The Catholic university in Philadelphia, “which has struggled to plug a projected deficit in recent years, plans to sell 46 pieces of art from its prized museum collection to help fund teaching and learning initiatives in its new strategic plan, officials said Tuesday. The sale, which includes masterpieces by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Georges Rouault, and Albert Gleizes, could raise more than $7 million, officials estimate.”
“Janet Malcolm once said that the ‘pose of fair-mindedness, the charade of evenhandedness’ are ‘rhetorical ruses.’ This week, Pankaj Mishra and Leslie Jamison discuss whether writers can ever truly put aside their own prejudices and interpretations.”
Creativity isn’t everything – and it isn’t confined to novels and poetry, says an academic writer. “This mass of unrecognized writing and labor is virtually unrepresented in popular culture, and academics and other workplace writers are not part of the cultural narrative around creativity.”
“World tours, fancy conferences, prestigious bylines and book contracts were bestowed on artists who hewed to political positions favored by the establishment, rather than on the most talented. In 1966, The New York Times confirmed suspicions that the CIA was pumping money into “civil society” organizations: unions, international organizations of students and women, groups of artists and intellectuals. The agency had produced the popular cartoon version of George Orwell’s anticommunist classic Animal Farm in 1954. It flew the Boston Symphony Orchestra on a European tour in 1952, to counter prejudices of the United States as uncultured and unsophisticated. It promoted the work of abstract expressionist painters like Jackson Pollock because their artistic style would have been considered degenerate in both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
Carl Swanson: “The combination of his inscrutability – all those words and phrases, scrawled and painted over, and grandiose titles referencing classical mythology – combined with the work’s billionaire home-decor market value to speak to something clubby, cushioned, and aloof which I never quite got, or felt I should get, or maybe that I felt that I needed to get. And it’s not just me.”
Seeing this story, we can finally understand what Reynolds meant when she said that, excepting childbirth, her big number in Singin’ in the Rain was the hardest thing she’d ever done in her life. (includes video)
The term “the artworld” itself seems to date only to 1964, but this timeline goes all the way back to 1793, when the revolutionary regime in France turned a certain royal palace in Paris into a public museum. The history here is selective, to be sure, but half the fun of these things is working up righteous high dudgeon over what’s been in- and excluded.
Remember when early January was basically a post-Christmas lull in the performing arts season? Those days are over: now it’s not uusual for a dancer to perform in three completely different works for different companies within 24 hours. “The reason – or the culprit, some might say – is the phenomenon known as APAP.”
“There was a time, within relatively recent memory, when buyers of new-music albums had a good idea what kind of music they would hear – and not incidentally, what kind they would not hear.” Kozinn surveys the current scene.
Ruth Mackenzie, a Briton who headed the 2012 London Cultural Olympics and currently runs the Holland Festival, will take over the Théâtre du Châtelet from Jean-Luc Choplin, who transformed the venue from a somewhat offbeat opera and dance producer into a Broadway-by-the-Seine (Broadway’s recent An American in Paris originated there).
“One size stopped fitting all long ago, but now there are clearly two broad groups of music audiences which must be addressed in entirely different ways, across different channels and with different tactics. At the most base level this is a case of youth versus grey, of digital native versus digital immigrant, of playlist versus album, of sales versus consumption. But it is also more complex and nuanced than that. There are overlaps and cross pollination. They may be relatively thin on the ground right now, but like some long-lost treasure map, they may point to how bridges can be built across these two worlds.”
The project has been plagued by shaky funding and construction delays. “Adjacent to the city’s spiffy new art museum along the Biscayne Bay waterfront, the Frost Science Museum features a 500,000-gallon aquarium that will house sharks, barracuda, tuna and sea turtles; an Everglades exhibit; a state-of-the-art planetarium; an exhibit on the evolution of flight from dinosaurs to jet fighters; and numerous labs, conference rooms and hands-on experiences.”
“While critics may continue to exist, the conditions that allow them to reach and effect an audience have been eroded. Arts coverage, no matter the medium, is largely reduced to quick responses to what’s new this week. There are exceptions of course, but can you imagine an hour-long conversation between John Berger and Susan Sontag being broadcast on Channel 4 today?”
“Of course we realized how unlikely it was that a large bridge of our design might be chosen by the city, but we proceeded as if it could happen,” Oldenburg wrote in a statement on the project.
“Cultural organizations and artists in our community have cited awareness of their work as one of their top priorities. Having a dedicated arts and culture news desk at WBFO is an excellent way to highlight the depth and breadth of the cultural sector in our region.”
“Chez Nous (AKA This Is Our Land) stars Émilie Duquenne as a nurse who becomes a political success in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region after becoming involved with the Patriotic Bloc, a thinly disguised fictional version of the Front National. … The trailer briefly features a character apparently modelled on Le Pen, played by veteran performer Cathérine Jacob.” The movie doesn’t open for another seven weeks, but already party leaders are using words like “scandalous.”
Yeah, it’s the city that throws garbage at their own team as well as at the opponents, that has a courtroom and jail in the sports stadium, that beat up a sidewalk Santa (okay, okay, that was a generation ago), that decapitated a friendly hitchhiking robot. In Philadelphia last week, Pennsylvania Ballet told a principal, about an hour before she went onstage, that this would be her last season there because she’s just too tall. (It’s a tough town.)
“David Hallberg, the American Ballet Theater principal dancer, who has been sidelined by injury for the last two and a half years, is returning to the company and planning to perform during its spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.”
“Boosted by premium ticket prices, a crowd of tourists, a favorable calendar, some extra scheduled performances, and relatively good weather, … the 33 Broadway shows took in $49,677,279 … for the week ending January 1.”
A secretly-made recording of a discussion between chief exec James Dolan (also chairman of Madison Square Garden and CEO of Cablevision) and a group of the dancers reveals disagreement and nervousness, as well as some seeming confusion about whether or not this event is mandatory for all dancers.
A statement from the Madison Square Garden Company called the article, on Marie Claire magazine’s website, “beneath the ethical standards of Hearst” and described the anonymous source of the recording of that meeting “deceitful and cowardly.”
The donation, from the Walton Family Foundation – yes, the Waltons of Wal-Mart, and of the Crystal Bridges Museum – is the largest in the history of this Texas museum dedicated to American art.
Cry of the Heart
Several months ago, ArtsJournal.com, the host of this blog, posted an article about opera in Great Britain that had the following teaser title: Opera Is Not Too Posh And Exclusive, And If You Think It Is, It’s Your Own Damn Fault, Says Opera Boss … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2017-01-03
Belletto’s Birthday: Two Recordings
This is the birthday of saxophonist and bandleader Al Belletto (1928-2014), providing a perfect reason to listen to two of the recordings he and his sextet made in 1957. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-01-03
Nine for Four
In 2009 I heard the Prism Quartet play Pagine, a set of arrangements by Salvatore Sciarrino of works spanning several centuries. I was taken with suppleness of the ensemble, its ability to adapt itself to … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-01-03
Derek Gripper’s Classical Kora Transcriptions
The last day of WOMEX is usually taken up with an awards ceremony and last minute networking within the world music community. But this year it found me traveling through Galicia in a bus bound … read more
AJBlog: OtherWorldly Published 2017-01-03
Cast a cold eye
For all its increasingly aggressive incivility, I still get a fair amount of pleasure out of Twitter, enough so that I continue to take part in threads which amuse me sufficiently. Here’s a recent one: … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-01-03
How are you discovering music? Radio used to be the main way music spread. Now it’s YouTube videos, and, increasingly, streaming channels that figure out playlists algorithmically. But the promise of all music anywhere courtesy of the internet hasn’t really worked out. Increasingly our musical worlds are defined in narrower terms and we have to work to get out of them.
The promise of the internet and the opportunity for democratization in music just haven’t gone the way I’d hoped, so these soundtracks and pointed multimedia releases have been welcome. As music discovery becomes more concentrated and consolidated (goodbye, Vine) thanks to Spotify recs and Tidal-only exclusives (my New Year’s resolution: cancel Tidal) and Beats 1 premieres that one feels obligated to indulge for the sake of relevancy, the free-for-all that once was a deep-dive internet search for a weird track has dissipated a bit, in lieu of streaming services handing you what you want on a platter. “Discovery” features feel like an exercise in marketed groupthink, even when they occasionally do yield new music.
Now we more and more live in musical bubbles defined for us by behavioral formulae. It might feel like we’re being adventurous because we’re encountering music new to us. But that “new” is selected to fit familiar characteristics of music and artists we already know.
Perhaps nothing wrong with that. We like what we like and why not have more of it. But as we increasingly live inside our niches while fooling ourselves that we’re still encountering new experiences, our ability to have common culture and shared cultural experiences erodes.
“The “Star Wars” creator is financing the project himself. He plans to spend more than $1 billion to build the museum, endow it and provide a trove of initial artworks valued at over $400 million. Together with Chinese architect Ma Yansong, Lucas has proposed a sleek, futuristic design looks like a cross between the Guggenheim and a galactic starfighter. The museum’s bold design and concept make clear that the 72-year-old filmmaker sees it as part of his legacy, and he is increasingly impatient to break ground.”
“The extra money will go the Expo fund, which is available to the 12 key Edinburgh festivals to help Scottish artists create and showcase their work on an international stage. It takes the total sum given by the government to support the festivals in 2017/18 to £2.3 million. The cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop, noted that the combined festivals attract 4.5 million attendees and contribute £313 million to the Scottish economy.”
“When faced with an abundance of digital toys that offer magical levels of connectivity and convenience, many of us succumb to a ‘giddy sense that privacy is kind of stupid’, as Gary Shteyngart [once] wrote.”
He’s been at Britain’s flagship ballet company for 22 years now. “I think I’ve always struggled, and I’ve always found everything quite hard, so [turning 40]is no different. Sometimes you do look around the studio and think, ‘God, I’m twice your age’, but I feel good. I feel better than I did at 30, that’s for sure.”