MoMA Retells Modern

The Museum of Modern Art takes its latest stab at retelling the story of modern art. Peter Schjeldahl writes that “the show crystallizes a recurrent suspicion that, at present, high culture inhabits an interminable aftermath of lost or broken purposes. The poetic tone of today’s most vital art tilts toward elegy.”

The Book Behind The Nazi Revelation

Gunther Grass caused a storm last month when he revealed he’d been a Nazi. “Somewhat lost in the scandal is the fact that Grass has written a memoir of rare literary beauty. Beginning with his childhood in Danzig and ending with the publication, in 1959, of his first and most famous novel, ‘The Tin Drum,’ the book is not just an autobiography but also a meditation on memory—on the tricks it plays and the way it feeds the imagination of a born storyteller.”

Quality Sells – The New Yorker’s A Hit

Under editor David Remnick, The New Yorker has become a financial success as well as a critical one. The magazine “has the highest subscription renewal rate of any magazine in the country. It has a circulation of over 1 million, and although it is privately owned and such figures are not publicly available, it is thought to be turning a profit of around $10 million.”

Theatre Trustee Nancy Roche, 64

Nancy Roche, a longtime board member at Baltimore’s Center Stage, where she once served as interim managing director, died Friday of breast cancer. “She worked as consultant in governance for National Arts Strategies and was a founding member of the National Council for the American Theatre and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s trustees program. She co-edited ‘The Art of Governance,’ a guide to trustee leadership in the performing arts published in 2005.”

Donor Pays $1 Million, Public Gets In Free

“The Baltimore Museum of Art has received a $1 million gift from a local philanthropist to support its new policy of free admission to the public that begins Oct. 1. Suzanne F. Cohen, former chairwoman of the BMA board and a long-time supporter of the museum’s programs, donated the money last November, during her tenure as board chair, to establish an endowment that will be known as the Cohen Family Fund for Free Admission, the museum said.”

Tenor Norman Kelley, 95

“Norman Kelley, a tenor who sang with the New York City Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and many other companies around the world, died last Monday in Rockland, Mass. … He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1957 as Mime in the ‘Ring’ cycle, but his longest-lasting legacy at that house may have been his English translation of Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel,’ first performed in 1967 and used for decades thereafter.”

For NYU Orientation, A Caveat-Packed Musical

“Many colleges around the country feel obliged to caution entering students about what to expect and what to avoid, but few offer more hard-hitting warnings than New York University’s theatrical orientation created by the New York playwright and director Elizabeth Swados. The musical ‘The Reality Show: NYU,’ which has already played to nearly 5,000 incoming students at the university and will be shown twice more this month, tells of drugs and date rape, drinking and anorexia, depression and suicide.”

Lyon – A Dance Grab Bag

The Biennale de la Danse in Lyon has become one of the world’s great dance festivals. “Every installment of the festival has a theme, often geographic and intended to minimize the impression of a lively grab bag of the most interesting stuff available that year. This year’s 28 cities — 29, until Cairo had to cancel for technical reasons — are supposed collectively to represent dance and the city.”

Italian Fashion, Chinese Labor

“When the first Chinese, their suitcases filled with cash, arrived in the early 1990s and leased their factories, the Italians laughed at them. But now that their numbers have quadrupled and they own a quarter of the city’s textile businesses, where they make ‘Made in Italy’ fashion at ‘Made in China’ prices – often illegally – the newspapers are full of op-ed pieces about the “yellow invasion,” low-wage competition and the Chinese mafia.”