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Tuesday, November 14

Visual Arts

Iconic Eakins Is Sold; Now Comes The Aftershock "At least twice in the 1970s and 1980s, deep-pocketed buyers came knocking on the doors of Thomas Jefferson University seeking to purchase Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic." Alumni soundly rejected those offers, but they weren't consulted this time. "University trustees announced Friday that they had agreed to sell the painting for $68 million. The news, said David Paskin, senior associate dean at the university, hit Jefferson 'like a nuclear blast.' Yesterday, students, faculty members and alumni were still reeling from the shock, which caught everyone off guard, angering not a few by its seeming stealth."
Philadelphia Inquirer 11/14/06 Posted: 11/14/2006 7:35 am


College Sells American Masterpiece To Museums Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia is selling its prized 1875 painting by Thomas Eakins "for $68 million to the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, founded by the Wal-Mart heiress Alice L. Walton and under construction in Bentonville, Ark. That sum is a record for an artwork created in the United States before World War II." The New York Times 11/11/06

2,000-Year-Old Shipwreck Yields Amphora Bonanza "A shipwrecked first-century vessel carrying delicacies to the richest palates of the Roman Empire has proved a dazzling find, with nearly 2,000-year-old fish bones still nestling inside clay jars, archeologists said yesterday. Boaters found the vessel's cargo of hundreds of amphoras in 2000 when their anchor got tangled with one of the two-handled jars. After years of arranging financing and crews, exploration of the site off the coast of Alicante in southeast Spain began in July...."
Boston Globe (AP) 11/14/06 Posted: 11/14/2006 7:17 am

Harvard Museums Reassess Plan For Temporary Home "The Harvard University Art Museums is reconsidering plans to turn a former bank building in Allston into its temporary home when it closes the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums for renovation in 2008. ... The original plan called for housing the majority of the 250,000 objects in the university's collection at the former bank building. At 25,000 square feet, the second site is less than a third the size of the former Citizens Bank building."
Boston Globe 11/14/06 Posted: 11/14/2006 7:13 am

Montreal Museum Director Stepping Down "Guy Cogeval, the director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art since 1998, announced he will leave at the end of his contract next year."
CBC 11/14/06 Posted: 11/13/2006 10:38 pm

Goya Stolen En Route To Guggenheim "A 1778 painting by Francisco de Goya, 'Children With Cart,' has been stolen near Scranton, Penn., on its way to the Guggenheim Museum of Art."
New York Sun 11/14/06 Posted: 11/13/2006 9:54 pm

The Restitution Racket Restituted art stolen by Nazis has become big business. But "sometimes we are dealing with a business in which many secondary players, lawyers, art dealers, are trying to get their piece of the pie. These are often the driving forces and are driving up prices."
The Telegraph (UK) 11/14/06 Posted: 11/13/2006 9:48 pm

Two Fra Angelicos Found "Experts in Italian renaissance art have recently discovered two works by the Florentine painter Fra Angelico "hanging behind a door in the spare room of an elderly woman's two-up, two-down in Oxford. The paintings will go on sale next year and are expected to fetch more than £1 million."
The Guardian (UK) 11/14/06 Posted: 11/13/2006 9:26 pm

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(Real) Live Recording Sales Might Make The Charts Songs recorded at gigs and sold legally to fans as they head home have become eligible for the UK music charts. BBC 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:41 pm

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Arts Issues

Why The Arts Need Public-Sector Investment "Our founding fathers understood the value of the arts. In the Massachusetts Constitution, John Adams called upon legislators to 'cherish the interests of literature . . . to encourage private societies and public institutions . . . for the promotion of . . . arts, sciences, commerce, trades.' ... Art and business. Art and government. These pairings are not as awkward as they're made out to be." Boston Globe 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 7:06 am

That Smog? Blame It On Hollywood. "Special effects explosions, idling vehicles, teams of workers building monumental sets — all of it contributes to Hollywood's newly discovered role as an air polluter, a university study has found. ... Although Hollywood seems environmentally conscious thanks to celebrities who lend their names to various causes, the industry created more pollution than individually produced by aerospace manufacturing, apparel, hotels and semiconductor manufacturing, the study found." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) (AP) 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 6:42 am

Corporate Support Gets An Infusion Of Ingenuity Partnerships between cultural institutions and corporate entities have gone creative. Take the Brooklyn Academy of Music. "To capitalize on Brooklyn’s building boom, BAM reached out to real estate developers, encouraging them to use BAM as a selling point with potential buyers. Through the developers, BAM is tapping into a new pool of potential patrons. ... For example, memberships to the BAM Cinema Club are given as gifts to apartment buyers. This gives developers a perk to welcome prospective buyers, while BAM gets a direct connection to future audiences." The New York Times 11/13/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 4:17 am

A Tax On Bad Taste A proposed tax in the UK would be based on the aesthetic quality of buildings. "They will be attempting to put a tax value on improvements you might have made to your home, on the quality of its design and even on its views. If your home is well designed and beautifully located, you will be liable to pay more tax than if you live in a grungy house with rotten views and have made no attempt whatsoever to improve it." The Guardian (UK) 11/14/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 9:33 pm

Study: Tech Toys Don't Help Build Kids' Skills "A government-funded study examining the role of technology in the lives of three- and four-year-old children and their families found that the hi-tech devices - one of the fastest growing sectors of the toy market, aimed at infants as young as nine months - are no more effective than traditional ways of introducing basic literacy and number skills." The Guardian (UK) 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 8:34 pm

Scottish Politicians Plan To Direct Their Own Arts Policy Scottish cultural policy is undergoing a major change in direction. The Scottish executive plans to abolish the national arts council and direct arts policy itself. Glasgow Herald 11/12/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:29 am

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Art Historian S. Lane Faison Jr., 98 "S. Lane Faison Jr., an art historian who cut his teeth cataloging Hitler’s collection of plundered paintings, then, as a Williams College professor, inspired students who went on to head many of America’s leading art institutions, died on Saturday at his home in Williamstown, Mass. ... A typical disciple was Glenn D. Lowry, a pre-med student in the early 1970’s whose main interest was skiing but who tagged along on an impromptu tour Mr. Faison happened to give of Williams’s highly respected art museum." The New York Times 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 4:38 am

Eric Bentley At 90 "Bentley won early and intense fame with his 1946 book 'The Playwright as Thinker,' which made the study of drama intellectually respectable for the first time. He then published several other ambitious and penetrating books, including 'Bernard Shaw' (1947), 'The Life of the Drama' (1964) and three collections of theater criticism, that fixed his place in the tiny pantheon of permanently interesting drama critics." The New York Times 11/12/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:47 am

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A Play As Tool Of "Cultural Genocide"? "The Theatre of Neptune In New France," considered Canada's first play, premiered on the water in a Nova Scotia harbor. "Now, four centuries later, a controversy has developed about whether the play -- written by colonial lawyer and historian Marc Lescarbot -- is simply a quaint if valuable historical precedent or whether it's an implicitly racist tract aimed at subverting aboriginal peoples, the native Mi'kmaq." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 6:36 am

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Press And University Part Ways "A noted publisher of literary translations and experimental fiction, Dalkey Archive Press, and the University of Rochester have decided to part ways following a recent announcement that the press, whose titles include work by Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley, and Carlos Fuentes, was moving to the upstate campus." New York Sun 11/14/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 11:40 pm

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Flawed Arrest? Let's Go To The Video. The democratization of technology has given civilians potent tools — YouTube and cellphone cameras — to help ensure law-enforcement accountability. "Today, any bystander is likely to be reasonably proficient with a cellphone camera and to have the know-how — or at least, a preteen at home with the know-how — to post the images on YouTube. That makes certain subjects, like arrests, more likely to be captured and displayed repeatedly." Los Angeles Times 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 4:49 am

TiVo Bringing Web Video To TV "TiVo plans to introduce features that will allow people to use its digital video recorders to watch some video programming from the Internet on their televisions." The New York Times 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 4:07 am

Rodgers And Hammerstein, Revitalized (Sort Of) "The Rodgers and Hammerstein road-show musicals have been staples of home video almost since the format was invented, which has meant that they have been subjected to almost unbelievable abuse: their widescreen images chopped off, their stereophonic sound remixed and pumped up, their already endangered color (most were shot on the notoriously quick-fading DeLuxe Color stock) rendered a dusty, lifeless pink. But lately, Fox Home Entertainment has been making a gallant attempt to reclaim these films for those who love them." The results of the restoration efforts are mixed. The New York Times 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 3:49 am

The New Path To Success "There was a time, not long ago, when, if you wanted to edit your homemade movie, you’d need two VHS players or a pair of scissors. You could add a soundtrack by walking your VHS cassette over to that friend with a $50,000 Avid editing system. Then you could mail that homemade movie to a few hundred film festivals around the world, or save the postage and throw it in the garbage. Now who needs film festivals? YouTube videos are viewed 100 million times a day." New York Times Magazine 11/12/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 11:26 pm

Measuring That Public Radio Audience How many Americans listen to public radio? National Public Radio says almost 30 million. But it really depends on how you crunch the numbers... Current 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 11:07 pm

Why Does The Movie Generation Know So Little About Movies? "It is strange that while we worry about literacy and the need to read, an entire generation is growing up in complete ignorance of a rich and varied part of its own cultural heritage. How many teens could name one film by David Lean, Lindsay Anderson, Ken Loach, Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock or Michael Powell - or even explain, with any degree of accuracy, what their involvement with that film actually was?" New Statesman 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:57 pm

Disney And Its Star Producer At A Fork Jerry Bruckheimer has made about $5 billion for Disney over the past 15 years. But his movies are expensive, and they don't seem to fit Disney's new direction. So who blinks? Will Disney lose one of its biggest, most-bankable stars? The New York Times 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:42 am

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Inside The Most Famous Of Chorus Lines "Life as a Rockette appears to be a subculture of contented women where sisterhood reigns supreme, despite the gruelling 84-performance run (there are 13 shows a week). ... Rockette management courts the all-rounders — intelligent women with strong personal identities and highly developed outside interests." Management also encourages them to eat: "Each Rockette gets a Radio City Music Hall lunch pail to pack food for the theatre. One can't be anorexic and be a Rockette, and during the physical intensity of three months of rehearsals and shows, they consume huge amounts of everything from fruit to chocolate and from hamburgers to pizza." The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 11/14/06
Posted: 11/14/2006 6:29 am

Why Do Dancers Dance? " 'I Am a Dancer' conveys the almost religious fervor that drives many of these dancers. Asked why they dance, they answer in various ways: 'It's transcendence, almost a communication with God'; "It is my voice"; "It's your heart, it's like a high"; "I become one with everything."" New York Sun 11/13/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:16 pm

Better Times For The Kirov "Much of what the Kirov has been putting onstage in recent years — on tour and in St. Petersburg, Russia — is on the level of onstage training exercises. The roster has been for some time now dominated by dancers in their late teens and early 20s, while at the same time there has been an attempt to drive off dancers who might show up the fledglings." But things may finally be looking up. New York Sun 11/14/06
Posted: 11/13/2006 10:04 pm

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