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Monster Mash: breaking arts news and headlines

September 30, 2008 |  9:12 am

Nyse_2 • Arts institutions are facing a perilous fundraising environment as the financial crisis spreads around the globe. But experts say these institutions are no strangers to hardship since many never fully recovered from the 2001 recession.

• A former German Luftwaffe pilot in World War II will submit a private collection of paintings to experts to determine if they are the works of Jackson Pollock. Erich Gabor Neumeth, 89, said he received a group of paintings ascribed to Pollock in the 1960s as payment of a debt.

• The trial of disgraced opera patron Alberto W. Vilar opened Monday in a federal court in New York. Vilar and his partner, Gary A. Tanaka, are charged with conspiracy, securities fraud and a host of other fraud-related charges. Vilar had failed to provide millions of dollars in promised donations to the Metropolitan Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera and other organizations.

• The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, has cut more than half of its official staff and slashed its operating budget. Museum officials said the cuts were necessary to offset increased operating expenses brought about by the drop in market value of the museum's endowment.

Ebersole_2 • Christina Ebersole (pictured right), who won a Tony for her performance in "Grey Gardens," is set to return to Broadway in a revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." Michael Blakemore will direct the production, which is scheduled to open in March 2009.

• Ukrainian steel billionaire Victor Pinchuk revealed that he was one of the buyers of Damien Hirst's works at a Sotheby's auction in London earlier this month.

• A new rock musical about "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace will open next month in Los Angeles. "Lovelace: A Rock Opera" features songs by Charlotte Caffey and will tell the story of the '70s adult-film actress who later became a feminist cause celebre.

— David Ng

Photo credits: (top) Richard Drew / AP; (bottom) Joan Marcus