For decades Canada has promoted Canadian culture with “Canadian content rules” meant to foster creation of Canadian art working in the shadow of the great American industrial entertainment complex. But what constitutes promoting Canadian culture in the era of content everywhere? This IPSOS study went across the country to find out. The issues aren’t surprising.
“It’s hard to defend doing anything except being in the streets” right now, but the space where the arts lie “is not an apolitical place, it is just not owned by government. In this aesthetic space, the arts explore a less confined politics than the one that controls the state. The state is not the beginning, end, or the reason for this space.”
The story is long and winding, involving massive public comment and a stonewalling GOP, but “you can’t blame petty politics alone for the mess the FCC finds itself in. Debates over net neutrality and cable boxes stem from an ideological shift in Washington. In earlier days, it was ‘good regulation versus bad regulation,’ says Chris Lewis, vice president of the consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge. Now it’s ‘more regulation versus less regulation.'”
In opposition to the U.S. president’s anticipated revised travel ban and many other things he’s said since he was inaugurated, the six issued a joint statement. “No matter who wins the Oscar, they said, the statuette would be dedicated to activists, journalists, artists and others ‘working to foster unity and understanding, and who uphold freedom of expression and human dignity — values whose protection is now more important than ever.'”
The young cameraman said earlier in the year, “If we win this award, it will show people across Syria that people around the world support them. It will give courage to every volunteer who wakes up every morning to run towards bombs. … If I cannot enter the US, I will not give up: we know that we have many friends in US, that there are people that share our humanitarian values.”
The problem is that globalization is pulverizing local content. Everything is like Netflix, and “everyone watches the same 50 titles on Netflix. Does anyone seriously believe that the other several hundred titles are truly inferior?”
“When you speak to successful people in science or tech, they say one of the things that leads to lateral thinking is people doing arts. Not only does it lead to future artists, people in the cultural and creative sectors, but it helps people in different sectors.”
Arts Council England is “pressing ahead with the system despite serious concerns raised following a pilot project last year to test such a system among 150 NPOs. An independent review of the pilot found that arts organisations wanted a more flexible system that would align with their individual artistic objectives, and ACE’s announcement that the system was going to be rolled out provoked anger and disbelief on social media. Using the system will be mandatory for around 300 of ACE’s largest NPOs, and a further 600 will be encouraged to use it.”
“Setting aside the insurmountable logistical challenges that will face some of the organisations having to conduct the fieldwork for the Quality Metrics scheme, there are two fatal flaws with the research framework that will render the findings meaningless.”
“To be an academic in today’s America is to be plunged into a perennial identity crisis. And like most academic things, it’s a maddeningly elliptical, recursive, and small-bore sort of crisis. Fueling all our self-indulgent angst is a never-fully-acknowledged social contract, the one that, via countless professional canons and conventions, confirms your choice to be a so-called academic, to assume it not only as a profession, but an identity, and to wear on yourself the trappings that come with that identity without stopping to wonder how necessary they really are and whether they are actually killing your ability to be and do something better.”
The message at issue: “NO! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America.”
“PSSST, which opened on East 3rd Street last year, came under fire from some residents and activists concerned about a new wave of galleries moving into the largely Latino Boyle Heights neighborhood. Boyle Heights has become a battleground over gentrification, although it hasn’t seen anything remotely like the changes that neighborhoods, including Silver Lake and Highland Park, have experienced. Still, many residents have long sensed it’s a neighborhood on the brink of major change.”
“Over the past century, Rorschach would have seen his inkblots morph from an obscure therapeutic instrument into a nearly universal cultural meme, at once a familiar touchstone for art, music, film, and fashion, and a controversial test for assessing job applicants and prosecuting criminal defendants. Perhaps he would have wondered why his inkblots, once reserved for the assessment of patients with serious mental illnesses, should have emerged as the preeminent metaphor for the relativity of all acts of perception and the flexibility of all personalities.”
Thomas P. Campbell: “I fear that this current call to abolish the N.E.A. is the beginning of a new assault on artistic activity. Arts and cultural programming challenges, provokes and entertains; it enhances our lives. Eliminating the N.E.A. would in essence eliminate investment by the American government in the curiosity and intelligence of its citizens.”
There are obvious answers to that of course – experience is a great teacher. But what accounts for the sometime enormous turns in style and thought that some artists undergo?
There was even more backstage drama than usual at Russia’s flagship opera and ballet theater earlier this decade – most famously, the acid attack on former ballet director Sergei Filin, but also on the opera side. Vladimir Urin was hired in 2013 to bring order to the house, and the President seems pleased with how Urin has done it.
“The budget disaster in Rio could be attributed to many factors, such as the fall in the oil prices, the expansion of the government payroll and the general recession. But there’s no doubt that reckless spending on the World Cup and the Olympics played a role. The city of Rio will be paying off the debts it amassed for years, while it also now has to maintain the arenas it built.”
“We still cling to the notion that groundbreaking creative work happens in isolation. And there’s no shortage of productivity experts who will rush to point out that the toughest, most high-value work takes mastery and deep focus—that distractions are bad, and that most distractions result from other people, all being forced to collaborate and failing miserably at it.”
“So how does it happen — how can someone on the order of Voltaire (we can insert many other illustrious names here) end up missing the mark so completely? We first need to dispense with the most obvious and least savory explanation, that the nasty judgment is directed more toward the writer than his or her work.”
Equity says, “The council has committed an act of cultural vandalism in Bath that will result in a new dark age for arts and culture in the region.”
Sure, federal funding for the arts in the United States is already at a low, but it’s”much-needed money that supports community projects, new works and making the arts accessible to people in different parts of the country and to those who are not wealthy. And after years of culture-war debates in which conservatives took aim at the programs, questioning their value, arts groups are pressing the case that the federal money they receive supports organizations — and jobs — in all 50 states, both red and blue.”
Canadian filmmaker Amber Fares: “There are so many films that deal with the politics of Palestine/Israel, but we didn’t want to get into the details of that; it just plays out naturally through their lives. It’s politically important that we see more diversity in our media, full stop.”
“A new study says that the economic impact of college — in postgraduation wages — is very much tied to the income of students’ families growing up, with students from wealthier families earning more than others. Some might assume that this difference is due to enrollment patterns, in that wealthier high school students are more likely than their less well-off counterparts to enroll at highly competitive colleges whose graduates are more likely to earn more in their careers. But the study found this impact even after controlling for a number of factors, such as competitiveness of college attended.”
“The initiative will run for just over two weeks at the Teatro delle Muse, where people buying tickets for a variety show will be able to purchase an extra seat at a reduced price to leave at the box office for someone else.” It’s based on the old Naples tradition of “caffe sospeso.”
As part of our Artistic Leadership Series, Tom Morris responds to Joe Horowitz’s Lincoln Center essay: “We live in an era of growing niche audiences for music – institutions cannot address that reality if frozen in fancy yet over-large and rigid concert halls that trap them artistically, financially and organizationally… Could it be that doing less but better is a more promising strategy?”
“The fight continues to be not only about housing and arts and culture, but about what kind of city New York will be. The question I pose is: Can we have both the people and the price of land be part of how this city is defined? How this plan plays out may give us part of the answer.”
“Emerging evidence suggests that one of VR’s biggest strengths is its ability to tap student emotions, notably empathy and the can-do confidence known as self-efficacy.” Teachers are using the technology to put students in the shoes of Syrian refugees and police in Flint, Michigan.
This week we’re publishing Joe Horowitz’s essay “Bing, Bernstein, and Balanchine Fifty Years Later” looking at the opening of Lincoln Center 50 years later. Lincoln Center was built to be a launch pad for American performing arts; instead perhaps it may have been a cul de sac. Along with Joe’s essay, we offer several response essays.
Fifty years ago Lincoln Center opened in New York City. Unquestionably, the project was a success for the neighborhood, sparking a rejuvenation of Manhattan’s upper West Side and providing needed homes for the city’s major performing arts companies. It was also an influential idea – creating a campus for the performing arts and drawing attention to the arts as a critical mass of excellence – and it set off a generation of new performing arts centers around America.
So influential has the Lincoln Center idea been, that fifty years on it seems important to weigh the idea against its impact on American artistic life. This is probably unfair. Lincoln Center was built as an artistic home and this it has been and continues to be. It has also been one of the premiere showcases of American cultural life and has presented most of the important artists of the past 50 years. Jobs well done.
But we’d like to consider Lincoln Center the idea, in the bigger American cultural context. Joseph Horowitz, as a fellow at NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts has written an essay that suggests that Lincoln Center, which re-situated the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Ballet with the aim of becoming a launching pad for a new era of America’s performing arts, instead represents a kind of cul de sac, and that artistic leadership in America has struggled ever since. We publish his essay here along with five responses to his provocation.
Additionally, on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 1:30PM (Mountain Time), we will live-stream a discussion from the University of Texas at El Paso and the Copland in Mexico Festival. Check back here to watch or catch it in the archive later.
Lincoln Center Snapshot: Bing, Bernstein, and Balanchine Fifty Years Later – By Joe Horowitz
With the arrival of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center fifty years ago, the three main institutional constituents were put in place. New synergies were expected to ignite higher achievements at the Met in tandem with the New York Philharmonic and New York City Ballet. In retrospect, it is unsurprising that this never happened. The twenty-first century poses exigent challenges to performing arts institutions – challenges that may be more readily met where “bigger is better” assumptions were never implemented.
Is artistic leadership at America’s arts institutions lacking? Is this at the root of declining relevancy? – By Diane Ragsdale
Perhaps now is the time to prioritize artistic vision over business acumen; to grant artists primacy within the arts institution; and to shift attention from wealthy donors to the community-at-large. Perhaps now is the time to embrace the paradox of being Public Arts Institutions: a part of society—but a part which must remain apart in order to fulfill its role.
Artistic Leadership Is About Vision And People, Not Buildings – By Thomas W. Morris
We live in an era of growing niche audiences for music – institutions cannot address that reality if frozen in fancy yet over-large and rigid concert halls that trap them artistically, financially and organizationally… Could it be that doing less but better is a more promising strategy?
Is The Institutionalization Of Our Arts A Dead End? – By Douglas McLennan
While there is an argument to be made for clustering together arts organizations and cultural buildings, the idea has to be animated in some way. Why should these organizations physically be together? Is it about art or about buildings? If it’s about buildings – creating a kind of critical mass of cultural activity that benefits by proximity – then the art comes to be defined by the buildings and how they’re used.
An Experiment for American Dance? – By Deborah Jowitt
And that was that for the American Dance Theater: a valiant, unsustainable effort to identify the New York State Theater as welcoming to other New York City companies beside New York City Ballet (and possibly to introduce modern dance to a larger audience). The idea of a repertory company that would present the works of various contemporary choreographers in a theater in which none of them could afford to perform with their own companies (or could have filled) was admirable. It was also unworkable. For whatever reason, shared seasons materialize either.
A Museum Culture of Symphony Orchestras? – David Gier
We have indeed created a museum culture out of this art form, one which is perceived as irrelevant for many reasons, an unnecessary result of a focus on the “masterpieces” we all know and love at the expense of the creation of our own voice.
Ken Lowson’s company, Wiseguy Tickets, used one of the first-ever bots to buy up and resell millions of tickets to shows and stadium concerts. “Seven years after his Los Angeles office was raided by shotgun-wielding FBI agents, Lowson [says] he’s switched teams. Now, he’s out to expose the secrets of the ticket industry in a bid to make sure tickets are sold directly to their fans.”