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Tuesday, February 18


Emotionally Impressed - Studying Emotion And The Arts "Emotion has always been at the core of the humanities: Without the passions, there would not be much history, and even less literature. Indeed the very word "philosophy" begins with philos (love). But only in recent years have scholars begun focusing, without embarrassment, on emotion itself, producing a body of work that regularly crosses the line between the humanities and the social sciences, with occasional forays into neurophysiology." Chronicle of Higher Education 02/17/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 12:59 pm

Visual Arts

End Of The Line For Detroit's MONA? Detroit's Museum of New Art (MONA) has never had an easy road to follow. The very definition of a grassroots arts organization, MONA was founded in an abandoned suburban storefront in 1996, and moved to downtown Detroit in 2001. But the museum has had its share of recent turmoil at the top, and now, it faces eviction from its home in Detroit's Book Building, amid bizarre charges of vandalism from the landlord, and accusations of mismanagement from several resigned directors. Detroit News 02/15/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 5:30 am

The Secret Behind Van Dyck The Van Dyck painting that hung in Scotland's National Gallery for more than 100 years, was keeping a secret. "After a year of restoration and investigation, staff at the Edinburgh gallery have been able to shed light on a work Van Dyck wanted no one to see. Underneath the canvas of St Sebastian Bound for Martyrdom is a previous work, also of St Sebastian and almost an exact copy of a Van Dyck that hangs in the Louvre." The Guardian (UK) 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 12:17 am

Subjecting Leonardo To Science Dspite the small number of Leonardo da Vinci paintings there, they have never been studied with modern scientific instruments. So "the Universal Leonardo Project is being set up to coordinate the first scientific examination of all the artist’s paintings. Scholars are still unable to agree on which paintings should be attributed to Leonardo, with the number accepted by individual specialists varying from one dozen to two dozen. 'Even the Mona Lisa has not been subjected to a sustained technical examination'.” The Art Newspaper 02/14/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 1:04 pm

Looted Art Sale The family of Eugene Gutman has recently recovered 233 works of art worth about £2 million .from the Dutch government, and will sell 90 of them at auction. The art was looted by the Nazis 60 years ago, and includes silver, Old Master paintings, furniture and other antiques. The sale will be one of the biggest of war-looted art ever. The Telegraph (UK) 02/17/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 12:48 pm


Shaky Start For Welser-Möst The Cleveland Orchestra recently returned from its first domestic tour under new music director Franz Welser-Möst, and while the organization is calling the tour a smashing success, the critics appear to be taking a different view of the ensemble that many have considered to be America's best orchestra in recent years. Welser-Möst was fairly unknown when Cleveland chose him to succeed Christoph von Dohnanyi, and many arts writers appear to be unconvinced of his talents. While the tour garnered its share of praise, there were also stern reprimands from critics in New York, Boston, and London. Perhaps even more ominous is the fact that the orchestra's hometown critic seems to agree with the skeptics. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 02/16/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 6:03 am

For Canadians, By Canadians "Last March, Grant Dexter cheerfully stepped into the mess that is the North American recording industry to launch MapleMusic Recordings, an independent Toronto record label built on Dexter's successful music e-commerce portal, MapleMusic.com. At the time, Dexter declared that the label would promote great Canadian pop music to Canadians, and treat artists fairly, spending reasonable time and money developing their music - and their markets." The music industry was amused at Dexter's efforts. Now, they're amazed, after Maple successfully launched two top singers into the upper echelons of recording success in its first year alone. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 5:38 am

Chicago Makes Some Subtle Cuts The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, trying to dig out from under a massive deficit, announced its plans for next season this week, and while there will be no ticket price hikes, there won't be much in the way of innovation or excitement either, says John van Rhein. "Like [Chicago] Lyric Opera, the CSO has had to forgo expensive operatic, as well as choral, projects until the bottom line gets stronger. The Symphony Center Presents vocal series has been suspended indefinitely. There are pockets of repertory adventure in the course of the 113th season, but a lot more that suggests the very thing music director Daniel Barenboim says he deplores -- 'falling into conventional solutions and programs when the financial situation is difficult.'" Chicago Tribune 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 5:23 am

Lower Ticket Prices - What A Concept! The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is rolling back ticket prices to 1998 levels, and offering a new package of discounts and ticket deals in an effort to get more people into their hall for the coming season. Aside from being simply cheaper, the new ticket plans give subscribers more options to tailor the concert schedule to their own life, a strategy more and more orchestras are adopting. The PSO is running at a deficit, and is also searching for both a music director and a new chief executive. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 4:50 am

Why Orchestras? Philippe Herreweghe is a leader of the period instrument movement. But the conductor wonders about the use of tradional symphony orchesras. "Must we go on with these traditional orchestras? The ancient music movement is very strong. First they played Baroque music, and the attitude of the traditional orchestras was to say 'OK, it's not serious music. Let them do it, but they are not good enough to play real music.' But later, we played Mozart and Beethoven. We play Brahms, Schumann and Bruckner, and we noticed that there was an interest from the public and the press. And now, when there is a concert of Schubert symphonies on gut strings here in Antwerp, it attracts a full audience with young people, but when some local orchestras play the same symphonies of Schubert or Haydn in a traditional way the hall is half empty." The Telegraph (UK) 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 12:47 am

Music Man Raymond Gubbay is the kind of populist promoter who draws contempt from more traditional arts managers. "His success is based on providing what he has accepted is middle-brow populist material." But his shows consistently sell, and he prides himself on finding entertaining ways to present music and opera. The Guardian (UK) 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 12:07 am

Death Of The Blues? The US Congress declared 2003 the Year of the Blues. But the blues are in trouble. "When the blues tries to grab a mainstream crowd, it cleans up and cools down a genre that began as raw field songs and work hollers. Today's popular version reeks of facsimile, with theatricality replacing raw passion, and mimicry usurping originality. Rare is today's blues singer or guitarist who doesn't call to mind his biggest influences with familiar riffs first played with fire a half-century ago. Rarer still is the songwriter who can craft an inventive blues tune. It is as if imagination has been banned." OpinionJournal 02/18/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 11:46 pm

Oslo Begins Construction Of New Opera House Construction began Monday on the Norwegian capital's new opera house. "The project, budgeted at NOK 3.3 billion (nearly USD 500 million), sparked years of political debate. Oslo's current opera house at the central square known as Youngstorget is well past its prime, but the sheer cost of a new opera, not to mention where it should be located, was the subject of seemingly endless argument." Aftenposten (Norway) 02/17/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 1:49 pm

Arts Issues

Censorship Or Sensitivity? A student newspaper at Boston College is being accused of censorship by a theater group at the school, after the paper refused to publish an ad for an upcoming production, because the ad featured a swastika. The play being advertised "is about a fictional university professor who is drawn into the Nazi movement." The paper suggested to the theater that the ad be edited, with text replacing the swastika, and that version will run in the next edition, but there is still much debate over whether the paper should have run the ad without changes. The paper's editors point out that they are under no obligation to run every ad submitted, referencing the fact that "the paper doesn't run ads for abortion clinics, out of respect for BC's Catholic affiliation." Boston Globe 02/16/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 6:40 am

The Israeli Academic Boycott A boycott of Israeli universities and their academic by-products is underway across Europe, organized by European and American academics who revile the Sharon government's hardline policies in the occupied territories. One of the main targets of the boycott is Neve Gordon, who fires back that "Israeli universities continue to be an island of freedom surrounded by a stifling and threatening environment. In the past two years the Israeli media, which was once known for its critical edge, has been suppressing critical voices... To fight the anti-intellectual atmosphere within Israel, local academics need as much support as they can get from their colleagues abroad." The Nation 02/14/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 6:32 am

Philanthropy Takes A Dive "The 2002 Slate 60, the annual list of charitable gifts and pledges from the country's top philanthropists, totaled $4.6 billion, less than half of 2001's total of $12.7 billion." The good news is that two of the biggest gifts last year in America were art-related. Walter Annenberg's bequest of $1 billion worth of art to the Metropolitan Museum led. And "Ruth Lilly, heiress to the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, came in at No. 2 with a $520 million pledge to various arts organizations, including a $100 million gift to Poetry magazine." Slate 02/17/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 1:09 am


Broadway Musicians Dispute - Who's Really Deciding? Broadway producers say that the number of musicians emplyed for a show "should be left to the composer, lyricist, and musical director of a Broadway musical." The head of the musicians union agrees: "We agree completely, absolutely 100%. The problem is they're not the people who make the decision. How do we know? Those people are members of our union. And they say, unless we protect the minimums, they can't work in the same parameters as they do now on Broadway, because the numbers are dictated to the musical creative team by producers." Musicians and producers are locked in contract talks. Backstage 02/17/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 1:14 pm


Blocked By Indulgence What's up with writers with writer's block? "You have to be able to afford to be blocked because, if you are a writer, not writing is a very expensive business - and it becomes more so by the hour. Therefore, it tends not to happen on Grub Street. I myself have written three novels and averaged 2,000 words of journalism a week for 15 years without ever experiencing the kind of bank balances where a block becomes a serious possibility." London Evening Standard 02/17/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 12:34 am

Poets Gather To Protest War A group of American poets who were to have performed at the White House before the event was canceled, gathered Sunday in Vermont for an event called "A Poetry Reading in Honour of the Right of Protest as a Patriotic and Historical Tradition." "About 600 people gathered at a church in Manchester, Vermont to protest a war with Iraq. BBC 02/16/03
Posted: 02/17/2003 1:40 pm


Making A Point At Berlin Fest "The upset winner as best film at the politically charged Berlin Film Festival is In This World, a faux docu-drama about refugees from Afghanistan journeying to Europe. The awarding of the Golden Bear prize to Michael Winterbottom's film ahead of favourite The Hours and other high-profile titles Adaptation, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind and 25th Hour, was seen as a pointed anti-war statement from the seven-member jury led by Canadian director Atom Egoyan. The festival was overshadowed by protests at U.S. military intentions against Iraq. The closing awards ceremony on Saturday took place against the backdrop of a massive anti-war demonstration in the German capital." Toronto Star 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 6:19 am

Slapping The Mouth You Feed? With funding for public broadcasting under fire in Canada, you would think that the CBC would take all the help and support it could find. But a new organization agitating on behalf of the $900-million-a-year public network is being regarded with some suspicion by CBC higher-ups. Our Public Airwaves, a pro-CBC lobbying group which sprang into existence last summer, has so far done nothing to which the company could object. But OPA is a creation of the two unions representing CBC workers, and at a time when relations between management and labor have not exactly been cozy, the CBC brass are not openly embracing the group. The Globe & Mail (Toronto) 02/18/03
Posted: 02/18/2003 5:42 am

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