Can art – in any form – provide a cathartic experience for its creator? How do artists negotiate the landscape of their own trauma to create a work that stands independently of that experience? To distance his creation from his cataclysmic personal loss, Jonathon Young began to research post-traumatic stress disorder. He was not diagnosed with the disorder, and maybe there was relief in other people’s stories. But as his research deepened, he came across a phenomenon known as peritraumatic dissociation.
“Whatever the intelligentsia nurtures and celebrates in our galleries and academic journals is bound to flow eventually into the nation’s cinemas, through its ballot boxes and toward the swamp of Washington, D.C. The last few months have proven that Trump is not out to drain that swamp. He is its progeny, and we on the left — the artists, the people of culture — have done our part in creating the conditions for him to thrive.”
Well, the problem is understandable, really: “Broadway serves both a local market and a tourist one, theater snobs and theater newcomers. If you go to a Broadway show only once a year and your ticket likely costs upwards of $100, do you choose the intellectually engaging drama or the [musical] with the lights and back handsprings and sequins? … Why do a play on Broadway at all?” As Alexis Soloski explains, there are some good reasons.
“A great storyteller — whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator — helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.”
J.K. Rowling wrote the story – about Sirius Black and Harry Potter’s father, James – for a charity auction. “The manuscript was auctioned in 2008 to raise money for literacy causes, selling for 25,000 pounds, or about $32,100 at current exchange rates, according to the BBC. Police said that burglars had also taken jewels.”
Just as a half-hearted apology flew out after an editor wrote an entire piece on how great cultural appropriation was, and the whole thing was dying down “thanks to the vicious half-life of the news cycle, a bunch of high-ranking members of Canadian media — all white — decided to go lose their shit on Twitter.:
Yes, you need Leonora Carrington and all the rest of them: “The history of Surrealism and political activism is a bit messy, but for the most part they were an anti-Fascist movement whose cry for demanding freedom inspired responses from under represented voices. Among them were numerous female members who created a feminine space filled with reclaimed symbology and deconstructed mythology.”
Actor Oraine Johnson said, “It’s nothing special that happened to me. It’s something that happens, it’s happened before, it’s happened to my grandfather and my father. Growing up as a black male I know stuff like this happens. It was just ironic it happened before a show about racism.”
Things went badly wrong for the National Ballet during the Arab Spring and the conservative religious backlash that followed. “The company is still recovering from the turmoil. Most foreign dancers fled amid the 2011 uprising. Foreign ballerinas are back, but now the company — like the rest of Egypt — struggles with austerity measures imposed by the government to repair the damaged economy. Funds are tighter. After devaluations, even the best paid dancers make the equivalent of only a few hundred dollars a month.”
“We are used to talking about composers who live on through their music. But music teachers enjoy an almost genealogical immortality through their students, regardless of those pupils’ later fame. Because music making is practiced through the body, teachers imprint their students with the specific physical traits of their craft: gestures, tics and preferences that those students may in turn pass on to yet another generation.”
The Allies returned about 9,000 works – less than half of those looted by the Nazis – to the Netherlands, but the Netherlands didn’t make much progress in getting them back to the original owners – and now the panel that makes decisions is supposed to consider “‘the significance of the work to public art collections’ against the emotional attachment of the claimant.” That’s not going particularly well for the claimants.
Yoga and hypnosis didn’t work, so he went for something different. Why? “Grant spent his life as a creature in flight. His mercurial nature was the making of him – a peculiarly Gatsby-esque urge that allowed a Bristol street urchin named Archie Leach to reimagine himself as an American prince, the embodiment of Hollywood grace and glamour.”
The studio literally reinvented the genre with Toy Story, the first computer-generated 3-D-animated feature film. Each subsequent Pixar release offered new feats of technical wizardry, from engineering the delicate trajectories of millions of individual strands of fur in 2001’s Monsters, Inc. to capturing the wondrous interplay between light and water in 2003’s Finding Nemo. Even as others gradually caught up with Pixar’s visual artistry, the studio continued to tell stories of unparalleled depth and sophistication. Pixar’s signature achievement was to perfect a kind of crossover animated cinema that appealed equally to kids and adults.
The argument goes that “there’s a vast sea of images, ideas, stories and experiences out there and imaginative voyagers should be encouraged to pluck from it whatever flotsam they please. Beyond the very limited applications of copyrights and trademarks, there are no rules to say they are wrong, just lots of contexts in which those assumptions start to look really dubious. Why? Because they may elbow out people who haven’t had enough time or space to make their own mark.”
The manifesto identifies the creative industries as “the envy of the world, a source of national pride, a driver of inward investment and tourism and a symbol of the kind of country we are now and aspire to be in the future”. As Britain prepares to leave the EU, it states that Labour will “put our world-class creative sector at the heart of our negotiations and future industrial strategy”.
Ever since Random International’s wildly popular Rain Room was shown at a Shanghai museum in 2015, unauthorized copies have been spreading across China (there were two of them in the city before the museum show even closed), and now there are agencies where you can rent a one. Shanghai now has a permanent one at what seems to be an art-installation theme park – it also has knock-offs of Yayoi Kusama’s Dot Obsession and Infinity Rooms and a Van Gogh Starry Night hall of mirrors.