This Week: The next wave of arts journalism layoffs begins… Lots of debate about the role of artists in the Trump era… Prominent Canadian artists petition the government to “fix” support for creativity… It’s getting harder to define what “home” is… Is “mindfulness” overrated?
- Three More Big City Newspaper Arts Writers Call It Quits: A new wave of reductions in arts coverage have begun. The social media-ization of news and the way their algorithms decide which stories get seen has been devastating for stories about the arts. Newspapers under pressure to cut can’t be blamed for cutting arts beats. This week The Edmonton Journal and Austin Statesman announced they had let arts journalists go. And this weekend, Mark Stryker, a stalwart arts writer for the detroit Free Press announced on Facebook he was taking a buyout. Look for more, significant cuts in the weeks ahead.
- Artists In The Trump Era – An Identity Crisis?: How are artists responding to the election of Donald Trump? Many are debating what their roles should be: “History and our own recent experience suggest that some soul-searching assessment of the limits of our own gestures, and some clear-eyed analysis of what rhetoric is effective and what is not, is going to be very, very important in the years to come. It will not be enough to languish in mythological beliefs about art’s value as a humanistic salve, or even to fly the flag for ‘political art’ as a genre.” Others are burrowing into their art. But, “I’m skeptical of the idea that a more perfect art can really bring into being a more perfect union. Bernstein makes vague allusions to Kennedy’s presumably political “goals,” but the only goals he names are musical ones: intensity, beauty, and devotion. Are these really the ultimate aims of musical performance in a time of violent crisis?” But Jay Nordlinger, writing in National Review, believes that political correctness has hurt the arts’ standing in America. He wonders if insisting that black characters in opera be black or Asian characters in theatre be Asian is a perversion of art. Such “authenticity” he believes, goes against the very nature of dramatic portrayal…
- Home As A Concept – The Definition Of “Home” Is Changing: “When the technology of the home was more like a tool to augment human muscle power – a place for the washing machine, the fridge, the boiler – the home was as a private, bounded space. Now technology is breaking down those boundaries. When parents worry about where their children are going (metaphorically) and to whom they’re talking on social media, they’re acknowledging that people can be at home, in their bedrooms, and yet somewhere else simultaneously. Young people seem to be most at home when they are on – or perhaps ‘in’ – their phones, flicking between apps, surfing their social networks.”
- This Idea Of Mindfulness – Sounds Great, But Being Smart Requires A Wider View: “The idea that we should be constantly policing our thoughts away from the past, the future, the imagination or the abstract and back to whatever is happening right now has gained traction with spiritual leaders and investment bankers, armchair philosophers and government bureaucrats and human resources departments. So does the moment really deserve its many accolades?” After all – it’ the ability to look forward and back, to connect ideas and think abstractly that helps us accomplish things.