“Now more than ever, art and commerce seem indistinguishable. On today’s Internet, everything is, to borrow Hebdige’s term, even flatter. There’s less time, somehow, for the depth of history—yesterday’s trends float farther and farther from their points of origin, commingling as styles without pasts, images without contexts. I do most of my reading online, and a few hundred words can take hours to digest—a paragraph of text is a launch pad to other places; I find myself falling down YouTube and eBay wormholes, my attention drifting. That state of being would have sounded like heaven to my teen-age self. It doesn’t usually feel like it now, though.”
“Her style, like The Dinner Party, is flamboyant and groovy and uncategorizable. She wore jeans, a leopard-print silk shirt under a black vest embroidered with sequins and a double strand of gold beads. Her lipstick was purple, her curly hair dyed a reddish-pink, with tinted glasses to match, giving her a dreamy, psychedelic look. But the eyes peering out from behind those glasses were sharp and commanding.”
“Chicago acknowledged that she’d need help to realize her full vision, so she began to enlist research assistants and scores of volunteers to help with production, whether embroidering, painting ceramic plates, or scrawling the names of historical figures onto the 2,304 hand-cast porcelain tiles that would make up the floor. … Some 400 women and men would lend a hand before she completed the work in 1979.”
Yes, it probably does (same for Louis CK or writers now being accused of misogyny, abuse, and more). “Saying ‘I always hated his work’ might be a cheap hipster pose, but it also might be bitterness born of long-suppressed, impotent anger. If you’ve grown used to being shamed or condescended to for caring about an ugly thread that everyone else seemed to be overlooking, the sudden shift is gratifying, but also exhausting.”
Elizabeth Alexander has been closely involved in one of the most important trends now shaping arts philanthropy: a growing focus on using arts and cultural grantmaking to advance social justice. You can bet that she’ll push Mellon to step up its own funding along these lines. It also seems likely that we’ll see a more powerful axis between Ford and Mellon that extends the influence of both institutions in the arts and cultural space.
On Monday, the magazine/website’s top two editors and one senior reporter – all three of whom were involved in a story about a criminal investigation into Newsweek‘s parent company – were dismissed without warning. Over the week, at least half a dozen writers and editors have resigned – either in protest or because they fear the publication may be imploding.
“It seemed to us that if we didn’t create a permanent space, we were operating as we used to in the past,” said Sébastien Allard, director of the paintings department at the Louvre, which opened a dedicated space for looted works in December. Although museums are often suspected of wanting to keep the pieces, Mr. Allard said, “our goal is clearly to return everything that we can.”
Many audience members seem increasingly intolerant of any distraction in their theatregoing experience, an attitude likely brought on in part by the steep rise in ticket prices. Will the use of smart phones, even with a non-glare app, inspire some nasty exchanges? Will open captioning continue to be seen as some kind of niche practice that intrudes on the serenity of the “mainstream”? Will autistic audience members always be accommodated through a policy of separate but equal?
In addition to their rare performances abroad, North Korea’s modern musicians play an essential role at home as propagandists for the government. Songs are usually aimed at building the Kim personality cult and legitimizing the Kims’ leadership role by invoking Mount Paektu, the sacred symbol of the family. Titles include “Our Comrade Kim Jong Un” and “We Know Only You.”
“Editorial power is an odd thing to dissect because it is extensive and pervasive in some ways and negligible in others. There are a few people in this world who decide who speaks and when and where, and editors are part of that small minority. Not only that, but editors also have power over how someone speaks. That is a massive privilege to hand to some other person. I wouldn’t even let someone else order for me at a restaurant. It involves trust and a measure of faith that is kind of shocking if you think about it.”
Reporter Maggie Jones talks to dozens of teens about what they’ve seen online and what conclusions they’ve drawn from it – and she visits a class called “Porn Literacy”, which teaches them to think about how sexuality, aggression, and consent are and aren’t depicted in porn, as well as how those depictions differ from in-the-flesh interactions.
In another excerpt from Isaac Butler’s and Dan Kois’s The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of ‘Angels in America’, Tony Kushner and various directors and actors who have worked on the show over the decades talk about the play’s most repugnant, most compelling character – in real life as in the script.
The Order of Montreal was founded in 2016 in honor of the city’s 375th anniversary, and Dutoit – music director of the Montreal Symphony from 1977-2002, and the conductor who brought the orchestra to international prominence – was one of its first recipients. Now, with serious allegations of sexual misconduct being revealed, Montreal mayor Valérie Plante has asked the committee administering the Order to consider whether Dutoit’s award should be revoked.
After a well-received performance at the Kennedy Center, the performers stayed away from the annual gala after-party. “On Instagram, the dancers are directing followers to a new account called Artists of Ailey, which references their union. They have been in contract negotiations since December. … AGMA, the dancers’ union, said in a statement … that the artists boycotted the gala ‘based on management’s failure to adequately address the group’s substandard wages and benefits.'”
The Brooklyn Academy of Music, the hippest of New York’s major performing arts venues, has chosen David Binder, a theater and arts festival producer best known for shepherding Hedwig and the Angry Inch from its nightclub origins all the way through its Tony-winning Broadway run. Binder replaces Joseph Melillo, who worked at BAM for 35 years and helped make it into the major institution it has become.
The French street artist, known for his mosaics that look like pixelated images from vintage video games, attached about a dozen works to the walls of centuries-old monasteries and temples in the small Himalayan kingdom. When even his fans on social media criticized him, he responded, “My practice tells a story, and I don’t know why I should deprive Bhutan from this story.” (The government has now removed the mosaics.)
Present What You Do
The most important attribute of any arts organization is, of course, the art it presents. To many people, committing to community engagement raises images (and fears) of rapid, monumental, systemic change. While significant change may result eventually … there is much that can be done with little or no change to currently offered programming. … read more
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2018-02-06
Artists as speculators
A new working paper from Amy Whitaker and Roman Kräussl suggests a new model of finance for visual artists. … read more
AJBlog: For What It’s Worth Published 2018-02-07
The Guggenheim’s Potty Humor: What Art Is Flowing to Trump’s White House?
Nobody can have been shocked to learn that the White House had no interest in the Guggenheim Museum’s provocative offer to lend Maurizio Cattelan’s golden throne, instead of the van Gogh that the museum had requested. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-02-07
On CDs, LPs, Henderson And Horvitz
In the 1950s when UCLA football coach Red Sanders said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing,” he could not have known that his sports philosophy would be adapted to virtually every human endeavor. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-02-07
“They were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and Ringo arranged a version of “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” for Starr’s 1970 solo debut album Sentimental Journey, which was produced by the Beatles’ frequent collaborator George Martin. The song, and album, are more than a bit gloopy. had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.
“We found both a rapid increase in suicides in August 2014, and specifically suffocation suicides, that paralleled the time and method of Williams’ death,” a research team led by David Fink of Columbia University writes in the online journal PLoS One. “Although excess suicides were observed across gender and age groups, males and persons aged 30 to 44 had the greatest increase,” the researchers report. That presumably includes a lot of people who grew up with his movies.
Alexander, a renowned writer, poet, and scholar, is recognized as one of the nation’s leading voices in modern literature and a bold visionary in the academy. Over the course of a distinguished academic and artistic career, she has developed a number of complex, multi-arts and multi-disciplinary teams, departments and partnerships, and dedicated herself consistently to creating, building and sustaining highly successful institutions – from the Poetry Center at Smith College, to a major rebuilding of the African American Studies department at Yale University, from the poetry non-profit Cave Canem, to the Ford Foundation’s programs in journalism, arts and culture.
The point is that most of the really profound pieces of life advice are actually bloody obvious. It’s just that, sometimes, we need to be told. Which is why the idea behind Desperately Seeking Self-Improvementis so terrific. Two sceptical business school professors, André Spicer and Carl Cederström, devote a year to exploring what used to be known as the self-help industry but is now called the optimisation industry because it sounds cooler.
MoviePass reports this morning that the monthly movie ticket service has generated $128.7 million for select film nominees since November 2017.