Culture Monster
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Made in L.A. 2016: Curators announced for Hammer biennial

The Hammer Museum announced Thursday that its next biennial art show, Made in L.A. 2016, will be co-curated by Hamza Walker of the Renaissance Society in Chicago and the Hammer's own Aram Moshayedi.

Combining a curator who has worked extensively in Los Angeles for the last 10 years with someone from outside the region, Moshayedi said, will help the program to examine regional art in relation to national and international art scenes.

"We both want to address the question of how Los Angeles is part of a network of cities that artists inhabit fluidly," he said. "This is about questioning whether or not a regional identity can be forged in a city that is inherently diverse and international."

The Hammer curator will work with Hamza, director of education and associate curator for the Renaissance Society, a contemporary art museum on the campus of the University of Chicago.

The mandate of Made in L.A., which debuted in 2012, is to showcase the work of artists from the L.A. area with...

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Top conductors departing San Diego Opera and San Diego Symphony

The top conductors of the San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony will be departing their respective organizations in the months to come.

Karen Keltner, who has been resident conductor of San Diego Opera since the early 1980s, will step down  Feb. 1, following the company's production of "La Boheme."

Elsewhere in the city, Jahja Ling will depart the San Diego Symphony at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, following a tenure as music director that will have lasted 13 years by the time he leaves.

The symphony and the opera are separate and independent of each other, but musicians from the symphony perform as the pit orchestra for the opera.

Keltner's departure from San Diego Opera comes as the company relaunches itself following a traumatic period this year in which the company's plan to shut down was reversed following a bitter internal struggle.

The highly public fight saw the departure of the company's longtime leader, Ian Campbell, who had named Keltner as resident conductor...

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Legal fight over California's unique art-sales law nears climax

Past and future paydays for American artists were at stake in a Pasadena courtroom Tuesday as a group of them tried to salvage a special privilege that only California confers: the right to pocket a 5% royalty whenever a California collector or gallery sells their work on the secondary market.

Lawsuits brought in 2011 by several prominent artists or their heirs aimed to force Sotheby’s and Christie’s, two leading international art auction houses, and EBay to collect the 5% royalty.

But a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed the case in 2012, finding that the California Legislature exceeded its authority when it passed the Resale Royalty Act in 1976. The judge ruled that the royalty requirement improperly butts into matters of interstate commerce that California had no right to regulate.

Over time, some California sellers have abided by the law and others have not.

Payments are supposed to be made to any artist who is an American citizen or who is a California resident  -- if his or...

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Gloria Molina donates her papers to Huntington Library

With no room left on Mt. Rushmore, Gloria Molina has found another way to achieve lasting proximity to some of the Untied States’ greatest politicians: She capped her 23 years on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors by donating her papers to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

Curators at the Huntington will decide just where the Molina archive — at least 250 boxes' worth — eventually will be shelved. It's conceivable her records could wind up close to papers of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. In any case, she joins them in a collection that also includes documents from Mark Twain, Jack London and Charles Bukowski.

The reams of correspondence, reports, photographs and email printouts document Molina's years as the first woman and first Latina elected to the Board of Supervisors, and some go back to the 1980s, when she became the first Latina elected to the California Legislature and to the Los Angeles City Council...

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Getty hires new top fundraiser after early efforts show modest results

The J. Paul Getty Trust is plugging a fresh executive into what's perhaps the art world's most counterintuitive job: getting rich folks, corporations and charitable foundations to make big cash donations to an organization that already sits on a pile of investments more than $6 billion high.

The Getty announced this week that Janet Feldstein McKillop, head fundraiser for St. Matthew's Parish School, a K-8 Episcopalian parochial school in Pacific Palisades, will step into a job whose only previous occupant did not gain a lot of discernible traction.

McKillop, who'll start in February, also has been a fundraising executive for bigger institutions -- Stanford and Harvard. She has a bachelor's degree in art history and a master's degree in business administration, both from Stanford.

"I look forward to building on the support the Getty has developed over the years and generating new sources of funding and partnership," McKillop said in the Getty's written announcement of her hiring.


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'Culture' named word of the year by Merriam-Webster

Time magazine has its person of the year (it was the Ebola health workers for 2014 ), and likewise, Merriam-Webster, the company behind the trusted English dictionary, has its word of the year, which for 2014 was the word "culture" in all of its definitions.

Merriam-Webster said in its announcement earlier this month that "culture" is a "big word at back-to-school time each year, but this year lookups extended beyond the academic calendar." The company chooses its word of the year based on a set of criteria that includes the number of online searches for a particular word and how much those searches rose from the previous year.

It said that in 2014, the word has moved beyond its academic or classroom usage to "the conversation at large, appearing in headlines and analyses across a wide swath of topics."

Merriam-Webster's primary definition of "culture" is the "beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time." Other definitions include "a particular society...

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