Dispute Threatens English PEN

A dispute about the “modernizing” of the English PEN writers’ organization threatens to bring down the group. “Suspicion, distrust, backbiting, smear tactics, simple loathing and sometimes extremely unliterary abuse have come to characterise a struggle that has been waged until now behind the closed doors of London’s literary salons.”

García Márquez Vs. The Pirates

It’s taken Gabriel García Márquez a decade to get his new book ready for publication. Now the publication date is being moved up by the book’s publishers to combat pirates who are getting their own version out. “In a full-page advertisement in Colombia’s leading newspaper on Saturday, the publishers announced the early launch and denounced the pirated versions being peddled on the streets of the Colombian capital as ‘mutilating the content of the work’.”

Are National Book Award Noms Too Obscure?

People are still puzzling over the nominated field for the National Book Award. “Consider some of the writers who were eligible this year: Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Cynthia Ozick. And the nominees are: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Christine Schutt, Joan Silber, Lily Tuck, and Kate Walbert. All of the authors are women, and each lives here in New York City. According to the Times, only one book has sold even two thousand copies.”

The Logistics Behind The Art

The new exhibition of paintings by Raphael at the UK’s National Gallery is expected to be an illuminating look at a body of work that has rarely, if ever, been seen in one place. Tickets are already at a premium, and the National will undoubtedly clean up on the show, financially speaking. And that’s good news for the exhibition’s curator, who has been working on the show for a mind-boggling six years, because she has never been so exhausted in her life.

Pappano Saves The Day

The London production of La Forza del Destino that was thrown into chaos three weeks ago when La Scala chief conductor Riccardo Muti quit in a huff has opened on schedule, and Andrew Clark says that the Brits are very lucky. “When Muti withdrew [because of] changes made unilaterally to his scenery, [Royal Opera conductor] Antonio Pappano did a very noble thing. He dropped all his engagements, quickly learned the score and threw himself into rehearsals. The Royal Opera can count itself lucky to have a music director who not only leads by example, but is a born Verdian.”

The Future Of Modern Art At The Met

“This summer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the establishment of a vast new department of 19th-century, Modern, and contemporary art, embracing European paintings from 1800 to the present, international 20th-century sculpture, drawings, prints, decorative arts, and design.” The department’s chief says that his first objective has been to mount an exhaustive study of the Met’s current holdings, identify weaknesses in the collection, and develop a plan to fill in the gaps, particularly those in the 20th century collection. “The great unanswered question is the degree to which the Metropolitan will differentiate itself from New York’s other museums of Modern and contemporary art.”

The Architect As Artist

As architects continue to take their place as the new rock stars of the art world, an interesting crossover effect seems to be taking place. From Norman Foster’s famous erotic pickle to Frank Gehry’s trend-shattering Bilbao museum to Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, some of the best art in the world today is being done by architects, a fact which the art world has been slow to accept. “Why is architecture so much less hyped than art? The fact is that artists are more glamorous than architects. Building is a business, and even younger architects find it hard to accept that Foster, a business genius, is also an aesthetic one.”

More Trouble For Eisner

“Just when it appeared that Michael D. Eisner, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, could begin enjoying the company’s turnaround and his final years in charge, a shareholder lawsuit threatens to dredge up some of the most embarrassing details of his two-decade reign and complicate his planned exit. On Wednesday, the Court of Chancery in Delaware will begin hearing a lawsuit filed by Disney shareholders contending that the board breached its fiduciary responsibility when Mr. Eisner hired his friend, Michael S. Ovitz, as president in 1995 and then signed off on Mr. Ovitz’s $140 million severance package 14 months later.”