ARTS & CULTURE
“Culver City’s Cold War museum is hoping for a victory; Wende Museum is negotiating with Culver City to lease the closed National Guard Armory to hold its massive collection of Cold War artifacts, which has a growing audience.” By Andrew Khouri. Los Angeles Times. November 11, 2012. In the corner of a drab Culver City business park, nestled inside a gray two-story building, treasures from the Cold War lie waiting for the historically curious. But times may be about to change. To accommodate a growing interest and collection, the museum has been negotiating to lease Culver City’s closed National Guard Armory — just a stroll from downtown’s restaurant hub. Three years ago, the decade-old museum joined with street artists to assemble a synthetic wall across Wilshire Boulevard, and then invited Angelenos to tear it down. That event — marking the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise — brought media attention and broadened the museum’s fan base to more than a constituency of professors, graduate students and historians, Wende Executive Director Justinian Jampol said. The Wende has run out of space. Its medley of Cold War artifacts is spread among three locations in Los Angeles County and one in Berlin. Less than 1% of its more than 100,000 artifacts are available for public viewing at a time, Jampol said. The empty armory is “a Cold War building,” said Mayor Andy Weissman, “so it’s sort of ideal for a Cold War museum. But it also has a number of Cold War elements and Cold War deficiencies that makes reuse of that building for something other than an armory problematic unless you have the money to do it.” Jampol, who founded the museum in 2002, said the Wende recently received a $5-million gift from a British foundation. The money would enable “us to use the [armory] to its full potential and impact, to care for our collections and to produce programs, projects and exhibitions,” Jampol said in an email.
“Composers and Performers Unite in a Young Music ‘Lab’.” By Larry Blumenfeld. Wall Street Journal. November 14, 2012. One November night at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen, a bassoon rested against a wall. Beside it, a dancer held a handstand. The open workshop that followed, rehearsing a piece titled “Mesh,” brought instrumental music and movement together in a manner intended to upend convention. During a break, Claire Chase, the 34-year-old flutist who is the group’s artistic director and CEO, described ICElab, a year-old initiative, as a response to frustration. With ICElab, the ensemble selects six composers each year to partner with its musicians through intensely collaborative incubation residencies. The composers spend an initial week with ICE musicians—”that’s our time together in the sandbox,” Ms. Chase said—and then maintain close connection on matters ranging from composition to concert promotion. Two ICElab composers, Tyshawn Sorey and Carlos Iturralde, will demonstrate the fruits of such a process with performance premieres at Boerum Hill’s Roulette on Sunday. ICE is something of an invention itself, sparked by a concert Ms. Chase produced in 2000, while a student at Ohio’s Oberlin Conservatory; roughly a third of the ensemble’s current musicians are former classmates. In 2002, while living in Chicago, she scraped together $603 from holiday catering-job tips and mounted the International Contemporary Ensemble’s first official concert. She chose “contemporary” less for its associations within the concert world and more as a synonym for “contemporaneous.” “I liked that it was a process,” she said. In the decade since, the ensemble has presented more than 650 premieres; its current budget tops $1 million. Ms. Chase was also recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, an unrestricted award of $500,000, distributed quarterly over five years. “She’s a visionary, pure and simple,” said Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was on hand
“Philharmonic Establishes Partnership With Shanghai.” By Daniel J. Wakin. New York Times. November 13, 2012. China long ago emerged as a kind of promised land for classical music, and two of America’s great orchestras are wading in with big projects and very different approaches. You could call one the Philadelphia flier and the other the Big Apple plod. The New York Philharmonic is planning to publicize on Wednesday a four-year partnership with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. It will include a 10- to 14-day residency in China and a stake in an orchestra training program. The Philharmonic’s involvement in training will begin in the fall of 2014, after the details are worked out, and its residency is scheduled to begin the following summer. Then there is the Philly way. The Philadelphia Orchestra beat the Philharmonic to the punch, descending on Beijing and provincial cities last spring with a menu of master classes, lessons, concerts, and visits to parks, schools and hospitals. The tour was part of a partnership with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. Explosion may not be too hyperbolic a word for the increase in concert halls, orchestras, instrument making and classical music study in China during the past decade. Audiences are growing in tandem. Many concert presenters are hungry for top international ensembles to fill the gleaming new auditoriums. At the same time, with government determination to build culture as a form of national power, and willingness to spend on the effort, Chinese officials are happy to import Western cultural expertise.
“Warhol Foundation Auction Rakes In $17 Million.” By Robin Pogrebin. New York Times. November 13, 2012. Going, going, gone for more than $1.2 million: that was the price paid for Andy Warhol’s print “Endangered Species: San Francisco Silverspot” on Monday in the first of several auctions to be held at Christie’s to raise money for the artist’s foundation, The Associated Press reported. In September the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced that it would disperse its entire collection of Warhols, donating some and selling others through Christie’s, as it shifted almost exclusively into a grant-making organization. Monday’s sale brought in more than $17 million for 354 works ranging from prints to photographs, some of which have not been seen by the public. Online auctions will begin in February. Other featured lots included “Jackie,” a screen print and paper collage of Jacqueline Kennedy that sold for more than $626,000, more than double its high estimate of $300,000. Warhol’s “Self-Portrait in Fright Wig,” estimated at $12,000 to $18,000, brought $50,000.
“Warhol works fetch $17M at Christie’s auction; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York will use the money raised at the auction, which featured more than 350 works, to expand its grant-making capacity.” Crains New York Business. November 13, 2012.
”Amid Recovery, “Reports of Sandy’s Damage to Art Institutions Keep Coming.” By Allan Kozinn. New York Times. November 13, 2012. “We’re beginning to see progress,” Linda Blumberg, the executive director of the Art Dealers Association of America, said on Tuesday morning. “Galleries are reopening, albeit sometimes in raw states, but they are rebuilding, and putting their best foot forward. We’re determined to bring this community back and get people down there.” Ms. Blumberg was speaking of West Chelsea, the gallery district that experienced up to five feet of flooding when Sandy passed through the region. Last week, her association announced a $250,000 fund to help flooded galleries get back into action, and within 24 hours David Zwirner, who owns a gallery on West 19th Street, and the gallery Mitchell-Innes and Nash (which operates on West 26th Street and on Madison Avenue) each donated $50,000 to the fund, , and on Tuesday, the association announced that Art Basel, the Swiss organization that runs contemporary art fairs in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong, had donated $50,000 as well. All told, the association’s initial fund has nearly doubled. Monday that Christiane Fischer, the president and chief executive of AXA Art Insurance, estimated that her company’s loss would be around $40 million. And the Web site DNAinfo.com reported on Tuesday that hundreds of works were damaged when the East River flooded into the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City.
“Flea-market Renoir reignites tensions between museum and art donor’s descendants.” By Ian Shapira, Washington Post. November 15, 2012. Susan Helen Adler paced the corridors of the Baltimore Museum of Art, searching for objects that once belonged to her great-great-aunt, the late Saidie Adler May. In one room, she encountered about a dozen pieces, next to plaques that read “Gift of Saidie A. May.” But Adler, hungry to see more May donations on display, quickly grew upset with how much she thought should be there. She was already frustrated that one of her great-great-aunt’s paintings, a small Renoir, had turned up in a box of junk at a West Virginia flea market. The painting, she eventually learned, had been stolen from the museum in 1951 and then largely forgotten. How could that have happened? Saidie spent her life dedicated to art and educating the public, but other people have made the decision about her legacy. The museum has hundreds of her items in storage. I don’t even know what they have,” said Adler, as she stood inside the museum last month. She wore a white T-shirt with a picture of the stolen Renoir and the words: “How Did I End Up At A Flea Market?” Behind every museum’s art collection, behind every terse “Gift of” plaque on a museum wall, are the little-known, often fraught histories between museums and their donor families. On one hand, museums feel obligated to keep donor families happy so that other wealthy collectors might give but, on the other hand, feel entitled to exercise their curatorial judgment.
“Foundations to Help Artists After Hurricane Sandy.” By Robin Pogrebin. New York Times. November 16, 2012. Three art foundations have teamed up to help artists and nonprofit arts organizations in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the Lambent Foundation announced the effort on Thursday. The Warhol foundation will give $1 million to affected visual arts organizations and $1 million to individual artists. These funds will be augmented by the Rauschenberg foundation and by the Lambent Foundation, a project of the grant-making Tides Center, that explores the intersection of arts, culture and social justice. Through a Web site called Emergency Grants, the Warhol foundation will make its grants to visual arts organizations; the Rauschenberg foundation to other cultural organizations. The three foundations will jointly assist individual artists through the New York Foundation for the Arts, which will administer those grants. The grants are made possible in part by the Warhol foundation’s increased art sales, including this week’s sale at Christie’s, which brought in more than $17 million. “Every effort helps in a state of emergency,” Christy MacLear, executive director of the Rauschenberg foundation, said in a statement. “We are struck by the scope of need.”
“Met Museum Is Being Sued Over Admission Fees.” By Randy Kennedy. New York Times. November 15, 2012. Two members of the Metropolitan Museum of Art have sued the museum, contending that it misleads the public into thinking that its admission fees – $25 for adults, and less for seniors and students – are mandatory and not simply suggested. (The museum’s original lease with the city specified that it had to be accessible free of charge several days of the week, but the museum says that changes in city policy in the 1970s allowed it to institute a voluntary admission fee.) The museum members, Theodore Grunewald and Patricia Nicholson, who filed suit in state court in Manhattan, argue in court papers that the museum makes it difficult to understand the fee policy, a practice intended to “deceive and defraud” the public. The suit, reported by The New York Post, cites a survey commissioned by Mr. Grunewald and Ms. Nicholson in which more than 360 visitors to the museum were asked if they knew the fee was optional; 85 percent of visitors responded that they believed they were required to pay. Their suit asks the court to prevent the museum from charging any fees. Signs above the museum’s admissions desks include the word “Recommended” in small type below the word “Admission,” and on the museum’s Web site, an additional phrase is included: “To help cover the costs of exhibitions, we ask that you please pay the full recommended amount.” (There is no extra charge for entry to special exhibitions; 250,000 New York City schoolchildren visit for free each year as part of the museum’s programs.) When the recommended fee was first instituted in the 1970s, signs over the cashiers’ desks included the phrase: “Pay what you wish, but you must pay something.” Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the museum, called the suit “entirely frivolous.”
“Academy of Art land use violations ignored.” By John Coté. San Francisco Chronicle. November 15, 2012. Academy of Art University, one of the largest landowners in San Francisco, has had “consistent and repeated violations” of city land-use rules, yet the city has repeatedly refused to fine the for-profit school, even after it missed two compliance deadlines, according to a confidential letter by City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The academy “is engaged in a game of obfuscation and delay,” and the city’s Planning Department has refused to issue notices of violation that could result in fines, despite those citations being ready to go, Herrera wrote in a confidential letter to planning Director John Rahaim obtained by The Chronicle. Rahaim’s inaction has left the city open to assertions that it is selectively enforcing its Planning Code, Herrera wrote. “I find it inexplicable that despite the (academy’s) repeated disregard of you, your department, and the laws you are charged to enforce, you would allow the (academy) to continue to violate the law without consequence,” Herrera wrote in the letter dated Tuesday. The city has maintained for years that the academy has purchased and then illegally converted buildings into classrooms or housing. The academy insists it never meant to break any rules and is negotiating in good faith. Rahaim on Thursday defended his position. “Right now, we have one of the largest property owners in San Francisco at the negotiating table, and we are making progress,” Rahaim said in an e-mail. “Nothing less than full compliance will be acceptable.” An academy official also said that “real progress has been made in the last several weeks.”