A century after his death, we are just about coming to terms with Degas’s achievement, with his position as the modern artist. His work was entirely about contemporary life – even more so than Manet’s. In his entire career he only ever showed one painting with a historical or biblical theme, the early Scene of War in the Middle Ages. Edmond de Goncourt recognised in 1874 that ‘among all the artists I have met so far, he is the one who has best been able, in representing modern life, to catch the spirit of that life.’
“When the Corcoran failed as an institution in 2014, George Washington University absorbed the school and its [120-year-old] building at 17th Street and New York Avenue NW. The university soon after launched an unprecedented renovation, and decided to keep the school open to studios and classes for the duration.” The disruption caused by the construction was bad enough, but now students are complaining of headaches, nausea, rashes, breathing problems, and even fleas.
“Leila Amer will detained for four days, according to reports, while authorities investigate her video for the song ‘Boss Oumek’ (‘Look At Your Mother’), which includes ‘suggestive’ dancing and gestures.” (The complaining attorney called it a “moral disaster” and “an attack on society and the destruction of the state.”) “Ms Amer’s case occurs less than a month after a fellow singer [called Shyma] was sentenced to two years in prison over a raunchy video.”
Christopher Knight: Pacific Standard Time should underwrite full retrospective exhibitions of artists with significant histories of working in Los Angeles, beginning in the late 19th century and continuing to the present. Not project shows. Not young or emerging or new artist surveys. Not a phalanx of partial looks at a segment of an established artist’s output. Instead, I mean full, rigorous accountings of historical figures, as well as artists beyond mid-career who have been in it for the long haul — a generation or more.
The debate over what or if to charge admissions is part of a larger debate over what museums should do and be. The model of the past century for museums, Feldman said, is “build, grow and acquire,” which is expensive and demands that no source of revenue be overlooked. The newer conception of museums involves ideas about what should be done with the existing collections in order to improve access and increase understanding, which is why a growing number of institutions are putting their collections online and trying to make the museum experience more interactive. The largest museums in the country are attempting to pursue both models, but the result has been that their actions on the one hand work against the increased access they hope to achieve.
“As uses move to the augmentation of abilities, whether for military purposes or among consumers, a host of concerns will arise. Privacy is an obvious one: the refuge of an inner voice may disappear. Security is another: if a brain can be reached on the internet, it can also be hacked. Inequality is a third: access to superhuman cognitive abilities could be beyond all except a self-perpetuating elite. Ethicists are already starting to grapple with questions of identity and agency that arise when a machine is in the neural loop.”
There’s a lot to remember, a lot that the Machine Project inspired. “Machine Project leaves behind a vibrant legacy. Over its existence, the organization collaborated with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on a series of strange-funny performances, and it once organized an architectural tour of L.A. led by artist Cliff Hengst channeling the ghost of Whitney Houston. ‘It was this heavily researched architecture tour,’ says Allen. ‘But it was also this heavily researched story about Whitney Houston.'”
Well, this is fun to know: “Traffic to the queen’s Wikipedia page peaked on Dec. 10, when the second season of ‘The Crown’ started streaming. The entry about Princess Margaret (played by Vanessa Kirby) spiked on the same day, and hit No. 37 on the list, just behind Melania Trump. (“I haven’t watched ‘The Crown,’ so I can’t really comment on the version of Princess Margaret that is drawing viewers to this site,” one Wiki editor wrote.) Prince Philip‘s page hits its peak in May when Buckingham Palace announced his retirement in real life, though he’s also played by Matt Smith in ‘The Crown’; he’s No. 44, between ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and ‘Star Wars.'”
Mark Swed: “Robert Mann was one of a handful of transformative American musicians who in the years after World War II forever changed the way we think about and make music, who gave it a new meaning and a new necessity for a new age. The others were John Cage, Leonard Bernstein (whom you will be hearing plenty about in this, his centenary, year) and Maria Callas (whose music education may have been in Athens, but who was born and grew up in New York). The Canadian Glenn Gould, as a North American, also belongs.”
In a single stroke, the state government proclaimed its intent to both interrupt the cohesive design vision of Federation Square and undermine the civic mission that made it central to Melbourne. The proposal raises a question for this city, and for many other cities as well: Can anybody stop the relentless push to corporatize public space?
“L.A. Dance Project recently launched the subscription-based ladanceworkout.com, offering streaming workout videos led by company members. Groups of all sizes and even some individual dancers have launched merchandise lines bearing their logos. And, of course, there’s the perpetually innovative Pilobolus, which has been in the creative-revenue game for years, with books, advertisements, corporate appearances and more.”
“In September, with no shortage of Trumpian Goliaths rising up to threaten ever more of the institutions we rely on, we checked back in with a number of the activists whose work [Scott Sherman’s book Patience and Fortitude] documents. How, we asked, does the movement to save the NYPL look with a few years’ hindsight? What lessons might their experiences offer to activists taking stands against the powerful today? The answers we got back amounted to a crash course in effective resistance.”
“Newfields is a new brand for a new type of an organization. Our mission is to create exceptional experiences with art and nature and the nature part is all of a sudden being revealed in pretty serious and very positive, successful ways. “I still think we’ve got a little ways to go before more people understand that we’re all of these things and that we still are a great art museum doing programs and hiring curators and acquiring art, but some people are caught off guard, like, ‘Well, what are they doing on their grounds?'”
Phil Kennicott: “It will say to donors — who should take note and respond appropriately — that the Met no longer intends to be the country’s de facto national art museum. By sheer size and visitor numbers, it may remain the most prominent art museum in the country. But it now distinguishes between a local public — those who live in New York — and the rest of the country, which it treats merely as clients. It cannot reasonably approach major donors, those with art they want to leave in the public trust and those with money who hope to support access to that art, and say: We are the nation’s museum.”
Jerry Saltz: “I do not begrudge the Met for trying to do whatever it can to maintain its preeminence. Yet this first-time attempt to raise admission before its new director arrives — intended to raise $6 million to $10 million annually — doesn’t entirely pass the smell test. It has an air of expediency, nervousness, an idea drought, of managers rather than art being in charge. Especially since the museum just spent more than $65 million on the space-eating, flow-disrupting, patron-inscribed fountains in the newly renamed Koch Plaza. This single act of philanthropy (Vegas fountains and all) would have covered almost ten years of this iffy admissions policy.”
“In a show that aired on New Year’s Eve, the Japanese comedian Masatoshi Hamada appeared in a Detroit Lions football jacket, a curly wig and dark makeup, an attempt at imitating the actor Eddie Murphy’s character from the 1984 movie Beverly Hills Cop.” The initial social media reaction, started (in English and Japanese) by a bilingual African-American columnist in Japan, was #StopBlackfaceJapan. But some local fans insist that the practice doesn’t and shouldn’t have stigma attached to it there.
Stephen Spinella originated the role of the young AIDS patient at the center of Tony Kushner’s drama in its 1991 world premiere, and he won back-to-back Tony Awards for it in 1993 and ’94. This spring, in a revival at Berkeley Repertory Theater in California, Spinella will play the part farthest from Prior’s type (and, arguably, Spinella’s own): the furious, ailing, closeted and desperate lawyer who made his name as an anti-Communist hatchet man for Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
“I still don’t have a programmatic answer about that. I feel like everybody, critics or fans or whatever, figures out where to draw their own lines and how to deal with every case. … I think there is a rush to disown a lot these guys, to make them disappear, and I think that that is certainly warranted morally in a lot of ways, but I think it lets other people off the hook.” (podcast with transcript)
In a statement issued Thursday evening, Albert Schultz said, “While I will continue to vigorously defend myself against the allegations that are being made, I have made this decision in the interest of the future of the company into which I poured the last 20 years of my life, and in the interest of the aspirations of the artists and administrators of the company.” The board immediately accepted the resignation.
“The report, commissioned by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, surveyed 1,100 films made in the last 11 years, and found that just 4% were directed by women – which equates to 22 male directors hired for every woman. … Furthermore, just 5.2% of all directors – male and female – were black or African American, and 3.2% were Asian.”
“[He] spent the last 33 years conducting the student orchestra at the Queens College Aaron Copland School of Music, where he established a master’s degree in conducting. But before settling into that role he led major orchestras, conducted the premieres of important works by Bernstein and others, and helped Ellington orchestrate some of his signature compositions.”
“Saying she wants to dismantle theatre hierarchies, Michelle Terry announced [that] … none of the actors turning up for rehearsals [for Hamlet and As You Like It] will know which role they are taking, with the whole ensemble choosing who plays whom. In a similar vein, when the plays The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night go on tour, some audiences will be able to choose which one they want to see that night.”
“Nearly all of his novels, stories and essays concerned the Holocaust, although Mr. Appelfeld preferred to say that his focus was far broader: Jewish loneliness, immigration and – as he once joked to the New York Times – ‘trivialities,’ the depiction of ‘small, ordinary, unheroic people.’ Unlike Primo Levi or Elie Wiesel, fellow chroniclers of the Holocaust, Mr. Appelfeld rarely ventured into historical analysis or first-person anecdote.”
Admission Revision: Metropolitan Museum Raises Eyebrows with Mandatory Fees for Non-New Yorkers
Were it not for my free-admission press pass, I’d be personally affected and affronted by the Metropolitan Museum’s new admissions policy. I’d feel as if a longtime lover had jilted me. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-01-04
A while back I read that some folks were plucking artichokes from farm borders off the roads in California, apparently to sell. One doesn’t immediately think that these vegetable aardvarks are sustenance, although, indirectly, … read more
AJBlog: Out There Published 2018-01-04
The artist and his art
In today’s Wall Street Journal“Sightings” column, I offer some further thoughts on the wider implications of the James Levine scandal. Here’s an excerpt. … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2018-01-04