“Cultural criticism, we should remind ourselves, can be almost as important as the art itself, can indeed be part of the art. There have been great creative critics, from Alexander Pope (in The Dunciad, Epistle to Lord Burlington, etc) and Dr Johnson onwards, who combined the two arts with the skill of genius. Byron was another, in his English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, Vision of Judgment, and parts of Don Juan. Can you name a great contemporary cultural critic? Someone who could, in writing about literature and other aspects of our culture, hold a candle to T. S. Eliot on poetry, or Herbert Read on modern art? I asked several highly knowledgeable people, who struggled to do so.”
Archives for March 2017
“For more than 200 years, male British authors (usually poets, usually in pairs) have co-written or co-edited collections, anthologies or scholarly travel journals. It’s a tradition that is in surprisingly rude health, with recent examples and forthcoming festivities marking the 50th anniversary of a collaboration that sold shedloads.”
“Learning resilience is fundamental to a successful career as a scientist. The experiments we try will fail many times before they work, whether as an undergraduate, a PhD student, or a postdoc gunning for a faculty position… But actually overcoming failure is challenging. Many students who began science degrees with me switched to other majors the first time a project failed. One failure and they were gone.”
“In Indianapolis, one block in the Garfield Park neighborhood south of the city’s downtown is experimenting with a different model. An arts nonprofit worked with other partners to buy and renovate vacant houses and is now offering to co-own them with artists. Artists will pay half the cost–one $80,000 home, for example, will sell for around $40,000.”
“The level of dancing has improved tremendously. It’s especially notable in the ballet companies. The depth of technique really extends from the principals all the way to the corps de ballet. That’s quite astounding. There are also changes in the system of dance and not necessarily in a good way. When I came here 30 years ago, touring was still a viable option for most dance companies, in particular the modern companies. We had grants to dance presenters, to dance companies. There was a network of support for touring activity, which is crucial to dance. There were multiple streams of income that went towards those presentations.”
“Luther was not a lover of human freedom: he insisted on absolute obedience to the external authority of secular rulers; and his violent denunciation of the Peasants’ Revolt and his call for its bloody repression demonstrated a fanatical determination to uphold external authority.” And yet, argues historian Frank Furedi, his challenge to the authority of the Roman Catholic hierarchy led directly to the idea that one could challenge authority as such.
As an art critic in the theater reviewer’s seat, I found myself wondering why the art market continues to hold dramatic appeal, and why so few people get it right. Of course biographical plays have always appealed, whether done straight, like the play “Red,” about Rothko, or more dreamily, like the Seurat-refracting “Sunday in the Park With George.” Yet the big-money domains of the auction houses and the largest galleries remain stubbornly beyond most writers’ faculties.
“Publishers believe that Russian individuals are behind the creation of an fake book parodying a self-styled manual for resisting US president Donald Trump and other populist leaders, with the author, historian Timothy Snyder, claiming the listing to be the latest attack in a series of efforts by Russians to undermine his work.”
“I’m a very hard worker, and I know that about myself. But I like a supportive environment, and I don’t necessarily think I do my best in that competitive, edgy vibe. And I knew something different down here. I knew that there was like a real supportive family vibe. I’m just very grateful that this existed down here. If it hadn’t, I don’t know – I don’t know if I would have pursued it.”
“The campaign, which already has raised $326 million, according to museum officials, is aimed at completely revamping the interior of the museum, enhancing programming, and adding to the museum’s endowment, which now stands at about $448 million, well below comparable institutions across the country.”
The college’s parent school, Rider University (which bought Westminster in 1992), has been facing financial pressures and declining enrollment (though Westminster’s enrollment is healthy), and wants cash from the sale. The Rider board’s stated preference is for a buyer to continue to operate Westminster at its Princeton campus, though separate sales of the school and its real estate are possible as well.
“A combination of shock, motivation and fears for the future can be … felt throughout the country’s cultural institutions. The insecurity is also an economic one. The cultural industry, which includes film, the art trade and the TV industry, contributes 84.1 billion pounds (97 billion euros) to the British economy.”
“There has been a new twist to an eight-year old legal battle between Christie’s and France’s associations of antique dealers and galleries. A French court stated on 24 March that artist’s resale rights must be paid by sellers, with no exception. Saying that the ruling might hurt the contemporary art market, the auction house is now challenging the judgement in front of the high court.”
Bonding with Bondil: Montreal MFA’s Head on Succeeding as a (Female) Museum Director
“In the end, I’d say that I’d hope I had been chosen for what I had between my two ears and not because of what I don’t have between my two legs,” Nathalie Bondil, director … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-03-30
Art, Censorship, and the Death of Emmett Till
Well, it’s really come to this, hasn’t it? … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-03-30
Is classical music consolation?
Classical music … its role in our culture … that’s something I’ve pondered for a long time, and talked about often here. My usual answer hasn’t been very positive. … read more
AJBlog: Sandow Published 2017-03-30
“On one level, these performances can be seen as an act of homage. The Russians are certainly noting the symbolic implications of an American orchestra coming to honor a Russian, playing literally under a banner emblazoned with Rostropovich’s portrait above the Conservatory stage… On another level, the NSO’s performances can be seen as a viable alternative to political diplomacy, showing people from different societies brought together by a common love.”
“Local artists are struggling to find meaning in the city’s upheavals, art professionals said in interviews. And while some of their recent works are more overtly political than others, many are infused with a sense of helplessness toward what is widely seen here as the city’s increasing subjugation to Beijing’s authoritarianism.”
“It would be a cliche to say that indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world. But unsung they generally are: no indexer usually expects or receives credit by name in books where everyone from the font designer to the snapper of the author photograph tends to get a solemn shout-out. And heroes they are, too: the index is, in any nonfiction book, more useful than almost anything else in the apparatus. It is a map of the text; a cunningly devised series of magical shortcuts that can in the good case save a scholar many hours of work, and in the bad one save a bookshop-browsing cabinet minister from having to buy a former colleague’s memoirs.”
“The festival has been cancelled amid concerns that it had got out of hand. Mr Hamilton, one of the co-ordinator’s of the Bearsden Festival, said people had been planning to travel from all over Europe and some had compared it to T in the Park, a music festival that attracts 80,000 a day. He said it was a small, local event that had been held for five years.”
“Gail Samuel, a native Angeleno, has worked at the Minnesota Orchestra, Yale University, the Tanglewood music festival and the Young Musicians Foundation. She has been with the L.A. Phil for 25 years in various capacities, starting as orchestra manager and assuming her current role, in which she runs Hollywood Bowl operations and programming, in March 2015.”