Buying Art – The Fog Of War

“I’ve been covering the art market for a decade now, but I usually don’t bother to attend the sales. Every time I do, I’m reminded how mysterious, confusing, and surreal art auctions are. Historians talk about “the fog of war,” which makes it virtually impossible for even commanding generals to know what’s really happening during a battle. Well, when it comes to generating fog, war doesn’t have anything on an art auction.”

Catering To The Over-15 Crowd

Science museums are generally kid-oriented institutions, featuring the type of whiz-bang exhibits a 10-year-old is guaranteed to prefer to sitting in math class. But a new science museum in London is aiming its marketing strategy squarely at the city’s adult population, with exhibits and panel discussions on some of the most controversial scientific issues of the era. “Be it the implications of genetically modified foods, face transplants, sex over 60, male pregnancy, death or AIDS, the Dana Centre plans to tackle topical, and sometimes taboo, subjects.”

Frankfurter Disgrace

As the Forsythe era ends in Frankfurt, disgrace deepens. “It’s a daft situation: not only is Frankfurt perversely depriving itself of the one arts institution which makes it internationally famous, but the city’s culture senator, Dr Nordhoff, refuses to negotiate social provision with the 50 per cent of the troupe’s members who will lose their jobs. It’s all about money, it’s very grubby, and doubtless symptomatic of increasing cynicism in the subsidised sector towards challenging art.”

Where Have All The Artist/Scientists Gone?

At one time it was said that “the most innovative scientists are almost always artists, musicians or poets. But is it still true today, in the first decade of the 21st century? There are some distinguished scientists who are very appreciative and knowledgeable about the arts. But where have all the artists who are also scientists gone – are the likes of Da Vinci just one offs? There has been a rupture between science and the arts in modern times, indeed between the arts and many aspects of society, and all the video installations in the world cannot repair it.”

Power Struggle In Moscow Concert Hall

Moscow has a shiny new $200 million performing arts center – its first new concert hall in 100 years. “With the conductor and violinist Vladimir Spivakov as the center’s president, a rich array of events has taken shape. Yet behind the glass and metal exterior, a power struggle as harsh as the confrontation between Kremlin prosecutors and the oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has unfolded, rooted in Spivakov’s acrimonious departure as music director and principal conductor of the Russian National Orchestra last year.”

Too Many Bad Songs – Is That The Problem?

Music executives are prodding acts to limit the number of tracks on their CDs in a bid to raise fans’ perceptions of the value of albums. ‘There’s been a tendency to overload CDs because the technology permits it. The final choice will always be the artist’s, but I feel — and consumer research bears it out — that the public thinks albums have too much filler’.”

Canada’s Bull Market Run On Art

“For at least the last six years, the resale market for Canadian art has been decidedly bullish, with the last three or four being especially buoyant. Indeed, since the spring of 1999, close to 10 paintings by Canadian artists have either come close to or surpassed the $1-million selling mark at auctions in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.” Can the enthusiasm continue?

Mickey Mouse Turns 75

“The years have dulled Mickey’s personality, a result of him becoming the corporate face of a multibillion-dollar entertainment empire. In the process, Mickey also has become a cultural Rorschach test — a symbol of American optimism, resourcefulness and energy or an icon of cultural commodification and corporate imperialism.”