Culture Desk

Eye on Coburn

September 18, 2010

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Clifford Ackley, the curator of prints and drawings at the Museum of Fine Arts, recently mounted a small show of recent acquisitions in his department. Some of the most interesting selections are several related works by Ralph Coburn, an abstract artist who lives in Rockport, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and collaborated closely with Ellsworth Kelly in the 1950s. Not enough people know about Coburn’s work, which is spare, beautiful, witty, and uncannily satisfying. Coburn himself, I’ve been told, is modest to a fault, which is no doubt one reason we don’t know more about him. But at least the MFA is tuned into this fascinating artist: Along with these works on paper, which play with modular units arranged according to chance, they have also mounted a major Coburn exhibit in the new Art of the Americas Wing, due to open in November. SEBASTIAN SMEE

Attending the ‘Party’

Amanda Palmer (pictured), who is currently starring in the American Repertory Theater’s “Cabaret,’’ will make a guest appearance at the Sept. 26 performance of “Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: There’s a Party in My City!’’ at the Citi Wang Theatre. Palmer will be joined by Jason Webley, her partner in the musical duo Evelyn Evelyn. On Sept. 20, Palmer will take part in what will presumably be a more sedate event: “Come to the Cabaret,’’ a panel discussion about the ART’s production of the Kander & Ebb musical. DON AUCOIN

‘Talent’ upset

Bit of an upset this week on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.’’ Jackie Evancho, the 10-year-old phenom who stunned the judges and viewers week after week with note-perfect, grown-up renditions of opera and classical crossover pieces, was considered the favorite to win. Even Michael Grimm, the 30-year-old Mississippi blues singer standing onstage next to her at the finale’s end, expected the kid to win. Instead, he did. Grimm took the $1 million prize (paid as an annuity over 40 years) and will headline the “America’s Got Talent’’ touring show. STEVE GREENLEE