It’s not just men, often of a certain generation, who seem unsettled by this newfound determination to speak out – demonstrating cultural leadership while doing so. I’ve heard some women in theatre talking about MeToo as a “bandwagon”. These are often women who have scaled the ladder of success and found their own ways to deal with predatory male sexual behaviour. The argument is that to make a fuss about an unwanted hand on a knee or a breast casts women in the role of victims, when of course it is a women’s job not to make a fuss and to deal with these advances from men. Because boys will be boys. But that does nothing to change the culture in which such behaviours thrive.
“As VR technology has gotten better and cheaper, more artists and curators are experimenting with it as a new medium for expression.” Reporter Andrea Shea checks out two new virtual-reality works at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary of Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams.
“For almost two decades, self-taught artist Nek Chand worked in secret. In the cover of night, he’d sneak away to a clearing deep in a forest owned by the government on the outskirts of the Indian city of Chandigarh. It was there that he built his very own shangri-la: a garden filled with glittering sculptures of gods, goddesses, and other mystical beings.” Here’s the decades-long story of Chand’s Rock Garden.
Julia F. Christensen, a neuroscientist at the The Warburg Institute at the University of London who studies people’s responses to dance choreography, argued that many of us have been turned into “mindless pleasure junkies, handing over our free will for the next dopamine shoot” provided by social media, pornography and sugar. She offered up an unconventional solution: art, which she says engages us in ways these other pleasures do not and can “help overwrite the detrimental effects of dysfunctional urges and craving.”
The census of American libraries spans a wonderful diversity of institutions, from modest municipal book rooms and mobile libraries to the grand collections of such hallowed places as the Morgan, the Folger, the Huntington, and the Smithsonian. Surveys of library users reveal a passionate attachment to these institutions, one that is voiced in very human terms. The word love is an emotion often expressed toward libraries, and not just for National Library Week. Libraries are places in which people are born—as authors, readers, scholars, and activists. (Think Eudora Welty, Zadie Smith, John Updike, and Ian Rankin.)
“There are two very different phenomena at play here, each of which subvert the flow of information in very distinct ways. Let’s call them echo chambers and epistemic bubbles. Both are social structures that systematically exclude sources of information. Both exaggerate their members’ confidence in their beliefs. But they work in entirely different ways, and they require very different modes of intervention. An epistemic bubble is when you don’t hear people from the other side. An echo chamber is what happens when you don’t trust people from the other side.”
Ashley Bouder: “It’s as if the image of a man leading a woman into the wings is a metaphor for how the dance world is run. A male director leading the careers of dancers. A male choreographer laying down the pathway of steps to perform. Of course, there are women who have broken through this mold. But there it is in the phrase: ‘broken through.’ A simple place at the table would be sufficient. Instead, it’s like women are crashing the dinner party. … Too many times I’ve felt the proverbial pat on the head and heard a ‘Good for you, sweetie’ comment. A few times, I’ve actually gotten a real pat on the head.”
Natasha Jen of Pentagram: “Design thinking embodies our obsession with prescription. … We crave prescriptions and mythology in general – as a profession and as a society. … Prescriptions create a kind of prison, in terms of how we can think about things and how we work. But a very linear methodology-based way of working completely removes other possibilities.”
Khoi Vinh of Adobe: “Design thinking has a lot of downsides. It can be very superficial. It can be very misleading and the outcomes that it produces can be disappointing. It can lead to bad design. But it offers a useful lesson on how designers think about democratization of our craft.”
“In books, biographies, monographs and program notes, Mr. Guest became one of the foremost authorities on dance in the Napoleonic and Victorian eras and notably on the Paris Opera Ballet. Jane Pritchard, curator of dance for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, described him as a cartographer of 19th-century ballet.”
Rehabilitating Stockhausen with a KLANG: Does less mystique enhance his stature?
Karlheinz Stockhausen has only been gone a little over ten years, but the infamous, trailblazing composer (1928-2007) seems like a name from the past, provoking as much suspicion as awe … read more
AJBlog: Condemned to Music Published 2018-04-09>
Celebrating a 40-Year Career
In 1978, Jane Comfort and I were both forty years younger. Not a surprise? I guess not. But that sentence may prove a snappier lead than my starting off by recounting what Comfort has accomplished over those forty years and how many dances of hers I’ve seen. … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2018-04-09
Picking on the Frick: Is It Shortchanged by Its Significantly Downsized Expansion Plan?
“We’re able to achieve everything we need,” Ian Wardropper, the Frick Collection’s browbeaten director, told Robin Pogrebin of the NY Times about his institution’s revised renovation and expansion plans. Not exactly. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2018-04-08
“The Art and Alchemy of Conducting” — and Mahler’s Fourth
As all Mahlerites know, the opening of the Fourth Symphony is both magical and mutable. A preamble of chiming sleigh bells and flutes dissipates to a cheerful violin ditty that coyly … read more
AJBlog: Unanswered Question Published 2018-04-08
Monday Recommendation: Oscar Peterson Plays 10 Composers
Oscar Peterson Plays (Verve)
In this five-CD reissue, the formidable pianist plays pieces by ten composers who dominated American popular music for decades. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2018-04-09
While disruptive innovation is inextricably linked to variations of business models and low-end market encroachment, radical innovation is reliant on organizational capabilities and individual and organizational human capital. Whereas incremental innovation — e.g. a razor company’s fifth razor blade — helps firms to stay competitive in the short-term, radical innovation focuses on long-term impact and may involve displacing current products, altering the relationship between customers and suppliers, and creating completely new product categories.
“Under the contract, France will help create a blueprint for museums, archaeological digs and conservation in the region, as well as develop transport, hotels, crafts, education and training, urban planning and other infrastructure projects. The tourism plan is described as ‘the most important ever seen in the Arab world’. The cost has not yet been determined, but a source close to the project says the whole budget could amount to more than $20bn. Saudi Arabia has pledged to finance everything, according to a diplomatic source.”
Who knows what the hedge fund might do to the chain? (Take a quick look at the stripped and bankrupted Toys R Us, or newspapers like the Denver Post, or … ) Meanwhile: “The proximity of the sale has caused a delay to increasing the pay of senior booksellers at the chain. The situation has led to some disquiet among senior staff, who were not given a pay rise at the same time as their junior colleagues when the National Minimum Wage rose to £7.83 an hour.”
One man runs a bookshop in Berlin’s old Jewish Quarter, and he helped lead a protest against neo-Nazi marches in the quarter. “Braunsdorf, who has hosted German-Arabic reading events at his shop for refugee children and moderated debates about gentrification, the economy and politics, said he ‘can’t imagine running a bookstore just as a selling point.'”
Hmmm. “She effectively exerts her own gravitational force field, magnetized by strategically deployed invitations, introductions, magazine features and messages of support. If that disappears, particles previously held together by her atomic network will disperse and collide before renegotiating themselves into some sort of new order, which is one way of saying it would affect not just glossy magazines, but also the broader fashion establishment and the Hollywood-sports-fashion industrial complex.”
They anointed themselves the “most accessible orchestra on the planet,” and have gone some ways toward justifying that superlative. Tickets are cheaper than at other orchestras; my press seat, on the left orchestra aisle, would have cost twenty-five dollars. Neighborhood concerts reach into underserved communities. Most strikingly, the Detroit offers free Webcasts of its concerts—an initiative that seems obvious but that few other orchestras have tried. Anne Parsons, the Detroit’s president and C.E.O., told me, “We’ve gone from three thousand viewers on average to around seventy-five hundred—in one case, thirty-five thousand. It’s brought great young musicians to us—they can see what we’re doing. I was sure that, by now, everyone else would be doing it. I’ve stopped wondering and haven’t looked back.”