Book Review Overload

There are so many book reviews available now, they’ve lost their impact on much of the public. “This is why recommendation from a friend is an increasingly powerful factor in book purchases. It is why reading groups are growing in size and stature. And it is why the recommendations of an unlikely pair such as Richard and Judy can carry such weight. They are all examples of recommendations by people who readers have a relationship with and trust.”

Laderman To Lead American Academy

Composer Ezra Laderman has been elected president of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. The 108 year-old institution, made up of 250 members including artists, architects, writers, and composers gives nearly one million dollars a year to artists, architects, writers, and composers. Laderman is only the sixth composer ever elected to this position.

Looted Paintings Returned To Germany

“The United States returned three paintings stolen at the end of World War II to the mayor of the western German town that owned them. U.S. Ambassador William Timken handed over the 19th-century works by Heinrich Buerkel to the mayor of Pirmasens at a ceremony Friday in Berlin. Officials say the three paintings, now valued at $125,000, were among works believed stolen on March 22, 1945, as U.S. forces pushed into Germany. They were recovered after they turned up in an auction in the United States last year.”

Trump Breaks Sky In Chicago

Donald Trump’s new 92-story skyscraper is under construction in Chicago. “The heart beats faster at the prospect of Chicago reaching into the sky. Busting into the clouds is in the city’s blood. Nothing like this has happened since the boxy, black mass of the 1,450-foot Sears Tower, once the world’s tallest building and still the nation’s tallest, soared above the gritty Loop in 1974.”

FCC: TV Consumers Should Have Choice

The Federal Communications Commission has reversed itself and come out in favor of allowing cable TV consumers to choose the channels they want to receive. “The latest report also said in most cases subscribers would save 3 percent to 13 percent on their bills under a la carte. It noted that earlier assumptions that a la carte would lead consumers to watch two hours less of TV — and thus decrease revenue for cable TV companies and increase costs — lacked factual support.”

Lauder – Where’s The Provenance?

Ronald Lauder is chairman emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art, former treasurer of the World Jewish Congress and, most important, a major advocate of Holocaust-era art restitution. But “despite his high-profile advocacy for openness — including testimony before Congress in 1998 — Lauder has never publicly listed the works in his own collection, many of which are by painters who were popular with Jewish collectors before the Holocaust. And a museum that he founded has failed to fulfill its pledge to post provenance information for its collection.”

Fallout From A Previous Lauder Story

Jan Herman points out that the last reporter who tangled with Lauder was David D’Arcy. “D’Arcy’s contract with National Public Radio “was terminated after a piece he did on Holocaust art theft and the Museum of Modern Art sent MoMA board chairman Ron Lauder so far around the bend that museum officials accused D’Arcy of ‘shabby reporting’ and pressured NPR to repudiate it.”