What’s new, though, is not the level of output. It’s the commitment to Irish talent. As INO’s artistic director Fergus Sheil explained, the company “wants to give pride of place to Irish singers and celebrate their work at home in Ireland the way it is celebrated in leading opera houses around the world. We want to bring our creative talent to venues large and small, to communities around the country, and create thrilling experiences that will attract new audiences to our uniquely multi-faceted artform.”
After asking the 10- and 11-year-olds in her French class to make a picture book with their new sentences and having them tell her that none of them could draw at all (they’d never had an art class in their young lives), The Guardian‘s Secret Teacher argues that it’s not just that arts education increases test scores in other subjects …
Tours depart from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, stopping at the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura in Tijuana before continuing on to the border wall prototypes. Büchel’s reasoning behind the project? “[The prototypes] need to be preserved because they can signify and change meaning through time.
“It’s worth nothing just how viscerally vicious the Republicans wanted to be towards artists and the creative professions as the Congressional legislative process, such as it was, began. Earlier drafts of the tax bill attempted to discard the “qualified performing artist” deduction for low-income entertainment industry workers. There was an amendment aiming to eliminate low-income housing credit exemptions that are to lure artists into new cities through affordable housing. There was an attempt to treat tuition wavers as taxable income, something that would have disproportionately affected artists who enroll in MFA programs. While none of these items made it in the final version of the tax bill, it demonstrates frothing Republican hostility to anyone in any creative profession anywhere in America.”
“The most knowing laughter came at King George’s caution to the newly independent colonies: ‘Oceans rise / Empires fall / It’s much harder when it’s all your call / All alone, across the sea / When your people say they hate you, don’t come crawling back to me.’ Was this a prophecy of Donald Trump’s spiralling isolationism – the travel ban, the broken accords, the looming wall – or an admonition to Brexit leaders fumbling?”
Open discourse is becoming a radical act as technologies designed to create a new digital commons are daily molded into megaphones for the most powerful and regressive voices. If artists are to maintain a vital voice in public discourse they need to engage with important social narratives through open-ended dialogues and public engagement.
Nostalgia seems to be leading most of the charge: Billboard says that the three Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks led sales in 2017, which were followed by the Stranger Things, Volume 1 soundtrack, which hit stores last summer. Those projects were wildly popular with audiences, due in part to their reliance on nostalgia for the music and objects of the 1980s.
“The western really tells you where the world is,” says Antoine Fuqua, director of the remake of The Magnificent Seven, which, released nearly 18 months ago, tells a fairly prescient story of where the US is currently heading. “We’re still dealing with people who are terrorising other people. We’re still dealing with people abusing other people, burning up the churches, killing people in the streets.”
The winner of 2017’s male singer of the year at the International Opera awards says, “You can’t blind-cast with opera. No one has ever turned me down for a part and said ‘Because he’s black’ or even ‘Because he’s small and black!’ but there’s a code I’ve come to understand – ‘We have a different idea for the role’ is a common one. Change is slow, across the classical world.”
Interesting, in the year of the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement. “You could argue that in a year when powerful men were named and shamed, it is fitting that powerful women are to the fore. Maybe it is a coincidence, not least when you consider how long it takes for a film to be made. But bear in mind, the last time the top three films were fronted by women was back in 1958.”