Plus: where the money goes
and how it flows...
Christo wraps doghouse
Artists Christo and Jean Claude have wrapped a doghouse. The
San Francisco Chronicle reported that "Wrapped Snoopy
House,” a doghouse encased in tarpaulin, polyethylene
and ropes, was unveiled in honor of Charles M. Schultz, creator
of Snoopy, in front of his Museum and Research Center in Santa
Rosa, California. The famous wrapping artists had worked with
Schultz before, when the cartoonist helped the art duo secure
56 ranchers and private landowners to accept their "Running
Fence" installation, in which a white ribbon ran from
the Pacific and eventually wound its way across the hills
of Sonoma and Marin counties for two weeks in 1976. Jeannie
Schultz, Charles's surviving wife, exclaimed at the opening
ceremony, "We will treasure it, our visitors will treasure
it. And, of course, Snoopy will be very comfortable.”
American museum entrance fees skyrocket
as funding dwindles
The Los Angeles Times reports that since private and government
funding has significantly dropped in the post-9/11 era, visitors
are paying more to fill the money gap. Many of America's 16,000
art, history and other museums, including zoos, have increased
the rates of their entrance fees. According to a survey conducted
by the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of Museums,
the average entrance fees have increased by more than 50 percent.
At the New Orleans Museum of Art, for example, the admission
fee 25 years ago was $1 per adult, with no extra charge for
special exhibits. Now regular admission is $6 and $17 for
special exhibitions. The rise in prices can also be attributed
to the cost of mounting and transporting special exhibitions.
Government support is also a key factor in the price hike.
In 1989 the government financed nearly 40 percent of museum
budgets, but last year the figure dropped to a little more
than 25 percent.
States slash funding for the arts
The national arts advocacy group Americans for the Arts reported
that state art spending has dropped from $409 million in the
2002 fiscal year to $355 million in 2003. With state deficits
skyrocketing from $60 million to $80 billion this year, arts
funding will drop another 23 percent bringing the 2004 total
to around $274 million. While Gray Davis was still in office,
the California State Arts Council had its budget slashed from
$32 million to $18 million last year, and now it has received
an all-time low of $1 million dollars. Florida governor Jeb
Bush, President Bush's brother, cut Florida's arts budget
from $28 million to $5.9 million. Illinois only cut $1 million
of its arts budget to $18.6 million, while Pennsylvania has
maintained its funding at $14 million. Virginia, Missouri,
Arizona and other states have made drastic cuts, and Colorado's
arts funding is a meager $200,000. New York City remains the
country's largest public patron of the arts, even though the
state is facing a record $6 billion dollar deficit.
Britons largely ignorant about art?
According to research conducted by Encyclopedia Britannica,
nearly 49 percent of Britons were unable to identify the painter
of the “Mona Lisa,” with one in ten citing Vincent
Van Gogh instead of Leonardo da Vinci. More than 82 percent
could not name Edvard Munch as the painter of "The Scream."
Nearly one in ten thought Botticelli was responsible for David
Hockney’s “A Bigger Splash.” According to
researchers, the problem stems from the fact that more than
two-fifths of the British population never go to an art gallery,
despite the fact that 68 percent of those researched claimed
that art plays a vital role in today's society.
Bombs explode at contemporary art fair
According to a report in France's Le Monde, Paris’ Foire
Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) was evacuated
and temporarily closed on October 10 after a Perrier bottle
containing chemicals exploded at the fair. One man was taken
to the hospital with an eye injury, and a gallerist was hurt
during the evacuation. A second bottle was found near other
stands at the fair, filled with gas. A balloon was attached
with the following message “Art pas mort: Juste un cancer.
Le cancer discursif. Ablation et chimie” (Art’s
not dead: Just a cancer. The discursive cancer. Ablation [a
surgical remover] and chemistry).
After the attacks, the French national police received an
e-mail from a group or individual calling itself “Flux
Intermittent Anonyme et Concret (FIAC)”. The organizers
of Foire International d'Art Contemporain called the acts
malicious and the French police are investigating the incident.
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