“In 1709, the London journalist Ned Ward published an account of a group he called ‘the Mollies Club.’ Visible through the homophobic bile (he describes the members as a ‘Gang of Sodomitical Wretches’) is the clear image of a social club that sounds, most of all, like a really good time. Every evening of the week, Ward wrote, at a pub he would not mention by name, a group of men came together to gossip and tell stories, probably laughing like drains as they did so, and occasionally succumbing to ‘the Delights of the Bottle.'”
“The Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2018/19 has set out measures to protect funding for arts organisations, despite earlier warnings that subsidy was likely to be cut. Under proposals announced today (December 14) by cabinet secretary for finance and the constitution Derek Mackay, the overall culture budget for will be £166.8 million, an increase of almost 10% on 2017/18 figures.”
“The study found that more than a third of art museum-goers did not think art museums were a cultural experience, and over half of theatergoers felt the same. Audiences were more likely to consider a street fair or exotic food and drink a cultural experience than opera or ballet. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they attend cultural events for fun, while “interest in content” and “experiencing new things” ranked second and third.”
“It’s true: The hoop skirt has aged poorly. Its connotations 150 years post-heyday are antiquated at best, antagonistic at worst. From an inside view, though, this ‘choreography of exclusion’ was anything but. Just the opposite, in fact: Its rebellion was quiet, subdued, and feminine, but a rebellion nonetheless. The skirts have lived long enough to become a villain of our racial imagination. To the women who wore them, they were heroic.”
“Since 2011, when the show first premiered on HBO, tourism in Dubrovnik has seen an increase of 9 to 12 percent annually” – with numbers up to 10,000 or more a day, over 1 million a year in a town of 43,000 people. “While the show’s notoriety is good news for Dubrovnik’s economy, 80 percent of which relies on tourism, UNESCO has warned that Old Town Dubrovnik, a World Heritage Site, cannot accommodate this crush of newcomers. Some residents have had enough, too.”
“The thing that’s frustrating about doing the Olympics is that you get to the end and then you understand what you should have done. When you’re running a theatre or an opera house or a festival, you can learn from your mistakes. You get to the end of London 2012 and think, ‘Damn, I’m never going to get a chance to apply this wisdom that I have now acquired.”
That was the title of a panel discussion at Art Basel Miami Beach that “included artist Jordan Casteel, Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston director Bill Arning, and writer and photographer Teju Cole. While there weren’t many concrete solutions drawn, the conversation offered a clear diagnosis of the key issues facing art and culture and, at the very least, a starting point for how we can understand and address them going forward.
Less than a year before presidential elections, Russian authorities appear unable or unwilling to do enough to protect the country’s artists and civil society from attacks by activist thugs.
It started with little things. “This is England, speak English,” said one woman to Agnieszka as she was speaking Polish with her children. “Go back to your own country,” Diana was told in school. Then, this spring, her neighbor mounted the first of the cameras on the wall and said: “I’m going to take care of this damn Polish problem!” After several instances of intimidation, Agnzieszka called the police. She was told: “If you don’t like the cameras, maybe you should move away.”
“After World War II, the CIA’s strategy in Europe was to strengthen intellectual elites who supported socialist policies but not Communism, who they termed the non-communist left. Doing so without having those actions traced back to the US, however, was challenging. The CCF was one solution: its director Michael Josselson proposed that strengthening the non-communist left should be done through cultural organizations rather than straight-out political ones.”
So, what is cultural appropriation and why has it become such a contentious issue? Susan Scafidi, professor of law at Fordham University, defines it as ‘taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artefacts from someone else’s culture without permission’. This can include the ‘unauthorized use of another culture’s dance, dress, music, language, folklore, cuisine, traditional medicine, religious symbols, etc.’ But what is it for knowledge or expression or a cuisine to ‘belong’ to a culture? And who gives permission for someone from another culture to use such knowledge or forms?
Not mincing her words, Anne Pasternak, the director of New York’s Brooklyn Museum, was quick to narrow the focus to the US. “There is a war on culture in this country. There is a war on people of colour, on immigrants and on women,” she said. “Art Basel feels like the party before the apocalypse.”
“To be a philanthropist, whether the money is yours or simply has been entrusted to you, is a remarkable privilege in every sense of the word. The world is probably never going to see the day when literally everyone seeking to make the world a better place through the arts does so strategically and wholly without regard to self-interest. But the more we can nudge individuals, organizations, and actions in that direction, the more meaningful all of our work will become.”
Jon Heely “is accused of sexually abusing two underage girls approximately a decade ago. He allegedly victimized the first girl when she was 15. According to the charges, he began abusing the second when she was about 11 years old and continued until she was 15.”
Boston University and WBUR received reports of allegations against “On Point” host Tom Ashbrook late in the week. The station general manager said, “Tom will be on leave from his duties at WBUR while an outside organization hired by Boston University examines these allegations. We will decide a course of action after getting the results of this investigation.”
“I think making an airport as local as possible is a great strategy toward improving the experience. Some people live in this paradigm that an airport should be a global space, super-cosmopolitan, but we’ve seen a reversal of that trend. What you want is a unique experience, not a generic one.” That means good barbecue and jazz at Austin-Bergstrom, country singers at Nashville. BWI sells Baltimore-style crab, and Vancouver has one of the world’s great collections of Northwestern native art. Munich’s airport has a beer garden.
Los Angeles tops the list on our combined measure of employed and self-employed artists. Los Angeles not only has a larger concentration of artists than New York City based on its LQ, it has a larger number of absolute artists, even though New York City has a much larger general population. Indeed, it’s been shown that a significant number of artists are moving from the New York City to the Los Angeles metro.
“When people are presented with a perfect image of something — whether a product or a perfect person — it doesn’t feel authentic. And the Museum of Failure, with its artifacts, feels — and is — completely genuine and authentic. And that’s something that’s not so common today.”
“The locals, accused of pilfering ancient artifacts from the surrounding desert, were charged with violating the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Authorities recovered more than 40,000 artifacts, some dating to 6,000 B.C., Smithsonian Magazine reported. The federal sting — dubbed Operation Cerberus by authorities — would prove to be the match igniting long-simmering tensions across the region.”
“The museum, which opened in November, fits with a wider cultural movement in the Gulf. Over the past decade, the region has begun a sort of cultural arms race, one that counters its image as a wealthy desert with little culture or history. I.M. Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art opened in 2008 in Doha, and when it is completed in a year or so, Jean Nouvel’s desert-rose design for the National Museum of Qatar may even surpass his vision for the Louvre.”
The suit, announced in a statement, is the first in the United States to seek recognition of the constitutional right to literacy, the lawyers said. It alleges that the state failed to intervene when students achieved low proficiency rates in reading and fell behind at the three schools, which are among the lowest performing in the state.
“An amendment [added by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) would strike artists’ housing from the list of qualified groups who can benefit from federally subsidized low-income housing. … Moreover, as written, the law would also render all existing artists’ housing developments built with housing credits retroactively ineligible for the benefit – creating a sudden tax liability for the investors who have used these credits for years.”
Is this caste system the future of theatre criticism? On one side a wading pool of compensated pros, on the other a swarming mass of unedited amateurs with domain names and hot takes? There must be alternatives. Luckily, new models have emerged to pick up the slack left by local media and elevate arts writing above snarky, thumbs-up-or-down consumer reporting.
“At the end of September, county commissioners voted to remove $550,000 from the $4m grant promised to the Pérez Art Museum Miami (Pamm) for the current financial year. The money was allocated instead to the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, a small institution in Coral Gables, which opened in January.”
Today, the Colosseum stands bald and bare. But for centuries, it was a wild and overgrown place, and its lost history as a primeval garden ruin has left traces in the art and poetry of countless generations that walked among its stands.
“Can a collection of Persian antiquities held at a Chicago museum be used to pay damages to the American victims of a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem? That was the question argued at the US Supreme Court on 4 December, in a claim brought by Jenny Rubin and others against Iran. But the justices who questioned the lawyers involved in the case seemed skeptical about allowing the artefacts to be seized.”
“Currently, 500 to 600 ships – a yearly 1,000 to 1,200 entrances and exits – of up to 96,000 gross tonnes enter the lagoon from the Adriatic by the Lido opening to sail through Venice … But the Comitatone has rejected the solution favoured by environmental scientists and some politicians, which is to build a floating port outside the lagoon, from which passengers would be brought into town in smaller boats.”
“While inspecting the property for damage, workers discovered additional layers of walls that they did not know existed. The inner walls, hidden behind the outer walls, contained insulation that took on water and remain potentially infected with bacteria that could grow if left in the basement.” Re-opening of the venue, home to Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet, has been postponed from May until at least September.
“What’s funny about sexual assault? Six female comedians weigh in on rape jokes, and how stand-up is changing in the post-Weinstein era.” (video)
“To what degree are cultural institutions responsible for vetting every dollar they receive? Can financially strapped arts organizations be picky about a patron’s source of wealth, and if so, where should they draw the line? At a donor who engages in unlawful or unethical behavior? Or whose conduct is at odds with the institution’s goals?”