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Friday, August 29, 2003

John Shearman, Art Historian, 72 John Shearman, an art historian and scholar who consulted with the Vatican on the restoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, has died at the age of 72. "Dr. Shearman probably achieved the most fame for his discovery that the vault of the Sistine Chapel was cracked along its length in 1504, four years before Michelangelo began work on it. Because the old decoration incorporating stars and some geometrical shapes was ruined, a new ceiling was needed." The New York Times 08/29/03

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Emerging From The Pack "Vendela Vida is a part of a coterie of writers -- Heidi Julavits, Dave Eggers and Michael Chabon, to name a few -- who are young, gifted and both blessed and cursed. While they are admired for their work and for leading a renaissance of literature, publishing and philanthropy in San Francisco, they are also major snark targets, annoying others for seeming to have so much brilliance, youth and charm." She's also married to Eggers, and the two of them may be the closest thing the American literary scene has to a power couple. Still, Vida seems a bit nonplussed by the whole fame thing, and seems genuinely to wish that the world would just pipe down and let her write. San Francisco Chronicle 08/27/03

Innovation Or Power-Grab? The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has been around since the days of John Adams, who founded it, and traditions run deep within its membership, which is elected from within and includes an array of intellectual and moneyed elites. So it's not a big surprise that Leslie Berlowitz, who was brought in to shake up the academy in the late 1990s, has made a lot of enemies since she took over. "Berlowitz's supporters say she is an agent of change who has breathed new life into what was once a moribund clique of inbred Cambridge academics. Her detractors say she is a manipulative, imperious power grabber who has needlessly alienated academy fellows and staff alike." Boston Globe 08/27/03

Monday, August 25, 2003

Claudio Abbado Returns Conductor Claudio Abbado has resurrected the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. "For musicians and audiences alike, Mr. Abbado's return was also the stuff of emotion. Last year he stepped down after 13 years as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. But more pertinently, after a diagnosis of stomach cancer in 2000 he is again in good health and, at 70, has proven strong enough to lead a new orchestra. It is something he is practiced at doing." The New York Times 08/26/03

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Elliott Carter - On Top At 94 "Though considered in certain circles to be America's greatest living composer, he is, in others, demonized for alienating audiences with music that's so dense, so packed with information in so little time, that it's like street noise. Anyone listening to Carter expecting typical classical symmetry and tunefulness is primed for disappointment. If heard in the anything-can-happen spirit of progressive jazz, Carter's hairpin turns and animated chatter among instruments are anything but mysterious. He tests listeners at the beginning of his pieces, often with a jarring chord that all but says, 'If you can handle this, the rest is easy'." Philadelphia Inquirer 08/24/03

Lawrence Summers - Reinventing Harvard? As president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers has a radical agenda - transforming the very nature of the way one of the world's great universities does business. "Even if Summers were a guileful and calculating figure with a hidden agenda of drastic change, he would have a tough row to hoe. But he's not: he's a blunt and overbearing figure with an overt agenda of drastic change. It should come as no surprise that Larry Summers is not quite as popular a figure as his gracious predecessor was." New York Times Magazine 08/24/03

Friday, August 22, 2003

John Coplans, 83 John Coplans, a founder and former editor of Artforum magazine, who was also a painter, critic, curator, museum director and "finally a photographer of discomfiting images of his own aging body," has died at the age of 83. The New York Times 08/22/03

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Do We Really Miss Katharine, Bob and Gregory That Much? "America seems to be rather ghoulishly prolonging, and even luxuriating in, the grief attendant upon the recent spate of top-table Hollywood demises. This is a measure of the affection that these old warhorses inspired in many people. But I wonder if this enduring nostalgia doesn't also arise from a widespread wish not to have to gaze upon the present, on the haemorrhaging economy and rising unemployment, on what's been so disastrously wrought in the Middle East through lies and manipulation, or the ghastly triumphs of NeoCon-corporate feudalism." The Guardian (UK) 08/22/03

Rowling Nobel Campaign Fizzles A fan campaign to nominate Harry Potter author JK Rowling for a Nobel has fizzled. "Not a single person sent a letter to the Nobel Committee suggesting her for the 2004 literature award despite an internet crusade asking them to do so." BBC 08/21/03

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Rwanda Project Founder Dies Theatre producer and photographer David Jiranek died this weekend at the age of 45. Three years ago Jiranek "traveled to Rwanda to bring disposable instamatic cameras to the children in an orphanage founded and still run by a 90-year-old American matriarch, Rosamond Carr, to care for the young survivors of the Hutu-Tutsi genocide. An exhibition of the astonishing images created by the children became the basis for a photography exhibition shown in Rwanda's capital city and at various galleries in the United States, most recently this summer in New York." Straight Up (AJBlogs) 08/19/03

Monday, August 18, 2003

de Larrocha's Long Farewell After 32 years onstage, pianist Alicia de Larrocha is beginning her long goodbye from performing. "Time has not left her unscathed. At Lincoln Center she looked frail, even tentative, when she made her way centre-stage. She seemed instantly rejuvenated, however, when she touched the keyboard. Larrocha never was a dazzling technician and certainly cannot be one now. It hardly matters." Financial Times 08/18/03

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Life After The Almeida It's been a year since Jonathan Kent left the Almeida Theatre, after a 12 year run leading the place. "The Almeida has become his international calling card. "It's astonishing, he says - Kent's favourite word is 'astonishing', closely followed by "extraordinary", both adding to the animated panache of his conversation - 'I've only discovered, on leaving it, that the Almeida is as well known abroad as the RSC or the National. 'I don't miss it. I can't imagine a more golden period and it was absolutely the making of me, but you have to move on. I felt I'd done everything I wanted to do there." The Telegraph (UK) 08/18/03

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Tracey Emin Sues Critic Tracey Emin is suing critic Hensher. "The feud began in the Independent when Hensher wrote a damning critique of Emin, claiming she was too stupid to be a good conceptual artist. 'Is it possible to be a good conceptual artist and also very stupid?' he asked. He doubted it. Emin, he wrote, was a half-witted dullard with no inquiring intelligence. She was, he added, too thick to explore the few interesting concepts she had hit on by chance, and concluded: 'There's no hope for Tracey Emin. She's just no good'." The Observer (UK) 08/17/03

Ingmar Bergman: I'm A Loser Filmmaker Ingmar Bergman has a very poor opinion of his own talents, according to diaries in his personal archive, opened this week. "Somewhere in the depths of my foolish soul I nurture one conceited notion: "One day, perhaps - one day - something shining will be prised out of all this wretchedness," he wrote of himself in 1938. The Guardian (UK) 08/16/03

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Kirk Varnedoe, 57 Former Museum of Modern Art curator Kirk Varnedoe has died at the age of 57. "Though he was an important historian of modern art from early on, and went on to public prominence as the top curator at the Museum of Modern Art, he never had much of the delicate aesthete about him. Kirk's athletic, virile manner made him an oddity in the art world, and less than a favorite of a few of its inhabitants. His forceful surface also contradicted the delicately subtle tenor of his work and thought." Washington Post 08/15/03

Lev Kerbel, 85 "Lev Kerbel, one of the premier sculptors of Socialist realist works whose statues of Lenin once graced city squares across the Eastern bloc, has died, NTV television reported Thursday. He was 85." Moscow Times 08/15/03

Cleveland Orchestra Principal To Retire Cellist Stephen Geber has been principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra for 30 years, "the longest tenure for a principal cellist in the orchestra's history. It's a seat he will relinquish next week, when he retires at the end of the ensemble's season at Blossom Music Center." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 08/14/03

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Gregory Hines - He Pushed His Artform "He had shone in so many ways: a stellar tap dancer, choreographer, actor, teacher, mentor, loved one. If you missed his appearances at tap festivals, you might have enjoyed his gritty portrayal of Jelly Roll Morton in Jelly's Last Jam on Broadway. Although you might never have seen him tap, you might have caught him in one of his appearances on Will & Grace. His death caught most of us off guard; he let only those closest to him know that he had been diagnosed with liver cancer a little over a year ago." Village Voice 08/12/03

  • The Legacy Of Gregory Hines Many of today's young dancers owe much to Gregory Hines. "If you saw Hines dance, you saw his dynamic continuation of a dance tradition inherited from legendary hoofers such as Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, Honi Coles, Sandman Sims, The Nicholas Brothers and Teddy Hale, to mention a few." Denver Post 08/12/03

  • Previously: Gregory Hines, 57 Actor/dancer Gregory Hines has died of cancer. He was best known for his roles in films such as The Cotton Club (1984), based around the seminal 1920s New York jazz club, in which he played Sandman Williams. He was also cast alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in the thriller White Nights (1985), and alongside Billy Crystal in the comic cop thriller Running Scared (1986)." BBC 08/10/03

What Eschenbach Meant To Ravinia After nine years, Christoph Eschenbach leaves as music director of the Ravinia Festival this week. "If James Levine kicked Ravinia's international profile up several notches, Eschenbach certified it as a full-service festival - a place where young musicians and seasoned artists can strike sparks off one another, where top-level chamber music thrives, where amazing things can appear out of nowhere like the fireflies that dance among the picnickers on the lawn. He has set the spontaneous tone for a summer place where performers unwind in postlude concerts that have been known to go on well past midnight." Chicago Tribune 08/12/03

Monday, August 11, 2003

Gregory Hines, 57 Actor/dancer Gregory Hines has died of cancer. He was best known for his roles in films such as The Cotton Club (1984), based around the seminal 1920s New York jazz club, in which he played Sandman Williams. He was also cast alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in the thriller White Nights (1985), and alongside Billy Crystal in the comic cop thriller Running Scared (1986)." BBC 08/10/03

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Who Is Adam Weinberg? The new director of the Whitney Museum is well-regarded as a curator. "What the Whitney needs to do is define its terrain. It must set itself apart from the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and a host of other smaller museums in New York, all competing for the same audience. The idea is for the Whitney to help shape the dialogue about what American art is and will be." Boston Globe 08/09/03

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Oscar Peterson At 78 Many of the jazz greats are dead. "All this weighs heavily on Canada's jazz colossus Oscar Peterson, who will celebrate his 78th birthday on Friday. He's been an international star for more than half a century, the work of his trios and quartets a grail for jazzers to pursue. The deaths of the jazz greats he moved with colours his views of today's music. Peterson is from the golden age of jazz, when swing and bebop and the territory in between that he ploughs with such dazzling dexterity spawned hordes of mighty players whose genius is apparent even to contemporary listeners under assault from the forces of musical dreck." Toronto Star 08/09/03

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Julius Baker, 87 "Julius Baker, the principal flutist of the New York Philharmonic for 18 years and the most prominent American flutist of his generation, died on Wednesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 87 and lived in Brewster, N.Y. As an orchestral player, he was principal flutist in several of the best orchestras in the United States. As a performer and a teacher, he was an institution among flutists..." The New York Times 08/08/03

The Best German... Er, Austrian Of All Time? A German TV poll to name the "best German of all time" "got off to a shaky start yesterday after the Austrian ambassador to Germany complained that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose name appears on a list of eligible candidates, is Austrian." The Guardian (UK) 08/07/03

Jack of All Trades, Master of Arts "Over the course of a 40-year professional career he has been a musician, composer, conductor, educator and nationally renowned arts administrator. But now the founding director of the Baltimore School for the Arts, who retired in 1996 after leading the school through its first 16 years of existence, is debuting in an entirely new role: David Simon, American realist painter." Baltimore Sun 08/07/03

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Perlman, Brown, Burnett Win Kennedy Honors This year's Kennedy Center Honors are announced. Violinist Itzhak Perman is joined by fellow musician James Brown, comedienne Carol Burnett, country icon Loretta Lynn, film and theater director Mike Nichols. "The Honors is an annual ritual, now 26 years old, where illustrious stars and powerful politicians salute five ground-breakers in the performing arts for a lifetime of distinguished work." Washington Post 08/05/03

Why Andy Matters Andy Warhol wasn't an artist, writes Terry Teachout. He was "a preternaturally shrewd operator who transformed Marcel Duchamp's anti-art into glossy gewgaws suitable for mail-order merchandising. He silk-screened money. Why should those who do care about art bother to take note of the 75th birthday of an anti-artist whose works were purposefully forgettable? Because Warhol did as much as anyone to shape the culture of pure, accomplishment-free celebrity in which we now live. He envisioned it far more clearly than most of his contemporaries, and this clarity helped make him the best-known artist of the postwar era." OpinionJournal.com 08/05/03

Robert McFerrin At 82 Robert McFerrin (father of singer Bobby McFerrin) is 82. "In 1955, McFerrin became the first black man to be signed to New York's Metropolitan Opera. He also performed the songs for a lip-synching Sidney Poitier in the 1959 MGM classic 'Porgy and Bess'. He was honored June 18 in St. Louis with a lifetime achievement award from Opera America." St. Paul Pioneer-Press (AP) 08/05/03

Warhol At 75 Andy Warhol would have been 75 this week. "He might be taken aback by his status as a household name, and by the fact that his personal museum has become a cultural cornerstone of his hometown. Or maybe he'd be taken aback just for a little while and then revel in his fame, given his fascination with the concept..." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 08/05/03

Jarvi - Back Home In Estonia Conductor Neeme Jarvi, who "turned 66 in June, left Estonia in 1980, but retains enormous patriotic affection for it. Jarvi's word is magic in his home country, where he played a key role in inspiring the construction of the new Parnu concert hall and a new opera house and concert hall scheduled to open in 2008 in Tallinn, the capital and Jarvi's hometown. He is an active participant in Estonian musical life, returning annually to conduct and teach at the academy that bears his name." Detroit Free Press 08/04/03

Monday, August 4, 2003

Boston Curator Named Director Of Frick Anne Little Poulet has been named the new director of the Frick Museum. "Although she has never run a museum, Ms. Poulet, 61, comes to the job with 30 years' experience in the art world. For two decades she ran the department of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. During that time she was responsible for a number of acquisitions." The New York Times 08/05/03

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Barenboim Leaps Into The Fray Again Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has once again placed himself in the center of Mideast politics, playing a recital in the West Bank town of Ramallah, and criticizing the Israeli government's policies towards the Palestinians living in the occupied territories. "Barenboim, 60, an Argentine-born Jew who grew up in Israel, has long campaigned for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and has extolled music's power to break down barriers. Since the early 1990s, he and Palestinian academic Edward Said have run a summer workshop for young musicians from Israel and Arab countries in places like Germany, the United States and Spain." Washington Post (AP) 08/02/03

The Summer of Lang Pianist Lang Lang is only 21 years old, and this summer, he is everywhere in the world of classical music. Recordings, TV specials, and a seemingly endless series of performances have turned the young Chinese-born phenom into the Next Big Thing in the industry. But David Patrick Stearns warns that if there's one thing classical music buffs hate, it's the notion that an artist is being forced on them. Lang is as good as the hype, says Stearns, but he needs to start watching out for the inevitable backlash. Philadelphia Inquirer 08/02/03


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