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Quick Takes: LACMA goes shopping

Also, stars to aid struggling schools, Robin Gibb awakes from coma, Lindsay Lohan to portray Liz Taylor.

April 24, 2012

Sometimes bigger is better when buying art by committee.

At this year's Collectors Committee weekend, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art bought $2.5 million worth of artwork to add to its permanent collection, including two larger-than-life works: a 60-foot-long Robert Rauschenberg screenprint that shows a collage of newspaper articles from 1970, bought for $775,000; and a nearly 10-foot-tall elevator surround that Louis Sullivan designed around 1892 for the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, bought for $177,500.

Other acquisitions included a tiny Dürer print of "Saint Jerome in His Study" from 1514; a pair of oil-on-copper paintings from the 1740s by Mexican artist Nicolas Enriquez depicting scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary; a 12th century Buddhist sculpture carved from zelkova wood; a 1996 photograph by Shirin Neshat from her series "Women of Allah"; and a three-channel Bruce Conner video, "Three Screen Ray," from 1961.

—Jori Finkel

Actors, artists, performers lend a hand to schools

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington and Forest Whitaker are adopting some of the nation's worst-performing schools and pledged Monday to help the Obama administration turn them around by integrating arts education.

The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced a new Turnaround Arts initiative as a pilot project for eight schools with officials from the White House and U.S. Department of Education. Organizers said they aim to demonstrate research that shows the arts can help reduce behavioral problems and increase student attendance, engagement and academic success.

Artist Chuck Close, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, dancer Damian Woetzel and actress Alfre Woodard also are adopting schools in the two-year program.

—Associated Press

Robin Gibb wakes from coma

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has beaten the odds by waking from a coma just days after doctors said he might not survive, his son said Monday.

The 62-year-old singer has advanced colorectal cancer and remains in intensive care in London. His doctor, Andrew Thillainayagam, said Gibb had recently caught pneumonia because he was weakened from chemotherapy and two operations.

His son, Robin-John Gibb, told ITV News on Monday that "they gave him an under 10% survival chance, and he has beaten the odds.... He really is something else."

Thillainayagam said the singer is fully conscious and able to speak. He said Gibb's wife, Dwina, and children have been talking to him and playing music by his bedside every day.

—Associated Press

Lohan's Lifetime turn as Taylor

She lost out on the opportunity to portray Linda Lovelace in a movie, but now Lindsay Lohan has an even bigger star to play: Elizabeth Taylor.

The 25-year-old actress will star as the Hollywood icon in "Liz & Dick," a TV movie for Lifetime based on Taylor's romance with Richard Burton — the only man Taylor loved enough to marry twice. The couple met on the set of "Cleopatra."

Production is set to begin in L.A. in early June. The actor who will portray Burton was not announced.

—Yvonne Villarreal

L.A. fest cites gala screenings

"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," with Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, will be among the gala screenings at the Los Angeles Film Festival, organizers said Monday.

The Sundance award-winning "Beasts of the Southern Wild," about a defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world, and "Middle of Nowhere," about a woman struggling to hold her marriage together, will also have gala presentations in downtown L.A.

Additional galas and the rest of the major lineup of the June 14-24 festival will be announced May 1.

—Julie Makinen

Finally

Seacrest stays: Ryan Seacrest has signed what sources said is a two-year contract to continue as host of Fox's "American Idol."

Tour canceled: Sinead O'Connor said she is canceling her 2012 tour due to her bipolar disorder, describing herself in a website posting as "very unwell."

Joke fest: The Laugh Factory comedy clubs in Hollywood and Chicago are teaming Tuesday to hold a 24-hour joke-athon to cheer up Miles Austrevich, a Chicago teenager with brain cancer. The event begins at 1 p.m. and will be streamed at http://www.laughfactory.com.

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