The Thousand Tiny Histories Of The United States

little histories

“They are ordinary objects from the not-too-distant past. They are the stuff of basements, like what you might find at a yard sale, or landfill. Yet, put under glass and labeled, and the things take on a magical air. The more mundane the things are, the more you wonder why they have been saved at all, the more magic they seem to have.”

Pulp Thrillers In Egypt And The State Of The Egyptian Nation

egyptian pulp

“The golden age of illicit crime fiction translation – from the 1890s through the 1960s – corresponds to the construction of the Egyptian nation, from colonial rule and monarchy to President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s nationalization project. … And now, as authorities attempt to restore law and order, the crime genre is making a comeback.”

Sympathy For The Devil: Laura Miller Feels Bad For Amazon, Sort Of

Earns Radio Shack

“Lately Amazon has become the Goofus of publishing news, the surly, inconsiderate and gauche kid who never seems to get anything right. … Its pronouncements come in Amazonspeak, a language bred in a corporate echo chamber and the cheerleading threads of its self-publisher forums.”

How Bookslut Became A Tarot Card Reader

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Jessa Crispin: “We all tell ourselves stories, as a way to understand and cope with what’s happening. … Stories were my way in. Those figures in the cards became characters and plot points. I would pull one card every morning, and then look for that character or that plot point in my own life. That argument I keep having with my ex, the one that never resolves? Five of swords.”

Poet Simin Behbahani, 87, The “Lioness Of Iran”


A two-time Nobel Prize nominee and one of the country’s most revered writers, “she was a fierce feminist who subverted the form of Iran’s traditional ghazals, love poems traditionally written by male admirers to women. Behbahani flipped the ghazals and wrote hers to men. She used them to write about a mother’s anguish over the loss of her son in the Iran-Iraq war and the horrors of stoning women to death.”

Vandal Disrupts Jeff Koons Retrospective


A male artist (it’s always a male artist, isn’t it?) named Istvan Kantor, who has a history of this sort of thing, splashed red paint on a gallery wall in an X shape and scrawled “Monty Cantsin was here” before being led away – to a mental ward, from which, he has tweeted, he has now been released.

14 Artists Who Are Transforming The Future Of Opera

14 artists transforming opera future

“The artists below are some of our favorite opera innovators, toying with non-linear narratives, unusual instruments and new media, to name a few. Some take inspiration from subject matter we’d never expect to see on an opera stage, from gentrification to bad shroom trips to Milli Vanilli.” Some you may know of – composer David T. Little (Dog Days, the upcoming JFK), “electrodiva” Pamela Z – others, you will. (includes video clips)

A Place Beyond Words: The Literature Of Alzheimer’s


“As baby boomers approach their seventies and Alzheimer’s disease becomes increasingly commonplace, more and more fiction writers are attempting to reach into that obscure space. … Because the full, internal experience of Alzheimer’s is an account that fiction alone can deliver, … [this is a good time] to reassess the burgeoning genre and determine what its writers can and can’t tell us.”

Art Isn’t *Only* For Art’s Sake; Politics Is There, But It Isn’t *Everything*


Alex Ross, responding to Jed Perl: “To debate whether politics is always present or always absent is to play a parlor game irrelevant to the complex, ever-shifting reality in which both artists and their audiences reside. … Ultimately, I cannot forget the historical context. But forgetting is not essential to a full and passionate engagement with the music.” Ross takes as examples the much argued-over Richards, Wagner and Strauss.

Deaccessioning: The Ethics For Art Dealers


“If someone helps another person commit a crime, he’s an accessory to the illegal act and probably guilty of an infraction.” But if an art museum commits the ethics violation of selling off art for operating money, is the dealer who handles the sale doing anything wrong?

L.A. County November Election Will Include Arts Funding Measure

LA County arts funding

The ballot measure concerns “whether to absorb $23 in annual per-parcel property taxes over the next 30 years for improvements to parks and cultural facilities within them as well as recreational facilities, beaches and wildlife areas. If the required two-thirds supermajority says yes, the county would have $53 million each year to spend for all those purposes combined.” Most major arts venues in L.A. County are technically within parks.

What Do We Really Learn From Teaching Apes Language? Inside The Strange World Of Koko The Gorilla And Kanzi The Bonobo


“Koko is perhaps the most famous product of an ambitious field of research, one that sought from the outset to examine whether apes and humans could communicate. … But no new studies have been launched in years, and the old ones are fizzling out. A behind-the-scenes look at what remains of this research today reveals a surprisingly dramatic world of lawsuits, mass resignations, and dysfunctional relationships between humans and apes.”

St. Paul Ballet Makes A Go Of It As A Dancer-Run Company

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“A little more than a year ago, the company and school faced debt and considered cutting back on performances and even closing its doors. It reorganized as an artist-led organization, with dancers taking on administrative roles. Heading into the 2014-15 season, it looks like the dancers’ dedication has paid off.”

New Route Chosen To Keep Cruise Ships Out Of Historic Venice (This Isn’t As Good News As You Think)


The decision is “to use a channel in the lagoon called the Canale Contorta Sant’Angelo to bring the vast cruise ships into the port of Venice instead of sending them through the city. … It is like stopping juggernauts from travelling along the London Embankment by rerouting the same traffic and more down a new highway across Hyde Park.”

Top Posts From AJBlogs 08.20.14

Ethics 101 For Dealers: Deaccessioning
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-08-21

Will Indie Film Survive?
AJBlog: CultureCrash | Published 2014-08-20

AJBlog: Engaging Matters | Published 2014-08-20

Name The Best Four Hudson River School Paintings — To Go On Stamps
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts | Published 2014-08-20

The Six Sins of Joan Mitchell
AJBlog: Artopia | Published 2014-08-19


India’s Top Film Censor Arrested For Soliciting Bribes

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“The head of India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a bribe from a film producer. Rakesh Kumar was arrested on Monday in Mumbai for allegedly seeking 70,000 rupees (£692) to approve a film from the central state of Chhattisgarh.”

Why Isn’t The Edinburgh Int’l Festival Pulling In Any Of The Huge Fringe Audience? Asks Incoming Head

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Fergus Linehan “pointed out that the EIF has the biggest theatre audience in the world on its doorstep, but struggles to exploit it. … ‘Why do we struggle to deliver an audience that looks like even a cross section of the people in this room, or even more, a cross section of people walking down the street?'”

Why People Fall For Fake News Stories (It’s Not Just Irony Impairment)

the onion

“‘This isn’t about shortened attention spans. This is about an overabundance of decontextualized snippets of info.’ Facebook headlines and Tweets simply don’t consistently provide the cues one would need to distinguish weird news from fake news, ‘unless the is consistently ironic’.”

Head Of Korea’s Gwangju Biennale Resigns After Censoring Mural


“Earlier this month, a painting by the artist Hong Seong-dam was removed from an exhibition … following pressure by the Gwangju city government … The picture depicts the South Korean president Park Geun-hye being assailed by the families of children who died in the country’s MV Sewol ferry disaster last April.”

Another Russian Censorship Row, This Time Over Cultural Policy Paper

russian censorship row

“A controversial document on Russian cultural policy, commissioned by President Vladimir Putin and backed by the culture minister Vladimir Medinsky, has drawn criticism – even within the Kremlin.” Its objective is to set cultural “norms” for all media; a leaked early draft included such phrases as “cultural projects that impose values that are alien to society” and “Russia is not Europe”.

Margaret Atwood Would Totally Fit In At Comic-Con


“I designed some costume events for these doctors … The male doctor was a kidney surgeon, and he wanted the magic power to immediately implant kidneys in people, so his alter ego was named Kidney Boy, and the female doctor was Dr. Snit, and she had pain issues. And I gave them some little flying kidney helpers, because you have to have helpers. And Dr. Snit got a magic wand with a little halo of Tylenols.”

Met Opera: The Labor Crisis Is Over, The Spiritual Crisis Goes On

met justin

Justin Davidson: “Can an opera company indefinitely support thousands of practitioners of arcane crafts? Must a costly large-scale art form inevitably be a luxury product, or can technology help it reach a wider public than ever? Do the new rich even have any interest? More immediately, can the company put on good-enough shows to fill its yawning house?”