The artworks were taken by British soldiers who were sacking the capital of the Kingdom of Benin; the art was then auctioned off to pay for the costs of the invasion in which they were taken, and most of the pieces ended up in museums in Berlin and London, where they gave European viewers their first glimpse of African art.
Political polarization, the rise in populism, ignorance in world leaders, distortion of the truth, and encouraging distrust among people, their leaders, and the media are considered dangerous enough to be featured on a list that includes climate change, population increase, and infectious diseases.
“In Group Psychology, Freud asks why crowds make a ‘barbarian’ of the ‘cultivated individual’. Why are the inhibitions enforced by social life so readily overwhelmed by all that is ‘cruel, brutal and destructive’ when we join together with others? And why does the crowd need a strong leader, a hero to whom it willingly submits? The crowd – which is, after all, just an evanescent massing of humanity, a gathering that will quickly disperse once its task is finished – is oddly ‘obedient to authority’. It might appear anarchic, but at bottom it’s conservative and tradition-bound.”
“I want our audiences to understand the vast scope of what a ballet can be,” says Paul Vasterling. Pushing that distinction means thinking outside the norm, whether in terms of subject matter, movement vocabulary, use of text and singers, or in performance structure and duration. This raises interesting questions around where exactly we draw the line between ballet and modern dance or musical theatre.
“As in most cities, Houston’s small to mid-sized companies often don’t own their own spaces; they are itinerant or rent spaces. The effects of cancelled shows and evacuations will likely take their toll on these organizations, especially ones that are still emerging such as Shunya Theatre, Gravity Players, Rogue Productions, and Rec Room Arts. While each of these companies faces a different set of circumstances, they demonstrate just how much small theatre companies hang on by a thread and will need to rely on the greater Houston community for their continued survival.”
As Roxane Gay tweeted, “An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because … the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.” (What’s more, the movie will be written and directed by two guys.) Other people, pointing to Mean Girls and Heathers, argue that the idea isn’t so farfetched.
The three New Hampshire sisters who formed a rock band because their father forced them to (when he died, in 1975, they stopped) developed a serious cult following, either despite or because of “deficits in what is commonly understood as standard musicality.” Five years ago, a Brooklyn musician did a Shaggs tribute concert; he’s since made meticulous transcriptions of their songs, and this summer he got the two surviving sisters to perform with him and his band at Mass MOCA. Howard Fishman was there.
“The leadership of the American theatre is at a crossroads like it hasn’t seen since the birth of the regional movement in the 1960s. … There are more than 20 artistic director vacancies at major theatre companies across the country, along with a handful of high-profile executive and managing director positions. One way or the other, the new guard will alter the leadership landscape in the American theatre for decades. The question is: how?”
Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis: “A 2015 study … of 74 LORT theatres … found that there were zero managing or executive directors of color and, on the artistic side, just six people of color. Since then the figures have worsened. … That same study also found that women made up 59 percent of managerial staff presumably next in line for leadership positions (associate artistic directors, general managers, finance directors, development managers, etc.). But women have historically never held more than 27 percent of leadership positions in the American theatre, and the needle on that percentage hasn’t budged in 30 years.”
As the Brexit vote and the US. presidential election proceeded last year, the director and the company of Oslo made a decision that, “as it became more tumultuous in our political world, we would get further and deeper into 1993 and try less to make associations with now.” Audiences can – and do – make those associations on their own.
“It’s the same as in sports. Once you win a season, repeating everything that you did the next season is the surest way not to win. To stay on that edge, you have to question and risk everything. Once you get used to winning, then you just love that edge. You love the fact it’s risky. Otherwise, I’m sorry, it gets really boring. So there is no formula.”
The $1.5 million donation, “called the ‘Allan Vogel Chair, endowed by the Henry Family,’ supports the principal oboe chair. … The gift is significant for LACO, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary season. The orchestra’s annual budget is $4.5 million.”
“The British Museum is embarking on what could be the most far-ranging redisplay of its collection for more than 150 years. In his first in-depth interview since taking over as director in April 2016, Hartwig Fischer has revealed plans to reorganise and revitalise what could amount to half of the museum’s 95 galleries.”
Energo India’s main business is building electric plants, but last year it opened a new division called Navrasa Duende, which has already produced concert tours and film festivals. Next month, it’s bringing in from Ukraine the first professional staging of the ballet Swan Lake in India in living memory.
Jonah Bokaer performs at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2017-08-31
Janne “Loffe” Carlsson 1937-2017
Less than a month after he amused a huge audience at the opening event of the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, the Swedish actor, comedian and drummer Janne “Loffe” Carlsson has died. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-08-31
“In a fascinating new paper published this summer, five economists, Raj Chetty, John Friedman, Emmanuel Saez, Nicholas Turner, and Danny Yagan, call into question higher education’s role in promoting upward mobility. The centerpiece of the paper is “mobility report cards” for each college in America. The researchers considered 30 million students between 1999 and 2014 and compared their parents’ incomes to their own post-college earnings, by school. With this data, they could see exactly which colleges helped the most students rise from the bottom of the earnings ladder to the top.”
“Britain withdrew from the subcontinent seventy years ago this month, creating, amid the bloodshed of Partition, the independent states of India and Pakistan. (They came into being at the famous stroke of midnight, the moment when Britain withdrew its sovereignty.) The imperial statues in New Delhi presented a dilemma; compared with the challenges of poverty, industrialization, and the desire to consolidate a constitutional democracy, they were a minor irritant, but a highly visible one.”
“It is hoped 9,000 people will take part in the sleepout, which will see Liam Gallagher, Deacon Blue, Amy Macdonald and Frightened Rabbit play unplugged. No tickets will be sold, with members of the public and businesses joining the event by reaching fundraising targets and accepting the sleep-out challenge.”
The facility, in a former Kraft Foods factory about a mile and a half from the main museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, “will be known as the Momentary and will showcase visual and performing arts. It also will house an art[ist]-in-residency program.”