January 1998 Volume 20 Number 1
by Jonathan Turner in ARTnews, November 1997, vol. 96, No.10, p. 51.
A new test case is made for damage to cultural patrimony in Italy when Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome was damaged this past summer. One of three Italian youths who went swimming in the fountain jumped off the tail of one of the sea creatures and broke it off. The result was a statement from the major of Rome announcing a $2,000 fine for anyone caught bathing in public fountains and when the case went to court the principal vandal was given a three month prison sentence and fined $1,000 (court costs). After the verdict, the lawyer for the vandal publicly announced that he is bringing a counter suit against the city. He claims that the city is liable because the decrepit state of the sculpture led his client to hurt his foot on the broken sculpture the second time he jumped off of it. Restoration costs are estimated at $8,400.
in Health, Mental Notes, November/December, 1997, p. 58.
A study conducted by researchers at a Swedish university consisted of asking 12,000 people how often they went to cultural events (museums, dance performances, theater, etc.). Ten years later, the researchers found that only 67 of the people who attended these events regularly had died compared to 399 of those who seldom or never went. Greater wealth or college degrees did not seem to play a factor in this as there was no significant difference in these categories within the population of art lovers and the rest of the study group.
by David Whittaker in ARTnews, International News, November 1997, vol. 96, No.10, p. 104.
A $16.5 million expansion of Hertford House which houses the Wallace Collection is planned to begin in June. The renovation will include conservation galleries where visitors will be able to see restoration of the artworks in progress.
by Scott Heller in ARTnews, November 1997, vol. 96, No.10, pp. 196 - 199.
Mission statements are being rewritten and collecting and conservation are now only two of many goals. As museums head toward the 21st century their shape and structure is changing. This article notes the innovative ways in which museums are reaching out to the public in an effort to evolve with the times and become a more intricate part of the social fabric. The approach utilized to achieve this includes new technologies and market-driven strategies which vary form one institution to the next. Methods include: expanding visiting hours to make museums more accessible; setting up partnerships not only with other arts groups but with social service organizations and local companies; using shows as a venue for urban problem solving; drumming up interest among non-participating cultural groups by addressing culture specific issues; involving patrons by having them vote on which objects to purchase; starting multi co-operational education programs; changing the shape of buildings as in mobile studios where members can collaborate in the production of art and where the studios can travel to various locations, including classrooms, concert halls, and incorporating performing arts as facets of the collection; virtual access of the collection, on-line gallery spaces, artwork commissioned for electronic media, communal digital library, CD-ROM tours; reorganization and interpretation of galleries as in emphasizing "story" or "history" or having non curators, or professionals from various fields comment on wall labels about an artwork. The steps go toward reaching new audience and anything from new technologies to market driven strategies are being used.
in the Los Angeles Times, November 12, 1997.
Authorities have dropped criminal charges against an art student who claimed he was following Yoko Ono's advice when he defaced several of her stark black-and-white paintings at a Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center exhibition three weeks ago. "Ono had no interest in prosecuting him," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said of Jake Platt, 22 of Seattle. Witnesses said Platt used a red marker to draw lines across five of Ono's paintings valued at $10,000 apiece. Platt said he acted in response to a statement accompanying the exhibition quoting Ono as saying touching artworks should not be forbidden. An exhibition pamphlet ambiguously suggested viewers add to her works. Museum director Charles Desmarais -- who said the museum may still take civil action against Platt if its insurance company suggests such a move -- said the pamphlet statement applied to Ono's sculptures, not her paintings.
in the Los Angeles Times, Dec. 12, 1997.
Billionaire philanthropist J. Paul Getty II has been granted British citizenship after 25 years living in the country, officials said. The heir to what was once the world's largest private oil fortune, Getty received his British passport the week before Christmas and immediately renounced his U.S. citizenship.
by Robin Cembalest ARTnews, International News, November 1997, vol. 96, No.10, p. 102.
After close to a century of exploring the El Pendo cave in Cantabria, Spain archaeologists found a sanctuary with images of 14 animals, including deer, horses, and a goat, depicted in red paint. The paintings are speculated to date back 18 to 20,000 years. Despite the buildup of mold and dirt that had obscured the pictures, experts described their state of conservation as extraordinary.
in the Los Angeles Times, November 25, 1997.
The late Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald got his wish: his ashes were blended with ink and made into a comic book. "This is something that he really wanted because he really loved comics. He wanted to be part of his work in a very real sense," said Mark Harras, Marvel's editor in chief. The ashes of Marvel's senior executive editor were mixed at a printing plant in Canton, Ohio, for use in "Squadron Supreme," a reprint of a limited edition 1985 comic he wrote. Though Gruenwald's death last August in Pawling, N.Y., was unexpected, his desire that his ashes be made part of a comic book was known to many people, including his widow, Catherine. Gruenwald was 42 when he died of a heart attack. As a top editor at Marvel he supervised some of the company's biggest titles, including "Captain America" and "The Avengers."
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