Although the report doesn’t pull its punches in exposing how few of the assumptions we make about the wider benefits of the arts are backed up by empirical evidence or the way policymakers have attempted to place a “cash value” on culture, it is far from being negative or cynical.
“At a time when orchestra audiences nationwide are growing smaller and grayer, nearly 30 percent of BSO concertgoers this season have been under the age of 40. And while ticket sales at nonprofit and regional theaters across the country have been falling for a decade, the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) and the Huntington Theatre Company have posted record single-ticket and subscription sales the past two seasons.”
“Last year saw a resurgence of outright offensive images of LGBT people; more films relied on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for giggles.”
“While diversity is not the driving motivation for BAFTA’s review of members, its review will nevertheless factor into the organization’s efforts to become a more diverse body.”
“Traditional audiences accessing traditional forms of culture in traditional ways are under threat throughout Europe and North America. Increasingly, people are enthused by experiencing the arts in new spaces and contexts, particularly ones where they can socialise, hang out and come and go according to their own timetable.”
“Initially celebrating the wealth of European heritage, the title, with its attendant year-long cultural extravaganza in the host city, went to the obvious candidates, including Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin … But, hand on heart, who can say that in the intervening years they have beaten a path to Maribor in Slovenia, Mons in Belgium or Essen in Germany? Who can name five cultural highlights in Guimarães in Portugal, Stavanger in Norway or Umeå in Sweden?”
Zac Goldsmith (Conservatives), Sadiq Khan (Labour), Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats), and Sian Berry (Greens) make their cases.
Responding to a new short story about a robot who/that kills her/its owner, a legal scholar considers issues of robotics law that will arise sooner or later.
“The data from the Office of National Statistics shows that 976,000 people now work in the sector, with separate data from 2015 showing that 460,000 people were working in artistic, literary and media jobs, including 77,000 authors and writers and 19,000 choreographers.”
“Reconciliation through the arts is one of four main priorities in the council’s new five-year plan, which was released on Tuesday. The other three are about helping Canadian artists thrive in a digital environment, raising their profile internationally and giving them more money.”
Last week, in an attempt to win back Johan Kobborg, the house ballet’s artistic director – along with his superstar fiancée, Alina Cojocaru, and all the company’s non-Romanian dancers – the culture minister brought back the former general manager whose replacement led to the crisis. But that general manager, George Călin, had been removed because of corruption charges; when he returned, the opera side of the house and the orchestra went on strike (shutting down ballet performances as well). Călin stepped down the next day, and the house has been leaderless since; the culture minister has tried to convince legendary Romanian-American stage director Andrei Serban to return to Bucharest and turn the company around, as he did with the National Theatre after the Ceaușescu regime fell. Now the pro- and anti-
foreignerKobborg sides (which roughly but not entirely align with the ballet and opera sides) are bitterly hurling accusations at each other, with the deputy prime minister attempting to mediate. (in Romanian; Google Translate version here)
Angry about impending changes to the country’s generous system of unemployment insurance for performers and backstage personnel between gigs, protesting intermittents du spectacle (as they’re called in France) have occupied the Comédie-Française and the Théâtre de l’Odéon in Paris (where this set of protests began, and where performances of Racine’s Phèdre starring Isabelle Huppert have had to be cancelled). Demonstrators say they’ve also occupied the major state theatres in Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Rennes, Caen, Lille, Toulouse, Grenoble, and Montpellier. A disastrous string of protests over the same issue in the summer of 2003 devastated the nation’s summer festivals, causing cancellations even at Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. (in French; Google Translate version here)
“You can no longer use control, like we used to do in the past, in order to try and steer things in a certain way. … [The government’s] regulatory levers are becoming fewer and fewer, and so it’s going to be more difficult and we have to rethink how we do this and how we do it effectively.”
The Kennedy Center is mightily trying to remove its blinkers and open itself up to wider cultural influences — with, for instance, its new hip-hop arm. But it still defaults to a concept of “art” and “culture” that may not denote inclusivity to a lot of people.
“The rule is implemented for logistical reasons: the V&A anticipates long lines for the underwear-filled exhibition, and artists sketching skivvies for prolonged periods may cause traffic to get bunched up in the galleries.”
“Hollywood’s argument is circular: If Asian-Americans — and other minority actors more broadly — are not even allowed to be in a movie, how can they build the necessary box office clout in the first place? To make matters worse, instead of trying to use their lofty positions in the industry to push for change, Hollywood players like Mr. Landis and Mr. Sorkin take the easy, cynical path.”
“The setting was no longer England (or Japan). It was now going to be in Milan during the Renaissance. … And Brooks and Barbara Heroux (the theatre’s artistic director emeritus) have combed through the script, changing character names, modifying any reference to Japan, and removing anything that could be construed as an ethnic slur. For example, the character of the Mikado is now Il Ducato, emperor of Milan, and the line, ‘We are gentlemen of Japan’ has become, ‘We are gentlemen of Milan.'”
“In 2013, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Prince … the Raspberry Beret Lifetime Aggrievement Award, in honor of his groundbreaking use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to prevent fans of his music from publishing his tunes or image anywhere he didn’t want them to be. … For all the groundbreaking work he created as a musician in the 20th century, his approach to the internet and copyright was shockingly old-school, and one that should be studied for centuries after his passing.”
“They have barred each other’s main TV channels on their territory. Ukraine has blacklisted 83 cultural figures, most of them Russian, whom it considers a national security threat. Those on the list – barred from visiting Ukraine – mostly support Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.”
“The choice in November’s general election will no doubt be much clearer when it comes to support for arts, but the current field of two Democrats and three Republicans offers a rainbow of cultural policies. Here’s a rundown of some of the key points from each candidate’s political career.”
“If art and culture are to matter to more people, they must provide them with value. Much audience development work, however, seeks to provide people not with value but with values, because the ideological basis of audience development is the democratisation of culture.”
Adonis: “In the [European] Middle Ages, the ecclesiastical courts were just like the jihadists today. They killed people and burned them. But the West succeeded in separating church from state, and created modern societies. And if the West was successful in this separation then there is no reason to prevent the Arabs from separating [the two] as well. … If we do not distinguish between what is religious and what is political, cultural, and social, nothing will change and the decline of the Arabs will worsen.”
“Rent is only one barrier a community group faces to being in a venue. It is actually the easiest barrier to remove. Real progress would be made if we could help arts organizations with these hard costs. Rent is about paying utility bills; these other costs are about paying people.”
“Not being thanked for a previous gift, not being asked to donate again, and lack of communication about the impact of one’s donation all represent massive communication fails. Advances in relationship management technologies are supposed to make communication fails increasingly rare – but, the data suggest that many of us remain our own worst enemies when it comes to retaining donors.”
The Crucible on Broadway, the film The Witch, the TV series Salem and The Devil You Know — “Just as Arthur Miller pulled McCarthyism from Early Modern American witch obsessions, the applications of witchcraft narratives to the current day are manifold. … So what’s the most globally pervasive contemporary witch hunt you can think of? What forms of radicalism has it helped catalyze?” (The questions are not just rhetorical.)
“Those graduating with creative arts degrees were found to be the lowest earners after 10 years of working, out of 21 university degree subjects.”
“Not only the High Museum, the Atlanta Symphony, Atlanta Ballet but also the Cobb Energy Centre just lost its managing director and is looking for a new person. That’s a major, major change. From 2008 to 2012, the arts took a huge hit. And in the past three years, there has been a renaissance or reinvention of the arts. People in Atlanta are coming back, but they want to see something new and different.”
“Are race, poverty, and Asian-Americanhood equally diverse? What about language spoken, religion, age, sexual orientation, income, and appearance? A danger exists that diversity loses all meaning as it balloons; the term becomes so lax that everything and anything signifies diversity.”
“There are tons of tips out there for job applicants about how to stand out and improve their chances of securing that dream job. Today, let’s bring some balance. We in the nonprofit sector pride ourselves on equity, community, and social justice. And yet we still have some terrible habits that we need to break.”
“On the one hand are the source countries, which are mostly poor and have passed laws against taking ancient objects out of the country — but they often don’t have the wherewithal to enforce the bans. On the other hand are the rich countries where the collectors live.”