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Doha's MIA Park is New Cultural Hub

MIA Park

The 68-acre MIA Park (Corniche; 974/4422-4444) adjoins the I. M. Pei–designed Museum of Islamic Art. Set on the city’s seaside promenade, the sculpture plaza will host film screenings and art workshops, but its true claim to fame? Richard Serra’s first Middle East commission—his tallest piece to date.

Photo courtesy Qatar Museums Authority

Art Hits the Streets of Sao Paolo's <em>Favelas</em>

street art

In January, Boa Mistura, a hyperactive cooperative of Spanish artists that call themselves “graffiti rockers,” completed an eye-popping public art project in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Working with residents of Vila Brasilândia, one of the city's favelas, the artists transformed the walls, stairs, and pathways of the slum’s meandering alleys with vivid paint and positive words that appear to float, suspended above the ground like massive, pleasant thought-bubbles.

Slideshow: Best Cities for Street Art

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Trip Planner: Cultural Savings in Europe

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Save a few euros on some of Europe’s best cultural offerings.

Berlin: The city (pictured above) celebrates its 775th anniversary this year with many free events: a history-themed festival transforms the Nikolai area into a medieval quarter; an open-air exhibition highlights the diversity of Berlin’s residents, past and present.

Vienna: Queue up at the Imperial Palace’s Hofburg Chapel Sunday mornings to hear the Vienna Boys’ Choir (standing room free). And in April, May, June, and September, the Vienna State Opera screens live performances on a giant LED screen in the opera house square.

Portugal: On the agenda for Guimarães, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of this year’s European Capitals of Culture: performances from avant-garde theater troupe La Fura dels Baus, free to the public.

Photo by Lyndsey Matthews

Boston's Gardner Museum Unveils Renzo Piano Addition

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has just unveiled its Renzo Piano–designed, copper-clad wing, which includes a jewel-box music hall and galleries dedicated to works by artists in residence. A glass-enclosed walkway leads to the original building.

Photo by Nic Lehoux / Courtesy of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

"Cosmic Opera" Opens in New York

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As a Kabuki-dressed opera singer was convoyed atop a platform through the crowd wailing in an ear-piercing pitch, a packed Hammerstein Ballroom wrestled in anticipation. The mezzo-soprano’s Italian lyrics serenaded the audience over an original Stephan Moore composition before slipping into a familiar tune.

In my mind, in my head, this is where we all came from
The dreams we had, the love we shared, this is what we’re waiting for

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Lei it On Me: World’s Largest Flower Show Opens in Philly

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If you live outside the Sun Belt, chances are you’re ready for spring—for warmth, more daylight, and let’s face it, a little color thank you.  If you live in the Northeast, there’s a fix on the horizon: The Philadelphia International Flower Show, which opens at the city’s convention center this Sunday, March 4, and runs through March 11, 2012. And this year’s theme—Hawaii: Islands of Aloha—is a sure tonic for the winter-weary craving a dose of the tropics.

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Jean Cocteau Museum Debuts in France

Musee Jean Cocteau

Located in a picturesque village on the Côte d’Azur, the Musée Jean Cocteau (2 Quai Monléon; 33-4/89-81-52-50) is home to the world’s largest assemblage of artwork by the multifaceted avant-garde créateur. The surrealist structure’s jagged concrete piers crawl down from the roof like tentacles.

Photo by Olivier Amsellem/Courtesy of Agence Rudy Ricciotti

Gehry-Designed Cultural Arts Center Opens in New York

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New York City and Frank Gehrys mutual love affair continues to evolve at a dynamic pace. With this month's opening of Signature Theatres new Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center in midtown Manhattan, Gehry adds another piece to his rapidly expanding Empire State catalog. His first residential project 8 Spruce Street, a 76-story skyscraper glazed with his signature curvaceous indents crawling up the stainless steel façade, made a dramatic debut on the downtown skyline in 2011. Hes also been tapped for the forthcoming preforming arts center at the new World Trade Center. And then theres his iconic cloudy white, cold-warped glass IAC HQ building that hugs the West Side Highway in Chelsea. Sticking to his recent ambition for firsts, the unveiling of the $66-million Signature Center marks Gehrys initial contribution to the citys cultural landscape.

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Q&A: VJ Pogo Helps You Hear the World

Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide.  He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia.  As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.  

Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights.  I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.

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French History in 3-D

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Seas of blue silk, mountains of sand, strongholds of wood. Legions of surveyors and sculptors traveling hundreds of miles on horseback or foot. This was how the rulers of France, from Louis XIV to Napoleon III, mapped out their military conquests in the days before Google Earth.

These 3-D mock-ups of France’s fortified towns—reconstituting every building, river, and hill in 1/600 scale—were for decades hidden away in the attic of the Invalides veterans' complex. Now, but only through February 17, you can catch a rare glimpse of these topographical treasures at the Grand Palais in Paris, during its France in Miniature exhibit.

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