Painting’s First Avant-Garde Was 500 Years Ago

painting avant garde

In an essay titled “The Birth of Bad Taste”, Barry Schwabsky argues that “long before Matisse, the Italian artists of the sixteenth century who came to be known as Mannerists were willing to twist their figures out of proportion, and they did so to create not convincing images, but convincing paintings.”

Crossing The Nabokov-vs.-Roth Divide

nabokov rtoth

Joshua Ferris: “In book after book, Nabokov creates idiosyncratic, heightened, elaborately constructed worlds; Roth’s one book investigates and exhausts his world, the given world. When I was younger, I preferred Nabokov. … But you can’t choose what kind of writer you become; aesthetics is handmaiden to temperament. By dint of nativity, or culture, or epoch, or perspective, I was more temperamentally aligned with Roth.”

The Problem With Broadway ‘Commodity Musicals’

commodity musical

Aladdin. Bullets Over Broadway. 9 to 5. Young Frankenstein. The Little Mermaid. Beauty and the Beast. And so on. “The most distinctive feature of these musicals is that they usually treat their source material not as a springboard for fresh, creative endeavor but as an exploitable economic commodity that can be ‘repurposed’ for further profit.”

What Makes The Tango Music For The Whole World


“If you play with sheet music, playing [just] everything written, it’s really a bore, because you don’t know the way to do something different with that, to create some kind of fresh rhythms. It’s the way to move accents, the articulation when you play, and the very fresh manner, very tender with no rush. Most of the classical players play very square and rush.”

Reality TV Is Cheap To Produce. Here’s Why


“I’m tired of fearing that I’m easily replaceable and I’m tired of hearing that this is industry standard. These companies abuse us, they don’t take our concerns seriously, they are taking our wages from us, not providing us with health care or vacation time. These benefits would be provided to any other full time worker and here we are working more than full time.”

WolfTrap To Introduce Supertitles For Your Smartphone


Wolf Trap will announce Tuesday that it will use new supertitle technology that allows audiences to follow the French narrative of the opera in English from their smartphones, tablets or Google Glass eyewear. The technology from Figaro Systems debuts during the July 25 performance of “Carmen.”

Progress Report: Women In Theatre

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“There’s a far bigger awareness that this is a problem. I just don’t think there’s any collective understanding of how to change it overnight, and redress the problem immediately. But I do think women are making strides.” – See more at:

Filmmaker Paul Mazursky Dead At 84


“A gentle satirist of contemporary society, Mazursky at his best” – in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love, An Unmarried Woman and Down and Out in Beverly Hills – “chronicled the social trends of the late 1960s and ’70s, including the era’s touchy-feely self-improvement fads, drug experimentation and shifting rules for love and sex.”

Propeller Theatre Co. Could Shut Down After Losing All Gov’t Funding


“Edward Hall, artistic director of all-male theatre company Propeller, has warned that the venue’s future is at risk following Arts Council England’s 100% cut to its funding…. Hall said without the money the company would be prevented from ‘forward planning’ and added that it ‘calls into question the future’ of Propeller.”

Francis Bacon Triptych Sells For $45.7 Million


“A Francis Bacon small-format triptych of his lover George Dyer made what Sotheby’s called a ‘landmark’ price of 26.7 million pounds on Monday in a contemporary art sale that surpassed estimates and set records for some artists.

Tracey Emin’s Bed Sells For More Than $4 Million

traceys bed

“The work, a rumpled bed surrounded by the intimate debris of empty bottles of vodka, cigarette packets and condoms, attracted controversy when it was shortlisted for the 1999 Turner Prize, prompting a debate about the state of contemporary art.”

NYPD Goes To Battle Against Subway Dancers

subway dance

“The New York Police Department is cracking down on the subway showmen who use the tight quarters of the nation’s busiest transit system as moving stages for impromptu – and illegal – pass-the-hat performances. More than 240 people have been arrested on misdemeanors related to acrobatics so far this year, compared with fewer than 40 at this time a year ago.”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 07.01.14

Do Opera And Art Museums Mix? An Experiment
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-07-02

Jeremy Denk Responds re The Classical Style
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-07-01

The middlebrow minstrel
AJBlog: About Last Night | Published 2014-07-01

Do You Know the Way to Cy Près? What’s Wrong with Corcoran’s Court Petition
AJBlog: CultureGrrl | Published 2014-07-01

Back To Koons: More Food For Thought
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-07-01


China’s Movie Box Office Up 22%


“The increase of 22% is a shade less than the 27% full year gain made last year when annual B.O. rose to $3.6 billion, though the first half has regularly been slower than the second semester.”

Meredith Monk On How Artists Create

Photo: Julieta Cervantes

“To make something, you have to be a deep-sea diver. You can have fear at the beginning, but then ultimately when curiosity takes over — at least this happens for me — then my fear goes away little by little because I get really interested in what I’ve discovered. We’re the R & D branch of the world, doing research and development all the time just to make an artwork. Making an artwork itself is a political statement in the world that we’re living in.”

Who Owns A Story? The Writer Or The Person Who Lived It?


“Do I have the right to write about a firefight in Falluja, if I wasn’t there? Does it demonstrate respect and admiration for the soldiers, and show evidence of their importance in our culture? Or does it insult those who risked their lives, if I take literary possession of that experience?”