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2009 rewind: Culture Monster's controversies of the year

December 21, 2009 | 12:29 pm


How will the arts world remember 2009?

In Los Angeles, it was the year of Gustavo Dudamel’s arrival and Shepard Fairey’s legal tribulations. It was the year when MOCA got back on its feet -- sort of -- and when LACMA decided to kill its weekend film program.

Some of us may recall pianist Krystian Zimerman’s anti-American speech at Disney Hall while others will remember the controversy surrounding the return of Chaka, the graffiti artist. All in all, it was a year to talk about. Culture Monster’s fingers get tired just thinking about it.

Year-end To the seasonal profusion of lists and rankings -- best of, worst of, etc. -- Culture Monster is here with our lightening-rod stories of the past 12 months. These are the stories that struck a chord with our readers, often generating an avalanche of feedback.

The stories run the cultural gamut from the visual arts to classical music, from theater to architecture. If there’s a common thread that links them together, it’s that everyone loves a controversy.

Click on the photo gallery and see them in roughly descending order of popularity (or notoriety).

What stories do you remember?

 — David Ng

Photo: Artist Shepard Fairey (yes, he makes Culture Monster's list). Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

"Best of" lists for 2009:

Art 2009: Christopher Knight's Top 10

Architecture 2009: Christopher Hawthorne's Top 10

Music 2009: Mark Swed's Top 10

Theater 2009: Charles McNulty's Top 10

Comments () | Archives (2)

Shepard Fairey’s legal triv-ulations is more like it. Okay, I was reaching for straws. But c'mon. The news around this is sooooo trivial. The media has gone to great lengths to make this a story, attempting to make it sound interesting to a bunch of people who would otherwise care less about a t-shirt artist. NPR lovers around the country can feel like the have a connection to some form of art outside the museum. This guy is great at garnering attention. His interviews and comments offer nothing new. He loves stickers, stencils and Andre The Giant. Is that interesting? Borrowing an image as an artist is beyond news. Its what all students of art and artists do on a daily basis. An AP photographer go ripped off in his own opinion. He would have never gotten noticed if it weren't for the Fairey use. Who cares? He could barely tell it was his photo! So what?

Definitely can't forget about the OCMA secretly got rid of the historic California art collection at a substantial discount to a private collector. The public is still largely in blindfold as of today!


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