“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– as well as painfully cramped seats (which some patrons have to walk through offices to reach), poor acoustics, outdated sound and light equipment, and dressing rooms that literally used to be stables.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”.
Statues have symbolic power. “The statues in public squares, the names on street signs, the generals honored with military bases — these are the ways in which we, as a society, tell each other what we value, and build the common heritage around which we construct a nation.”
“As Citizen Ticket’s technology – BitTicket – is based on blockchain, it means that batches cannot be oversold and tickets cannot be copied or counterfeited, while the number of tickets in a transaction is also monitored.”
“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.”
“The systematic eradication of arts education in schools, sky-high drama school audition fees, chronic low pay and a lack of diversity behind the scenes are all contributing to a diversity crisis on our stages and screens.”
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.”
By 2022, the total number of cameras in the world will reach about 44 trillion. Jaw-dropping as that figure is, it doesn’t seem so crazy when you realize that today there are already about 14 trillion cameras in the world, according to data from research firms such as Gartner.
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.
Employment in the cultural sector has grown steadily over the past five years, increasing by 20% between 2011 and 2016 to 654,000 jobs, according to newly released Government figures.
For the first time, these guys have systematically studied how fake news spreads on Twitter and provide a unique window into this murky world. Their work suggests clear strategies for controlling this epidemic.
With houses in the city selling for a million euros or so as vacation homes, working- and middle-class Venetians have been getting priced out of their hometown. “Now an organized movement of illegal squatters is laying claim to abandoned, dilapidated housing.”
“According to a 2008 survey, 85% percent of employers looking to hire creative employees reported were “difficulty finding qualified applicants.” Yet the same survey found 57% of respondents citing arts degrees as being reflective of creativity. More recent research from IBM found that CEOs think creativity will be the most valuable skill around the office. But that begs the question: if there is a purported interest on the part of companies, why aren’t there more arts majors actually working in offices?”
“Throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Tex., software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers–and make progress seem pleasant.”
“All of this points to a process that sociologist Saskia Sassen calls “deurbanisation”. Numerically, this means haemorrhaging residents, while metaphorically it relates to the increasing hollowing out of the social and cultural vibrancy of the city. The very things that make up its fabric – the messiness, unpredictability and diversity of urban life – are stripped away. All that’s left is Costa Coffee, Pret-a-Manger and hoardings advertising buy-to-let investments, illustrated by white couples laughing and sipping champagne.”
The Russian feminist punk band members had been protesting another artist’s prison sentence in Siberia when they were detained by police. One of those detained, Maria Alyokhina, was convicted of “religious hooliganism” and sentenced to two years in prison for performing a “punk prayer” in Moscow in 2012.
Using artificial intelligence, researchers at USC analyzed about 1,000 popular film scripts. Aside from the fact that men talk a lot, they found “that the language used by female characters tended to be more positive, emotional and related to family values, while the language used by male characters was more closely linked to achievement. African-American characters were more likely to use swear words, and Latino characters were more apt to use words related to sexuality. Older characters, meanwhile, were more likely to discuss religion.”
“That’s where Artist Campaign School comes in: we’ll train you in everything you need to know to get your political campaign up and running. From fundraising to putting together policy statements, we are bringing together top-tier campaign veterans who will provide you with practical knowledge and set you up for a successful bid.”
Terry McDonell looks at what Thompson did to with Richard Nixon – and figures that HST would have completely understood Trump (not that he’d have liked him) and would have had a total blast writing about the Mooch.
The findings suggest “the arts provide an important vehicle for facilitating a cohesive and sustainable society,” psychologists Julie Van de Vyver of the University of Lincoln and Dominic Abrams of the University of Kent write in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. “Fostering a society in which engagement in the arts is encouraged and accessible to all may provide an important counter to economic, cultural, and political fracture and division.”
“New research into the connections between the arts and ‘prosociality’ – whereby individuals are likely to donate their time or money to charitable causes – found … that [attendance at or participation in] the arts had a stronger connection to prosociality than other demographic variables.”
“If you arrive on a big ship, get off, you have two or three hours, follow someone holding a flag to Piazzale Roma, Ponte di Rialto and San Marco and turn around,” said Dario Franceschini, Italy’s culture minister, who lamented what he called an “Eat and Flee” brand of tourism that had brought the sinking city so low.
The 2017 roster of honorees continues to favor popular culture at the expense of theater and classic music. This year’s celebration will spotlight three pop musicians who have collectively sold hundreds of millions of recordings. Absent are big-name Hollywood actors and Broadway stars.