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Wednesday October 31

ALL-KNOWING: Australia's opposition Labour Party wants to get elected on a "knowledge nation" platform. The party promises to transform the country, injecting $176 million for 600 new specialist teachers, focusing on literacy and numeracy, $493 million for a fund to improve the quality of teaching and learning at universities, doubling the number of research fellowships and creating a new category of elite fellowships at a cost of $38 million, a new University of Australia Online, with 100,000 new online undergraduate places by 2010, costing $320 million, and 35,000 new high skill apprenticeships, costing $105 million. Sydney Morning Herald 10/31/01

NEED FOR MORE ART IN SCHOOLS: Prince Charles officially opens Tate Britain's expanded building. "Opening the gallery, the prince said that art history and art practice should be part of education." BBC 10/30/01

Tuesday October 30

ART IN THE NEW CENTURY: The new head of the Australia Council says digital art is a revolution. It is "new in the same way film and television were the defining cultural drivers of the 20th century, I cannot believe that digital arts and digital technology won't be the comparable driving force in this century. It's not just about how we produce art, it's how it will change the nature of audiences, how it will change the access and distribution to culture that will change." Sydney Morning Herald 10/30/01

ADELAIDE FUNDING RESTORED: Australia's Telstra has decided to reinstate its $500,000 support for the Adelaide Festival. The company had pulled its sponsorship after the festival ran ads featuring images of Hitler. The Age (Melbourne) 10/30/01

  • Previously: HITLER ADS PROVOKE ADELAIDE SPONSOR: The Adelaide Arts Festival has lost a major $500,000 sponsorship after the festival aired ads featuring Adolf Hitler. "A black-and-white television commercial shows the German World War Two dictator behind a camera apparently taking a photograph, then with his head superimposed on to the body of the painter Pablo Picasso, and again sitting in a film director's chair." 10/28/01

Monday October 29

HITLER ADS PROVOKE ADELAIDE SPONSOR: The Adelaide Arts Festival has lost a major $500,000 sponsorship after the festival aired ads featuring Adolf Hitler. "A black-and-white television commercial shows the German World War Two dictator behind a camera apparently taking a photograph, then with his head superimposed on to the body of the painter Pablo Picasso, and again sitting in a film director's chair." 10/28/01

  • SELLARS MIA: The embattled Adelaide Festival will announce its lineup next week. But festival director Peter Sellars won't be there. "The absence of Sellars has caused comment and private outrage in arts circles and South Australia's opposition arts spokeswoman, Carolyn Pickles, said yesterday it was highly unusual for him not to be present. The program launch, usually a closely orchestrated affair attended by national media, has typically been the moment at which the director unveils and explains his or her vision." Sydney Morning Herald 10/29/01

THE ART OF SHOCK: There have been "two longstanding fetishes in the history of art since the Enlightenment: that an artist is a kind of sacred warrior and art an 'attack' on societies that need to be refashioned. Artists, of course, are not terrorists, but Stockhausen was right to notice the affinity between their hard work, their discipline, their commitment to a message, even their sometimes macabre imagination. What he missed, besides the obvious fact that artists create and terrorists destroy - and this is as fundamental as good and evil - is that terrorists insist you get the message. Great artists have more grace." Washington Post 10/28/01

Sunday October 28

GIVING TO ARTS/CULTURE DRYING UP: Contributions to non-profits are down about 20-25 percent this year due to the bad economy. "The nonprofits in the most jeopardy are arts and cultural institutions, smaller organizations, those relying on only one or two large sources of funding and, especially, any group that hasn't worked diligently over the last several years to nurture its donor base and demonstrate its value." BusinessWeek 10/25/01

PERFORMING AS AN ART: When is performance art an art and not just embarrassing everyday life? "Performance became accepted as a medium in its own right in the 1970s, when conceptual art was in its heyday. Conceptual art demanded an art of ideas over product, and an art that couldn't be bought and sold. Performance became the demonstration and execution of those ideas." The Guardian (UK) 10/27/01

Friday October 26

SOUTH AFRICA'S RAW EDGE: South Africa's post-apartheid arts and artists are struggling. "The institutional framework for the arts, culture and heritage has changed significantly and for the better since 1994. The list of new policies, structures and legislation generated by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology is impressive, but adequate funding and efficient implementation are lacking in all areas, and some are in crisis." Daily Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 10/24/01

THE LANGUAGE THAT REFUSES TO DIE: "Dead" languages are those which no one uses any more. So, is Latin a dead language? That's the general attitude, but there's evidence to suggest it's reviving; perhaps it never died. "If Latin could survive being a required subject, it can survive anything. Epitaphs - even lapidary ones in capital letters - are premature." The Guardian (UK) 10/25/01

Thursday October 25

ALWAYS THE FIRST TO GO: The city of Phoenix is feeling a bit of a financial pinch, and members of the city council are turning against funding for local arts groups. The city's ballet and opera companies have been specifically targeted for cuts by two powerful councilmen. Arizona Republic 10/24/01

Wednesday October 24

A LESSON FROM HISTORY AND LITERATURE: For most of us, biological terror seems a distant reality, or it did until a couple weeks ago. Yet it is a constant element in literature and in history. The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, has always been nearby. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/24/01

Tuesday October 23

LINCOLN CENTER RESIGNATION: Lincoln Center loses another top exec. "Marshall Rose, who has served as the unpaid chairman of the center's redevelopment corporation, said he was stepping down because he had completed his work on a master plan. But it was widely known within Lincoln Center that he was intensely frustrated with the internecine battles that were hindering the project's advancement." The New York Times 10/23/01 (one-time registration required for access)

TESTING THE STANDARDS: Is the American SAT test endangered? "Today's critics have opened an assault on the use of what is essentially an IQ test to measure students' ability to learn. The outcome of the debate will affect how colleges with competitive admissions pick students, how racially diverse those students will be, and how high-school students prepare for college." Chronicle of Higher Education 10/22/01

Monday October 22

HOW EUROPE RULED THE WORLD: Why did Europe come to dominate world civilization? "Why did a relatively small and backward periphery on the western fringes of the Eurasian continent burst onto the world scene in the sixteenth century and by the nineteenth century become a dominant force in almost all corners of the earth? Until recently, two responses have dominated..." Lingua Franca 11/01

WHERE'S THE DEBATE? Since September 11, many college campuses have seen "attacks on professors who have been censured by administrators, deluged with hate mail, or otherwise intimidated for claiming that the United States is to blame for the terrorist assaults. In large measure, responsibility for the tattered condition of our campus culture of free speech must be assigned to the very professoriate that now seeks the shelter of that tradition's tolerance. Students, and the public at large, no longer believe that the academy is capable of providing the country with a balanced assessment of our national dilemma." Chronicle of Higher Education 10/22/01

Sunday October 21

RAISING MONEY FOR THE ARTS IS HARD TIMES: As the economy sours, what is the impact on arts organizations? Ticket sales are back up, but the effects on fundraising still aren't certain. "Generosity thrives on health and wealth. When the economy sours, and when disaster relief understandably attracts a sizable amount of available dollars, arts managers naturally worry." Chicago Tribune 10/21/01

SORTING OUT THE "A" IN A&E: In a world of entertainment, where did art go? If entertainment is now considered art because it reaches more people and therefore has greater impact, and art is entertainment because it tries to reach more people, then what do the distinctions of art in culture mean? The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/20/01

Friday October 19

CORK AS CULTURE CAPITAL: The Irish city of Cork has been named as Europe's Culture Capital for 2005. Previous cities named as culture capitals have been Barcelona, Lisbon and Helsinki, "while Glasgow’s reign in 1990 had a positive and long-lasting impact on the city’s economic and cultural fortunes." Gramophone 10/16/01

SURREALISM AS WAY OF LIFE: "Surrealism's most obvious legacy is a linguistic one. We call on the word 'surreal' in response to any situation where the fabulous or the bizarre impinges on our lives, where the boundaries between waking consciousness and the world of dreams seem temporarily blurred. Such occurrences have always been with us, the only difference being that now we have a handy, catch-all phrase with which to indicate and categorise them." New Statesman 10/15/01

Thursday October 18

ARTS IN IRELAND - THE BAD AND THE GOOD: On the one hand, "it seems the Arts Council has a reputation for being paternalistic, furtive and secretive in the way it has conducted its business." On the other, "the Republic is perceived, by observers in Britain at least, as particularly enlightened in the way it has passed legislation to support artists financially." The Irish Times 10/18/01

HAMBURG'S CULTURAL BATTLE: "As a center of the arts, Hamburg has always had a unique aura, extending far beyond Germany's borders." But the city has elected a new right-center government less receptive to Hamburg's adventurous cultural reputation. But new culture minister Nike Wagner, Richard Wagner's great-granddaughter and long a candidate to take over directorship of the famous annual Bayreuth Festival, is likely to champion the city's arts progressiveness." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/18/01

CREATIVITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A CELL PHONE: A French court agreed with composer Gabriel Yared that a cell phone relay tower "impaired his creative concentration," and ordered France Télécom to remove it. Fearing a rash of similar suits, France Télécom has left the tower standing, and is paying a fine while it appeals to a higher court. London Evening Standard 10/17/01

Wednesday October 17

IS THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER DEAD? "What Lincoln Center and South Bank have in common is their desperate need for a facelift. Both are showing their age. Both clung to the Sixties conceit that people who like classical music, for example, can be 'led' into other arts simply by having them in close proximity. Human nature, however, has changed since then. Citizens in open societies are not inclined to be led: they prefer to discover. The arts centre is a thing of the past, filled with superfluities." The Telegraph (UK) 10/17/01

SAFETY TRUMPS RIGHT TO LAMPOON: A prominent U.K. comedian has publicly condemned the nation's proposed antiterrorism legislation pending in the House of Commons. Rowan Atkinson (best known in the U.S. for his turn in Four Weddings and a Funeral) claims that a measure in the bill designed to prevent religious hate speech would have the effect of making the satirizing of religion a crime. He is backed by seveal of Britain's top satirists. BBC 10/17/01

Tuesday October 16

TRADING ON CULTURE: Canada's cultural minister wants to remove cultural issues from the purview of the World Trade Organization. She "wants either a new agency - or an existing one like UNESCO - to take over the responsibility for disputes on culture matters." She says it's essential "to be the work we are doing to get international support for an instrument on cultural diversity so culture is not traded off at the table of the WTO." CBC 10/16/01

Sunday October 14

HIGH ART OFTEN SPEECHLESS IN A CRISIS: "Although the artistic fruits of the recent national crisis and the current war have only begun to appear, the fine arts have not been particularly responsive to the major crises of American history." The enduring images of such times tend to be produced by non-artists whose work takes on artistic meaning after the fact. The New York Times 10/14/01 (one-time registration required for access)

NICE CHUNK OF CHANGE FOR AUSSIE TOURING: "The [Australian] government yesterday handed out more than $2.8 million in the latest round of the performing arts touring program." The Age (Melbourne) 10/14/01

SILENCING MUSIC'S POTENTIAL: Afghanistan's Taliban rulers have banned many things since coming to power five years ago. Some of the bans, like education for women and shaving for men, had an immediately visible impact. But when the hard-liners banned music, they may have taken away one of the most powerful forces for national unity. Music unites, as patriotic anthems the world over show. But can lack of music actually divide a people? The Guardian 10/13/01

Friday October 12

PARIS MUSEUMS CLOSED BY STRIKE: Several museums and tourist attractions in Paris have been shut down by striking workers, who are protesting a cut in their workweek. The Orsay Museum and the Arc de Triomphe were closed all day, while "the Louvre opened its doors only in mid-afternoon [Thursday], a day after workers let all visitors in for free as part of the protest." New Jersey Online(AP) 10/11/01

Thursday October 11

LINCOLN CENTER SQUABBLE: A dangerous game of politics is being played at New York's famous performing arts complex, and the future of a massive $1 billion redevelopment project is at stake. Sorting out exactly who among the center's many resident organizations wants what is difficult, but it is safe to say that no one is backing down without a fight. The New York Times 10/11/01 (one-time registration required for access)

SETTING PRECEDENT, OR JUST MUDDYING THE WATERS? "Finding the intersection between decades-old copyright law and where it applies in the digital world remains far off the map in the wake of a critical Supreme Court decision on Tuesday." Wired 10/10/01

ARTS AS AN ECONOMIC PLUS: The conventional wisdom in the U.S. has always been that the arts, while important, are fated to be a fiscal drag on society. But in Massachusetts, a mayor is on a crusade to show the world that public investment in the arts can be "an economic engine" for the community, and he's got the numbers to prove it. Boston Globe 10/11/01

LEGACY OF A DYING TONGUE: A culture has no more basic manifestation than its language. More than simply a method of communication, language tells us an astonishing amount about the priorities, the relative prosperity, and the values of the people who speak it. So what is lost when a language dies out? It's happening right now to a native American tongue called Dakota. City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul) 10/10/01

Wednesday October 10

SUPREMES SAY YOU GOTTA PAY: "In the second computer-age victory this year for free-lance journalists who contend they were cheated by big media companies, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal Tuesday from National Geographic over reprinted photos. The court, without comment, refused to take up a lower court ruling that the magazine should have paid free-lance photographers for pictures compiled on a compact disc." Wired 10/09/01

ON THE QUESTION OF REBUILDING: What, ultimately, should go where the World Trade Center once stood? Consider the decision at the other major US terrorism site. "In Oklahoma City, the former Murrah Building site became a memorial and the new building went up on an adjoining site. Clients and tenants all said they didn't want to work in a bunker. They did not want the building to be a memorial. They said the new building was about the future." Chicago Tribune 10/09/01

EXPORTING CULTURE: Germany's Goethe Institute, founded half a century ago to promote German art and culture around the world, is finding that the parameters of its mission are changing. "[W]e now live in the age of globalization, and those who continue to export culture as the extended arm of foreign policy, as a kind of minesweeping project for intercultural gaffes, make themselves redundant in the long run." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/09/01

Tuesday October 9

IRONY ALIVE AND KICKING: It took approximately 6.2 hours after the September 11 attacks for the first TV talking head to declare irony, satire, and humor to be dead forevermore. That the U.S. pundit corps would make such an outrageous assertion is not surprising - that so many people believed it is. But in the weeks since the attack, America's purveyors of laughter have shown themselves to be more valuable than ever. The New York Times 10/09/01 (one-time registration required for access)

TESTING FREE SPEECH ON CAMPUS: In the wake of September 11, the most commonly heard refrain is that "everything has changed." Even in America's most insulated environment, the college campus, the rules of decorum and discussion appear to be getting a makeover, as professors critical of U.S. government policy find themselves the targets of newly patriotic students. Chronicle of Higher Education 10/05/01

Monday October 8

CAPITAL CULTURE SWEEPSTAKES: British cities are scrambling for a chance to be named Europe's "Capital of Culture" in 2008. Why? "The initiative helped transform Glasgow from a declining manufacturing city to a centre for tourism and conferences. Glasgow is now the third most visited city in Britain behind London and Edinburgh." Still, since Glasgow held the honour in 1990, "the scheme has descended into confusion." The Guardian (UK) 10/05/01

UK ARTS FUNDING CRUNCH: "With the economic tide turning, the arguments for maintaining current levels of public spending on the arts - £37.5m a year - will be harder to make. The Arts Council has prepared for this eventuality, amassing vast quantities of data intended to show how greater efficiencies are being achieved, and how spending is being targeted more precisely. The problem is that while the council's flow charts may confirm greater efficiencies, the basic assumptions on which its spending is predicated are flawed." Sunday Times (UK) 10/07/01

DIFFICULT SPONSORSHIP: Corporate sponsorship of the arts may be tougher to come by due to the war. "Leaner times ahead had been signalled well before September 11 and sponsorship, especially from corporate donors, was already harder to find. The terrorists attacks have hastened that decline. So far the signs are mixed." Sunday Times (UK) 10/07/01

Friday Ocober 5

WHY DID LINCOLN CENTER PREZ QUIT? When Gordon Davis was named president of Lincoln Center last year, he described the post as his "dream job." But "what actually happened was a study in the treacherous—some would say dysfunctional—politics of the city’s largest and most fractious arts organization. Hamstrung by rivalries among the center’s warring constituent members; undercut by [Lincoln Center chairwoman] Beverly Sills, who seemed unwilling to cede power to her new president; and derided by staff members, who claimed he was unwilling—or unable—to make swift decisions, a disillusioned Mr. Davis finally called it quits on Sept. 27." New York Observer 10/03/01

Thursday October 4

HELP FOR THE ADELAIDE FESTIVAL: All the signs indicate that next year's Adelaide Festival is in for trouble. The economy is down, corporate sponsors are pulling out, and the budget has grown. So the South Australian government has added $2 million of support, raising the budget for the Peter Sellars-led festival to $5.5 million. The Age (Melbourne) 10/04/01

Wednesday October 3

BOOK WARNS OF COPYRIGHT CHILL: The US Congress moved quickly to protect copyright in the digital age. But too quickly? "As more and more 'speech' goes digital and as those digits get locked down with increasingly stronger clickwrap - copyright and copy protection measures - speech faces the very impediments the Constitution's framers took pains to avoid. 'It's very clear that reckless copyright enforcement can chill speech. We've gone too far. There are ways in which the copyright system becomes an engine for democratic culture. But once you increase the protection to an absurd level, you end up having a negative effect on this process." Wired 10/03/01

Tuesday October 2

STRINGS ATTACHED: No one gives more to the arts in America than Edythe and Eli Broad. Their largesse to Los Angeles arts causes is much appreciated. But does the generosity come at too high a price? Los Angeles Times 10/01/01