It says a lot that the sales of such painfully prescient dystopias as 1984 have increased since November 9, 2016. It says even more that “Moonlight,” an indie with no stars about a gay, black drug dealer, found an enormous audience and enormous accolades at the beginning of this year. More than junkfood entertainment, we need “beautiful resistance,” as I’ve come to call the art that engages us in social justice concerns, human compassion, and values of love, courage, and dissent. We need art that reminds us that the “human condition” encompasses all humans – not just the white, male, straight faces belonging to the people who currently hold most of the highest offices of our government.
For a start, there are growing pains (though “pains” isn’t really the right word): really successful pub ventures morph into actual theatres, even as established theatres (including subsidized ones) open their own pubs with separate stages. Even so, writes Matt Trueman, there’s still a lot of vitality in the movement.
In an editorial that concentrates in the dance scene in Philadelphia but could apply to any of the performing arts, Steven Weisz argues that there are plenty of smaller companies and organizations “already firmly entrenched in the communities they service … [and] tend to attract younger and more diverse audiences as a result” – and that, instead of throwing grant money at large organizations for “engagement” programs, funders should send that money their way instead.
“Over the past five decades, and especially over the past few years, much of the world has got faster. Working patterns, political cycles, everyday technologies, communication habits and devices, the redevelopment of cities, the acquisition and disposal of possessions – all of these have accelerated. Meanwhile, over the same half century, almost entirely unnoticed by the media or mainstream academia, accelerationism has gradually solidified from a fictional device into an actual intellectual movement: a new way of thinking about the contemporary world and its potential.”
“I have to give a convocation talk at Wesleyan, and so I’m working on The Talk—that’s what it’s called. I’m thinking, what do you say to these twenty-year-olds, these twenty-one-year-olds? What occurs to me is that it’s not about how powerful we are, it’s about how powerless we are. And in the face of the lack of power, what do we do then? What do we do then? That’s really the question. Are we willing to fail and fail in order to continue to say no to this? Because that’s what we should be doing.”
Deborah Solomon travels to Lafayette, La. to meet the artist’s sister and learn about his dyslexia and their fundamentalist Christian upbringing, talks to a classmate at Black Mountain College from whom he stole a quilt to use in an early artwork (“The next time I saw it was at the Leo Castelli Gallery”), and has coffee-with-Häagen-Dazs in a Williamsburg loft with Susan Weil, Rauschenberg’s ex-wife and the woman who taught him how to make photograms.
It suggests that a high proportion of national culture budgets is spent on capital cities because they have large ‘sunk investments’ that create a revenue and capital legacy. By contrast, in cities in China, which have less ‘legacy’ cultural infrastructure in which to invest, “it appears that Chinese cities are placing a greater priority on investing in newer and more commercial cultural forms”.
“The idea that art and politics don’t mix, and that silence is therefore perfectly acceptable, is prevalent in Europe and North America, leading to more indulgence towards Dudamel. But this view is based on a profound misunderstanding of the conductor and the program behind him. El Sistema and politics have been mixed since the arrival of Hugo Chávez in power in 1999, and Dudamel’s career and program have been heartily supported by the Bolivarian Revolution. The idea that silence equates to political neutrality is therefore misguided, as many Venezuelans are well aware.”
“In the past few years, entertainers of south Asian origin have gone from being a minor footnote in American popular culture to a headline event. You can see a snapshot of this new America in a picture British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed tweeted this month at the Met Gala, the annual gathering of pop-culture royalty.”
This may be as a good a time as any to offer Richard Goldstein’s confession. It isn’t anything he has tried to hide, and, in fact, he mentioned it briefly in his 2015 memoir, “Another Little Piece of My Heart.” But the revelation may be startling to Beatles fans, who have devoted their lives to interpreting every lyric, recording flourish and photograph presented by their band. The stereo Goldstein used for his review was broken. Repeat. The guy who slammed “Sgt. Pepper” in the New York Times had a busted speaker.
“In order to make music, I need three healthy relationships: with the materials of my art, with the world around me, and with the people with whom I share it. These are the building blocks of what I think of as an externally facing artistic practice. The goal of an externally facing practice is to become as complete a human being as possible, in whose life music plays a central and defining role. On the other hand, the goal of an internally facing practice — the default stance of much academic training, especially in this country — is to be the most skilled musician possible. A rich and rewarding extra-musical life is secondary. The external view is built on education; the internal one on training.”
New-music nerds of a certain age will remember Crumb’s haunting García Lorca song cycle Ancient Voices of Children or his anti-Vietnam War piece for “electric string quartet,” Black Angels. They may have been weird, but they were cool. Now the grand old man of the American avant-garde at age 87, Crumb is still composing away – most recently, Metamorphoses Book I, a cycle of piano works based on his favorite paintings. Avant-garde diva Margaret Leng Tan gave the premiere in D.C. on May 7, and David Patrick Stearns was there.
There’s definitely hope for doing so, argues Olivia Carr: “Both [groups are] united in that they find value in experiences rather than material possessions. Live entertainment is a commodity that the latest long-form TV series cannot compete with, and is something that young people will continue to seek out.” First, though, she has a warning: “More than other generations, young people are hyper-aware of being sold to, and quickly zone out in the face of one-way sales messages.”
Next Week’s Bellwether Auctions: Guarantees, Investor Pleas, Uncertainties
Ahead of next week’s major Impressionist, modern and contemporary art auctions, both Sotheby’s and Christie’s are assuring possibly skittish buyers that there are “signs of strengthening” in the market … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-05-11
Catching Up With You
From time to time, Rifftides asks readers to send information about the music they turn on, and vice versa. It has been more than five years since we canvassed you about what you’re hearing. It’s time. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-05-11
“At some point, the core product DG was offering wasn’t enough to cover larger overhead and administration costs, salaries and fees, advances and marketing budgets. The label reacted to this development by distancing itself further from its core classical business and looking for new customers. And so the things that made the Yellow Label special fell increasingly away. Loyal fans began to look elsewhere for their quality records. Browse through forums for classical music obsessives today, and you’ll find few more common targets for invective than Deutsche Grammophon.”
“Previous Aesop research showed how the Dance to Health programmes could address a problem that costs the NHS £2.3bn a year, as the rates of completion for dance-based alternatives to NHS exercise courses are 55% higher. An evaluation of the Dance to Health pilot programme in February 2017 also concluded that dance artists could be trained to deliver classes which were an enjoyable artistic challenge, faithful to healthcare objectives, and would deliver measurable reductions in loneliness for participants.”
Two performances in Marguerite and Armand at Covent Garden in June were to be his first performances with the company – which trained him and where he became a principal at age 19 – since he walked away without warning five years ago.
There’s a volubility about Rauschenberg’s visual imagination that is irreconcilable with the discipline art demands. However monumental or panoramic a work of art may be, there must always be some acknowledgment of the limits of the artist’s vision. Rauschenberg didn’t know the meaning of the word “limits.” There was something of the outrageousness of a Ponzi scheme in the way he took this or that avant-garde idea and inflated it—over and over again.