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Archives for September 2009

Non-Blogging Report: What I&#146m Not Posting About

If you're curious what I've been doing and thinking about this week (during my blog freeze), you can follow me on my Twitter page. If you miss me (as I do you), you might give a second thought to supporting this blog. … [Read more...]

CultureGrrl&#146s Week Off

Yesterday, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, would have been a no-blogging day for me under any circumstances. As for the rest of this week...close readers of CultureGrrl may remember (scroll down) that at the beginning of last week (Sept. 21), I stated that if I didn't receive THREE donations (of any amount) by Sunday (Sept. 27), I'd take this week off.My warmest thanks go out to CultureGrrl Donor 74 from Upperville, VA, Repeat Donor 75 from Boston, and......See you next Monday (probably). I'm open to BlogBacks this week, if any of you would … [Read more...]

NY Times Public Editor Also Spotlights Balky Coverage of Stories Broken Elsewhere

It turns out that my analysis of the NY Times' cultural coverage (here and here) was more timely than I knew. In Tuning in Too Late, the NY Times' Public Editor's column today in the "Week in Review" section, Clark Hoyt casts a critical eye on the paper's recent tendency to ignore stories broken by other news organizations (particularly conservative ones) and by blogs. The examples he cited were the ACORN and Van Jones controversies. My own critique (motivated by a concern for journalistic standards, not political ideology) was pegged to … [Read more...]

Brandeis&#146 Controversial President Deaccessions Himself: Reinharz Resigns UPDATED

Jehuda ReinharzPeter Schworm of the Boston Globe has the story:Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz, after months of sharp criticism [my link, not theirs] over his financial stewardship and plans to close the university's renowned Rose Art Museum, announced yesterday that he will resign at the end of the academic year.....Reinharz dismissed suggestions that he is resigning under pressure arising from the museum controversy, saying he strongly considered stepping down in summer 2008 before signing a five-year contract extension. At 65, … [Read more...]

Memo to Jon Landman: How to Improve the NY Times&#146 Arts Coverage

[NOTE: The first part of my memo to the new NY Times culture editor, Jon Landman, was picked up yesterday by the Poynter Institute's Romenesko aggregator, which means that it was "cc'd" to media mavens at news organizations around the country. UPDATE: Now this post has been picked up by Romenesko too!]My suggested solution to the flaw in the NY Times' cultural coverage that I discussed in yesterday's post is easy: There's no reason for the paper's cultural journalists to turn their backs on a major arts story just because someone has beaten … [Read more...]

News Flash: Yosi Sergant Departs NEA; Landesman Visits Peoria

It seems that Yosi Sergant, strongly criticized for his participation in a "United We Serve" conference call, didn't last long in his new post as "New Media and Special Projects Advisor, Communications."This just in from Sally Gifford, communications specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts:This afternoon Yosi Sergant submitted his resignation from the National Endowment for the Arts. His resignation has been accepted and is effective immediately. On Monday, Jamie Bennett will begin his work as the NEA's Director of Communications. He … [Read more...]

Memo To Jon Landman: What&#146s Wrong with the NY Times&#146 Arts Coverage

Jon Landman, NY Times' incoming culture editor[NOTE: The second part of my Landman Memo is here.]What if a tree falls in the forest and the NY Times isn't the first to hear it?When it comes to cultural coverage, that often means that the news didn't happen...at least not on the pages of the NY Times. My guess is that this tendency is intensified by the Times' own news guidelines, which appropriately require a reporter who arrives at a story late to credit the publication that got there first. When you consider yourself the nation's premier news … [Read more...]

News Flash: Yosi Sergant&#146s New Title at NEA

It took a while, but the National Endowment for the Arts' staff directory now lists a new title for the embattled Yosi Sergant, whose indiscretions got him bumped from his position as communications director. His new post: New Media and Special Projects Advisor, CommunicationsSo who's the new communications director? Beats me.While they're in the process of filling vacancies, Broadway theater producer Rocco Landesman, NEA's new chairman, will surely want to do something soon about the open slot for NEA's director of theater and musical theater. … [Read more...]

Brandeis University&#146s Committee on Rose Art Museum Issues Report

The final 27-page report of Brandeis University's Committee on the Future of the Rose Art Museum, dated Sept. 18, was released earlier today. You can read it here. Both the Boston Globe and The Justice, the university's student newspaper, today covered the report and the museum's current situation.Bear in mind that the committee is merely advisory. It has recommended retaining the Rose as an art museum but it ducked the crucial question of whether some of its art should be sold to address Brandeis University's financial crisis. … [Read more...]

News Flash: NEA&#146s Rocco Landesman Issues Statement on Yosi Sergant, Deposed Communications Director

Rocco LandesmanIt took a while, but Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, has done the right thing---dissociated himself and his agency from the loose-cannon actions of Yosi Sergant, who lost his position as NEA's communications director over his unauthorized indiscretions. What's more, Landesman explicitly reaffirmed the non-partisan nature of NEA and its grantmaking.Here's the full statement, hot off my inbox. [UPDATE: It's now posted on NEA's website.]:STATEMENT FROM NEA CHAIRMAN ROCCO LANDESMAN September 22, … [Read more...]

Andy Warhol Museum&#146s Spousal Diplomacy Moment

Andy Warhol Museum, PittsburghThe Andy Warhol Museum is one of the sightseeing stops for participants in this week's G-20 Summit for the top-level discussion of economic issues. It's not on the itinerary of the heads of state, however. It's a lunchtime diversion for their spouses, who will get a chance to savor Pittsburgh's varied cultural riches while the fate of the world is decided (or not).The just published Spousal Program, detailing the activities planned for the powers behind the presidents, says this about the time they will spend … [Read more...]

The Late Ismael Roldan: My Favorite Wall Street Journal Portraitist

WSJ's illustrator, Ismael Roldan, at workThe excitement that art professionals seem to feel feel about getting their inexpertly photographed portraits published on CultureGrrl is only exceeded by the thrill of getting immortalized by one of the Wall Street Journal's illustrious illustrators. But some of those likenesses have been truer than others.The ones that, to my eye, have always uncannily captured not only the features but also the essence of their subjects were created by Ismael Roldan, 45, whose untimely death was reported today on the … [Read more...]

Lee&#146s List: What CultureGrrl is Reading Today

Send a micro-donation of either $1.50 (for the day) or $10 (for links through October) via my "Buy Now" button, below, and I'll shoot you these links: Complete transcript, audio and commentary for the controversial conference call that included NEA's Yosi Sergant; AAM's Museum magazine's article supporting deaccessions for operations; Krementz photo essay on O'Keeffe show; yet another big Turner show; detailed info about the 2009 MacArthur "Genius" Fellows (strong visual arts contingent).I'm STILL no genius (although Mark Bradford, Rackstraw … [Read more...]

Barnes “Art of the Steal” Documentary Gets Backing (but my “Art of the Blog” doesn&#146t)

Director Don Argott's muckraking film about the battle over the Barnes Foundation, "The Art of the Steal," which recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, now has a distributor [via]---Rainbow Media, which is the umbrella company for IFC, AMC and Sundance channels, among other entertainment entities. Selling the North American rights (reportedly for a "substantial six figure advance") in these economically uncertain times was no small accomplishment [via].Meanwhile, we eagerly await an update from the Barnes Foundation about how much … [Read more...]

AAMD Launches (Partial) Registry of Nazi-Era Claims Resolutions

Léger, "Smoke over Rooftops," 1911, returned in 2008 by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to heirs of Alponse KannIn the Association of Art Museum Directors' continued chronicling of good news about museums' good works, it has just launched a Registry for Resolution of Claims for Nazi-Era Cultural Assets. (Grammar check: The cultural assets aren't "Nazi-Era"; the gaps or other issues related to their provenance are.) The registry lists restitutions and retentions of such objects by institutions belonging to AAMD, and it also provides a useful … [Read more...]

Cultural Diplomacy in Cuba: What Would Celia Say?

During my New York Public Radio debate last week with Nick Gillespie on WNYC's "Soundcheck Smackdown," I strongly defended prospective visits from this country to Cuba by both classical (the NY Philharmonic) and pop (Colombian-born Juanes) musicians. But I kept thinking: What would Celia say? The ghost in my apartment, the late Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz, was one of this country's most celebrated exiles from Castro's Cuba. Her last months were spent where I now live. To my complete surprise, you can glimpse my living room, terrace … [Read more...]

O&#146Keeffe Museum Appeals the Ruling That Removed It from the Fisk Stieglitz Collection Case

Barbara Buhler Lynes. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum's curator, at Whitney's press preview for O'Keeffe Abstraction showBack in July, I reported that the Tennessee Court of Appeals had ruled that the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, lacked "standing to participate" in the court battle over whether Fisk University could sell to Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum a half-share of its Stieglitz Collection. I then wrote that I had "not yet received a response to my question to O'Keeffe Museum about whether it intends to appeal."Now I … [Read more...]

Cleveland’s Manna from Hanna: The Clear Intent of the Crucial Codicil UPDATED

Sleeping Watchdog: Ohio's Attorney General, Richard Cordray According to recent press accounts, the Cleveland Museum has been publicly justifying its request for court permission to divert income from four acquisition funds to its capital campaign on ghoulish grounds---a theory that the deceased donors, were they alive today, would have wanted their money to be tapped to complete the museum's expansion. Never mind that they had expressly designated that money for art purchases, in the documents that established their trusts and … [Read more...]

Mary Schmidt Campbell Among President Obama&#146s Appointees to President&#146s Committee on the Arts and Humanities

Mary Schmidt CampbellShe didn't get appointed to the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Arts, as I had once recommended. But Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and former executive director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, has just been tapped by President Obama to be vice chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Newly appointed co-chairmen are Margo Lion and George Stevens Jr., who were co-chairs of candidate Obama's Art Policy Committee. Lion is an adjunct … [Read more...]

Gibson&#146s WSJ Piece Decries Cleveland&#146s “Communing With the Dead”

Eric GibsonThis is a press preview-intense time of year. But before I run off to the Whitney, I must direct you to a forceful piece by Eric Gibson in today's Wall Street Journal, Ghosts in the Museum, which takes the Cleveland Museum to task for seeking court permission to partially fund its expansion by tapping the income from endowments restricted by their donors for acquisitions, and also proposes a compromise solution.The Gibson revelation that I found particularly shocking is that Cleveland's chairman, Michael Horvitz specifically … [Read more...]

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