Tuesday October 31
- ASIAN ARTS MECCA: A Taipei official has pledged to
make the city "the cultural city of the Asia-Pacific,"
beginning with a year-long arts festival of work from 10 nearby
countries. "The Europeans know their neighbors well - they
learn each others' languages, histories, and literature and they
work together to form a cultural power house. Someday, perhaps,
our children will not only learn English and French and German
but also confidently speak Vietnamese and Korean, read Sanskrit
and write Chinese." China Times 10/31/00
THE ARTS: At a forum on the future of the arts, Australian
artists launch "a withering attack on the government, the
arts media, populism and the boards of the performing arts companies.
One cited the image of Nicky Webster's 'Dream' at the opening
ceremony of the Sydney Olympics as a metaphor for a bland and
hypocritical culture that says it embraces diversity but does
otherwise. 'You cannot present to the world your culture as the
dream of a white 10-year-old school girl'." The
Age (Melbourne) 10/31/00
Monday October 30
COME TO PRAISE THE CITY: "The modern city is a city of contradictions....it
houses many ethnes, many cultures, many religions. [It] is too
fragmentary, too full of contrast and strife; it must therefore
have many faces, not one.... The lack of any coherent, explicit,
image may therefore, in our circumstances, be a positive virtue,
not a fault, or even a problem." The
New Republic 10/30/00
SO GREAT? " 'A History of Britain with Simon Schama',
is this year's big-budget blow-out to maintain the BBC's stature
as the carrier of High Knowledge. Now it's time to come home,
to let history put the Great back into Great Britain. Great, because
every step of Schama's grand tour of digs and cathedrals, battlefields
and museums, is filled with self- congratulation. Self-congratulation
for the historian, for the corporation and, above all, the 'nation'."
But can we trust it? New Statesman
Sunday October 29
THIS - PLEASE! It's been 13 years since a conservative movement
succeeded in getting warning labels afixed to recordings thought
to be potentially offensive. And what's happened to labels? "These
days, if you mean business in the market, you'd better have a
sticker." The labels have come to signify edgier work and
- not surprisingly - that's the music kids want to listen to.
So what, really, is the point of labels? Pittsburgh
TO GREATNESS: Whether it's Jimi Hendrix's guitar or Leonardo's
snuff box, we've always had a fascination for relics. "Russell
Martin’s new book, "Beethoven’s Hair," is a wonderful contemplation
of how relics can become bridges between people separated by time,
culture and death. "Beethoven’s Hair" also gives us a long, inspiring
look at passion in several forms." The
Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/29/00
Friday October 27
HEAD OF LINCOLN CENTER: New York's Lincoln Center "is
poised to name one of its own, Gordon J. Davis, the chairman of
Jazz at Lincoln Center and a former New York City parks commissioner,
to lead the organization through the nation's biggest arts rebuilding
project." New York Times 10/27/00
(onetime registration required for entry)
IT ON PO-MO? Post-Modernism has got a bad name. "Mind
you, most of them are never quite sure what postmodernism might
be, but they know that it's evil. Indeed, all of the contemporary
world's ills can be sheeted home to its pernicious influence."
And yet, ultimately, civilization will continue.
Sydney Morning Herald 10/27/00
A PRACTICAL DEFINITION OF POST-MODERNISM: According to
John Barth: "Postmodernism consists somehow of being able
to tie your necktie in a perfect full-Windsor knot while telling
somebody what the stages are in tying a necktie - and at the
same time discoursing on the history of men's neckwear from
the court of Louis XIV to the present and still not screwing
up the knot." Chicago Tribune
TIME TO SAVE: "There's an interesting debate on the streets
of Beijing. On one level it is about ripping down old neighbourhoods
and replacing them with gleaming new developments. On another
it is about Western ideas of what China is - or was - and what
it ought to be. Beijing is changing so rapidly it is hard to keep
track of the speed with which whole suburbs are transformed. Greed
and speed are conspiring to obliterate the old before any evaluation
of what might be worth preserving." Sydney
Morning Herald 10/26/00
- THE MIGHTY PR MACHINE: Massive public relations campaigns
drive the visual arts industry in much the same way they do politics
and advertising, so it might be worth asking just what the word
"public" means in the art world today. "Broadly
speaking, artists and curators have typically thought of the public
(if at all) as an anonymous mass, ill-equipped and naive, that
needs to be "educated," while the public has tended
to see artists as arrogant, self-regarding and even downright
silly. There is some truth, I think, in both views." The Age (Melbourne) 10/25/00
- THE NAME GAME: UCLA has agreed to restore the
name of its concert hall to Arnold Schoenberg Hall, in honor of
the great composer who taught on campus in the ‘30s and ‘40s.
When the university announced a new dedicatee last month, record
industry exec Mo Ostin, a slew of public protests ensued. "The
Schoenberg renaming is not the first of its kind. I am told that
the cinema at UCLA's film school was de-plaqued, dumping a pioneering
faculty member for a recent donor. Evidence from other US campuses
suggests that the practice is widespread. Not since Stalin revised
the great Soviet encyclopedia have famous persons been erased
with such zeal." The Telegraph (London)
Tuesday October 24
INDIGENOUS WORK: Some 2,500 indigenous artists from 26 countries
across the world are on their way to to Noumea, New Caledonia
for a festival. "But many of the local Kanak artists have
decided actions speak louder than words, and have voted to boycott
the international festival which begins today and includes a delegation
of more than 100 Australian indigenous artists. New Caledonia's
paucity of copyright legislation is at the heart of the dispute."
Sydney Morning Herald 10/24/00
AND NEWSPAPERS: London's Guardian newspaper has hired an artist-in-residence.
He is Michael Atavar, and "playing the role of idiot savant
outsider, he may illuminate some aspect of our work, or he may
add previously unimagined meaning to it. Then again, he may just
shrug and wander off. It really doesn't matter. In a giant shift
of culture, we're trying not to be prescriptive: so no deadlines,
no brief, and no project as such." The
Guardian (London) 1024/00
FOR THE ARTS? A new Canadian study is investigating whether
arts education helps children do better in math, reading and writing.
The study is also looking at race and socio-economic factors that
may play a factor in a child's involvement in the arts.
Monday October 23
HIGH TO LOW: "Just last week, architect Daniel Libeskind
suggested that contemporary museum designers could learn a lot
from shopping malls. Contemporary experience is riddled with such
categorical confusions. The commonplace becomes the aristocratic,
an elite finds its values affirmed in the everyday. As much as
debate on high and low culture seeks to affirm their difference,
increasingly what emerges is a recognition of their equivalence."
The Age (Melbourne) 10/23/00
HERE: A century ago in Paris, "when artists couldn't
find a place to live, they would look for an uninhabited building
and claim their right, under French law, to squat." The practice
has been making a comeback, and today there are some 15 artist
squats in Paris. "Some cater to visual art, others to music
and still others to theatre." CBC
Sunday October 22
DIRECTIVE? Singapore's minister for information and the arts
called on his country's artists to "balance artistic integrity
with social responsibility, as they develop the arts scene here.
'Artists sometimes appear to forget that they have audiences...
Great art can be shocking or startling, but perhaps it is more
important it be compelling and intelligent. It can be bold and
daring, but it should also be sensitive and searching.''
Singapore Straits-Times 10/22/00
OF THE BUTTS: "Last year, Damien Hirst made a tidy sum
by producing a limited edition design for Camel cigarettes. Now,
the anti-smoking lobby, having seen the wonders a little artistic
street-cred can do for the tobacco industry, has decided to beat
the cigarette barons at their own game. An exhibition will open
in London next month displaying the work of 20 contemporary artists
commissioned to produce images to encourage people to give up."
The Independent 10/22/00
Friday October 20
- ARTS FOR LESS: Australian performing arts audiences
stand to receive about $2 million in refunds, following the Australian
government’s decision to exempt arts organizations from the GST
tax it imposed earlier this year, thereby initiating a retroactive
refund of all qualifying tickets purchased since July 1. Sydney Morning Herald 10/20/00
END OF THE VEGAS LOUNGE LIZARD? The Las Vegas lounge lizard
is slithering away. More and more of the Vegas lounges are closing,
and the lounge singer - as true a symbol of Vegas as any - is
being replaced (mostly by magicians and illusionists).
Chicago Tribune (AP) 10/20/00
SHERIFF IN TOWN: The head of the Canadian province of Alberta's
government arts funder has a new formula for awarding grants,
and the arts groups don't like it: "When I first arrived, grants
were based on how much money you spent, and my view is, that just
encouraged profligate spending. I said, no, grants should be based
on revenue. So there's a huge incentive to go out there and raise
money in the community, to sell tickets, to do whatever you have
to do." CBC 10/18/00
ARE THE FIRST TO GO: With rising rents and artists being evicted
from their work spaces, "San Francisco is in danger of becoming
a place where art is presented but no longer created. Everybody
knows what the problem is: lots of money and new development increasingly
putting cutting-edge culture out on the streets. Can the city
prevent further erosion of its diverse artistic heritage? Some
say it may be too late." San
Francisco Chronicle 10/19/00
Where are the artists leaving San Francisco going? "Some
are moving to New York, traditionally the mecca for artists.
A number of artists and gallery owners are relocating to Los
Angeles, a sprawling megalopolis where warehouses and apartments
are far more plentiful and less expensive, and the gallery
scene is popping." San Francisco
HAVES GET HAVIER: While
leading-edge ensembles and artists struggle to keep their
heads above water financially, the good times - and the bucks
- are rolling at the city's major arts organizations.
San Francisco Chronicle 10/19/00
CITIES/SAME SCENARIO: Other
cities - such as Chicago and Seattle - in the midst of economic
good times are having the same problems with high rents displacing
artists. San Francisco Chronicle
TAX BREAK: The Australian government has decided to exempt
high-art organizations from the 10 percent GST tax it began imposing
earlier this year. The decision "effectively puts organisations
including the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Victorian Ballet,
Playbox and Opera Australia in the same tax-exemption category
as charity groups and school fetes." The
Herald Sun (Australia 10/19/00
DOME WINS AWARD: London's Millennium Dome might have been
an enormous political, financial and popular flop, but it was
a hit with builders. The British Construction Industry Association
has given the Dome its top honor. The Dome's "roof covers
twice the area of any comparable structure in the world and was
built in just a year, for a lower cost per unit area than the
cheapest retail shed." The Telegraph
NO MORE: The Bolshoi Theatre is a wreck - physically, artistically
and on just about any other term you want to consider it. Things
have deteriorated so far that last month the Russian government
stepped in to seize control. But is it too late?
The Scotsman 10/18/00
SQUEEZE: San Francisco’s explosive economy,
and skyrocketing rents, are threatening the city’s vibrant arts
scene. "Artists feel under siege - and many fear that the
city that once sent a generation of young people on the road following
Jack Kerouac in the '50s, turned the world on to the Summer of
Love in the '60s and nurtured the creation of the Pulitzer-winning
AIDS drama ``Angels in America'' in the '90s is in danger of becoming
one big office park with Victorian architecture." San
Francisco Chronicle 10/17/00
FLATTERY GETS YOU NOWHERE: A regularly outspoken critic of
the Royal Opera House’s former management, Raymond Gubbay has
applied to run the institution after Michael Kaiser’s departure.
In his application Gubbay called the Opera House "the preserve
of the rich, the influential and those concerned with corporate
entertainment." London Times 10/18/00
CAN FIX THIS: Gubbay "calls
for a higher status for the Executive Director which would
put him or her above the Music Director and the Artistic Director
of the Royal Ballet. He also wants more performances, longer
production runs and cheaper seats." London
Evening Standard 10/18/00
Tuesday October 17
INCREASE ASSURED: The US Senate passes a $7 million increase
in the budget for the National Endowment for the Arts - its first
significant increase since 1992.
AMONG MANY: The English language has spread so far around
the world that many expect it to be the dominant language of the
future, the international language. But will it be? It's not at
all certain - just as one example, "people who expect English
to triumph over all other languages are sometimes surprised to
learn that the world today holds three times as many native speakers
of Chinese as native speakers of English."
The Atlantic 11/00
Monday October 16
ETERNAL QUESTION: What is art? The Age newspaper goes out
and asks artists and the general public to give their definitions
(in one sentence). No two answers were the same.
Age (Melbourne) 10/16/00
KEEP-AWAY WITH THE CENSORSHIP RULES: Australia's politicians
have gone on a rampage of legislation tightening censorship rules.
"Film censorship rules have to be tightened next time they
come up for review. Censorship of magazines has already been tightened.
Porn has been squeezed. A review of video games is under way."
But a survey of Australians says that Aussies don't see much need
for these clampdowns.
Sydney Morning Herald 10/16/00
SECRETARY UNDER ATTACK: "After nearly three-and-a-half
relatively smooth years as Secretary of State for Culture, Media
and Sport, everything seems to be going wrong for Chris Smith
at the same time. The future of the National Lottery is in doubt.
Tomorrow the BBC is launching its new 10pm BBC News, against
his wishes. The Millennium Dome is an ongoing disaster. There
has been widespread criticism of the performances of subsidised
institutions such as the National Theatre and the Royal Opera
House." The Independent
LEADER ATTACKS "LAZY" COLLEAGUES: "Graham Sheffield,
artistic director of the Barbican Centre, in London, has broken
with convention to launch an unprecedented attack on his colleagues.
It is the first time someone that from inside the arts world has
publicly alleged that weaknesses and unaccountability in world-famous
institutions such as the National Theatre and Royal Academy were
failing the public."
The Independent (London) 10/16/00
THE CULTURAL CAPITAL? Melbourne likes to think of itself as
the cultural capital of Australia. But is the city's position
slipping? "Melbourne used to love itself and support itself,
but that's happening in Sydney now, where there's a sense that
it's trendy to be at the theatre."
The Age (Melbourne)
Sunday October 15
NEW CRITICS: "After more than a century of professional
literary criticism, when the erudite few lorded over discussions
of artistic merit, the rules have changed. Thanks to the Internet,
anybody can now join ongoing - and very public - evaluations of
books, recordings, films and many other materials, with a potential
audience of millions of readers.
Washington Post 10/15/00
OF BUILDING: "During the past decade, new American performing
arts facilities have been popping up like mushrooms after a rain,
but architecturally they've been a pusillanimous lot. When not
actively nostalgic, as in Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall,
they've tended to favor a kind of buttoned-down corporate look,
as in Seattle's Benaroya Hall, or shopping-mall lite, as in Fort
Lauderdale's Broward Center and West Palm Beach's Kravis Center."
Dallas Morning News 10/15/00
TROUBLE WHILE BIG SPENDING: Ireland's Arts Council has been
wracked with turmoil this year - board resignations, demoralized
staff, and everywhere criticism even as the council was laying
plans to spend £100 million over the next three years.
Sunday Times (London) 10/15/00
WAR IS OVER? Eight years ago Pat Buchanan was calling a "cultural
war" in the United States. But this presidential campaign
"the blistering cultural issues of the early '90s - federal
funding of the arts, naughty pictures, tart-tongued, disrobed
performers - are on today's back burners. The anti-arts, far-right-wing
Buchanan voice lost. They thought it would be easy, the elimination
of the National Endowment for the Arts based on arguments of pornography
and blasphemy. And they lost."
Friday October 13
DECLINING YEARS (EARLIER THAN YOU THINK?): Does intellectual
ability decline with age? Does our brain begin to lose its tone
after the age of 30? That's the age when physicists and mathematicians
are thought to have passed their prime. On the other hand, historians
often don't make their best contributions until they've reached
their 60s. Feed 10/12/00
VEGAS, CITY OF EXILES? Las Vegas, hungry to prove that it
has a sophisticated side, is the first American city to join an
international program for writers escaping terror or turmoil.
Los Angeles Times 10/12/00
SUPPORT: The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation has
awarded $250,000 to a young Singaporean violinist to further her
career. The award is the first of the bank's Youth Excellence
Initiatives. "To aspirants, she will show that there will
be support if you have the talent.''
Singapore Straits-Times 10/12/00
OF THE SAME OLD SAME OLD: A new book charges that the contemporary
art world has become far too narrow-minded. "Shock art is
the safest kind of art that an artist can go into the business
of making today. The real mavericks of our time have been working
quietly and carefully for years in their studios producing wonderful
work few people have seen. And that even though the NEA is not
the cause of the various ills we've seen, it is to a great degree
an embodiment of the problem." Salon
COMMITMENT TO THE ARTS: Boston's mayor likes to boast of his
commitment to the arts. But a new report suggests that Boston's
Office of Cultural Affairs is in disarray. Last month a request
for a three-year grant to the Boston Office of Cultural Affairs
from the state was rejected by a panel. The city was further embarrassed
when the state panel gave the Boston agency the lowest rating
of all 36 applications by arts organizations across the state.
Boston Herald 10/11/00
Tuesday October 10
SEARCH OF THE BIG BREAK: The Big Break - it's what performers
live for. It's what makes their careers. But what about those
very talented musicians whose Big Break never comes? What are
the forces that conspire to be that Big Break?
Monday October 9
- So what experience does either
of the US presidential candidates have in the arts? AL
GORE "favors public funding for the arts, has a passion
for van Gogh—and relaxes by painting abstractions." While
W. BUSH "takes a moderate stance on government
support and has a taste for American Western art."
CHEAPENING OF APPLAUSE: "New
inductees into the world of performing arts can't seem to differentiate
between what is merely mediocre and what is truly exceptional.
This is can be seen clearly at the end of every performance I
have attended over the last 2 years. Every
performance, good, bad, or ugly received a standing ovation from
the audience. Every one. Ultimately, this cheapens the performance."
OF CONVERSATION IN CANADA: "What I've been thinking -
just to while away the gaps in the dinner banter about Toronto
real-estate prices - is that there can't be many other nationalities
that can devote three hours to watching an opera and then, by
way of commenting on the experience, step amid the throng of fellow
opera-lovers from the theatre foyer into the crisp, clear air,
and, pondering the immensities of beauty and life and death that
are still swirling around the memories of so stunning a performance,
ask what parking level the car is on."
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 10/09/00
Sunday October 8
THE DOT-COMMIES: San Francisco's dotcom companies are hiring
guards to protect their offices, which have recently been vandalized
by protestors. "The uprising against "dot-commies",
who are blamed by residents for ruining the city's mellow reputation
and artistic heritage, is led by two protest groups, the Yuppie
Eradication Project and AARGG! (All Against Ruthless Greedy Gentrification)."
The Telegraph (London) 10/08/00
THE ARTS LOTTERY: The British government arts minister who
has advocated Richard Branson taking over the running of the national
arts lottery was formerly on Branson's payroll.
ARTS IN DENVER: How big a deal are the arts in Denver? A new
study paints the picture - the arts are the city's seventh largest
employer. They had a $844 million local economic impact last year,
up 31 percent since 1997. Rocky
Mountain News 10/08/00
Friday October 6
BOOST FOR NEA: US Senate approves $7 million increase in budget
for the National Endowment for the Arts. It's the first funding
increase in eight years. Washington
Post (Reuters) 10/06/00
of Congressional funding for America's cultural institutions
(including money to build an exhibit at the National zoo for
farm animals? "This will raise the lowly mule, chicken
and pig to the same status as the zoo's celebrated cheetahs
and mountain lions.") Washington
DAMN DOT: Artists in San Francisco march on city hall to protest
high rents and evictions due to the Dot-com boom. Los
Angeles Times (Reuters) 10/05/00
YOU IN THE FUNNY PAGES: A writer uses the dissemination of
comic books as a model to imagine a brave new world where artistic
products are distributed solely according to their merit and interest.
ARTS: The Olympics are over and the Sydney Games are judged
a success. But there was an arts festival attached to the games
too (as required by the IOC). How'd it go?
Sydney Morning Herald 10/06/00
AND LOWS: Italian tenor Andrea
Bocelli and French ballerina Sylvie Guillem pulled in audiences
- the Asian Youth Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony and Australian
Ballet attracted disappointing houses. Sydney
Morning Herald 10/06/00
A BETTER CONGRESS: Think of all the lawyers and business-people
who populate Congress. But in the 20th Century there was only
one architect served in Congress. Why not more? Hard to say -
"The creative process of architects is a constructive, inclusive
process - therefore more diplomatic than the aggressive and adversarial
methods of engagement in politics ... Yet they have always seemed
to be supporting actors at best or bit players at worst, in the
various dramas unfolding on society's main stage..."
Boston Globe 10/05/00
POST-MODERNIST WEB: "In the postmodern realm of cyberspace
no 'grand' narratives, all-encompassing stories, or over-pervasive
myths either impose their guidance or legitimate specific approaches.
We do not encounter in cyberspace such good old stories as the
dialectic of the Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation
of the rational/working subject, or the creation of wealth."
CONSERVATORY ONLINE: A Canadian man has come up with software
that allows teachers to teach music in real time over the internet.
Keyboards plugged into computers allow immediate interaction between
teacher and student, even if they're thousands of miles away.
Tuesday October 3
TO THE CROWDS AT THE EXPENSE OF SCHOLARSHIP: The US's National
Endowment for the Humanities has been supporting popular traveling
exhibitions in an attempt to reach out to audiences. "To
many scholars, the idea that the endowment supports barn photography
with enthusiasm while it considers cutting scholarly projects
represents a terrible shift in priorities. And to these scholars,
the shift couldn't come at a worse time, since the agency is already
short on cash, with a budget of only $115-million."
Chronicle of Higher Education 10/02/00
Monday October 2
TRUDEAU AND THE ARTS: Artists reflect on Trudeau's arts legacy.
"Although he was not responsible for the initial commitment
of the federal government to fund Canadian artists, he certainly
made sure they were well supported during his years in office."
ARTS CONFAB: "The Canada Council for the Arts unveiled
its plans yesterday to host a World Summit on the Arts and Culture.
Two thousand representatives of arts councils and funding bodies
from more than 50 countries will meet in Ottawa this December."
PLAYERS: How many artists' work would benefit from a good
partnership? The New York Times 10/02/00
(one-time registration required for entry)
ART OF COMMUNICATING: "The answer to the problems facing
humankind in the 21st century was not more action, but more talk.
Not lectures, nor speeches, nor poetry, nor prose, nor song, nor
stories, nor debates, nor testimony, nor prayer, nor trials, nor
sales pitches, nor talking cures, nor motivational speakers. Only
one type of speech was called for: Facing a new millenium, in
the age of the internet, what was needed was more conversation."
The Idler 10/02/00
AGREE ON VIOLENCE AND MEDIA: Aren't politicians supposed to
disagree? So what's with all the concern over violence and the
entertainment industry? "When you actually look back through
the public record and study the candidates' various utterances
on this topic, the striking thing is how similar - virtually identical,
in fact - their stated positions are."
Hartford Courant 10/01/00
Sunday October 1
4 LESS CONCERT HALL? Big donors are essential to financing
art these days, particularly arts buildings and big opera productions.
But the largesse as often as not comes with strings. Slapping
a picture of your most prominent donor in the program is one thing.
But renaming your home or producing art because a donor wants
to fund it is something else. Los
Angeles Times 10/01/00
ARTS MAYOR? Chicago's Mayor Daly doesn't just pay lip service
to the arts. "He has realized that good arts and entertainment
is good for the city, and, in a non-artsy way, he has given the
arts of Chicago a public and accessible forum." Better yet,
his attentions are resulting in things happening for the arts.
Chicago Tribune 10/01/00
PATHOLOGY OF HISTORY: Is England "an average nation with
a fairly typically chaotic past?" You might think so given
the lack of care with which modern-day Britons view their own
history. But a new book and BBC series seek to take a fresh look
at the country's identity. Sunday