There won't be any labor strife at The Boston Symphony Orchestra in the next three years, as the BSO announced a new, three-contract with the players. This deal, which runs through August, 2014, offers a small increase in the minimum weekly scale for players from $2,539 in 2011-12 to $2,694 in 2013-14. It offers increased for players in pension and per day rates, but does include increases in player contributions for health care. The previous, two-year deal was set to expire Sunday. It allowed for no raises.
The Museum of Fine Arts has relaunched its local, women's artist prize, naming Cambridge's Wendy Jacob the first winner since 2006. Jacob will receive $10,000 and her work will be featured in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art when it opens Sept. 18.
The MFA had suspended the prize to, according to museum officials, reconsider it and also solidify funding for the award. But that decision angered many observers, including past winners, who said it was a symbol of the museum's lack of interest in local artists.
By reinstalling the prize, named after the late artist Morgan (1903-1999) and first awarded in 1993, the MFA hopes to send a strong message to local artists on the eve of the opening of the Linde Wing, said Edward Saywell, the head of the museum's department of contemporary art.
To that end, the prize has been increased from $5,000 to $10,000.
"We feel we've done everything we can to really raise the prize's profile as we move forward," said Saywell. "From the inception, we felt the artist deserves a greater award. We hope that will increase as time moves on."
George T.M. Shackelford, one of just six curatorial department chairs at the Museum of Fine Arts, will leave the MFA later this year to become senior deputy director at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.
Shackelford, a native of Louisiana, has been at the MFA since 1996, one of director Malcolm Rogers’s chief hires after taking over the museum.
He leaves a much larger institution for a more influential position at the Kimbell, which is a vastly different museum. Opened in 1972, the Kimbell has fewer than 350 works, including signature pieces by Michelangelo, Leger, and Titian. But the Kimbell is also expanding. In 2013, it will open a second building designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop to allow most of its permanent collection to be shown.
“It’s one if the most beautiful museums in the world,” said Shackelford, 56, who was approached for the position by the Kimbell. “Boston is a great municipal museum built through now more than 150 years of local collecting and great benefaction from a hugely wide variety of people. The Kimbell is, by comparison, a very new museum and has never had an intention to be vast or all encompassing. It’s a jewel box of a museum, a treasure house for a carefully selected, curated collection.”
Shackelford will leave the MFA Dec. 2 and start at the Kimbell in January of 2012.
During his tenure at the MFA, Shackelford, chair of the Art of Europe department, oversaw the reinstallation of the museum’s European galleries and co-curated some of the MFA’s most popular and critically-acclaimed shows, including “Monet in the 20th Century,” “Van Gogh: Face to Face” and “Impressions of Light: The French Landscape from Corot to Monet.”
In October, the MFA opens “Degas and the Nude,” an exhibition Shackelford co-curated with Xavier Ray, the Musee d’Orsay’s curator of paintings.
“George has been a wonderful friend and colleague, a great scholar, and visionary curator and teacher,” said MFA director Malcolm Rogers, in a statement. “He leaves us at a high point in his career, after the opening of his ground breaking exhibition, “Degas and the Nude.”
(Photo by John Tlumacki)
Brandeis University has agreed to put in writing that it will sell none of the Rose Art Museum's prized collection of modern art, putting an end to a more than two-year public relations mess that led to a lawsuit with four supporters and an international wave of criticism.
As a result of the school's promise, the four Rose Art Museum supporters - Meryl Rose, Jonathan Lee, Lois Foster and Gerald Fineberg - have agreed to settle their lawsuit against Brandeis in which they had sought to protect the collection.
In interviews today, Rose and Lee praised the school's new president, Fred Lawrence, for his appreciation of the museum's collection, which includes works by Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Morris Louis, and Helen Frankenthaler.
Lawrence, who inherited the Rose dispute from Jehuda Reinharz, said settling it had been a priority.
"My statement to the art world is that we have affirmed the important role of the Rose at Brandeis and we not only invite their participation, we welcome it. In fact, we're counting on it," said Lawrence, referencing his desire to have the museum work on developing traveling exhibitions.
Rose, who had heavily criticized Reinharz, said she was thrilled by the agreement announced today.
"Obviously, the new president really gets this," she said. "He absolutely gets the importance of this collection and the important place the Rose has in the art world."
It was back in January of 2009 that Reinharz stunned the art world by announcing that Brandeis would close the Rose and sell off its 6,000-object collection. After heavy criticism from Brandeis supporters and others, he backed down and agreed to delay the sale. The lawsuit, though, was filed because the Rose supporters felt they needed a guarantee that the art would not be sold in a time of crisis.
(Globe Staff Photo / David L. Ryan)
Sad news out of Brockton, where the Fuller has decided to suspend a program that placed art in empty storefront windows. In two years, the museum worked with more than 30 artists and installed art in dozens of places, according to Wyona Lynch-McWhite.
It's worth noting that there's still money around to do the program, about $25,000 from the city of Brockton. But Lynch-McWhite wants to expand "Art in the Windows" and pay the artists and she can't do that without more money. She said the museum needs about $75,000-a-year to do the program the right way.
"Just because we started the project underfunded doesn't mean we want to continue it that way," Lynch-McWhite told me today. "If I only wanted to do donated work or high school work, I suppose I could continue."
She noted that the program is suspended, not over for good. Find her the money and "we'd be happy to pick it up again," Lynch-McWhite said.
I can promise that this is likely the first and last time the Boston Globe will be filming in a public bathroom. Here's our video of Wednesday night's prankster, art exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. I've also learned that the MFA security has given the works taken down to librarian and archivist Maureen Melton.
The secret is out. The bathrooms bordering the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Arts have been taken over by a group of artists looking to commemorate the anniversary of "Flush the Walls," a protest-exhibit held exactly 40 years ago tonight.
The roster is impressive: Maude Morgan prize winner Laura Chasman, ICA Foster Prize finalist Catherine D'Ignazio, painter Joe Wardwell, and also David Raymond and Jo Sandman, two artists who participated in the original exhibit.
Greg Cook, the artist, blogger, and freelance arts writer who organized the event, said that it's meant to both celebrate the anniversary and give the MFA a little nudge to pay more attention to local artists.
“This is a real opportunity, in a fun and celebratory way, to look at the past, acknowledge how far we’ve come and also consider the room we have to grow,” he said.
I'm not sure there's another living violinist I appreciate as much as Gidon Kremer. I've seen him perform several times and interviewed him once and I never get tired of his approach, which is intense physically, intellectually open-minded and always full of the unexpected. When I learned he would be performing at the Istanbul Music Festival during our stay, I knew I had to go. Beyond that, Kremer's concert took place in the Hagia Irene, a majestic surrounding. The church, just inside the walls of the Topkapi Palace, was originally built in the 4th century and rebuilt to its present state after an earthquake about 400 years later.
I took Lila as my date because my wife, Carlene, decided she would rather put Cal to bed than worry about me getting a one-year-old to sleep. By my eyes, that made Lila (easily) the only person in Hagia Irene under 18.
It is hard to imagine anything not feeling special in this church. You walk down a narrow, arched passageway into the main space, with columns and pillars lit from below. The performers were set to play under the done, with its 20 windows and flowers packed on each sill. There's a reason, beyond the beauty, that the festival has held concerts here for 30 years: At 330 by 100 feet, the space forms a kind of shoebox, making it acoustically ideal.
Kremer and his group, Kremerata Baltica, arrived with a program designed to pay homage to Glenn Gould. First, the festival presented Kremer with a lifetime achievement award. Then, after a short exit, the violinist opened a first set heavy on Shostakovich. Lila was awake when intermission arrived, which surprised me considering the late hour and the fact my shoulder has supported her head through countless concerts. But she was clearly impressed by Kremer, though she would only verbalize that some of the music reminded her of "Young Frankenstein."
We spent the intermission wandering the church as I explained to her why it was such a bummer that a giant Mercedes Benz banner had been hung in the middle of what I had hoped to be a tasteful photograph of the entrance hallway. The second set was a stunner, with Kremer displaying his range on works by Leonid Desyatnikov, Carl Vine, Valentin Silvestrov, Alexander Raskatov and an aria from Victor Kissine's version of the Goldberg Variations. This final piece featured some of the most delicate harmonics of the night. In this beautiful church, Kremer used his bow as if he were closing an artery. Not a breathe could be heard in the hall. This audience was with his every stroke.
He played a short encore, including a rousing piece by Piazzolla. A woman screamed "bravo" from behind us, partially waking Lila, and my promise of a late-night soft serve did the rest of the job. We walked out of Topkapi, past the Blue Mosque and up the street until we reached our 1 lire cone of vanilla.
The Museum of Fine Arts will raise admission prices for adults from $20 to $22 starting July 1, the museum confirmed today.
In addition, seniors and students 18 and older will now pay $20 instead of $18. Admission remains free for local college students and children 6 and younger. Visitors 17 and younger will be admitted for free during non-school hours. But on school days until 3 p.m., 7 to 17-year-olds will be charged $10 instead of the current $7.50.
Museum members, as always, receive free admission.
The news comes only months after the MFA opened its massive, new Art of the Americas Wing. In September, the MFA opens its renovated west wing, to be known as the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.
The MFA announced its increase only hours after the Metropolitan Museum of Art said it would raise its entrance free on July 1 from $20 to $25. In a press release, Met Director Thomas P. Campbell spoke of "daunting, ongoing budgetary challenges" and the challenges of raising money in "this current economic climate." He also pegged the cost of every Met visitor at $40.
Rev. Peter J. Gomes says a prayer during the November dedication ceremony of the MFA's new wing. (David L. Ryan / Globe Staff)
No Beach Boys or Elvis Costello, though I did find Dolly and AC/DC. Mephisto, on the shopping drag of Istikal Street, was worth the visit. Debate the merits of Record Store Day all you want, but it is one of the few times you can find something in the United States that's not available with ease - and for less cash - on Amazon.com or iTunes. When you're in a place like Turkey, you never know what you'll find.
I'm not doing to be able to determine the legitimacy of Weton-Wesgram records in the Netherlands. Let the RIAA take that on. I can tell you that I left Mephisto with a 10-CD Billy Holiday set that cost me less than $10 and a 3-CD Jerry Lee Lewis box for $4.30. It’s worth noting that after I opened the Jerry Lee set, I discovered that two of the three discs are live recordings. I'll have to determine later whether they’re The Killer at his best, or what you might expect from a $4.30 box set.
I've covered the museum world for almost 15 years now, but I've never encountered anything quite as nutty as I did the other day in Petra, the ancient Jordanian city featured briefly in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."
We turned a corner and walked up some steps to find a man who identified himself as the director of the “Petra Archeological Museum." He seemed nice enough and we chatted a bit near the museum entrance. The plan was to head to the monastery and its 1,000 steps for the incredible view of Petra.
The "director" suggested another option. He told us that the best view was actually quite within reach and we wouldn't have to walk two hours for it. He said he would lead us around the corner and up a twisting path to that prized spot.
The director looked legit. But looks can be deceiving. Because within a few minutes, he had led us to his pal, a guy who sells tea and coffee out of a couple of caves. Together, they tried to sell us silvery Roman coins supposedly found on the site. When we declined, the “director” went into donkey rental mode. He asked if we wanted to rent one from another buddy so that we wouldn't have to walk to the monastery. No thanks, we told him. That didn't totally throw him. He grumbled and headed down the path, most likely to share more scholarship with unsuspecting tourists.
I did end up climbing the 1,000 steps. Here's what I found at the top:
I wish I had all week to take in the films at the Independent Film Festival Boston, which Wesley and Ty so kindly laid out for us. I’ll just point to a pair of movies I’m taking in, one that I’ve seen – and loved enough to see again – and another I’m eager to catch for the first time. (Disclosure: Our film played IFFB last year.)
“Windfall,” at the Brattle on Saturday at 4:45 p.m., is the documentary that Wesley called simply the best in the festival. I have to confess, the whole Cape Wind thing with the Kennedys and Walter Cronkite, etc. had me kind of, er, winded-out. Then I saw Laura Israel’s film and got sucked into Meredith, the town in upstate New York that is thrown into turmoil when a wind developer comes courting. This is the first film Israel has directed, but she’s a talented editor, not only on documentaries but for videos of Lou Reed, Sonic Youth and David Byrne, among others. Beyond the characters, this film is beautiful and visually-arresting. Stylistically, “Windfall” reminded me more of a narrative film, David Lynch’s “The Straight Story,” than any issues-doc I could think of.
Friday night, I’ll be with the masses at the Somerville Theatre for “Cure for Pain: The Mark Sandman Story.” I confess that I fear this film will do what Mark Sandman never did: Bore me. It promises to get into the Sandman life story, which seems centered in Newton, which strikes me as a lot less interesting of a place than the weird, cosmic universe that Sandman created. That said, I’ve never seen “Cure for Pain” and it wouldn’t be fair to judge it from a 171-second clip.
I have one Mark Sandman story. It’s 1992. My friend, Jeremy, is at Tufts and gets really into the first Morphine record, which is on a tiny local label. He calls the number inside the CD jacket and hires them to play the Crafts House. Sandman arrives with Dana Colley and I’m guessing Jerome Dupree, though it could have been Billy Conway. Strangely enough, the man so famous for playing the two-string, slide bass brought an old keyboard. You know, one of those loungy-sounding things. He sat for the entire performance. I heard his back was bothering him but it might just have been because the room was so small or maybe he dug that sound. There were about 25 of us, and I remember feeling a bit awkward in such close quarters. The music, though, was stunning. Morphine would go on to release albums for Rykodisc and Dreamworks and get on MTV and play big tours. That night, I remember snatches of future records, as Sandman crooned on. Sharks patrol these waters. Get in your go-kart and go little sister. Then, the gig was done and Sandman, cigarette lit, headed into the night, loading his keyboard in the trunk of what looked like a Ford Fairline or something black and 1960sish.
I bought my ticket for tonight’s film and I’m hoping for the best. But please, don’t let me find out the dude went to my Hebrew School.
In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.
That was Tim Hetherington's last tweet. The photojournalist died Wednesday in Misrata, Libya covering the conflict between the government and the rebels. We should also note that Getty photographer Chris Hondros, whose photos have run in the Globe, died in the same battle. Here's a piece on their deaths.
As a journalist, there are times you realize there are people like you and there are people like them. Like Hetherington. I had one of those moments last year, at the Full Frame Documentary Festival. We were there for our Kinks film. Hetherington was there to present "Restrepo," a film co-directed with Sebastian ("The Perfect Storm") Junger about a group of US soldiers in Afghanistan. It's funny. When you're at a film festival and you've got a movie to push, it's easy to get caught up in that very small pond of self-promotion. I confess, I spent the moments before "Restrepo" rubber-necking the audience to see which doc-world programmers had ignored our movie but were sitting there as attentively as school children. How could they! At the end, I watched the litany of names roll by in the credits and thought, 'boy, if we only had their budget.' And it was hard not to wonder where the direcing line split with Junger, all sucked-in-cheeks and blustery confidence. (He's always struck me as our generation's Norman Mailer, capable of great writing but also so self-confident he can sometimes be hard to take.)
And then this Tim Hetherington began to speak. He had come to Full Frame as part of the screening and to answer questions. He was soft-spoken and gracious and while there's no video from the event as far as I can tell, what I remember most is how pleased he seemed that some of the soldiers in the film were on hand. "Restrepo," for me, had been a frustrating film. Good but not great. There was tension and humor and sadness. I liked the fact that the filmmakers didn't use the movie to launch into a political argument, either for or against the war. They believed in the power of straight reporting. But my expectation for the documentary took root in its title. I expected the soldier who tragically died, Juan Sebastian Restrepo, to be more fully explored. Instead, through a few slo-mo shots of him to create drama and some very surface level comments from his fellow soldiers, we were given just the slightest hint of a character. Then a lot of time with a group of young soldiers in a confusing and dangerous place.
But when I heard Hetherington speak and saw the soldiers on hand - all of whom were applauded - I realized the ridiculous pettiness of amateur film criticism within the safe confines of a festival. I mean, these guys actually backed up their ambitious plans by going there. Hetherington didn't strap cameras to the soldiers. He went, into a war zone, and gathered his material. (As did Junger.) I certainly didn't.
That's because Hetherington was one of them. He documented war to show people like me the sadness, futility and disarray in a world so far from ours.
After his death, I saw this 19-minute video, "Diary," that Hetherington presented at Full Frame this year. I like it better than "Restrepo." It feels deeply personal, impressionistic and you get the feeling that, at 40, the photojournalist was both searching for a way to explain his life and also to help us understand what these flashes and geographic leaps must feel like.
"Madame White Snake," an Opera Boston premiere, has won the Pulitzer Prize for music. The opera, by Zhou Long with a libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs, made its premiere at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on Feb. 26, 2010.
Boston Globe music critic Jeremy Eichler, in his review, was not pleased with the libretto. That was a "shame, because so many other elements are more or less in place," Eichler wrote, before praising Zhou's score and the performance of the orchestra under music director Gil Rose.
The American Repertory Theater and ArtsEmerson are positioned for big wins May 23 when the Boston Theater Critics Association holds the 29th annual Elliot Norton Awards at the Paramount.
Those two companies garnered 12 and 10 nominations respectively for a list of productions that include “The Merchant of Venice,” “Johnny Baseball,” “The Blue Flower,” and “Petrushka.” Three other companies - Broadway Across America, the Huntington Theatre Company and Lyric Stage Company - earned six nominations each.
Diane Paulus, Will Pomerantz and Darko Tresnjak will vie for the outstanding director award for a large theater, with David R. Gammons, Spiro Veloudos and Courtney O’Connor and Paul Daigneault competing for the same prize in the medium-sized theater category. Among the best actor candidates are Stacy Fischer, Molly Schreiber, Will Lyman, and Estelle Parsons.
Theaters given nominations in the small/fringe categories include Publick Theatre Boston, Tir Na Theatre, Company One, Whistler in the Dark, Zeitgeist Stage Company and The Gold Dust Orphans.
Scott Edmiston (above), the director of the Office of the Arts at Brandeis University, will receive the Norton prize for sustained excellence and the Wheelock Family Theatre will receive a special citation in honor of its 30th anniversary.
In the past, the Norton Awards has been attended by, among others, Julie Harris, Elaine Stritch, Irene Worth, and Al Pacino. The committee is waiting to hear back from potential celebrity attendees, according to spokesperson Joanne Barrett.
The Norton Awards, named after the longtime Boston theater critic, are selected by a committee that includes former Boston Phoenix critic Carolyn Clay, WGBH arts reporter Jared Bowen, Boston Globe critic Don Aucoin and longtime Boston arts television reporter Joyce Kulhawik.
For a full list of nominations, go to: www.nortonawardsboston.com
Sometimes, you just get lucky. That happened yesterday when I was in an editor’s office, let my eyes wander over the bookshelves and spotted volume 3 of the “Jazz Icons” box set. It features live performances from European TV shows in the ’50s and ‘60s of Roland Rahsaan Kirk, Sonny Rollins, Lionel Hampton, Cannonball Adderley, Oscar Peterson and Nina Simone. I didn’t get a chance to watch all the DVDs, but did show our daughter Rahsaan at his peak because, well, she needs to know. There he is, blowing three horns at once, tossing in the nose flute, proving to be the master of circular breathing that should have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. My wife, never much of a Rahsaan fan, could marvel at Sonny’s incredible command during a 1959 performance from Sweden. Just imagine, he was not yet 30. Then, there’s the bearded Sonny in 1968, juking through “St. Thomas.” I love Nina Simone. And watching her explain her anger to the Scandinavian host before a searing version of “Mississippi Goddam” is priceless. Tonight, on to Cannonball.
If you had tickets, you will get a refund.
This comes only days after Sony announced it had signed Andsnes, 40, to record all five of Beethoven's concertos over the next three years. The first cycle should be out in 2012.
A feud between a local theater blogger and some prominent players in the local theater scene has erupted online.
File this under what happens when Thomas Garvey, a self-described “smart, unfettered critic who's not interested in tossing softballs to the suburbs (or the academy),” tussles with Harvard’s esteemed American Repertory Theater.
You can follow the fight at Garvey’s blog, The Hub Review, where the former Globe freelancer explained his split from the Independent Reviewers of New England and named names.
(Disclosure: There’s nothing particularly shocking about Garvey naming names. In fact, virtually everyone in the Boston Globe arts department – me included – has been the target of his, er, constructive criticism.)
Make sure to read the comments section, where the ART’s longtime media rep., Kati Mitchell, responds to Garvey’s digs and confirms her role in his IRNE divorce. Also read performer Ian Thal’s take on his own blog. He argues that the bigger issue, beyond the spat, is why “no one in the local theatre press is covering this story either in print or online.” All right, Ian. We give. Does this count?
Nine days before he was set to return to the pit, James Levine has pulled out of a series of performances at the Metropolitan Opera. This comes after Levine withdrew from the remainder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra season and resigned his position as the BSO's music director. Levine elected to stay at the Met, where he is also music director, but today comes word that he'll cut down on his schedule to deal with back problems.
Levine will not lead the March 30 and April performances of "Das Rheingold" or the April 20, 23, 27, or 30 performances of "Il Trovatore." A Met release does state that Levine will conduct "Wozzeck" on April 6, 9, 13, and 16 and "Die Walkure" on April 22, 25, 28, May 2, 5, 9, and 14 along with two MET Orchestra concerts on April 10 and May 15.
The position, curator of visual culture, is new and being funded by Leonard A. Lauder, the cosmetics scion whose American Art Foundation has already offered much support to the MFA. You'll remember, Lauder's postcard collection, which was given to the museum, was featured in a past exhibition.
And Weiss, you might remember, was responsible for the thousands of wall labels created as part of the MFA's recently opened expansion.