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17.12.04

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You should always be reading Anna L. Conti's Working Artist's Journal anyway. However, I was especially interested by her recent post on a new book by art historian Alessandra Comini, In Passionate Pursuit. Among other things she did with her life, Comini managed to sneak into the one-time prison cell of Austrian artist and notorious onanist Egon Schiele, which is now a mini-museum to him. Anna's Rough Timeline of Paint is also worth a look. If you want to read THE SOURCE on all things Barnes, including the ruling allowing the Barnes to mismanage its incredible collection in downtown Philadelphia instead of its suburban location, you must visit Tyler at Modern Art Notes.

You might enjoy reading an article by Amelia Gentleman ('The worse the break-up, the better the art', December 13) in The Guardian, an examination of the work of "France's most famous conceptual artist," Sophie Calle. Her new show examines a painful break-up from her past:

Her method of getting over the shock consists of recounting her misery to everyone she meets - 99 times, with gradually diminishing emotion - and asking them to describe the worst moment of their lives in return. She taped every word of these gloomy, shared outpourings with friends and strangers, collecting 99 stories of powerful grief - the woman who is told she will give birth to a stillborn child, the boy who hears his father has died. For the Paris exhibition on which the book is based, she had the texts embroidered on to large wall hangings, which were placed next to her photographs and her assorted bits of break-up memorabilia (images of the clothes she was wearing on that day, the red telephone he called her on to say she was no longer the one).
If you are wondering about what Italian opera composers have produced since the death of Puccini, have a look at this article (Up, up and away, December 11) by James Fenton for The Guardian. I was hooked by the first paragraph:
This year has seen the centenary of the birth of Luigi Dallapiccola. My home study festival kit included the following key items: recent Radio Three broadcasts of the operas Volo di Notte and Il Prigioniero, conducted by Martyn Brabbins (I missed the "sacred representation", Job); texts of these two, as published with musical commentary and handy French documentation in the series L'Avant-Scene Opera, number 212 (a triumph for www.abebooks.com); the recently issued 1975 Radio France recording of the composer's last opera, Ulisse, conducted by Ernest Bour (appreciatively reviewed in the Guardian on September 19 2003); and the volume Dallapiccola on Opera, Toccata Press, 1987.
I have recently mentioned Bill Viola's video sequences for the new production of Tristan und Isolde. An article (The Tristan Project, December 15) by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp for artnet has the first still images of the video that I have seen. This link comes by way of Barry at bloggy, whom we also thank for directing some of you to Ionarts. His blog, which features original ideas and lots of excellent images, is a regular read. Another recent post of his worth checking out is on the quest of the citizens of the island of Crete to purchase a painting by their favorite son, El Greco.

Finally, there is this article (World's leading libraries agree to put books online, December 15) by Tim Reid and Amy Hunter for The Times of London, on the widely reported news of Google's plan to create an enormous digital library, based on the collections of the world's greatest libraries. There is no mention of the Bibliothèque nationale de France or non-English libraries. I trust that works in other languages will be included systematically. I think it's a wonderful idea. Until it happens, you can consult my little page of Digital Library sites, including the pioneering one put together by the BNF, Gallica. I am hungry: bring me more books!

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