“Is music meant to be ephemeral or enduring? And indeed, are those two goals consonant with one another, or at odds? For those who take as their mentors, our sources of inspiration, and our measures of quality long-dead Germans like Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven, perhaps the ultimate goal would be to write, like they did, something of value that transcends our era. But can one write a piece with the goal that it become ‘an important part of the repertoire’?”
Well, that depends. If you consider religion strictly a matter of belief, we can’t know. But if, like anthropologist Barbara J. King, you see religion as practice, there’s evidence.
Kyle Buchanan talks to Leslye Headland (Sleeping With Other People), Mary Harron (American Psycho), Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), John Krokidas (Kill Your Darlings), and half a dozen others (including Paul Verhoeven of Showgirls, of course).
“In the two years of Jeff Melanson’s tenure, total expenses at the orchestra increased by almost a third, administration costs by 80 per cent. In previous years, the TSO’s expenses had either stayed flat or declined. The TSO did not see an accompanying increase in revenues in the last fiscal year. Ticket sales declined slightly in fiscal 2015-16, as did government support. Thus the organization’s surplus was created, in the first instance, by having the Toronto Symphony Foundation, the organization’s long-term funding support, make a contribution to the orchestra of almost $5-million in fiscal 2015-16, more than double its usual contribution.”
“Under the new business model, Luminato would start planning events three years in advance so that it could work with other festivals as partners in commissioning shows and work out the best possible deals with venues and artists. Meanwhile the festival would rely less on government funding.”
Remember “spring green”? That’s not what Pantone’s calling it, of course, but even so …
It’s not unusual for corporate entities to give money to arts organizations. It’s far less common for them to actually break out the hammers and nails. “We could just donate to the arts,” Joseph A. McMillan Jr., who founded DDG, said by phone. “But as a real estate company, we have opportunities and capabilities others might not possess.”
Adam Kirsch: “One illusion that will be particularly painful to part with is the idea that high culture and the arts have any effective power in American life. … The central role that writers and artists have played in public debate and popular culture is a thing of the past, but that role was always secondary to their real purpose.”
“Perhaps contradictions are a necessary ingredient for triggering intellectual creativity. While most humans struggle to maintain a sense of psychological unity, contradictions produce destabilising breaches in the self. Whether conscious or unconscious, these fissures nourish creative inspiration, which can be interpreted as a way to resolve or sublimate internal oppositions. I believe this can be said of all domains of creation. Perhaps art, literature, science or philosophy wouldn’t be possible without intrapersonal contradictions and the desire to resolve them.”
“It’s hard going but the one benefit is that I have the freedom to invent things,” he says. “I don’t have them looking over my shoulder any more.” Because, of course, they’re all dead now.
The good news from a decade-long study of the area’s seven major pro companies is that audiences there aren’t tapped out, they’re growing (even subscriptions increased!). But there was one startling finding: “A whopping 85 percent of audiences patronize a single troupe.”
“The musicians voted on Wednesday to approve a new labor agreement with orchestra management that includes a pay freeze for the first two years and modest pay raises in the last two years of the four-year contract.”
Penélope Cruz, Rossy de Palma. Marisa Paredes, Emma Suárez, and others on how the flamboyant director creates his female-centered worlds.
The current Polish government had asked the court to allow the extradition of the director (who is a dual citizen of Poland and France) to the U.S. over his notorious statutory rape charge from the 1970s.
Genuine quotas were explicitly tried in Britain in the 1980s, and they failed. Well, they were sort of tried – Christy Romer argues that the attempt wasn’t serious, and that now’s the time to try to do it properly.
“Nothing like a boycott promoted by conservative Republicans to send the Broadway grosses soaring.”
Gennadi Nedvigin trained at the Bolshoi and had a 19-year dance career at San Francisco Ballet; Atlanta Ballet has lately been concentrating on contemporary works. Nedvigin will be implementing the ultra-classicist Vaganova Method, developed at and for the Mariinsky Ballet.
The mother of a biracial high school student on the state’s Eastern Shore told a school board meeting, “I’m not disputing this is great literature. But there is so much racial slurs in there and offensive wording that you can’t get past that, and right now we are a nation divided as it is.”
“‘In the social media, there have been tens of thousands of comments about ‘King Bibi’,’ [sculptor Itay] Zalait said on Army Radio when asked what had inspired him to create the statue. ‘I simply made it a reality and put it in its deserved place, the Kings of Israel Square.'”
Marina Harss looks at the special qualities of this first star part for young male dancers, and she talks to a 12-year-old who’s sharing the role at New York City Ballet this year.
Oh yes, it was booed, and not only by the professional claques. There are some big differences from the revised version Puccini eventually published – especially with the character of Pinkerton, who was originally much more craven as well as more caddish.
Economist Tyler Cowen has some suggestions for how he thinks national arts policy in the United States could improve under a Trump Republican Congress. A futile hope? Here were Cowen’s criteria:
First, they must save the federal government money, to appeal to the Republican Congress. Second, they should stand a chance of appealing to Trump, given his stances on other issues. Third, they should offer a reasonable chance of improving the quality of the arts in the U.S., and fourth, the arts community should not hate every aspect of the changes.
You’ve got to admire the effort to find the positive. Others have argued the arts could be a natural target since artists aren’t exactly in the sweet spot of Trump’s constituency. Federal arts funding has never recovered since the culture wars of the 1990s and it’s highly unlikely that the Republican Congress will increase that funding, no matter how small it is. But at a policy level, Cowen does have some interesting suggestions, basically proposing restoring restrictions put on the NEA at the time the budget was cut. He suggests restoring the NEA’s ability to fund individual artists, a punitive action meant to restrict funding controversial art. And he suggests killing the requirement that the NEA send 40 percent of its budget to state arts agencies so they can “regrant” it. This, he reasons, would give the feds more control of the money.
Restoring individual grants would be hugely popular in the arts community. But it’s difficult to tell if there would be support for removing the 40 percent state allocation. On the one hand, it would give the NEA more bang for its bucks, and the NEA is much more sophisticated in its operations than many state arts agencies. On the other hand, with so much emphasis in recent years on artists being more responsive to their communities, one could make the case that local agencies have a better sense of what their communities need.
ArtsJournal blogger Michael Rushton argues that:
“Whether you agree with his advice or not, he does raise an important issue: arts policy in the US at the federal and state level lack clear goals, and as such rigorous evaluation of the success, or failure, of their policies is near impossible. That in turn explains why the academic literature on arts policy in the US is so uncritical. What is there to criticize? What is the NEA, and in turn the state arts councils it helps to fund, trying to achieve? Without knowing that, it is not possible to evaluate whether transferring such a high percentage of federal arts funding to the states is actually a good use of funds.”
We may be at the beginning of a critical debate about what constitutes essential infrastructure in this country – what are the things that are public goods but aren’t viable as private capitalist enterprises. Trump says he’ll spend a trillion dollars on public infrastructure, but there are signs his idea is not so much to finance construction and modernization but to privatize and create tax incentives. Are the arts a public good? If even our bridges and roads are about to be privatized to pay for their rebuilding, it’s difficult to imagine the case Trump and the Republicans would make that they are.
Middle Class Communities
For the many of us reeling from the recent election, middle class communities are much on our minds. … I thought it might be good to dig a little deeper into what this might mean for community engagement. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2016-12-06
What to do about the NEA
At Bloomberg, Tyler Cowen posts some recommendations on US federal government arts policy. … The thing I always enjoy about Cowen – especially in his blog – is his ability to put fresh ideas out there as sparks for discussion; this is particularly important in arts policy … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2016-12-06
Brett’s Bet: What Gorvy’s Sudden Exit from Christie’s May Mean for the Art Market
One thing I know about Brett Gorvy, Christie’s departing chairman of Post-War and Contemporary art, is that he’s very smart — probably the savviest auction-house specialist I’ve ever encountered. So it’s almost impossible not to interpret his … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2016-12-07
When did singers and songwriters first start getting lumped under the moniker “artists?” I think it happened during my lifetime, but I’m not sure, because I’ve spent a lot of my life in a cave. … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2016-12-06
“While critics and book reviewers may continue to be an essential part of public cultural life, literary theorists who do not embrace AI will be at risk of becoming an exotic species – like the librarians who once used index cards to search for information.”
“Artists objected to the fact that the NAS Creative Community Fellows program would have emphasized community engagement–which they view as the province of outreach programs administered by nonprofit organizations. It also placed substantial emphasis on training for more community engagement–an investment of time and energy many artists view as taking them away from the focus of their work. They note that the work itself is exhibited in galleries and featured in art walks and as such has made enormous contributions to Cleveland neighborhoods.”
“Now it has emerged that one of the two experts who refused to authenticate the score later tried to persuade the owner of the piece to part with it for just €900 (£757), less than one per cent of the value put on it by the auction house.”
“In the U.S., we’re citizens of our debt,” the collective, which grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement, told me. “Almost everyone has some kind of debt. If artists don’t organize around it, [the debt] is going to gobble us up.”
“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.”
“Whatever problems you might have with the idea of a Trump administration, it opens up the prospect of a real improvement in American arts policy.”
In the years between the 1925 Paris Exhibition (where the stye became famous) and World War II, Art Deco became as popular in Japan as it did in any other prosperous country. “The cultural hybridity was, in a way, a reversal of the one that emerged in Western Europe in the late-19th century, when Japonism swept through the region, captivating the Impressionists in particular.”