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Art Museum Director Dies At 64

Anne d’Harnoncourt, director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has died at the age of 64.

One of the most powerful women in the modern art world, d’Harnoncourt had spent more than half of her lifetime at the Philadelphia Museum. She joined the PMA staff in 1972, became director in 1982, and succeeded Robert Montgomery Scott in 1996 as the museum’s chief executive. Over the years, she has overseen any number of internationally recognized exhibitions.

Anne d’Harnoncourt, art museum director, dies at 64 [Inquirer]

A New Type Of ‘Rocky’-Style Celebration

Here’s an ad I spotted this morning, apparently designed to appeal to those who are having their houses foreclosed on any minute now. But the real prize is the intro, where a man runs to the top of the Art Museum steps and (to celebrate his accomplishment, or his foreclosed home, or something) he does the “Apache” dance and then pantomimes sex. Honestly, at first I thought this was going to be an ad for Hillary Cinton.

Fake Disaster Goes Off Without A Hitch


The fake disaster last night was smooth sailing for everyone involved, especially since it was fake there weren’t any dead people. The disaster was actually a terrorist attack, where there were bombings at 30th Street Station and the Art Museum.

A pretend car bomb went off that left almost 100 volunteers wounded or dead on the street in front of the museum. The street was strewn with arms and legs of manikins to add a touch of realism, along with the moans of the seemingly injured.

Did they have recorded moans? How does one volunteer for “injured in terrorist attack” acting? At least we do know we’re safe the next time al-Qaeda attacks 30th Street Station and the Art Museum.

Simulated Mayhem Tests Area Responders [NBC 10]
Yesterday: Let’s Get Pumped For Fake Disaster 2K7!

Mayor Of Dirty City Bashes Other Dirty City


The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, recently spent some time in our fair city to learn about how we’ve gotten rid of blight. One might think it’s a little silly to go to Philadelphia to learn about anything but our plan to license the city’s tour guides, but apparently we’re done a good job on blight, too.

What we, the city, apparently haven’t done well is keep it clean, or at least not as clean as New Orleans, which was scrubbed when Hurricane Katrina was nearly turned into the Lost City of Atlantis. (The city was built in an old riverbed or something.) Ray Nagin noticed this, and told a crowd in New Orleans about how dirty our city is.

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“Let me tell you something. I want you to go to Philly, and you will appreciate how clean New Orleans is. Just go and walk around Philly a little bit. You will appreciate – am I lying? You will appreciate New Orleans. We still have work to do but we definitely beat them by a long shot.”

Wait, so? Isn’t this city dirty? I mean, don’t we always bash it for being so effing dirty? The Center City District cleans up, but, ah, isn’t everywhere else just full of slobs? I know, I know, if you’re from out of town you’re not allowed to bash the city while we Philadelphians are. But, ah, getting upset because somebody called the city dirty? And, uh, isn’t every city dirty?

But let’s let Councilwoman Jeannie Blackwell defend the city against Nagin’s joke:

“But we have many areas. Nothing’s more beautiful than the Art Museum everywhere you look.”

She’s right. Our Art Museum is pretty clean. Only one or two of the paintings have graffiti on them.

Oh, and 6 ABC made Ray Nagin apologize. Thanks, local media!

Update, 8:57 a.m. Took me a little longer than I thought it would to find this. From Bob Alotta’s Mermaids, Monasteries, Cherokees and Custer: The Stories Behind Philadelphia Street Names:

“Filthy-dirty” has been one of Philadelphia’s pseudonyms for almost three centuries—at least. In fact, Robert Venable, a man with a remarkable memory born in 1736, recalled hearing that descriptive title used in youth. As Venable remembered them, Philadelphia streets were alternatively muddy or dusty, depending on the weather…. despite the [later] installation of paved streets, Philadelphia remained “filthy-dirty.” Laws were enacted that required residents to sweep the sidewalks in front of their properties every Friday. Where did they put the refuse? Where else? In the street! By 1765… Robert Wrwin was appointed city “scavenger.” His job was to clean all the streets—once a week. Philadelphia’s streets did not improve, even with Erwin’s efforts.

Nagin Apologizes for Bashing Philly [6 ABC]

Leftovers: Citizen Tierney


• Steve Volk reports in an online exclusive today that management at the Inquirer and Daily News (i.e. Brian Tierney) is threatening layoffs. (And the two papers might share photographers.) Hey, they were right! Brian Tierney is their kind of people! You know, since the previous bosses were always trying to find ways to cut costs, and this one is too. [PW]

• Let’s just go and say how totally awesome this is: Frank Gehry will be designing the Art Museum’s new underground addition. I guess the board didn’t like my “boxing ring from Rocky” proposal. [Inquirer]

• As you probably know, Pat’s is now suing Rick’s for stealing their name and history and crown or something. Geno’s is suing Tony Luke’s for not being American enough. And Steve’s Price of Steaks continues to skate by, unabated. [Daily News]

• The state actually did something competent, kids! The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board voted to curb mercury emissions from coal plants today, superceding lower federal levels. Hooray! [AP/Yahoo!]

Shocker: ‘Rocky’ Statue Returns To Art Museum

Rocky Statue

Oh, did I write shocker? I meant, uh, the opposite.

Yes, the Art Commission (whatever that is) voted 6-2 to allow Rocky to return to the Art Museum, although only along the side of the steps. The newspapers have their “split decision” and “Rocky wins!” headlines all ready, of course.

The yeas and nays, courtesy KYW:

Local artist Moe Brooker was among the two ‘no’ votes: “I don’t think it’s art. I think it’s a statue. And I think that it served its purpose when it was at the Spectrum.”

The other ‘no’ vote was from commissioner Miguel-Angel Corzo: “The statue belongs in the city. But it doesn’t belong in that place.”

Of course, John Street was in favor of the move to the Art Museum, so perhaps it should be somewhere else.

That means we’re all set for “hundreds of thousands” of fans to line the Parkway on Friday, hoping to catch a glimpse of Stallone and debating whether it’s art or statue. Oh, boy.

Rocky Wins in a Split Decision [KYW 1060]

‘Rocky’ Statue To Attract Billions Of Fans

Rocky Statue

Today, the city Art Commission will decide the fate of the Rocky Statue — the real one, not the Michael Untermeyer fake one.

Although it rejected the move to the side of the Art Museum early last month, the full commission is expected to approve the move today, so much so that a concrete base has already been installed and Friday’s unveiling has already been planned.

Also, did you know it’s “Philly Loves Rocky” week? Yes, in preparation as a promotion for the upcoming release of Rocky Balboa, the entire week is apparently dedicated to the fictional boxer, culminating in Friday’s 6 p.m. statue dedication, which Jimmy Binns says “hundreds of thousands” will attend.

Hundreds of thousands! Just like the thousands of dollars it’s going to cost to repair the damage done to Love Park by bubbles.

Will Rocky win the decision? [Inquirer]
Archives: Rocky

People Quackers Over ‘Rocky’ Statue

051106rockystatue.jpg The big news today is that the Rocky statue may be moving to the side of the Art Museum steps — honestly, I can’t believe this is big news, but it is — returning the Rocky III prop to Eakins Oval from South Philly. (It had been out front of the Spectrum and Wachovia Center after spending some time at the top of the museum steps.)

The Inquirer has a map (at left, obvs) that shows just where the statue will be. It seems like an odd location, like they’re just throwing it in the woods next to the PMA, but I understand the want to keep it off the top of the steps, it being simply an ad for Rocky Balboa and all. (The statue — surprise! — will be in place right around the time the new Rocky movie comes out. Stallone is paying for the move and upkeep himself.)

This being Philadelphia, there’s naturally some detractors, including Park Commish E. Harris Baum:

“If a film about Donald Duck in Philadelphia comes out,” he wondered, “do we put a Donald Duck statue in our park system? Rocky is fine. But other films have relevance, too. Where do we stop?”

Wait! City Councilman Frank Rizzo has weighed in, too:

“If we do a Donald Duck movie in the city of Philadelphia, are we going to have a Donald Duck statue?”

Woah, woah, woah. First off, wow, did they really use the same fictional example to protest the Rocky statue moving to the Art Museum? (It’s a little tacky, but the statue, for better or worse, would be a nice tourist draw for the area. People love running up the steps.)

Second off, how exactly would one make a Donald Duck movie in Philadelphia? I guess there could be some Who Framed Roger Rabbit-type film here, but that seems pretty unlikely.

Thirdly, if they do make a Donald Duck movie here, there better damn well be a statue put up! That’d be awesome.

Comeback for Rocky statue [Inky]
Rocky Statue Could be Headed Back to Art Museum [KYW 1060]

Blogicized: God bless the Internet

• Hmm. If you get rid of 75 staffers and apparently have a commitment to annoying, boring writing, you might come up with an annoying, boring, incorrect editorial. But think of the profit margins! [Suburban Guerilla]

• In the grand tradition of “All Your Base” and “Bubb Rubb” comes the newest Internet fad, remixing subway maps with anagrams. How else would we have known that “Fairmount” can be rearrange to spell “I Mourn Fat”? [Philebrity]

• The number and percentage of blacks at Temple has gone down since 1999. Is this a problem? Eh, I dunno. But God help Holy Family if this guy ever finds out the stats on its female-to-male ratio. (It’s 3-to-1. Why I didn’t go to Holy Family, I’ll never know.) [Marc Stier at Large]

• Who would possibly be enough of a loser to hack some blog in Delco? [I Live In Delaware County]

• The Art Museum has a new website. And it appears to be Rocky VI free. But just wait. [JMG Artblog]

Blogicized: The only thing we have to fear

• Roberta Fallon at the always fantastic Artblog has an interview with the Art Museum’s new curator of contemporary art. [artblog]

• According to Marisa over at Metroblogging, there was a bomb scare on SEPTA this morning. Turns out it was a suitcase of clothes somebody left on the platform. [Metroblogging Philadelphia]

• It seems the Philly-is-cool backlash is continuing: The city’s “like as good as Des Moines, Iowa.” [Overheard in Philly]

• Yes, that was thunder you heard last night. Or, you know, angels bowling. [Literal Barrage]