“High-profile funders, be it the NEA, Kresge, Surdna, Knight, and ArtPlace America—just to name a few—agree that, much like the cultivation of wheat, creative placemaking is an art and a science. Trial and error is to be expected. And the larger the body of literature gets around getting creative placemaking right, the better off we’ll all be.”
Alfred Brendel (yes, the pianist): “Has there ever been a major avant-garde movement that was so closely tied to laughter and the grotesque? Laughter was the Dadaists’ favorite instrument … Traditionalists see Dadaists as silly people. To a degree, they are right. Silliness was liberating from the constraints of reason. Silliness has the potential to be funny, to provoke laughter, and make people realize that laughter is liberating.”
“The Musée Carnavalet – the museum of Paris’s history, which opened in 1880 and is run by the City of Paris – closed last week for an extensive renovation and restoration. It is due to reopen in late 2019 or early 2020.”
“[Richard’s] success in obtaining the crown depended on a fatal conjunction of diverse but equally self-destructive responses from those around him. The play locates these responses in particular characters … but it also manages to suggest that these characters sketch a whole country’s collective failure.” Stephen Greenblatt, general editor of The Norton Shakespeare, lays out the parallels – not so much between the monarch and the mogul as between Richard’s England and Trump’s America.
“More people want to get in than can be accommodated, even though timed passes are being used to manage the crowds. In the museum’s first 10 days, some 103,000 people visited the history, culture and community exhibitions, officials said. It’s unclear how many more were unable to get passes.”
Overall, the report says 95 percent consume culture. “The figures cover both attendance at cultural events, the most popular of which is watching a film in the cinema, and cultural participation, the most popular of which is reading for pleasure. When trips to the cinema are excluded, the proportion of the population who attended a cultural event in 2015 stands at 75%. This figure has risen from 70% in 2012. When reading for pleasure is excluded, 52% participated in a cultural activity in 2015, up from 48% in 2012.”
Colin Thomas was the longtime theatre reviewer at Vancouver’s alt-weekly The Georgia Straight. Last week he surprised the theatre community with a blog post that began: “I just got fired from The Georgia Straight. Thirty years. No warning. No compensation.”
“In the United States and Britain, the investigation into Ms. Ferrante’s true identity has been viewed by a vocal contingent through the lens of gender. Critics have accused the journalist who conducted it and the publications where his findings appeared of sexism. But in continental Europe, the criticisms have focused on invasion of privacy issues.”
“With the move to cloud computing and streaming content, the concept of “copy ownership” is now disappearing from entertainment as well. Software, motion pictures, and even music are increasingly a service provided to you. Streaming services and cloud content have their own worries. For example, what happens when you’re traveling somewhere with no reliable internet access? What happens when the service provider’s servers go down for days and you are paying for a service you are not getting? But the problems run deeper. The loss of ownership sends copyright law out to sea.”
“The changes to the city’s cultural services agreement require organizations that take city money or use city property to recognize any labor organization designated via a card-check method and cooperate with it. If not, they could lose funding in future years.”
“Again and again, the same answer: maybe it’s not fair to say that nothing has changed, but here we are, answering the same fundamental questions about diversity. Very few people seemed wholeheartedly optimistic about change.”
“Terence Rattigan, England’s master of the well-made play, predicted back in the ’50s that younger playgoers conditioned by movies and TV would eventually start to chafe at the three-hour-two-intermission running time that was then the theatrical norm.” Terry Teachout praises the trend toward shorter, no-intermission plays, and suggests that we should feel free to make cuts in longer works by the likes of Eugene O’Neill and Richard Wagner.
“It is time for a backyard construction project on an island with a resident population of one and a transient population of 4.3 million. … The project, a $70 million museum, is intended to make the visitors’ time on Liberty Island more meaningful, more enjoyable and perhaps less crowded.
“Insecurity, endemic to a profession heavily reliant on short-term labor, is usually omitted from discussions regarding safe spaces. But the instructor’s role in the construction of safe spaces is unquestioned: They hold the balance of power in the classroom, even if they know themselves to be nearly powerless in other areas of life. As a result, they need to concede a great deal of that power if a space is indeed to remain safe for their students.”
“It seems to me that prestige only accrues to those at the very top—not top 20, more like top five—and when we’re talking prestige, we’re almost exclusively talking about private institutions. Unfortunately, the only way to survive in a culture that continues to turn away from education as a public good is to “compete,” and the only way we know how to compete is for “prestige.” But what is the cost on public institutions of chasing prestige?”
“In particular, it is the humanities that teach us how not to be racists, by showing us how to open ourselves up to what is different. Whether a given humanist is a modernist, postmodernist, New Critic, Marxist, or an adherent of any of dozens of other approaches, what she does in the classroom is always the same: She takes some cultural product that seems at first strange and off-putting — a poem by some ancient Greek or Persian poet, a novel by some African or Chinese author, a statue from an indigenous culture whose true name we don’t even know — and, if she is a good teacher, makes it familiar enough to be interesting.”
“Its backers have praised [the Canadian Museum for Human Rights], which attracts nearly 350,000 visitors a year, for starting important conversations about injustice. But to others, despite a raft of powerful exhibits on the oppression of indigenous peoples in Canada, the museum could do more to address the nation’s uncomfortable truths about its past and present dealings with the descendants of the land’s original inhabitants.”
“On May 9, after a question-and-answer session following a public lecture by US diplomat Dennis Ross at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library, city police arrested and detained an attendee and the library’s director of programming and marketing. … In late September, the library decided to make the incident known to the media, because the city had pressed forward with the case.”
“If anything, we are skeptical of attempts to measure impact. But arts interventions by the government use the same real-world dollars and cents as interventions in other areas. Shouldn’t we hold government spending to a high standard of effectiveness regardless of what those policies are trying to achieve?”
“Barcelona’s system of superblocks — called “superilles” in Catalan — would go well beyond the pedestrian plazas that have sprouted up on the streets of New York City. While those spaces have carved out more room for pedestrians in busy corridors, the superblocks represent a more radical approach that fundamentally challenges the notion that streets even belong to cars.”
“Central to the story of deconstruction, but often neglected, are the various American contexts that cultivated and disseminated deconstructive undertakings. Even though the image—to some, the bogeyman—of the European theorist persists, the truth is that deconstructive literary theory was largely an indigenous creation. This change of perspective throws new light on the scapegoating of French Theory for the decline of the humanities.”
“A statement from the NAC said that the creation fund, which the Ottawa performance centre hopes to increase to at least $25-million, is intended “to provide a source of venture capital [to] artists and arts organizations” across Canada.”
Over the stretch of a millennium we see the impact of previous weather cycles—periods of extreme cold, of drought, of floods, of time when the Thames froze over—and the impression made by such momentary oddities as meteors or rainbows. In past centuries, these might be read as signs from God: tokens of punishment or reminders of the need for fortitude. By the later 19th century, Hardy could use the rain that falls on a grave as a pointer to nature’s indifference; an indifference that is there, too, in the “Time Passes” section of Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. The meaning of English weather changed as the English themselves changed.
“Olympic medals for the world’s best art seems an odd thing to revive, but a brave and no doubt well-intentioned Canadian organization is bringing back the idea of an international art competition nominally tied to or modelled on the Olympics. They hope to hold the International ArtsGames in Montreal in 2018.”
“Workers arrived bearing concrete, propaganda banners and metal scaffolding. They smoothed concrete over the names of victims, wrapped ‘Socialist Core Values’ banners around the main exhibition hall, placed red-and-yellow propaganda posters over stone memorials to the terror, and raised scaffolding around statues of critics of Mao.”
“Readers called the alleged scoop an intrusion into the life of one of the world’s most influential female writers. Some were afraid it would stop Ferrante from ever writing again, saying the story had been driven by the ego of the reporter and the New York Review of Books.” (The alleged author is identified in this article as well.)
“Fifty-two percent of the books challenged or banned in the last 10 years feature so-called “diverse content”—that is, they explore issues such as race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental illness, and disability.”
“The American theatregoing public doesn’t even know about what it isn’t allowed to see.”
“Art just can’t be reduced to a commodity good. We also know that artists and creative placemaking have to be at the core of what we’re doing to rethink our economy in West Virginia.”
“Numerous studies in behavioural psychology show how our individual conviction of what is true or right quails before the massed pressure of our peers.”