California Governor Proposes To Take Meat Cleaver To Arts Budget

After having its budget chpped 50 percent this year, it looks like the California Arts Council is in for another huge cut. “Looking to close an overall deficit now estimated at $38.2 billion, Davis is calling for cuts that would slash the CAC’s funding from $22.4 million this year to $8.4 million in the 2003-04 fiscal year.” In 2001 the CAC’s budget was $32 million.

A $27 Million Van Gogh – $75 At A Time

The owner of the cafe that Van Gogh frequented wants to buy one of the master’s paintings and hang it there. He “recently negotiated to buy ‘Field and poppies’, painted just two weeks before Van Gogh?s death. For most of the past 50 or so years it has been hidden away in a Swiss private collection. The audacious plan is to raise the $27 million in just 30 months, by selling shares for $75 each. Under this scheme, donors will own a tiny share in the painting, which is to belong to the non-profitmaking Institut Van Gogh. A discreet camera will be mounted in the attic room, enabling shareholders to view the painting in ‘real time’ on the internet. It will require over 300,000 people to take up the offer.”

Art Market Headed For Fall?

Is the art market getting ready to tumble? Recent sales were good – but some say the good prices were luck. “So far the art market has defied the doomsayers who predicted a collapse at the top end. Perhaps it is true that art, because of the emotional attachment, is the last thing the financially embarrassed rich will sell. But some believe that it is a only matter of timing.”

US Congress Considering Artist Tax Break

The US Congress is close to passing a law that would allow artists a tax deduction for donating their work to a non-profit institution. “The Artists’ Contribution to American Heritage Act of 2003 (HR 806) would allow artists a charitable tax deduction ‘equal to fair market value’ for contributing ‘literary, musical, artistic, or scholarly compositions created by the donor’ to qualifying public institutions such as a library or museum. Under current law, artists may deduct only the cost of materials used to create the work.”

After 30 Years Feld Folds

Eliot Feld has folded his company for a year after taking 30 years to build it. “People feel bad, people feel sorry, and some people feel it’s a real loss. One sustains a dance company out of internal will, by insisting on its being. They’re very expensive to run and the competition is extraordinary. You build a castle out of sand and if you don’t keep protecting it, or can’t any longer, the tide comes in and it disappears.”

Humanities Lecture – Is That All There Is?

Historian David McCullough gives this year’s annual Jefferson Lecture, the “highest humanities honor the US federal government can bestow. The NEH, which curates annual lecture series, asks only that the Jefferson Lecture, for which it pays the speaker $10,000, be “original and substantial.” Unfortunately, McCullough’s lecture, while entertaining, was neither very original nor particularly substantial. It was meant, perhaps, to be inspirational, with a long peroration about the glories of history, the human drama, the importance of leadership, the lifting of the spirit, and much more repetitive flapdoodle. This stuff sounds good when well delivered, and McCullough has the natural, practiced delivery of a man who might do voice-overs for the History Channel. But for something so prestigious as the Jefferson Lecture it was all rather flimsy and diffuse.”

Louisville Symphony Misses Another Payroll

The ailing Louisville Symphony has missed another payroll. “The cash-strapped orchestra missed all of yesterday’s $170,000 payroll and has not said when it expects to meet that obligation. Partial paychecks were sent to orchestra employees last week, and earlier this week the musicians agreed to perform three concerts scheduled for last night and tomorrow.”

Will MoMA in Queens Leave Behind A Legacy?

The Museum of Modern Art’s Matisse Picasso show closes Monday, and with it the crowds that have thronged out to the museum’s temporary home in Queens will be gone. “Everyone in Long Island City, of course, knows that the Modern’s charmed visit to Queens will end. But they still wonder whether the museum will leave anything enduring behind. Will it help reshape a raw Queens neighborhood, known for its factories and warehouses and the gridlock around the Queensboro Bridge, into the next SoHo or TriBeCa?”

Iraq Museum Damage Estimates Revising Downwards

Experts are reassessing the extent of looting and damage to Iraq’s National Museum. It looks like the damage is far less than originally reported. ” ‘We have dodged a bullet. Through some luck and some real preparations by the museum staff, we have saved a lot.’ The preparations included moving hundred of boxes of museum treasure to safe storage in an air raid shelter several miles from the museum. Luck spared several priceless pieces that were there for the taking but somehow overlooked by looters.”