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ARTS ISSUES - December 1999

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  • BIG BLOW: Enormous storms that have swept across Europe in the past week have damaged French monuments to the tune of $90 million. CBC 12/31/99
  • BUILDING BOOM: London will see an unprecedented new array of lottery-funded arts buildings built in the new year. Prepare to be transformed. London Telegraph 12/31/99
  • EXPERTS IN NOT KNOWING: Pretending to know is a ticket to nowhere. Knowing you don't know is a good thing, a creative and freeing thing. A company that teaches the creativity in knowing you don't know. Financial Times 12/30/99
  • IRONIC ISN'T IT? There's a backlash against everything else - why not irony too? But it's hardly likely. "If irony isn't literally wired into the human brain, it seems an inevitable response to the human condition." Newsweek 1/1/00
  • A YEAR IN ARTS:  Artswire looks at a year of arts events and news. Artswire Current 12/29/99
  • SOME HONOR: This year's Kennedy Center Honors telecast (to be broadcast tonight) is so puffed up with itself, it borders on self parody. The show's creaky format has outlived the honors bestowed. Washington Post 12/29/99 
  • IT WORKED FOR LONDON BRIDGE: Richard Branson is considering trying to buy London's Millennium Dome when 2000 celebrations are done. Variety 12/29/99 
  • COLOR ONLY INSIDE THE LINES (OR ELSE): In a decade when Singapore has congratulated itself on the flourishing of its arts, times haven't been so good for those artists who dared say unpopular things. Singapore Straits Times 12/29/99
  • BODY SLAM ON ARTS: Jesse Ventura explains his position on the arts in an upcoming March Playboy mag interview sequel: The government shouldn't be funding arts. "if a person wants to be an artist and is struggling financially, then they should support themselves by waiting tables. If you're going to ask the government to subsidize artists, then you might as well subsidize stock car racers, too," he adds. New York Daily News 12/29/99
  • FERRETING OUT: A millennial eve concert in Greenwich starring Simply Red, The Eurythmics, and Bryan Ferry and the London Symphony Orchestra is saved by trained ferrets who pulled electrical sound and lighting cables through tunnels beneath the stage. BBC 12/29/99
  • INTERNET STANDARD TIME? Britain's Tony Blair proposes that Greenwich Time be adopted as a standardized world electronic time. BBC 12/28/99
  • SUDDENLY SYDNEY: Sydney, Australia will be the first major city to usher in the new millennium - the first to see whether Y2K is Y2Hype. But hey, it's the middle of summer and the party's just beginning. Wired 12/27/99
  • MOUSE FEVER: Hong Kong has rolled out the red carpet for Disney and its new theme park. Singapore Straits Times 12/27/99 
  • A FIGHT OVER "LEONARDO": "Cultural organizations were some of the first people on the Net, and certain names are very valuable. And now there are people who are trying to cash in." Wired 12/23/99
  • A CULTURAL ZONE FOR TOKYO: The northeast corner of Tokyo boasts the biggest concentration of museums in the country. Now a plan to make a cultural zone out of them. The Art Newspaper 12/23/99
  • GIFT-GIVING GLOBES: Controversy has erupted around the Golden Globe awards over policy of allowing the giving of promotional gifts to voting members. CBC 12/22/99
    • And: VOTERS: Return expensive watches. Cleveland Plain Dealer (AP) 12/22/99
    • Previously: GOLDEN GLOBE nominees announced. Washington Post 12/21/99
    • And: Complete list Washington Post 12/21/99
  • REPORTING THE ARTS: Authors of a National Arts Journalism Program study on arts coverage in America have it wrong, maintains one critic. It isn't so much the coverage of art that is the problem as the art itself. "High Art is no longer even a hard sell. It is an impossible sell, except as a macabre spectacle." The Idler 12/20/99
  • "NOW" and "THEN" ART: Is it really true there's been a cultural boom in America? Just what is doing the booming? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12/19/99
  • A CITY DIVIDED: "Idealized, sometimes fragmentary, built of the imaginations of its scholars and poets and painters even more than its planners and politicians and architects, it is the great myth that bears endless examination." Sydney Morning Herald 12/20/99
  • CAPPED OUT: Egyptians have decided not to place a golden cap atop the Great Pyramid as part of a grand celebration to mark the ringing in of the new millennium. The Times of India 12/20/99 
  • IN SEARCH OF: Los Angeles' Disney Concert Hall finally broke ground last week. Maybe the city has drawn closer to creating a cultural hub that works. And yet... Los Angeles Times 12/19/99
  • CULTURAL MAKEOVER: Major Australian government national report on the state of the arts recommends a reshaping of the country's cultural landscape. Sydney Morning Herald 12/17/99
  • BETWEEN JUDGMENT AND BEAUTY: Trying to come to terms with questions of aesthetic judgment. "The trouble is that it has proved impossible to establish the principles that govern the production of aesthetic pleasure." Threepenny Review 12/99
  • ARTISTS OPPOSE RESALE LEVY The Art Newspaper 12/17/99
    • Previously: IF ELTON JOHN AND THE SPICE GIRLS GET IT, why not Damien Hirst? The case for a resale levy on art sold in Europe. 12/16/99
    •   And: BRITAIN FIGHTS RESALE LEVY: European Commission has proposed a levy on the resale of art in Europe to go to artists. The London Times writes that "A recent report to the French National Assembly shows that most artists lose more than they gain from the levy. It penalizes the least successful, whose work is not resold, because buyers ask for reductions on first sales to take account of future resale levies. Nearly half the money collected goes to the most prosperous 3 per cent; 97 per cent receive less than £300, of which the collecting agency keeps a fifth. And, to avoid the levy, all but 7.6 per cent of French paintings are now sold in New York and London." London Times 12/15/99
  • INVERTED PYRAMID: Egypt will celebrate the millennium with a 24-hour program atop the Great Pyramid. One critic wonders why we have to deface great works of art. Have we lost our ability to revere? Why must great art be accessibilized? National Post (Canada) 12/16/99
  • NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS makes $20 million in grants. Here's the national list. NEA 12/15/99
  • "HIGH ART" TURN-OFF: Discouraging new study says after a half-century of English Arts Council's attempts to broaden appreciation for the arts, British teenagers feel "alienated" and excluded from the "high arts." London Evening Standard 12/15/99
  • TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE ARTS? This fall the arts have attracted unprecedented attention in Scotland. Now everyone's an arts reporter, and the result isn't always pretty. The Herald (Glasgow) 12/15/99
  • THE WHAT-MIGHT-HAVE-BEENS Critic fantasizes about artistic collaborations that might have taken place this century but didn't. Leonard Bernstein and Barbra Streisand? The Independent 12/14/99
  • ANTI ANTI ADVOCACY: Thanks to lobbying by non-profits, US Congress has killed a provision that would have prohibited political advocacy for some 501 (C)3's. Backstage 12/13/99
  • HACKED OFF: Australia's new net censorship laws are to go into effect in January. Last week, the agency set to enforce the laws had its website hacked. Wired 12/13/99
  • MORAL RIGHTS: After years of debate Australia proposes moral rights legislation to protect authors, artists and filmmakers. Sydney Morning Herald 12/10/99 
  • ARTIST ROYALTY SCHEME BLOCKED: An EU plan that would have given artists a 4 percent cut every time one of their works was sold in Europe has been voted down. BBC 12/8/99
  • KENNEDY CENTER AWARDS: Lives in the arts celebrated Sunday in Washington DC. New York Times 12/6/99 (one-time registration required)
  • MILLENNIAL MYTHS: Enough with the millennium already. Most people can't even spell it. And then there are all these books rooting around for some way to make sense of....what? Evening Standard 12/5/99
  • TIME TO REFLECT: It's the end of the century, the millennium. Time to reflect. But who has time to keep up with the information of the past month, let alone 100 or 1000 years? Overload in the Age of Information. National Post 12/4/99
  • NO LESS A MIRACLE: Gala reopening of Covent Garden was marked by the determination of all involved that nothing should go amiss. The Observer 12/4/99
  • PALACE OF THE PEOPLE: Once thought of as the imperial heart of culture in an acultural town, the Kennedy Center has transformed itself into a place for all people. New York Times 12/5/99 (one-time registration required)
  • HERE WE GO AGAIN: Two US senators claim violence on television is actually up 30 percent since Congress raised concerns in 1997.“This is an industry that’s stiffing us, an industry that’s simply not responding to these appeals from across the country.” Variety 12/2/99
  • HALF-BAKED: Washington Post critic complained in his review that the show he was writing about was too short. No kidding! Don't leave at intermission then. Here's the day-after correction. Washington Post 12/1/99
  • CONGRESSIONAL SCORECARD: A rundown of legislation and funding pertaining to the arts that made it through the final US Congressional session of the century. Backstage 12/1/99
  • TOO MUCH TOO LATE: Covent Garden opens tonight, but what should have been a grand opening celebration is marred by things left undone to the last minute. This is not right, writes critic Norman Lebrecht: "Much of our cultural map is a mosaic of mediocrity and make-do. Covent Garden exists to excel." London Telegraph 12/1/99