Key to the success of projects is promoting “the ‘fun’ and ‘social’ aspects of participation as opposed to focusing on the artistic aspects of activities”. The report notes that using “exclusive ‘arts’ language and jargon” acts as a barrier to encouraging local communities to get involved.
“If any state knows the value of publicly financed art, it may be South Dakota: One of its biggest tourist attractions, Mount Rushmore, is, among other things, a colossal federally funded sculpture. … [The NEA’s] generally small grants can have a bigger impact here than they would at the Metropolitan Operas of the world.” Michael Cooper visits the Coyote State to see in action some of the arts programs funded by the agency the Trump administration proposes to eliminate.
“While most community arts programs for underserved youth were planned by caring, well-intentioned organizers, they are doing serious harm. They are designed to mitigate risk — to treat participants not as creative talent full of ideas and possibility, but as disadvantaged youth or, worse, cautionary tales in the making. Their target outcomes are preventing violence or pregnancy, lowering obesity rates or other deficits attached to their community’s identity — not to prepare our country for a future of innovation and economic participation. This must change.”
1967 “was a year in which most Canadians felt good about themselves and their country.” A principal reason was Expo, which attracted more than 50 million people and was described by the respected Canadian writer Peter C. Newman as “the greatest thing we have ever done as a nation.”
“The protests started almost immediately after the presidential election. … And it hasn’t let up. Each Trump proclamation has seemed to inspire a new round of agitation and action. … Whether this ideological high alert will produce good art is one question; whether the art will do any good is another.” Carl Swanson explores the battle lines.
Rachel Corbett of New York magazine asked 22 artists, curators, and critics what works of political art they found genuinely powerful. Here’s a
slideshow gallery with their answers (with which one may or may not agree).
The primary concern of contemporary criticism is not whether a given cultural object is good or bad, but how that object reflects the realities of the social world, and how it can potentially (re)shape that same world. For Weinmann, “this new turn of criticism, this emphasis on the politics behind art, may be better for a work’s reputation than criticism that ignores politics.”
“If I understand [Richard] Florida, he’s arguing that today’s troubles are a consequence of the success of a few cities such as Seattle, and especially New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. And they are also victims because of affordability. As Florida correctly puts it, these cities have ‘wildly disproportionate shares’ of advanced industries, startups and talent. But what really caused this?”
Actors who have spent considerable time accusing SAG-AFTRA officials of lining their own pockets do it again, and then add a laundry list of accusations: “Complaints about residuals and foreign royalties trust funds, alleged conflict of interest and such matters as reimbursement of automobile mileage expenses for union travel, frequent flyer mile usage, cellphone plans, ownership of union buildings, the conduct of an independent music royalties organization (SoundExchange), the union’s recent deal with startup Exactuals for residuals direct deposit, reimbursement of bar association dues for the union’s general counsel, attendance at conferences by union executives, the hiring of a top expert on royalties and the fact that union executive director David White is no longer on active status as a member of the California bar (which is only required for practicing lawyers).”
Copeland: “Knowing you have a bigger purpose — that it’s more than just about you on that stage, it’s all the dancers who came before and the ones who’ll come later — it makes the struggle much easier to deal with.”
“The fact that internships are so prevalent in the creative industries is concerning, because the creative workforce lacks ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, particularly at entry level. If internships without measures to ensure equal access are common, there is a risk that the diversity of the sector will suffer.”
“As an arts festival with an explicit social change mission, Refugee Week faces some unique challenges. Emily Churchill Zaraa discusses how it tackles them head on.”
The director of the independent regional agency SMART writes about the cultural renaissance taking place in Aberdeen and the differences it has made.
“When a profession is protected by academic freedom and tenure, it tends to turn inward. To a large extent that’s good. The great philosophers of the past who wrote so beautifully—Rousseau, John Stuart Mill—had to write beautifully because they had to sell their work to journals. They had to sell books to the general public because they could not hold positions in universities. Mill was an atheist, and, therefore, could not hold a position in a university. It’s a good thing that we’re protected by tenure and academic freedom, but we should realize that it creates a risk of getting cut off. Scholars should write, at least sometimes, for the general public. But if I tell my graduate students to write for the general public, where are they going to publish?”
The burger chain hired six Bushwick-based street artists to paint its new bagel sandwich in public spaces around the Netherlands while being filmed, using that footage for an ad alongside the “Vibe” video. While the four-minute-long video focuses mostly on the hired artists, who are part of the Bushwick Collective group, work by many other street artists appears in the video without permission.
“This latest ACPSA data is from 2014 and reveals that the arts and cultural sector contributed $729.6 billion or 4.2 percent to the U.S. economy that year. Between 1998 and 2014, the contribution of arts and culture to the nation’s gross domestic product grew by 35.1 percent. The new state data tracking arts and cultural employment and compensation provides illuminating profiles and allows for comparisons among states and regions.”
Laura Miller meets Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning, two 30-something great-great-grandchildren of Emily Post and the heirs to her etiquette empire, to talk about the challenges of promoting good manners in “a time when jeering, insults, and other forms of impoliteness emanate in a steady stream from the highest office in the land” – and of resisting the desire of (some of) the public to peg them as finger-wagging schoolmarms.
Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, founders of the Aun Gallery in Tehran, were arrested last summer after Revolutionary Guards stormed the exhibition space, destroyed some art and carried away other pieces. “The couple has been incarcerated at [the] notorious Evin Prison … and has been denied access to legal counsel, interrogated extensively, and frequently placed in solitary confinement over a series of charges that human rights organizations have denounced as baseless.”
“Twenty-four centuries ago, Athens was upended by the outcome of a vote that is worth revisiting today. A war-weary citizenry, raised on democratic exceptionalism but disillusioned by its leaders, wanted to feel great again—a recipe for unease and raw vindictiveness, then as now. The populace had no strongman to turn to, ready with promises that the polis would soon be winning, winning like never before. But hanging around the agora, volubly engaging residents of every rank, was someone to turn on: Socrates, whose provocative questioning of the city-state’s sense of moral superiority no longer seemed as entertaining as it had in more secure times.”
“There was a huge amount of publicity. It was a symbolic act. We could explain to journalists that the situation for artists is really poor, that we’ve not done well, that we are outside the system.” The mission of those striking was to raise awareness that “most cultural producers are poor,” and “remain outside the system of pension and health insurance.”
“Turkey’s culture ministry is moving ahead with the Museum of the 15 July: Martyrs and Democracy, with work due to start on the new institution [near Ankara] in June.”
Liesl Schillinger: “Those of a populist mind-set attack so-called elitist art forms as boring; those of an elitist mind-set attack so-called populist art forms as facile and unworthy. But in either case, it’s usually the mind-set, not the work itself, that raises hackles.”
Adam Kirsch: “The truth is, however, that few writers ever make a conscious choice between elitism and populism, difficulty and accessibility. Writers write as their minds and fates compel them to.”
“I have come to believe that affordable housing efforts need to always be inclusive of artists, but should never be exclusive to them. By not connecting these still too-often siloed conversations, we are doing a disservice to both artists and the housing sector itself. “
“According to David Marcus, the head of music at Ticketmaster, last year Ticketmaster’s platform successfully defended against 5 billion bot calls. For a company that sells 100 million tickets each year, that’s a staggering ratio—and it means that even a 1 percent failure rate would mean half of their tickets are sold to bots.”
“French-speaking Africans have settled and opened businesses on and around West 116th Street since the 1980s, with Petit Senegal lending the bustling thoroughfare a distinctly international air with passers-by in flowing boubous, shops selling phone cards for cheap calls to Africa, and Franco-African restaurants and vegetable stands offering tropical products like hot peppers, plantain and palm oil. But since the 1990s, a small French expat community, attracted by the romanticism of Harlem, its strong sense of community and colorful history, as well as by comparatively lower real estate prices, has sprung up, and, inevitably, so have French restaurants.”
The artist has called his foundation the Centre for the Less Good Idea—a reference to the process of creation, which often sees artists derailed from exploring their initial idea and focusing on “secondary ideas that emerge during the process of making”, he says.
Yeah, blame the ol’ garbage in, garbage out problem: “It may not be the fault of the programmers, the team at Princeton University reports in the journal Science. It may just be that the body of published material is based on millennia of biased thinking and practices.”
What makes a critical judgment true is still a quandary. Eliot and F.R. Leavis exempted themselves from “interpretation,” which Eliot declared to be “only legitimate when it is not interpretation at all, but merely putting the reader in possession of facts which he would otherwise have missed.” This sentence marks a typical rhythm in Eliot’s critical mind: he tends to say that an exalted something is nothing but something mean to which it may decently be reduced.
“In the infancy of computers, educators quickly figured out that computer games could be a great vessel for both education and entertainment. Problem was, the educators were always better at the teaching part than the game part. Today’s Tedium, in the midst of practicing its home-row keys, ponders why that was. (Includes the story of “the tutor who became a multi-millionaire edutainment innovator because she went to the wrong restaurant”)
“Sure, dynamic pricing maximises the income potential for a hit show (with the corollary of high prices driving away regulars), and potentially allows extra seats to be filled at lower prices on quieter nights. But it also leads to the situation where prices seem to start particularly high to allow for later movement, but in the meantime blows the opportunity to sell to the less convinced at a reasonable price.”