We’re aggregating upwards of 150 stories a week on ArtsJournal these days. Despite the decimation of the daily newspaper arts journalism profession, there are more good stories about the arts now than there have ever been. But that also means it’s more difficult to sort through. We look through more than 1000 stories a day and pick 20-30. But maybe there’s a finer sort that would be useful. In two ways.
First the obvious. It’s easier to digest a smaller number of stories. But second, and perhaps more important, having done this since 1999, I have noticed that issues and ideas rise and recede in waves. I’m thinking that in addition to highlighting a more select number of stories, perhaps it would be interesting to try to make connections between stories and longer term issues.
I’m sure the form will evolve, but here’s my first pass at it, with stories we found last week. If anyone has suggestions for a better way to do this, write a note in the comments at the end of this post.
Three major appointments:
- American Ballet Theatre stayed inside Lincoln Center to pick Kara Medoff Barnett as its new executive director.
- Another of the dance world’s best jobs was filled when Jacob’s Pillow reached into the world of academia to hire Pamela Tatge, director of the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.
- Tate Modern chooses Francis Morris as its fourth director, as the popular museum contemplates a big expansion. “Some observers had expected Tate to once again recruit from elsewhere in Europe or from the US – instead it chose an insider, someone steeped in Tate culture and someone well known and respected in the art world.”
People are still trying to figure out how the internet is changing us:
First the pessimistic:
- A Rant About How Our Culture Has Dumbed Down All the disciplines that once helped us interpret who we were as a people and our place in the world—history, theater, the study of foreign languages, music, journalism, philosophy, literature, religion and the arts—have been corrupted or relegated to the margins.”
Second, the cautionary:
- In An Age Of Creeping Machines, How Do We Retain Humanity?
And third, the hopeful:
- The Most Popular Course Online? A course in learning how to learn. Hundreds of thousands of people want to improve their ability to take in information and process it.
For the second year the Academy of Motion Pictures chose a white cast for its Oscar Nominations. If anything, diversity has become an even bigger issue this year than last, and the Academy is going to feel big time heat this year. Here are the nominees. One interesting departure from the past few years: this year’s Best Picture nominees have done bigger box office and had wider appeal than some of the more boutique nominees in recent years.
Still Trying to Figure out the Audience:
- How do you get the millennial audience? The answer is music. According to a new study, 86 percent of millennials said they were interested in music. By comparison, 83 percent said the same about movies, 79 percent about television and 59 percent about sports.”
- Here’s something that seems improbable. Just how does the Jarasum Jazz Festival draw 200,000-250,000 people over three days? “Jarasum estimates that 88 percent of its 2015 audience was under age 40. To put this demographic in perspective, the numbers are basically flipped at the Newport Jazz Festival, where a 2012 survey found that 82 percent of its audience is over age 45.
This Week in Diversity
- Data-Driven: A newly-released database of casting for 1,189 productions of Shakespeare in British theatres going all the way back to 1930 shows that casting of minorities has been wildly skewed. “Anecdotally, we’ve talked about it, but seeing it in that official way is a reassurance that we’re not imagining our ghettoisation into the more minor roles.”
- A female playwright used to getting rejected when she submits scripts decides to try an experiment – re-submit her scripts using a man’s name. Will it make a difference?
Three More Stories You Shouldn’t Miss:
- Data’s in. The website Bachtrack uses its huge worldwide database of performances to track which are the most-played pieces of music as well as who are the busiest orchestras, conductors and soloists.
- Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena wins this year’s Pritzker Prize, the so-called Nobel Prize of the architecture world. He’s not a traditional starchitect. Aravena practices what he calls “incremental design.” With this approach, he and the designers at Elemental, his studio, build housing structures that are deliberately unfinished. Here’s a gallery of his projects.
- Egypt Launches ‘World’s Largest Digital Library’ The project … aims to gather international encyclopaedias, online publications, research papers, theses, books and articles in one website which will be accessible to any user with an Egyptian IP address.” (Problem is, much of that content is in English, not Arabic.)