Lyn Gardner: “It’s liberating for a theatregoer not to worry too much whether you’ve worked out exactly what it’s about. If you want to solve something, buy a Rubik’s Cube, not a theatre ticket. Not knowing exactly what it’s about doesn’t mean your response is invalid.”
“Criticism is not a matter of technique or form,” AO Scott writes, “so much as it is a matter of personality, of who you imagine is doing the talking.” But equally important is on whose behalf the talking is being done. Blog or trade? Alt-weekly or the paper of record? It matters a great deal.
“The coming directors include Vijay Iyer, the jazz pianist and composer, in 2017, and Esa-Pekka Salonen, the composer and conductor, in 2018 … [as well as] Barbara Hannigan, the soprano and conductor whose star has been rising because of her performances of new works, in 2019; Patricia Kopatchinskaja, the searching violinist, in 2020; and, in 2021, Mitsuko Uchida, the pianist and conductor who was last a co-music director of the festival in 1998.”
“The main thrust of orchestral initiatives in the 21st century — in which the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is a national leader — remains not finding new ways to approach the art, but rather new ways to perpetuate the existing tradition — that is, finding new audiences for the same thing.”
“There are three areas where libraries function as vibrant centers of America’s towns: technology, education, and community.”
“The Grand Palais in Paris will have to close for at least two years to undergo major renovations, … raising fears about the fate of key culture events held at the site such as major exhibitions, the Monumenta contemporary art commission and Fiac Modern and contemporary art fair.”
“TV audiences for everything are smaller now, which means networks aren’t programming each show for an imagined audience of tens of millions of white people. On top of that, there are younger viewers for whom diversity — racial, religious, sexual — is their world. That audience wants authenticity; advertisers want that audience.”
Jazz on film has an erratic history, starting in 1927 with the first sound motion picture, The Jazz Singer.
The chances that you’ll make any money making art are so few and far between that it is like, “Why give everyone false hope?” The main thing I try to encourage is that if you want to be an artist, don’t be realistic.
Why? “In a 2013 article published in the Spanish newspaper El País, Vargas Llosa called the ruling by the Dominican constitutional court that stripped many ethnic Haitians of their Dominican nationality a ‘legal aberration’ inspired by Hitler-era legal sentences that denied Jews German citizenship.”
“Launched in 2013, the project invites anyone with access to a computer to choose from a buffet of documents supplied by 14 of the Smithsonian’s libraries, archives and museums. Volunteers participate anonymously or create profiles, and each project comes with specific instructions. Participants read scanned pages and type their transcriptions into a field below.”
This brought an anticlimactic end to a trial in Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan that has lasted nearly three weeks and included dramatic testimony from a string of art experts, former Knoedler employees, and the De Soles themselves.
“You wouldn’t see it in most classrooms, you wouldn’t know it by looking at slumping national test-score averages, but a cadre of American teenagers are reaching world-class heights in math—more of them, more regularly, than ever before. The phenomenon extends well beyond the handful of hopefuls for the Math Olympiad.”
It’s been the general scientific consensus for several decades that bilingual people have stronger cognitive abilities, especially in executive function. But lately there have been attempts to replicate some of the classic studies in the field – with entirely different results. And the argument (like so many in academia) is getting ugly.
The philosopher Hegel argued that music is so necessary because it rehearses in the language of the body concepts and truths we are in danger of losing touch with when they reach us only through our rational faculties. Music is, he said, “the sensuous presentation of the crucial ideas”.
“The game, entitled Slippery Slope, is supposed to educate impressionable kids on ‘the distorted logic of blame that can lead a person into violent extremism’, but it’ also indicative of how clueless governments can be when it comes to reaching out to the kids.” (Another failure of the nanny state.)
“As the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war approaches, Cheikhmous Ali continues to document the destruction and looting of the country’s heritage from France and Turkey, with the help of a network of volunteers on the ground.”
“In 2013, US circuit judge Denny Chin dismissed an authors’ lawsuit against Google, saying its scanning of the books, and the ‘snippets’ of text it makes available to users, constituted fair use,” and in 2015, an appeals court agreed. “The American writers’ body is now asking the supreme court to hear its case, with a group of writers, publishers and copyright organisations backing its petition.”
“To face the cultural and economic issues of our time, we need new kinds of organizations, and I’ve realized that it’s too hard to turn this one into what I think is most relevant for ballet today. It’s two and a half years that I’ve worked on this, and I know it’s a short time, but it is long enough to realize this is not something I want to do. They need someone better suited to run this company.”
At the end of a two-hour event unveiling the coming season, “[general director Stéphane] Lissner declared the floor open for questions. But, he added: ‘I ask that your questions be about the 2016-17 season, and only about the season. We won’t answer anything else.’ There was a brief silence, then Mr. Lissner rose to his feet. ‘No questions? Well, thank you.'”
As part of an Atlantic cover story on how down-and-out-of-the-way cities and towns in the U.S. are reviving themselves, James Fallows writes, “Perhaps the topic on which I’ve most changed my mind through our travels concerns the civic importance of local arts, and the energy being devoted to them across the country. Almost every place we visited offers an example.” (scroll down to fourth boldface sub-headline)
Mark Wigglesworth: “ENO’s identity as a team defines its past and will be its greatest asset in protecting its future. Cutting the core of the company – musicians and technicians alike – would damage it irreparably.”
The American filmmaker (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) “is to make her opera debut this year with a production of La Traviata at the Opera of Rome – a star-studded coup for the beleaguered venue, which has long been overshadowed by La Scala in Milan.”
“[Sorkin’s] version will open differently than the novel and will include new dialogue and fleshed-out scenes that are alluded to in the novel but not fully depicted.” Observes the director, Bartlett Sher, “The conversation between Harper Lee and Aaron Sorkin is going to be an interesting one.”
The university “has hired curator Marta Kuzma, the vice chancellor and rector of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden, as the next dean of its School of Art. Kuzma will be the first woman to serve in the position in the school’s 147-year history. Kuzma takes the place of curator Robert Storr, who took the reins in 2006 after four years as a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.”
Wroth About Rothko: “Order & Joint Stipulation of Dismissal” in De Sole Case vs. Freedman & Knoedler
When a litigant perceives, during the course of a trial, that there’s a good chance he’ll lose his case, there is an impetus to settle. With many expert witnesses having denied authenticating the disputed Rothko … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2016-02-10
Alwin Nikolais’ Works Revived
The Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performs at the Joyce Theater through February 14. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2016-02-10
Engagement Is a Means, Not an End
So much interesting stuff has been written recently about engagement and related topics, I barely know where to begin. The Irvine Foundation has published a series of mini-essays responding questions about engagement. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2016-02-09
“Cold War modernism,” then, doesn’t refer to experimental artwork produced between the end of World War II and the Reagan administration, but to “the deployment of modernist art as a weapon of Cold War propaganda by both governmental and unofficial actors as well as to the implicit and explicit understanding of modernism underpinning that deployment.
“Visitors will experience an immersive journey back to Van Gogh’s Yellow House, which is located outside of the museum’s campus in Chicago’s neighborhood of River North. The bedroom runs for just $10 a night and is part of a larger apartment. Dates will be released through the posting monthly and fill up quickly.”
When well-meaning white people say, “Help me define cultural appropriation so I know what to do and not to do,” what they are actually saying, even if they aren’t aware, is, “Help me understand how to continue in this system of privilege and oppression without feeling bad.”
“Websites like Sci-Hub and Library Genesis have a lot of support from the academic community, including from the authors whose work is being traded for free in shadowy corners of the Internet.”