“Created in the 1960s [on the western edge of Greenwich Village], Westbeth brought together icons such as Diane Arbus, Robert De Niro Sr. and Benny Andrews. Merce Cunningham headquartered his dance company in a cavernous space in the building in 1971. Once verified as a working artist – meaning a person derived a significant portion of his or her income from the production and sale of their work – residents were admitted by disciplinary committees ranging from music and performance to visual arts and writing. Rent was determined by income. But what was meant to be a short-term solution for looking to build their careers quickly became a stronghold for artists as the city’s real estate prices rose” – and many of those early residents have never left.
“In Auxerre Cathedral in northern France, and most likely in cathedrals in Sens and Amiens (and perhaps Chartres, as well), clergy gathered around the labyrinth [patterned into the floor of the nave], danced in a circle, and tossed a ball from person to person. These games, according to medieval religious observers, had ties to pagan practices. In certain places, they were incorporated into church rituals for hundreds of years.”
The problem isn’t these two curators, specifically (though the “Black Panther” references are flying thick and fast on Twitter), it’s this widespread institutional issue: “African-Americans made up a mere 4 percent of all curators, conservators, educators and museum leaders, while Hispanics made up 3 percent and Asians made up 6 percent, according to a widespread museum demographic survey completed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2015. White scholars occupied those roles at overwhelming rates, while people of color were more represented at museums through janitorial or security roles.”
This perplexing explanation of private family control, regardless of public ownership by the city of Paris and listing as a historical monument, was confirmed to Hyperallergic by Sylvie Lesueur, the conservator of Cimetières Montparnasse, who gave no further details other than confirming that the Rachewskaïa family is behind the boxed Brancusi. For now, “The Kiss” sits covered in secrecy by a very solid wooden box with a tiny hole, ostensibly serving to confirm that the sculpture is indeed still there — for now.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy’s wish has come true, with President Donald Trump signing his Eliminating Government-Funded Oil-Painting — or EGO — Act into law on Wednesday. The cheekily named legislation prohibits taxpayer funds to be used on officially painted portraits. The law applies to portraits of the President, the Vice President, a member of Congress, the head of an executive agency, or the head of an office of the legislative branch.
“According to Nielsen Audio Fall 2017 ratings, the total weekly listeners for all programming on NPR stations is 37.7 million people – a record that has been maintained since the Spring of 2017. NPR’s Newscasts, updated live every hour, can now be heard on 947 broadcast stations by nearly 28.7 million listeners.”
Cloud Column, a very shiny, 21,000-pound stainless-steel ellipsis by Anish Kapoor that has just been installed on the campus of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It’s almost impossible to avoid thinking of Cloud Column as the vertical version of Cloud Gate (a/k/a “The Bean”), Kapoor’s popular sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park.
As Kapoor’s Cloud Column is being installed in Houston (and drawing inevitable comparisons to Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago), the Chicago Tribune‘s Kim Janssen and the Houston Chronicle‘s Lisa Gray started throwing serious shade at each other’s public sculpture as the rest of the nation watched with amusement. (The Dallas Morning News chimed in with “Sorry Chicago, making fun of Houston’s ‘bean’ sculpture is our job.”)
“The Cimetière du Montparnasse is at risk of losing one of two of its most distinctive occupants. A famous Constantin Brancusi sculpture of a couple embracing, Le Baiser (The Kiss, 1909), has … been on view just inside the cemetery’s Rue Émile-Richard entrance since the very end of 1910 or early 1911. But, for at least six months now, the sculpture has been covered up and mysteriously concealed from public view.”
When it comes to Brexit and the arts, freedom of movement and access to finance are the two most frequently discussed issues. They feature heavily in two reports from Arts Council England last month that provide the best data yet on what the sector is thinking and doing in response to the vote to leave.
While nostalgia was expected to bring in eyeballs, no one predicted such a huge turnout on premiere night for the blue-collar family sitcom with a Donald Trump-supporting protagonist, especially among the younger demographic. But then, few predicted that Trump would become the Republican nominee and would win the presidential election when he first announced his candidacy.
“A podcast offers up intellectual property in a particularly appealing format – compared with a book or even a script, it’s a stronger proof of concept of how a show or movie would actually play out. ‘It’s one step closer to seeing it onscreen,’ [Matt] Tarses said. ‘You already know what it sounds like.'” (Tarses is the creator of Alex, Inc., an ABC series about a podcaster, based on Alex Blumberg’s podcast about launching his podcasting company, Gimlet Media. How meta can you get?)
When Islamabad was built as the capital of a newly independent Pakistan, it was the “old bookshops” that gave the neighbourhoods a spirit and character beyond the insipid soullessness that pervades purpose-built cities. Now their accelerating disappearance tells a story of the seismic political and commercial shifts that have taken place here over the past two decades.
“Every year London’s commercial theatres are accused of profiteering, as ticket prices rocket and the industry boasts of record-breaking revenues. But analysing the high costs involved, ticketing expert Richard Howle shows where your money goes – and why musicals remain a risky investment, often taking years to recoup.”
“Three years since the Man Booker began allowing any author writing in English and published in the UK to enter, 99% of Folio Academy members who responded to the question have said that the Booker should change its rules again, with most responses citing the new ubiquity of US authors in the prize’s longlists.”
“Quick quiz. Which of the following makes sense?
a) Three pirate ships on a river in a landlocked country in the Balkans;
b) A 47-foot-high bronze statue of an ancient warrior that is Alexander the Great and is also not Alexander the Great; or
c) A house dedicated to Mother Teresa, a saint known for her modesty, done up in an opulent style that can best be described as Miami meets the Flintstones.
Answer: None, unless you are in Skopje, Macedonia.”
“[The video is of] Copeland performing [the] Swan Queen last week in Singapore, where she wasn’t able to finish her 32 fouettés (she was criticized for doing the same thing when she debuted the role in 2015). … Why would ballet’s biggest star want to promote a video of herself messing up, and a tweet saying that she doesn’t deserve to be in American Ballet Theatre? Because she’s bravely proving some important points.”
Inxeba (The Wound), about a gay love triangle taking place amidst Xhosa male coming-of-age rites, took directing, acting, writing, and editing honors as well as Best Film at the South African Film and Television Awards this week. Yet traditional leaders have furiously opposed the movie, arguing that it is hard-core pornography that profanes a sacred part of their culture. (No genitalia are shown on screen.)
As the continent’s economic power grows, cities are building performing arts centers as badges of their new global clout. The complexes are usually called opera houses (the idea of “opera” still carries real prestige), but they usually have another auditorium for dance and/or drama, and often a black box as well – and all those stages need people to run them and shows to present. These theaters are sprouting up from China to Kazakhstan to the Persian Gulf, as flashy freestanding buildings or (sometimes) in high-end shopping malls.
April Showers: 28 La Salle University Deaccessions in Three Christie’s Auctions (with estimates)
Without a press release, let alone any fanfare, Christie’s has now published the complete catalogue information (including presale estimates) for 28 of the 46 works that were deaccessioned by La Salle University to bankroll its … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-03-28
Chummy MacGregor And “Moon Dreams”
Chummy MacGregor was born on this day in 1903 and died on March 9, 1973. It’s the rare listener to modern jazz who doesn’t know of the MacGregor composition “Moon Dreams,” which … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-03-28
Classical or art music has undergone a sea change over the last two decades or so. Music historians debate over when the Common Practice Period — characterized by tonality — began or ended exactly, but most generally put its demise roughly coinciding with the start of the 20th century. When many laypeople think of modern art music, they think immediately of the dissonant Modern period. That’s when composers deliberately eschewed any conventional notions of melody or harmony.
In 2008/09, the number of visitors to 15 museums funded by the central government was 39.7 million. This increased every year to a high point of 50.8 million in 2014/15. The numbers have dropped consistently since and will be around 46.5 million in 2017/18, the financial year that ended on 31 March.
It’s a matter of sexual harassment and abuse being a major public health and safety issue in all sectors of our society, and wanting to do something about it, especially when the leadership of arts institutions tend to do whatever it takes to preserve themselves first, at the direct cost of the health and safety of the individuals they’re supposed to serve.