Practices of toleration that used to be seen as essential to freedom are being deconstructed and dismissed as structures of repression, and any ideas or beliefs that stand in the way of this process banned from public discourse. Judged by old-fashioned standards, this is the opposite of what liberals have stood for. But what has happened in higher education is not that liberalism has been supplanted by some other ruling philosophy. Instead, a hyper-liberal ideology has developed that aims to purge society of any trace of other views of the world.
Archives for March 2018
During deep brain stimulation procedures, doctors implant electrodes in the brain to try and control tremors. The patient must be awake during surgery, so doctors can see the effects of the electrodes. “It is brain surgery, but it’s a way we can really improve a patient’s life, quality of life, where otherwise they’re going to be on medications that may have a modest effect on improving their tremor.”
How is it that human thought is so deeply different from that of other animals, even though our brains can be quite similar? The difference is due, Andy Clark believes, to our heightened ability to incorporate props and tools into our thinking, to use them to think thoughts we could never have otherwise. If we do not see this, he writes, it is only because we are in the grip of a prejudice—“that whatever matters about my mind must depend solely on what goes on inside my own biological skin-bag, inside the ancient fortress of skin and skull.”
You can’t measure schmoozing skills in auction data—or, can you? Trustees and big-name art collectors, after all, tend to collect (and, therefore, want to see exhibited) the kind of expensive art, mostly by white men, that Molesworth explicitly tried to move away from. More generally, they like to see the value of their market-friendly collections ratified with prestigious museum shows. Once you’ve spent millions of dollars on a certain artist’s work, you generally want museums to reinforce what your art advisor and your dealer have been telling you, which is that the artist in question is a great genius worthy of being preserved for posterity.
To determine the results of the study, test subjects participated in “psychometric testing and heart rate tests” as they did activities that were positive for their health including attending concerts, doing yoga and dog-walking. Results showed that people who attended gigs had an increase of 25 percent in feelings of self worth and closeness to others and a 75 percent increase in mental stimulation. While the study found that Brits preferred going to concerts instead of listening to music at home, music in general has been found to increase happiness.
This perplexing explanation of private family control, regardless of public ownership by the city of Paris and listing as a historical monument, was confirmed to Hyperallergic by Sylvie Lesueur, the conservator of Cimetières Montparnasse, who gave no further details other than confirming that the Rachewskaïa family is behind the boxed Brancusi. For now, “The Kiss” sits covered in secrecy by a very solid wooden box with a tiny hole, ostensibly serving to confirm that the sculpture is indeed still there — for now.
In a backstage interview with Coltrane during intermission at the Stockholm concert, a local jazz DJ noted that some critics were finding his new sound “unbeautiful” and “angry,” then asked, “Do you feel angry?” Coltrane replied, in a gentle, deliberative tone, “No, I don’t,” adding, “The reason I play so many sounds, maybe it sounds angry, it’s because I’m trying so many things at one time, you see? I haven’t sorted them out. I have a whole bag of things that I’m trying to work through and get the one essential.”
According to research conducted at the University of Toronto, study participants who read short-story fiction experienced far less need for “cognitive closure” compared with counterparts who read nonfiction essays. Essentially, they tested as more open-minded, compared with the readers of essays. “Although nonfiction reading allows students to learn the subject matter, it may not always help them in thinking about it,” the authors write.
Alyssa Rosenberg, considering Isle of Dogs: “At this point, there’s a fairly clear consensus that white people shouldn’t be cast as characters who are meant to be of other races, and that defining nonwhite characters by obvious stereotypes and obvious stereotypes alone is both objectionable and proof of artistic laziness. There is less agreement about what makes a person sufficiently knowledgeable about and sensitive to the concerns of a community that’s not their own to put it into art, or about the line between appreciation and fetishization of another culture. (Not to mention the fact that members of a particular community may have wildly diverging opinions about these issues, raising thorny questions about who has standing to make these judgments.)
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy’s wish has come true, with President Donald Trump signing his Eliminating Government-Funded Oil-Painting — or EGO — Act into law on Wednesday. The cheekily named legislation prohibits taxpayer funds to be used on officially painted portraits. The law applies to portraits of the President, the Vice President, a member of Congress, the head of an executive agency, or the head of an office of the legislative branch.
Bill Marx (in a pan of Jesse Green’s New York Times apologia for negative reviews): “Because they reflect an eternal truth: all the blurbs in the universe will not eradicate the fact that much in the arts is mediocre. Pans also provide the means for the reader to evaluate the critic: we learn as much about someone from why they dislike something then why they like something. And negative reviews prove that the critic takes the arts seriously enough to risk defining success and failure, to draw an aesthetic red line, to proclaim to the Parrotheads that the emperor has no clothes.”
“According to Nielsen Audio Fall 2017 ratings, the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations is 37.7 million people – a record that has been maintained since the Spring of 2017. NPR’s Newscasts, updated live every hour, can now be heard on 947 broadcast stations by nearly 28.7 million listeners.”
“A strong case could be made for [Gerald] Murnane, who recently turned 79, as the greatest living English-language writer most people have never heard of. … Yet his work has been praised by J.M. Coetzee and Shirley Hazzard, as well as young American writers like Ben Lerner and Joshua Cohen. Teju Cole has described Murnane as ‘a genius’ and a ‘worthy heir to Beckett.’ Last year, Ladbrokes placed his odds at winning the Nobel Prize for Literature at 50 to 1 – better than Cormac McCarthy, Salman Rushdie and Elena Ferrante.” Mark Binelli goes to visit the author in his tiny village five hours from Melbourne, where Murnane promised him “an interview unlike any you’ve done before.” (He was as good as his word.)
“Diversity isn’t enough. The end game is not just having more black or brown people on stage, though that certainly has an impact. That is meaningful, but on its own it won’t change the direction and priorities of organizations, because musicians are seen as the hands of the organization and others are seen as the brains. We should have a structure that supports a workforce of artists.”
“We wanted … to figure out how to use the whole space of the stage to create an image of an injured mind. After that initial impulse, we tried to take a personal story of loss and trauma and make it universal, to zoom outwards and ask some big questions about what suffering is, what it means and how one survives something like that. … In German, the title means to be stopped or struck by something that leaves you in a kind of shock or speechlessness, an inability to respond or express anything in words. So that word became emblematic for us.”
Philadelphia Voices is the eighth in a series of “crowd-sourced symphonies” – symphonic scores incorporating sounds recorded on the streets and submitted by residents – Machover has done for various cities from Detroit to Toronto to Perth. David Patrick Stearns met with the composer, both in Philadelphia and at his high-tech Boston-area studio, to talk about how Machover put together the piece, which will combine the sounds of the Philadelphia Orchestra and several choirs with such found sounds as Mummers at the New Year’s Day parade, birds at the Philadelphia Zoo, and (yes) sizzling cheesesteaks on the grill at Pat’s King of Steaks in South Philly.
“Mr. Gaylord, a World War II Army paratrooper who received the Bronze Star Medal for valor during the Battle of the Bulge, said he intended his sculptures to ‘confront visitors with the reality of actual war’ while complying with the design committee’s instructions not to glorify it.”
Cloud Column, a very shiny, 21,000-pound stainless-steel ellipsis by Anish Kapoor that has just been installed on the campus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It’s almost impossible to avoid thinking of Cloud Column as the vertical version of Cloud Gate (a/k/a “The Bean”), Kapoor’s popular sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
As Kapoor’s Cloud Column is being installed in Houston (and drawing inevitable comparisons to Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago), the Chicago Tribune‘s Kim Janssen and the Houston Chronicle‘s Lisa Gray started throwing serious shade at each other’s public sculpture as the rest of the nation watched with amusement. (The Dallas Morning News chimed in with “Sorry Chicago, making fun of Houston’s ‘bean’ sculpture is our job.”)
To accompany this photo journal, the dancer-choreographer writes about Xenos, about an Indian colonial soldier fighting for Britain in World War I. “In my work, I need a character I can relate to – but also a character who can relate to me. So we decided that this colonial soldier was a dancer who is thrown into the trenches somewhere in Europe. Most of the piece takes place in a trench, at least in an abstract sense.”
In December, PBS suspended Smiley’s nightly talk show in the wake of allegations that he had behaved improperly with female members of his staff; within weeks, Smiley, furiously denying the charges and alleging that PBS was “racially hostile” to him, filed suit against the network. “[Now, a] 32-page answer and countersuit, filed in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, alleges Smiley violated the network’s morals clause and seeks $1.9 million in returned salary plus unspecified damages.”
This may not be the first time someone has said that the Met’s audience is a bunch of babies, but it’ll be the first time that it’s literally true. “The company will present 10 free performances of BambinO, an opera for babies between 6 months old and 18 months old, from April 30 to May 5 in the opera house’s smaller auditorium, List Hall … The 40-minute opera – scored for two singers and two musicians – will be performed for a small audience of babies and caregivers.” (includes video)
“The Cimetière du Montparnasse is at risk of losing one of two of its most distinctive occupants. A famous Constantin Brancusi sculpture of a couple embracing, Le Baiser (The Kiss, 1909), has … been on view just inside the cemetery’s Rue Émile-Richard entrance since the very end of 1910 or early 1911. But, for at least six months now, the sculpture has been covered up and mysteriously concealed from public view.”
“Everything was against Marie-Agnes Gillot becoming a ballerina – never mind a great one. She was too tall, broad-shouldered and most of all, she had a double scoliosis, which sometimes gives her a hump when her back is swollen. … The last great French ballerina of her generation, she hid her problem from her teachers after leaving home at nine to go to ballet’s elite school in the French capital.”
“Mr. Wilson, a longtime professor at the University of California, Berkeley, grew up listening to jazz and spirituals. He studied African music in Ghana under one of his two Guggenheim Fellowships, opened an electronic music studio at the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College in Ohio, where he had formerly taught, and wrote academic papers, including a major essay on the art of black music.”
In the years they occupied Iraq’s second city, the extremists burned tens of thousands of books and torched the widely admired university’s library. NYRB‘s reporters meet with librarians, law professors, and a literature lover who has opened a library/café.
“It effectively says an orchestral workspace is no different from a factory,” said Mark Pemberton, director of the Association of British Orchestras. “What it says is that musicians will need to be wearing their hearing protection at all times.”
When it comes to Brexit and the arts, freedom of movement and access to finance are the two most frequently discussed issues. They feature heavily in two reports from Arts Council England last month that provide the best data yet on what the sector is thinking and doing in response to the vote to leave.
To assess our health, we weigh ourselves, measure our blood pressure, and check our cholesterol. But one scientist is trying to figure out the connection between our well-being and something much more difficult to quantify: wisdom.
Nashville is cool now. Which is to say, there are parts of Nashville that serve and appeal to and are filled with members of the so-called creative class and promise a different “experience” than your day-to-day life. The draw wasn’t major attractions, like the Opry, but attending a quaint show at the Bluebird Café. Like Austin or Portland, the draw to Nashville isn’t to go and be a tourist, but to go and spend a weekend sort of pretending that you live there — and, who knows, maybe one day make it a reality, and bring your friends and business along with you.