Sure, you might be tired of A Christmas Carol – but if you’re the theatre putting it on (or the ballet company putting on The Nutcracker, or … ), it can help pay for those experimental plays you produce the rest of the season. And a holiday show “sparks multi-generational sales, with families taking in the show together, bringing the average up to five tickets per sale. You don’t have to be a marketing wiz to see how such math benefits the organization.”
The routine went over well on Russian reality TV – but not on social media: “Former Olympic figure skating champion Tatiana Navka and actor Andrey Burkovsky wore striped concentration camp uniforms and yellow Stars of David for their performance on state-owned Channel 1’s ‘Ice Age’ show, in which professional skaters are paired with celebrities.”
They call him the Trump of architects, and here’s why: “Abolish social housing, scrap prescriptive planning regulations and usher in the wholesale privatisation of our streets, squares and parks. That was the message delivered by Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, to a stunned audience of architects and developers at a conference in Berlin last week.”
“The cultural transformation of Shanghai has been astonishing. But it risks threatening the kind of complex, nuanced and sustainable engagement that a lively arts sector needs. If local government can encourage affordable spaces for young artists and help promote a climate in which artists and art professionals can thrive, then this most dynamic of cities might truly have it all.”
Today, visitors outnumber Venetians by 140 to 1. If tourism development continues apace, the city center may soon have no residential lodging at all. Among the institutions that have closed since 2000 along the Grand Canal: the National Research Council, the Mediocredito bank, the transport authority, the local education agency, the German Consulate. Souvenir shops have replaced grocery stores. Luxury hotels have replaced medical offices. “A tourist monoculture now dominates a city, which banishes its native citizens and shackles the survival of those who remain to their willingness to serve.”
“Compared to doing nothing, the reduction in energy emissions has saved £8.7m since 2012/13. The report predicts that if the 4.5% annual decrease continues until 2019/20, emissions will be 46% lower than in 2012/13 and £54m will have been saved in energy costs.”
“McKinsey estimates that about 45% of all activities in the economy can be automated. How many people will that affect? They estimate that bots can pick up about a third of all the work in 60% of occupations. That figure is based on technologies that already exist and are in use, not capabilities that may arrive in the future. Global trends already show that the growth of jobs is starting to decline or even dip into the negatives in countries around the world; now robots are poised to take more work away.”
You think the “War on Christmas” is a bitter struggle, Bill O’Reilly? Pish-posh. Repeated efforts by secularists to erase the religious element from a U.S. government-declared national holiday go all the way back to President Grover Cleveland and before.
“The arts are bracing for an £18.4m cut in funding after a significant fall in Lottery ticket sales means the amount available for the National Lottery Good Causes has fallen by £92m so far this year, compared with last.”
“Grandmasters that have grown up with most of their training in the computer era play a much more objective style of chess. They’re less willing to dismiss a move because it’s ugly, or doesn’t appeal to their aesthetics.”
The grant, by far the William Penn Foundation’s largest ever, covers one fifth of the entire cost of Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney’s Rebuild program.
“A forthcoming report finds 26% of British adults identify theatre or opera as a great evening activity, compared with 17% who said the same for sports. Overall, 45% of British adults enjoy going to see live performance across all genres, rising to 63% among the under 25s.”
For Trump, good art is an expensive hotel. When he announced his plans for the Donald Trump hotel in Washington DC three years ago he said: “Friends of mine, they spend these ridiculous amounts of money on paintings. I’d rather do [hotel] jobs like this, do something that the world can cherish and the world can see and that everyone can truly be proud of.”
The president of the Tenement Museum, for instance, posted a message saying he and his staff “explain to visitors that Americans in the past sometimes lost confidence in their national future and lashed out against immigrants in reaction. We try to help visitors appreciate that immigrants often had to build new lives in the face of hostility.”
The actor, who succeeded Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, was asked what the Founding Fathers might have said. “Democracy is at work. … We had an election between two contentious individuals and one side won. That’s what it is.”
“Though he has been front-and-center in public life for more than four decades in the country’s cultural capital, Mr. Trump has left a meager trail to suggest what positions he might take on public arts funding and arts education, along with issues like censorship and economic policies that would affect creative industries, not to mention how he and the first lady, Melania Trump, might decorate the White House.”
Why switch from a program that emphasized the quality of the artist’s work to one that emphasizes the degree to which the artist “makes change” in his or her community?
After leading with a set of disheartening statistics – culminating is the estimate that, even for the few that make a full-time living from their work, only about 20% of their time goes into the actual making of art – writer Alexis Clements spoke with four artists about better ways to define success than money earned or not needing to have a day job.
“The uncanny similarities between this year’s Culture White Paper and its 1965 ancestor (along with the Warwick Commission and much other research) show that this hasn’t really produced an arts sector that enfranchises everyone, despite the best intentions of policymakers. Countless initiatives (and millions of pounds) have been spent trying to shift the demographic profile of arts audiences and workers in the sector. They have remained stubbornly white and well-off.”
“The United States may be entering a time of great conservative reactionism, but it will be also, due to its unique traditions, a place of unfettered expression. This is a state whose extreme conservatives – unlike those anywhere else – value free speech above almost any other right. So banning expression of any kind is not going to be possible, even under the most troglodytic of Trumpian administrations. The protest art will flourish.”
Debora L. Spar, who studied ballet from girlhood through college, has had a very successful tenure as president of Barnard, where the students evidently adore her. She takes the Lincoln Center helm at what the Times‘s Michael Cooper calls “a delicate moment.”
First it was Experience Music Project. Then it was the acronym EMP, then Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame (“EMPSFM” for short-ish), then EMP Museum. Now the institution founded by former Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen in 2000 and designed by Frank Gehry is becoming the Museum of Pop Culture, or MoPOP.
“Specifically, they found the mean annual income for male artists was $63,061, compared to $43,177 for their female counterparts. After further crunching the numbers, they report that a variety of factors that could influence income — including age, education, one’s specific artistic discipline, and the number of hours worked — only accounted for about one-third of that difference.”
“For the artists to figure out a way to be in a conversation with this audience — a whole community of new eyes — is really exciting. Navigating that common space and figuring out what can be done to engage with this crowd while also what can be done to make things happen outside of that space.”
“It is a notably upbeat claim, especially when compared with the hand-wringing that typically accompanies talk of public intellectuals in America, who seem always to be in the act of vanishing. The few who remain pale in comparison to the near-mythic minds that roamed the streets of New York in the 1930s and 1940s, when rents were cheap, polemics were harsh, and politics were radical. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. What happened? Intellectuals who couldn’t survive as freelance writers — and as New York gentrified, who could? — became professors. By the 1960s, few nonacademic intellectuals remained. Careerism and specialization gradually opened up a gulf between intellectuals and the public. The sturdy prose of Edmund Wilson and Irving Howe gave way, by the mid-90s, to the knotted gender theorizing of Judith Butler and the cult-studies musings of Andrew Ross.”
Virginia Hepner arrived at the Woodruff, which includes the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art, in May of 2012 – at a point when the ASO was going through financial woes and bitter labor battles and a Woodruff employee had embezzled $1 million. She’ll be leaving it in much better shape next May.
Bill Marx looks at the Wall Street Journal and New York Times’ cutbacks in arts coverage: “Too many of today’s arts editors and reviewers embrace a lilliputian vision of arts criticism, a crabbed sense of its possibilities. I teach a class at Boston University on writing arts criticism, and can testify that most of these wanna-be critics have not read any reviews that date earlier than 2000.”
The Justin Trudeau government announced that the Council’s government allocation would double. But instead of just giving the country’s major arts groups more money, the Council will diversify. The council has been talking for at least a decade about doing more to reflect the changing nature of art-making in an increasingly diverse Canada.”
“Traditionally, the humanities (history, literature, art, philosophy, etc.) have provided a place for broadening life in the democracies. Today universities have become a site for a bitter struggle between no-nonsense job training and the grander possibilities of the imagination.”
According to a new study in the UK, it is – both artistically and financially. “Research into the international activity of arts and cultural organisations, commissioned by Arts Council England, found that 243 of England’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs) generated £34m through international activities in 2014/15.”