ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


What Did CBS Do With, And In, Its Supposedly Thorough Investigation Into A Racist, Sexist Culture?

Some things have changed. But the news affiliates? Oof. The details of CBS Television Stations President Peter Dunn's racism - saying of an anchor, "He’s not doing that ‘jive talking’ anymore? Sometimes, he’s just not speaking my language," for instance - and sexism are damning. - Los Angeles Times

Dungeons And Dragons, And Other Gaming Too, Must Find A Way To Rid Itself Of Fantasy’s Legacy Of Racism

It's not going to be easy: "Genetic determinism is a fantasy tradition. ... As both a ruleset and a fantasy backdrop, D&D is in the business of translating these racial differences into numerical scores." - Wired

The Biden Administration Gives Hope, And Attention, To The Arts

Despite the fact that the previous president was, himself, the product of show business, the arts seemed to mean nothing to him. "If artists were hostile to Trump’s policies, Trump’s White House — perhaps from a self-protective attitude of 'If I can’t have it, then I never wanted it' — was unusually inhospitable to or at best uninterested in...

Audiences Won’t Come Back Until Folks Are Vaccinated (But They Still Want Masks): Study

The survey of 3,300 frequent attenders (most over 60 and almost all over 40) found that, now that COVID-19 vaccines are being given to the public, more than two-thirds expect they'll be comfortable at indoor performances by June. (The rest say not until 2022.) More than three-quarters said they'd be willing to pay more to make up for revenue...

Biden Axes Trump’s ‘1776 Commission’ On History Curriculum

"President Joe Biden on Wednesday issued an executive order to dissolve the 1776 Commission, a panel stood up by President Donald Trump … as an apparent counter to The New York Times' 1619 Project, a Pulitzer Prize-winning project aimed at teaching American students about slavery that Trump, speaking last fall, had called 'toxic propaganda.'" - CNN

Mattel Rolls Out A New “Maya Angelou Barbie”

The new Barbie, whose face is “sculpted to Dr Angelou’s likeness” and who is wearing a head-wrap, jewellery and floral print dress on its “curvy body”, joins Rosa Parks and Florence Nightingale in the “Inspiring Women” series of Barbie dolls. - The Guardian

Why Germany Is The Greatest Arts Nation

This is the greatest modern artistic nation in Europe. Art history tends to get it all wrong, exaggerating the glamour of French art, just as it does with American art. And in Britain, laughably, we even try to kid ourselves that Henry Moore and John Piper are modernist greats. The reality is that nowhere else has produced as much...

On His Way Out, Trump Designates Heroes For His Garden Of American Greatness

The earlier order laid out a vision for a garden to "depict historically significant Americans" at a to-be-determined place with a target date for public access of July 4, 2026. The list of those Trump wants to honor is wide-ranging; it includes past politicians, musicians, artists, astronauts, movie stars, philosophers, athletes and other historical figures. Trump's order says the...

What Critics Are About

Reviewing is not just about giving a thumbs-up or down and handing out generalised star ratings. It’s using experience of the art form to encourage readers to a more engaged understanding. For me, it’s about connecting the best work with the widest possible audience. - The Stage

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...

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...

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...

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...

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)

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