- It was the week of artistic directors in dance. First, Benjamin Millepied said he would be leaving Paris Opera Ballet after a rather short tenure. Why? “I want to regain my freedom and I want to create,” he said. “This job, as it exists today, is not something I want.” Paris Ballet lifer Aurélie Dupont takes over. Being artistic director is tough today, increasingly entailing non-artistic duties and maneuvering. Other AD moves: Adolphe Binder takes on Pina Bausch’s old company; Colin Conor becomes AD of the José Limón Dance Foundation, and Washington National Ballet loses its AD. [UPDATE: Roslyn Sulcas writes to remind that the week before, the La Scala company, following the October departure of Makhar Vaziev for the Bolshoi Ballet, selected Mauro Bigonzetti to head the troupe.]
- This Week In Figuring Out Creativity: Artificial intelligence is now powering your Google searches (and making them better. AI uses neural nest, and scientists aren’t exactly sure why they work, but they do. “Artificial intelligence is the future of Google Search, and if it’s the future of Google Search, it’s the future of so much more.” Back to humans for a moment. How do you raise creative kids? Fewer rules. “Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart. By limiting rules, parents encouraged their children to think for themselves. And scientists say that simple practice won’t make you a good artist. “The research goes somewhat against the old assumption that simply repeating a motor skill over and over again – for example, practising scales on the piano or playing the same level on your game over and over again – was the best way to master it. Finally, it’s important how you introduce new ideas. “To generate creative ideas, it’s important to start from an unusual place. But to explain those ideas, they have to be connected to something familiar.
- This Week in Audience, Audience, Who’s Got The Audience: There are so many ways that people watch TV shows these days that the television industry has no idea how to measure whether a show is a hit. “Nielsen, the 93-year-old company that has long operated an effective monopoly over television ratings in the United States, is facing blistering criticism from TV and advertising executives who see it as a relic of television’s rabbit-ears past as the digital revolution transforms how people consume entertainment. Part of the complication? There are now 1400 (fourteen hundred!) TV shows. What’s to be learned by the data we do have? Meanwhile, YouTube is trying to figure out how to cash in. “YouTube execs hesitate to compare their efforts to Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, but Red gives the streamer, which boasts more than 1 billion viewers, a foothold in the lucrative paid video business.” On a smaller (but significant) scale, small London theatres seem to be thriving: “How do you engage with your community and how do you diversify your audience? But I think it’s especially true in London which is growing so quickly and the population is changing all the time.” But London’s National Theatre is downsizing, even as it commits to attaining gender parity by 2021.
- The Easiest Way To Get Attention For Your Show? Try To Ban The Press: That’s what the Harold Pinter estate tried to do for a new Wooster Group production of “The Room” in Los Angeles. Cue consternation. Was it about money? And outrage: “There’s no other kind of journalism where the journalist says, ‘Is it OK if I report this kind of story?’” And then the inevitable “non”-review in the LA Times. Case closed? Not quite, as the same rights-holder tries to shut down another play in Seattle with one-hour’s notice.
- Gallery owner Ann Freedman is accused of “selling fake Rothkos for millions of dollars—and using false citations to authenticate them.” But in an art market governed largely by pretense and money, does a masterpiece have any intrinsic value?” So fakes. Fakes are getting so good, “one can imagine a near-future museum with every important artwork in the world – the entire contents of E H Gombrich’s 1950 classic The Story of Art – made manifest in a single super-didactic replica collection. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as no one feels fooled.”
And a few leftovers:
- City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra appoints 29-year-old Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (just call her Mirga), who is the LA Phil’s dynamic assistant conductor as its new music director. Cue applause and congratulation (and compare this to the reception to the New York Philharmonic’s new music director appointment).
- Seven Myths Of The Starving Artist “The starving artist myth is a limiting belief that’s been passed on from generation to generation and it’s about time we put an end to it. Not only is it disempowering to artists trying to promote themselves and their work, it’s also a barrier for many talented teenagers and young adults who will not pursue a career in the arts from fear of not being able to support themselves and later on in life, their families.”
- How Music Festivals Shape Medium-Sized Cities “Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles are three exceptional American cities, with robust economies and a surfeit of culture. I was interested in comparing a triad of slightly smaller metros and their festivals because they seemed very different in their histories, culture, and senses of place.”
- No, Amazon Is (Probably) Not Opening Hundreds Of Bookstores