Culture Canvas

BY Annie Strother  January 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM EDT

A roundup of the week’s arts and culture headlines.


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A new curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art indicates the organization’s interest in revamping its contemporary art exhibits, via The New York Times. Photo by Dario Cantatore /Getty Images.

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The Smithsonian’s Sackler and Freer galleries of art received a $5 million endowment on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, via the Associated Press.

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Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is among 38 authors protesting the withdrawal of fuel subsidies by the government, which has led to a significant rise in gas prices, via The Guardian. The shift has sparked mass protests around Nigeria.

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A proposed rule, which is likely to pass, would require documentary films to receive a review from The New York Times or The Los Angeles Times to qualify for the Academy Awards, via The New York Times.

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Washington National Opera is renewing its commitment to promoting new American operas, via The Washington Post.

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A rare 2,000-year-old sculpture was recovered in Nigeria, via New Scientist. A relic from the Nok culture, it is one of the earliest examples of figurative art in the region.

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A new Indian film, allegedly one of Bollywood’s most violent films, has been cut by censors, via The Guardian. The movie featured a scene in which a ghost was crucified; censors objected on the grounds that the images might offend Christians in India.

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A lost letter written by Ludwig von Beethoven surfaced this week, via the BBC. In it, he writes about his poor health and lack of money, and he does so with characteristically bad penmanship.

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A new program from The Rumpus could bring you a hand-written letter from your favorite author, via MSNBC.

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LA Weekly explores professional laughing in Hollywood.

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Hip-hop recording artist Jay-Z wrote a song for his new daughter, including samples of her cries.

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Pianist Alexis Weissenberg is dead at 82.

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Photographer Jan Groover died over the weekend at the age of 68.