Tag Archives: National Portrait Gallery

Tuesday Scatter: arts world in brief

  • Hot licks and good times with Andy Stein, Padam Padam
  • Closing the books: Powell’s layoffs, Looking Glass R.I.P.
  • Patrick Page plucks praise from “Spider-Man” carnage
  • In the room with Egypt’s fierce cultural protector
  • Alexis Rockman and good news at the Smithsonian


By Bob Hicks

Hot licks and good times with Andy Stein, Padam Padam: My old friend and neighbor Jaime Leopold dropped me a note about his friend, Andy Stein, a fiddler who can often be heard on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. “Andy has been compared to jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and he’ll be performing in a duo with Conal Fowkes, a Wynton Marsalis alum and wonderful pianist from New York,” Jaime said.

Jaime wanted me to know this because Stein will be performing Feb. 19 at Tabor Space. And as it happens, Jaime’s own band, Padam Padam, will be opening. If that sounds self-serving, I suppose it is a little bit, but mostly it’s not, because Jaime simply loves music, and when he knows good music’s coming ’round the bend, he likes to spread the word. If he says Andy Stein is worth going to see, I’m taking him at his word.

Continue reading Tuesday Scatter: arts world in brief

Muzzled: the art world strikes back

By Bob Hicks

We are the land of the free, except, of course, when we aren’t. Fortunately, when we aren’t, we are still sometimes the home of the brave — or at least, of the politically canny.

David Wojnarowicz self-portrait/Wikimedia CommonsIn the latest turn in the David Wojnarowicz flap, the Associated Press reports that the Andy Warhol Foundation has given an ultimatum to the Smithsonian Institution and its National Portrait Gallery: restore Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly to the gallery’s exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, from which it was removed after complaints from the Catholic League and U.S. Rep. John Boehner, or say bye-bye to any future Warhol checks.

We’re not talking fifty bucks and a bag of popcorn. The Warhol Foundation has given $375,000 to Smithsonian museums in the past three years, including $100,000 for Hide/Seek, a show that explores the impact of sexual orientation on art. So far the Smithsonian hasn’t blinked. We’ll miss the money, it’s essentially said, but we won’t be bullied into changing our minds. That’s a neat spin, invoking principle and bravery to defend an act that was itself a craven and expedient caving-in to political pressure. The whole tawdry affair makes Wojnarowicz’s lips-sewn-together self-portrait shown here seem disturbingly prescient. Speak no evil, indeed.

Continue reading Muzzled: the art world strikes back