In Iran – Scholar Arrested For “Relations With Foreigners”

In Iran, Ramin Jahanbegloo turned “a small office in an arts and culture NGO into something of an international salon. Through force of will and a gregarious personality, he persuaded some of the world’s most famous intellectuals to travel to Tehran, where they were treated like rock stars.” Now Jahanbegloo is in jail. “He was arrested at Tehran airport on April 27, between a sojourn in India and a trip to a conference in Brussels, and locked up in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where detainees are routinely subject to torture and abuse. Formal charges have not been laid, but Iran’s minister of intelligence said Jahanbegloo was picked up because of ‘relations with foreigners’.”

The Thrill Of Near-Death Experience

“No one actually believes that any kind of art or painting is dead, but much work these days is either about art being dead or near death. This has caused a kind of feedback loop of infinite regress to form, along with a new batch of self-reflective critique art. Curators seem to love this hyper-self-consciousness—presumably because it’s about the institutions they work for. Art that critiques the art object, the artist, the institution, or the market is lauded. Much good art has arisen from this position. So have questionable gestures.”

Christie’s Withdraws Artifact

Christie’s has removed an ancient Egyptian vessel from sale over concerns about how it was taken out of Egypt. “Upon receiving information which led us to believe that the object had possibly been improperly taken out of Egypt, we contacted the appropriate U.S. authorities and withdrew the item from the sale,”

Why Did History Boys Win Tonys?

“For me, it’s still surprising that The History Boys should make it to Broadway at all, let alone pick up six awards from the 750-odd theatre professionals, critics and odd bods who constitute the Tony voters. But serious plays, especially foreign ones, seldom do well on Broadway. Serious plays, even witty ones, are what closed yesterday.”

Product Placement… In Books?

“By now, television and movie viewers have become used to this kind of thing: when they see sneakers or cars on a show or in a film, they generally assume that these appearances have been paid for by the companies that make the brands. But product placement in books is still relatively rare. The use of even the subtlest of sales pitches, particularly in a book aimed at adolescents, could raise questions about the vulnerability of the readers.”

Assessing Baltimore’s Temirkanov Years

“Yuri Temirkanov’s time with the Baltimore Symphony was relatively brief, just 6 1/2 years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes on the glow of legend as time passes. He inherited what had long been a solid orchestra of the not-quite-top tier and proceeded to elicit, in concert after concert, nuances, tendernesses and reserves of feeling from the players that were often extraordinarily affecting. The best analogy I can come up with is that moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when the scene changes from black and white to full color and we are in a different world.”