Curators Remove 12-Year-Old’s Gum From Frankenthaler

“The saga of the $1.5-million abstract Helen Frankenthaler painting defaced two weeks ago at the Detroit Institute of Arts by a 12-year-old boy who stuck gum on it during a school outing is heading for a happy ending. After intensive research, experimentation and surgical work with high-performance tweezers, hand-rolled Q-tips and a fast-evaporating solvent — plus some purposeful fooling around with gum — the quarter-sized residue on Helen Frankenthaler’s ‘The Bay’ is gone.”

When Paul Met Vincent…

“In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin spent nine weeks living together in Arles. It was a time of astonishing creativity, culminating in a catastrophic falling-out.” A new book gets into the nitty-gritty of the relationship between the two masters and finds a collaboration that was far more than the sum of its parts.

Nudity? Cool! Oh, It’s A Dude? Hmm.

“Probably nothing so alienates us from the high art of the European past as its most prestigious subject – the male nude. Visit any old European museum, from Naples to Bloomsbury, and they have more marble statues of disrobed gods and heroes than they can reasonably display. Once these nudes were considered the apex of European culture. Today we don’t really know what to do with them.”

The Great Conductor Bug Of ’06

What is it this year with the conductors? If they’re not falling off the podium (James Levine) or losing their sense of balance (Daniel Barenboim), they’re coming down with shingles (Seiji Ozawa) or bronchitis (Christoph von Dohnanyi). “Have the terrorists (or maybe a cabal of ambitious assistant conductors) launched a stealth attack against Western classical music?”

Philanthropy As Local PR

When arts groups go looking for funding, they traditionally look to local companies and individuals with deep pockets. But some huge global corporations have been getting into the arts funding game in a big way recently, partly as a way of showing their commitment to local communities even as they struggle against the perception of “big box” retailers as generic and lifeless.

It’s Your Museum. Play With It.

“The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum is about to take its Web site where no museum has gone before. Where that is isn’t absolutely clear, but it merits getting excited about. The so-called ‘online national design museum’ promises to open the museum and its vast collection to visitors anywhere in the world. What’s more, if development can keep up with vision, the site will turn museumgoers into participants in a bold cultural experiment.” Specifically, visitors to the site will be able to add and manipulate content, Wiki-style. Will it work? No one really knows.

Still Heard, If Not Seen

James Levine’s absence from the touring podium of the Boston Symphony is, of course, eminently noticable as the orchestra works its way down the East Coast under fill-in David Robertson. But Philip Kennicott says that Levine’s most important work has never been what he does in concert, anyway, and as a result, his actual physical presence isn’t required for his influence to be heard.

Canadian Stopgap For Billy?

“Is Billy Elliot, the biggest hit now on the London stage, going to open in Toronto before New York? That depends on whom you talk to.” Promoters are downplaying the idea after it was initially reported in a New York tabloid, but according to sources in Toronto, many performers are being told to “keep their schedules clear” for the show.