DOUBLE TAKE

Monday morning, April 3, Seattle Times art critic Sheila Farr disparaged in print the EMP gallery that houses Paul Allen's new art exhibit,

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Seeing "Double"

Paul Allen's new art exhibit at EMP invites controversy. Plus: News about choreographer Mark Morris, and cartoonist Michael Dougan.

DOUBLE TAKE

Monday morning, April 3, Seattle Times art critic Sheila Farr disparaged in print the EMP gallery that houses Paul Allen's new art exhibit, "Double Take," as an "awkward" and "cavernous" space. Nearer to noon, Farr's sometime colleague, art critic Matthew Kangas, walked into the same room on a press tour and breathed, "It's beautiful!" This exhibit, opening Thursday, April 6, is bound to engender strong, conflicting opinions. It is both populist (with a cute, intro-to-art video starring David Hyde Pierce in Dr. Niles Crane mode) and erudite (with obscure pairings of paintings from different eras); intimate and impressive. What is not arguable is the quality of the paintings collected—prime canvases by Renoir, Monet, Mark Rothko, Eric Fischl, and many other big names. And at the above-mentioned press tour, curator Paul Hayes Tucker indicated that these are just the tip of Allen's art iceberg. . . . In other art news, Seattle Art Museum has named the L.A. Museum of Contemporary Art's Michael Darling as its next curator of modern and contemporary art, the post vacated last year by the well-regarded Lisa Corrin. LYNN JACOBSON

MORRIS MOVES ON

A chill blew through the Seattle dance community when it was discovered that the Mark Morris Dance Group would not be making its annual appearance (virtually every year since its return from Belgium in 1992) on Meany Hall's 2006–2007 dance series. Many things contributed to the mutual decision. In its 25th anniversary year, the company is concentrating on remounting some of its biggest (and most expensive to tour) hits—like its evening-length dance evocation of the Milton/Handel evergreen L'Allegro—and on a new London production of King Arthur, Purcell's musicalized Midsummer Night's Dream. With just 1,000 seats, Meany can't afford these whoppers without massive subsidy. The company continues to tour shows with lesser live-music demands, but as MMDG manager Nancy Umanoff says, "There's not much in that category Seattle hasn't seen already more than once." MMDG performs its (for now) fare-thee-well performance at Meany May 4–6. Next year, the World Series slate includes Momix, Noche Flamenca, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Parsons Dance Company, Sydney Dance Company, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. For info: 206-543-4880 or www.uwworldseries.org. ROGER DOWNEY

DOUGAN GOES HOLLYWOOD

Seattle cartoonist Michael Dougan recently moved to Los Angeles to write for Creature Comforts, the forthcoming CBS version of the animated talking-animal short that made audiences spurt milk out their noses laughing and propelled Britain's Aardman Animation (creators of Wallace & Gromit) to Oscar glory. He's working for his old friend Kit Boss, who left The Seattle Times to become the second-most-successful TV titan who ever escaped from local journalism (after The Simpsons' supervising producer Ron Hauge, paid at least $1.3 million less at The Rocket in the '70s). Supervising producer of King of the Hill and onetime Seinfeld writer, Boss is now the show runner for Creature Comforts. "There's no precedent, no animated show to compare it to," says Dougan. "There's no script. There's no actors doing the voices. It's the stuff real people say that makes it work. In this case, having a background in journalism may have helped tip the balance. . . . Being able to talk to British people and actually understand what they're saying was also a plus." The show reportedly debuts soon after the 2007 Super Bowl. TIM APPELO

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