ArtsJournal: Arts, Culture, Ideas


What It’s Like Singing ‘Strange Fruit’ In 2021

Andra Day, who plays Billie Holiday in the new movie The United States Vs. Billie Holiday, explains how she felt when she heard it as a child. "It's in my DNA. It's in our DNA ... I think as a nation. And as a people, as Black people. I remember being very quieted by the song, almost sort of prostrated. All I knew was it made me sad. ... There was such pain there and it stunned me as a child. It really just struck me." - NPR

The Toll This Year Took On The People Responsible For Explaining The Toll This Year Was Taking

It's not great. "COVID has led to a sort of existential crisis for me working in journalism. When some of your readers claim that any facts you present that are inconvenient to their personal narrative are proof that you’re embedded in a conspiracy, you can only take so much of that before you start to question whether or not it’s worth it. The predominant emotion here is feeling powerless. ... When I am constantly seeing these sorts of messages and realizing that represents a broader portion of not just our readership, the country, it’s really easy to turn to apathy. We’re just kind of stuck here. And that’s a pretty sad place to be." - Slate

Wait, Disney Wants Us To Pay *How Much* For The New Princess Movie?

The economics of it are a bit weird. Mulan was $29.99 for a while, even with a Disney Plus subscription. Then Soul was free, starting on Christmas Day. Now Raya and the Dragon is ... also $30? Sure, yes. Why? Well, "entertainment conglomerates are still very much in experimentation mode when it comes to settling the streaming vs. theatrical debate, particularly when it comes to kids’ films. It also underlines just how many kinks still have not been worked out (i.e., with theater chains)."- Fast Company

A Lot Of Black People Already Knew About Dr. Seuss

"I assumed most people knew that Seuss, despite the support he expressed for civil rights, was capable of depicting human beings of other races in demeaning ways. Painting Seuss as a victim of rabid 'wokeness' is like saying police brutality is a recent epidemic that began when people started uploading cellphone footage. No, it’s in the news because some white people just started noticing." - The Atlantic

So, Let’s Talk About The Six Hundred Thousand Dollar Meme Art

How to explain this "NFT" thing we're all hearing about in the news? OK, so ... if you buy a unique ID number associated with a certain piece of art, then no one else - in theory - can buy that exact art again. "If I sell Picasso.jpeg to James, I can’t then turn around and sell the same Picasso.jpeg (or an exact digital replica of it) to Robin – the blockchain knows that I already transferred the art (and its NFT) to James, so I can’t sell it to Robin, and will mark the transaction as invalid." Totally clear. - The Guardian (UK)

Chloe Zhao Makes History With Her Golden Globe, And China Reacts With Anger At Past Remarks

Zhao, the second woman ever to win a Golden Globe for directing and first Asian woman to win the prize, was at first feted by Chinese outlets - until her old interviews surfaced. Then everything shifted, including toward censorship on the social media platform Weibo, where searches for (hashtag) Nomadland and (hashtag) Nomadland Release Date were blocked. - The New York Times

Battleground Over Truth (Whatever That Is)

"A striking feature of our current political landscape is that we disagree not just over values (which is healthy in a democracy), and not just over facts (which is inevitable), but over our very standards for determining what the facts are. Call this knowledge polarization, or polarization over who knows—which experts to trust, and what is rational and what isn’t." - Boston Review

Six Philadelphia Museums Combined Resources During COVID. It Transformed How They Do Their Work

"After much discussion, we developed structures to jointly fundraise and equitably disperse proceeds between us relative to budget size. More importantly, we learned about each other and the audiences we individually serve. We committed to the concept that we could advance arts leadership in this city by sharing knowledge, expertise, and contacts, and that we all want our varied communities to become more deeply connected to other organizations." - Artnet

COVID Accelerated Trends By Ten Years. What Does That Mean For Classical Music?

According to NYU Stern School of Business professor and New York Times best-selling author Scott Galloway, the pandemic has accelerated the progression of trends in all industries, including music, by approximately 10 years. This means that whatever trend affecting a music organization before the pandemic is now ten years ahead of schedule. - Ludwig Van

Still Trying To Sort Out The Critic’s Role In A Very Changed Reality

"Critics no longer have the power to make or break an artist’s career. Rather, art critics depend more and more on maintaining friendly relationships with artists, galleries, and publicists in order to consistently secure paid work. In other words, art critics today seem less “in the middle” between artists, dealers, and public than tailing all three." - Hyperallergic

Artists Hope Biden Immigration Policies Will Make It Easier To Collaborate Internationally

Now that the bans are reversed, immigration lawyers who work with artists, including Ashley Tucker, director of programs at the Artistic Freedom Initiative in New York, will turn their attention to applications for visas and refugee status by artists who were on their radar but stood no chance during the last four years. - Artnet

The Mind As Computer? It Doesn’t Work That Way

These kinds of metaphors reduce us to achievement-driven and advantage-seeking entities, condemned constantly to self-optimise, as if our highest purpose is to be effective instruments. But effectiveness for effectiveness’s sake is an empty aim. Such imagery also casts us as competitors vying for scarce resources in a playing field in which the fittest survive – in this case the mentally fit, the emotionally agile, those who are the best self-managers. - Psyche

Will European Audiences Come Back To The Theatre?

"The shift has raised questions about whether audiences will return to theaters in the same numbers as before, and whether a blend of online and in-person viewing will become the new norm. … To find out how the pandemic might affect Europe's theater scenes, both large and small, we spoke with theatergoers in seven different countries." (Said one, "I couldn't get into the theaters' digital offerings. It's not theater, it's evidence of theater.") - The New York Times

Culture Is Everywhere Online. But How To Find It?

"We have evolved to be clever enough to create massive amounts of choice in every field, but I, for one, have yet to evolve enough to know how to best make the necessary choices." - The Guardian

Musée Rodin In Paris May Be Ordered To Release 3D Scans Of Sculptures

The museum has 3D scans of its holdings but is extremely reluctant to release them to the public, since the institution supports itself by selling its own reproductions of Rodin's works. Those works, however, are legally the property of the French state, and thus should be subject to freedom of information laws. So an American fabricator and activist, Cosmo Wenman, has sued for copies of the scans. And what will he do with them if he wins? "I would love to show off my commercial digital-to-bronze capabilities by using the Musée Rodin's scans to produce my own bronze replicas at far higher quality than the museum's own gift shop offerings." - The Art Newspaper

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