“Digital technologies are changing politics as we know it, but not because of some inherent or immutable characteristic that stands apart from the world in which they were created. Instead, these technologies have helped an underlying condition, namely growing discontent at marketisation – the privatising of ever more goods, services and social interactions, and the ideologies that justify that process – to find meaningful expression in the formal political arena.”
Archives for November 2017
“The Louvre Abu Dhabi is banking on the theory that pointing out links among a wide variety of cultures will make all art feel more approachable to the global audience it hopes to attract. Once viewers gain the habit of spotting connections, they may come to accept that all cultures are equally valuable and personally relevant. That, at least, seems to be the thinking, and it makes sense.”
“It is a tough job to reclaim the idea of utopia for the twenty-first century and deploy it in the battle against the neoliberal agenda. But – if we were to want to do such a thing – these are books that could help us. If there is an alternative to a neoliberal future, the imaginative effort required by utopian thinking is a necessary step to achieving that alternative.”
“There is now an entire industry known as ‘menu engineering’, dedicated to designing menus that convey certain messages to customers, encouraging them to spend more and make them want to come back for a second helping.” Reporter Richard Gray ferrets out a few tricks of the trade.
“Underneath a nonjudgmental relativism, Bloom saw a creeping nihilism: believing that all judgments of value had equal weight, the students ended up not believing or aspiring to much of anything at all. As a result, they no longer aspired to learn the truth, but rather to be “open-minded.” Incapable of treating moral questions and culture as anything other than matters of personal preference, they couldn’t be bothered to take seriously the task of self-reinvention that their education demanded of them.”
Noah Charney: “There is an element of illusionism to a good forger’s craft, but also a mischievous Loki quality to them, a sense that they are ‘more prankster than gangster,’ and that it is okay to admire them, even cheer for them against the authorities. The tabloid media, in particular, likes to dress up art forgers as working class heroes who are ‘sticking it’ to the elites, showing the emperors that they wear no clothes.”
“A vibrant network doesn’t die all at once. It takes time and neglect; it grows weaker by the day, but imperceptibly, so that one day we are living in a digital world controlled by giants and we come to regard the whole thing as normal. It’s not normal. It wasn’t always this way. The internet doesn’t have to be a corporate playground. That’s just the path we’ve chosen.”
Black Swan isn’t even the half of it. John Neumeier’s version features Mad King Ludwig; James Kudelka’s includes gang rape; Michael Keegan-Dolan’s centers on abuse by Irish priests. There’s even another film coming out about a ballerina in the lead role losing her sanity. David Jays talks to dancemakers about the darkness they find at the heart of the story.
“Under the current rules, taxpayers can subtract the year’s charitable gifts from their income, reducing the amount of earnings that are subject to tax. President Trump’s proposal for a higher ‘standard deduction’, adopted by both the House and Senate bills, could mean that many taxpayers who currently deduct charitable gifts will no longer be able to do so, which could reduce the tax incentive for donating art and money to museums. While museum donors probably will not stop giving as a result, they may give less.”
Ben Judah: “There is a simplicity and a clarity to Orwell’s prose. It flows nicely. But there is also nothing special about it other than the fact it has been canonised as the ultimate in English authorial excellence. This is still very much a surprise to me, because there is just so much wrong with it.”
“Written for the Danish ensemble Trio con Brio and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, which gave its premiere last year, L’Isola della Città (‘The Island in the City’) unfolds over nearly half an hour in five continuous movements. Stealthy and subtle, its central threesome of soloists – piano, violin and cello, as in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto – finds oases of calm amid flares of intensity from the orchestra.”
“I haven’t figured it out. But it’s settled on me, and it’s just there. … All my life, I’ve mouthed off about how I should stop acting, and I don’t know why it was different this time, but the impulse to quit took root in me, and that became a compulsion. It was something I had to do.”
“In the 20th century, porches couldn’t compete with TV and air conditioning. Now this classic feature of American homes is staging a comeback as something more stylish and image-conscious than ever before.”
“Just as Louis C.K. used his stand-up specials and FX show, Louie, to recast his own sexual misconduct as transgressive comedy, his peers – multi-hyphenate TV stars like [Aziz] Ansari, Tig Notaro and Lena Dunham – have used their own platforms to mine the experience of working with guys like him, and dig into issues like how to act on intractable rumors, the social discomfort of taking a stand, and the problem with well-meaning male allies.”
“Think the Bay Area’s arts ecosystem is in trouble now? Imagine what it would be like without the Rainin and Hewlett foundations.”
“This year’s increased number of artists of color and women may be a response to the current political climate in which many in those groups feel both threatened and moved to speak out. It most certainly reflects the academy’s attempt to address criticism that it is out of touch with notable artists and trends shaping pop music.” (For a complete list of nominees, click here.)
Two of the five opera nominees are by Alban Berg, and the closest thing to a warhorse is The Pearl Fishers. (Unless Wozzeck counts.) All of the nominated orchestras are American, but none are from the old “Big Five.” Three nominations went to the South Dakota Chorale. There’s one likely shoo-in, though: the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky, for Sviridov’s Russia Cast Adrift. (For a complete list of nominees, click here and scroll way down for classical.)
The 50th anniversary edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band didn’t make the cut, though the endlessly re-released Gould Goldberg Variations did. (This version includes every single take the pianist did.) The Goldbergs are up against a 25-disc set of Leonard Bernstein conducting Leonard Bernstein, excerpts from an archive of old Somali music that was buried in the desert during the long civil war, 1970’s Afro-pop and jazz from what’s now Burkina Faso, and songs by a zither-playing gospel-blues preacher. (For a complete list of nominees, click here.)
“Despite a slight dip in attendance after the 2008 financial crisis, the museum has welcomed more than 20 million visitors – two-thirds of them from abroad – since it opened on 19 October 1997. In a city of around 350,000 people, the original feasibility study calculated that 400,000 visitors a year were needed to justify the initial expense (estimated at $228m by the economist Beatriz Plaza) and ongoing subsidy (currently around €9m a year).”
“‘We are going to switch from being building-based to being project-based,’ [Painted Bride] executive director Laurel Raczka said Monday. … The organization is not having any particularly stressful financial problems at this time, Raczka said. Rather, the decision to free itself from the building is driven by a desire to serve the city’s younger artists and audiences in a way that makes sense.”
“Away from caliphate building and sectarianism, a neo-noir revolution has been creeping across the Middle East, allowing artists and writers to act as ombudsmen in the current political climate. Jonathan [Guyer] meets the writers who are latching onto the adventure, despair and paranoia prevalent in genre fiction to tell stories that transcend the present.” (audio)
“The Culture Ministry and the Jerusalem municipality will not support three performances in Jerusalem International Dance Week, which begins Tuesday, because they feature partial nudity.” (The performances are not being cancelled.)
Education and Engagement
Education and engagement are increasingly being paired in job titles and descriptions. There is some sense to that, but the differences – with respect to fundamental focus – are significant. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-11-28
For as long as there have been machines, I suppose, the question has been asked: Can Machines Make Art? … It’s an interesting question, but there is a supplementary question that I find even more interesting: How Much Do We Care About Machine-Made Art? … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-11-28
Dan’s Plans, Redrafted: Revelations in Metropolitan Museum’s FY17 Annual Report
A close look at the financials in the Met’s recently published Annual Report for fiscal 2017 (ended June 30) suggests that it’s premature to add “Turnaround King” to [CEO Kenneth] Weiss’s titles. The realization of the museum’s “Financial Transformation Plan” still has a long, bumpy way to go. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-11-28
With many tourists in the city, schools on break and star power lifting the tide, audiences turned out en masse. “Hamilton” grossed a whopping $3.4 million in a regular eight-performance week, breaking its own record set this January. With the show sold out nonstop, the average ticket price hit $321.13, reflecting a premium pricing model that producers have started to employ across the industry.
Should a writer be socially engaged? Is it a part of our duty? I always return to the poet and teacher Marie Ponsot: “The duty of the writer is to the welfare of the work.” Not to some political party or cause or ideal—which through making our art more useful might somehow rob it of its integrity, its wonderful, vital uselessness—but simply to the work itself.
“I wanted to make a protected space,” Andrea Woodner offers, “where they don’t have to be completely bare-knuckled about the commercial environment. Here, they can be artists, think about and show their own work, and use the facility as an artist-run project space.”
“The view has long been that males, in their sexual communication, are saying something important about themselves, and it’s up to the females to figure out what that is, to figure out which males are truly attractive and which are not. I argue the other side of the coin. Females aren’t trying to figure out what males are saying. When they mate with a male, by definition, that male is attractive. So females are the deciders. Over evolutionary time, it seems males are trying out a lot of different courtship traits. A bright orange here, a bright blue there, rub your wings together and make a sound, or jump up and do a dance. They are trying to do these things to tickle females’ preferences. But it’s really the females calling the shots. It’s the female’s brain that sets the bar for what kind of traits are attractive and unattractive.”
It has spawned two feature films, with a third on the way, and has generated more than $13 billion in retail merchandise sales. adapting family entertainment to Broadway has brought mixed results, especially when not from Disney. Recent examples include “Matilda” (a hit), “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (a failure) and two outright bombs, “Seussical” and “Shrek the Musical” (though both have ended up with longer lives in high schools). If “SpongeBob” sinks on Broadway, it could damage a carefully cultivated two-decade-old brand.
How Betty Corwin, now 97, corralled and cajoled producers, unions, and librarians to create, and run for 31 years, the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.
“Once a conversation or rumor is potentially identified as news, an important consideration is its veracity. To determine this, Tracer looks for the source by identifying the earliest tweet in the conversation that mentions the topic and any sites it points to. It then consults a database listing known producers of fake news, such as the National Report, or satirical news sites such as The Onion. Finally, the system writes a headline and summary and distributes the news throughout the Reuters organization.”