ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


Tokenism Versus Representation

"The complexity of the question "What qualifies as tokenism and what as representation?" rivals that of Blackness itself. There is often a conflation perhaps because representation is part and parcel of tokenism, making it difficult to discern one from the other, or at what point it shifts. What it looks like for the bystander may not be how it is experienced by the person in the situation." - Dance Magazine

A Critic Ponders A Critical Interruption

Nate Chinen: "A disaster of this magnitude turns every critic into an advocate. For many of us, of course, that function was already part of the equation. But as I look back on our distorted timeline, I'm struck by how great a percentage of my energy was devoted to crisis response: detailing the collapse of an infrastructure; sounding the call for public support; spreading the word about everything from a relief fund to a Bandcamp Friday release. Everything felt pressurized by a desperate sense of purpose. I blame this feeling for the fact that it was much more difficult than usual to produce a ballot for the critics' polls; what do rankings really matter when the world is falling down?" - NPR

Reasoning Behind Tories’ Protect-Monuments-From-Mobs Law Is Rubbish

Charlotte Higgins: "What is happening in reality – and to a greater or lesser extent has been happening for years – is a reappraisal of what and who is celebrated in Britain’s public realm, as Britain gradually, painfully, and often inadequately, examines its colonial and imperial past. … What the Conservatives doggedly refuse to acknowledge is that a community deciding – or even a pressure group demanding – that a figure should no longer be revered on a plinth in the public realm has nothing to do with 'censoring' history or pretending the events of the past did not happen." - The Guardian

Boris Johnson’s Government Prepares Law To Protect Public Monuments From ‘Baying Mobs’

"The legislation would require planning permission for any changes and a minister would be given the final veto. … The plans follow the toppling of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston last year and a wider discussion on the removal of controversial monuments." - BBC

Mark Swed: My Picks For Culture Secretary

"A Secretary of Culture would serve not as advisor to the president but as a conscience to government itself. Mr. or Madame Secretary would set a national tone of cultural ambition. If you are worried about politicizing culture, don’t be. Artists are rebels. Any benighted culture czar who happens to come along will have to contend with socially nourishing revolutionary art. We can’t lose." - Los Angeles Times

UK Arts Venues Sigh With Relief As Supreme Court Rules Insurers Must Pay COVID Claims

"The case has been rumbling on for a while, triggered when a variety of insurance companies stated that their business interruption schemes did not cover eventualities such as the COVID pandemic. A legal battle has raged over the ensuing months … arguing that this was a deliberate misreading of rules." - WhatsOnStage (London)

U.S. Cultural Institutions Are Hiring Diversity Officers. It’s A Start.

"At the same time, experts warn, longstanding challenges remain — antiracism goals that are hard to measure; finding funds to pay for these efforts; and assuming that the hiring of one dedicated advocate means the work is done." - The New York Times

The Essential Importance Of Going Out Into The World To Discover Artists First Hand

"These trips were resource-intensive, but through the intrepid efforts of people like David White and Sam Miller, philanthropic support enabled cohorts of Americans to research artists, network with international administrators, and present an array of worldwide artistry throughout the country. This work was often highly subsidized by foreign governments recognizing the importance of global exchange." - VTDigger

Trump Wanted To End Arts Funding. Instead It Grew

“The years and years of work that we had done to create a pro-arts Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, really came through,” said Nina Ozlu Tunceli, executive director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund. “Congress became a firewall to prevent that termination from happening.” - The New York Times

What New York Could Do To Help The Arts

"So what can the city and/or state do? From grants and loans to small theaters to negotiating with and supporting landlords with non-profit tenants to programs that keep paid staff in their jobs, rather than sending them onto unemployment, to initiatives that care for freelancers and independent contractors who make up so much of our cultural ecosystem, there is no shortage of policy possibilities." - Gotham Gazette

Election Misinformation Online Dropped A Dramatic 73 Percent After Trump Was Banned From Twitter

Just wow. "The findings, from Jan. 9 through Friday, highlight how falsehoods flow across social media sites — reinforcing and amplifying each other — and offer an early indication of how concerted actions against misinformation can make a difference." - Washington Post

If You’re Feeling Unmotivated Right Now, You’re Not Alone

Hello, extremely upfront journalist: "I’m writing this article because, to be honest, the piece I need to read most right now is why it’s completely okay to feel sort of hopeless and disconnected from the joys of life." - Fast Company

The Movie Soul Is About A Black Man, But In Some Countries, He’s Voiced By A White Guy

Europe, excuse us, but what are you doing? "Asta Selloane Sekamane, one of the activists who criticized the casting ... said in an interview that no one can claim there wasn’t enough Black talent to fill the main roles, because actors of color were hired to voice some of the minor parts. 'It can’t be the constant excuse, this idea that we can’t find people who live up to our standards,' she added. 'That’s an invisible bar that ties qualification to whiteness.'" - The New York Times

Do We Want Uplifting Entertainment In These Difficult Times? Not Me!

"The temptation to simplify morality when social injustice is rife is understandable, but reading Dostoevsky makes me impatient with the schematic bent of our age. To be fully human is to acknowledge, as Prospero puts in “The Tempest,” “this thing of darkness” as our own." - Los Angeles Times

In Ontario, Even Livestreamed Performances Without Audience Are Now Banned

As the number of COVID cases continues to spike, "organizers behind a number of livestreaming concerts and theatre shows in Ontario say the province's stricter stay-at-home orders have forced them to sideline an array of upcoming virtual events. … The changes come after Premier Doug Ford introduced a new directive which, as of Thursday, requires residents to stay home, unless their activities fall under a list of 'essential' reasons." - Yahoo! (Canadian Press)

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