Three major contributors to The New York Times culture section have left the paper. The most recent is Charles Isherwood, the No. 2 theater critic since 2004, when he jumped from the top critic’s slot at Variety.
Nigel Redden, in an op-ed in South Carolina’s largest newspaper: “Whether presenting an opera by Antonio Vivaldi or a play by Samuel Beckett, the Festival depends on works created by artists from many parts of the world. … [Their] varied outlooks come from lives and personal histories that differ from many in the audience who flock each year to the Festival. And this is why they flock: they come looking for the kind of personal connection that the performing arts provide especially well. … To limit these possibilities limits us as human beings.”
Tom Rachman, writing from the Verbier Art Summit (a would-be Davos for artsy types), is not encouraged: “Politics in the arts often looks more like group bonding than anything that might effect change.”
“Formed by a ‘system of negative spaces’ carved into the ground, the complex will house two galleries dedicated to Afghan archaeology, a performance hall and a tea-house. … UNESCO experts are still debating the controversial plan to rebuild the pair of rock-cut Buddha statues demolished by the Taliban in 2001.”
“The property developer Emerige group plans to build an extensive art centre and 13,000 sq. m art hotel on Île Seguin, an island in the western suburbs of Paris that once housed the Renault car factory. The new development, called S17 & S18, will transform the former industrial site into ‘one of the biggest cultural hubs in Europe’, says a spokeswoman for the Emerige.”
“There would be a detrimental effect for the many Irish artists who relied on showing their work in the UK, and changes in VAT regulations could make travel abroad more costly.”
“As the chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it is the rare occasion that moves me to comment on the actions of our federal government. However, in less than two weeks, our new president has attempted to limit public discourse, diminish cultural exchange and bully our neighbors. The executive order that temporarily — for now at least — bars entry into the U.S. of individuals from seven Muslim-majority nations is a terrible thing for America’s creative community, in whose work we find our common humanity. I must step forward.”
The story of the New Oxford Shakespeare, the one that’s shaking the Bard world with data-driven literary analysis and more, intertwines painfully (and in a way Shakespeare might have appreciated) with a tale of academic backstabbing, disappeared budgets and institutional support gone missing – if it was ever promised in the first place.
It may be true that nothing unites the U.S. like avocados: “In the early 2000s, the low-carb craze gave avocados a boost, with fat suddenly deemed more acceptable. But it was nothing compared to the looming beast on the horizon, the monster trend no one could predict: avocado toast.”
Damn, MoMA: “Alongside each painting, sculpture, or photograph is a text that makes no bones about why it has suddenly surfaced: ‘This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.'”
Grants to arts organisations in Bath are to be phased out completely by the local council, with campaigners claiming it will lead to financial support for emerging and mid-scale companies being “killed off”.
“The Guardian Teacher Network polled more than 1,000 teachers, with 80% claiming their schools had been making general cutbacks or were planning to. Nine percent of respondents reported that their schools had already scrapped art, music or drama, with a fifth claiming that one or more of these subjects had been given reduced timetable space.”
The theatre and music venue would be the first in Britain (and only the third in the world) with a rotating seating area in the center of the hall and stages/performing spaces against the walls. The hall is part of the proposed Ten Streets creative district, plans for which have just been revealed.
“Yesterday, two bills intended to fold the duties of the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) into the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) died in both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees due to the fact that they were not brought up by either chairman. January 31 was the deadline for bills to come out of committee.”
Artist live/work compounds are fireproofing and upgrading where they can, and crowdfunding efforts for victims are looking not to make the mistakes that plagued such funds after previous tragedies.
A large number of states (roughly a third) either have “no real functioning arts advocacy organization, or the existing organization was barely operational. That finding is particularly distressing as the sector now gears up for actions that may come – both on the Federal and on the State levels – that will impact the sector.”
“It’s about democratising the arts, taking culture away from the idea that it’s about elitism, and showing that there’s something for everyone. It’s also about encouraging, for places like Liverpool and Hull, a local sense of pride. For the first time in many years in 2008 Liverpool started to get positive media coverage, and that has a huge effect on people living here. There’s a renewed confidence in the city that we still feel today.”
“What would the elimination of the NEA mean for the arts in the US? In terms of actual direct support, very little. Many foundations, other funding bodies, and individuals dole out more for the arts each year than the arts endowment: for example, New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs 2016 budget was $165 million, with additional funds dedicated for capital projects; philanthropist David Geffen’s $100 million gift to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2016 outstripped the NEA’s direct granting budget that year. But the NEA has impact far exceeding its direct grants.”
Matt Burriesci, executive director of the Providence Athenaeum: “If we’d like to discuss metrics, deliverables and results, then we must ask how our interests have fared by employing this economic strategy. … Where, exactly, are the results? They are not to be found in the opinions of our policymakers”
“The effects of this relatively tiny allocation are clear: despite India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, many of its national museums remain uninspiring, hardly drawing any visitors despite their incredibly affordable entry prices. And several heritage sites, including the iconic Taj Mahal, are in a bad state, suffering from the effects of poor maintenance and pollution. Some important monuments …, including prehistoric megaliths and temple ruins, have even gone missing.”
Members of Congress can only hire 18 staffers total, ever. But communication keeps on growing. “In many cases, it’s not that Congress can’t hear you. It’s that the flood of voices so overwhelms the bureaucratic machine that any one citizen becomes hard to hear.”
The ban on travelers from seven countries affects just about every cultural institution and academic institution, especially in New York. A concert promoter who specializes in contemporary Persian music: “‘Tonight I have a concert in L.A.,’ she said, with an American-born Iranian artist, Fared Shafinury, whose band has some immigrant members. ‘I’m just so afraid that this is going to be my last concert.'”
The statement from The Academy is mild but firm: “As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran, ‘A Separation,’ along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film ‘The Salesman,’ could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”
“The petition, entitled ‘Preserve the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ has received hundreds of tweets from proud signees but the official count (at the time of writing) reads: ’27 signed’.”
Per a strategic plan developed with Michael Kaiser, “We will feel a little less like Disney and a little more like a place where children are really exploring all the wonderful things that will make them want to be learners the rest of their lives,” says the Please Touch CEO.
“To illustrate just how beneficial the NEA’s work has been, artist and environmental engineer Tega Brain has programmed a website that scrolls through the types of grants the NEA awarded last year alone. Like end credits of a movie, each funded project moves slowly down your screen in bright colors to form a simple but clear message: we really need the NEA.”
“Located … in Skokie, about 20 miles northwest of the Loop, the [Illinois] Holocaust Museum is not exactly on Chicago tourism’s well-worn path. Yet it’s the third-largest of its kind in the world.” Says the museums VP of marketing, “We’re trying to move people from ‘something I’ve been meaning to do’ and always give them a reason to go.” And yes, the exhibit in question does have a Holocaust connection.
“The €100m museum in Gdansk, which is scheduled to open to the public at the end of February, has become a political pawn in an ongoing battle over national memory, with the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) keen to control how the years under Nazi German occupation are portrayed.”