Good morning! The first is a piece from Harper’s July edition. The premise is that as our cities have strived to become better, they’ve actually become much much worse; gated enclaves of communities that live in contrived sanitized landscapes disconnected from their neighbors. The city has become a commodity, a market divorced from its practical purposes: “New York today is not at home. Instead, it has joined London and Hong Kong as one of the most desirable cities in the world for ‘land banking,’ where wealthy individuals from all over the planet scoop up prime real estate to hold as an investment, a pied-à-terre, a bolt-hole, a strongbox.” The second piece is something you might easily skip over. There have been far too many pieces attempting to reconcile bad behavior and good art. But Graham Daseler has a thoughtful piece struggling with the question. “If art can do harm, it stands to reason that it can do good, as well. It’s comforting to think that a work of art, if it’s beautiful enough or moving enough or original enough, may atone for the sins of the artist.” Have a great day.
You’ve probably seen the “Audience” heading on the ArtsJournal website or the weekly “This Week In Audience” feature in our newsletters. Some readers have asked about it. One of the biggest shifts in our culture is the changes in audience behavior. So a couple of years ago we started tagging stories which speak to the changing relationships between artists and audiences. Last year we started doing a regular roundup of the most interesting of these and adding a little context to the issues. You can check out this week’s report, that includes stories about the ubiquity of screens and Orwell’s predictions about them, here.
Good morning. It’s noisy world out there. And to get attention we’ve had to get more and more shrill in our discourse. Lee Siegel argues in the Times that we’ve lost our sense of proportion, and points to the moral rigor of James Baldwin as a way of checking our clarity: “In the process of abandoning the type of complex moral clarity that Baldwin practiced, we have made behavior that is unacceptable the equivalent of behavior that is criminal. An equal amount of fury is directed toward actions as morally — and legally — distinct from each other as rape, harassment, rudeness, boorishness and incivility.” Worth the read. Have a great weekend.
Today’s story in the Washington Post by Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone is the culmination of six months reporting on sexual harassment in the classical music world. While the story has numerous individual stories, many of them previously known, what’s striking is the systemic lack of institutional accountability over many years by some of the biggest musical institutions in the country.