Matt Trueman: “The sad truth is that a proper old-fashioned panning is good for a critic – and, by extension, good for criticism. … Hard hits get hits [i.e. page views]. It’s the critical equivalent of slowing down at a crash site. Because a great critic going full-pelt, venting his or her vitriol on to the page, is a thing of real beauty. Dark, splenetic, grisly beauty, but beauty nonetheless.” (He thinks hatchet jobs are good for theatre, too.)
“I think art critics should be more like science journalists. We should be some kind of intermediary between the smartest people who talk about art, the smartest writing from art historians and the general public.” (podcast)
“The protests started almost immediately after the presidential election. … And it hasn’t let up. Each Trump proclamation has seemed to inspire a new round of agitation and action. … Whether this ideological high alert will produce good art is one question; whether the art will do any good is another.” Carl Swanson explores the battle lines.
Rachel Corbett of New York magazine asked 22 artists, curators, and critics what works of political art they found genuinely powerful. Here’s a
slideshow gallery with their answers (with which one may or may not agree).
Christopher Hawthorne interviews UCLA’s Hitoshi Abe and USC’s Qingyun Ma. One of the amusing exchanges:
“Dean Ma, you’ve been at USC during the presidency of C.L. Max Nikias, who’s been ambitious about raising money and building new facilities in a very consistent and conservative architectural style, which he calls Collegiate Gothic.
“Ma: This is where I made the decision not to bring my own personal design agenda to the job.”
He bought the starling and, when it died, wrote an elegy for it. Yes, really. “He paid a few kreuzers for a starling in that notebook. And he called the bird Vogelstar.”
VO moved to a festival model to ensure the future viability of the company as it deals with universal challenges facing the opera world. Kim Gaynor says tickets are selling, but she concedes the buzz has been slow to build.
“The fact that internships are so prevalent in the creative industries is concerning, because the creative workforce lacks ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, particularly at entry level. If internships without measures to ensure equal access are common, there is a risk that the diversity of the sector will suffer.”
Overall, “Music of the 1940s was preferred to music of its neighboring decades, and the same was true for music of the 1960s. The music of the 1980s also showed a peak, but … only for the younger participants.”
“If history was any guide, the director Terry George figured, there’d be weirdness around his new film, The Promise, about the Armenian genocide. Sure enough, he was right” – there was a concerted pile-on at IMDb, and the unanticipated release of a competing film on strangely similar material, The Ottoman Lieutenant. Cara Buckley lays out the strange circumstances around the two titles.
“Somewhere at Google there is a database containing 25 million books and nobody is allowed to read them.” James Somers runs down the history of the massive book-scanning project and of Authors Guild v. Google – and how “perhaps the most adventuresome class action settlement ever attempted” was taken apart despite the best interests of all the parties.
“Southern accents are like hot sauces: dozens of varieties that can be difficult to distinguish, but they can be subtle or heavy-handed; they can add color or be a one-note distraction. … When some people detect their presence, that’s all they can focus on. In the wrong hands they can be dangerous.” John Adamian talks to a professional audiobook narrator about the pitfalls involved.
Roslyn Sulcas moderates a three-way between Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, and Justin Peck.
That unequivocal statement came from Carole Rothman, the artistic director of Second Stage Theater, which, reports Michael Paulson, commissioned new works by the nine playwrights – seven of them women, three of them African-American, and one of them Asian-American – with the intention of bringing the shows to Broadway.”
“I think it’s made the whole community feel braver about making work that pushes people harder and gives voice to subject matter and to people that we can see being silenced under this administration. The second he was elected, the theatre community got energy and it’s a really great thing that we have a place to put our anger and our fear.”
“We [conductors] are the ears of the singer. But if we tell singers to please fit into a little box that I’m trying to create … then the conductor is like a teacher, and that is not what it should be.” David Patrick Stearns does a Q&A with YNS as he prepares for the opening of The Flying Dutchman, his first production at the Metropolitan Opera since becoming music director-designate.
One unexpected sight at the London museum’s new Switch House extension is a view straight into the glass-walled condos of the Neo Bankside complex, just 20 meters across the street. And visitors have been taking full advantage of that view, sharing photos of it all over social media, much to the residents’ chagrin. (The Tate has not been sympathetic.) Now five plaintiffs “claim their high-rise homes have been turned into ‘goldfish bowls’ while they have become ‘public exhibits'” – a violation of their human rights, they say.
The two were among seven titles to receive honors in the entertainment category.
Smart Move In Brooklyn
A lot of people today are interested in “design.” Unless they are furnishing a home, not all that many are interested in “decorative arts.” They are, of course, fraternal if not identical twins. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-04-20
Miles, Cleanhead, Sonny And “Four”
“Four” is one of the best-known jazz tunes attributed to Miles Davis. He may actually have written it, although a substantial number of musicians maintain that the composer was the alto saxophonist … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-04-20
“There’s no question that digital technology presents challenges to the reading brain, but, seen from a historical perspective, these look like differences of degree, rather than of kind. To the extent that digital reading represents something new, its potential cuts both ways. Done badly (which is to say, done cynically), the Internet reduces us to mindless clickers, racing numbly to the bottom of a bottomless feed; but done well, it has the potential to expand and augment the very contemplative space that we have prized in ourselves ever since we learned to read without moving our lips.”
Studies of waking and sleeping unconscious processes suggest that deception is not, and has never been, the second self’s true forte. As the mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead sagely observed in the early days of psychoanalysis, the unconscious is essentially an enabler, quietly rolling up its sleeves to expand ‘the number of important operations that we can perform without thinking of them’.
“The behavioral techniques that are being employed by governments and private corporations do not appeal to our reason; they do not seek to persuade us consciously with information and argument. Rather, these techniques change behavior by appealing to our nonrational motivations, our emotional triggers and unconscious biases. If psychologists could possess a systematic understanding of these nonrational motivations they would have the power to influence the smallest aspects of our lives and the largest aspects of our societies.”
Would Thomson get away with this today? “He was hardly a model critic. He gave friends positive reviews, enemies negative reviews, and usually made sure his own music was reviewed by a stringer (occasionally he did it himself). He routinely slept through performances he was reviewing, had a penchant for making sweeping and sometimes perplexing generalizations, and dismissed beloved works and composers with little explanation.”