After fifteen years of development plans tailored to the creative classes, Florida surveys an urban landscape in ruins. The story of London is the story of Austin, the Bay Area, Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Sydney. When the rich, the young, and the (mostly) white rediscovered the city, they created rampant property speculation, soaring home prices, and mass displacement. The “creative class” were just the rich all along, or at least the college-educated children of the rich.
This is not great: “In a letter made public on social media on Friday, the editor of the journal, Tim Pringle, said Cambridge University Press had informed him that the authorities had ordered it to censor more than 300 articles related to issues like the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the Cultural Revolution. The publishing house’s site risked being shut down if it did not comply with the request, the letter said.”
The resident art critic says to move them instead. “My reasons are pragmatic. When you find yourself at a crime scene, you don’t destroy evidence. You preserve it for the prosecution. In the case of images like this, the prosecutor is history, and the trial may be a long one, stretching far into the future, with many witnesses called. Rush to judgment and drastic action should be resisted.”
Kal Penn: “It became clear that the government became inoperative under this particular presidency. A lot of the work and the agencies have been frozen. There’s a big waste of taxpayer dollars. We had hope, but the president made comments that quite literally were in support of the domestic terrorists. It’s one thing to say you want to serve the programs you were appointed to serve, regardless of politics, but after a certain point . . . we just don’t want our names attached to this in any way.”
“We allow our great cultural institutions to fall into disrepair and disrepute because, as we strip them of their reverential traditions and their arduous canon, we also strip them of our reasons to cherish them. We call them before the tribunal of public opinion to justify their very existence, as if we can no longer see through the smog to the heights of Parnassus, lonelier than ever because we have forgotten that it is even there. We attempt to chain the Muses to the machinery of our modern malaise, as if we do not remember that they exist to show us the way to transcend that malaise, to find our way home again, by way of that steep and difficult climb, to the bosom of art and learning.”
“Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions,” the letter states. “We took a patriotic oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too.”
“The alt-right’s Tiki-torch, khaki-pants parade on Friday night has birthed many a ‘Hitler luau’ joke.” Yet, explains Rebecca Onion, white supremacist groups in the US, especially the two incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan, have a long history of deliberately making their physical appearance silly and using that silliness to help them get away with mayhem and murder.
“A new economic prosperity impact report, organised by the non-profit organisation Americans for the Arts, reveals that San Francisco’s arts and culture sector annually brings in $1.45 billion and supports over 39,000 full-time jobs. According to the report, the City by the Bay accounts for nearly 1% of the $166.3 billion generated by the sector nationwide.”
Yes, there are gentrification worries, but “these businesses and others are ambassadors of Bronx culture at large, said Jerome LaMaar, [boutique] 9J’s dapper owner. ‘And what’s a brand without the right ambassador to push it?’ Here, a look at some of those South Bronx ambassadors and their pioneering efforts in this new frontier.”
“Edwin Torres has a strong and diverse history in arts philanthropy. Prior to joining the NYC Cultural Affairs office, he was an associate director with The Rockefeller Foundation and director of external partnerships for Parsons School of Design at The New School. He served on the GIA board of directors from 2011 through 2016. He has also served on the arts and culture team at Ford Foundation as well as on the staff of Bronx Council on the Arts. He holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Hunter College and a Master of Science in Management from The New School.”
“Next month, … educator, activist, and ballplayer Octavius V. Catto will be honored by the city where he was murdered with a full-blown sculptural commemoration in bronze and granite on the southern apron of City Hall. Amazing to say, Catto will then become the first named African-American to be memorialized on public land in [Philadelphia’s] history.”
Dominic Dromgoole, who spent a decade as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe and oversaw that company’s worldwide tour of Hamlet: “Institutionally I think we have a problem that we have possibly over-stacked our governance areas with people from the world of … accountancy. They are entirely honourable and entirely nice people, but I think from the moment they begin working on things they’re always overly calculating risk and overly worried about danger. Their inclination is to say no to any venture that they can’t absolutely 100 per cent future-proof, … so that now you have an element of fear within a lot of organisations that doesn’t need to be there.”
The century-old Merriam Theater, which the Kimmel Center acquired last fall, has a handsome old interior – as well as painfully cramped seats (which some patrons have to walk through offices to reach), poor acoustics, outdated sound and light equipment, and dressing rooms that literally used to be stables. The new plan is for the Kimmel to partner with a developer to tear down the seven-story building currently housing the Merriam and completely revamp the place (saving the auditorium’s architectural details) while building a skyscraper above it.
‘Acting Up’, commissioned by Shadow Culture Minister Tom Watson, notes that although 33% of the population is working class, just 16% of actors are working class, and only 7% of the performing arts workforce is from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background. The report presents the findings of an inquiry that focused on the barriers to working in the performing arts at every career stage, in order to find “political solutions to knock them down”.
“From declaring that one should interrogate one’s musical tastes for classism to fretting about yellow face in opera to musing as to whether a man can write a novel about rape culture, in the hands of the social justice warriors, artistic and cultural criticism is increasingly less about aesthetics and more about virtue signaling by the critic. Like all other fundamentalists, these secular descendants of the Puritans are so preoccupied with enforcing their rigid morality that they’ve forgotten the importance of beauty and creativity.”
As for this year’s finalists for ArtPlace grants, 34 percent hailed from rural areas. ArtPlace says it’s noticed an “increase in regional projects; many working collaboratively across adjacent rural communities.” It also said that proposed projects reflected a “sustained interest in water projects that, this year, focused on its use and preservation,” and requests for improving or introducing broadband access to rural communities to “increase economic opportunity.”
“They’re taking cues from some of fiction’s friendlier robots – think the droids in Star Wars, or Wall-E – and blending it with the latest thinking on how our own brains work to create real-life robots that may make us more inclined to accept these technologies into our lives…. This cottage industry of bot-makers are concerned with what the machines look like, how they sound, and what kind of personalities they have.”
Ben Davis: “How many people out there still care about the implosion of the Blouin organization as we know it and its hail-mary mutation into an e-commerce hub? Not that many, it seems. And no one has done more than Louise Blouin herself when it comes to transforming her once formidable enterprise into a punch line. To measure the magnitude of her fall from grace, maybe it’s worth going back 10 years. Then, Louise Blouin – at the time, still Louise Blouin MacBain – was the toast of the art world, a fearsome new contender whose media ambitions were set to shake things up.”
“Could it be that the populist anger that put President Trump in the White House will trigger a 21st-century culture war? It’s certainly possible. But to ask that question is to overlook the fact that such a war is already being waged. The difference is that it’s a civil war—one that’s taking place not on the right, but on the left.”
Okay, almost no one argues that we should continue to permit trade in new ivory. Yet, argues John Frederick Walker, blocking all sales of older, already-sculpted ivory – and (as is happening now) burning or crushing existing pieces, even certified antiques – will simply increase scarcity and add glamor (and cash value) to the material. And we’ll lose some marvelous historic art as well.
The Origen Festival has built a red tower, housing a 250-seat in-the-round theater lit by windows on all sides, on a 7,500-foot-high pass in the Swiss Alps. “Built at a cost of two million francs, it weighs 410 tons and can withstand winds of up to 240km/hr.” The plan is to present world theater and other forms there year-round (though they need another million francs to winterize the building).
This fall, women will comprise more than 56 percent of students on campuses nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Some 2.2 million fewer men than women will be enrolled in college this year. And the trend shows no sign of abating. By 2026, the department estimates, 57 percent of college students will be women.