“Ever since publication, it has shown up on lists of great books about modern cities – even those drawn up by people who consider Los Angeles anything but a great American city. Somehow, this book that drew so much of its initial publicity with shock value (“In Praise (!) of Los Angeles”, sneered the New York Times review’s headline) has kept its relevance through the decades, such that newly arrived Angelenos still read it to orient themselves.”
“[There’s] a gap between the values that many nonprofits hold and the way they treat their own staffs. There’s no doubt that nonprofits today face serious financial difficulties and constraints, but do they have no choice but to demand long, unpaid hours of their employees? … The answers have a lot to do with how nonprofits survive in an economy that’s geared primarily toward profit.”
“In a scheme that gets underway on September 15th, every Italian resident [born in] 1998 will be given a ‘culture bonus’, which they can use to buy books, concerts tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits and even trips to the country’s national parks.”
“People who denounce the cultural cleansing of ISIS and the Taliban are often just as likely to demand the removal of old-fashioned artwork from their own public spaces. Our Western reasons are far more sensible: We want the removal of murals and paintings that perpetuate dangerous racial or gender stereotypes (noble “natives” leading European explorers, contented cotton pickers in the U.S. South, socialist-realist mothers clasping babies behind their warrior men…). These are no longer valuable; indeed, they are offensive and may cause harm.”
“In the beginning, before Washington had been designated the nation’s capital, much of the Mall was an empty lowland along the Potomac, made yet marshier by the Tiber Creek, which flowed into the river not far from where the Washington Monument stands today.”
“Just 37% of respondents thought their degree was worth the fees they paid. Those working in the arts were found to have the lowest levels of employment, with 42% working full-time and 15% part time.”
“Much of the most exciting work in the arts today is by groups that connect creativity to such issues as immigration, homelessness, cultural diversity and other social justice causes, and that could make them a target. The arts have also enjoyed a long detente with political leaders in recent years, but it is a fragile one. The National Endowment for the Arts has seen its budget go up and down over the past eight years, but it hasn’t been formally reauthorized by Congress since 1993. A president who forced that issue could radically restructure the agency.”
A look at surviving evidence – not least the handprints in some cave paintings – suggests that we had been making some unwarranted assumptions.
“Opera Australia and the Australian Ballet have lashed out at the [New South Wales state] government for failing to provide any compensation for the arts companies being shut out of the Sydney Opera House while it undergoes renovations in 2017.”
“Organisations that were told before the referendum that a Brexit vote would have no impact on their funding applications are now experiencing delays.”
“Forgive my generalisations and my bluntness, but there’s sometimes a deadness that comes when middle-class people run stuff. They get the content right, the ideas, the themes, the politics. But they haven’t a clue about how to embrace things.”
“In response to claims by Art Not Oil that BP influenced museum programming, the committee said it is ‘common practice’ for a museum to maintain a dialogue with a sponsor about the planning and content of an exhibition.”
“Parker seemed like a significant new presence in both the film and activism worlds. Unfortunately, the promise of both him and his movie appears now to be too good to be true.”
“The dispute over the artist’s works has further darkened relations between Russia and Ukraine, paralleling a sharp rise in tensions over Russia’s military buildup on the peninsula.”
“That’s part of what Searchlight was betting on: the simple allure of an auteur and his singular artistic vision to usher a film to greatness. They simply failed to fully research, contemplate, or understand the implications of that alignment.”
“We have many spaces that are organized from the top down, that are well-renovated and secure, and that people don’t use. We call those places the hospitals of culture. What interests us is a new model of collective creativity, not just working away in our own corners but making something together.”
As the 15th anniversary of the attacks approaches, Scott Timberg talks with scholar Mark Anthony Neal about the taboos that sprung up in the wake of the events (and the ensuing wars) and what happened to the artists who tried to challenge those taboos.
“It’s difficult not to feel as though we, as a culture, have reached a dead end, that our quest for authenticity has bred nothing more than a series of postures and attitudes that, if they hadn’t sprung up by themselves, would have been invented by market demographers anyway. Perhaps we are stuck in the age of “cool,” when all roads to larger causes inevitably circle back to the adolescent project of exalting the self.”
Ocupa MinC began in May when Michel Temer became interim president and promptly announced that the government was going to deal with one of the worst budget deficits in years by absorbing the Ministry of Culture into the Ministry of Education. In response, thousands of artists and musicians occupied MinC buildings in at least 18 cities nationwide, camping out in tents and performing songs in protest.
The program, which began this year, was intended to “open up Olympism and its values to the widest possible audience,” according to a statement by the Olympic committee.
“Nearly a million visitors are expected to attend events in Hull as part of the landmark culture festival, which includes theatre, dance, music and other arts performances. However, the city centre’s hotels only have about 1,000 beds – so residents are being encouraged to rent out their spare rooms to tourists.”
“A performing arts center can sometimes feel intimidating. What we do with our community engagement programs is give people a taste. Sometimes that will open the door for someone to come see a show or enroll their child in one of our arts education programs.”
Jo Chiang: “Growing up, I found no reflection of that [queer] part of myself in the people around me. But I did have films and television. … Although women who loved women could not live happily ever after, they could drive off cliffs (Thelma and Louise). Or they could set the manor on fire and perish as it crumbled around them (Rebecca). Or they could be suffocated in a senseless and racialized manner for the sake of making a statement (Orange Is the New Black). Or they could get shot (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). And shot (Orphan Black). And shot (The Walking Dead). And shot (The 100).”
“By introducing inmates to everything from dance to drumming to drama, the program’s supporters believe, Arts-in-Corrections can inspire deep and lasting change.”
“Edinburgh is to team up with one of its main overseas cultural rivals to commission major productions, help develop up-and-coming artists and even share staff in future.”
On the 1940 morning when the invasion began, “one of [the] Nazi officers had the misfortune to pass an elderly gray-haired lady on the street, who responded by remarking on his rudeness and smacking his hat off his head with her cane. After he apologized and fled, she chuckled to herself: ‘Well, we’ll each have to fight this war as best we can; that’s the fourth hat I’ve knocked into the mud this morning.'”
“When I wrote last week about the worrying trend in Canadian arts to always give the top jobs to foreigners – there have been five examples in 15 months, including the leaders of the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Shaw Festival – the community howled in agreement. I had clearly struck a nerve with Canadian directors, curators and arts administrators who feel they face limited opportunities for advancement at home. But the labour market for artistic directors and culture-sector CEOs is global, and some asked if Canada was not sending abroad as many leaders as it imports.”
“Despite its integral role in popular culture and in social justice initiatives from the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter, Twitter is as infamous today for being as toxic as it is famous for being revolutionary. And unless you’re a celebrity — or, as it turns out, the president of the United States of America — good luck getting help.”
“In just the past six months, Snapchat has blundered (twice!) into releasing filters that it’s hard not to read as extremely racist.”
Five years ago in Indonesia, a crested macaque named Naruto found a photographer’s unattended digital camera and took what became known worldwide as the “monkey selfie.” Last year, PETA filed a lawsuit arguing that Naruto was legally the creator of the image, which should be considered its intellectual property. PETA lost the first round, but the appeal is now in court.