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Friday, September 30


Visual Arts

Guggenheim Gets The New Adam At Long Last "A monumental example of Pop Art whose whereabouts were unknown to scholars and art historians for 30 years has been given to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The New Adam, a nine-panel painting 8 feet high and nearly 40 feet long by the Oklahoma-born artist Harold Stevenson, has long been considered one of the great American nudes." The painting was originally created for the Guggenheim in 1962, but was rejected for exhibition due to its content. The New York Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 5:54 am

The Mouse That Keeps On Giving The Walt Disney Company is donating its considerable collection of West African art to the Smithsonian Institution. 525 pieces of traditional African art and craft, which were originally gathered by a New York real estate tycoon, will go to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art, which has been struggling financially. The collection is difficult to appraise, but experts place its monetary value somewhere between $20 million and $50 million. The New York Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:51 pm

London Mayor Gets Personal In Statue Battle The mayor of London is taking sides in a debate over whether a new sculpture of Nelson Mandela by artist Ian Walters should be placed in Trafalgar Square. The Westminster City Council decided on the advice of renowned sculptor Glynn Williams to reject the statue, saying it doesn't fit the area. Mayor Ken Livingstone took expection, and took a highly personal shot at Williams in the process, holding up a photo of a Williams sculpture design and declaring that "The only sense in which that looks like [former UK Prime Minister] Harold Wilson is if he has been dead for several days, has started to decompose, and is emerging through a pile of dog mess." Livingstone also pointed out that Williams's design for that particular sculpture was rejected in favor of one by the very same Ian Walters. The Guardian (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:22 pm

The Tate Scramble Five years after its opening, London's Tate Modern museum is rehanging its entire collection, changing the order in which patrons will view the works and replacing groupings organized by subject matter with a system of categories such as cubism, minimalism, and surrealism. "When the new look is unveiled in May 2006 about 40% of the works will not have been seen at the gallery before." BBC 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:05 pm

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The People's Choice Conductor The readers of the UK's Gramophone magazine have voted San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas their Artist of the Year. "Thomas beat out a slate of musicians compiled by the editors that also included mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, pianist Marc-André Hamelin, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and tenor Rolando Villazón." San Francisco Chronicle 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:45 am

The No-Longer-Quite-So-Cheap-But-Still-Quite-A-Bargain Seats "For the first time in four years , the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has raised prices on the cheap seats at Powell Hall. This comes in the midst of a publicity blitz for new symphony music director David Robertson, who is drawing raves. Before this year, the cheap seats were a terrific bargain at just $10. That’s for 71 seats in the first three rows (called Orchestra Front on the symphony’s Web site). These seats are not for everyone: they’re like the front row at the movie theater. But if you enjoy being really involved with the sound, you can’t beat it: the music is all around you. This year, the cheap seats went up to $15." St. Louis Post-Dispatch 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 5:30 am

The Evolving Art of Conducting For the most part, the days when a conductor could rule his orchestra with rage and threats are gone, and most musicians expect the rehearsal atmosphere to be one of collegial, if not exactly friendly, collaboration. But as conductors have changed, the art of conducting has, as well: the physical demands are not nearly as great as the riddle of how to motivate a group of players and draw out their best performance. The best conductors are frequently those who never seem to be imposing their will on the orchestra, but still maintain a firm grip on the reins of interpretation. In other words, friendly is good, but respect is still the main thing. Financial Times (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 5:22 am

Build It And They Will Come (Maybe. When They're Good and Ready.) There was a time when the audience for classical music preferred - nay, demanded - that the genre be presented as a dressed-up affair, all formality and glamour, and that those in attendance listen "not only with their senses, but their soul." These days, most classical presenters are considerably less picky - as long as there are butts in the seats, who cares what they're wearing or if they squirm a bit? Amanda Holloway suggests that, in a world of seemingly endless entertainment options, catering to supposedly modern tastes just isn't ever going to bring new audiences to the concert hall, and neither is reminding them constantly that culture is good for them. "No clever direct-mailing approach from an arts centre can replace... personal motivation." The Times (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:38 pm

The Voices In Your Head You probably think that your taste in music is your own, borne of your free spirit and personal experience. Well, it isn't. No, the people who tell you what you like to hear (or at least control what you have access to) are a motley collection of TV presenters, marketing execs, and general know-it-alls who you have never heard of, and who generally like it that way. Of course, they must be fairly good at knowing what you like, since you do like that new Coldplay single on your iPod. Don't you? C'mon, listen to it again... The Guardian (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:17 pm

Spurned Conductor Rides Again "The conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who was dumped by a major record label after a long and distinguished career, has had the last laugh after his self-released album of Bach cantatas was named record of the year. Sir John, a world expert on the music of J S Bach, took the top honours at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards in London yesterday, one of the most prestigious dates in the classical music calendar. He took the decision to release the music himself after the label Deutsche Grammophon pulled the plug on him in 2000 after nearly 20 years, just as he was about to embark on a tour of Europe performing all of Bach's 200 cantatas." The Independent (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 9:55 pm

Playing The Finale, And Hoping For One More Reprise Conductors of international stature regularly flit from job to job, leaving little mark on any one city in which they might alight for a week or two. But for conductors of smaller ensembles who make their careers with a single ensemble in a single town, the roots put down can run deep. So what happens when one of those ensembles dies for lack of money? Enter Ruben Vartanyan, the 69-year-old music director of the newly bankrupt Arlington Symphony in suburban Washington, D.C. "There is a move afoot to resurrect the symphony in a more modest form... But the odds are long. Funding is scarce. And the work to rebuild could be enormous. The old conductor, though, is available." Washington Post 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 9:43 pm

25 Music Critics In One Concert Hall? Is That Legal? The Columbia School of Journalism has released a list of 25 arts journalists who will be taking part in an NEA-sponsored Institute in Classical Music and Opera this October. "Participants will attend performances at all major New York concert venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera. They will write reviews and take part in writing workshops led by critics and editors at the New York Times, the New Yorker and other major publications, study music history with professors at NYU and Columbia, and meet with leading decision makers and thinkers in the field of classical music." Columbia University (NY) 09/29/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 9:14 pm

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Arts Issues

Zeroing Out The Arts "It's not easy to pinpoint the day culture died at ground zero. Since four cultural organizations were selected for the site a year ago, the notion of giving the arts an integral role has been gradually - and more lately precipitously - slipping away. At this point, culture is being cast as a suspicious interloper... A lack of powerful, outspoken advocates seems to have been a significant ingredient in the erosion of culture at the site. By putting the development corporation in charge of choosing the cultural groups, the state failed to enlist an enthusiastic commitment from business leaders and philanthropists." The New York Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:48 pm

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The Rebel "James Dean has been dead for 50 years. That's hard to imagine, just as it's hard to imagine that he was ever alive, at least alive in the normal sense of occupying space and being in only one place at any given time. These mundane facts -- life, death, time, space -- are hard to reconcile with the whole Dean package, the talent, the legend and the iconography that have accumulated around his memory in the years since his fatal smash-up on Sept. 30, 1955." San Francisco Chronicle 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:43 am

When The City Makes The Man Some celebrities seem to be not only a product of their own personality, but of their surroundings as well, and never was a backdrop more important to a public figure than New York was to Truman Capote. "Perhaps he could have flourished only in the New York that was a city of literary ambition, the one after World War II, as his biographer, Gerald Clarke, contends. Perhaps he could have flourished in any New York, especially today's, that prizes talent and a wink, as his friend Gay Talese, the author, contends. But what is clear is that he could not have become Truman Capote in any place but New York... Capote embodied a New York story of exile, triumph and disillusion." The New York Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 5:51 am

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Broadway's Hottest Couple Sells Out Want a ticket to see Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane in the new Broadway revival of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple? Well, you should have thought of that weeks ago. The show is sold out through the end of its planned run, and the producer recently came to the dual realizations that a) he no longer has to care what the critics will say, and b) it would be dishonest for him to place any ads for the show, since he has no tickets to sell. Of course, if you're truly desperate for your Broderick-Lane fix, you could always try the ticket brokers, but bring plenty of cash: a decent seat is going for as much as $1000. New York Post 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:33 am

The Power of Five A group of regional performing arts centers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Hartford, and St. Paul have banded together to form a new production company, with the intention of developing new touring shows which can play profitably at the centers, and also creating larger shows which could be of interest to Broadway. The five centers will share production costs and profits, and all will have equal rights to shows developed by the new partnership. St. Paul Pioneer Press 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 5:13 am

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Anonymous Five The lack of any marquee names on this year's shortlist for the Giller Prize could be seen as a PR misstep, especially since the CBC lockout virtually guarantees that the award will not be televised for the first time in recent memory. But where there are no superstars, everyone becomes a frontrunner, and the unusual shortlist could also be a unique opportunity for fresh new literary voices to emerge from the vast sea of Canadian literature. Toronto Star 09/29/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:48 am

And Just In Time For The Movie Release, Too! Random House has announced that Truman Capote's long-lost first novel will be published next month. The manuscript for Summer Crossing, which Capote wrote beginning in 1943, was found in 2004 in a box of the author's papers put up for auction. "Set in New York just after World War II, Summer Crossing is the story of a young lighthearted socialite, Grady McNeil, whose parents leave her alone in their Manhattan penthouse for the summer while they travel to France to check on their war-torn villa." The Age (Reuters) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:11 pm

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Look At Me! Look At Me Helping! In the wake of the dual hurricanes that battered the U.S. Gulf Coast, television and its stars have suddenly become all about helping out. You can hardly flip a channel without coming across some sort of benefit or helping hand effort. But Paul Brownfield says that there's something profoundly disturbing about the charitable handout offered by television: after all, the networks and stars parading so publicly could easily have helped out quietly like everyone else, but then American wouldn't have been able to see them helping. And really, that's the important thing. Los Angeles Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:23 am

TV's Own Indie Fest "After eight years of pitching and persuading, the first New York Television Festival opened Wednesday with the backing of TV Guide, such networks as NBC, Fox, MTV and Comedy Central, and powerhouse agencies like William Morris. Participants are an eclectic lot that includes a former NASCAR racer and a metalworker in Madison, Wis. Most found out about the event online or at one of three launch parties in New York, Los Angeles and London earlier this year. As the first event of its kind, the television festival represents an initial step toward creating an alternative way to develop programming outside the studio and network system. But it remains to be seen whether the five-day event has the potential to remake the television industry the way Sundance and other film festivals affected the movie industry." Los Angeles Times 09/30/05
Posted: 09/30/2005 6:17 am

Google TV Google, the search-engine-turned-internet-juggernaut, is finalizing plans to begin streaming TV programs online. The company has "already signed up a channel in the United States to provide programmes for its Google TV station and is in talks with the BBC to broadcast its shows. [Google] hopes to build up a massive online database of programmes that can be searched and watched from any computer, with users able to search for episodes of any show from broadcasters who sign up to the service. It will also let British viewers watch hit television shows from the US months before they are shown in the UK." The Scotsman (UK) 09/29/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:57 pm

Universal/Dreamworks Merger Dies On The Table "Dreamworks SKG, the movie studio founded by a trio of entertainment moguls including the director Steven Spielberg, has called off talks to be bought by NBC Universal for about $1 billion... The failure to reach a deal was thought to have resulted from disagreements over the price and Mr Spielberg’s reluctance to give up the independence that he has enjoyed at DreamWorks, which allowed him to work with competing studios." The Times (UK) 09/30/05
Posted: 09/29/2005 10:46 pm

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