BBC Governors Reject Springer Complaints

BBC governors have rejected 60,000 complaints against the recent showing of Jerry Springer, The Opera. “The committee admitted the show had caused offence but said it had been justified by its “outstanding artistic significance”. But one governor accused BBC management of a “degree of naivety” in failing to realise the offence that would be caused by the opera, which included hundreds of swear words and portrayed Jesus in a nappy admitting he is a “bit gay”.”

The Uber-Consultant

In an era when cultural institutions are growing and building at an unprecedented rate, arts consultant Adrian Ellis can be counted on for some straight talk. “His sobering message may not be what museums with big dreams want to hear. But Mr. Ellis’s clients say his unvarnished advice is not unwelcome. “He’s a reality check,” said Charles Saumarez Smith, director of the National Gallery in London. “I think it’s healthy for every institution to have a good reality check.”

In Store AT The Museum…

Museum shops have become an increasingly important source of income. “The Metropolitan has long been the leader in museum marketing. Last year, sales at its 20 gift shops around the country generated $80 million of its $260 million in revenue. But as the bling binge soars, others are following suit, promoting jewels in shops, catalogs and on the Web.”

Museums – It’s All About The Brand?

Museums are increasingly turning to branding experts to redefine their image. “There’s a realization that museums need to understand what the world thinks of them. Art is a code that can and should be broken and museums are not always good at communicating that code to the outside world,” he said. “It’s a translation process. We’re the interpreters. We’re not writing the script, but helping articulate the message.”

Museums Rethink The History…

“In the world of politics, power is pretty upfront: you argue; you face off; you declare war. In culture, the playing out is subtler, but can be, in its way, no less ruthless and devastating. By excluding certain kinds of objects, or by presenting them as relics of a dead past, a museum can degrade a culture just as surely as time and weather can. Fortunately, a museum can also reverse this process. And that has been happening, sometimes with vigor, sometimes with foot dragging, in America over the last 20 years. Whatever the motivating trend – call it postmodernism, pluralism, multiculturalism – the status of non-Western art is beginning to change in mainstream institutions, including sleeping giants in New York like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the recently repackaged Museum of Modern Art, from obscurity to varying degrees of prominence.”

Why Ontario Film Needs To Get Local

Much has been made of the decline in Ontario’s film industry as a result of the come-ons Hollywood has been getting from other locales across North America. But the real problem may be that Ontario has allowed its homegrown film industry to settle into a malaise brought on by the belief that the American windfalls would never stop. “To tie the fortunes of your film industry to foreign production is like building your dream house on quicksand. U.S. producers may flock here one year — and favour somewhere else the next year. And when they leave, if you haven’t built a domestic film culture, everything crumbles.”

Kosman To Modernists: Quit Blaming Everyone Else

Joshua Kosman wasn’t impressed with the bitter condemnations and whiny tone of conductor James Levine and composer Charles Wuorinen in last Sunday’s New York Times concerning the failure of serialism and other complex forms of new music to engage the public. “Audiences couldn’t care less. Wuorinen’s music and that of other similarly oriented composers has yet to make a dent in the culture at large, or in the consciousness of music lovers. Hence the bitterness, the self-pity, the snarling at the listeners for whose benefit all this scribbling is ostensibly being undertaken.”