Dia Foundation May Have To Close New York Headquarters

New York’s Dia Foundation is in a financial crisis. It’s “a major liquidity problem for Dia who if not actually bankrupt are in the midst of the most serious cash-flow crisis they have yet weathered. According to some reports the whole Dia building, (pioneer of the NY art world’s move to Chelsea) will be closed for the next three years or however long it takes to get back to something approaching solvency.”

Christo’s Central Park Project To Get Go Ahead

Christo and Jeanne-Claude have been trying for years to get approval to mount their ambitious “Gates” project in New York’s Central Park. But a variety of objections, including concern for the health of the park, have blocked the plan. Now Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “always at the forefront of city-wide public art” has okayed the project and “is a major motivator behind the fruition of this work.”

Getting To Know The Chairman-In-Waiting

Poet Dana Gioia is awaiting confirmation as new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Born in the Los Angeles suburb of Hawthorne, Gioia is the son (and oldest of four children) of an Italian father who was a cabdriver and kids shoe store owner, and a Mexican mother who worked as a telephone company operator. Gioia was the first member of his family to attend college, receiving a B.A. from Stanford University.” He won’t say much now about arts policy before he’s confirmed by the US Senate. But: “It’s a cliché to say art should be provocative, just as it’s a falsehood to say that art should not be provocative.”

How Music Changes The Brain

A new study measures the physical effect of studying music on the brain. “Among expert musicians, certain areas of the cortex are up to 5% larger than in people with little or no musical training, recent research shows. In musicians who started their training in early childhood, the neural bridge that links the brain’s hemispheres, called the corpus callosum, is up to 15% larger. A professional musician’s auditory cortex — the part of the brain associated with hearing — contains 130% more gray matter than that of non-musicians.”

Playing On The Brain

Composers had always known that some keys and combinations of notes can manipulate an audience. But now researchers are actively studying how that manipulation works. Take the key of a piece of music, for example. “One chunk of the brain was responding when the melody was in G major or E minor and another part of the circuit was responding when it was in E major.”

Recording Sales Down Bigtime

People ar still buying music. But sales are down this year. “Buyers have snatched up 597.4 million albums this year, compared with 669.7 million in the same period in 2001. The 11% drop follows last year’s dip of 2.5%, the first no-growth year since Nielsen SoundScan began tabulating sales data in 1991. After enjoying a decade of climbing sales, retailers were alarmed by the 2001 decrease and hoped the drop was temporary fallout from 9/11 and a weakening economy. Today they’d welcome such a benign stumble over this year’s sizable plunge, which can’t be dismissed as a fluke. The culprit?”

Oh, Grow Up And Negotiate!

The Houston Symphony’s management and musicians appear to be moving ever closer to a work stoppage, at least if the shots being exchanged in the pages of the local paper are any measure. Music critic Charles Ward has had about enough of the negotiations by press release – he worries that the musicians may be twisting numbers, and that the management doesn’t seem to know a whole heck of a lot about classical music.

American Court Says Woman Can Sue Austria Over Paintings

A US court has ruled that an elderly Los Angeles woman can sue Austria to recover six Gustav Klimt paintings worth $150 million seized by the Nazis in 1939. The contested paintings by the Austrian artist are now displayed in the government-run Austrian Gallery in Vienna. The “decision marked the first time in Holocaust reparations litigation that a federal appeals court has ruled that a foreign government can be held accountable in a U.S. court.”

Support Is Wasted On The Young?

Everyone agrees young writers need whatever help they can get. But really… for the older writer looking on (probably just as much in need of some help), this obsession with ferreting out the young is dispiriting. “Anyone who wanted seriously to improve the state of British writing could start by endowing half-a-dozen bursaries for pensioners and sponsoring a Best of British Senior Novelists award. There are other decent talents out there whose only fault is that they happen to be the wrong side of 50, scribbling on in undeserved obscurity.”