Amsterdam’s Stedelijk is the city’s modern art museum and once was considered “one of the most dynamic museums” in Europe. But its director left the museum in January and the general director is also leaving. Closure for building work scheduled for this year has been put off for a year, and the city council has decided to privatize the museum. And there are proposals to move the Stedelijk to a new site on the outskirts of Amsterdam…
Architect Frank Gehry’s laid-back air “is a large part of the appeal of his architecture. His buildings, assertive and emphatic though they are, are generous and open to the unexpected. The laidback air is also partly fictional, as he has a fierce competitive and creative will that shows no sign of relenting.” He’s designing a new house for himself in Los Angeles. And he’s up for a couple new projects in London. In the meantime there’s the new Disney Hall getting set to open in LA…
Is low intelligence a disease? Fifty years after the discovery of DNA, one of the co-discoverers says he believes that “low intelligence is an inherited disorder and that molecular biologists have a duty to devise gene therapies or screening tests to tackle stupidity.”
Daniel Menaker is Random House’s new editor-in-chief. He’s a “literary insider who left Random House to edit books at rival HarperCollins in 2001, has been reaching out to authors and expressing confidence he can halt an exodus of writers to Penguin Group USA.” Prominent RH writers have been leaving the imprint since Anne Godoff was fired last month.
Menaker spent “26 years at The New Yorker, beginning as a fact-checker and concluding as a senior editor, mainly in its fiction department. His years in the magazine’s singularly influential fiction department give him outsize literary credentials, and as a book editor he is best known for his eye for sophisticated fiction.”
Back in 1996, the U.S. Congress passed a Telecommunications Act which allowed large media companies to hold multiple TV and radio stations in a single market, and to consolidate and merge their businesses as never before. Predictably, the large companies which took advantage of the legislation now control a high percentage of the nation’s media outlets. Now, the FCC is considering a further loosening of restrictions on ownership, sparking a familiar debate between Big Media and, well, most everyone else.
While the big media companies and TV networks may be thrilled at the possibility of greater media consolidation, the public is increasingly agitated at the overwhelming of local radio and TV institutions by bland, generic national “feeds” and indistinguishable formats. “Listeners are turning off the radio in huge numbers and the media companies don’t care… because the only thing that matters to them is getting their share of whatever audience there is.”
1000 Minnesota artists and arts advocates descended on the state capitol in St. Paul this week to lobby legislators to amend Governor Tim Pawlenty’s plan to cut arts funding 22%. The state faces a $4.23 billion deficit for the next biennium, and the governor has pledged not to raise taxes or cut K-12 education spending, making cuts in all other areas a near-certainty. The annual arts lobbying event had never before drawn more than 400 attendees, and legislators were largely receptive, if somewhat skeptical of their ability to spare the arts from the budget knife.
“After nearly three years and $17 million, Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark, city-owned Hollyhock House and the adjacent Barnsdall Park [in Los Angeles] may still remain closed to the public when the first of two renovation phases is finished late this spring, city officials said Wednesday. And there are currently no plans and no money for the second phase… More than 50 supporters of Hollyhock House, community leaders and citizens who value Barnsdall Park’s neighborhood art programs, turned up for the progress report. Some could not contain their dismay at phase one’s outcome: In addition to being late and over budget, the project will leave far less space for art classes.”
How was Daniel Libeskind’s plan for the World Trade Center site chosen? The decision rested as much on politics, economics and engineering as on aethetics. “Almost immediately after the decision was announced, civic groups, downtown business leaders and others began debating the details that will be needed to put the plan into effect.”