One reason we struggle with fear is that we’re simultaneously too primitive and too evolved for our own good. Our lizard brains are ruthlessly efficient: Signals speed to the threat-sensing amygdala within 74 milliseconds of the slightest hint of danger. This speed has, over eons, helped save us from extinction. But it’s also led to plenty of false alarms.
Archives for May 2018
The criticism levied at hip-hop from the right is a pointed indictment of black culture: Black people lost their way and this crude music was the culprit. It’s understandably popular because it feeds into the “pick yourselves up” rhetoric that downplays the oppression of black people while justifying it.
The great pyramids are surrounded by city. The Mona Lisa is thronged with crowds. The Leaning Tower and Stone Henge are underwhelming in person…
Anna Delvey’s story is a kind of apotheosis of the “Instagram Effect,” where everyone projects a more perfect, happier life than they actually have via social media, and the envy generated becomes a kind of currency. Her Instagram life is stuffed full of deluxe signifiers and only rare flickers of actual sociality. The sense they cultivate is of a private and exclusive world. They are, in their arid glamor, both self-aggrandizing and kind of haughty, which is the air she projected according to copious testimony from her victims.
Burckhardt invented culture as we know it – not just the official “arts”, but any human activity that has symbolic meaning. Newspapers and their websites are still behind Burckhardt on this. Looking for articles about fashion and food? You’ll find them in “lifestyle”. Burckhardt saw these too as culture. Of course, so do we – it would just get hard to organise stuff if it was all classed in one big mix. But everyone knows today that clothes are significant cultural creations and that cooking is about meaning as much as flavour. The amazing thing is how clearly Burckhardt saw it 1860.
The reasons had been building for months, but the clincher came when the collector, fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev, resold the “Salvator Mundi” for $450 million during last year’s fall art auction season, more than triple the amount he paid, one of the people said. Had the case proceeded, Rybolovlev’s windfall could have enabled the defense to claim that he wasn’t a fraud victim because he profited in the end.
“Today, four years after the series initially aired, telling stories about female survivors of sexual violence is more common, yet Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt still explores what it means to be a survivor in ways that are unique. …The explosion of angry women who are ready to shake up the status quo is a testament to a very real cultural mood. Yet the fantastic thing about Kimmy is how the show illustrates the ways that being a kind, feminine, do-gooder is just as badass as being a ball-buster … [and that] warmth, kindness and creativity are actually heroic attributes, rather than the relics of a girlhood that Kimmy never got to entirely experience.”
Prior to working at NEFA, Sara Nash managed the USArtists International grant program at Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She also worked as senior producer at Dance Theater Workshop (New York Live Arts) for more than six years, where she oversaw the international program, the Suitcase Fund, and developed residency programs for commissioned artists. Nash’s international experience includes working at Tanec Praha, a contemporary dance festival in Prague, and at the British Council in London.
“The last season [of The Muppet Show] aired in 1981, and Jim Henson died suddenly in 1990. But the Muppets and many of their human performers are still with us. Still, while they’ve returned to movies and television with various degrees of success since Henson’s death, no one’s yet managed to crack the code and find the success the Muppets once had. … For the latest installment in its Peabody-Award winning American Icons series, Studio 360 … looks at the origins, appeal and future of the Muppets.” (audio with transcript)
While arts writing is going through one of its richest periods of innovation, with an explosion of forms in recent years, much of the experimentation is happening well outside of traditional media. The internet seems to have reminded at least some writers of the kind of artistry that’s possible in art criticism, says Charlotte Frost, author of a forthcoming book, “Art Criticism Online: A History.” This represents a return to the roots of the field, she adds. The 800-word art review is actually a fairly recent invention. But if you turn the clock back a bit, to the 18th-century Paris salons, for instance, there were all kinds of critical responses to art, Frost says.
“[David Hertzberg’s] The Rose Elf features a pair of star-crossed lovers who are figuratively torn apart when one of them is literally torn apart by a jealous rival. … Opera-goers will follow a candle-lit pathway through [Green-Wood Cemetery] to the subterranean tombs, and take seats along one wall of the catacomb’s long, narrow hallway, with the performance taking place all along the crypt-lined corridor.”
Everybody talked to Studs. Tennessee Williams, Luciano Pavarotti, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Robeson, Lotte Lehmann, Georg Solti, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Jon Vickers, and Buckminster Fuller come to mind among those gone now but were in their prime when they sat with him at WFMT. By the time Studs left the station in 1997, he had amassed more than 5,600 reel-to-reel interviews and mixdowns filled with insights he teased out of his guests from 45 years behind the mic.
“In the same way that Homer’s epics took hold within the West, The Book of Songs played a role in spheres far beyond literature, with a lasting influence on Chinese civilisation. The collection had an impact on education, politics and communal life: in antiquity, the Songs were quoted and recited as coded communication in diplomatic exchange; invoked as proof to cap a philosophical argument; read as commentary – satirical more often than not – on historical circumstances; and taught for the purposes of moral edification. It has continued to affect Chinese society since then, both through what the Songs say and the form they take.”
“People today are consuming more memes than ever. The expiration date for them has shortened more since even last year. Memes used to last for two to three weeks, but recently we’ve noticed they die after just a few days.”
“As Lincoln Center’s education director, Peg Schuler-Armstrong, put it, everyone has the right to experience the benefits of storytelling and the catharsis of the live performing arts. The result has been innovative, highly personalized performance pieces that can be enjoyed equally by children with disabilities and their neurotypical families, so that the joy can be shared.”
“In Lagos, she is as recognizable as the President. Her face is on billboards. People crowd around her at the airport. When she enters a restaurant, there is a ripple of recognition. Sometimes she will ask for the check and discover that someone else has paid for her meal. … She is admired as a Nigerian who has become an international celebrity, bringing renown to her country and a sense that now, for a Nigerian, anything is possible. But, because she is so visible, everything she does or says is scrutinized.”
“Huttese, Klingon, Dothraki — it’s all Greek to me. Just a bunch of sounds. Right? Not if you listen closely. Some of these constructed languages, or ‘conlangs,’ pass as real languages much better than others. What separates a convincing conlang from a bad one? In this episode of Watch Smarter, we examine how movies and TV shows create custom languages, and how the best — or at least the most realistic — evolve like real human speech.” (video)
“In March, Audible Inc. moved from the aural space into the physical New York theater world when it sponsored a run of Harry Clarke at the Minetta Lane Theater. Now, the audiobook company is formalizing its relationship with the theater: It struck a deal to produce plays, comedic shows, panel discussions and more there, starting with a solo show from Carey Mulligan in June.”
Michael DeMarsche and Bob Ekelund: “We believe that the position against deaccessioning has become increasingly untenable, given increasing storage costs and the decreasing likelihood that a large portion of great art will rarely, if ever, be shown.” (Most art museums have only a small minority of their holdings on display.) “This regulation also restricts necessary mission changes and financial preparation for an uncertain future. We propose an update to the [American Alliance of Museums’] current position, one that would give museums the flexibility and autonomy to refine and hone their collections, while ensuring they have the resources needed to best serve their communities.”
Inside Harlem’s New ‘Foreign Trade Zone’, A ‘Fortress’ Holding Billions’ Worth Of Art
“[The facility] is called Arcis Art Storage. ‘Arcis’ is Latin for ‘fortress’ — a fitting name for what’s essentially a museum-quality bunker, currently insured to store up to $3 billion worth of goods. … Security is tight: Guests at Arcis must have their retinas scanned to go through the first door, then present their bare forearms for a vascular scan at a second door.” Atossa Araxia Abrahamian braves the security gauntlet.
Mackrell: “Dance has been so very generous to me as a writer, and The Guardian such a fantastic platform, that I feel I’m walking away from my own dream job. But I’ve been doing it for 32 years (nine of them at The Independent before I joined The Guardian) and if it’s time for me to focus on other projects it’s also time to hand the mic to another voice.”
“A dedicated group of snowbirds invested in some cultural enrichment for the city in the 1980s, marking a wave of new institutions that began to pop up in Miami.” Now, a dozen years after the 2006 opening of what is now the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (and its rescue from disaster by Arsht two years later), “there is more diversity across Miami’s nonprofit disciplines than ever.”
“When people say that opera is not for them, I think – more often than not – they mean that going to the opera is not for them,” writes the former music director of English National Opera. “Or at least what they perceive the experience of going to the opera to be. I don’t believe the art form is the problem. But many find it hard to imagine opera away from the expensive, exclusive and entitled associations attached to it. That’s understandable. For at some point the reputation of opera became separated from its actual performance. The evening parted company with the event.”
“Westminster Abbey is opening a museum this week in its hidden “attic”, the triforium, which offers a stunning vista of the Gothic nave more than 50ft below. … Until 2015, the abbey had a smaller museum in the 11th-century undercroft off the cloisters, but the new venue has the space for four times as many objects — around 300 in total.”
“As well as pushing the envelope in regard to architectural skill and style, Finnish libraries have an impressive record of being at the forefront of cultural progress and new thinking. Some of the first maker libraries (spaces where the public can borrow equipment and tools), for example, were founded in Finland, and today, some facilities offer the use of high-tech equipment such as 3-D printers and musical equipment free of charge.”
“Personal politics aside, there are practical reasons why people in the arts are worried that Brexit will be bad news – including their concerns about free movement of talent, funding and Britain’s reputation around the world. But others are seeing silver linings. Here are some of the ways Brexit could affect the UK’s creative industries and talent.”
The pyramid and the wheel
There are countless ways to categorize collective human action (by legal entity, by sector, by formal/informal structure, by tax status, by geography, and on and on). But sociologist/political-scientist/historian Johan Galtung suggests there are essentially two … read more
AJBlog: The Artful Manager Published 2018-05-30
Recent Listening, In Brief
Keeping up with the ceaseless flow of jazz albums is impossible, but it’s a pleasure to try. Here are short reviews of a few relatively recent releases. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-05-30
In Greek tradition, music ranked equal in status to arithmetic, geometry and spherics (astronomy), which together comprised the quadrivium, the core curriculum of four disciplines that a learned person was expected to master.
Collectors have historically deferred to institutional givers to do the heavy lifting when it comes to traditional grantmaking and the red-hot area of activist art in particular. This is why Gund’s Art for Justice Fund is so important. It’s predicated on the idea that by selling their work, collectors can advance social justice. As Ford President Darren Walker noted, “art has meaning on a wall, but it also has meaning when it is monetized.”
“Our destinies are very much tethered to the direction of the overall city. Certainly a hall can be an anchor institution, but if nothing is going on inside the hall most of the time, then it is dead space. It is important that as we design these halls they can be used throughout the day. One of the things that I am trying to do is to re-imagine the foyer of the concert hall as a shared workspace. It could be like a public library, where pretty much anyone can go in there. What if we were to merge public libraries and concert halls so that the experience is like going into a learning center that has a concert hall within it?”