Zadie Smith, Michael Chabon, Louise Erdrich, Ann Patchett, Jane Mayer, Robert Pinsky, Marion Coutts, and Peter Orner are there; Margaret Atwood’s getting a lifetime achievement award – but conspicuously missing is one of 2016’s biggest successes, a National Book Award winner and Oprah pick.
Brisbane Baroque was a huge hit with audiences, critics, and awards bodies (it won five Helpmann Awards including one for the best opera production in all of Australia), but musicians and creditors went months without getting paid and the festival’s executive director checked himself into a psych ward.
“The gold was recently discovered by a tuner inside a Broadwood upright piano which had originally been sold in 1906 by a musical instruments shop in Saffron Walden, Essex.”
Pyotr Pavlensky – the protest artist who not only fastened his junk to the pavement in front of the Kremlin but also physically sewed his lips together while Pussy Riot was in prison and set fire to the front door of Russia’s secret service headquarters – has fled to France with his wife and children after an accusation of sexual assault (which he says was trumped up) and a seven-hour interrogation at Moscow’s airport.
“What is a stake in Turkey today is not politics in any general manner; it’s a delusion that, under the banner of religion, is swallowing up the whole of reality. … Conversations with artists reveal a dark mood, and everyone across the class spectrum is focused on one topic: When to leave? Where to go? How to get a visa? What to do in the meantime?”
These days many of the actors have to learn the language after they get cast, and they spent two years out of their building after the roof fell in, but the plays (now with titles in Romanian) keep coming, as they have since 1940 – and the company is now run by one of the country’s great actresses, Maia Morgenstern.
“The participants range from young adults to senior citizens and have varying degrees of sight, but they all agree on the positive effects” – better balance, improved range of motion – “of the class. Sessions include a mix of barre and center work, as well as some weight-sharing and partnering exercises.” (video)
“The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN), the first institution of its kind in Indonesia, has announced that it will officially open to the public in Jakarta in November 2017 after delays in the construction of [its] landmark multi-purpose building.”
Art Is As Art Does
A recent dinner conversation with friends rolled around to the question: “What is art?” A long conversation ensued. Someone offered up Wikipedia’s definition … This group of arts administrators was unsatisfied. … read more
AJBlog: Audience Wanted Published 2017-01-16
Monday Recommendation: John Coltrane
John Coltrane, Live At Birdland (Impulse)
On this observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday, we recommend an album that John Coltrane made at the height of the 1960s civil rights movement … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-01-16
“Meade had served since March 2015 as the Walker’s artistic director, a newly created role at the museum. Prior to that, he had served for ten months as the Walker’s senior curator of cross-disciplinary platforms, another newly created role. He effectively took over as chief curator after Darsie Alexander left the institution to become director of New York’s Katonah Art Museum.”
“The circus said its debts amounted to $8.3 million, against assets of $3.8 million, in its Chapter 11 filing. The Big Apple Circus began in 1977 and at its height staged more than 300 shows per year.”
“Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”
“The list of partners includes virtually every major and many minor orchestras, with commissioned composers including Andrew Balfour, Chan Ka Nin, Kevin Lau, Nicole Lizée and John Rea among others. The orchestras themselves have been invited to choose the composers with whom they would like to work, with the TSO agreeing to perform the full complement of fanfares.”
Physicists have been suggesting as much since Einstein. It’s all just the space-time continuum. “So in the future, the sister of the past,” thinks young Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses, “I may see myself as I sit here now but by reflection from that which then I shall be.” Twisty!
What will we mean when someday we refer to Obama Lit? I think we’ll be discussing novels about authenticity, or about “problems of authenticity.” What does that mean?
“Money taints everything, why not writing too? Once its value is determined by the marketplace rather than the writer or the reader, our relationship to literature becomes estranged. From bloated celebrity advances to rejected masterpieces, the market is more than just a poor arbiter of lasting quality: it tends to obscure that quality behind purely economic motivations. Good writing, we’re told time and time again, is born from love, not avarice. But this romantic picture of the writer, toiling without regard to money, is itself a fiction—one whose roots stretch back several millennia, and whose effects we’re still dealing with today.”
“The allure of this programming from an orchestra’s perspective is easy to see. In their never-ending quest to bring in new audiences — particularly patrons for whom the standard classical repertoire is less familiar terrain than it was to their parents and grandparents — the San Francisco Symphony and similar organizations have found a product that exerts a different sort of allure from that of a Brahms or Mahler symphony.”
“Critics of the painting said the officers were depicted as pigs, which sparked outrage among Republican lawmakers and some police groups. Supporters said it was an example of free expression that deserved to be displayed. The dispute led to a bizarre back-and-forth as GOP lawmakers unilaterally ripped the painting from the wall and returned it to Clay’s office, only to have Clay and his allies rehang it alongside other paintings selected in the competition.”
“I stood like a tourist at the foot of Everest. The tower of music loomed forebodingly before me. I began with baby steps, playing piano records in the background as I went about the day, letting the tunes seep in by osmosis, not getting too close in case I scared myself off. Over the next few weeks the slow-drip method started to take and the music began to fall into place. Melodies untangled. Their logic unfurled. Basically, I listened, and listened again, until the music made sense.”
“The landmark, which receives more paying tourists—around seven million a year—than any other monument in the world, was built as the centerpiece of the 1889 Universal Exposition. The planned refurbishment is intended to bolster the French capital’s bids to host another World’s Fair in 2025 and, before that, the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games, according to a statement from the mayor’s office.”
Auction prices are a terrible way of judging the value of an artist. But they do tell you something about the demand for their work. Male artists command higher prices generally, but these six women are rising in the auction market.
The star of Slumdog Millionaire and the new film Lion moved directly into acting from being a teenager in school. “Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from great directors and my co-stars. Acting is about honesty. When I began, I was trying to squeeze as much emotion out of roles as I could and get big laughs. Now it’s about doing less.”
That’s right, the U.S. Marine Corps hired science fiction writers to come up with ideas for future scenarios. “The stories share common themes of political chaos, a rising China, a less-powerful and more inward-looking United States, conflicts over environmental resources, and the growth of megacities in the developing world. For Marines, who are the first US boots on the ground in the toughest situations, the toughest challenges may stem from the latter.”
Is it bike paths? Innovative water use systems? Less greenhouse gas? Sure, but that won’t earn Australian developers the coveted six stars. “It’s about going back to that old adage of community: people, walkability, liveability, places for the kids to play. [We want to] change the way people think about how they live.”
In Peggy Sutton’s kitchen, she “has a framed a black-and-white sketch of the president she bought from a man for $1 at the 63rd Street beach. On the way to the lower level, she hung an oversize Ebony magazine cover of the black cool issue in which Mr. Obama exits a car wearing dark shades. Downstairs is a beaded Obama pillow. Upstairs on display in a spare bedroom is like Obama-palooza: homemade clothes, dollar bills with pictures of the president and the first lady, jeweled Obama champagne flutes, inauguration invitations.”
This is the way way partner artists (have to) talk when they’re working in elementary schools: “Dance offers a fun way to learn science. Young students want to move around. Dance will represent what things mean in weather science and complement our core curriculum.”
The architect, who died suddenly last March, left money to relatives and her architecture firm’s partner, who has stoked controversy by speaking against public housing and art schools and advocating for building in Hyde Park. He’s also one of four partners in charge of the 60-million-pound trust that is her architecture firm.
The man who wrote two books that helped propel him to the presidency has his favorites. “The writings of Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, Mr. Obama found, were ‘particularly helpful’ when ‘what you wanted was a sense of solidarity,’ adding ‘during very difficult moments, this job can be very isolating.'”
The official line is that it’s just like the lobbying that goes on with any governmental switch. Also, there’s a shiny new nighttime kids’ lineup: “As the broadcaster explored what a new service would look like, it heard from caregivers who bemoaned a dearth of kids’ programming in the evening hours.”
One of the non-Hamilton-related moments: When the president presented Audra McDonald with the National Medal of the Arts. (And that’s just number six.)