Here are a few items I noticed recently from BBC News. First, an article (Mozart concert 'soothes' inmates, November 1) that noted an unusual concert of Mozart's music in France:
Some 60 prisoners in a French jail [the maison d'arrêt of La Talaudière, in the Loire region] have been played the music of Mozart, as part of a series of jailhouse concerts. "Music, particularly the kind we heard here, really does soothe the savage beast," said one prisoner. Two of the composer's works [symphonies] were played by the 35-piece symphony orchestra of Saint-Etienne, in the prison workshop. Conductor Laurent Campellone hoped there will be more concerts to come at La Talaudiere prison where inmates are already taking guitar lessons. After the concert prisoners mingled with musicians. Campellone, 33, has led prison orchestras in Germany and Italy. One of the prisoners said the music made a very pleasant change to prison life.The first question you might ask about a list of the most powerful people in the art world might be, Who cares? If you do care, another article (Hirst tops art world power list, October 31) has the answer:
Artist Damien Hirst has been named the most powerful person in the international art world. Hirst, famous for preserving animals in formaldehyde, heads the annual Power 100 list in ArtReview magazine. The 40-year-old is the first Briton - and the first artist - to head the ranking since it began in 2002. Art dealer Larry Gagosian is second, followed by Christie's magnate Francois Pinault, with American Bruce Nauman the next artist on the list at number nine. The Power 100 takes into account a number of factors, including auction sales and exhibitions in the 12 months to October. The highest ever number of artists appear on the 2005 list including: Richard Serra, Neo Rauch, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakani, Jeff Wall, Marlene Dumas, Anselm Kiefer, Chris Ofili, Jeff Koons and Rachel Whiteread.The MoMA's Glenn Lowry finished a respectable fifth. Third, the Earl of Halifax should have just left Titian's Portrait of a Young Man to the British National Gallery, loaned to the museum since 1992, but he has decided to sell it (Titian work 'will be public loss', October 28):
A Renaissance masterpiece by Italian artist Titian has been removed from display at the National Gallery so that its owner can sell the painting. The painting, which has hung in the gallery since 1992 was "a significant loss to the public", the gallery said. Discussions for a joint purchase plan with the National Gallery of Scotland took place when the owner, the Earl of Halifax, decided to put it up for sale. The gallery said despite "goodwill on all sides" no agreement was reached.It's a rather beautiful portrait. Do you remember, just after you made your last house move, when you finally got everything moved in, that depressing moment when you look at room after room filled with boxes that need unpacking? The last article (Tate unveils 14,000-box sculpture, October 10) describes Rachel Whiteread's new installation at the Tate Modern:
A mammoth installation comprising 14,000 white polyethylene boxes has gone on display at Tate Modern gallery. Turner Prize-winning sculptor Rachel Whiteread says her work, entitled Embankment, explores the "universal quality of the box". Whiteread was inspired by a cardboard box she used to house her toys, found while clearing her late mother's house. She is the sixth artist to fill the London gallery's Turbine Hall, which is 500ft long and 115ft high. After discovering the box, Whiteread, 42, says she came upon boxes squashed in the street, stacked in the back of a lorry or used more inventively in the likes of children's playhouses. Whiteread said filling the Turbine Hall had been "an enormous challenge".I can imagine that it was.