Reading the numbers


Yesterday’s Inquirer told us that the Elsa Schiaparelli show at the PMA was a good success but a modest blockbuster. (We’re talking gate, here.) In 14 weeks, 84,605 people saw the exhibit. (The show closed Jan. 4.) In museum terms, that’s a paltry number, especially compared to the 125,000 who saw the last fashion show at the PMA, 1997’s “Best Dressed.”

Here’s a number I liked. 14,076 people, 17 percent of the total viewers for Schiaparelli, saw it in the last week. Procrastination wins the day! The show travels to Paris where it opens in March at the Musee de la Mode. (image is 19th Century costume from Musee de la Mode. See here for more pix.)


Where do YOU live?

spottySpeaking of numbers, Carnegie Mellon professor Richard Florida’s article “Creative Class War” in the Washington Monthly is compelling reading. (Print it out, it’s very long.)

According to Florida, America’s “creative class” is moving overseas to places a little more amenable to their kind than our shores at the moment. (Creative class refers broadly to workers in the arts, technology and the sciences.)


As for those cc’ers who stay here, we all seem to be coming together in cities like New York and San Francisco (he doesn’t mention Philadelphia but we’re coming together here, too), places already invested in cultural institutions where like-minded souls can huddle and do like-minded things.

Not only that, but visa restrictions and America’s current unfriendliness to foreigners is a big turnoff to foreign cc workers who are coming here in far fewer numbers.

Florida calls former President Bill Clinton, a cc member, helpful in making America’s climate one that encouraged and lauded creativity. Under current President George W. Bush, not a cc member, well, enough said.


NEA piles it on in Pennsylvania

Finally, here’s some numbers about three Philadelphia institutions who got 2004 NEA grants for upcoming exhibits and programs. (Thanks artnet for the tip) Read the complete list of Pennsylvania recipients here:

— Arcadia University — $25,000 for site-specific installation by Olafur Eliasson

— Fabric Workshop and Museum — $50,000 for artists in residency program

— ICA — $20,000 for the upcoming Pepon Osorio exhibit.