Since the Mona Lisa affair was reported, other petitions and protests have emerged. Earlier this month (September 17) the protests agains the huge cruise ships that pass through the lagoon in Venice were renewed with vigor. The invaluable Tomaso Montanari has organized a petition against the privatization of the Brera in Milan. At the beginning of the month, in the United States, the New York Times demoted Allan Kozinn, one of its more intelligent music critics, who has been writing for them since 1977 and a staff member since 1991. He is now a "general cultural reporter." Norman Lebrecht, who announced the bad news, received an avalanche of mostly angry and disgusted comments. Petitions were organized on Facebook, urging the Times to change their mind...but to no avail. Kozinn's gone. For some years it has been hard to imagine that once upon a time Paul Griffiths wrote music criticism for The New York Times, and both he and Andrew Porter for The New Yorker.
In a part of Florens 2012, the academics, business figures, and other experts who attend will explore the subjects developed two years ago, within a wide-ranging scheme, specifically tailored for this meeting, mainly the theme: "from the Grand Tour to the Global Tour." Fundamentally, the way the world perceives Italy and enjoys the many extraordinary things the country has to offer descend from the Grand Tour, the capstone of an English aristocrat's education beginning in the sixteenth century and continuing on into our own time, however much its character has been democratized in the twentieth century.
The Adoration of the Magi by Bartolo di Fredi: A Masterpiece Reconstructed is a what museum people call a focus exhibition. It is built around a single work of art in a museum's collection, supplemented by other works which cast light on one or more aspects of the work. For the museum, it is an opportunity to take the work out of its usual context in the gallery and to direct the visitor's attention towards that one individual work and its own historical context.This rich exhibition had several themes: the reconstruction of the dismembered work of art, the re-evaluation of the artist who created it, the Sienese master Bartolo di Fredi, the date, the patron, and the original location of the work. This small, but ambitious exhibition goes beyond even this. Through a series of thumbnail biographies, it provides the reader with a guide to Sienese painting in the decades following the Black Death, a period which remains underestimated and comparatively little-known. The exhibition catalogue would make an instructive companion to a visit to the Siena Pinacoteca and the churches of the city.
It seems right to begin by grounding whatever else I have to say in the recommendations of Florens 2010. Since much of this will be discussed at Florens 2012. I’ve entered my thoughts simply as comments on the thirteen proposals of 2010. Some of these mention examples from my experiences in the U.S. While the U.S. scored quite well in the Florens 2010 surveys, there is no reason why it should be considered exemplary. The arts struggle there as much as anywhere, although there are a variety of resources to support it. The Tanglewood Music Festival is without a doubt the most important summer music festival and school in the country. They have just published their attendance figures for this past summer, the summer of their 75th anniversary celebrations, and it is makes for depressing reading. The most popular classical concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra — and these were the cornerstone of the founder, Serge Koussevitzky’s vision for the festival — ranked ninth below eight pop concerts and semi-popular ceremonial events. Even with an array of private and corporate donors at hand and painstakingly cultivated, the arts have to work hard in the New World to survive and risk compromising their mission.
Much of the report on Florens 2010 deals with analyses of the kind of data we associate with audience surveys. The data a statistical, and in digesting them, the authors work with quantified phenomena that can be consistently compared. The methods, which are clearly described, reflect standard methods and different studies are brought in for comparison.