Japan’s Coming Mascot Bloodbath

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“[The country's] eclectic, and often bizarre, mascots – known as yuru-kyara (laidback characters) – are put to work promoting everything from local cuisine and sightseeing spots to tax offices, the police and military, and even prisons.” Osaka prefecture is home to 45 of them, and the authorities want to cull the least productive ones.

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Connoisseurs Versus The Art Restorers

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While protesting since the early 1990s against the cult of “scientific” conservation and its disparagement of “subjective” aesthetic judgements, we have throughout commended a return to proper and rigorous applications of connoisseurship.

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Acropolis Gets Its Caryatids Cleaned – With Lasers

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Inside a makeshift fabric booth at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, as tourists pass by and look in, conservators use laser tools that look something like blow-dryers to remove the crusty grime that built up over decades on the graceful female statues that formed porch columns at the ancient temple. (slide show)

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Chuck Berry, Peter Sellars Win 2014 Polar Music Prize

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“They’ve probably never shared a stage together, and they are a strange match even by the odd-pairings standards of entertainment awards. Peter Sellars, the innovative Los Angeles-based director of opera and theater, and rock pioneer Chuck Berry were named the dual recipients of the annual Polar Music Prize, one of the highest honors in the field of music.”

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What Vasily Petrenko Really Thinks About Female Conductors (He’s Married To One)

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“[The furor over his remarks last fall] is an example of misquotation and actually quite a grotesque distortion from what I was saying. … I do understand that people who read it as it was reported were upset and even offended, but what I was actually saying was totally different. I was never against women conductors at all.”

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Peggy Guggenheim’s Descendants Sue Foundation Over What They’ve Done To Her Venice Palazzo

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“They charge that the foundation ignored Peggy Guggenheim’s last wish for the collection, which consists mainly of Cubist, Surrealist and abstract postwar art: that it be displayed in the palazzo in its entirety and without additions.” More generally, they’re furious over the expansionist, corporate character of the foundation’s current activities.

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New York Public Library Scraps Controversial Redesign

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“In a striking about-face, the New York Public Library has abandoned its much-disputed renovation plan to turn part of its research flagship on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street into a circulating library and instead will refurbish the nearby Mid-Manhattan Library, several library trustees said.”

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