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PEOPLE - October 2001

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Tuesday October 30

THE WORLD'S MOST UNPRONOUNCABLE PRIZE: "The first recipient of Canada's single largest arts prize is Toronto theatre director Daniel Brooks, it was announced last night at a ceremony at the University of Toronto. Brooks, 43, was named the inaugural recipient of the Elinore and Lou Siminovitch Prize in Canadian Theatre, worth $100,000. The award, to be handed out annually, was created in January of this year to recognize an artist in mid-career 'who has contributed significantly to the fabric of theatrical life through a total body of work.'" The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 10/30/01

Monday October 29

FAMILY MATTERS: "The death of the billionaire aesthete Daniel Wildenstein has brought to an end the most revealing chapter so far in the history of perhaps the world’s wealthiest, most secretive family of art dealers." The Times (UK) 10/26/01

THE PICASSO VIRUS: In a remarkable new book, Picasso, My Grandfather, to be published on November 8, Marina Picasso describes how each member of the family became dependent on and cravenly submissive to Picasso's towering ego. 'The Picasso virus to which we fell victim was subtle and undetectable," she says. "It was a combination of promises not kept, abuse of power, mortification, contempt and, above all, incommunicability. We were defenceless against it'." Sunday Times (UK) 10/28/01

Friday October 26

THEROUX: UNDERSTANDING NAIPAUL: "About a month ago, without any noticeable provocation, VS Naipaul attacked the work and reputations of EM Forster, James Joyce, Dickens, Stendhal, JM Keynes, Wole Soyinka and the recently deceased RK Narayan. We who know Naipaul understand that gratuitous outbursts such as this nearly always precede the appearance of a Naipaul work. In spirit it is like a boxer’s frenzy of boasting and threats before an important match. The fact is that, even though I have suggested that Naipaul is a sourpuss, a cheapskate and a blamer, I have the highest regard for his work." Daily Mail & Guardian (South Africa) 10/24/01

BERGMAN'S STILL DIRECTING: "Ingmar Bergman is will stage a play for Swedish Television next year. The reclusive 83-year-old filmmaker will direct his chamber play Anna. Swedish media speculated it would be a sequel to Scenes From a Marriage, a six-part TV series that was made into a movie in 1973." Nando Times (AP) 10/25/01

Thursday October 25

PROMINENT COLLECTOR DIES: "Daniel Wildenstein, one of the world's leading art dealers and collectors whose family owns two prestigious Manhattan galleries, has died, the Wildenstein Institute said Thursday. He was 84." Washington Post (AP) 10/25/01

GLASS IN HOLLYWOOD: Considering the low esteem in which the public has generally held minimalist art, the continued popularity of composer Philip Glass is nothing short of astonishing. Somehow, Glass seems to have managed to bring life and surprise to a musical form designed to remove both, and his forays into the world of film scoring brought his work to a wide audience. A new project in L.A. offers audiences the chance to watch a "live" soundtrack: an ensemble playing Glass's music accompanies a series of new film shorts. Los Angeles Times 10/25/01

Wednesday October 24

ARTISTS WIN GENIUS AWARDS: The MacArthur Foundation has announced the recipients of this year's "Genius" awards. Among them, English pianist Stephen Hough; he'll get $500,000. BBC 10/24/01

HOWARD FINSTER, 84: One of the most well-known outsider artists has died. "Finster was considered a pioneer among self-taught artists, advancing the 'outsider' movement with his unique personality, unflagging salesmanship and resolute work ethic. For more than three decades, he traveled Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee preaching at tent revivals and supplementing his income with odd jobs, including plumbing and bicycle repair." MSNBC (AP) 10/23/01

Tuesday October 23

SO MUCH FOR PRIVILEGED ARTISTS: The Bolshoi's Maya Plisetskaya was one of the great ballerinas of the 20th Century. "The humiliations she and other artists endured at the hands of government handlers and arts bureaucrats challenge popular notions of the privileged lives of Soviet artists. Always forced to beg — to travel, to prepare new works, to be paid fairly — Plisetskaya and her colleagues more closely resembled Russian serf artists of the 18th century than cultural workers in a modern socialist state." The New York Times 10/23/01 (one-time registration required for access)

SEARCHING FOR THAT OLD FEELING: Few icons of the American essay enjoy the success that Russell Baker has achieved in his life. From his various memoirs of growing up, which still sell quite well, to his popular New York Times op-ed pieces, which he retired from writing several years back, his trademark style has been a constant for countless readers. But these days, Baker isn't finding much about the world to make light of, and it's not just the current tensions that are bothering him. Boston Globe 10/23/01

Friday October 19

TALENT ON LOAN FROM GOD? Martin Amis hosts an interview show, and ends up revealing more about himself than his guests. "Amis has created within his own mind a notion of 'talent', which he deifies and worships. He says, with the certainty of a man who has never doubted his own ability, that 'your heart becomes gangrenous in your body when you go against your talent'. Literary talent is his sole criterion for success, and anybody outside that world - a tiler, for example - is worthless. He emerges as obsessed with his own place in literature, and notes with sadness: 'Usually writers never find out how good they are because that starts with the obituaries'." New Statesman 10/15/01

JAY LIVINGSTON, 86: Composer and lyricist Jay Livingston, who was nominated for seven Oscar and won three, died at his home in Los Angeles. With partner Ray Evans, he wrote such pop hits as Silver Bells, Mona Lisa, and Que Sera, Sera. Nando Times 10/17/01

RAOUL KRAUSHAAR, 93: Composer Raoul Kraushaar, who wrote theme music for many TV shows, including The Fugitive and The Untouchables, died at his home in Florida. He was probably best known for his work on the film version of Cabaret. Washington Post 10/16/01

Tuesday October 16

MAKING MODERN MATTER: When Nicholas Serota became director of the Tate, contemporary art was seen as a problem in England. "Serota's efforts have transformed us into a nation that cares about contemporary art, and it is one of his proudest achievements." London Evening Standard 10/16/01

THE DIRECTOR COMPLAINS: When Australia's National Gallery director Dr Brian Kennedy appointed John McDonald as head of the museum's Australian Art, it was a controversial decision. But a few months after the September 2000 appointment, Kennedy regretted the appointment. He outlined his grievances in a five-page memo... Sydney Morning Herald 10/16/01

Monday October 15

DOWNFALL OF A CRITIC: Kenneth Tynan was a great theatre critic. "His reviews invaluably preserve the excitement of performances that would have perished if he hadn't described them." But once he left his post as critic at The Observer "the culture decided that it had no further use for the adversary activity of criticism, expecting critics to reinvent themselves as manufacturers of glossy advertising copy. It's a sad, cautionary tale about false values, professional ethics and the degeneration of journalism in recent decades." The Observer (UK) 10/14/01

THE ARTIST WHO KEEPS GOING: He lives at the fringe, shunned by galleries and dealers who grew tired of his quirks and neediness years ago. In a world soaked in eccentricity and skewed perspectives, John Grazier is the ultimate at being strange. He swings from bouts of homelessness to raking in $100,000 commissions. When he's down, he paints on the living room floors of friends' houses - with no easel, no chair and no dropcloth. And because he can't rely on others to sell his paintings, he does it himself, like some Wild West art cowboy, blazing trails in his Handi-Van, hawking pictures and making small bursts of money." Washington Post 10/14/01

GREASING THE WHEELS: Taking a symphony orchestra on an international tour is no easy task. Preparations begin two years in advance, and no detail is left unresearched. Still, on the road, unexpected crises are bound to manifest themselves, and when they do, nearly every major American orchestra has the same reaction. They call Guido. Yes, Guido. Detroit Free Press 10/15/01

Sunday October 14

IMMODEST, MAYBE, BUT STILL NOBEL: This year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, V.S. Naipaul, is nothing if not aware of his own accomplishments. He claims, among other things, to have helped bring India into modern times through his writing, and to have helped "educate" the country's population. Not everyone appreciated the help: "The trouble with people like me writing about societies where there is no intellectual life is that if you write about it, people are angry." BBC 10/12/01

A REALISTIC WAGNERIAN: Daniel Barenboim encountered a firestorm of protest earlier this year when he broke a long-standing taboo on the performance of Wagner in Israel. But though Barenboim has been a champion of the controversial composer's work throughout his career, he has never attempted to minimize Wagner's role in the rise of deadly anti-Semitism in Europe, or to claim that this bigotry does not inform Wagner's music. Rather, he embraces the contradictory nature of a man who could harbor such vicious hatred in his own mind, yet produce works of such tremendous beauty and intelligence. The New York Times 10/14/01 (one-time registration required for access)

ONLY IN NEW YORK: A strolling violinist in a gold loincloth and very little else would cause the denizens of most cities to call the police, or at least cross the street. But in New York, such a man can become a minor celebrity, especially when he gains a reputation as the most talented street musician in the city. "In his soloperas, Thoth, a classically trained musician, is the composer, orchestra, singers and dancers. His music has elements of classical, overlayed with primal rhythms, but it defies categorization." New York Post 10/14/01

Friday October 12

MADRID OPERA HERO DIES: "Conductor Luis Antonio Garcia Navarro, credited with reviving Madrid's opera house after its 1997 reinauguration and bringing it international fame, has died. He was 60." Nando Times (AP) 10/11/01

COMING TO TERMS WITH AN OLD FRIEND/ENEMY: Think of Ödön von Horváth as Germany's answer to Garrison Keillor - a much-beloved writer and teller of tales about his hometown that make locals distinctly uncomfortable. But unlike Keillor's fictional town of Lake Wobegon, Horváth's Murnau really does exist, and his airing of the burg's dirty laundry for his own literary gain has not sat well with the natives. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 10/11/01

NO, HE WON'T BE WRAPPING HELMUT KOHL: "Six years after conquering Berlin by wrapping the Reichstag, Bulgarian-born artist Christo and his French wife, Jeanne-Claude, return to the city for two shows, one big, one small." The Art Newspaper 10/09/01

Thursday October 11

NAIPAUL WINS NOBEL IN LITERATURE: "The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2001 is awarded to the British writer, born in Trinidad, V.S. Naipaul 'for having united perceptive narrative and incorruptible scrutiny in works that compel us to see the presence of suppressed histories'. V.S. Naipaul is a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice." Nobel Institute (Sweden) 10/11/01

NEW HEAD OF SCOTLAND MUSEUMS: Dr. Gordon Rintoul, who was chief executive of Sheffield Galleries, has been appointed as the new director of the National Museums of Scotland, effective February 2002. He succeeds Mark Jones, who left for the Victoria and Albert in London. The Herald (Scotland) 10/11/01

DSO VIOLINIST HAS REUNION ON TOUR: "When the Detroit Symphony Orchestra arrived in Nuremberg, Germany, on Tuesday, violinist Marian Tanau added another link to the chain of his remarkable destiny. Waiting for him was Joseph Muller, a Romanian-born German national, who in 1989 risked his career to help Tanau, then 22, defect from Romania." Detroit Free Press 10/11/01

TRACING THREE DECADES OF BRITISH THEATER: Michael Billington has been the theater critic at London's Guardian newspaper for thirty years now, and he has watched the business evolve in countless ways. Where plays were once dominant, musicals are now the backbone of the industry. Superstar composers and directors have come to wield remarkable power. But "the first, and most striking, fact is that the basic structure of British theatre has more or less survived." The Guardian (UK) 10/10/01

Wednesday October 10

DIRECTOR ROSS DIES: "Herbert Ross, a choreographer and director who worked on films including Funny Lady with Barbra Streisand and Steel Magnolias with Julia Roberts, died Tuesday. He was 74." Dallas Morning News (AP) 10/10/01

AND SHE WISHES SHE'D REVIEWED DEEP THROAT: Pauline Kael, who died last month, was the film critic in many minds. Why? Chaplin, she thought, "pushed too hard." Spielberg has "become so uninteresting now." In comedy, her favorites were the Ritz Brothers. And those awful taboos: "There's almost no one you can make fun of now. The women's movement, in particular, has added many taboos. You can't have a dumb blonde anymore, and the dumb blonde was such a wonderful stereotype." The New Yorker 10/08/01

SERRANO COMES TO BRITAIN: The man whose art helped cause one of America's most notorious political dogfights, Andres Serrano, is being exhibited in London this month, and critics there are showing no mercy. Free speech advocates in the U.S. championed Serrano's photography when Congressional leaders used it as fodder for their crusade against public arts funding, but in the opinions of several U.K. writers, "he is a third-rate artist, a man who has nothing interesting, important or original to say about the subjects he treats." The Daily Telegraph (UK) 10/10/01

NEW CHIEF FOR SF OPERA CENTER: "American soprano Sheri Greenawald has been appointed as the new director of the San Francisco Opera Center in California... Greenawald’s appointment is the latest in a series of management changes wrought by Pamela Rosenberg, who recently took over as general director of San Francisco Opera from Lofti Mansouri." Gramophone 10/09/01

ARTS MAN TO HEAD RUSSIAN TV: "The Hermitage director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, has been elected chairman of the board of Russia’s largest television network, ORT. The move is part of the government’s bid to bring order to the station which has long been embroiled in conflict and corruption." The Art Newspaper 10/08/01

Tuesday October 9

HERB BLOCK, 91: Herbert L. Block, whose "Herblock" signature marked scathing political cartoons for more than 60 years, died in Washington. He won three Pulitzer Prizes, and shared a fourth. For more than 50 years, he was read - and often feared - at the breakfast tables of the most powerful figures in American government, but he never sought their favor or tried to be one of them. Washington Post 10/08/01

IRISH MUSEUM DIRECTOR TO NEW POST: "Declan Mcgonagle, who quit his post as director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) last April, is to take up a new position with the City Arts Centre in Dublin from December 1st. Though he has as yet no job title, he will head the centre as it begins a two-year process of redefinition and revitalisation." The Irish Times 10/08/01

Sunday October 7

NOBEL VERSE: Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and the Nobel Prizes had a "wretched" personal life. "But there was one romantic matter which he kept largely confidential: he was a writer himself. To call him a poet is an exaggeration, but Nobel produced enough, in several genres, to suggest that he had serious literary intentions. He wrote fiction in middle life and drama in his last years, but his youthful efforts were in verse - a heavily shod Miltonic blank verse, written in English, none of it published in his lifetime, and most destroyed at the time of his death by the circumspect executors." The Guardian (UK) 10/06/01

WOMEN'S MUSEUM DIRECTOR SUDDENLY QUITS: After only three months on the job as director of the National Museum of Women in Washington DC, Ellen D. Reeder has suddenly resigned. "The first scholar of international stature to direct the museum, Reeder brought with her the promise of an intellectual heft some felt the museum had always lacked. The museum has had frequent turnover: six directors in the 14 years since it was founded." Washington Post 10/06/01

THE AMERICAN MAESTRO AT HOME: James Conlon is one of America's great conductors, admired and respected the world over for his extensive repertoire and precise style. But, like so many other American maestros, he has been forced to spend much of his career overseas. Now, firmly established as one of the top men in his profession, he has the luxury of letting the world (and America) come to him. "Drop in on Mr. Conlon in rehearsal, and you may find him disciplined, diagnostic, in control: a touch schoolmasterly." The New York Times 10/07/01 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday October 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

THE MAN NEXT DOOR: For 35 years we lived across the hall from Isaac Stern. "One grew used to the steady stream of great musicians—Eugene Istomin, Yefim Bronfman, Emanuel Ax, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman, Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma—who would daily emerge from the elevator, seemingly ordinary citizens until they walked into 19F and started to play. I have a recurring image of running into Isaac in the hallway surrounded by piles of luggage: I’d be on my way to the grocery store to buy a carton of orange juice and some cream cheese; he’d be on his way to Vienna or Paris or Moscow to perform Haydn or Saint-Saëns or Tchaikovsky." New York Observer 10/03/01

Tuesday October 2

GIRL WONDER: How to explain the wide appeal of Charlotte Church? She's still only 15 years old, but "although we've already had three years of Church's recording career, her appeal remains rooted in her position as a child wonder. It helps that, so far, she is not a pop singer. There are no Britney v Charlotte wars. Her contemporaries are not interested in her records - after all, teenagers don't want to listen to either Rossini arias or Men of Harlech. New Statesman 10/01/01

Monday October 1

SAY IT THROUGH ART: Woody Allen says that the September 11th attacks are "fair game" for any artist who has something to say about them. "It is not likely that I would do something like that but I do think that it's fair game for any artist who has the inspiration or insight into that terrible event." The Guardian 09/30/01