leaders in Charleston
announce that the city will create a $5 million arts endowment.
Charleston Post and Courier 05/14/00
A PHENOMENON: It's "Sound of Music" meets "Rocky
Horror Picture Show" and it's the hottest new thing in
high camp at the movies in London. Audiences are massing to
sing along with the Von Trapps and dress up for the parts. Meet
the man who invented a phenomenon. Los
Angeles Times 05/14/00
Friday May 12
NEW PRESIDENT-ELECT vows to make Taiwan a cultural power.
Chen Shui-bian said Taiwan has managed to create an economic miracle
over the past five decades. But "we must make continued efforts
to boost Taiwan's cultural development." Noting that cultural
development won't be accomplished with a "miracle"
he said that "devotion and perseverance are needed to refine
local cultural essence to win it worldwide recognition. "China
REAL CIRCUS: Australia's federal government gave in to the
State of Victoria's demands and announced a $2.6 million package
to establish the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne.
In return the Victorian Government went along with bigger funding
for the arts nationally. Victoria had refused to support
the Feds' funding plan because "it offered greater financial
support to the Sydney Theatre Company than the Melbourne Theatre
Morning Herald 05/11/00
****: The chairperson of India's film censor board is under
fire for some recent cuts of "American Beauty." "I
was adamant about all the expletives being deleted. I won't allow
filthy language in any film." The
Times of India 05/11/00
(BU HAO) BOOK:Zhou Weihui's book "Shanghai Baby"
has sold perhaps 100,000 copies in China, making it something
of a hit. But Zhou's publisher has now had the page proofs and
all of the books in stock destroyed, saying that the novel is
"in poor taste and that Ms. Zhou, 27, was too outlandish."
State media are denouncing Zhou as "decadent, debauched and
a slave of foreign culture" and thousands of copies of the
book are being destroyed even while the book seems to have found
an audience. New
York Times 05/11/00(one-time
registration required for entry)
ART ATTACK: The
St. Petersburg government tries to close down a festival of contemporary
art, music and theater, but the Russian Ministry of Culture intervenes
to keep the show on schedule.The
Art Newspaper 05/11/00
Thursday May 11
BAILS: NY Mayor Rudy Giuliani's wife, actress Donna Hanover,
who was supposed to perform in the sexually suggestive "The
Vagina Monologues" Off-Broadway has postponed her appearance
in the show, citing family circumstances.
Chicago Sun-Times (AP) 05/10/00
OF THE PAST:
decades, a statue of explorer Samuel de Champlain stood on a cliff
in Ottawa, with a much smaller sculpture of a native scout kneeling
beneath him. Last year, Native Canadians complained, saying the
scout was depicted in a subservient position to Champlain, so
the statue was moved. Now an artist complains that "discussion
about how public landmarks depict the place of aboriginal people
in Canadian society has stopped. Are we adjusting history to be
politically correct? Now we don't have that dialogue going on."
London mayor-elect Ken Livingstone’s recent promises have already
thrilled the city's art world. He plans to support the film industry,
strengthen independent cinemas, and help make London a user-friendly
environment for filming. He also “intends to maintain free entry
to museums, and to introduce a "capital arts card" in
partnership with business to give students, senior citizens and
the unemployed the chance to attend theatres, cinemas and concerts
for £3. And he wants to support cultural diversity in the arts.”
TO GIVE PAUSE: While
Black actors are now more numerous in film, it's an open question
as to how well they're being represented. In the top movies of
female movie characters shown being restrained: 6%. University
of Chicago Press 05/00
female movie characters shown using vulgar profanity: 89%.
female movie characters shown using vulgar profanity: 17%.
female movie characters shown being physically violent: 56%.
female movie characters shown being physically violent: 11%.
female movie characters shown being restrained: 55%.
TAXES FOR ARTS:
Cleveland area task force recommends creating a public entity
to raise between $25 million and $35 million for the arts annually
through a combination of new taxes and redirected spending of
existing tax revenue. "The idea of taxes for the arts is
viewed with both enthusiasm and skepticism by local leaders. Public
funding is 'more than just a stamp of approval. It shows that
the community supports this as an integral part of the important
activities of the community. It's what makes life good and worth
living.' " Cleveland
Plain Dealer 05/10/00
Tuesday May 9
artists are invading Berlin and giving premieres and winning awards.
"Why this sudden cultural blossoming from a nation generally
assumed to be locked in snow, overridden with grizzly bears and
obsessed with hockey? The Canadian government announced in February
that the budget of Berlin's cultural section will increase fivefold
in the upcoming year. From a pittance of less than forty thousand
Canadian dollars last year, Canadian culture in Germany will now
be supported at a "top priority" level. With the German
capital's move to Berlin, Canada now has the opportunity to perform
on stages that are at the center of much of the world's attention.
An opportunity it is taking." Die
SERVICE TO THE ARTS: Two weeks ago Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
announced a new set of arts initiatives aimed at boosting the
city's support for the arts. But: "The mayor picked off the
things that were immediately doable, that we could get the biggest
splash for'' and disregarded much of the substantive recommendations
(such as a percent for art program) of a 13-member task force
appointed to study arts support.
Boston Herald 05/08/00
to technical difficulties, Issues archives from the first week of
May are unavailable.