“Since Heinrich Heine, the figure of the intellectual has gained in status along with the classical configuration of the liberal public sphere. However, that depends on implausible social and cultural assumptions, mainly the existence of alert journalism, with newspapers of reference and mass media capable of directing the interest of the majority toward topics that are relevant to the formation of political opinion; and also the existence of a reading population that is interested in politics, educated, accustomed to the conflictive process of forming opinions, and which takes the time to read quality, independent press. Nowadays, this infrastructure is no longer intact.”
“In the same way that Homer’s epics took hold within the West, The Book of Songs played a role in spheres far beyond literature, with a lasting influence on Chinese civilisation. The collection had an impact on education, politics and communal life: in antiquity, the Songs were quoted and recited as coded communication in diplomatic exchange; invoked as proof to cap a philosophical argument; read as commentary – satirical more often than not – on historical circumstances; and taught for the purposes of moral edification. It has continued to affect Chinese society since then, both through what the Songs say and the form they take.”
In an age that supremely prizes capitalist efficiency, the proliferation of pointless jobs is a puzzle. Why are employers in the public and private sector alike behaving like the bureaucracies of the old Soviet Union, shelling out wages to workers they don’t seem to need? Since bullshit jobs make no economic sense, David Graeber argues, their function must be political. A population kept busy with make-work is less likely to revolt.
The play “3 Viudas en un Crucero” (Three Widows on a Cruise), which has been showing since January, featured light-skinned actress Marta Velasco smeared with dark makeup, exaggerated red lips, thick, drawn-in eyebrows and an Afro wig. A trailer of the play posted on YouTube shows Velasco pounding her chest, with her legs wide open while saying “Bailar, tomar y gozar como tres gorilas” (to dance, drink and have fun like three gorillas).
Frank Byrne spent 27 years with the U.S. Marine Band, initially as a tuba player and then executive assistant to the director and acting chief administrator before coming to the Kansas City Symphony as general manager in 2000. Then-Symphony board Chairwoman Shirley Helzberg asked him to take on the executive director role in 2002. Since then the Symphony’s budget has grown from $8 million to nearly $19 million. Last year the Symphony successfully completed a $55 million fundraising campaign to strengthen its endowment.
It is an understatement to say that the past months have been dramatic; they have in fact been outrageous, chaotic, and even, some would claim, disastrous — meaning that the Academy scandal has forever ruined Sweden’s reputation as a cultural lodestar. The drama has all the necessary ingredients: sex, abuse, power, money — and, of course, culture’s position in society.
Professor Matthew Jockers at the University of Nebraska, and later researchers at the University of Vermont’s Computational Story Lab, analysed data from thousands of novels to reveal six basic story types – you could call them archetypes – that form the building blocks for more complex stories. The Vermont researchers describe the six story shapes behind more than 1700 English novels as:
“The statistics are certainly compelling. The five highest earning workers in the Ailey organization make more than all 34 dancers and stage managers combined. [Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater] is the fourth largest American dance company based on budget, but the dancers make 30-35% less than their colleagues in other companies. AAADT performs 175-200 times per year, more than any other major dance company in the United States.”
“The city has cut $100,000 from the COC’s proposed $1.6 million grant, and $50,000 from the TSO’s $1.27 million grant. … The funding adjustment was made on the recommendations of a four-member committee who had serious concerns surrounding the COC’s and TSO’s diversity, as well as issues surrounding board stability, and a declining in the perceived impact they had on Toronto’s cultural life.”
“This recent quote by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who lives an intentionally secluded life in Venice, underlines the city’s daily contradictions. It is increasingly a city of art, ‘invaded’, at an ever-growing rate, by tourists. And this invasion is consuming and weakening it as a city.”
“Philip Mann, who joined the symphony in 2010 as its maestro, will finish out the 2018-19 season and then pursue international conducting opportunities. … During Mann’s tenure, the orchestra has expanded its statewide presence, taken more shows on the road and added artistic programming, namely the Intimate Neighborhood Concert series that takes place in churches. Mann also led the Composer of the Year initiative that drew several world-renowned composers to the state.”
The BDS movement calls for divestment from Israel, including in the arts – and the Philly Orchestra is headed to play in Israel after this trip. Protesters do not appreciate this move from the orchestra. “Security on the tour is being increased at every turn, whether in hotels or at the concert halls.”
Penny’s Instructor Gamache “has become to Canada what Hercule Poirot is to Belgium, and garnered Ms. Penny legions of messianic fans. At last count, she has sold 6.3 million books worldwide. Seldom has murder induced such hunger pangs, with characters who crack cases while indulging in maple-cured rashers of back bacon and wild blueberry jam.”
Two numbers colleges used to rely on – SAT scores and GPAs – just aren’t that reliable anymore, admissions people say. So how to judge student applications? The answer is not good: “Admissions officers at about half of the institutions surveyed said an applicant’s ‘ability to pay’ was of at least ‘some importance’ in application decisions.”
The position of poetry editor was created in 2014, and each poet who gets it has a one-year tenure in the position. But why pair poetry with journalism? Dove: “I always thought this was essentially the way in which poets worked. We were the modern-day griots. You tell the story, but you tell the story that’s under the story. You bring to light human reactions to grander events, in the hope that people will recognize themselves in it.”
Charles Wuorinen is working hard on commissions, and the opera has its U.S. premiere in New York at the end of the month. But he’s not happy with how the United States is dealing with high culture in general. When he was young, he says, “it was considered essential for a civilized person to have some connection with literature or music. Now that’s completely gone.”
Well, techy things definitely occurred. But were they also cool – or, more to the point, useful for the dance company? “Some projects were more successful than others, but all were well worth watching: Dancers moved silkily inside 3D environments that were then projected onto screens for mixed-reality experiences. Graham’s ‘Lamentation,’ from 1930, was reimagined using archival imagery of the solo projected onto a moving dancer. And a Graham dance was captured in 3D, transforming Anne Souder, in a motion-capture suit, into an avatar.”
The auction world is behind, though: It’s “belatedly reflecting re-evaluations that have been going on for some time in the museum world. Driven by seismic shifts in cultural politics, scholars and curators have challenged the fixity of the West’s artistic canon, rehabilitating neglected talent from a range of communities and cultures.”
The three women – stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, and showrunner/writer/producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge – at the center of this prestige show say it’s a matter of chemistry. “As the showrunner and stars tell it, the process of making Killing Eve also felt like a love story. First, Ms. Waller-Bridge fell for Eve and Villanelle; then, she, Ms. Oh and Ms. Comer fell for one another.”
Who should have controlled his estate – and the various royalties from the famous “LOVE” sculptures? And who will control it now? “His will, filed on Friday in Knox County Probate Court, leaves most of his art and property to a nonprofit whose mission is to develop Mr. Indiana’s home into a museum featuring his works.” Lawsuits may delay that plan.
The parting of ways with the contemporary museum comes after the director fired the respected chief curator, Helen Molesworth, and after various other issues rocked the museum. “Neither Vergne nor MOCA would say where Vergne might be heading. A spokesperson for the museum did confirm that while the search for his replacement is underway, Vergne has no immediate plans to leave his position and that he intends to help with the transition process.”
“Why are some individuals able to generate outstanding creative products despite repeated, frustrating failures?” asks a research team led by Sergio Agnoli of the Marconi Institute for Creativity in Italy. The answer, they propose, lies in “how people experience and regulate their emotions.”