ARTS IN THE NEWS

Movies

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” broke movie industry records for an April opening. The film brought in around $96.2 million at theaters in North America over the weekend, which represents a 48 percent increase over the opening profits of the first film that opened in 2011. Additionally, “The Winter Soldier” has made $207 million overseas to date. The movie’s success is likely attributed to strong reviews and premium price 3D tickets, which helped offset the movie’s production cost of $170 million and an additional marketing expense of around $100 million.

Museums

Art historian Darby English has just joined the curatorial staff at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) as a consulting curator. English will work specifically with the department of painting and sculpture. English’s area of specialty is African-American art history. Although the view of African-American art in the mainstream art world frequently leans toward the sentimentalist and seeks to make the art an easy vehicle for arguments about racial injustice and social inequality. Mr. English is quick to advise the public that to consider African-American art so simplistically misses a world of nuance. As he puts it, he is excited to lead the MoMA in its attempt to “look in a black direction.”

Effective immediately, Edward Dolman is stepping down from his position as executive director and acting chief executive of the Qatar Museums Authority, a position which he held for three years. He will remain a member of the authority’s international advisory board. He attributed his decision of leaving the authority to a desire to refocus his life in London and New York. As the chief executive of the authority, Dolman had worked alongside the sister to the new emir, Sheikha al-Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, on a 10-year plan to open a network of museums in Doha. Several of these new museums are in the works, including the Orientalist Museum, designed by the Swiss architects Herzog and deMeuron, and the National Museum of Qatar, designed by Jean Nouvel.

Music

There is a widely believed myth that the sound quality of old violins, crafted in the 18th century and earlier, is superior to that of new violins. Disproving this theory, the results of the “Paris Experiment” were published on April 7 in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.” This experiment, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, had 10 internationally renowned soloists blind-testing six new and six old violins. The old violins included five “Golden Period” Stradivarius violins, considered to be some of the best violins ever crafted. The results show that the most preferred violin was new, the soloists were unable to tell the difference between new and old violins, and new and old violins were rated approximately equally in terms of timbre.

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