Friday, May 26, 2006


Here are the transcripts from this morning's Weekend staff online session.

These online talks are rapidly becoming a forum for people to discuss on ways to expand the Weekend section's arts coverage and has also become a somewhat creative way for some of the Weekend staffers to keep sidestepping the issue.

Consider this really good suggestion/question:

McLean, Va.: How can the Weekend section give out a little more info on gallery shows, etc.? It seems like a lot of space is used to list page after page of museum shows (a lot of which are static and never change) on every issue ...

How about a once a month museum listing like you do now, and the other three weeks only list those museum shows that are new or opening (like you do with galleries).

That would free up additional space to discuss (maybe mini reviews) more art gallery shows ...

Bottom line is that the static museum listing, issue after issue ... seems a little "dusty" and that whole part of Weekend may need to re "re-freshed" -- We're starving for more art reviews out here ...

Aficionado de Arte
Good suggestion uh? I wish I had thought of the idea, which is a good workable suggestion to free up space in the section for more art coverage. But then witness how the suggestion itself is ignored in the response:
Curt Fields: More art reviews would be nice. We also hear from people who want more on Classical music, theater events, etc. And we'd love to write more on all those topics. Unfortunately the amount of space we have is not unlimited. It's a tricky juggling act.
Did Fields read the question/suggestion?

We know that the "amount of space" is not unlimited! But the suggestion offered a way to "free up" space. And yet he ignored that part and gave the canned "we have limited space and everyone wants us to cover their pet interests" answer.

WaPo Changes

This coming September, the WaPo is going to combine the Home, Health and Food sections into something called new The Daily Source.

It will have a staff of 30.

This is possibly an area where "new" or additional arts coverage could happen, since currently the Home section does occasionally run notices of art openings and certain art related gimmicks that feature decorating or interior design.

WaPo's Weekend Staff Online

The WaPo's Weekend staffers are online at 11AM today answering questions about Weekend and its coverage.

You can email your question to them here.

Update: Here are the transcripts from this morning's session. These online talks are rapidly becoming a forum for people to discuss on ways to expand the Weekend section's arts coverage.

The Corcoran's Roof

Oooh... Sommer Mathis over at DCist hits on a good one as she highlights Ed Lazere's (the executive director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute) most interesting piece in the current Hill Rag reviewing the Mayor's current budget proposal for arts funding in 2007.

Arts Funding in the Proposed 2007 Budget
Corcoran Roof - $8 million
Arena Stage Expansion - $10 million
Community Arts Programs - $8.1 million
Arts Education - $1.7 million
Howard Theater - $2.5 million
Barracks Row Theater - $2.5 million
Public Art Projects - $2.5 million

Lazere notes that

"Last year, the city pledged $20 million to support a major expansion at Arena Stage. This year's budget would raise the contribution from DC taxpayers even further, to $25 million, with $10 million coming in 2007. Overall, the budget would devote more to the Corcoran and Arena Stage in 2007 than to all other arts programs combined."
Read Lazere's entire piece here. It's interesting to me that the theatres are getting six times more funding than public art projects ($15 million compared to $2.5 million).

Diamonds are a Hirst's best friend

A few years ago we were approached by a (very wealthy) artist in her twenties who wanted to exhibit her (very bad) paintings in our galleries. Part of her gimmick was the fact that each work had around $50,000 in precious stones embedded in the thickly applied paint that she used.

We turned her down.

Leave it to Damien Hirst to outdo her; his latest project is a skull cast in platinum and covered in diamonds. This will be the most expensive piece of artwork ever created, and will bring Hirst closer to the Jeff Koons Art League.

The skull will cost around $15-18 million smackers.

"I just want to celebrate life by saying to hell with death. What better way of saying that than by taking the ultimate symbol of death and covering it in the ultimate symbol of luxury, desire and decadence?

The only part of the original skull that will remain will be the teeth. You need that grotesque element for it to work as a piece of art. God is in the details and all that.

I've always adhered to the principle that the simplest ideas are the best, and this will be the ultimate two fingers up to death. I want people to see it and be astounded. I want them to gasp."
I'm already gaggingsping.