Selling Saatchi

“For many, this is a veritable freak show – one now worth an estimated £50 million – in large part due to the yBas, a group of young British artists who fought a frenzied fight for attention in the late 1980s and ’90s. It was a conflagration that Saatchi, advertising man to the core, had an instinct for uncovering and promoting. One suspects that Saatchi perceives himself as a kind of magus, someone whose primary motive is control. It seems quite possible that his pleasure comes from the manipulation of taste, the general public and art community.”

Broadway Closes Season With Record Box Office

“After a season battered by more than its fair share of bad shakes – four orange terror alerts, an Iraqi war, a brutal winter, an ongoing sluggishness in tourism, and a bitterly divisive musicians strike – the League of American Theatres and Producers reported total season grosses up 12%, to a new high of $720.9 million. Attendance was up to 11.4 million, a half-million-ticket rise over last season, and playing weeks, an indicator many consider key to assessing Broadway’s health, also rose — to 1,544 weeks, up 7.7% over last season. But do these seemingly sunny statistics entirely reflect Broadway’s well-being?”

San Francisco – A Music Education Program That Works

The San Francisco Symphony has been running its Adventures in Music education program for 10 years. So it’s time to evaluate. “Among the findings: 86.9 percent of teachers and 85.5 of principals said students are more interested in music and the arts because of AIM; 68 percent of teachers interviewed said participating in AIM helped them find new ways of thinking about curriculum; and 58 percent said they believed the program made them better teachers.”

Members Of Congress Seek To Overturn FCC TV-Ownership Ruling

Sensing a national mood that opposes the FCC’s decision Monday to relax television media ownsership rules, members of Congress are drafting bills to reverse the FCC decision. “Identical bills have been introduced in both houses to overturn Monday’s decision on television-station ownership. The old rule said a network cannot own a group of stations that combine to reach more than 35 percent of the national viewing audience. Monday’s vote raises that threshold to 45 percent.”

Creativity – An Overused And Abused Idea

Everyone seems to talk about creativity as if it were this force innate to every person, and that some sort of spigot is all that is required to cause it to gush forth. Barbican director John Tusa’s new book explores what it means to be creative. “Creative, creation, creativity, as Tusa says in his introduction, ‘are some of the most overused and ultimately debased words in the language’, which are liberally applied by everybody from bureaucrats to politicians to thinktanks…”

Secret To Success: Promoting The Unconventional

The secret to why animation film-maker Pixar keeps turning out high quality movies? “If you don’t create an atmosphere in which risk can be easily taken, in which weird ideas can be floated, then it’s likely you’re going to be producing work that will look derivative in the marketplace. Those kind of irrational what-ifs eventually lead to something that makes you go, ‘Wow, I never would have thought about it.'”

Mobile Phones – Your Music Here

“With sales of CDs on a three-year slide, the music industry sees mobile phones as powerful outlets for promoting artists and distributing music for profit – something it failed to do in the early days of Internet music-swapping. In recent months, recording labels have entered deals with wireless carriers and other companies. The music companies are selling rights to their musicians’ recordings and images for use in screen savers, digital images and song snippets that are then sold to mobile phone users.”

Whatever Happened To Art Reflecting Reality?

Russell Smith is tired of being overwhelmed by the surreal world of modern movies, books, and art. Events that should be spread over a year happen in a day, bullets slow to the speed of land tortoises, and the whole experience is simply exhausting. “I’m wondering if naturalism is well and truly dead in all the arts, in entertainment and academic art equally. Fantasy, surrealism and downright implausibility have been the 21st century’s dominant artistic modes so far.”

Go 2 R Museum

Trying to attract younger audiences, York’s railway museum is trying a new ad campaign. “Posters showing a pair of oily handprints on a woman’s denims went up yesterday in clubs and student bars across York to try to bring down the average age of helpers at the National Railway Museum. Heavily reliant on enthusiasts in the their 40s and above – a problem shared by scores of other museums and galleries across the country – the final home of hundreds of historic trains is also texting young people in schools and colleges in the city to tempt them into helping. Designers have created a locomotive-like logo using computer symbols from the asterisk to the double-dash, and added the message: ‘Ifu think trAns R ZzZz thnk x2.’ (If you think trains are boring, think again.)