Thursday, July 29, 2021

ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas

Epic Labor Battle At Sydney Bookstore

Such disputes reflect a growing recognition across the publishing industry that the prestige and attractiveness of working in and adjacent to creative and cultural sectors – and the passion of its workers – can also form the preconditions for low wages and insecure work. - The Guardian

Enough With The Era Of Visionary Museum Directors

That era should be over. The director’s job is to set clear priorities for staff, to mentor, coach, and be clear-sighted about what is next; to leverage the expertise of the board; to make hard choices when needed. - Hyperallergic

Lessons From Shared Crises: Community Connection Matters

As the Blitz and other collective crises have taught us, resilience is not a given and has to be managed with an understanding of peoples’ fears and wishes, including their need for connectedness. - Psyche

Report: Worldwide Building Of Arts Facilities Was $5.9 Billion Last Year

Despite last year’s dip, there’s reason to think that the cultural sector is coming back strong. Even amid global uncertainty about travel, cities doubled down on investment in cultural attractions. - Artnet

Design Museum Gets Its 11th Director Since 2013

Some employees said that a carousel of different directors bringing new approaches has exhausted staff, strained relationships with some artists and damaged trust in the board. Former directors described the institution’s woes as reflective of bad board governance. - The New York Times

Ten Years

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Engaging Matters. That’s hard for me to believe. In that time this blog has had a little...

Meddling with Medici (Part II): “Unattainable Perfection,” Viewer Disaffection

For many museum visitors, the “Medici” cited in the title of the Metropolitan Museum’s current show (subtitled: “Portraits & Politics, 1512-1570”) will evoke the names of artists from the golden age of Renaissance painting in Florence,

Taneshia Nash Laird shares the power of humanity in the arts

Taneshia Nash Laird, President and CEO of Newark Symphony Hall shares the power of humanity in leading arts organizations.

Dvorak’s Prophecy — “Essential Cultural History”

Kirkus Reviews, which previews books for booksellers, critics, and others in the know, has just previewed my forthcoming Dvorak’s Prophecy and the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music.

Here and Now

The morning light takes its time  coming through the bedroom window.

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Lessons From Shared Crises: Community Connection Matters

As the Blitz and other collective crises have taught us, resilience is not a given and has to be managed with an understanding of peoples’ fears and wishes, including their need for connectedness. - Psyche

Our Habits Aren’t Just Mindless — They Actually Help Make Us Smarter

Even our most mundane habitual routines actually display a great deal of intelligence. Indeed, they are often intelligently context-sensitive and flexible in such a way as can support and structure our goals and projects. - Psyche

Why Do We Go To War? It’s Quite Simple, Really

There are only three such impulses: greed, self-defense, and ideas or emotions. - The Nation

Why Framing The Question Is The Most Important Part Of The Debate

Any question, any debate must be formulated. How and whether the question can be resolved is contingent on the way it is formulated. - 3 Quarks Daily

The Death-Positive Library

Truly, the UK has invented - and spread - a library movement for our times. - The Guardian (UK)

How US Teen Culture Took Over The World

Universal secondary education not only elevated Americans by spreading relevant knowledge and skills to the masses. It also gave rise to a more complex social and cultural transformation, as the adolescent period became pivotal in shaping who we are. - Aeon

Report: Worldwide Building Of Arts Facilities Was $5.9 Billion Last Year

Despite last year’s dip, there’s reason to think that the cultural sector is coming back strong. Even amid global uncertainty about travel, cities doubled down on investment in cultural attractions. - Artnet

Young People Are Using France’s Culture Pass To Buy … Manga

Granted, the program was only just gearing up when the pandemic closed arts venues, but officials' hopes that 18-year-olds would use their few-strings-attached €300 to sample high culture are being punctured by reality. - The New York Times

‘Total Public-Led Reboot’ Necessary For Arts Sector In Australia To Survive COVID: Study

"Australia's arts and cultural sector needs a reconstruction program of substantial, coordinated and sustained public investment if it is to survive, let alone 'snap back', after the COVID shutdown that has shredded the plans and budgets of arts organisations and artists." - The Guardian

Abusive Philanthropy…

When donors require stewardship – due to insistent input on the inner workings of the organization, threats of withholding financial support, or continual adamant requirements to be thanked or recognized at every possible opportunity – the organization is drained of its energy. - LinkedIn

Working At An Amazon Warehouse Is Dangerous, And Getting Injured There Is Worse

Getting injured can happen quickly in a bustling Amazon warehouse. Then there's trying to get the company to respond. - Boston Globe

Too Much Screen Time Can Literally Make Some People Sick

And when we say "literally," we mean it: "These symptoms fall into three categories: nausea, oculomotor issues, and general disorientation." - FastCompany

Spotify Now Has 165 Million Subscribers – More Than Apple And Amazon Combined

As for the rest of Spotify’s Q2 2021, the company reported 365 million monthly active users—a growth of 22% YOY. Total revenue was €2.33 billion, or about $2.75 billion. That’s an increase of 23% YOY. - Fast Company

West African Talking Drums Really Can Imitate Speech, Say Researchers

Yorùbá speech, that is. The West African language is tonal, using three different pitches, and dùndún drummers can adjust the tension on their drum heads to change pitch, stroke by stroke, to match Yorùbá syllables and words. - Smithsonian Magazine

12th-Century Organ, By Far The World’s Oldest, To Be Reconstructed

The pipes and carillon bells of the instrument were discovered a century ago at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Scholar-performer David Catalunya says the pipes are near-perfectly intact and that, over the next five years, he'll make them playable again. - Aleteia

Simon Rattle: We’ve Lost Many Musicians in the Pandemic

“Many of the first-choice people said, ‘Look I’m sorry, I’m not doing this any more. I have a family. I had to take another profession. Six months ago, I’d have welcomed it’,” he said. - The Guardian

The Difference Between Music Education and Not

"I felt so small. A half Navajo and half Apache girl writing 'fancy' music for a quartet — something I had never dreamed of or even crossed my mind." - Blavity

New Opera Company Debuts In Chicago

The Opera Festival of Chicago focuses on Italian works which may be somewhat familiar from recordings and broadcasts but rarely get professional productions in the US. They're starting small (two one-acts and a concert), but plan to work up to four operas per year. - Chicago Tribune

Premium Classifieds

Director of Development

New Music USA is seeking a creative, energetic, and strategic Director of Development who will lead the renewal and growth of contributed revenue from individuals and institutions in an exciting phase of our organization’s development.

InstantEncore To Launch New Digital Program Service

InstantEncore will launch a new service this summer to provide arts organizations with a digital alternative to printed programs.

Michigan Opera Theatre seeks Director of Marketing and Communication

With the appointment of Artistic Director Yuval Sharon and Associate Artistic Director Christine Goerke, MOT’s Director of Marketing and Communications is crucial in expressing the company's commitment to re-define the experience of opera in Detroit.

Apply Now for Fall 2021: CGU MA in Art Business or Arts Management

Be a part of L.A.’s arts community by earning an MA in Art Business or Arts Management at CGU.

Manager of Operations at the Jacksonville Symphony

The Manager of Operations is a flexible, adaptive, and enthusiastic member of the Jacksonville Symphony’s operations team...

Artistic Director – Cincinnati Ballet

Serving in a co-leadership role with the President & CEO, the next Artistic Director will lead the artistic vision and focus of the Cincinnati Ballet and the Otto M. Budig Academy...

AJ Classifieds

A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) – Managing Director

An equal co-leader with Artistic Director John Langs, the Managing Director will create the artistic, financial, and institutional course that will best promote and serve ACT’s mission and values as set forth by the board.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – Managing Director

Providing strategic leadership and financial oversight, the Managing Director will be responsible for all aspects of the organization’s operations, with a particular focus on fundraising

Technical Director, Joyce Theatre

The Joyce Theater is seeking a qualified Technical Director to be part of a three-person production management team.

Vice President of Advancement

It is an exciting growth period for South Arts, and we are looking for someone who wants to be a valuable part of that growth.

Director of Finance and Administration

New Music USA is seeking an experienced, motivated, and highly organized financial professional to join our growing team. This...

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Enough With The Era Of Visionary Museum Directors

That era should be over. The director’s job is to set clear priorities for staff, to mentor, coach, and be clear-sighted about what is next; to leverage the expertise of the board; to make hard choices when needed. - Hyperallergic

Design Museum Gets Its 11th Director Since 2013

Some employees said that a carousel of different directors bringing new approaches has exhausted staff, strained relationships with some artists and damaged trust in the board. Former directors described the institution’s woes as reflective of bad board governance. - The New York Times

Why Critics’ Opinions Matter

"I’ll claim that my response to art is more complex than the average museumgoer’s because it’s my professional responsibility—and passion—to be as well informed as I can about what I’m looking at (and where, when, and why I’m looking at it)." - Vasari 21

The Hermitage Hops On The NFT Train

Following in the footsteps of the Uffizi in Florence, the St. Petersburg museum will auction off digital tokens of five works in its collection, one each by Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgione, Monet, van Gogh, and Kandinsky. - Artnet

UNESCO’s Latest World Heritage Sites

Among the monuments added are Madrid's Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park, the old port of Guangzhou, Peru's ancient Chankillo observatory, Mexico's 16th-century Tlaxcala Cathedral, Ramappa Temple in south-central India, Sudanese-style mosques in the Ivory Coast, and the city of Nice. - The National (Abu Dhabi)

We Need New Thinking About Looted Art

‘Looted’ is a contested term: it covers a spectrum from out-and-out pillage to ostensibly legal transfers of title that may have occurred under coercion or under rigged laws. - Apollo

Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre — Under A Microscope

"I hope that the theatre generally, will be open to the idea that when you limit yourself to doing only primarily white theatre for primarily white audiences, there is well over half the city you are excluding.” - American Theatre

“Sunday In The Park With George” Barely Escaped Being A Disaster

First, Stephen Sondheim couldn’t come up with songs because he didn't think James Lapine's script needed any. So began a cascade of calamities, right up to the Broadway opening, until the show shocked everyone involved by getting 10 Tony nominations and a Pulitzer Prize. - The New York Times

Theatre Critic Assumes Fellow Critic Is White, Then Has To Reassess When She Discovers Otherwise

I felt ashamed of my mistake, for not seeing a colleague for who he really is. “How limited your perception is, Lily!” I thought. And: “I wonder how much else I miss?” Probably, I decided, quite a bit. - San Francisco Chronicle

Charles McNulty Panned A Play. The Playwright’s Hurt Father Wrote Him, And That Got McNulty Thinking

"Generosity for generosity's sake will only hasten (critics') redundancy. But candor and compassion aren't antithetical terms." - Yahoo! (Los Angeles Times)

Study: Seeing Theatre Increases Empathy, Influences Behavior

Seeing theatre changed people’s behavior. After seeing the plays, people donated more to charity — whether or not the charity was related to the topics in the plays.” - Psypost

What Are Los Angeles’ Theatres Doing In Response To The Delta Variant?

Pivot, pivot, pivot, keep on pivoting - and require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests. - Los Angeles Times

Choreographer Drew McOnie On What Success Looks Like

"Success isn’t how many awards you win, or how many five-star reviews you get. Success is built on how quickly you bounce back, how you take the lessons. Everything in between is just wounded ego.” - The Guardian

Amar Ramasar, Last Remaining NY City Ballet Dancer Involved In Sexting Scandal, Will Retire

The 39-year-old's decision to end his 20-year career with the company next May comes three years after the scandal roiled City Ballet and two weeks after colleague Georgina Pazcoguin revealed in a book that he would regularly tweak her nipples as a greeting. - The New York Times

ABT Executive Director Says She Will Depart To Work On Social Impact Fund

Kara Medoff Barnett will be leaving to lead social impact marketing and strategy at First Republic Bank and develop the recently established First Republic Foundation. - The New York Times

From Cretan Bull-Vaulting To Simone Biles: A Brief History Of Gymnastics

Yes, circa 1500 BC, leaps and vaults were done on or from the back of a live bull, not an inanimate, leather-covered "horse." - Smithsonian Magazine

Documentary: What Made Alvin Ailey Ailey

 The Ailey company has performed on six continents for millions of people. His 1960 ballet “Revelations" is considered a cultural treasure. - Washington Post

New Data On Who Leads America’s Dance Companies

There have been 207 Artistic Directors employed by the Largest 50 US ballet companies to date. Of the 207 Artistic Directors, only 60 have been women (29%), and the remaining 147 have been men (71%). - Dance Data Project

Epic Labor Battle At Sydney Bookstore

Such disputes reflect a growing recognition across the publishing industry that the prestige and attractiveness of working in and adjacent to creative and cultural sectors – and the passion of its workers – can also form the preconditions for low wages and insecure work. - The Guardian

The Man Who’s Saving Rohingya Folk Tales

Mohammed Rezuwan is himself one of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya driven out of Myanmar by that country's military and mobs. He now travels around the refugee camps at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, recording and translating his people's traditional stories. - PRX's The World

How Activists Got New York The Beautiful New Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library

The much-praised new branch of the New York Public Library, across 5th Avenue from the famous flagship, wasn't supposed to happen. The NYPL board was bent on selling the branch property — until The Nation reported on the plan and advocates set furiously to work. - The Nation

Why English Is Such A Chaotic Collection Of Letters And Pronunciations

From the early Middle Ages, various European languages adopted and adapted the Latin alphabet. So why did English end up with a far more inconsistent orthography than any other? - Aeon

France May Just Be A Bit Ambivalent About Teaching Its Regional Languages

In the 19th century, French schools were forbidden to teach in Breton, Basque, Provençal, Corsican, etc. Starting in the 1970s, interest revived and some schools started to use them. Now a new law has forbidden immersive education in regional languages; activists are furious. - Global Voices

The Singular Voice Of Janet Malcolm

The kind of writing that Malcolm practiced so beautifully had been disappearing for a long time when she died, and today it is nearly gone. n+one

American TV’s Journey In The 21st Century Has Been From Irony To Sincerity

"Two decades ago, TV's most distinctive stories were defined by a tone of dark or acerbic detachment. Today, they're more likely to be earnest and direct." James Poniewozik explores the how and why. - The New York Times

NPR Revenue Only Declined Two Percent Last Year

The public radio network’s operating revenue slid just two percent in 2020 to $270.1 million. And last year’s revenue was actually up seven percent from 2018 when NPR reported $251.3 million in operating revenue. - Inside Radio

Barry Diller: Only Ten Percent Of Movie Theatres Will Survive

“Because of streaming, because of the pandemic, because of the enormous production of longform content … the word movies — what we think of as a movie — is evolving and no longer means what it did just a couple of years ago." - The Hollywood Reporter

Henceforth, The Main Unit Of Entertainment Is Not TV Or Film But Corporate Universe

The proof (as if Marvel weren't enough): Space Jam: A New Legacy — whose subtitle should be "Warner Media: We Own the Rights to a Lot of Shit and We Want You to Interact With All of It. At Once. And to Get Your Kids Hooked Early." - Vulture

YouTuber Deepfakes Mandalorian So Well That LucasFilm Hires Him

One of those fans did so well, Lucasfilm has hired him to help it ensure its upcoming projects won't feature underwhelming de-aging and facial visual effects. - Engadget

Host Of Public Radio’s ‘The Takeaway’, Tanzina Vega, Resigns

"The well-known journalist has been on medical leave for months at the same time the network has looked into human-resources complaints against her, including claims that on multiple occasions Vega blew up at members of her staff." - The Daily Beast

How Matt Damon Keeps Complicating Our Ideas About Matt Damon

"You only have to look a bit closer at Damon's career, at the notion of Matt Damon, Movie Star we have in our heads, to see that nice might be an ingenious sleight-of-hand, an illusion of sorts. Because that darkness is there." - The New York Times Magazine

In ‘The Autobiography Of Alice B. Toklas’, Gertrude Stein Depicted Great Artists And Writers. They Hated Her For It.

"Such was the ire that the magazine transition published a Testimony Against Gertrude Stein. Matisse raged at his wife being described as having a mouth like a horse while Braque railed against her insistence on Cubism being a wholly Spanish affair." (Worse, she called Hemingway "yellow.") - BBC

Portugal’s Four Greatest 20th-Century Writers Were Actually One Person

Fernando Pessoa published not only under his own name, but under three different personas as well. These weren't pseudonyms (he called them "heteronyms"): the four had completely different biographies, personalities and opinions and regularly argued with each other in print. - Literary Hub

Jackie Mason, Who Kept The Borscht Belt Style Alive And Brought It To Broadway, 93

Mason, "a former rabbi from a long line of rabbis, ... made comic capital as a Jew feeling his way — sometimes nervously, sometimes pugnaciously — through a perplexing gentile world." - The New York Times

Alice Clark Brown, A Black Woman Who Starred In A Very White Circus, 68

She was the first Black woman to star in a Ringling Bros circus, and "photographs from the time show Ms. Brown triumphantly astride her headstanding elephant, arms raised high, her elaborate headdress perfectly in place." - The New York Times

Arturo Schwarz, Refugee Who Became A Surrealism Tycoon, 97

Schwarz was expelled from Egypt in 1949, arrived penniless in Italy, and went on to found a prominent gallery devoted to Dadaist and Surrealist art in Milan and become probably the world’s greatest self-made collector and donor of work from those artistic movements." - The New York Times