Since 2012, NCAR has made headlines with studies on such issues as the gender gap among art museum directors.Or whether grants by the National Endowment for the Arts benefit only the wealthy. It’s also delved into what significance arts leadership has with the success or failure of cultural institutions. It’s provided online diagnostic tools like the Arts Vibrancy Index – which measures communities across the U.S. based on a dozen factors such as the number of arts groups per capita and a city’s public support for its cultural offerings. In doing all this, the SMU center has had a full-time staff of only four people. Now, in merging with DataArts, NCAR will gain 22 employees.
Sometimes, the only way to help someone seems to be a cruel or nasty approach – a strategy that may leave the ‘helper’ feeling guilty and wrong. Now research from my team at the Liverpool Hope University in the UK sheds light on how the process works.
“Every group of people I ask,” says Hans Rosling, “thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless — in short, more dramatic — than it really is.” And because the media know drama interests us, they offer frightening, violent, dramatic news of fresh disasters. Good news is no news.
As Rupert Brooke, a very different kind of sensibility, put it, many artists welcomed the onset of war “as swimmers into cleanness leaping”. A short and sharply brutal conflict was just what art needed finally to euthanise the past and slough off the fusty clutter of landscapes, nudes and the strictures of the academy. A new and modern art lay just on the other side. Of course, as it turned out, these brave new movements turned out to be just another casualty of the trenches.
Volker Hagedorn: “You might think you’re just there for the music, but the fact is that you are still participating in an entirely invented, cultish religion. … For me, Bayreuth nowadays is more of a curiosity than anything else. A gigantic hamster wheel, with directors racing each other to prove their relevance; an exhausted Dracula, sucking the lifeblood from artists from outside the music scene; a museum of local history, starring an international elite of singers, who appear to be of the opinion that no one needs to understand the words.”
This summer’s Glyndebourne production of Samuel Barber’s reveals that this 1958 opera piece wasn’t a Romantic throwback – it was ahead of its time. A recent recording of Marc Blitzstein’s 1937 agitprop shows how clearly it speaks to The Age of The 1%.
So after a stretch in university administration, I am back full-time in the classroom this fall. One of my classes is in Cultural Planning and Community Development – i.e. “place-based” cultural policy. So, this is what I’ve put together.
Vibraphonist, pianist and bandleader Charlie Shoemake wrote the other day to relate an experience involving pianist Jimmy Rowles (1918-1996).
An analysis of 50 of the top-grossing films of 2016 finds females make up only one-third of all characters. But that’s a significant improvement over the last such survey, which looked at films released in 2002. And, perhaps more importantly, it reports females are now far more likely to be depicted in positions of power.
“Slender Man is scary not because of what you know about him but because of what you don’t know. … The character is a blank canvas for our fears but also for online storytelling. Now the namesake of a new horror film, Slender Man started to take shape in an online forum nearly a decade ago, at a time when daily life was shifting to social media and the border between the online world and the real one was starting to blur. Here’s a look at Slender Man’s evolution.”
“In my view, poetry is the most organic art form; it does not require money or physical labor. A poem doesn’t need to follow any particular grammar rules; it is the record of one’s own experience of the singular mind and/or body, a singular voice. For many of us, it is also a way of “being in the world,” a world that in many ways was not made for us and actively resists our participation. Through poetry, we are able to remake and reinvent that world.”
“Older games feature pixel-based graphics that can look fuzzy on modern televisions and can be frustrating to play for even experienced gamers. Yet in 2016, Nintendo released a NES Classic Edition console and sold out all 2.3 million of them in just three months. The company made more and began selling them in June 2018.” A pair of media psychologists explain why Gen-Xers in particular remain so fond of dear old Mario and Sonic.
Some people act as though librarians have (or should have) the answers to everything. As in – do you have: The book with the blue cover, the book with the red cover, the book with the green cover…The book that’s about horses . . . but not like about, horses, you know?… Breath mints (cinnamon preferred)
“For most dancers, the costumes act as the finishing touch. At MOMIX, however, the costumes are just the starting point. … We spoke with Pendleton and MOMIX dance captain Sarah Nachbauer to learn all of the details of how they get their concepts from the studio to the stage — and all of the costume mishaps in between.”
Programs cut include bachelor’s degrees in art history, French, geography, math and physics, along with master’s degrees in history, physics, sociology and Spanish. The university said it based its decision on program enrollment and number of degrees conferred in recent years, as well as any “duplication” of well supported programs at other, nearby institutions. Just five percent of students are admitted to the affected programs, the university said. No elimination of full-time faculty or staff is planned. The university also said it was investing in areas of strength identified in the review, such as polymers, dance, cybersecurity and nursing.
“If your reaction to hearing the name Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov is a shrug, even a smirk, you’re not alone.” Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim visits the Bard Music Festival, dedicated to the man Richard Taruskin calls, yes, “the most underrated composer in history.” Responds CdFW, “I can’t say that’s a judgment I quite came to share … But I left Bard with a newfound appreciation for a quality I had never before considered as a factor in music: shame.”
“Dubbed the Queen of Soul in 1967, Franklin loomed over culture in several monumental ways. The daughter of a preacher man, she was born with one of pop’s most commanding and singular voices, one that could move from a sly, seductive purr to a commanding gospel roar. … For more than five decades, [she] was a singular presence in pop music, a symbol of strength, women’s liberation and the civil rights movement.”
“Of all Helen’s roles in the literary and artistic corpus (and it is a long career – she has been forgotten by not a single generation since she entered the written record 2,700 years ago), it is her part as fantasy whore that has been most tenacious. Her many sexual partners … are trotted out by ancient and modern authors alike as the gossip columns would the client-list of a high-class prostitute. And so Euripides calls her a ‘bitch-whore’; she is Shakespeare’s ‘strumpet’.”
Responding to Lyn Gardner’s recent column arguing for “a new approach to theatre criticism, in which theatres see developing critical voices as part of audience and artist development,” Bill Marx writes that what Gardner seems to be suggesting is both vague and, well, unlikely: “Is the money invested in theater development these days dedicated to making stage audiences more ‘critical’? Are there any plans for ‘creative power sharing’ with spectators? From what I can tell, … the goal is to buff up [theaters’] business plans and marketing efforts, not to encourage the development of ‘critical’ audiences.”
Financial firm GCA Advisors claims that The Onion had engaged it, for a $2 million base fee, to assist in a potential “transaction,” and then didn’t pay up when Univision later acquired a 40.5% stake. Now that Univision is selling The Onion, GCA wants its fee.
Laura Collins-Hughes visits the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where artistic director Bill Rauch convinced keeper-of-the-Rodgers-and-Hammerstein-catalog Ted Chapin to let him go ahead with a production of the musical in which both Laurey and Curly are gals and Will Parker pairs off with Ado Andy.
The Wall Street Journal, followed up by the Financial Times, reported that the Wasserstein family (as in investment bank Wasserstein Perella), which owns New York Media, has retained a firm to explore a sale. Then an internal email from CEO Pam Wasserstein became public, and it makes things seem much more ambiguous.
“Eleven years after the fatal collapse of the choreographer, which many assumed would also be the collapse of his company, Smuin finally has its home, in a 1949 warehouse next to the old freight line on Potrero Hill.” Says one company exec, “For the first time ever, we will control the schedule, which will allow us to rehearse for as long as we need.”
“Facebook’s rising dominance as a referrer led to … content that was optimized for social media. … The problem with social-optimized content is that its overt, eerie familiarity drapes a kind of lowest-common-denominator cynicism across the internet … [and favors] exaggeration over subtlety. … SEO content, on the other hand, dispenses with the emotional in favor of the mechanical. It can be stilted and awkward — but it’s more honest and transparent.”
“[He] helped introduce British readers to continental writers including Eugene Ionesco, Marguerite Duras and Alain Robbe-Grillet, and also championed edgy Americans, publishing Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and William S. Burroughs’ The Naked Lunch.” In 1966 he was convicted of obscenity for publishing Hubert Selby’s gritty novel “Last Exit to Brooklyn. The conviction was overturned on appeal, in a landmark free-speech case.”
“The drought has had [a] surprising effect: All over the country, ghosts have been rising up out of the earth. In the fields of England, Wales and Ireland, the lost lines of houses and settlements, barrows and henges, the street plans of ancient towns from Roman times to the Paleolithic and the Middle Ages — everywhere the past is returning, written on the landscape. These phenomena are known as cropmarks.”
“Mauricio Rojas, a Chilean-Swedish political economist and member of [president Sebastián] Piñera’s center-right coalition, questioned the validity of the Museum of History and Human Rights, which opened in 2010 and documents abuses during the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.”
“Over time, everywhere that you might want to enjoy music—in different rooms of your house as well as outside the home—we want to have a product that serves that scenario really well, and also any content that’s relevant to you. We want to make it as easy as possible for you to summon that up wherever you are. All of our work is going into those areas. And again, when I say content it’s not just music. It’s sonic culture umbrella in general: podcasts, entertainment, TV soundtracks, things like that.”
The oldest form of physical media is actually holding up quite well. According to PwC’s Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2018–2022, the consumer market for physical, printed books is holding its own in an increasingly digital world (see “Print Presses On”). Between 2018 and 2022, sales of physical video games, home video, and music are expected to decline each year, in some instances by double-digit percentages. By contrast, sales of physical books are expected to grow modestly, by about 1 percent annually, every year.
The digital landscape is already fragmented, and it’s continually fragmenting further, as content creators choose to become content providers. In the process, it’s beginning to resemble cable television. Each new app or content library looks like a different channel to consider, and each one is essentially a premium cable offering that requires a separate subscription to view. Services that previously acted as content aggregators are losing outside content with the launch of each new service. Instead, they are creating their own content to maintain value in a crowded marketplace.