Facing Ever-Tighter Budgets, More Paris Institutions Turn To Crowdfunding

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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.

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How Did White Males Become Our Default Role Models For Culture?

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“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.”

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Huge Increase In Los Angeles’ Culture Budget

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“After taking a second look at Los Angeles County government’s spending capacity for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Board of Supervisors has added $54 million to the $84.7 million in arts and culture spending it had authorized in June when the board OK’d the main county budget.”

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Satanist Coloring Books Aren’t Being Distributed In Florida Schools After All

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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.

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Why (Some) Conservatives Love Lena Dunham And ‘Girls’

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“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.”

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Putin’s Government Puts Ever-Tighter Controls On Russia’s Internet (And Then Denies It)

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“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.

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A Link Between Brands And Religion?

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Among those who compared generic products, “individuals who attended religious services frequently were more likely to generate religious words than those who did not,” the researchers write. However, among those who compared brand-name items, “this pattern disappeared.”

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Where Are The Real Debates In The Arts?

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“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.”

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No, Practice Doesn’t Make Us Experts (But Here’s Why That’s Okay)

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“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.”

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Fighting Our Addiction To Being Connected At All Times

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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.”

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As Corporate Arts Sponsorships Decline, Lincoln Center Doubles Down

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“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.”

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UK Copyright Law Finally Allows Exception For Parody

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“Under current rules, there has been a risk of being sued for breach of copyright if clips of films, TV shows or songs were used without consent. But the new European Copyright Directive will allow the use of the material so long as it is fair and does not compete with the original version.”

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Philadelphia Doesn’t Have To Say Goodbye To Those Thousands Of Sendak Items Forever

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“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.”

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Why One Law Professor Collects Racist Art

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“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.”

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So Art Is What We Say It Is. And That Is?

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“Fame is craved by some and feared by others. For what the famous gain in visibility, they lose in anonymity and they find hard to do some of the everyday things that the rest of us take for granted.”

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Why MOOCs Still Have A Future In Education

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“Now, countries as diverse as France, China, and perhaps most surprisingly, Saudi Arabia, have launched national education platforms powered by edX. In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Labor is using Open edX to educate more women, disabled citizens, and people living in rural areas.”

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Will Quebec Close Its Regional Music And Drama Schools? Not Exactly

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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)

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Ig Nobel Prizes For 2014 Include Arts-Related Research

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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.

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