“The thing I’ve learned over the 30 years of doing it is that satire doesn’t work. It has the opposite effect. Our outrage turns into elation and a joke. It’s a release valve.”
“Jed Bernstein, whose tenure as the president of Lincoln Center was cut short … after he failed to disclose a relationship with an employee, is crossing the river for his next post: He is now an adviser at National Sawdust, the new-music space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”
“According to the report’s findings, the best measure to prevent such negative effects” of rapid urbanization as social inequality, lack of parks and public spaces, the growth of slums, and even violence “is to fully integrate cultural components into urban strategies from the start.”
“There is a strange business model called advertising-supported media that was once restricted to a small area of our life, like newspapers, but now it is taking over every area of our life. I wanted to understand the history of advertising, because it didn’t simply always exist this way. You typically would just pay for stuff, like newspapers or movies. The idea of selling a captive audience had to be invented. And the normative question is: What are the costs of everything being free? Are we paying in other ways? There is a covenant that, in exchange for free stuff, we expose ourselves to advertising. But is that covenant broken?”
“Everyone around here knows Michael Bloomberg … built a multibillion-dollar company and served as a three-term mayor of New York. But what people might not know is that Bloomberg credits the Museum of Science for helping to shape who he became. ‘I went every Saturday, and it changed my life,’ recalled Bloomberg, 74, who attended classes there starting when he was about 10 and through his high school years.”
“The Musée du Quai Branly Jaques Chirac in Paris has come under fire for literature published for children alongside their exhibition, ‘The Color Line: African American Artists and Segregation.’ The booklet appears to play down the European role in slavery, and claim some slaves had enjoyable lives. Following public outcry, the museum destroyed the inaccurate pamphlets.”
“The cultural critic’s conceptual enemy is the smoothing formula known as ‘the wisdom of crowds.’ On that theory, it must be the case that the person whose favorite song is the No. 1 song, whose favorite book is a best-seller, whose favorite food just switched from kale to quinoa, is the luckiest person in the world, because the culture is producing exactly the goods that he or she enjoys. This rule would apply right down all the rungs of life-style choices within your demographic: the kind of car you drive, the number of kids you have, where you take your vacations. On a wisdom-of-crowds hypothesis, what most people who are like you choose to do should be the optimal choice for you.”
The 50,000-square-foot project will rise around the existing museum, housed in the humble Hitsville, U.S.A., building where Berry Gordy Jr. launched the careers of stars such as the Supremes, Temptations and Stevie Wonder.
“The act of going to the movies itself will likely become an expensive, high-culture sort of ritual, like the opera. Hollywood classics will be digitally retooled as VR environments and shown in restored out-of-town multiplexes. And ex-movie stars, desperate for cash, will perform the movies live.”
“The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is buying the Merriam Theater from the University of the Arts for $11 million, leaders from the two arts groups say. … With this purchase, the Kimmel bolsters its control of major arts venues between Pine and Locust Streets totaling well over 8,000 seats.”
Usually funded by private investors or large corporations, an artist-run super PAC is a completely new concept, though the driving force behind it is not. “We believe that artists, and art, play an important role in galvanizing our society to do better,” says For Freedoms on its website. “We are frustrated with a system in which money, divisiveness, and a general lack of truth-telling have stifled complex conversation.
“The Arts Council of Ireland has received a €5 million (£4.5 million) increase in the 2016/17 budget – equivalent to an 8% increase that will see its total funding rise next year to €65.1 million. In total, the arts budget for 2016/17 is €158.3 million (£142.7 million), although this is down 16% on the previous year. However, the decrease was attributed to one-off capital funding allocated in the previous budget for projects marking the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.”
“But what if we thought about defending Harlem against these same forces using strategies of addition and not only ones of attrition? What if the rule rather than the exception were to form institutions that can support and enable artists who are rooted in Harlem, who have durable connections to its soil?”
“Parsons added, ‘This is private property.’ It is revealing that a policeman should have imagined, even in a heated moment, that a public library was private property.”
“Activists from a loose coalition called the Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement are demanding that the galleries leave… Artists who didn’t grow up in Boyle Heights, they look at Boyle Heights as a blank canvas. They don’t realize they are painting over another work of art.”
In an age when it has become common to consume entertainment on hand-held devices, Pierre Audi said, the appeal of multisensory immersion in a cultural event is growing: “Nowadays we are attracted to it because we are naturally — and it’s healthy — becoming uncomfortable with the ritual of going to a concert, business as usual.”
“For arts professionals, curators and artists, my research shows that evaluative measures (qualitative or quantitative) are most useful when selected and combined in ways that take into account how people encounter an exhibit in practice, and how they observe each other’s actions and share aesthetic experiences in the course of social interaction.”
“Earlier this year, the board sent out a new history of art syllabus for consultation, which received widespread approval – but now it says that it has decided not to develop it for teaching in 2017. Students taking the current course will be unaffected and will be able to take their AS-level exams in 2017 and A-level exams in 2018, says the board. But this news means that once that course is phased out under government rules, they will be the last to take history of art for A-level.”
“Though Dylan was long rumored to be a contender for the Nobel, the possibility had attained a kind of mythical, some might say comic, status. And after waiting 23 years for an American to win the literature prize — Toni Morrison was our last one — wouldn’t the Swedes finally recognize DeLillo or Philip Roth or Joyce Carol Oates? You know, people who actually write literature? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.”
Handwringing about “what is literature?” seems inevitable after the announcement that a rock star has taken the global writing community’s biggest award. But no great existential crisis is needed. The Nobel Committee could have decided that with this prize it wanted to expand the definition of “literature” to include recorded music, a hugely influential and relatively young art form that doesn’t have an award of Nobel-like prestige dedicated to it. But it seems to have declined to do so.
“Sentimentality offers us the dubious chance to feel while bypassing the messiness of any real human engagement: not too much feeling but too thin an experience.”
“High-profile funders, be it the NEA, Kresge, Surdna, Knight, and ArtPlace America—just to name a few—agree that, much like the cultivation of wheat, creative placemaking is an art and a science. Trial and error is to be expected. And the larger the body of literature gets around getting creative placemaking right, the better off we’ll all be.”
Alfred Brendel (yes, the pianist): “Has there ever been a major avant-garde movement that was so closely tied to laughter and the grotesque? Laughter was the Dadaists’ favorite instrument … Traditionalists see Dadaists as silly people. To a degree, they are right. Silliness was liberating from the constraints of reason. Silliness has the potential to be funny, to provoke laughter, and make people realize that laughter is liberating.”
“The Musée Carnavalet – the museum of Paris’s history, which opened in 1880 and is run by the City of Paris – closed last week for an extensive renovation and restoration. It is due to reopen in late 2019 or early 2020.”
“[Richard’s] success in obtaining the crown depended on a fatal conjunction of diverse but equally self-destructive responses from those around him. The play locates these responses in particular characters … but it also manages to suggest that these characters sketch a whole country’s collective failure.” Stephen Greenblatt, general editor of The Norton Shakespeare, lays out the parallels – not so much between the monarch and the mogul as between Richard’s England and Trump’s America.
“More people want to get in than can be accommodated, even though timed passes are being used to manage the crowds. In the museum’s first 10 days, some 103,000 people visited the history, culture and community exhibitions, officials said. It’s unclear how many more were unable to get passes.”
Overall, the report says 95 percent consume culture. “The figures cover both attendance at cultural events, the most popular of which is watching a film in the cinema, and cultural participation, the most popular of which is reading for pleasure. When trips to the cinema are excluded, the proportion of the population who attended a cultural event in 2015 stands at 75%. This figure has risen from 70% in 2012. When reading for pleasure is excluded, 52% participated in a cultural activity in 2015, up from 48% in 2012.”
Colin Thomas was the longtime theatre reviewer at Vancouver’s alt-weekly The Georgia Straight. Last week he surprised the theatre community with a blog post that began: “I just got fired from The Georgia Straight. Thirty years. No warning. No compensation.”
“In the United States and Britain, the investigation into Ms. Ferrante’s true identity has been viewed by a vocal contingent through the lens of gender. Critics have accused the journalist who conducted it and the publications where his findings appeared of sexism. But in continental Europe, the criticisms have focused on invasion of privacy issues.”