AJ Logo Get ArtsJournal in your inbox
for FREE every morning!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Art In The Midterms What's this? Arts funding an issue in the American midterm elections? And In Idaho? Modern Art Notes (AJBlogs) 10/30/06

A Getty Tale "The world in general, but America in particular, relishes cautionary tales of great wealth causing great woe. Yet there can be little doubt that the house that Getty built has brought its own plague of miseries on itself, which can be comprehended without recourse to myths of supernatural interference the ancients needed to make sense of such otherwise inexplicable human folly." New York Review of Books 11/16/06

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Non-Profit CEO "Although that kind of big-bucks salary may come as a surprise to many donors who expect that a large chunk of the money they are giving goes toward programs and services, higher salaries in the not-for-profit world are becoming less the exception and more the rule." Palm Beach Post 10/29/06

U.S. Cultural Diplomacy Getting A Boost "This summer, the United States Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, once again made its presence felt on the cultural scene by sponsoring a photo exhibition, an experimental jazz performance, a classical music concert and a visit from the Whiffenpoofs, Yale University’s a cappella singers. Americans have been teaching hip-hop in Indonesia, Malaysia and Jordan. Chinese and American filmmakers are getting together to talk shop. Videography is coming to Belarus. And all of it is thanks to Uncle Sam." The New York Times 10/29/06

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Canadian Politician Campaigning On Increased Arts Funding In Alberta, "Tory leadership candidate Jim Dinning says he’ll double provincial arts funding and bolster Alberta’s film industry with an infusion of cash if he becomes the new premier." Edmonton Sun 10/26/06

Funding Up, But So Is Confusion San Antonio is devoting more money to the arts than at any time in recent years, but "the people in charge of the money are complaining about a confusing process that might not be fair to everyone... Board members questioned the fairness of a scoring method that was supposed to weigh the merits of each group. They also asked whether it was appropriate to give large grants to organizations that hadn't received funding in the past, while at the same time less money was being given to groups with proven track records." San Antonio Express-News 10/26/06

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Trap Of Education Reform So American higher education needs reform? "What have we learned from our experience in K-12 education reform that would help us in evaluating the Spellings Commission report? That history warns against putting too much emphasis on the economic context of higher education. It also shows that quick, 'top-down' fixes for reforming education at any level are unlikely to work." InsideHigherEd 10/24/06

The Dismantling Of Arts Council England "The mass exit from Arts Council England seems almost indecently hasty. Gone, in one lemming leap, are the heads of theatre, dance, literature and visual arts - four of the five art forms funded by the council - along with executive director Kim Evans, development director Pauline Tambling and the officials in charge of touring, combined arts and public affairs." La Scena Musicale 10/25/06

Gould Theft Case Ends In Split Verdict "A New York jury convicted a Texas college professor on Tuesday of criminal possession of items that were owned by the late classical pianist Glenn Gould and were stolen from Canada's national library... Jurors, some of whom said the verdict was a compromise after 12 hours of deliberations over two days, acquitted Ms. Moore of stealing the items from the Canadian Library and Archives in Ottawa, as prosecutors said she had." The Globe & Mail (AP) 10/25/06

Arts Booming In Denver Arts and culture generated $1.4 billion for the Denver metro area in 2005, according to a new study. That's the largest economic impact ever measured for the region. The study also says that 14.1 million people in the area attended some sort of cultural event (not bad for a metro of fewer than 2.5 million residents.) Denver Post 10/25/06

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Edinburgh Debt - Close Hospitals, Not Festivals Jonathan Mills has inherited a £1m debt with the Edinburgh Festival, of which he's just taken charge. "It is a huge debt on one level. But is there not going to be an Edinburgh festival because of this debt? No. I am not foolhardy or reckless, but if I was serious about being the festival director, then the debt didn't arise as an issue. The government has on occasion shut down hospitals and schools. But not festivals." The Guardian (UK) 10/25/06

Monday, October 23, 2006

MoMA Is America's Top Arts Fundraiser The Museum of Modern Art "raised $239.2 million in its 2005 fiscal year ended June 30, a 106.5 percent increase over the previous year, according to a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey of the top 400 recipients of donations scheduled to be published today on its Web site. That year, the museum received its largest gift ever, $100 million in cash, from philanthropist David Rockefeller. The Metropolitan Opera Association led performing-arts centers with $93.4 million, followed by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts at $51.1 million." Bloomberg 10/23/06

Fewer Women Accept Harvard Positions A study says that "slightly more than 20 percent of those who accepted tenure-track offers in Harvard’s main undergraduate college last year were women, down from 40 percent in 2004-5. Thirty-nine percent of tenure-track offers were to women last year." InsideHigherEd 10/23/06

Orange County's Arts Deficit Southern California's Orange County just opened a flashy new performing arts hall. But a study says spending on culture in this rich area is below average. "Orange County nonprofit arts groups had assets of $257 million, or $90 per capita — compared with $155 in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and $506 in Santa Barbara County. Orange County's per-capita arts capitalization is 72% of the Southern California average of $124." Los Angeles Times 10/23/06

Humanities Of Art And Science Lawrence Weschler is putting his stamp on Chicago's Humanities Festival. "The division between the sciences and the humanities is completely artificial and one that is extremely recent. Until 100 years ago, it was the arts and sciences. Michelangelo and Leonardo and so forth were scientists as much as they were artists. I am very much for getting the sciences in the humanities where they belong." Chicago Tribune 10/22/06

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Arts Meet Technology In Pittsburgh These days everybody's online. So that's where the artists are going too. "The good news is there is plenty going on in technology to help artists create new works, arts organizations to support them and ultimately for art fans to experience them." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10/22/06

Living The Starbucks Lifestyle Admit it: you smirked when you first read that Starbucks was going to start cross-promoting movies, music, and books alongside its $6 lattes. That's okay - they expected the ridicule. "Yet the chain is increasingly positioning itself as a purveyor of premium-blend culture... [and] the more cultural products with which Starbucks affiliates itself, the more clearly a Starbucks aesthetic comes into view: the image the chain is trying to cultivate and the way it thinks it’s reflecting its consumer. The New York Times 10/22/06

Culture City, Florida? (Not Yet.) Conventional wisdom has long held that serious culture doesn't stand a chance in Miami, a city known mainly for its miles of beaches and hard-partying tropical atmosphere. With the opening of a massive new performing arts center, that wisdom is being challenged like never before. But will the city's ambitious cultural plans be enough to convince its residents to take in a play, or an orchestra concert? "Miami, after all, is the city that lost its symphony orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic, only three years ago. An ambitious new design district has yet to generate significant street life. And sun town still isn't much of a theatre town." Toronto Star 10/21/06

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Maori Protests Plans For Texas "Maori-Themed" Apartment Project "In June, after California-based Legacy Partners announced plans to build a residential complex featuring Maori themes and folk art in suburban Plano, the company received dozens of emails charging the company with cultural theft." The Art Newspaper 10/19/06

She Said, They Said (And He's Dead) "The lead prosecutor in the recovered Glenn Gould artifacts case acknowledged yesterday that evidence demonstrating defendant Barbara Moore personally stole two documents that once belonged to the celebrated pianist and composer from Library and Archives Canada (LAC) 'is circumstantial.'" Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Moore lifted the items from the national archive when she worked there as a researcher in the 1980s. Moore maintains the items were a gift from her boss, who died in 1994. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 10/18/06

Bomb Scare Shuts San Francisco Concert Hall "The area around Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco was cleared for about two hours [Wednesday] while the city police department's bomb squad investigated an odd- and suspicious-looking device on the sidewalk outside the building. The device — a yellow plastic tub about three feet long and one foot tall, with some clear liquid at the bottom and what appeared to be a bottle of bleach inside with a wire attached to a red blinking light — was determined to be harmless. There were no injuries or property damage." PlaybillArts 10/18/06

Ordway Center Breaks Even (With A Little Help) St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, which serves as home base for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera, as well as hosting traveling theatre productions, is officially in the black for the fourth year in a row, following years of fiscal struggle. However, the center had to take $1.7 million out of its endowment to break even. "The Ordway is mulling a joint campaign with its resident arts organizations... to create [a separate endowment] that would help to underwrite the cost of performances at the Ordway." St. Paul Pioneer Press 10/19/06

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

When "Real" News Won't Do, We Turn To Comedy "Surveys show that a high proportion of people aged 18 to 36 get most of their information about British politics from Have I Got News For You. In America, similar figures show that Jon Stewart's topical comedy The Daily Show supplies a high percentage of 18 to 36-year-old Americans with their main news fix. Why is comedy taking up so much space in our culture? Why is it so present, so dominant? There are things that should matter more - but at the moment they just aren't there." The Guardian (UK) 10/18/06

Ohio Arts Tax Backers Want Sanctions Against Tobacco Company Cleveland voters are being asked to approve a new tax on cigarettes to fund the arts. Now an arts backer has filed a complaint requesting that "Philip Morris and Seman be found in violation of the Ohio Revised Code for attempting to influence the results of an election without identifying the group or person responsible for that attempt." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 10/18/06

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Academics - The Charisma Factor "Not that long ago, universities played a very different role in the public imagination, and top academics seemed to glitter as they walked." The New Yorker 10/16/06

Cadaver Exhibit Draws Legal Challenge "The operators of a (Seattle) museum that offers UFO exhibits, Bigfoot displays and ghost tours have filed a federal complaint against an Atlanta-based company that has opened an exhibit in downtown Seattle displaying 21 human cadavers and some 250 body parts. In a complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Charlette LeFevre and Philip Lipson, directors of the Seattle Museum of the Mysteries, accused Premier Exhibitions of violating the U.S. Anatomical Gift Act -- which prohibits the sale of human tissue -- by displaying dead Chinese citizens who did not give consent for their bodies to be publicly shown." Seattle Post-Intelligencer 10/17/06

Monday, October 16, 2006

Miami's New Performing Arts Center Debuts Miami's new Carnival Performing Arts Center is badly needed. But "it's a shame a price tag variously quoted between $446 million and $518 million hasn't bought better architecture. But no architectural practice has been more uneven than the 80-year-old Argentine-American's, now called Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects." Dallas Morning News 10/15/06

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Britain's Golden Age Of Culture? "This is a golden time for the arts in Britain; we have an embarrassment of riches on our hands. Barely a day seems to go by without news of another first night at the theatre, or the opening of another blockbuster exhibition, or the announcement of a great new season of concerts." The Observer (UK) 10/15/06

Rome's Mayor Takes On Culture "He transformed two old palazzos into the House of Cinema in the Villa Borghese and the House of Jazz near the Baths of Caracalla. He has been a staunch defender of Richard Meier’s ultramodern Ara Pacis Museum, which came under sharp criticism for being misplaced and ill-conceived after it opened to the public last spring. Then there is the Notte Bianca, an all-night cultural event in which Rome literally opens up its cultural treasures to guests and residents." The New York Times 10/14/05

Pamuk: Proposed French Ban On Armenian Genocide-Deniers Is Wrong The French parliament is debating whether to make it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide. But Turkish Nobel-winner Orhan Pamuk (who was put on trial for writing about the genocide) objects to the idea. "The French tradition of critical thinking influenced and taught me a lot. This decision, however, is a prohibition and didn’t suit the libertarian nature of the French tradition." The New York Times 10/14/06

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Art Of DUMBO "In some ways, the story of artists in DUMBO is a typical New York story: Artists move into a blighted –– or, in this case, largely empty –– neighborhood and lend it some glamour; then real estate values go up, and most of them are priced out. But in other ways, DUMBO has followed an unusual path, since such huge chunks of the neighborhood are owned by Mr. Walentas, who along with his wife takes a strong interest in art." New York Sun 10/13/06

Orange County Arts Snapshot (Not Encouraging) Orange County just opened a big new concert hall. So things are good for the arts in Southern California, right? Not according to a new study. "Prices are up, attendance is down, fewer schoolkids are getting free exposure to the arts, and Orange County's museums and performing arts presenters are not feeling terribly bullish about the immediate future, according to a study of the O.C. cultural landscape." Los Angeles Times 10/13/06

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Foundation Hopes To Boost Business Acumen of Arts Leaders "The Joyce Foundation is giving $95,000 over two years to send local leaders of [midsize arts groups] to a new series of business seminars... The sessions will be open to arts leaders from around the country and led by business faculty from major U.S. universities." Chicago Tribune 10/12/06

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Carry-On Prohibition Leads To Trumpeter's Broken Arm "As international authorities strive to harmonize a myriad of rules for carry-on flight luggage, a Russian-American jazz musician is nursing a broken arm he said he suffered in a struggle with French airport police over his right to board with a prized trumpet. The musician, Valery Ponomarev, 63, a former member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, was preparing to board an Air India flight on Sept. 9 from Paris to New York City, where he lives, when a routine airport ritual erupted into a fierce dispute over his 1961 Connstellation trumpet." The New York Times 10/10/06

Monday, October 9, 2006

Churn At The Top Of The Charts What's the No. 1 movie? No. 1 music? Book? The bestseller lists change so quickly it's all a whir. And now it's difficult to even agree on a definition of what being No. 1 is... San Diego Union-Tribune 10/09/06

Opera House Beats The Tax Man A small UK opera house has won against a government attempt to revoke its Tax break. The win has implications for all English charitable organizations. The Times (UK) 10/09/06

  • But The Orchestra Doesn't? "Cultural charities suffered a heavy blow today when the the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) lost its appeal to make admission income exempt from VAT." Financial Director 10/09/06

New York Arts Groups Slash Ticket Prices "Perhaps not since the early 1970’s, when Broadway introduced the TKTS booth, have the performing arts in New York seen such sweeping moves to draw audiences by offering inexpensive tickets. The discounts, underwritten for the most part by corporate donors, are an effort to compete for leisure time with an increasing array of multimedia offerings and, in an era when patrons of the theater, opera and classical music are aging rapidly, to reach a younger, more diverse population." The New York Times 10/09/06

Sunday, October 8, 2006

A Debate About Culture In LA "We so often stack [L.A.] up against New York or London. But those cities have been around for centuries. We're post-adolescent... I don't think Los Angeles has found its philosophy yet towards culture." Backstage 10/07/06

A Diamond In The Rough Is Still Stuck In The Rough "Every institution, from an opera company to a private foundation to a major newspaper, should have an articulate mission, a reason for being. But a performing arts institution needs a performing arts space that enables it to fulfill that mission." In other words, quality architecture is as important as a quality performance. The New York Times 10/08/06

Aggressive Superiority And Misplaced Enthusiasm? Great. The whole standing ovation thing is just completely out of control, and most in the arts would agree. But is it possible that the automatic ovation crowd is actually becoming even more annoying than they already were? "No longer content to give standing ovations to performances that don't warrant them, the ovaters have begun to question why others aren't standing too." Houston Chronicle 10/07/06

Objectivity Never Makes Anyone Happy Richmond, Virginia is home to a new Civil War Museum that addresses head-on America's divergent viewpoints on race, regional pride, and the war that very nearly destroyed a young country. To do that, the museum presents, without judgment, the views of what it sees as the three distinct players in the Civil War struggle: Northerners, Southern Confederates, and the African-Americans caught in the middle. But not everyone is happy with the museum's willingness to present the Confederate viewpoint without explicitly condemning it. Washington Post 10/07/06

Friday, October 6, 2006

Kansas City PAC Construction Underway Ground was broken Friday for Kansas City's new performing arts center. "Supporters of the center hope the groundbreaking will galvanize fundraising. The $261 million raised so far is about 80 percent of the $326 million required, including a $40 million endowment." Kansas City Star 10/06/06

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Univeristy of Chicago Has Big Arts Dreams They include hiring a star architect and building a $100 million arts center. "Citing a litany of star arts alumni - among them novelist Philip Roth, film director Mike Nichols, composer Philip Glass and the writer Susan Sontag - Danielle Allen, dean of the university's humanities division, said: "We'd like to see a building that will raise the profile of the really exciting - but heretofore stealth - arts world on our campus." Chicago Tribune 10/04/06

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Pac-Man To Better Math? A new study says video games belong in the classroom. "The strategies for successful game-playing are increasingly complex, sophisticated, challenging and cerebral. This edges games towards the very heart of where learning is headed." The Telegraph (UK) 10/04/06

Parsing The Getty Report So the California Attorney General's investigation of the Getty is done. But the findings of the investigation are unsatisfactory, contends Lee Rosenbaum. CultureGrrl (AJBlogs) 10/04/06

Orange County PAC Price Tag Grows "Design changes down the home stretch, and overtime labor costs incurred during a dash to finish in time for its Sept. 15 opening, have boosted the price of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall by $25 million to $27 million, leaders of the Orange County Performing Arts Center said Tuesday — a markup of about 13% above the $200-million price tag long attached to the project. The increase leaves the Costa Mesa [California] arts center with about $75 million left to raise to fund the now-$225 million concert hall and a partly built $10-million plaza." Los Angeles Times 10/04/06

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

California Culture Gets A Grade A new report on culture in California carries some warnings. "Many nonprofit arts organizations, insulated for years from the immediate effects of market shifts, have continued to operate under an outdated understanding of what the general public values." Artful Manager (AJBlogs) 10/03/06

Neuenfels A Poor Poster Boy For Free Expression Has the "Idomeneo" controversy prompted a worthy discussion in defense of inferior art? "Whether or not the production goes forward next month, issues about artistic freedom and intimidation by special-interests groups - all very important - are being raised on behalf of a production that could well be an embarrassment to other daring opera directors, and to opera in general. ... Hans Neuenfels, the Berlin 'Idomeneo' director, is among the least credible of Europe's high-concept directors. Though I haven't seen this production, his past work has exemplified artistic license so out of control that it becomes high-budget provocation." Philadelphia Inquirer 10/03/06

California Attorney General Concludes Getty Investigation The Trust will be monitored by the state while it enacts reforms. "The report stated that the misuse of funds did not result from fraud and that the value of a settlement between the former president, Barry Munitz, and the trust exceeded the value of the losses from any improper payments. Notably, the attorney general found that a number of actions by Mr. Munitz that were approved by the board were consistent with the trust’s charitable purposes." The New York Times 10/03/06

  • Knight: Getty Should Do Better Christopher Knight writes that though the Getty can put the state's investigation behind it, there is a bigger issue. "Beyond the blot on institutional reputation, the bigger tragedy is that eight years have been squandered... You would be hard-pressed to name many major art initiatives to have emanated from its gleaming Brentwood offices. The trust has mostly been missing in action." Los Angeles Times 10/03/06

What Would A Big New Paris Arts Center Look Like, Anyway? "The plans for the building, a mass of vast swirling and jutting glass panels unveiled yesterday, make the city's other controversial edifices - the Louvre pyramid and the Pompidou Centre - look almost staid by comparison." The Guardian (UK) 10/03/06

Monday, October 2, 2006

A New "Foundation For Creation" (Louis Vuitton Style) "The 6,000 square metre space will be designed by Frank Gehry, the architect behind the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The goal of this foundation is to spread the influence of culture, and the influence of France." BBC 10/02/06

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Historic Performances, Online YouTube isn't just for home video and TV shows. There's lots of arts footage, too. "Seeing these artists, most of whom are now known to us only through their recordings, is an awe-inspiring experience. To watch Art Tatum rippling through a bristlingly virtuosic version of Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays," or Richard Strauss conducting his tone poem "Till Eulenspiegel" with a cool detachment that borders on the blasé, is to learn something about the essence of their art that no verbal description, however insightful or evocative, can supply." Wall Street Journal 09/30/06

Variety To Be Hallmark Of Miami PAC Some observers have questioned the viability of Miami's new performing arts center, given the fact that the Florida Philharmonic, which was to be one of the center's anchor tenants, folded several years ago. But with 465 performances scheduled for the center's first season, supporters are hopeful that they can build a loyal local audience with a succession of high-profile touring orchestras and a healthy dose of Latin flavor. Miami Herald 10/01/06

  • Will It All Be Worth It? New performing arts venues have served as the cornerstone of a larger cultural renaissance in several American cities. But will it work in Miami? "For all its efforts and aspirations, Miami clearly is no Manhattan, no Vienna... [But the center] may put a more visible stamp on the cultural community here and get people to find out about other cultural organizations in Miami." Miami Herald 10/01/06

KC PAC Digs In After years of planning and fundraising delays, ground will finally be broken this week on Kansas City's new downtown performing arts center. "The two-hall, $325 million project scheduled to open in fall 2009 will feature a state-of-the-art, 1,600-seat symphony hall, an 1,800-seat opera-ballet hall and a multipurpose Celebration Hall for chamber performances or educational purposes." Kansas City Star 10/01/06

Papers Opting Out Of "Grim" Assassination Ad A documentary-style film purporting to depict the assassination of President Bush has been the talk of film festivals around the world this fall. But as the film prepare to go into wider release, newspapers have a tough decision to make when they are asked to run ads for the movie featuring a presidential tombstone. Toronto Star 09/30/06

Big Culture Cuts Up North Canada has a Conservative government for the first time in over a decade, and the effect of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's budget-cutting plan has been felt immediately by the country's heavily subsidized arts organizations. "This week, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs announced that it would slash $11.8-million from its 'public diplomacy' budget... Canada's spending was already pathetic, [and] foreign tourists already think of Canada as Mounties, mountains, maple syrup, Molson's and moose. So these cuts are painfully shortsighted." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 09/30/06

Just Shut Up And Sign The Checks As the major arts groups of Wales debate a change which would see the country's arts council replaced by a system of direct funding from the government, leaders are warning that politicians will need to learn to separate their personal feelings from their funding decisions. "If politicians believe they can give artistic advice in return for handing out money, the culture industry could suffer rather than thrive." Western Mail (Cardiff) 09/30/06

Home | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©
2002 ArtsJournal. All Rights Reserved