At the Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, “mosaics made of mirror shards and tiles cover each wall. Glittering chandeliers hang from the ceilings and spots of light dance in the domes. As the above video by Great Big Story shows, being inside is like inhabiting a disco ball.”
They were known by several names – leader ladies, girl heads, China girls, lady wedges – and they weren’t meant to be seen by audiences. They were used for a sort of quality control.
Jessa Crispin: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Certainly it’s more fun. Our imaginations are so overpowered and outmaneuvered by the toxic gravity of the global economy that we are happy to amuse ourselves watching the whole world burn instead of doing anything to keep that from happening.”
“As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files, Glass’s time away from America in the ’60s was central to his music, as he encountered a pair of powerful influences.” (audio)
“Thinking in essentialist terms, Tolstoy felt that Napoleon failed to destroy Russia because the collective interests of Russian people aligned against him: a majority of people – wittingly or unwittingly – acted to undermine his agenda. Is it possible that we will see a similar alignment of grassroots interests now?”
Artist live/work compounds are fireproofing and upgrading where they can, and crowdfunding efforts for victims are looking not to make the mistakes that plagued such funds after previous tragedies.
In a Q&A, physicist Carlo Rovelli explains why he thinks attempts at a unified theory are wrongheaded (at least for now) and why space and time don’t “really exist.”
“Today, the lighthearted, humorous romance, once primarily associated with the multiplex, thrives more in indie cinema and on television, particularly on cable and streaming platforms. It explores love from specific perspectives … and often with an honesty that eschews fairy-tale endings. While it hasn’t entirely abandoned certain tropes, more often than not, the modern rom-com deconstructs them. In other words, a type of storytelling that once remained unsubverted is now constantly being subverted.”
“Support your local galleries simply by going. Many galleries secretly terrified of closing now. Trump’s chaos has brought sales to a standstill.”
Michael Billington: “Rufus Norris has made clear that he wants the National to more visibly represent the nation at large: if that means more work by women and greater racial diversity, I am happy to fling my hat in the air. But that need not – indeed should not – mean an almost total severance with the past.”
The poll, hosted on The Stage website, asked whether readers had ever been left unpaid by an employer, after performer Jonathan Ansell stormed a stage in protest against a producer who he claims has failed to pay him money owed.
“People like hard games because they do not placate them with explicit rewards for trivial actions.” For the experience to be meaningful, the challenge cannot be illusory.
“In any parlance, the specific meaning of ‘normal’ has important consequences, especially if it is given a privileged position in the world. Anything that veers – from having green eyes or hearing voices to living with hydrocephalus – would be abnormal in one sense or another: uncommon, rare, atypical, potentially inadequate, suboptimal or deficient in some way – and in need of being brought back to some norm. Yet, it could be controversial, or just plain odd, to pathologise such variations; especially if they are functional in some way.”
“The 2.8% decline is almost all attributable to a fall in visitors from overseas, despite an increase in tourists visiting the UK. Overseas visitors now account for 47% of all visitors to the sponsored museums, while a like-for-like comparison shows they accounted for 49% the previous year. Visits by people from the UK continue to show marginal growth, roughly mirroring population trends.”
“What would the elimination of the NEA mean for the arts in the US? In terms of actual direct support, very little. Many foundations, other funding bodies, and individuals dole out more for the arts each year than the arts endowment: for example, New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs 2016 budget was $165 million, with additional funds dedicated for capital projects; philanthropist David Geffen’s $100 million gift to New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2016 outstripped the NEA’s direct granting budget that year. But the NEA has impact far exceeding its direct grants.”
“[His] view of art could not be less romantic. He once described to me the ‘formula’ for a gallery show: ‘You have a series of wall works that are meant to sell, and the stuff on the floor that’s meant to make things look difficult.'”
“Chuck Close and other artists used to sit around bars like the Cedar Tavern and Max’s Kansas City and talk about art. ‘I have more conversations today over what we’re going to do to protect our spouses, our children, our work,’ Mr. Close said.”
Back in October, NatWest announced that it would no longer provide services to RT, the Russian-government-sponsored news channel. Russian officials promptly cried “Censorship!” and threatened to retaliate against the BBC’s operations in Russia. Now NatWest (which is owned largely by the British government) has announced a settlement.
“The effects of this relatively tiny allocation are clear: despite India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, many of its national museums remain uninspiring, hardly drawing any visitors despite their incredibly affordable entry prices. And several heritage sites, including the iconic Taj Mahal, are in a bad state, suffering from the effects of poor maintenance and pollution. Some important monuments …, including prehistoric megaliths and temple ruins, have even gone missing.”
In Philadelphia: Revolutionary Art
In today’s New York Times, I wrote about the conservation and erection of George Washington’s surviving field headquarters tent – a fragile thing, as you may well imagine. … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-01-30
The Composition Program of My Dreams
When I was an undergraduate student, I won a prize that got me a reading session with the school orchestra. I showed up for the session and discovered that one of the professors had decided … read more
AJBlog: Infinite Curves Published 2017-01-30
Snapshots from the Culture Crash: 1
Longtime music journalist Steve Mirkin has been, like a lot of us in the creative class, though a series ups and downs since the Internet remade journalism and the recession undercut the middle class. … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-01-29
Chuck Stewart And Ed Berger, RIP
Two non-musicians prominent in the US jazz community have died in the past week. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-01-29
Monday Recommendation: A Film About Rhaasan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk, The Case Of The Three Sided Dream (Arthaus Musik/Monoduo Films) … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-01-30
“But in the increasingly consolidated concert business, the reality is that corporate dollars are taking over, even in the clubs that for decades seemed to embody rock music’s anti-establishment ethos.”
Women earned a number of barrier-breaking Oscar nominations this year, but overall representation of women in Oscar-nominated behind-the-scenes categories fell two percent according to a report from the Women’s Media Center published Monday.
“The main points of the contract are financial. There will be pay increases averaging 2.8 percent annually, for an increase in the minimum scale from $86,053 in fiscal 2017 to $98,304 in fiscal 2022, and a half-percent increase in the pension contribution rate starting in the contract’s third year. Work rules will also be adjusted, permitting more flexibility in scheduling and in how the orchestra is used, more efficiency in rehearsals, adding personal days for the first time, and increasing flexibility in touring rules.”
If nothing else, Brexit and Trump are endless sources of new words: “Trumponomics (the president’s economic policy), trumpertantrum (angry early-morning tweeting laced with innuendo and falsehood) and trumpkin (a pumpkin carved to resemble the former TV host) are among neologisms added to a watchlist of words that may be fast-tracked into the Oxford English Dictionary. “