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Friday, November 10

Visual Arts

Buying Up Art As Fast As It Can Be Painted Art is totally hot right now, and we're not just talking about the big masterpieces that sell for millions at snooty auction houses in New York and London. "In an increasingly overheated world-wide art market, the demands of a voracious — and growing — community of buyers is putting pressure on artists to produce more work, faster, than ever before."
Toronto Star 11/10/06 Posted: 11/10/2006 6:34 am

The Quiet Collector Makes His Presence Felt Until he sold off three paintings for a combined $283 million this fall, many outside the art world were probably unaware of Hollywood mogul David Geffen's status as a major collector. But "insiders have [long] acknowledged Geffen's inventory as one of the largely unseen wonders of the contemporary art world... To those who have watched Geffen quietly amass paintings by Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns and Willem de Kooning, these sales make a lot of sense."
Los Angeles Times 11/10/06 Posted: 11/10/2006 6:14 am

Buffalo Gallery To Sell Off Old Masters "After six years of strategic planning and review, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo has decided to sell artworks and objects that fall outside the institution’s mission 'to acquire, exhibit and preserve both Modern and contemporary art.' The works, which include everything from antiquities to old master paintings and other European art, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2007 and early 2008. The proceeds, expected to be around $15 million, will be used to acquire works that will strengthen the gallery’s holdings."
The New York Times 11/10/06 Posted: 11/10/2006 6:01 am

Art Is So Bourgeois, Anyway An important Kirchner painting sold at the record-setting auction in New York the other day for nearly $40 million. But possibly more interesting than the work itself is the identity of the seller - "Anita Halpin, the 62-year-old stalwart and chair of the far left" Communist Party of Britain. "For a communist, it may seem a galling sum for 200cm by 150cm of canvas. Worse still, perhaps, for a woman with Stalinist credentials."
The Guardian (UK) 11/10/06 Posted: 11/09/2006 7:42 pm

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Sydney Opera House Needs Major Renovation Its facade may be one of the world's most recognizable sights, but inside, the Sydney Opera House is a cramped, outmoded and fast-aging structure. Some essential renovations are already planned, but "the big question is: should other work be undertaken at the same time that would ensure the Opera House has a future as a venue for the art form for which it was built?" It could cost as much as AUS$700 million... Sydney Morning Herald 11/11/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 5:10 am

  • Not Really Built For Opera Actually, the Sydney Opera House would probably not be that troublesome a space if not for the fact that some people continue to insist on performing operas in it. "We could fix its faults by admitting it is not an opera house at all, never will be. It is not, really, architecture. It is a fabulous, transcendent piece of sculpture. Iconography, even. No one expects the Eiffel Tower or the pyramids to do clever things with sound waves. Just bouncing the photons keeps the cameras happy. Ask Frank Gehry. Ask George Pell: isn't that what icons do?" Sydney Morning Herald 11/11/06
    Posted: 11/10/2006 5:09 am

Underground Classical New York's classical music scene is moving out of the concert hall and into some unlikely locales. "Spurred on by a growing number of offbeat performance venues and enterprising young classical musicians, New York is experiencing a boom in small, largely below-the-radar concert series. There are opera nights at a Lower East Side dive bar, chamber music concerts at a boxing gym beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, contemporary music at a cabaret in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and avant-garde fare in a silo on the banks of an industrial canal." Musical America 11/09/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 8:21 pm

Dallas Opera Orchestra Rejects Contract The musicians of the Dallas Opera orchestra have rejected a new contract that both sides believed was settled earlier this week. For the moment, the orchestra is continuing to work, though it hasn't ruled out a strike. At issue is a provision in the new contract which would have reduced, through attrition, the number of core players in the ensemble. Dallas Morning News 11/10/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 7:21 pm

Radio 3's Long Evolution Earlier this week, BBC Radio 3, the Beeb's classical station, announced changes to its schedule which may (or may not) result in far fewer live performances being broadcast. The changes are causing no small amount of consternation in Britain's classical music world: "The station has ventured quite far from its traditional ground. In 1992, Radio 3 was described in the BBC's annual report as 'the UK's leading patron and broadcaster of classical music'. In the same document, in 2004, it was described as providing 'a broad spectrum of classical music, jazz, world music, drama and arts discussions'. That is quite a shift." The Guardian (UK) 11/10/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 7:09 pm

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Arts Issues

Pooling Generosity For a long time, arts benefactors in the U.S. tended to be ultra-rich businesspeople wanting to create a cultural legacy for themselves. But today, the giving pool is much wider, and is made up of donors from many income levels. In fact, many lower-level donors have begun pooling their resources to form "giving circles," which can have a major impact. Wisconsin State Journal (AP) 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 5:38 am

You Stay Classy, Art World "In many discussions about art, class is often the elephant in the room... There seems to be a lot of hand-wringing about access to the arts. [But] who are these schemes trying to attract?" More importantly, once the supposedly disenfranchised are attracted, what makes anyone think they would have any interest, having been denied any real sort of art education previously? The Times (UK) 11/08/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 8:05 pm

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Child Sticking With Performance Today Fred Child will stay on as host of the nationally syndicated Performance Today when production of the daily program of live classical performance shifts from Washington, D.C. to St. Paul, Minnesota this winter. NPR announced plans to dump the show earlier this year, as the network has chosen to focus mainly on news/talk programming, but the national distribution arm of Minnesota Public Radio agreed to pick up PT with no interruption in the show's run. PlaybillArts 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 5:46 am

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This Is Why No One Ever Made A Musical Out Of Rambo Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, a major hit in both book and movie form, isn't faring as well on the stage. A recent trial run in Boston played to half-empty houses, and ticket sales are alarmingly slow for the Broadway production as well. "The problem, sources say, is that the show's target audience - straight males in their 20s and 30s - would rather be caught in a gay bar than at a Broadway musical." New York Post 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 6:18 am

A Play A Day, And... Wait. You Were Serious? "There are your everyday whims, and then there are the whims of a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. The writer in this case is Suzan-Lori Parks, who decided one afternoon in 2002 that she would write a play a day for a year. Ha! Neat idea. Well, four years later those plays are about to be presented in what may be the largest and most elaborate theatrical premiere ever, involving some of the most prominent institutional theaters in the country." The New York Times 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 5:56 am

Blanchett To Run Sydney Company Hollywood star Cate Blanchett has accepted a position as co-director of Australia's Sydney Theatre Company, along with her husband, director Andrew Upton. "Blanchett revealed that both she and Upton were on three-year contracts, each of which has a three-month 'slot-out' clause in-built into the contractual arrangement, to allow either one of them to take three months out each year should they wish to pursue other activities." Sydney Morning Herald 11/10/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 8:16 pm

A Kapital Idea "There is no wedding, no romantic interest and no plot to speak of. Instead the reader of Karl Marx's epic work, Das Kapital, is treated to a lengthy treatise on the division of labour and capitalist modes of production, offered up in long, convoluted sentences. Yet none of this has deterred a German theatre group from achieving the seemingly impossible: bringing the huge classic on economic theory to the stage." The Guardian (UK) 11/09/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 7:39 pm

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The Sad, Segregated State Of US TV It's a well-known fact that African-Americans are terribly underrepresented on American television, but what about the black shows that do make it on the air? First of all, they're all comedies, mostly playing to tired stereotypes and milking laughs out of borderline racist gags. "As for African-American-centric dramas, they are non-existent on the small screen, and there is little indication that will change any time soon." Chicago Tribune (NYT) 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 6:07 am

Sex On The Big Screen "What makes a film truly erotic? Unrequited longing, transgression, voyeurism? Can men and women ever agree? And why are film polls on the subject always so disappointing?" Director Sophie Fiennes's latest project, "The Pervert's Guide to Cinema," attempts to find a serious set of answers on a subject that's usually only giggled over. The Independent (UK) 11/10/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 7:51 pm

The Internet Sucks? Not So Fast. A Canadian magazine recently published an article laying out a long list of ways in which the Internet has supposedly failed to live up to the lofty expectations set out for it. The article "implies that a world without the Internet would be a world free of pornography, gambling, copyright violations, plagiarism, fraud, infidelity, pedophilia and partisan political bickering." But is such a blanket declaration of failure missing the point? London Free Press (Ontario) 11/09/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 7:00 pm

Finally, Someone Making Money From The Internet! One of the stiffest challenges facing radio stations is how to embrace new technologies without losing gobs of money on them. Even something as simple as an internet stream of live programming costs more money than the listener will ever know, and those streams usually generate little to no additional income. But for Seattle jazz station KPLU, online streaming has opened up unforeseen avenues of new listenership and, by extension, new revenue. Seattle Post-Intelligencer 11/09/06
Posted: 11/09/2006 6:52 pm

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Could Oakland Ballet Come Back From The Dead? A Nutcracker revival is being staged in Oakland this season, which may surprise some people, since Oakland Ballet folded in 2005. But the original founder of the now-defunct company hasn't given up on dance in Oakland: he hopes that a successful run of Tchaikovsky's famous holiday ballet will convince investors that Oakland Ballet is worth reviving. The Daily Review (Pleasanton, CA) 11/10/06
Posted: 11/10/2006 5:31 am

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