London Museum Attendance Off Since July Bombings

“It’s clearly a good time to go to galleries. Tate’s visitor numbers have dropped by up to 20% since July 7, and while that’s obviously not a good thing in itself, it does make for fantastic viewing conditions. Tate Britain at the weekend was similarly quiet, although the gorgeous new Chris Ofili installation, The Upper Room, was getting quite a lot of punters.”

San Jose: Opera Takes A Step Up

Opera San Jose (California) took a risk in expanding its operations last year, and it’s proved a success. “It was a financial balancing act. The company moved from the 520-seat Montgomery to the 1,100-seat California, adding $1.6 million to its $2.8 million budget. It still produced four operas, but dropped the number of performances of each from 15 to eight or, for ‘Carmen,” nine. It also increased ticket prices by an average of $27 — and sold more tickets than expected.”

Tax Breaks For Wealthy Hollywood Producers?

With hundreds of millions of dollars leaving California with movie shoots, the state is considering giveing tax breaks to producers (just like most other states). “Twice before, California legislators have failed to pass tax incentives. Opponents say it would line the pockets of already wealthy Hollywood producers at a time when California faces a budget crunch, and they question whether the state truly is hurt by runaway production.”

Asians And Americans See Things Differently?

According to a new study, Asians look at things differently from Americans or Europeans. “The researchers tracked the eye movement of the Chinese and Americans as they looked at pictures. The Americans looked at the object in the foreground sooner — a leopard in the jungle for example — and they looked at it longer. The Chinese had more eye movement, especially on the background and back and forth between the main object and the background.”

Plea: A Venturi Barnes

Who should design the Barnes’ new home in Philadelphia? It requires a special understanding of both the collection and the city. Fortunately there’s a homegrown solution. “The Venturis, principal architects of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, know and love Philadelphia as no outsider ever can. And they would create a building for the Barnes of incomparable quality that people would flock to from around the world.”

Kurtz V. FBI, Round 487

Artist Steve Kurtz is still fighting off the FBI, which wanted to charge him with bioterrorism. “Kurtz used the analogy of a coffee grinder purchase to explain why the stakes in his case are so much weightier than artistic censorship. ‘Let’s say you go out and by a coffee grinder. And it says on it that you can’t grind spices in it, only coffee. And you say, to hell with that, I’m going to grind coffee and spices in it. If you do that and you send in your warranty — mail fraud. If they pull off that argument in court, it’ll make almost anyone vulnerable’.”