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Friday, March 31

Visual Arts

Philly's Skyline Conundrum Philadelphia's skyline has always been a bit understated for an American city of its size (due in large part to a longstanding unofficial rule that no building could be taller than the statue of William Penn that stands atop the magnificent city hall) but ever since city officials began allowing developers greater leeway in the 1980s, Philly has been getting vertical. Inga Saffron says that the proliferation of skyscrapers isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that the city's distinct lack of an urban plan is a serious threat to Philadelphia's distinctive look and feel. "The main issue is no longer about how high Philadelphia's towers should go. It's about guiding what happens on the ground." Philadelphia Inquirer 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:36 am

M'm! M'm! Expensive! New York art dealer Irving Blum long ago donated most of his collection of Andy Warhol's pop art depictions of Campbell's Soup cans to the Museum of Modern Art, but he apparently held back at least one work, from the days before Warhol discovered silkscreening. "'Small Torn Campbell's Soup Can (Pepper Pot),' an early hand-painted work from 1962, will be auctioned at Christie's sale of postwar and contemporary art in New York on May 9. It is expected to fetch $10 million to $15 million." The New York Times 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:15 am

'Fessing Up To Ownership Questions "A few museum-goers are starting to ask questions about the antiquities in their museums: How did they end up here, despite being considered stolen property under U.S. law, foreign law and the 1970 UNESCO treaty protecting cultural heritage? In many cases, the museums don't know for sure — or aren't saying." USAToday 03/30/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 12:23 am

Blockbuster Art In Seattle's Music Museum Billionaire Paul Allen shows off a bit of his (reputedly terrific) art collection in a show at his Experience Music Project in Seattle. "Allen's $250 million museum could use the sales boost. Since opening in 2000, annual visits have dropped from a peak of 531,000 to 378,000 last year. Advance ticket sales for the $8 art show have been "brisk". Entrance to the entire museum is $33." Bloomberg.com 03/30/06
Posted: 03/30/2006 10:51 pm

Maastricht Gives Lie To Shortage Claim Conventional wisdom has it that the supply of Old Masters for sale is drying up. Don't tell that to the participants of the Maastricht Fair. "Once again, exhibitors proved they are still able to find amazing works of top quality across a range of fields. Where else can you see, under one (admittedly vast) roof, two major Rembrandts, a Fra Angelico fresh from a show at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, a Clouet, a whole kunstkammer of amber including a piece from the lost Amber Room at Tsarskoye Selo, an elephant folio of Audubon’s Birds of America, and a throne from the Royal Palace of Warsaw?" The Art Newspaper 03/30/06
Posted: 03/30/2006 10:42 pm

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Downtown D.C. Finally Gets A Community Music Center "After years of planning, organizers of a proposed National Music Center announced yesterday that they are moving to the former Carnegie Library [in Washington, D.C.] and starting performances, classes and exhibitions this spring... 'The Gig,' as the center's public programs will be known, will test the waters for a more permanent, comprehensive museum of music." Washington Post 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:56 am

NY Phil Gets Year-Round Radio The New York Philharmonic and New York radio station WQXR have expanded the orchestra's national radio series from to 52 weeks (up from 39,) making it one of a very small number of American orchestras to have a year-round radio home for live concerts, and the only American ensemble with a 52-week national series. The New York Philharmonic This Week is currently heard on 250 stations across the U.S. PlaybillArts 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 5:35 am

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Arts Issues

Museums In The Wrong Hands "I have yet to see a performing arts museum that fires the theatregoer’s imagination. Vienna’s House of Music and London’s Handel House Museum are thin stuff for a rainy day and St Petersburg’s Museum of Performing Arts is positively soporific. Digital interaction might help but the only way to put on a show about the performing arts to involve a showman." La Scena Musicale 03/30/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 1:06 am

UK Tops Arts Spending Citizens of the UK lead all nations in per capita spending on arts and culture. "In the UK, the average household spending on recreation and culture as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) is 7.9%. This figure, which has risen from 6.5% in 1991, puts the UK at the top of the table of OECD countries, ahead of countries such as France and Germany, who spend 5.2% per household and 5% respectively, and above even the leisure-loving Australians, who come in second at 7.2%." The Guardian (UK) 03/31/06
Posted: 03/30/2006 11:59 pm

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Levine Surgery Successful Conductor James Levine is out of the hospital and recuperating at his New York home following shoulder surgery that will keep him out of action until the summer. Levine, who tore his rotator cuff in a fall following a Boston Symphony Orchestra concert last month, has canceled all his bookings through the spring, but hopes to be ready for the BSO's Tanglewood season, which begins in July. Boston Globe 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:25 am

Influential Eastman Dean Gets Contract Extension "James Undercofler, the innovative and influential dean of the Eastman School of Music, has been reappointed to a five-year term at the conservatory... Undercofler has been a driving force behind Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership, a first-of-its-kind center providing students with cutting-edge music and business skills for the 21st century. He also has played an influential role in the recent expansion of Eastman’s Community Music School, and in last year’s multi-million-dollar renovation of the Eastman Theatre." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (NY) 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 5:49 am

Sawallisch Retires Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch, who led the Philadelphia Orchestra for much of the 1990s and is known in Europe as one of the finest operatic conductors of his generation, is reported to have officially retired from the podium. "The 82-year-old Sawallisch has canceled a series of appearances with the Philadelphia Orchestra and other groups this season because of an unspecified illness... He has suffered from orthostatic hypotension, a blood pressure problem, in the past." PlaybillArts 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 5:32 am

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The Year Of The Bard The Royal Shakespeare Company is preparing to mount every play the Bard ever wrote, all within a single calendar year. "A new 1,000-seat Stratford venue, the thrust-staged Courtyard, opens in July and will be used alongside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan. Not that matters are confined to conventional spaces; Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried, will host the politics and pageantry of Henry VIII." Belfast Telegraph (N. Ireland) 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 5:16 am

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Danish Cartoons Won't Be Found At Borders Two of the largest bookstore chains in North America say they will not stock the April/May issue of the magazine, Free Inquiry, because it contains reprints of the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed which sparked riots and protests around the world earlier this year. Borders and Waldenbooks, which ordinarily carry the magazine, say that they are acting out of concern for the safety of their customers. Los Angeles Times (AP) 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:47 am

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A Children's Film Fest That Never Ends "Beginning tomorrow, New York will have a year-round international, independent film series for children, the only one of its kind in the country. The first weekend of every month, the New York International Children's Film Festival will show at least one feature for young children and one for ages 9 and older. Each film will be screened twice, preceded by a short, at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village." The New York Times 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:11 am

Apple vs. Apple (Again) Apple Computer is being sued in British court by the Beatles' record label, Apple Corps, with the label claiming that a copyright infringement occurred the moment the computer company moved into the music business with its iTunes downloading software. It is the third time that Apple Corps has gone after the maker of Macintosh computers and the iPod. At issue in the current fracas are differing interpretations of the out-of-court settlement that resulted from the last clash between the two Apples. Wired 03/30/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 6:02 am

Pixar At 20 The animation company that changed the face of big-screen cartoons is celebrating it's 20th anniversary. Pixar, which counts Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. among its hit films, dragged Hollywood into the age of digital animation more or less single-handedly, thus setting off a raging debate on whether computer-generated characters can ever really have the humanity of a hand-drawn version. Pixar's chief stands firm: "Computers don't create computer animation any more than a pencil creates pencil animation. What creates computer animation is the artist." BBC 03/31/06
Posted: 03/31/2006 5:55 am

NBC-On-Demand Comcast had made a deal with NBC to make NBC's programming available on demand. "The deal makes available top prime-time and late night programs from the NBC broadcast network, as well as popular shows from NBC Universal's USA, Bravo and Sci-Fi cable channels." Backstage (Reuters) 03/30/06
Posted: 03/30/2006 10:46 pm

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Royal Ballet To Focus On New Works London's Royal Ballet will focus on new choreography in its 2006-07 season, with works by four British choreographers leading the programming. TheStage 03/30/06
Posted: 03/29/2006 10:34 pm

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