ARTS & CULTURE
“Geffen Donates $25 Million to Film Museum Project.” By Brooks Barnes. New York Times. April 8, 2013. This city already has the Geffen Playhouse for the performing arts and the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a visual arts space. Now add the David Geffen Theater, a significant new movie site. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Monday that it had received a $25 million commitment from the David Geffen Foundation toward its $300 million museum project. In return, the academy will name the museum’s theater for Mr. Geffen, the retired entertainment mogul. The theater will be large enough to host major movie premieres. With Mr. Geffen’s gift, the academy’s museum fund-raising campaign, started last year and lead by Robert A. Iger, the Walt Disney Company’s chief executive and chairman, has secured more than $150 million. In a statement, Mr. Geffen called his gift “an exciting opportunity” to help “provide a permanent public home for the academy’s rich tradition of honoring the shining stars of the cinematic arts.” The planned film museum, now anticipated to open in early 2017, is to occupy a former department store building owned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which adjoins Lacma’s exhibition halls in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles. The architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali are working on the design, which will include a large spherical section that will house the theater.
“A Billion-Dollar Gift Gives the Met a New Perspective (Cubist).” By Carol Vogel. New York Times. April 9, 2013. In one of the most significant gifts in the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the philanthropist and cosmetics tycoon Leonard A. Lauder has promised the institution his collection of 78 Cubist paintings, drawings and sculptures. The trove of signature works, which includes 33 Picassos, 17 Braques, 14 Légers and 14 works by Gris, is valued at more than $1 billion. It puts Mr. Lauder, who for years has been one of the city’s most influential art patrons, in a class with cornerstone contributors to the museum like Michael C. Rockefeller, Walter Annenberg, Henry Osborne Havemeyer and Robert Lehman. The gift was approved by the Met’s board at a meeting Tuesday afternoon. Scholars say the collection is among the world’s greatest, as good as, if not better than, the renowned Cubist paintings, drawings and sculptures in institutions like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Together they tell the story of a movement that revolutionized Modern art and fill a glaring gap in the Met’s collection, which has been notably weak in early-20th-century art. “In one fell swoop this puts the Met at the forefront of early-20th-century art,” Thomas P. Campbell, the Met’s director, said. “It is an unreproducible collection, something museum directors only dream about.”
“$1 Billion Cubist Gift for Met.” Wall Street Journal. April 9, 2013.
“New York Metropolitan Museum of Art receives $1bn donation; The 78 cubist works will transform the Met’s 20th Century art collection.” BBC News. April 10, 2013.
“A Square Deal; Leonard Lauder’s $1 billion gift of Cubist masterpieces will transform New York’s Met.” Times of London. April 11, 2013.
“$1bn gift of cubist art to transform New York’s Met; Cosmetics heir and heavy-weight philanthropist Leonard A Lauder has donated 78 pieces to the museum.” Independent (UK). April 10, 2013.
“12-Year-Old Building at MoMA Is Doomed.” By Robin Pogrebin. New York Times. April 10, 2013. When a new home for the American Folk Art Museum opened on West 53d Street in Manhattan in 2001 it was hailed as a harbinger of hope for the city after the Sept. 11 attacks and praised for its bold architecture. “Its heart is in the right time as well as the right place,” Herbert Muschamp wrote in his architecture review in The New York Times, calling the museum’s sculptural bronze facade “already a Midtown icon.” Now, a mere 12 years later, the building is going to be demolished. In its place the adjacent Museum of Modern Art, which bought the building in 2011, will put up an expansion, which will connect to a new tower with floors for the Modern on the other side of the former museum. And the folk museum building, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, will take a dubious place in history as having had one of the shortest lives of an architecturally ambitious project in Manhattan. “It’s very rare that a building that recent comes down, especially a building that was such a major design and that got so much publicity when it opened for its design — mostly very positive,” said Andrew S. Dolkart, the director of Columbia University’s historic preservation program. “The building is so solid looking on the street, and then it becomes a disposable artifact. It’s unusual and it’s tragic because it’s a notable work of 21st century architecture by noteworthy architects who haven’t done that much work in the city, and it’s a beautiful work with the look of a handcrafted facade.” MoMA officials said the building’s design did not fit their plans because the opaque facade is not in keeping with the glass aesthetic of the rest of the museum. The former folk museum is also set back farther than MoMA’s other properties, and the floors would not line up.
“MoMA Tear-Down; Architects Blast Museum Plan to Raze Former Folk-Art Home.” Wall Street Journal. April 11, 2013.
“SF Symphony players ratify contract.” By Joshua Kosman. San Francisco Chronicle. April 13, 2013. The musicians of the San Francisco Symphony voted Friday to ratify a new contract, two weeks after voting to return to work after a strike that led to the cancellation of a prominent East Coast tour. Provisions of the new 26-month contract include a wage freeze through September increasing to a 4.5 percent raise over the life of the contract, changes to some work rules and an increase in funding for the orchestra’s instrument loan program. But the musicians, who walked out on March 13, had to give up on the increased pension funding they were pushing for and accept higher out-of-pocket costs for medical coverage. “The musicians believe that this is not the right financial package, based on where the Symphony is right now,” said violist David Gaudry, the chairman of the musicians’ negotiating committee. “But there was a limit to what we could do, and the potential for a destructive turn of events was pretty strong.” Executive Director Brent Assink said, “Our overall objective was to strike a balance that would maintain the orchestra’s top standing, but to do it in a way that was financially sustainable. This agreement puts us on that trajectory.” In a statement, board President Sakurako Fisher said, “This agreement represents a significant amount of collaboration and a recognition that only a shared vision and a true partnership will propel our outstanding 100-year-old orchestra toward an even greater future.” The musicians’ previous agreement expired Nov. 24 and was extended by mutual agreement to Feb. 15. The new contract is retroactive to November, meaning it has only 20 months to run.
“How charities can become more entrepreneurial; Social enterprise trading arms are a great way for charities to commercialise and become more sustainable in the process.” Guardian. April 11, 2013. The Co-operative’s latest annual Ethical Consumer Markets report tells us that the UK is close to breaking the £50bn barrier in terms of ethical spending and that half of all consumers avoid products based on a company’s reputation for “responsibility”. Businesses see this as an opportunity to tailor goods to a social market, but could it represent more of an opportunity for charities to tailor sales to a commercial market? This isn’t simply a matter of whose brand is better placed to sell a responsible or ethical product or service – a high street business or a high street charity. It is more about whether the insight and expertise charities gain in going about their work makes them better positioned to deliver higher quality, socially focused products and services. To be a really effective charity, you will often need a combination of an expert understanding of a problem, unparalleled insight into the populations you are serving and a route to market to those populations and a trusted brand when you get to them. Is it potentially easier for charities to figure out how to commercialise their expertise than it is for corporations to figure out how to do more good?
“NCVO and Serco launch code of practice for public service provision; Advice aims to help prime contractors and charities to work together.” By David Mills. Guardian. April 11, 2013. NCVO and Serco have published a new code of practice to help prime and subcontractors, whether in the private or voluntary sectors, work better together and minimise the problems encountered by some subcontractors. The code provides advice on a range of issues in the relationships between prime and subcontractors, including setting reasonable expectations, having strong mechanisms for open dialogue between contractors and developing financially sustainable models. The Code warns against primes paying lip service to voluntary and community sector organisations in order to boost their chances of winning public sector contracts – often referred to treating such organisations as ‘bid candy’. It says that regular discussions should take place between prime and subcontractors if, for example, referral numbers are lower than expected. It also advises that delivery models should recognise and mitigate the risk of primes ‘cherry picking’ clients, and that primes should ensure subcontractors are not exposed to disproportionate financial risk. Serco has pledged to follow the guidance when it subcontracts within its public service contracts, and will also encourage other outsourcing companies to sign up to the document.
“Is the way we view the voluntary sector counter-productive to charities? Judging charities by their overheads and not their impact has become commonplace and is detrimental to the sector.” By Alastair Sloan. Guardian. April 11, 2013. From medical labs to refugee camps to community centres, there’s no doubt that the voluntary sector plays a critical role in society. But if you compare the mission statements of voluntary organisations with their achievements, there is often a mismatch. ‘Ending homelessness,’ ‘stopping cruelty to children,’ ‘curing Alzheimers.’ None of these things have happened, yet. Sure, these are complex problems with no quick fix. It will take years of expensive commitment and expertise and command of a vast range of external variables to tackle them. But is part of the slow progress down to not raising enough money to throw at the problem? Is it naive to force charities to spend less on advertising, salaries and innovation than their counter-parts in the private sector, despite facing greater challenges? In a closing speech at TED conference, veteran US fundraiser Dan Pallotta put forward the argument that we judge the profit and not-for-profit sectors by a different set of rules, and that these rules dramatically reduce the potential impact of charities. An obsession with keeping overheads low is part of the problem, he later explained. “If you want to raise money, you might decide to have a bake sale. You’ll raise a certain amount and a very low proportion will go into your overheads. Or you can do something big.”