A team of archaeologists, architects, and software engineers sent drones around historic buildings and ruins, collecting many thousands of measurements and images so that monuments like Palmyra, if and when they’re destroyed by ISIS, can be recreated in 3D in safer locations.
“The idea of public support for the arts, and especially for individual artists, is a pretty progressive idea. It takes some convincing, even in a largely Democratic place. And despite the fact that just last year Cuyahoga County voters overwhelmingly renewed the cigarette tax for the arts, distrust by artists of the organization they worked to establish could erode that support pretty quickly. The tragedy of that—besides the obvious—is that the individual artist program is, at three percent, a tiny fraction of Cuyahoga Arts Council’s grant making.”
“Once, perhaps, the contemporary art world was composed of small, more or less local communities of struggling creatives who scraped along by helping one another and relying on the munificence of the occasional wealthy doyenne (who typically had bohemian leanings). But, for a while now, that art world has really been an art industry, vast and global in scope, epitomized by mega-galleries with dozens of employees and multiple locations, and patronized by the winners of the global economy who see new artworks as the ultimate status-boosting luxury commodity.”
“There are real, prestigious journals and conferences in higher education that enforce and defend the highest standards of scholarship. But there are also many more Ph.D.-holders than there is space in those publications, and those people are all in different ways subject to the “publish or perish” system of professional advancement. The academic journal-and-conference system is subject to no real outside oversight. Standards are whatever the scholars involved say they are.”
Matthew Lombardo’s one-woman show Who’s Holiday – about the
heroic dastardly deeds of the Grinch’s wife – got cancelled last month when Dr. Seuss Enterprises grinched about copyright infringement. Now Lombardo is fighting back, in Federal court. (And yes, Robin Pogrebin tells the tale with rhyming couplets in dactylic tetrameter.)
We appear to be confronted with two very different sets of criteria regarding what can be considered a “safe space.” One is rooted in alternative populations seeking respite from the omnipresent social factory and its all-pervasive marketplace; the other is based on municipal fire-code regulations intended to prevent the type of tragedies that the Ghost Ship now signifies.
Anne Midgette: “My keenest experience of the Kennedy Center Honors this year had to do with the marginalization of the high arts. This is not usually my position: I have no problem celebrating the artistry of popular culture, placing Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” above the level of many works of contemporary art music or recognizing the quality of “The Wire” and other high-level made-for-television series. And I have been comfortable with the idea that in what is essentially a knockoff awards ceremony, the Kennedy Center should seek to honor the best of American art. But fully recognizing just how marginalized my field is, both before and during the ceremony, was sobering.”
“Denver has boomed over the past decade. The city is bigger, richer and more interesting than ever. Public- and private-sector investment is through the roof, and neglected neighborhoods are springing back to life. And in all of this, artists have been left behind.”
“We can read into this tragedy the disastrous head-on collision of two conflicting obligations that the ‘creative city’ imposes on itself and its residents.”
“The all-encompassing liberalism in popular culture might not be hurting the performers’ financial bottom lines (so far), but it’s certainly not doing anything to help their political causes, either. As we learned this election, we ignore whole segments of the population at our peril.”
The best collection of Western modern art outside of Europe and North America will not travel to Germany. The head of the Berlin museum authority says that as far as he knew, “Iran’s culture minister and foreign minister both backed the exhibition. All that was required was the signature of the president, Hassan Rouhani, for the export licenses to be granted, and that signature never came.”
No, it’s not in Paris or Bologna; it’s not even in Europe. Or Asia, for that matter. What’s more, this university was founded, almost 1,200 years ago, by a woman.
For the past few years – starting with an ugly battle in Seattle – the yellowface issue has raged around productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan favorite in the U.S. Last year, facing likely protests, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players cancelled its production and did Pirates of Penzance instead. (One wag wrote in to decry the failure to cast real pirates.) This year, after much consideration, care, and consultation, the company is trying again, with a new approach.
Ian David Moss argues that funders have tended to keep their arts programs in a “silo” rather than connecting them with their organizations’ wider goals.
Perhaps there’s a crisis in the arts in rapidly gentrifying Denver. A new researcher at the University of Colorado Denver has some thoughts: “I want the city to work together with creative producers to benefit both. Sugar-coating anything or obscuring facts is not going to help either side.”
The Austin arts community is furious with the Austin American-Statesman, which decided to lay off Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, the paper’s full-time arts critic – and use freelancers instead. But, says the rival weekly, “The critic has a unique strength coming from 19 years on the beat, not only reporting but actively shaping the cultural landscape with access to the wide and the long views.”
“Premium tickets for Broadway shows can cost north of $200. Adjusting for inflation, the $25 ticket in 1984 should cost only about $58 today. Something is not sufficiently aligned. The questions I often ponder are: How do high ticket prices limit accessibility? How much profit is profitable?” Marshall Jones III, producing artistic director of the Tony-winning African-American troupe Crossroads Theatre Company, discusses the ways he and some of his colleagues have addressed this issue.
“The British Council report, ‘Creative Hubs: Understanding the New Economy’, finds the tendency to conflate creative hubs with cultural quarters, clusters of economic activity and creative zones ‘unhelpful’.”
“America cannot be made great again because America isn’t real. America never was real. America is 325 million different ideas that disagree with each other just enough for human lives to be lost in the process of translating between them. America is nothing but miscommunication and unspoken secrets and fragmentary dreams that fail to cohere. It’s a multiplicity of states, none of them united. America, like money, isn’t the final product of human creativity.”
“In these cases, the engineers are as much creators of the work as the named artists are. What is the difference between art and technology here? After all, the most advanced of technology has always been indistinguishable from magic.”
I’d call it a rescue mission, because each of these three theatres has lost its way in recent years. Now, they need to be reinvented in order to help Toronto solidify its place as one of North America’s top theatre destinations – a reputation that also depends on the Mirvish organization with its four theatres, a lively fringe scene and two internationally renowned summer festivals (Stratford and Shaw) within easy reach of the city.
We’re all familiar with the way the artistic life gets romanticized as a struggle, but it’s time to put this harmful stereotype to rest; some may be happy waiting tables, asking their friends to support their Kickstarter campaigns or taking every odd gig in hopes they’ll finally get noticed or “make it.” But it’s not the only way. “Selling out,” when it enhances our work without compromising our creativity or our values, is a good thing, and putting a priority on revenue is not the same as betraying our principles. Indeed, nothing compromises our principles more than not having the resources to promote them.
In Baltimore, for example: “We have a shortage of those spaces,” he said of properties where artists can live, work or perform. “This is a great arts city, and it needs to continue to be that way. No one wants Baltimore to become like D.C., where there are no artists who can afford the rent. If we don’t get a space out of this, then that’s basically Baltimore City telling us they don’t want us to exist.”
Here’s the story of the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving, co-founded by a famous stage actress and the daughter of J.P. Morgan.
Blame a book with a too-incendiary title and a conservative media star.
“If we need art in our lives — and I am thinking not only of painting and sculpture but also of music and literature and performance and entirely new forms of expression yet to be invented — then we certainly must have places where the constant fear of eviction does not stifle every generative urge, where creators can share and encourage each other’s growth, where the outsider feels safe to live according to their true nature.”
The team at Createquity gathered up all the research they could find on how the arts improve lives and tried to organize it in usable form. “Over the past half century, hundreds of researchers have spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars grappling with these questions. And while the literature still has a ways to go before we can consider the answers definitive, it is becoming clear in at least several arenas that it’s not just our imagination: arts participation really does improve lives.”
The Temple of the Jedi Order applied for charitable organization status in England and Wales, but the Charity Commission ruled that Jediism “lacked the necessary spiritual or non-secular element” it expects.
“The biggest mistake I made as we grew was not to proactively address my personal fears and hesitations about growth. I resisted building better structures. I didn’t own up to their necessity, impact, and tradeoffs. Now, I own it. Now, instead of resisting growth, I’m learning how to make structure work for us–so we can continue to grow in ways that are gloriously, radically collaborative.”
“Lina Sergie Attar, a writer and architect who grew up in Aleppo, remembers a city that has been nearly lost after years of conflict.” (audio)