In August, the National Library asked the public to help with the purchase of a €2.4 million illuminated manuscript; last week, the Musée d’Orsay began a campaign to raise €30,000 towards restoration of a Courbet painting. This week, the Louvre – who’s been doing this for four years now – launched a €1 million appeal to help buy a bejeweled 18th-century table that Proust wrote about in Swann’s Way.
“Somehow the Great White Male has thrived and continues to colonise the high-status, high-earning, high-power roles (93 per cent of executive directors in the UK are white men; 77 per cent of parliament is male). The Great White Male’s combination of good education, manners, charm, confidence and sexual attractiveness (or “money”, as I like to call it) means he has a strong grip on the keys to power. Of course, the main reason he has those qualities in the first place is what he is, not what he has achieved.”
After a Christian group was twice allowed to distribute Bibles in Orange County public high schools, the Satanic Temple – last heard from with an idea for the Oklahoma state capitol – suggested that they should be permitted to give out The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities there. Several news outlets reported that permission had been granted (which led to the predictable protests), but it ain’t so.
“The thing that makes Dunham’s show so interesting, the reason it inspired a certain unsettlement among some of its early fans, is that it often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it: as a collision of narcissists educated mostly in self-love, a sexual landscape distinguished by serial humiliations — a realm at once manic and medicated, privileged and bereft of higher purpose.”
“As the Kremlin deepens its geopolitical standoff with the West, it’s also tightening its grip over the internet and media at home to better fight what officials here call an ‘information war’ with its adversaries.” Officials argue that their goal isn’t to isolate Russia from the World Wide Web but to prevent other nations from kicking Russia out.
“I don’t see a lot of honest debate going on in our field – at least not public debate. Maybe it’s happening somewhere, but it isn’t highly visible and readily apparent to me. I wonder if that kind of challenging of assumptions and holding people accountable for their positions is going on out of the public window in our organizations – from funders to researchers to service groups to academia. I wonder if the kind of serious debate that is healthy for arriving at well thought out conclusions on which to base decision making is happening behind closed doors – because I don’t see it happening much in our public arenas.”
“If we acknowledge that people differ in what they have to contribute, then we have an argument for a society in which all human beings are entitled to a life that includes access to decent housing, health care, and education, simply because they are human. Our abilities might not be identical, and our needs surely differ, but our basic human rights are universal.”
Michael Harris: “I think that we’ve gone through this very giddy ride of absorbing new communication technologies, and what we’re hitting now is a point where we have to start becoming intelligent about our media diets in the same way that we had to become intelligent about our food diets after we got a super abundance of sugar and fats at our disposal.”
“Lincoln Center’s move comes as overall corporate philanthropy is dwindling and big companies’ support of the arts is eroding. Corporate giving fell nearly 2% in 2013, according to Giving USA. Meanwhile, the share of corporate philanthropy dedicated to the arts fell to 5.3% in 2012 from 8.8% in 2007, according to CECP, a coalition of chief executives working to improve society.”
“Practically speaking, it doesn’t matter where the Sendak materials live or who owns them. Any exhibition uses only a few dozen items at a time, and loans are common in the world of arts and literature. In theory, if the Rosenbach and the Sendak trustees agreed, a steady stream of Sendak shows could continue to flow through the Rosenbach, and as far as the backstage legal status and residency of the collection goes, the public would be none the wiser.”
“As an amateur student of history, as we all are at least as to our own lives, I would like prove the past was what it was. Many people, including Asian Americans themselves, deny that Asians in America, whether new arrivals or native born, now face or for that matter have ever faced significant discrimination rooted in bigotry.”
The arts community in the province has been up in arms since the leak of a document suggesting that the government planned to close the five regional branches of the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec, leaving only the schools in Montreal and Quebec City. (The network is running a $14m deficit.) In the face of public pleas and protest concerts, the province’s culture minister has promised that all instruction currently offered will remain available, though the buildings may close. (in French)
Among the honorees this year were scientists who investigated the differential in pain thresholds of people looking at beautiful art versus ugly art, the neuroscience behind people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast or the Virgin Mary in a stain on a wall, and the physics behind one of the hoariest gags in all of slapstock comedy.