Recent links of note:

“Bring Back the Old Penn Station”
James Gardner, The Wall Street Journal

The old Penn Station, built in 1910, appeared to the train traveler as more of a gate into ancient Rome than a center for public transport. Indeed, the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White modeled the station on the Baths of Caracalla. In a plan approved last week, the Empire State Development Corporation will build ten new towers around Penn Station, with intentions to use the revenue from the towers to finance the station’s modern redesign and revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. Organizations like the Historic Districts Council and Reinvent Albany oppose the financing of the remodel on the grounds that it favors the interests of the state government and its politicians over Manhattan residents. Politics aside, the current Penn Station, along with Madison Square Garden, is an aesthetic stain on Manhattan’s landscape that a revival of the original, a wonder of neoclassical architecture, could mend. James Gardner quotes the architectural historian Vincent Scully: “Through Pennsylvania Station one entered the city like a god . . . One scuttles in now like a rat.”

“Climate activists glue themselves to Botticelli masterpiece in Italy”
Gareth Harris, The Art Newspaper

Once again, climate vandals have grubbed for the media’s attention by attempting to deface a masterpiece. Last month, a protester disguised as an old woman threw cake on the Mona Lisa, and other “activists” have targeted a slew of art in the United Kingdom’s great galleries. This month, two interlopers decided to glue their hands to Botticelli’s Primavera (ca. 1480), only to be stopped by the painting’s protective glass. This glass casing was added to the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery only a few years ago. Ultimately, the protesters are simply posers searching for their ten minutes of media virality, damaging the message of preservation they are trying to communicate in the process.

“The vast plight of the Proms”
Norman Lebrecht, The Critic

BBC Four, which televises the Proms and other events by regional and BBC orchestras, is being terminated after this summer’s season due to a lack of funding. Without the broadcast of their concerts, not only will the United Kingdom’s orchestras suffer greatly in the years to come, but the Proms, one of the country’s great cultural displays, will likely shutter. One of the main problems centers around competition for funding and broadcasts between radio, town, and BBC orchestras. There are simply too many vying for funds during a time when private donations have dwindled to near nothing. Tim Davie, the BBC’s Director-General, sees more promise (or just £ signs) in pushing music through platforms favored by younger generations, like Spotify, at the cost of long-held traditions. With orchestras already struggling to attract pre-Covid levels of attendance, the termination of BBC Four will be the first nail in the coffin of U.K. orchestras.

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