“Without public access, a culture becomes dead, an inert shell that serves as a shill for profit, while too rarefied and remote to thrive. The quaestores of modern times use health, religion, and access to sports and art just like those of the Middle Ages used salvation: to exploit people by pricing what they value too high.”
“People naturally default to thinking of the arts as one of the things we choose to do with our free time and our money, depending on our taste. Looked at this way, an arts experience is no different from eating out or going to a ball game. The current debate about whether artists should speak to policy or politics from the stage is framed to reinforce the default thinking about the arts as entertainment.”
This time the Austin Statesman. “In an email exchange this week, Statesman Editor Debbie Hiott confirmed that, beginning in 2017, the local daily will no longer ‘have a dedicated reporter covering only the visual and performing arts.’ She attributed the move to a familiar culprit: the long, steady drop-off of advertising income that’s had mainstream newspapers across the country cutting back staff and coverage until they’re practically on life support.”
After all, theaters and concert halls weren’t darkened before the 19th century, and photography depended on darkness (and not only to develop film). What’s more, once artificial light was available, darkness itself could become an artistic tool.
“History and our own recent experience suggest that some soul-searching assessment of the limits of our own gestures, and some clear-eyed analysis of what rhetoric is effective and what is not, is going to be very, very important in the years to come. It will not be enough to languish in mythological beliefs about art’s value as a humanistic salve, or even to fly the flag for “political art” as a genre. We have to debate strategy. Otherwise, we will delude ourselves with endless anti-Trump symbolic theater, applauding our own virtues and confirming our own righteousness within our prescribed sphere, but not advancing one step in the battle of ideas.”
It’s the Edmonton Journal: “Theatre writer Liz Nicholls and music writer Sandra Sperounes and have both taken buyouts and will leave the paper on Dec. 2. The owners PostMedia announced in October it was going to cut staff across the board by 20%, voluntary buyouts first, layoffs if there aren’t enough volunteers.”
Carol Jones, consultant at Britain’s The Audience Agency, offers what she sees as a simple formula for measuring and assessing success.
They argue that despite their creativity and innovation, many of them are being squeezed out of a marketplace that monetizes digital distribution without fairly paying content creators: “The middle-class artist is being eliminated from the Canadian economy. Full-time creativity is becoming a thing of the past,” the letter says. “The carefully designed laws and regulations of the 1990s were intended to ensure that both Canadian creators and technological innovators would benefit from digital developments. We hoped that new technology would enrich the cultural experiences for artists and consumers alike. Unfortunately, this has not happened,” the letter continues.
“Of the eight areas the index tracks, culture and leisure was the one that showed the most steady decline over the past 20 years: Participation was hit hard by the recession in 2008 and while it has recovered somewhat, it remains well below what it was in the 1990s. So, the report certainly reinforces the perception that arts audiences are shrinking – but it also provides a social and economic context for these losses that could be useful for those who want to turn the situation around.”
The domain name is officially launching early in 2017, though a few websites with the address are already online. The 60+ early adopters of the address include some of the most prominent museums in the world (Guggenheim, Tate, Centre Pompidou, LACMA, …). So far, there’s only one organization from beyond the visual arts world, though more may come.
“She has become known in the art world as a progressive figure and as someone who seems to care much more about culture than her father does.” Yet the group, even as it goes so far as to march in front of her apartment building, doesn’t expect much direct effect from their efforts.
“Although we would not want to close down the secondary market for tickets altogether, clearly the automatic harvesting of tickets sold below market price — so that fans can afford them — for resale at a higher value is wrong.”
How should artists respond in times of crisis? Leonard Bernstein suggested burrowing deeper into art. “A generous interpretation of Bernstein’s words suggests that musicians can transform art’s political impact by doing what they’re already doing – only better. But I’m skeptical of the idea that a more perfect art can really bring into being a more perfect union. Bernstein makes vague allusions to Kennedy’s presumably political “goals,” but the only goals he names are musical ones: intensity, beauty, and devotion. Are these really the ultimate aims of musical performance in a time of violent crisis?”
“Donations increased at 316 NPOs, adding £13.2m to their revenues, but a further 253 saw the value of their donations fall by a total of £12.3m compared with the previous year. Loss of income from trusts and foundations affected 231 organisations, where revenues from this source fell by £15.7m, while 311 benefited from a growth in this income stream, worth £13.5m.”
When Hepworth Prize for Sculpture winner Helen Marten announced that she would share her prize money with the other four nominees, David Lister writes, “she didn’t question the actual idea of cash awards. I do.”
Siddhartha Deb: “The idea of the great, undomesticated artist is itself, of course, one of the enduring fictions handed down to us by the industrial age. … If domestic responsibilities appear singularly detrimental to artistic practice, it is not because of the repetitive tasks they involve.”
Dana Stevens: “I’ll get back to you on that question as soon as I’m done picking these rainbow sequins up off the floor one by one, then sorting this mountain of discarded clothes into boxes.”
Sure, you might be tired of A Christmas Carol – but if you’re the theatre putting it on (or the ballet company putting on The Nutcracker, or … ), it can help pay for those experimental plays you produce the rest of the season. And a holiday show “sparks multi-generational sales, with families taking in the show together, bringing the average up to five tickets per sale. You don’t have to be a marketing wiz to see how such math benefits the organization.”
The routine went over well on Russian reality TV – but not on social media: “Former Olympic figure skating champion Tatiana Navka and actor Andrey Burkovsky wore striped concentration camp uniforms and yellow Stars of David for their performance on state-owned Channel 1’s ‘Ice Age’ show, in which professional skaters are paired with celebrities.”
They call him the Trump of architects, and here’s why: “Abolish social housing, scrap prescriptive planning regulations and usher in the wholesale privatisation of our streets, squares and parks. That was the message delivered by Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to a stunned audience of architects and developers at a conference in Berlin last week.”
“The cultural transformation of Shanghai has been astonishing. But it risks threatening the kind of complex, nuanced and sustainable engagement that a lively arts sector needs. If local government can encourage affordable spaces for young artists and help promote a climate in which artists and art professionals can thrive, then this most dynamic of cities might truly have it all.”
Today, visitors outnumber Venetians by 140 to 1. If tourism development continues apace, the city center may soon have no residential lodging at all. Among the institutions that have closed since 2000 along the Grand Canal: the National Research Council, the Mediocredito bank, the transport authority, the local education agency, the German Consulate. Souvenir shops have replaced grocery stores. Luxury hotels have replaced medical offices. “A tourist monoculture now dominates a city, which banishes its native citizens and shackles the survival of those who remain to their willingness to serve.”
“Compared to doing nothing, the reduction in energy emissions has saved £8.7m since 2012/13. The report predicts that if the 4.5% annual decrease continues until 2019/20, emissions will be 46% lower than in 2012/13 and £54m will have been saved in energy costs.”
“McKinsey estimates that about 45% of all activities in the economy can be automated. How many people will that affect? They estimate that bots can pick up about a third of all the work in 60% of occupations. That figure is based on technologies that already exist and are in use, not capabilities that may arrive in the future. Global trends already show that the growth of jobs is starting to decline or even dip into the negatives in countries around the world; now robots are poised to take more work away.”
You think the “War on Christmas” is a bitter struggle, Bill O’Reilly? Pish-posh. Repeated efforts by secularists to erase the religious element from a U.S. government-declared national holiday go all the way back to President Grover Cleveland and before.
“The arts are bracing for an £18.4m cut in funding after a significant fall in Lottery ticket sales means the amount available for the National Lottery Good Causes has fallen by £92m so far this year, compared with last.”
“Grandmasters that have grown up with most of their training in the computer era play a much more objective style of chess. They’re less willing to dismiss a move because it’s ugly, or doesn’t appeal to their aesthetics.”
The grant, by far the William Penn Foundation’s largest ever, covers one fifth of the entire cost of Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney’s Rebuild program.
“A forthcoming report finds 26% of British adults identify theatre or opera as a great evening activity, compared with 17% who said the same for sports. Overall, 45% of British adults enjoy going to see live performance across all genres, rising to 63% among the under 25s.”
For Trump, good art is an expensive hotel. When he announced his plans for the Donald Trump hotel in Washington DC three years ago he said: “Friends of mine, they spend these ridiculous amounts of money on paintings. I’d rather do [hotel] jobs like this, do something that the world can cherish and the world can see and that everyone can truly be proud of.”
The president of the Tenement Museum, for instance, posted a message saying he and his staff “explain to visitors that Americans in the past sometimes lost confidence in their national future and lashed out against immigrants in reaction. We try to help visitors appreciate that immigrants often had to build new lives in the face of hostility.”