Issues

What It Means To Live In A ‘Museum City’

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“Governments coddle these cities the same way nursing homes care for Alzheimer’s patients; everything is planned, nothing happens organically. Those splendid skylines are so fraught with symbolism and national pride that a misplaced roof tile could cause panic. The only future these cities will ever know is their own past.”

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A Better Case For Corporate Support For The Arts

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“More than half of all Canadians listen to music daily, read fiction several times a month or more and have visited a museum or art gallery in the last year. The numbers who go to concerts and plays are smaller, but when asked what kind of event they like to attend outside the home, 34 per cent of Canadians chose the arts while 29 per cent chose sports. That last stat contains a big message for business sponsors who sometimes prefer to lend their names to sporting events because they judge them to be more popular – and more populist.”

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Hiding Behind Falsifiability

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“Basically, it refers to whether or not a belief can be proven wrong. If I tell you that I weigh 70 pounds, this is a claim that can be easily tested and promptly thrown out by bringing me to a scale — that is, it’s falsifiable. If, on the other hand, I tell you that everything in the universe is controlled by an invisible astral monkey with a million arms, then there’s little you can do to prove, empirically, that this is a zany notion.”

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Drones In Popular Culture

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“In recent years, not just in novels but in movies, television, poetry, video games and the visual arts, drones have taken on a life of their own. As a character, they are menacing, melancholy or gallant; beastly, blind, snub-nosed, noisy and fast … They show off the military talent of their users, or they are an expression of unbridled hubris. They represent protection or extermination – and they carry out both things at once.”

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Miami’s Getting Another Arts Center, Complete With Starchitect Design

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“A new Miami Beach arts center designed by Rem Koolhaas is to open in December 2015 … Called Faena Forum, the 50,000-square-foot institution … will serve as a public forum for the exploration of topics in the arts, sciences, technology, politics and urbanism. It will also encourage dialogue about Latin American cultural practices.”

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US Congress Asked To Create A Protector Of Cultural Property

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The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act asks Congress to appoint a cultural property protection czar and establish emergency import restrictions to protect endangered cultural patrimony. The bill aims to “deny terrorists and criminals the ability to profit from instability by looting the world of its greatest treasures.”

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The Arts Are Booming In Turkey (But Beneath The Boom, All’s Not So Well)

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“Galleries abound. The Istanbul Design Biennial is in full swing. Three new private art museums are in the works, including one designed by the London-based star architect Zaha Hadid. The rock and jazz scenes are thriving. A Turkish film, “Winter Sleep,” took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival this year.”

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L.A. Music Center At 50: How It Changed Los Angeles

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“Not only had Los Angeles built the nation’s second major modern performing arts center, after New York’s Lincoln Center, we built it our way. And the world noticed. … Fifty years later we can look back and see the extent to which the Music Center shaped Southern California’s cultural identity. It got not only the world to take us more seriously but we began to take ourselves more seriously.”

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How Dorothy Chandler Got The L.A. Music Center Built

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“The campaign she led resulted in about $19 million in private donations – equivalent to about $146 million today – and a permanent home for the L.A. Phil. It was a feat that Time magazine called … ‘perhaps the most impressive display of virtuoso money-raising and civic citizenship in the history of U.S. womanhood.'”

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How L.A. Music Center Is Trying To Broaden Its Audiences

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“The staircase and the Pavilion’s other markers of classical European opulence still dazzle. But 50 years later, the Music Center has a very different awareness of the need to reflect its audience, and it can’t be done just with mirrors.” Mike Boehm looks at the Center’s changing offerings, from a hip-hop festival to an ambitious dance program to a huge ukulele jam session.

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50 Great Moments From L.A. Music Center’s 50 Years

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From Zubin Mehta sipping champagne onstage during the Philharmonic’s first concert there, through the birth of opera and theater companies (and one of the great works of American drama), to a celebrated concert hall and a new ballet troupe – with plenty of Oscar lore and offstage drama along the way.

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The Problem With How Arts Organizations Collect Data

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“In many cases, arts organizations’ collection of data has been driven by the need to comply with funders’ reporting requirements rather than by a desire to collect information that could improve their future decision making. While the databases that have been generated through this process provide rich sources of information, it is not always clear what that information is good for, or how individual organizations can benefit from it.”

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Orlando School Board Would Rather Have No Religious Materials In Schools At All Than Allow Materials From The Satanic Temple

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“Worried about facing national ridicule if a Satanic group is allowed to give out coloring books to children, the Orange County School Board moved Thursday toward preventing any outside group from distributing religious materials on campus.” Said the board chairman, “This really has, frankly, gotten out of hand. I think we’ve seen a group or groups take advantage of the open forum we’ve had.”

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With Investment And Buildings, Is Manchester About To (Re-)Become A Huge Arts Hub?

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“People might not speak up so much in London, maybe because they don’t have that same passionate feeling of belonging, whereas audiences here will shout at me or stop me in the bar – nine times out of 10 because they enjoyed something, but also to tell me if they think something’s crap or to ask ‘what’s this performance art nonsense?'”

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‘Serial’ Might Be Addictive, But It Has Some Serious ‘White Reporter’ Issues

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“The accumulation of Koenig’s little judgments throughout the show — and there are many more examples — should feel familiar to anyone who has spent much of her life around well-intentioned white people who believe that equality and empathy can only be achieved through a full, but ultimately bankrupt, understanding of one another’s cultures.”

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Another Spanish Artist Rejects A National Prize

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“The latest is the Catalan photographer known as Colita, born Isabel Steva Hernández, who last week refused to accept the National Photography Prize, worth €30,000, … [writing,] ‘The situation of culture and education in Spain is shameful, embarrassing and heartbreaking. It is not possible that such a ministry exists. It is a chimera.'”

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At Smithsonian, Food Service And Custodial Workers Are On Strike

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“The striking workers are all employed at companies that have federal contracts with the U.S. government. They include food service workers, cleaning staff and other privately contracted employees who labor on federal properties such as the Smithsonian Institution’s museums and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.”

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Elite Colleges In An Arts Arms Race

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“Elite campuses across the country have emerged from the recession riding a multibillion-dollar wave of architecturally ambitious arts facilities, even as community arts programs struggle against public indifference. … But the seeming boom also comes at a time of unprecedented criticism of how colleges teach and how they spend money, and amid a push to measure what students learn.”

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Stanford Univ. Is Building An Entire New Arts District

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“Construction of a $235 million arts district near Palm Drive, the grand tree-lined campus entrance, is well underway here. Last year, the $112 million Bing Concert Hall opened. This year came the $36 million Anderson Collection, a new American-art museum … Next up is the $87 million McMurtry Building for the art and art history department, to open in 2015.”

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Lincoln Center Buys Back The Right To Rename Avery Fisher Hall

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“Now, as the [New York Philharmonic] prepares for a major renovation expected to cost more than $500 million, the Fisher family has agreed” – in exchange for a payment – “to relinquish the name, so the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center can lure a large donor with the promise of rechristening the building.”

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How Do You Put On An Arts Biennale In The West Bank?

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“Putting on an arts biennale anywhere is complicated. Here, the festival, Qalandiya International, faced special challenges in catering to a Palestinian society that is highly politicized, physically fragmented, internally divided, partly autonomous but still struggling against Israeli occupation, and not given to displays of frivolity or celebration.”

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How Mobile Technology Could Transform Art

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“We’re already so accustomed to mobile technology that experiencing art through it feels as natural as any other interface. It can be hard to see just how categorically it changes (and could yet change) art. Think wearable tech: Google Glass, for instance, or Oculus Rift, both of which extend the possibilities even further to virtual or augmented realities and audiences existing within artworks, not simply looking on.”

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Using Culture To Combat Ebola

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In Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, where many local communities deeply mistrust central governments, pop songs and radio soap operas are proving to be useful tools for convincing skeptical villagers to take safety precautions.

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