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ARTS ISSUES - January 2000

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  • VOYEURS FOR VIOLENCE: New classes examining violence: "Starting in Violence 101, 'Introduction to the Comparative Study of Violence,' and on through 'The Causes of Crime and Violence' and 'Violence in Film and History,' students are encouraged to look at history, arts and sciences through a single lens: the infliction of injury and death." But are such classes anything more than voyeuristic rubbernecking? Salon 01/31/00
  • ARTS CUTS? Whether in reaction to the Brooklyn Art Museum fiasco or to woo the state's conservatives for the impending Senate election, New York mayor Rudy Giuliani is said to be ordering up cuts in the city's arts budget. Arts funding defenders are gearing up. Backstage 01/31/00
  • CULTURE CENTRAL: Chicago has invested millions in a cultural building boom downtown. But the downtown institutions are of a type - and where are the African-American, Latino and other minority cultural institutions? And why aren't they complaining about being shut out? The answers are confusing and complex. Chicago Tribune 01/30/00
  • JUST WHEN DID THE MEDIA START HATING ARTISTS? Was it art's "difficult characters?" The big-money 80's art markets? "The biggest part of the problem may be the front-of-the-book/back-of-the-book structure that ghettoizes all arts coverage, whether news or reviews, in the back pages or special sections. But news is news, and the art(s) worlds are huge industries that demand far more sophisticated news coverage than they receive." Media Channel 01/28/00
  • WRITING TO IMPRESS: Great ideas don't necessarily translate into great writing. But obscure writing shouldn't fool anyone into thinking obscurity translates into profundity. And yet that's the kind of writing some of today's philosophers seem to want to hide behind. Prospect 02/00
  • THE SERIOUS SIDE OF POP CULTURE: Not all frivolous or violent or shallow. "The 'pop' in pop culture is its universality, its mass appeal, its accessibility. In its form its all-encompassing vastness, now magnified by the Internet as well as in its content, pop culture is mostly a force for good." MSNBC 01/25/00
  • SELF-TICKETING: Ticketmaster announces plan for customers to print their own tickets at home on their own printers. Barcodes would ensure tickets are real.  New York Times 01/25/00 (One-time registration required for access)
  • THE "McDONALD'S SCHOOL OF APPLIED PHYSICS"? Not only are most academic institutions not run like businesses, but many academics disdain the tools of American business discourse, writes English professor Michael Berube. Ah, but imagine if successful business practices were applied on campus and schools were run like corporations. The stock of education would soar. Chronicle of Higher Education 01/28/00
  • DEBATING ARTS EDUCATION: This week education directors from around the US will gather in Los Angeles to talk about the current state of arts education - what works, what doesn't, and what to do. Orange County Register 01/23/00
  • AT STAKE IN THE HOLOCAUST TRIAL: A libel trial in London over a controversial book on the Holocaust has Europe buzzing. But what is at stake is not the truth about the Holocaust, which has been well-documented, but that alarms about the trial "may give the verdict more weight than it deserves, so that if the plaintiff wins, the alarmists will have created the very sort of damage they are trying to prevent: doubt among the ill-informed about whether the Holocaust happened. And because of trial technicalities or the nature of British libel law, the plaintiff could conceivably win. New York Times 01/19/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • WHITE HOUSE drug control office, responding to pressure, says it won't advance-screen TV shows for anti-drug messages. Variety 01/19/00 
  • PRIVATE INTEREST: The British government is selling off public buildings all over London to private developers. The law requires getting the highest prices possible on the open market, never mind that there are public-interest groups that could actually use the digs. And then there is the issue of public property built and maintained at public expense for sometimes 100 years, being handed over to private interests in return for a one-time quick cash fix. London Times 01/19/00
  • DIGITAL DOO-DOO: Emmanuel Goldstein is the first defendant charged under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans the distribution of any "technology" that can bypass a copy protection scheme. Hackers who cracked the entertainment industry's DVD codes clearly violated the law. But is the law constitutional? The scramble for digital protection of copyright heads to the courts. Wired 01/18/00
  • IRELAND IS BOOMING with one of the most robust economies in all of Europe. Artists are sharing in that prosperity, but despite the good times, modern Irish artists are "still relying on hackneyed images of the past," rather than developing a new sense of visual culture. Irish Times 01/18/00
  • COMPANY LORE at Bertelsman, the giant German media conglomerate, has it that the Nazis closed down the company during the Second World War because of its political opposition. Now a team of scholars, hired by the company, disputes that record. New York Times 01/18/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • THE NEW ARTIST: Though artists have occupied various ranks of the social ladder throughout history, in the 19th and most of the 20th centuries they were considered specialized members of high culture whose primary mission was to hone their expressive skills. That is changing. "Being an artist now includes things like being an articulate advocate, and ambassador and an educator." Orange County Register 01/16/00
  • BALANCING ART AND POWER: Recent experience of the past hundred years says that art commissioned by government is usually a mediocre affair. But step back a few centuries and it's a different story. Without the Vatican, the Italian principalities and the royal courts of Vienna, Paris, Madrid, London and Brussels, among others, Europe's artistic heritage would be a great deal poorer. New York Times 01/16/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • MY CELEBRITY'S BIGGER THAN YOURS: The US presidential campaign is heating up, and politicians seeking the highest office, especially Democrats, have discovered that they are nothing without the entertainment industry's mixture of cachet and cash, and without a passel of actors and moviemakers in their entourage. Toronto Globe and Mail 01/15/00
  • IN BALTIMORE, new hopes for a theater district for a depressed westside of downtown. Baltimore Sun 01/16/00
  • CALL IT CREATIVE NEW YORK: The Creative Capital fund was created last spring to try to help make up for the ending of federal arts grants to artists doing controversial work. Now the first round of grants has been made, and after reviewing applications from more than 1,800 artists from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the fund is awarding $563,700 to 75 artists, 40 of whom live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx or Staten Island. New York Times 01/13/00 (one-time registration required for access)
  • INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL OF NORTH AMERICA? New York? Berkley? Boston? Nope, try Montreal. New McGill University statistical study says that Quebec's largest city has more university students per capita than any other city. Boston was second. Montreal Gazette 01/13/00  
  • ART PAYS: The administrative heads of Boston's largest arts organizations received some of the biggest raises in the nation's nonprofit sector in 1998, a Boston Herald survey shows. Boston Herald 01/13/00
  • INTERNET BAN: Thirty ultra-orthodox rabbis in Jerusalem have issued a ban on using the internet. In fact, they rule, "the computer should not be used for entertainment at all." However, those "whose livelihood depends on it" are allowed access to the Internet in the workplace, with "the responsibility not to let others use it." Wired 01/13/00
  • INVESTMENT STAKE: A recent change in British tax law may prove a windfall for arts groups. Donate fast-rising internet stock and save on the tax bill. This could revolutionize arts funding in the UK, writes Norman Lebrecht. London Telegraph 01/12/00
  • INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS in the digital age explained. Ease of digital copies a good excuse to revisit international laws. Le Monde Diplomatique 01/00
  • WE AREN'T THE WORLD: We survived Y2K but attempts New Year's Eve to portray the planet as just one Big Happy Family leave one critic cold. "It was the One City Many Cultures theme taken to a new high. Forget germ warfare, forget the millions of missiles poised to strike." Tough to do. The Daily Mail and Guardian (South Africa) 01/10/00 
  • NON-BLACK MINORITY GROUPS feel left out of NBC's pact with the NAACP last week on diversity. Cleveland Plain Dealer 01/10/00
  • BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: Just what, exactly is the role of a Bohemian? And do we still have any left in America? Slate 01/10/00
  • BIGGER, BETTER, BEST: Australia has gone festival-happy, with international arts festivals proliferating, and this summer's $17 million Sydney Festival for the Olympics poised to outdo them all. "Every time a leaf falls they create a festival," declared Tony Brett-Young, a press spokesman at the Australian Embassy in London. New York Times 01/09/00 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • THE DOME NEVER SETS: The British government's Dome Minister (yes, we kid you not, there's a Dome Minister) charges that there is an effort in the media to sabotage the success of the Millennium Dome. It is, he says, a great popular success among the everyday people. BBC 01/09/00
    • Nonetheless, the British Cabinet hasn't seemed to take to it. Here's a list of cabinet visits. London Telegraph 01/10/00
  • FIRED UP: How come when there's a parting of the ways among leadership of a cultural organization, everyone wants to pretend nothing happened? "If you're looking for elitism in the arts, you'll find it in the way arts organizations want to be perceived as a vital part of our everyday lives yet want to maintain the illusion that they're something separate from it: separate from politics, from money, from ego, from debate, from change. If they think they can do that forever, they're kidding themselves - and us." Boston Herald 01/07/00
  • REBIRTH OF A CITY: Hard to remember a decade or so ago when Manhattan was in distress - jobs fleeing, apartments going un-rented (really???), industry moving out... Today the Big Apple has transformed itself, added 80,000 new jobs last year and remade itself in the Information Age. New York Observer 01/10/00 
  • NAZI-STOLEN BOOKS: As World War II was coming to a close, staffers of the Library of Congress fanned out in Germany scouring Nazi book collections and picking out volumes for the Washington library - more than 1 million of them. Now - 55 years later - the US army captain in charge of the mission says that many of the books taken had been looted from Jewish homes, libraries or synagogues by the Nazis, and that these books are sitting unacknowledged on the shelves of the Library of Congress and other American libraries. Washington Post 01/05/00
  • SOMBER AND MOROSE: Is that any way to party for the new millennium? As international TV coverage of New Year's parties from world capitals rolled on, Canada's capital was absent. Now complaints about the New Year's Eve show on Parliament Hill have been pouring in from people who found the spectacle "pathetic" and an "embarrassment." "Accustomed to the usual $2-million Canada Day spectacular, they got a half-price special." Ottawa Citizen 01/04/00
  • BROKE BERLIN: "For a city of around 3.5 million souls, the sheer volume of cultural life is staggering: eight symphony orchestras, numerous choirs, chamber orchestras and three major opera houses, not to mention myriad theatres, museums, galleries and festival organizations." All of which makes for a splendid cultural scene. But behind it all, the arts world is in chaos - it all costs money and Berlin is spectacularly broke. Toronto Globe and Mail 01/03/00 
  • BOSTON ADVOCATE: Since the city's cultural commissioner resigned a year ago, the local arts community has been without an advocate in government. "This is a critical time for artists,'' says one critic. Major development plans for the city are being completed without input from artists. Boston Herald 01/03/00

 

 

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