Barnes Move In Jeopardy

A proposal to move the Barnes Collection from a suburb of Philadelphia to downtown is close to falling apart. “The plan is unraveling, not over where the prized collection of French impressionist art and other masterpieces should be located, but over whether nominating control of the Barnes board should remain with Lincoln University, the historically black university in Chester County.”

Art All About ME

“The artist serving as his or her own art form is hardly a new phenomenon. Andy Warhol is remembered as much for the wigs and the blank responses to interview questions as for his soup cans and screen-printed repetition. Yet this branding of the artist as the product itself dovetails all too well with a contemporary culture fixated with transient fame and unwarranted celebrity. Ours is, after all, an age in which celebrity no longer requires even the pretence of achievement or charm. Set against such an environment, the artist-as-art phenomenon lies somewhere between a metaphysical statement and an egomaniacal disorder.”

Stafford To Lead Milwaukee Public

Michael Stafford has been named the new head of the Milwaukee Public Museum. Stafford has been the chief of a Michigan science museum, where he oversaw a $31 million renovation project. The hope in Milwaukee is that Stafford will be able to raise the museum’s local profile, and by extension, improve its fundraising abilities. The museum’s last president, Roger Bowen, resigned after only 15 months on the job.

Art For Art’s Sake

45 years ago, General Mills made a conscious decision to invest in serious contemporary art as a way to liven up its blockish new Minnesota headquarters. “Today, in an era of corporate cutbacks and pressures to increase employee productivity, sales and profits, General Mills is a holdout in emphasizing the importance of art in its corporate culture. The company displays original art and limited edition prints throughout its headquarters, and encourages employees with offices to choose pieces they like for display in their workspace. General Mills even has a full-time curator to oversee acquisitions, sales and care of the collection.”

The Calgary Model

As orchestras around North America struggle to stay afloat or, in some cases, rebuild, a split is developing over the issue of what type of management is best for a symphony orchestra. Some orchestras are turning to corporate-style managers with little musical background, in an effort to make fiscal responsibility the first priority. Others are actively steering away from that course, stressing the importance of an understanding that the main focus of the organization is music, and not profit. In the former camp is the revitalized Calgary Philharmonic, which has risen from the ashes of bankruptcy as a bare-bones organization with a skeleton staff, little overhead, and, as it happens, booming ticket sales.

Orchestras Fighting Back

All this talk about symphony orchestras dying has some orchestras feeling unfairly treated. “The impatience orchestras are showing with continued talk of crisis is perhaps indicative of a sea-change in their own philosophy toward their situation. And Orchestra Canada representatives say it’s high time to shift the focus from fighting the short-term fires to eradicating the deep-rooted problems that have been fuelling the flames for decades.”

Court Stays New FCC Media Rules

A US Federal Court has stayed implementation of the Federal Communication Commission’s new rules on media ownership. The FCC proposes to relax limits on media consolidation. “Given the magnitude of this matter, and the public’s interest in reaching the proper resolution, a stay is warranted pending thorough and efficient judicial review,” the three-page judicial order stated.

Rem Goes To China (Along With Everyone Else)

Architect Rem Koolhaas struck out of some big projects in New York. So where did he go? China. “Every architect in the world right now is looking at China, because it seems to offer limitless opportunity. It’s a place of almost unstoppable optimism—despite this momentary setback from SARS—and immense building projects that are ideally suited for someone who positions himself right on the cusp of change, as [Mr. Koolhaas] does.”