The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Friday, December 1, 2006 - 7
FINE ARTS NOTEBOOK
Museums of today
Kidman is H'wood
By ANDREW SARGUS KLEIN
In the world of museums, the past year or
so has seen renovation and growth on a broad
scale as well as bitter debate across continents.
According to the American Association of
Museums' 2006 Museum Financial Informa-
tion survey of 809 institutions tracks, at least
half of those surveyed are either in the process
of renovation or just completed one. (Think:
all those fences and piles of steaming asphalt
in between the University's Museum of Art
and Angel Hall. They're going to be here for a
We all might be taking a bit of inspiration
from New York City's Museum of Modern Art.
Yesterday, MoMA opened its new research
center, a $425 million project, to the public.
While the center does not display more works,
it does contain the museum's extensive cata-
logue, offering enormous public research
opportunities and public outreach campaigns.
This comes just two years after the museum's
main building opened after substantial reno-
As reported by CNN.com, MoMA's director
Glenn Lowry said that "with the opening of our
new building in November 2004, we went from
about 1.5 million people per year to 2.5 million."
He added: "We often have 13,000 people at the
museum in a day." Because of financial support
from Target, Fridays at MoMA are free.
"If you can make a museum a hip place to be
on a Friday afternoon, that is going to sustain
itself over a long period of time," Lowry said in
the same interview.
Our own museum has been long dedicated
to fostering as open an atmosphere as possible,
including hosting free lectures to concerts
in conjunction with the student radio station
The $34.5 million campaign is just getting
started, the finish line still a few years off
- but for those who believe the building will
look as good someday as it does in model form,
the anticipation is already mounting.
But as our oldest museums hunker down
with their respective face lifts and newer
institutions spring up, fiery debate rages across
continents as to what artwork belongs where.
For decades there has been plenty of public-
ity documenting the re-appropriation of Nazi-
stolen artwork to rightful owners as well as the
ongoing battle between Greece and England
over the infamous Elgin Marbles (statues and
friezes from the Parthenon). Greece's argument
relies on England's "moral obligation" to return
the marbles to their rightful home. Britain
maintains both the legality of their purchase
and the notion of the British Museum as a one-
stop wealth of art and culture.
But these debates are eclipsed for the
moment by the fierce struggle between Italy
and Los Angeles's Getty Museum (among sev-
eral other American museums) over disputed
classical artifacts. It's no secret anymore how
corrupted the global antiquities market is,
with scandals still fresh in the news. While
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts have struck
deals with Italy involving loans of Italian arti-
facts in exchange for disputed ones, the Getty
has remained defiant, returning 26 of 52 arti-
facts. At the forefront of the debate surrounds
one particular statue, "The Getty Bronze."
Known to the Italians as the "Athlete of Lysip-
pos," it was Purchased by the Getty in 1977 for
$3.95 million, and dates to about the second or
third century B.C.
The Getty is currently in a sticky situation with Italy.
As with Greece's claim on the Elgin Mar-
bles, Italy can do little but depend on moral
argument in the case, since it seems quite clear
that its discovery and subsequent retrieval
were legal under existing law of the time.
Darkening the situation even further is the
upcoming trial in Rome of former Getty antiq-
uities curator Marion True. True has been
linked to conspiracy charges surrounding the
trafficking of stolen antiquities.
Museums, especially those in the United
States, are at a crossroads: Great strides have
been made in the continuing and furthering
accessibility and relevance, but on a global
scale, there remains much to be resolved.
Arguments over disputed artworks will last
for as long as there is art. But in the cases of
Italy and Greece, their respective outcomes,
for better or worse, will greatly affect the
business side of an art world whose motives
are becoming farther and farther cries away
from the spirit of art itself.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nicole
Kidman is the queen of Hollywood
- at least when it comes to money.
The Oscar winner, who earns as
much as $17 million per movie, tops
the fifth annual listof highest-paid
actresses released Wednesday by
The Hollywood Reporter.
Never mind that the actress has
had a rough year. She starred in
just two movies, "Fur: An Imagi-
nary Portrait of Diane Arbus,"
which has widely been dismissed
by critics and audiences, and
"Flushed Away," Dreamwork's
middle-of-the-road CGI feature.
Kidman, 39, ranked second on
last year's list behind four-time
top-earner Julia Roberts, who
didn't make the
list this year.
out of the
SEEING DOLLAR SIGNS
Hollywood's five top-paid actresses,
according to The Hollywood Reporter's
annual list. None of the top five have had
bona fide hits this year.
1. Nicole Kidman, $17 million
2. Reese Witherspoon, $15 million
3. Renee Zellweger, $15 million
4. Drew Barrymore, $15 million
5. Cameron Diaz, $15 million
In second place, with $15
million per movie, was Reese
Witherspoon, 30, who won the
best-actress Oscar this year for her
performance in "Walk the Line."
Witherspoon has also starred in
no films this year.
Renee Zellweger, Drew Bar-
rymore and Cameron Diaz placed
third, fourth and fifth, respec-
tively. They also get $15 million for
Rounding out the top 10 are
Halle Berry ($14 million), Charl-
ize Theron ($10 million), Angelina
Jolie ($10 million), Kirsten Dunst
($8 million to $10 million) and
Jennifer Aniston ($8 million).
The list will appear in the
Women in Entertainment Power
100 issue to be published by The
Hollywood Reporter on Dec. 5.