Wednesday’s Art Notes

BY Arts Desk  January 13, 2010 at 11:04 AM EST

Haiti's presidential palace destroyed by an earthquake on January 12, 2009. Photo by the Associated Press

The earthquake that hit Haiti on Tuesday destroyed the presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. Built in 1918, it housed Haiti’s first family. Click here to see an image of the palace before its collapse. Photo by the Associated Press.

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Big-name celebrity artists have begun to mobilize to respond to the disaster in Haiti. Music performer and producer Wyclef Jean, who was born in Haiti and runs a charity devoted to the island nation, flew down after hearing the news. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who have volunteered before on behalf of Jean’s charity, released a statement last night asking people to donate to relief efforts.

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Two new exhibits in Washington, D.C. pull rare treasures out of hiding. The Library of Congress is displaying a map created in 1602 by an Italian Jesuit missionary for the Chinese emperor. Known as the “Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography” because it has been so rarely seen, it was the first map in China to include the Americas.

One day last year, the Very Rev. David M. O’Connell was in the bathroom searching for paper towels. Instead, he found a Rembrandt etching inside a cabinet. The etching is now on show with other art works owned by the university that have never been seen before by the public.

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Another Washington revelation: Newly released memos from former President Richard Nixon show a strong dislike of modern art and a disdain for the cultural agenda advanced by the Kennedy administration.

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Following NBC’s decision to again change its late night lineup, comedian Conan O’Brien says he won’t be moved, unless it’s to a different network. O’Brien released a letter Tuesday saying he would refuse to take a later timeslot after Jay Leno.