02/19/2013 09:40 am ET Updated Mar 08, 2013

Gustavo Dudamel & Israel: Conductor Gets Questioned At Airport... And More Arts News

Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel was detained in Israel earlier this month following a performance with the country's Philharmonic Orchestra. According to The L.A. Times, the 32-year-old head of the LA Phil was accused of not carrying the Israeli orchestra's letter of invitation, which led interrogators to question the curly-haired classical icon at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport.

The confrontation has led to speculation by the Jewish Daily Forward that Dudamel will no longer collaborate in Israel, and has incited a wave of classical music bloggers to rush to the defense of their beloved conductor. For instance, music blogger Richard Silverstein has turned Dudamel's situation into an issue of international intrigue. He claims that the conductor's detainment was sparked by not-so-amicable relations between Dudamel's home country and Israel, citing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's alliance with Iran. Arts Journal writer Norman Lebrecht issued similar sentiments, stating that Dudamel was singled out as a citizen of Venezuela.

Dudamel recently took to the blogosphere to respond to his uncomfortable traveling incident, stating: "These matters are both unpleasant and very unfortunate. I love making music with the Israel Philharmonic and we hope to find ways of working with them in the future." Venezuelan authorities were not as restrained in their statement, however, calling the confrontation "evidence of attack politics and discrimination that Israel perpetrated against citizens of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."

Orchestra Stars


Contesting The Legitimacy Of Banksy: Jonathan Jones took on the enigma of Banksy this week, proposing that the street artist's work is overrated in the public's eye. Jones writes, "Banksy, as an artist, stops existing when there is no news about him." (The Guardian)

Thurston Moore Wants To Play Your Birthday Party: Want to book a Sonic Youth icon at your next birthday shindig? Now you can, but there's a caveat: “The band is ready to detonate any birthday party, wedding or hullaboo in any country, planet or stratosphere that doesn’t support right wing extremist NRA sucking bozo-ology.” (ARTINFO)

Esperanza Spalding Angers Photographer With Her Boombox Album Art: Photographer Kevin Ryan is taking issue with Spalding's album artwork, accusing the jazz singer of using his image of a classic '80s boombox (a sculpture that was on view at Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space) without credit. (The New York Post)

China's Party-Backed Auction House Surges Ahead: Beijing's Poly International, a fine arts institution backed by the country's People's Liberation Army, has become the world's third largest auction house, largely due to its success with Chinese buyers at home. In an interview, "art insider" Huang Hung-jen says, “As China beefs up tracking of bribery, taxes and financial crimes, the Chinese buy fewer houses, cars and jewelry and prefer to pump that money into art. It’s very smart.” (The Global Post)

The Biggest Art Auction Sales of 2012