Wednesday’s Art Notes

BY Arts Desk  February 10, 2010 at 9:32 AM EDT

Photo by Antonio Scorza; Getty Images

— A member of the Viradouro Samba School, which this year pays tribute to Mexico, works on a float dedicated to artist Frida Kahlo in Rio de Janeiro. Rio’s samba schools are making floats and costumes for Carnival, which this year runs Feb. 12-17. (Photo by Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images.)

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The White House hosted a celebration of music from the civil rights movement on Tuesday night. Performers included Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and the Blind Boys of Alabama. The performance had to be scheduled a night earlier than planned because of a major snowstorm that hit Washington, D.C. The concert was the fifth in a series that celebrates American music. Other genres have included jazz, country and Latin music.

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Speaking of that snowstorm, the roof of a Smithsonian warehouse in Maryland collapsed overnight, but no items were damaged. The Washington Post has a roundup of how the storms were affecting area museums and galleries..

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British comedic actor Ian Carmichael, who famously (to PBS audiences) played Lord Peter Wimsey in a BBC adaptation of novels by Dorothy Sayers, died last week at his home in England at the age of 89. He is also remembered for his film work from the 1950s and for his portrayal of British aristocratic oaf Bertie Wooster. Here’s a clip of Carmichael as Wimsey:

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Revered art house film distributor New Yorker Films got a reel break when it announced it had found a new owner. The company, which owns Jean Luc Godard’s “Breathless,” as well as titles from directors like Akira Kurosawa and Federico Fellini, had said last year it would be closing shop.

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Venerable French actress Isabelle Huppert can’t depend on the kindness of strangers for good reviews for her performance in an avant-garde version of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Huppert, who starred in Michael Haneke’s film “The Piano Teacher” and is a leading dramatic figure in France, plays Blanche DuBois. The re-interpretation of the play features techno music and video projections.

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Art scavenger hunts seem to be a trend in Chicago these days. The Tribune tells the story of a painter who drops both art works and clues via Twitter and text message for interested collectors. And last month, the Art Institute stashed 500 red cubes all over the city to promote an upcoming exhibit called “500 Ways of Looking at Modern.” When someone found a cube, they were supposed to report its location. But at the end of January only 320 had turned up, with the rest possibly ending up in private collections.