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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rumors Of UK Funding Cuts Roil Arts Leaders The arts in England have done well in funding in recent years. But "over recent weeks, some arts boardrooms have veered from paralysis to near-panic. Anticipating austerity, large organisations like the Royal Opera House put in frugally for nothing more than inflation-proofing of their present grant, only for the Treasury to spring a calculated leak that the arts are scheduled for something between zero increase and a five percent cut." La Scena Musicale 12/09/06

Alberta Artists Await Newfound Clout "After nearly 20 years of being shut out in the cold, arts and culture have finally found their way back onto the political agenda: During the election campaign, three candidates made increased government arts funding a priority in their platforms. Which can only be a good thing, say those in the arts and their supporters. Despite its flush of oil revenues, Alberta currently ranks 11th out of the 13 provinces and territories in its per capita funding for the arts." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/09/06

Friday, December 8, 2006

Heads Will Roll "The opera house that dropped a production featuring the severed head of Muhammad over security fears suffered an embarrassing setback shortly before the disputed show resumes: It lost the offending prop. The head of the Islamic prophet as well as those of Jesus, Buddha and Neptune that were used in the three-year-old production of Mozart's Idomeneo have gone missing." New York Post (AP) 12/08/06

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Using The Arts To Heal International Divides Michael Kaiser has been ambitious since the day he took the reins at Washington's Kennedy Center. "For the past three years, Kaiser, who volunteers as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, has helped arts organizations in other countries improve their planning, marketing and fundraising, and he has brought artists from Iraq, China and elsewhere to the U.S... He and the Kennedy Center have focused their training efforts in countries that are 'in transition and in trouble' -- including Pakistan and Iraq -- because that's where art can have the greatest impact." Bloomberg 12/07/06

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

News Flash: Some Critics Not Popular With Those They Critique In New York, a play, concert series, or art exhibit can be made or broken on the say-so of a handful of extremely influential critics. So how do the artists who submit their work for the approval of such tastemakers feel about the job the critics do? Time Out New York found out, and the results were, well, predictable. Time Out New York 12/07/06

  • Thanks For The Kudos, But... AJ blogger Apollinaire Scherr, who also serves as dance critic for Newsday, was one of the critics put to the test in Time Out's survey, and she came out of the fire unscathed. But she also feels that the process used to conduct the survey was seriously flawed, from the selection of critics discussed to the inclusion of publicists on the judging panel. Foot In Mouth (AJ Blogs) 12/06/06

Cultural Olympiad Iced From The Schedule An ambitious arts and culture program for Vancouver's 2010 Olympic Games that was supposed to begin this year has been put on ice until 2008.
The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/06/06

Report: LA Arts Support Badly Skewed A new report says that big established Los Angeles non-profit arts organizations are wildly favored over smaller non-profits. The report notes "a disconnect between the local nonprofit arts community and the for-profit entertainment industry," and one unidentified arts executive quoted in the study describes L.A.'s signature industry as "a local economic machine that takes ideas from the arts community but doesn't give back." Los Angeles Times 12/06/06

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Is "Middle-Class Guilt" Holding Back Arts Funding? "Given the overall success of the arts in Britain, given the quality of exhibitions and live arts programming, given the way that new capital projects have led to artistic innovation; given the fact that past funding increases went directly into the arts themselves and not into the (miserable) salaries of those who run the arts (NHS administrators, please note!); given such a record, why are we so tortured with self doubt, so crippled with apology and self-abasement?" The Guardian (UK) 12/04/06

Welsh Culture Minister's Radical Arts Funding Reforms Rejected "Almost every one of the hotly opposed proposals from Welsh culture minister Alun Pugh to demolish much of the traditional arm’s-length principle over control and funding of the arts have been rejected by the review committee he was forced to set up." TheStage 12/05/06

Group Requests Columnist's Removal From Holocaust Memorial Council "An Islamic civil rights group wants a columnist removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council for criticizing Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Koran during the Minnesota Democrat's ceremonial swearing-in next month. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said yesterday that comments by Dennis Prager, a columnist and conservative talk radio host, displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him inappropriate to serve on the council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum." Washington Post 12/05/06

Why An Art Professional Is A Better Choice (Do We Really Have To Explain?) More applause for the appointment of James N. Wood to lead the Getty Trust. "Despite fulsome Getty rhetoric about art collecting, scholarship, conservation and public service both here and abroad — indeed, despite demonstrable successes in all those areas — the tacit focus of a hugely rich art institution entrusted to corporate leadership could be characterized in three disappointing words: Protect the money. With the unprecedented appointment of a distinguished art professional, four challenging words describe the charge: Spend the money well. The appointment represents nothing less than a sea change for the Getty." Los Angeles Times 12/05/06

The Getty Board's Smart Decision Naming James N. Wood, who led the Art Institute of Chicago, as president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust may be just the thing to repair the damage caused by his predecessor, Barry Munitz. "By selecting Wood, the trustees have shown that they listen to critics. Wood's appointment is for just five years, but that could be ample time for the Getty to put the scandals behind it and start living up to its potential." Los Angeles Times 12/05/06

Monday, December 4, 2006

James Wood To Lead Getty "Wood, educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, began his career with a series of academic and museum positions, including a post at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He took over as director of the St. Louis Art Museum in 1975, then moved on to serve as president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1980 to 2003." Los Angeles Times 12/04/06

Getty Names Wood As New CEO James Wood has been named as new president and CEO of the Getty Trust. Wood formerly ran the Chicago Art Institute. "One of the very appealing things about the Getty to me is that its collecting opportunities are really quite open. We were not left with an iron-clad restriction, so the opportunity is there to make the most of changing times — both in terms of the legality of acquisitions and in the cost and the importance of different cultures for both Los Angeles and the nation." Modern Art Notes (AJBlogs) 12/04/06

Meta-Text - The Audience That Emails Cell phones ringing at performances has long been an irritation. Now there's another cellphone distraction. "I'm amazed at how people will pay for the ostensible purpose of sharing in a musical experience and eagerly toss that experience aside in favor of text messaging, e-mailing or Web browsing." The Louisville Courier-Journal 12/03/06

Why Do People Hate LA? "Los Angeles has been hated and disrespected for a long time, publicly and privately, by people who live here, by people who visit, by newcomers and old-timers, by writers and commentators and immigrants and transients. For a city that has produced so much art — in film, painting and literature — it remains the place, as Woody Allen famously noted, whose 'only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light'." Los Angeles Times 12/03/06

Sunday, December 3, 2006

On Erasing The Language Of Hatred Actor-comedian Michael Richards' explosive onstage use of the word "nigger" has ignited a movement to obliterate the term and substitute the euphemism "the 'n' word." The idea has comedians debating the power of language, and some, like Dick Gregory, are pointing to the danger of sanitizing speech. " 'Calling it "the 'n' word" is an insult,' said Mr. Gregory, whose 1964 memoir was titled 'Nigger.' 'It should be just as much an insult to Jews if they started changing concentration camp to "the 'c' word" and swastika to "the 's' word." You just destroyed history.' " The New York Times 12/03/06

Borrowing As Artistry, Not Theft Contemplating the Ian McEwan plagiarism accusations, Charles Isherwood nearly sighs aloud. "Doesn’t it seem wearying, this stream of 'gotcha' stories trumpeting the news that a novelist or a lyricist or a playwright has used a few turns of phrase or the curves of somebody else’s life story without proper accreditation, or with improper specificity? I half expect to read of a lawsuit brought by a journalist covering last year’s plagiarism scandal against a journalist covering this year’s, asserting copyright infringement." The New York Times 12/03/06

Exhibit™ Times have been good for North America's science museums, as blockbuster traveling exhibitions and commercial tie-ins bring in unprecedented crowds. "But the popularity of these branded shows may be exaggerated," and some say that museums have no business promoting commercial enterprises, regardless of whether the sponsor manages to wedge some educational content into the bargain. The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/02/06

Alberta Artists Go Tory This weekend, a provincial election was held in Alberta, Canada's most conservative province, and a strange political push was observed among those who work in the arts. Traditionally a monolith of liberalism, Alberta's artists, musicians, and other cultural workers are "throwing [their] support behind Jim Dinning, the moderate conservative and front-running candidate who has promised to double the budget of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to $40-million in the next two years." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/02/06

Friday, December 1, 2006

Ottawa To See Influx Of Cultural Cash "Canadian Heritage Minister Beverley Oda is announcing Monday that her department will provide what sources say is $100-million to repair and upgrade six national cultural institutions in the Ottawa region. Oda will make the announcement at the Canadian Museum of Nature, one of the institutions benefiting from the infrastructure aid package. Other buildings receiving assistance include the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Que., National Battlefields Commission, Science and Technology Museum and the National Arts Centre." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/01/06

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