The municipality of metro Istanbul closed 1453 Culture and Art Magazine and fired three editors for “bounderish, disrespectful and provocative content” – that content being a spray-painted “Erdo-gone! Inshallah mashallah (God willing)” on a wall behind a cat. The offending article? A cover story on a popular documentary about the city’s street cats.
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. “The phrase has a dour fatalism to it – if everything’s bound to fail, why bother trying? But time has distorted the law’s intended meaning entirely. There really was a Murphy, and the law that bears his name is not an admission of defeat. It is a call to excellence.” Corinne Purtill explains. (Has she ruined it for the rest of us?)
Mind you, this wasn’t a telecast of the theatre performance; decades’ experience has shown that those can be just dandy. (Yes, yes, it’s not the same as being there. Not everyone can get there.) This was a BBC television adaptation, with television conventions. Yes, sometimes that can work; Time Out London theatre editor Andrzej Lukowski analyzes why, for this play in particular, it did not.
“In the late 2000s, there were roughly 10 such experts worldwide—a small number that was poised to get even smaller. Many of these individuals were approaching retirement age, and across the whole of the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe, there were at most two young conservators considering a career in this niche field. This was the worrisome picture that emerged from a survey begun in 2008 by Copenhagen’s Statens Museum for Kunst and funded by the Getty Foundation.”
Elvis has fallen to the status of “novelty act”, according to David Hesmondhalgh, an author and professor of music at the University of Leeds, who says that any musician whose image transcends their music will ultimately fade away: “If you ask a small child about Elvis, the fact he died on a toilet through overeating or wore a silly suit is all that registers. The music has become far less important than the caricature. His image has been cheapened.”
A onetime child star, James Rocco initiated the Ordway’s Broadway Songbook series, which celebrates musical theater composers. He also built up the Ordway’s in-house Broadway-style producing arm, putting on shows such as “A Chorus Line,” “Paint Your Wagon” and the recent smash, “West Side Story.”
It’s even in Utah. “A breath of fresh choreographic air is coming to Salt Lake City. Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute has invited companies from across the country to join Ballet West for the first annual National Choreographic Festival, May 19–20 and 26–27. Over the course of two weekends and two different programs, premieres and recently acquired repertory will be performed in the new, state-of-the-art Eccles Theater.”
Ramadan is the big season for television in the Muslim world, as families gather at the set each night after breaking the daytime fast. Black Crows, a 30-part drama airing on the Arab world’s most popular satellite channel, “paints a picture of the Islamic State … as a brutal criminal organization run by corrupt and hypocritical leaders. But recruits are depicted as victims, and women who challenge the militants’ control are heroes.” (includes scenes from three episodes)
“Perhaps alphabet blocks seem like an obvious idea now, but it took a lot of foundation to build up that pretty good idea into something incredibly common.” And by the way, “the guy who invented the word ‘Kindergarten’ also ensured [alphabet] blocks would always have a place in the toy aisle.”
“Patrons of the 21st century are far less politically motivated than the Medici family and their ilk, and they generally don’t house artists in their lavish estates or command them to paint frescos. But just like the patrons of old, they are giving creators a pathway to success and economic stability, providing living expenses, supplies, pep talks and more.”
Joep Beving, who lives in Amsterdam, performed and recorded his “mood music” album, Solipsism, for the enjoyment of his family. Then, partly for fun, he made it available on music-streaming service Spotify. He never imagined that the contemplative, atmospheric piano tunes would draw such a vast audience worldwide. But such was the popularity of Solipsism that four record companies were soon fighting over him, and he has now been signed by Deutsche Grammophon (DG).
“Ironically, as if in a reversal of roles, many art galleries now act like museums did in the past. Their spaces now feel sterile and out of touch. For a time now, galleries have abided by the corporate business model, creating a corporatized art-buying experience. But the real issue facing art galleries today is this: Does the corporate model that has satisfied cultured people for decades still provide fulfillment? How can the art industry adapt to a consumer society in which everything is being turned into an event?”
“Though not among the movement’s best-known adherents in the U.S., Ehrenberg was one of the most important exponents of its principles in Europe. … When he returned to Mexico in 1974, Ehrenberg participated in the country’s los grupos movement. Combining activism and anti-art, Ehrenberg and the other los grupos artists created sociopolitical work that could address oppressive political regimes.”
“Everything about putting refugees on display as exhibits in an art show feels wrong to me. Yes, they are consenting participants. But how many options do they really have? Are they in a position to turn Eliasson’s offer down? Why not organise a project with them off site instead of parading them in front of the public? Let people interested in the project seek it out. Let the others gawp at something else. This is not art in service of migrants but migrants in service of an artistic and curatorial vision.”
Linda Reichert, who co-founded the city’s Network for New Music in 1984, will step down as artistic director at the end of next season. “In its 33 years, the Network for New Music ensemble, flexible in size and instrumental makeup, has performed more than 500 new works plus 138 commissioned by the organization itself.”
“It’s fair to say that the only common thread linking every series that sustains itself over several years and develops a loyal audience is its ability to perfect that distinctive voice early in its first season, then continue to develop it in a way that speaks directly to the audience and not only tells a story but establishes a unique tone and rhythm.”
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra music director Miguel Harth-Bedoya ran afoul of strict — some say ridiculous — security procedures imposed back in January by Performing Arts Fort Worth Inc., the organization that owns and runs Bass Hall. The rules forbid any bags or purses larger than 12 by 4 by 12 inches. Luggage, backpacks and shopping bags are not allowed, and bags or purses larger than 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches must be inspected. Ushers and security personnel have been scrutinizing arriving audience members and inspecting larger bags.
“France is a paradise for moviegoers, with thriving cinemas and state subsidies for new productions. Netflix is a global streaming giant founded on the concept that movie theaters are a thing of the past. So it was perhaps inevitable that the two worlds would collide over the Cannes Film Festival.”
That’s what Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter is doing, and Midgette “understand[s] the instinct. The performing arts have increasingly devolved into a field in which artists become cogs in a machine operated by other people, from managers and programmers through to stage directors and conductors. … Putting artists in the driver’s seat may seem like an ideal corrective. But bringing artists in as programmers, in capacities they’re not trained in, doesn’t necessarily alter the current model. Indeed, it may reaffirm it.”
“Like Mark Twain, David Letterman distinguished himself as a cockeyed, deadpan observer of American behavior and, later in life, for his prodigious and distinctive facial hair. Now the two satirists share a further connection … He will officially receive the prize in a ceremony that will be held [at the Kennedy Center] on Oct. 22 and broadcast at a later date.”
“Shelby Shellz Suzie Q Felton is a rarity in the flex world: a woman. However, as her name implies, she’s not just one woman, but three, wrapped into a single, articulate body. There is the day-to-day Shelby, who is quiet but given to quick humor. Then there’s Shellz, who ‘is very smooth, very relaxed,’ Ms. Felton said. And Suzie Q? ‘Suzie is more cutthroat.'”
Can we, should we, brand “The Arts”?
Barry’s Blog has thoughts on this. He points out, correctly I think, that while individual airline companies – Delta, Virgin, Qantas – try to create a brand image of their own, there is also in the public mind an idea of the airline sector as a whole. … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2017-05-16
Totally, Irresistibly Captivating
Doug Borwick on a concert by Sammy Miller and the Congregation at this year’s Charlotte Jazz Festival: “… what is related to this blog is their combination of high-end artistry and technical skill, musicianship, and knowledge of their discipline with total dedication to winning converts. The band even has a mission statement.” … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-05-16
Mistaken At The Getty, And Grateful About It
I was among the skeptics several years ago … [but] I’m glad to say that the Getty Trust’s messy structure, which has often caused problems in the past, particularly between the Trust’s president and the museum’s director, seems to be working well now. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-05-16
Monday Recommendation: Broadbent And Mancio
Georgia Mancio, Alan Broadbent, Songbook (Roomspin Records)
Pianist and composer Alan Broadbent has found his lyricist. Further good news: in their Songbook, Georgia Mancio sings her words to Broadbent’s songs with taste, feeling and faultless intonation. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-05-16
“To some extent, the problem we’re solving is a problem of our own making. That problem is that we–both Ticketmaster and the industry–have for as long as we’ve been selling tickets, been selling tickets to consumers based on speed. You have a good that’s perpetually priced under market in a sales environment that rewards speed.”
In the party’s election manifesto, published on May 16, Labour said it would introduce a cultural capital fund, totalling £1 billion, to “upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age”. The fund would also invest in creative clusters across the country, designed to boost economic growth through culture. It would be administered through Arts Council England over a period of five years, and is described by Labour as “among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever”.