To be a member of a fandom is to take a property and embrace it like a vise. You consume it, you talk about it with fellow fans, maybe you go to conventions, maybe you write fanfic or draw fanart, and no matter what — and this is the most crucial part — you pray that, if there’s more of it, it’ll be as good as the best of what’s come before. There are polite fans who say it quietly and don’t get mad when their needs aren’t met. But, by their very nature, such fans are always going to be drowned out by the ones who, like Bobby Axelrod, declare to the world, These are my needs. What’s remarkable and dangerous is the fact that, in the past 20 years, Hollywood started feeding them. They started getting what they wanted, and they’ve never looked back.
“[Theaster] Gates is just one of several high-profile board members (including Chance the Rapper, his father Ken Bennett and Eric Whitaker) who have departed in recent weeks. People familiar with the DuSable [Museum] say its problems stem from mismanagement and from precarious finances, as well as board and staff instability.”
“The DuSable Museum of African American History, which has the largest collection of African-American historical artifacts in the country, is facing a crisis of underfunding and management at a time when it should be getting ready for the arrival the Obama Presidential Center … First, though, the 57-year-old museum must regain financial and organizational stability in its day-to-day operations. If it can’t, it’s not clear it will survive until 2020, let alone the next decade or two. [Here’s what’s] on the punch list.”
“Featuring an outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum, a Sadler’s Wells dance theatre and a new home for the London College of Fashion, along with residential towers, the park’s planned arts district, once known as Olympicopolis, in tune with [former mayor Boris] Johnson’s penchant for ancient Greek, has been reborn as East Bank, with the addition of a new base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and recording studios.”
Stage director Javaad Alipoor: “The arts world has turned working-class people into a problem to be solved rather than audience members or artists to be developed. Focusing on the poorest in society also dodges the main question we should be asking: why is it not only the super-exploited but the majority in this country who do not engage with subsidised theatre or arts? These are people who fill out football stadiums, comedy clubs, gigs and commercial theatres, often paying more for tickets than is charged by state-subsidised productions. Folk who can afford a big night out, but don’t want to spend it with us.”
“The Kennedy Center’s expansion project, now with a $250 million fundraising campaign, will open Sept. 7, 2019 — more than two years late and $100 million over its original cost. Arts center officials offered the first glimpse of the building Tuesday at a hard-hat tour for community members. Under construction on 4.6 acres south of the original facility, the building will encourage interaction between artists and audiences with glass-walled classrooms and studios, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said.”
The site powers sales for many independent venues across the country. Still, much of the website remains down. Eventbrite, the San Francisco-based company that owns Ticketfly, told The Washington Post in a statement that an investigation into the breach is ongoing, but it confirmed that “some customer information has been compromised as part of the incident, including names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers of Ticketfly fans.”
Higher ed is often described as a bubble—and much like the housing market in 2008, the thought goes, it will ultimately burst. But what if it’s less of a sudden pop and more of a long, slow slide, and we are already on the way down? We are living through the greatest time in history to be a learner, with the availability of so many high-quality free materials online. But at the same time, the institutions most affiliated with knowledge and learning are facing crisis.
Wesley Morris: “This questioning of the canon comes from places of lived experience. It’s attuned to how great cultural work can leave you feeling irked and demeaned. For some readers, loving Herman Melville or Joseph Conrad requires some peacemaking with the not-quite-human representations of black people in those texts. Loving Edith Wharton requires the same reckoning with the insulting way she could describe Jews. Bigotry recurs in canonical art. And committed engagement leaves us dutybound to identify it. … Your great works should be strong enough to withstand some feminist forensics. … Insisting that a canon is settled gives those concerns the ‘fake news’ treatment, denying a legitimate grievance by saying there’s no grounds for one. It’s shutting down a conversation, when the longer we go without one, the harder it becomes to speak.”
Not surprising was the finding that museums had larger working capital reserves than did performing arts organizations. What was somewhat surprising was the finding that smaller budgeted organizations had larger relative cash reserves than did larger budgeted organizations, due in part to their smaller fixed expenses allowing them to be more nimble.
Arquette says he called her to his hotel room and essentially tried to assault her – and when she refused him, he told her she was “making a big mistake.” After she left, “‘Got down the elevator. By the time I got to the bottom, the lobby, I had a completely different career,’ Arquette says. Roles started to disappear, and new opportunities didn’t seem to come.”
Some powerful (mostly male) voices in the music industry said the guidelines, originally meant to apply to R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, were unclear and would amount to censorship. But the leader of a women’s advocacy group said, “Women weren’t asking Spotify to play judge and jury. … We were just asking the company to stop promoting artists that have a documented history of physical and sexual abuse.”
“How to respond to budget cuts in an unstable economic environment is perhaps the number one struggle. Managing cultural organisations in a sustainable way is not straightforward these days and perhaps it never has been. What has changed is that we are facing the vulnerability of public investment, in parallel with a significant shrinking of private investment. Add to that the extent to which digitisation has affected the creative value chain, from conception to creation, the arts sector is faced with quite a new panorama. And this requires new approaches to the way we work.”
“The 1960s marked a coming together of politics and counterculture, reminiscent of earlier modernist movements like dada and fluxus, though on a much larger scale. The hippies and their offshoot groups, more than any other anti-establishment group at the time, integrated art and life in a way in which the two were indistinguishable – an idea that carries through to contemporary art today.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
What does the Shed’s sliding roof get you that the sliding wooden panels don’t? The answer: It gets you bang for your half billion bucks. The Shed wants to be grand. The Shed wants awe. The Shed wants to look like a spaceport. Even in von Hantelmann’s taxonomy of ritual spaces, we have raced backward rather than forward—not to the theater, not to the museum, but all the way back to the reverence-inducing, hugely capitalized cathedral. A thousand essays on inclusivity won’t change that. They won’t erase the Shed’s position in a development scheme that benefits the wealthy.
“In my 25-year career as a museum director, I have not seen a more challenging time to be an arts leader; the national and global political climates have created a situation in which our essential principles are under attack. It is not appropriate for a public museum to take positions in partisan politics. We must, however, stand up for what we believe in and defend our values.”
“The world now changes at warp speed. Colleges move glacially. By the time they’ve assembled a new cluster of practical concentrations, an even newer cluster may be called for, and a set of job-specific skills picked up today may be obsolete less than a decade down the road. The idea of college as instantaneously responsive to employers’ evolving needs is a bit of a fantasy.
“The German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans has teamed up with a friend, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, to encourage artists and other creative people to brainstorm ways for Europe to better present itself to the public. They put out a call in March for rebranding proposals, asking: ‘How can the European Union be valued by its citizens and be recognized as a force for good, rather than as a faceless bureaucracy?’ They requested ideas ‘for communicating the advantages of cooperation and friendship amongst people and nations.’ More than 400 proposals from 43 countries poured in.”
“This recent quote by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who lives an intentionally secluded life in Venice, underlines the city’s daily contradictions. It is increasingly a city of art, ‘invaded’, at an ever-growing rate, by tourists. And this invasion is consuming and weakening it as a city.”
“On April 19, the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) released a report outlining changes to the not-for-profit arts sector in Canada. The study asserted that from 2008 to 2017, real wages had decreased for those working in the field. This proved to be erroneous, and with some independent calculations of our own, we discovered a significant error in the calculations’ methodology.”
Natalie Frank, the artist who illustrated “The Story of O,” saw her work get disinvited from at least one gallery because of its content. “O became wildly popular and wildly controversial. In the 1970s and 1980s, some anti-porn feminists railed against it, deeming its explicit content pornographic, dehumanizing and ultimately detrimental to women’s fight for equal rights. In a twist of fate, Frank’s visual interpretations of Aury’s literary smut faced similar allegations in 2018.”