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Oct 8, 2012

U.S. collector slams “trophy hunters” inflating art

LONDON (Reuters) – A U.S. art collector whose 20th century paintings from Germany and Austria are valued at more than 100 million pounds ($160 million) has attacked what he called “trophy hunters” who have driven prices higher and created a bubble in the market.

Benedict Silverman, a property developer and philanthropist, has decided to put his collection of works by artists including Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Otto Dix up for sale to raise funds for an education fund called Reading Rescue.

Oct 8, 2012

“I’m no vandal,” says man who defaced Rothko art

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – A man who claims to have defaced a
major painting by Mark Rothko over the weekend in London said on
Monday that Marcel Duchamp, the French artist most famous for
his 1917 urinal that shocked the art establishment, would be
“happy” at what he had done.

Police are investigating the incident on Sunday at Tate
Modern gallery on the River Thames, where witnesses saw a man
approach Rothko’s 1958 canvas “Black on Maroon” and inscribe it
with black ink in the lower right-hand corner.

Oct 5, 2012

Bond films turn 50 with Adele song and documentary

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The James Bond film franchise
turns 50 on Friday with the release of a revealing new
documentary about its turbulent past and the first listen of the
new theme tune performed by Adele.

The premiere of the first Bond film, “Dr. No”, was held in
London on October 5, 1962 and starred Scottish actor Sean
Connery as the suave and brutal super-spy working for British
intelligence to thwart the plans of an evil megalomaniac.

Oct 4, 2012

James Bond films’ history as dramatic as the movies

LONDON (Reuters) – As a new documentary shows, the real story behind the James Bond film franchise is almost as dramatic as the 007 fantasies themselves, full of twists and turns, personality clashes, heroes, villains, beautiful women and narrow escapes.

“Everything or Nothing” is released in theatres on Friday, branded “Global James Bond Day” to mark 50 years since the world premiere of “Dr. No” which introduced author Ian Fleming’s suave, sophisticated secret agent to the masses.

Oct 3, 2012

Damon Albarn backs drive to find younger opera fans

LONDON (Reuters) – The English National Opera launched a fresh initiative on Wednesday to attract new and younger audiences to an art form it acknowledged was still seen by many as the preserve of old and wealthy patrons.

“Undress for the Opera” has the backing of former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, whose operatic work “Dr. Dee” was part of the ENO’s 2011/12 season and attracted 60 percent of new ticket buyers.

Oct 2, 2012

“Deadhouse” art show unites paintings, headstones

LONDON (Reuters) – Above ground Somerset House boasts one of London’s most famous courtyards, a neo-classical gem used for film sets, fashion shows and a glamorous skating venue in the winter.

Beneath the spectacular square are little-known underground passageways called the “Deadhouse”, which this week open to the public for the first exhibition of paintings ever to be held there.

Sep 28, 2012

Rushdie says writers losing influence in West

LONDON (Reuters) – Salman Rushdie believes literature has lost much of its influence in the West, and movie stars like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have taken the place of Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer when it comes to addressing the big issues.

The British author, who has just released his account of 10 years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa was declared against him in 1989, believes the “Arab Spring” uprisings have failed but that there is hope for freer Muslim societies in the future.

Sep 28, 2012

Rowling “obsessed” with death, reads reviews later

LONDON (Reuters) – What does the author of the most eagerly awaited book of the year do on publication day?

If you are J.K. Rowling, whose adult fiction debut “The Casual Vacancy” hit the shelves on Thursday, you watch a movie in your hotel, avoid reading newspaper reviews and later in the evening address 900 people at a question-and-answer session.

Sep 28, 2012

Christie’s offers Bond items on 50th anniversary

LONDON (Reuters) – Christie’s will offer 50 items of James Bond memorabilia over the coming week in a charity sale that culminates in a live auction next Friday, the 50th anniversary of the release of the first 007 movie “Dr. No”.

The auction, which will raise funds for a range of charities including UNICEF, is one of a series of events being held around the world to mark the anniversary of one of the world’s longest-running and most successful film franchises.

Sep 18, 2012

Rushdie memoir tells of life under Iranian fatwa

LONDON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – British author Salman Rushdie’s
memoir of more than nine years in hiding after Iran’s supreme
leader issued a death sentence against him hits the shelves on
Tuesday, ending the wait for his account of a furore that has
echoes across the world today.

“Joseph Anton: A Memoir” opens with the moment when Rushdie,
already a member of London’s literary elite, received a call
from a journalist asking for his reaction to Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, calling for his head.

    • About Mike

      "I cover arts and entertainment across Europe, Middle East and Africa, ranging from film festivals like Cannes and awards shows like the BRITs and from books and theatre to art, opera and industry stories. My previous postings include Moscow, senior correspondent in Central Asia and deputy bureau chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I also covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
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