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The local art community has been wondering where Bob Pincus would end up since the uproar last summer when the former longtime art critic was laid off from the San Diego Union-Tribune. He’d written about San Diego art and artists for that paper for 25 years.

We found out last week. At the end of this month, Pincus will join the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, an institution he said he’s “always admired” in a quick conversation about the transition.

Now on an official hiatus from art journalism while he figures out his new role as a grant writer and fundraiser for the museum, Pincus said he still thinks “there’s a vacuum here in terms of art criticism that needs to be filled.”

Also viewing art from a different angle: The most prolific graffiti tagger Imperial Beach officials have ever seen is painting in more conventional places now, like canvases in art school.

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Last summer, he was serving time in Otay Mesa, having pleaded guilty to 218 cases of vandalism and agreeing to pay $87,000 in restitution, writes the U-T’s Wendy Fry. Now, he’s sold six of his art pieces. “Actually selling a piece and having it on a wall somewhere is really gratifying,” he says. “It’s not getting painted over a couple weeks later.”

You’re reading the Arts Report, where we round up the week’s news and issues driving the San Diego arts community, as published in our Behind the Scene blog and elsewhere.

In other news:

• The U-T tracks down more details about the Birch North Park Theatre’s pending sale, which first came up in November after building owner Lyric Opera San Diego had notified its supporters of its financial distress. Lyric is reportedly looking for between $5 million and $5.5 million and has three potential buyers vying for the property, according to the U-T.

• The best reviews of architecture give you a sense of why the building need be constructed in the first place, of what hole the design fills. A review in Sunday’s Washington Post of a new Frank Gehry concert hall in Miami Beach isn’t just about that building; it’s about the challenge faced by orchestras nationwide to engage modern audiences. (Washington Post)

I found the piece fascinating and included some snippets in this post, along with more about the acoustician who designed the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at the University of California, San Diego, which opened in 2009. That acoustician, Cyril Harris, died earlier this month. (New York Times)

• The North County Times’ list of things to do spans the San Diego Opera’s opening of “Turandot” this weekend, stoner rock band Fu Manchu, The Old Globe’s “Death of a Salesman,” a youth choir singing Rachmaninoff and more. (NC Times)

• The latest of the U-T’s look at local masterpieces focuses on the architectural darling that is The Neurosciences Institute, which was completed in 1995.

Making Art in San Diego, or San Diegans Making Art

• Local writer D.A. Kolodenko tracks down San Diego’s chief singer of Texas-style blues, the 82-year-old Tom “Tomcat” Courtney, in an unlikely location: sitting “in the rec room of a modest Spring Valley senior apartment complex.” Courtney has lived an enthralling, twisting story. (CityBeat)

• A local potter, member of the Potter’s Guild and teacher at the UCSD Crafts Center, “could speak eloquently with his work.” The potter, Ed Thompson, died last month. (U-T)

• How did the designers make the sets for The Old Globe’s “Emma” look like light hitting the forest even when there’s no light hitting it? A high-school student interning in Balboa Park goes backstage at a technical rehearsal and files the answer to that question and more. (Balboa Park Beat)

• Choreographer John Malashock often tells his wife “If I were blindfolded and dropped in La Jolla from anywhere in the world, I would recognize it from its unique air and feel.” Read more from the local dance powerhouse in this Q&A. (La Jolla Light)

• What are you afraid of? Not opera, the U-T hopes.

• The exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art we’ve been tracking behind the scenes is getting closer to the finished product.

• Veteran La Jolla playwright and screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe says he’s glad to be out of the rewrite-for-film game in Hollywood, where he worked on “Pretty Woman” and “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” Cygnet Theatre premieres a new work by Metcalfe opening this weekend. Writes the U-T’s James Hebert, “it marks a high-profile return by Metcalfe to the San Diego theater scene, where he was a fixture some two decades ago, but has not been seen much since.” (U-T)

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Please contact Kelly Bennett directly at or 619.325.0531 and follow her on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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