Phineas Harper: “Across architectural culture we dread the label of unoriginality like a curse. We deride the derivative, we mock mimics, we fear facsimiles. Call us dull, call us sellouts, call us gentrifiers – just don’t call us copycats. I believe this sneering snobbery of derivation is deeply flawed and at odds with the potential of architecture as a collective creative force.” (For instance, Shigeru Ban is not the only architect allowed to use cardboard tubes.)
“The history of post-war cool is both a history of these strange convergences – between French intellectuals, African American musicians and white working-class Hollywood heroes – and of the continuing conflicts between and within them.”
Hint: If Jane Austen had Caroline Bingsley say something, probably you shouldn’t quote it for gentle surface meaning. “In short, Austen wrote the line as a satirical comment on how we perform certain admirable qualities to win approval.”
As a corollary of his mission to rethink the performer’s role, Parker Woods refuses to let his identity as a cellist be restricted by conventional perceptions of what a classical string player does. Which is why, even at this still-early stage of his career, he’s already been leaving his imprint on a fascinating variety of collaborations across disciplines.
Nicole Chung writes about her meaningful mother-and-child trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Winter’s Tale.
Makhar Vaziev: “When I accepted this position, [Bolshoi general director] Vladimir Urin set a concrete task before me about what he wanted to see from the troupe, and we came to a mutual agreement about that. In terms of classical ballet, I prefer irreproachable, ideal form, and that doesn’t change from theater to theater. What I demand of the dancers here today – the highest level of performing, both aesthetically and technically, among other things – is nothing new to them, but it’s possible no one paid attention to it before.”
“[Brian] Henson said he had to have numerous talks with [Steve] Whitmire over the years about his unprofessional conduct, which included ‘appalling’ communications with colleagues. … Henson declined to go into specifics about Whitmire’s exact demands, but did say, ‘Steve would use ‘I am now Kermit and if you want the Muppets, you better make me happy because the Muppets are Kermit.’ And that is really not OK.'”
“So what’s the deal? Where did this seemingly dumb idea come from and why does it persist? Today’s Tedium points out why it was once valuable, and why it no longer is.”
“Netflix’s bold foray into movie-making and directly-to-couch distribution is an explicit challenge to the traditional Hollywood model, analysts say, although it remains unclear if a company propelled by binge-watching TV at home can alter the future of going to the movies.”
“When you work with film, there’s a risk of things becoming very concrete. I think a strength of art is that you can steer people in a certain direction, but they have to take the last few steps themselves—everyone can find their own truth in the piece. I like to push people in a certain direction, but leave a few things for them to interpret themselves.”
“The museum may be the among the best-known examples of the now fashionable transformation of derelict factories into dynamic cultural space. Since its inception, the Tate Modern has never rested on its laurels, continuing to redefine itself as an institution of outreach, self-reflection and learning. The museum’s evolution over time provides a potential blueprint for how London, and indeed any city, can provide spaces that encourage its inhabitants to be collectively present. You cannot experience the Tate Modern through Facebook or a tweet; you must show up, with an open mind, surrounded by your fellow visitors.”
“The Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation made a splash in the world of art criticism and journalism this week, announcing a new annual prize that offers American art writers who write for general audiences (rather than academic readers) a $50,000 unrestricted grant in recognition of their work. The grant matches the highest awards given by the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation, which range from $15,000 to $50,000, and is five times the sum awarded to Pulitzer Prize winners.”
Things have started to shift on the dot-painting stereotype in the decade or so. There has been “a push to have urban, Indigenous artists accepted. As a result, the art market’s understanding of Indigenous art has expanded to include urban artists who work in many different mediums.”
“In Nielsen’s latest mid-year music report, hip-hop/R&B had the largest share of overall consumption, capturing 25.1 percent of the total volume in album sales and online streaming. It’s a watershed moment for the black-dominated genre. Former longtime volume leader rock — a genre created by African Americans then co-opted by white artists — dropped to second with 23 percent of the total volume.”
At the unveiling Tuesday of the new “tenner” at Winchester Cathedral in southern England, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the new note celebrates the “universal appeal” of Austen’s work.
Woebot (that’s what it’s called) “seems intriguing. The idea is to help you understand and monitor your moods using a combination of natural language processing and therapeutic expertise. Sounds good, right? Using A.I. via social media to significantly reduce psychological problems like anxiety and depression would be quite a breakthrough. But there are some major hurdles to overcome.”
“Netflix shares rose more than 10% in after-hours trading in New York after announcing its second-quarter results. The firm said it added about 5.2 million members during the quarter, mostly from overseas. International members now account for about half of its subscriber total.”
That’s what LA’s Broad Museum will charge. “One has to note that these are the same museums that regularly raise outside sums of money to pay for big building projects, even as they make no real effort to address ticket prices. While commending the Broads for displaying their collection for free (setting aside that it is largely blue chip and predictable), we can still say that it looks peculiar for them to spend $140 million on a building and then charge $25 for a show. The same goes for SFMOMA and its current admissions fees.”
“I don’t believe in the afterlife as a reality, but I believe in the afterlife as metaphor, and my mother, from the afterlife, is metaphorically kicking my ass. … I have been sobbing many times a day during this book tour. I have sobbed in private and I have sobbed onstage.” (One commenter called it “the most poetic cancelling of a book tour in history.”)
Jesse Singal: “There’s an intriguing area of behavioral science known as mind-set research, and one of its tenets is that the relationship between stress and humans’ response to it is partially mediated by how people expect stress to affect them. … If you tell students over and over and over that certain variants of free speech – variants which are ugly, but which are aired every moment of every day on talk radio – are traumatizing them, it really could do harm. And there’s no reason to go down this road, because there’s no evidence that the mere presence of a conservative speaker on campus is harming students in some deep psychological or physiological way.”
Point Counterpoint II was designed by the great architect Louis Kahn – with a unique structure that opens like a clamshell to provide a stage and acoustical canopy – for the American Wind Symphony Orchestra to use for concert tours along the nation’s waterways. After many years of attempts to sell the vessel, the owners are planning to send it to a scrap- and shipyard in Louisiana at the end of this month. Following an emotional plea from Yo-Yo Ma in The New York Review of Books, there is interest in saving Point Counterpoint II, writes John von Rhein – but donors need to be found for the purchase.
“At least 547 young members of the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir in Germany were subjected to physical and in some instances sexual abuse over a period of 60 years, a new report says. … Among those singled out for criticism in the report was Georg Ratzinger, elder brother of retired Pope Benedict XVI … [who] was head of the choir from 1964 to 1994 and denies any knowledge of what went on. It was ‘never discussed’ while he ran the choir, he has said.”
Choreographer Adam Weinert has developed a specialty in recreating the oeuvre of Ted Shawn and his early 20th-century troupe, Men Dancers.
Conductor Cristian Măcelaru says, “‘Once an artist embraces that, then the connection to the audience is that much more relevant. To that extent I don’t think the art form (of classical music) is dying at all.’ Having said that, Măcelaru feels that in the last 10 years there’s been a growing disconnect between the message of the composer and the way the audience understands it – ‘if only because the message itself is lacking.'”
“Less than two years after arriving at the Barnes Foundation from Paris’ Musée d’Orsay, … Sylvie Patry, 48, is returning to France and to her former museum. It’s pretty much a dream job, she says. The Orsay, as she calls it, has carved out a position for her as deputy director for curatorial affairs and collections, giving her, essentially, the run of the place.”
Jupiter, Florida in northern Palm Beach County is home to a very large population of Guatemalan immigrants. In April 2015, Onesimo Lopez-Ramos, an 18-year-old member of that community, was murdered outside his home by … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-07-18
A Real Community Will Stretch You
What are the qualities of a rubber band? Flexibility: the ability to bend without breaking. Clinnesha Sibley shares a reflection on the first time she felt the power of community as a teacher at Piney Woods School. … read more
AJBlog: Field Notes Published 2017-07-18
Joe Fields, 1929-2017
On July 12 we lost Joe Fields. During his long career Fields was the guiding spirit of record labels committed to unalloyed jazz. He started the Cobblestone label and later changed its name to Muse. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-07-18
While she has appointed rapper/producer Q-Tip, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and opera singer Renée Fleming as artistic advisers, more than a dozen senior executives and artistic leaders have resigned or been let go.
New federal data suggest the increasing financial pressures may be starting to take a toll on institutions. An annual report from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that the number of colleges and universities eligible to award federal financial aid to their students fell by 5.6 percent from 2015-16 to 2016-17. That’s the fourth straight decline since a peak of 7,416 institutions in 2012-13. It is also by far the largest (the others were 0.3, 1.2 and 2.0 percent, in order).
“There’s long been a sense among pundits that the studios’ single-minded pursuit of young males is misguided: As a group, they’re too elusive, and chasing them can too often lead to a race to the bottom aesthetically. But that was just a feeling. This summer is providing hardcore forensic proof.”
While rivals tried to challenge the art-world establishment head on, Artsy chose to partner. “We always intuitively thought those other vertical models weren’t going to be as scalable, but it’s scary at the time to see another competitor going up really fast in revenue when you’re not,” Cleveland says. “To be a partnership model, to aggregate everything into one place, means we had to wait a little bit longer until we started seeing those transactions. Now the roles have switched.”