THE ARTSTurned Down: The National Endowment for...

Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press


Turned Down: The National Endowment for the Arts’ advisory body, the National Council on the Arts, voted Friday to reject fellowship grant applications from three photographers--Andres Serrano of New York, Barbara DeGenevieve of Oakland and Merry Alpern of New York. Serrano’s photograph “Piss Christ,” which appeared in a 1989 exhibition funded by the NEA, touched off a continuing firestorm of conflict between the political and religious right and the NEA. This new application contained photos of corpses for Serrano’s “Morgue” series, a series of 36 photographs taken in a morgue, each titled by the way the subject died. Serrano’s reaction to the decision: “I’m very disappointed. I think it’s unfortunate that most of the NEA’s members aren’t committed to freedom of expression in the arts. Also, I feel like I’ve been unofficially blacklisted by the NEA.” The decision, which cannot be overturned by NEA chairwoman Jane Alexander, comes at a time when the House and the Senate are debating reducing the NEA budget by 2% or 5%. An NEA spokesman said the NEA had no comment on the rejections.


‘Blue’ Without Caruso?: David Caruso, who plays the carrot-topped and occasionally bare-bottomed detective John Kelly of ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” is quitting the acclaimed TV show because producers have refused his demand for $100,000 per episode, the New York Daily News reported Sunday. But sources also told the News that Caruso’s decision has more to do with movies than money. Caruso wants to pursue a career on the big screen--he has already earned $1 million as star of the upcoming movie “Kiss of Death.” Caruso’s “NYPD Blue” co-star Dennis Franz, interviewed Sunday on the local New York show “Today in New York--Weekend,” said he hadn’t heard about Caruso’s departure. But the newspaper reported that Caruso, who is nominated for an Emmy for his role, would leave shortly after the start of the show’s second season.


Pigs in a Poke: For Pigasso the pig and his pals, there’s no place like “Pigasso’s Place.” The new weekly children’s series, featuring Pigasso and his pal Pookie the wolf, will premiere in September in first-run syndication. The educational show set in a magical curio shop combines live action and three-dimensional computer animation. The series, distributed by Kushner-Locke, will air on KABC in Los Angeles.


Hungarian Honeymoon: Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley-Jackson handed out Barbie dolls, toy cars and stuffed animals at two children’s hospitals in Budapest Saturday in their first public engagement as husband and wife. The couple will be in the Hungarian capital until Jackson finishes shooting a video promotion for his upcoming album, “History.” The shooting began Sunday when Jackson, along with hundreds of extras apparently dressed as Red Army troops, marched through the streets. (Jackson plays a hero who rescues a generic communist state from the Red Army.) Witnesses of Sunday’s shoot said Jackson led marching troops amid a shower of confetti and the cheers of spectators.

Cash Withdrawal: Johnny Cash is bowing out of Woodstock ’94 because of disagreements with the festival’s promoters. His manager, Lou Robin, said the promoters changed Cash’s role in the concert, but he did not elaborate. Cash was scheduled to perform on the last day of the Friday-through-Sunday festival in Saugerties, N.Y., celebrating the 25th anniversary of Woodstock.



Eagles Fly Down Information Superhighway: Tonight at 7, the Eagles will be the first online guests of “Rockline,” the weekly radio show. The syndicated call-in show kicks off its new deal with America Online, which gives the service’s subscribers a chance to have interactive chats with the show’s guest while the program is being broadcast. Those not yet on the information superhighway can still use the good ol’ phone to call in. The Eagles have not made a radio appearance in 14 years.


Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will be interviewed on “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, the 20th anniversary of the resignation of former President Richard M. Nixon, for the entire 8-8:30 a.m. half-hour. . . . “Four Weddings and a Funeral” has become England’s highest grossing British-made movie. The movie has made $31.66 million in England since its release in May.