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Thursday, November 30

Visual Arts

Expanding Corcoran Buys D.C. School The Corcoran Gallery of Art has agreed to pay $6.2 million to buy the Randall School from the District of Columbia. "But gaining the site wasn't easy. A holdover from the early 20th century, the building was last used as a school in 1978. The city installed a men's shelter in part of the building, and artists leased other parts for studios. When the Corcoran's plans were announced two years ago, advocates for the homeless protested, as did the artists, who complained about the lack of affordable studio space in Washington."
Washington Post 11/30/06 Posted: 11/30/2006 4:22 am

Come On, Feel The Decay At a time when cities are making themselves ever more sterile in order not to spook skittish suburbanites, the architecture of the new Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit takes a different tack. Its "design springs from a profound rethinking of what constitutes urban revitalization. Designed by Andrew Zago, its intentionally raw aesthetic is conceived as an act of guerrilla architecture, one that accepts decay as fact rather than attempt to create a false vision of urban density. By embracing reality, it could succeed where large-scale development has so far failed."
The New York Times 11/30/06 Posted: 11/30/2006 2:45 am

This Is Why You Want To Keep Your Architect Happy The architect of a major Berlin railway station has won an unusual lawsuit against the station's owner, in which it was alleged that cost-cutting measures by the railway authority (which resulted in a partial redesign) amounted to a "defacement" of the building. The presiding judge ruled that the station was indeed a work of art, and that the railway's decision to change it without the architect's permission caused significant harm to the design. The railway is appealing, but if appeals fail, the station will have to be rebuilt at a cost of €40m or more.
The Guardian (UK) 11/30/06 Posted: 11/29/2006 8:56 pm

NY Museums Playing Musical Chairs With Expansion Sites New York's Whitney Museum of American Art has made official what had been rumored for several days, that it will build a new branch at a site in Greenwich Village that was abandoned last week by the Dia Foundation. "Meanwhile, the Museum of Modern Art, which you would think would leave well enough alone after raising $825 million to overhaul and endow its Midtown mega-complex, is also talking about another addition. This churning has to do with three trends that are forcing museums to make extraordinary, difficult bets on the future: spiraling construction costs, dizzy real-estate prices and an art market that's gone bonkers."
Bloomberg 11/28/06 Posted: 11/29/2006 8:31 pm

Getty Tells Its Side Los Angeles's J. Paul Getty Museum has been taking plenty of heat over its battle with the Italian government concerning antiquities that may have once been illegally looted. But the Getty's director says that he isn't the one standing in the way of a settlement, and accuses the Italians of moving the goalposts after a tentative agreement had been reached.
Los Angeles Times 11/28/06 Posted: 11/29/2006 8:27 pm

Where Seams And Drape Meet Steel And Sweep A new museum show in Los Angeles is drawing some unexpected parallels between the worlds of architecture and high fashion. The exhibit "starts with the unexceptional premise that fashion and architecture are, if not equals, cognates—related languages with a common root. They both translate a two-dimensional pattern of abstract shapes into a seamed, three-dimensional volume."
The New Yorker 11/27/06 Posted: 11/29/2006 8:17 pm

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Welcoming Kurt Masur (All Is Forgiven) "If psychologists ever made a study of post-departure syndrome, they might begin with Kurt Masur’s return to New York with the London Philharmonic. In his time as music director of the New York Philharmonic Mr. Masur was received as something of a drill sergeant in charge of a wayward platoon, a kind of bitter medicine designed to purge the orchestra of its loose ways. But waves of friendship greeted him at Carnegie Hall on Monday and Tuesday nights, a genuine warmth like nothing he experienced during his years in New York." The New York Times 11/30/06
Posted: 11/30/2006 3:13 am

Jackin' Pop, Blog Challenger To Pazz & Jop The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop poll of music critics will go ahead despite the firing in August of its guiding force, critic Robert Christgau, but now it has competition. "This week Idolator, a newish music blog owned by Gawker Media, seized on the outrage and disappointment felt by critics around the country who saw Mr. Christgau — and Chuck Eddy, the Voice music editor, who was dismissed in April — as a force of credibility and journalistic continuity, by announcing its own poll, Jackin’ Pop." The New York Times 11/30/06
Posted: 11/30/2006 3:00 am

Barenboim: It's A Flattering Idea "Daniel Barenboim said he was flattered to be Lorin Maazel’s choice to pick up his baton at the New York Philharmonic, but, he said, 'nothing could be further from my thoughts at the moment than the possibility of returning to the United States for a permanent position.' ... Mr. Barenboim said it would be inappropriate either to embrace or reject the proposal, since it was a suggestion by a colleague, not a formal offer by the board of the Philharmonic." The New York Times 11/30/06
Posted: 11/30/2006 2:35 am

  • Previously: Maazel Wants Barenboim To Succeed Him It has long been known that Lorin Maazel would not be staying long as music director of the New York Philharmonic, and speculation as to who might replace him at the end of this decade has been rampant ever since Maazel took the job in the first place. Now, Maazel has made it known whom he believes his successor should be: former Chicago Symphony MD Daniel Barenboim. The New York Times 11/29/06

    Sort Of Like Paying $200K For The Hammer That Built Your House A cello bow made in the 19th century by François Xavier Tourte sold at auction this week for nearly $200,000. The sale price is a record for a bow, and reflects the continued spike in the amount collectors and wealthy performers are willing to pay for string instruments. The buyer is reportedly a well-known European soloist, who is promising that the bow will be used in concert, and not displayed as an art object. PlaybillArts 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:32 pm

    Does Britain Need Another Distinctly English Opera House? Is London's Royal Opera House quietly returning to the days when it served primarily as a showcase for homegrown talent? Norman Lebrecht thinks so, and wonders what the ripple effect might be if he's right. "The consequences of this transition are considerable. As Covent Garden becomes increasingly a British house, a nursery of native talent, what role remains for English National Opera? Singing in English is no raison d’etre when the words are so blurry that surtitles have to be used, and if the ROH is route one to international class, why would any but the also-rans make a stop at the motorway café?" La Scena Musicale 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:22 pm

    Could The Secret Of The Strad Be A Chemical Bath? Joseph Nagyvary, an instrument maker and researcher who has devoted much of his career to uncovering the secret behind the superior sound of instruments made by the old Italian masters, believes that he may have found the long-sought after secret. After testing shavings taken from old Cremonese instruments, Nagyvary says that he is certain that they were made with chemically treated wood which affected the sound after construction was complete. LiveScience 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 8:42 pm

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    Arts Issues

    Do Casting Calls Violate Anti-Discrimination Law? "A new report from UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center suggests struggling women and minority actors might want to bring something extra to their next audition besides a head shot: a civil rights lawyer. Some casting calls that specify gender and ethnicity could violate federal anti-discrimination laws, according to the report by Russell Robinson of the UCLA School of Law, who examined Breakdown Services' listings of national movie casting calls from June 1 to Aug. 31 and analyzed roles compiled by online movie sites. Robinson's report concludes that 69% of available acting roles are designed for white males...." Los Angeles Times 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 4:06 am

    Wales PAC Hurting Other Cardiff Venues "Cardiff's St. David's Hall and New Theatre have reported huge financial losses following the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre, a £106 million performing arts venue on Cardiff Bay that opened in November 2004... The two halls, which are managed together by the Welsh capital's municipal government, ran up losses totaling £5.2 million in the 2005-06 fiscal year, up almost £900,000 from the previous year. Both venues are expected to lose an extra £283,000 in 2006-07." PlaybillArts 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:28 pm

    Colleagues Defending Curator Accused Of Displaying Kiddie Porn "Sir Nicholas Serota heads a list of eminent museum directors, curators and historians who have signed a petition against the prosecution of Henry-Claude Cousseau, a French colleague who has been accused of exhibiting child pornography as art... His alleged crime is staging an exhibition of provocative and explicit images, including a painting by Gary Gross of a young girl in a bath, heavily made-up and looking seductive, a video piece by Elke Krystufek, in which a girl performed a graphic masturbation scene, and photographs by Annette Messager of young children with their eyes scratched out." The Times (UK) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:12 pm

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    Ferlinghetti Gets French Honor "Lawrence Ferlinghetti will have to bust out his old beret next week as the San Francisco poet is being awarded one of France's top cultural honors: Commandeur des Arts et Lettres." San Francisco Chronicle 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 5:57 am

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    Cash-Strapped Temple Tries Sure Moneymaker: Theatre The Actors’ Temple, a Manhattan synagogue, is turning to theatre to help make ends meet. "Recently — say, oh, during the last half-century — this temple, with a declining membership and a vanishing budget, has not been doing so well. So starting with an official opening night tomorrow, the Actors’ Temple, for the first time in its 89-year history, will be moonlighting as an Off Broadway theater. ... The first show, 'The Big Voice: God or Merman?,' is about a Roman Catholic from Brooklyn and a Baptist from Arkansas who find spiritual solace in musical theater and each other." The New York Times 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 3:31 am

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    How To Compost O.J. In canceling publication of O.J. Simpson's "If I Did It," Rupert Murdoch created something of a waste-management dilemma. "Now, HarperCollins has nearly half a million books to destroy. If the books weigh about a pound each, that comes out to 200 tons of paper. I have one word for the publisher: compost. ... So, here's the plan: Give out one copy apiece of If I Did It to individual organic gardeners, and get them to sign a pledge not to read the book or sell it on eBay." Slate 11/29/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 6:29 am

    Houghton Mifflin Becomes A Dubliner "Riverdeep Holdings, an Irish educational software company, agreed yesterday to acquire the American textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin for $1.75 billion. Houghton Mifflin will be combined with Riverdeep into a new company, HM Rivergroup, which is based in Dublin." The New York Times (Bloomberg News) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 3:43 am

    What's Worse Than Bad Sex? Reading About It. The literary award no author ever wants to receive has been announced yet again. This year's honoree for Bad Sex In Fiction is Iain Hollingshead, who is appropriately chastened by the dubious honor. "Writing about sex is rather more technical, and less fun, than doing it. Either you descend into flowery metaphor or you indulge in the 'naming of parts'. Both are more likely to be laughable than erotic... I blush to read my offending prose now." The Telegraph (UK) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:08 pm

    Interestingly, At Least Two Of Those Adjectives Also Describe Coffee The shortlist of nominees is out for the prize formerly known as the Whitbread, and it appears that the judges "have marked its shift to sponsorship by the Costa coffee chain by shifting their taste towards the thriller. Two of the four books picked for the novels shortlist released last night for the inaugural £50,000 Costa award are marketed by their publishers as 'gripping', 'tremendously exciting', 'gritty' and 'thrilling'." The Guardian (UK) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 9:02 pm

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    There's A Use For Your Twisted Sister Videos "While the headlines lately have been about television networks pulling their content or cutting deals with sites such as YouTube, we seem to be missing a bigger phenomenon. Millions of people hoarding vast, arcane and previously useless boxes of VHS (and in some cases, I suspect, Beta) tapes are discovering the Internet and are quietly posting their collections of bizarre minutiae." San Francisco Chronicle 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 6:03 am

    Making Movies With Diana And RFK From "The Queen" to "Bobby," from "Good Night, and Good Luck" to "Flags of Our Fathers," more and more movies are integrating documentary footage with dramatic footage. The use of old footage is nothing new. "But what's significant about these movies of late is the way they use archival material. Rather than as gimmickry, or shorthand, filmmakers are choreographing full-on tangos with the past. They're -- almost literally -- dancing cheek to cheek with history." Washington Post 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 4:34 am

    What's This? Getting Time To Build An Audience? NBC's new series, "30 Rock" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," are not what could be called ratings hits -- yet, on the other hand, they're both still on the air. "These two very different behind-the-scenes looks at network intrigue were among the most vaunted shows of the fall season and did not meet expectations, yet both survived the midseason tumbrel. Turns out cold-eyed corporations don’t always look at the bottom line to determine the fate of fledgling television shows." The New York Times 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 3:20 am

    You Can't See It Yet, But Trust Us, It's Awfully Good "A version of 1980s working-class England triumphed over a version of 90s upper-class England at the ninth British Independent Film Awards last night. Shane Meadows's This Is England will not be on general release until next spring but it has already won over film festival audiences, impressing critics in London and winning a special jury prize at Rome. It added a Bifa best film award last night. It beat impressive opposition such as The Queen... The Last King of Scotland and two films which won at Cannes - the Palme d'Or winner, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, and the jury prize winner, Red Road." The Guardian (UK) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 8:54 pm

    So, Oasis Wouldn't Be Appropriate, Then? Putting together a film soundtrack is tricky business. Stick to sweeping orchestral melodies, and you sound dated by scene two. But embrace the pop music of your time, and your whole movie will be stuck forever in the year it was made. The trick to a truly timeless soundtrack may be to go retro, but not too retro. Not surprisingly, the master of the form may be that most retro of New York filmmakers, Woody Allen. The Guardian (UK) 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 8:50 pm

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    Orange County School Finds Freaking Alternatives "The principal of a south Orange County high school has lifted a nearly three-month-long dancing ban he instituted after seeing teenagers' sexually suggestive moves at school dances that were 'one step from events that should be occurring on wedding nights.' ... The new guidelines forbid students from straddling each other's legs, bending over, dancing front-to-back, grinding, touching breasts, buttocks or genitals, or 'making out,' and require students to keep both feet on the floor. The guidelines also limit dancers' hands to their partner's waist or shoulders." Los Angeles Times 11/30/06
    Posted: 11/30/2006 3:57 am

    Remember When Dance Was Popular? Why has ballet completely vanished from the radar screen of most Americans? There are plenty of reasons, but one of the primary ones may be that classic dance hasn't been seen on American television in decades, with the exception of the odd Nutcracker showing. "Things were different in the '60s and '70s, when Edward Villella would fly through the air on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' one week and swap one-liners with Tony Randall on 'The Odd Couple' the next... Back then, dance was the most glamorous of the lively arts. Now it's the one most in danger of slipping through the cultural cracks." Wall Street Journal 11/25/06
    Posted: 11/29/2006 8:24 pm

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