“[He] was part of a circle of mid-century geometric abstractionists active in Ohio that included Julian Stanczak … Like Stanczak, Mieczkowski participated in the pivotal 1965 exhibition ‘The Responsive Eye’ at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which launched Op Art. Mieczkowski co-founded the Anonima group in 1960 in Cleveland with painters Ernst Benkert and Francis Hewitt.”
What deserves interrogation is not the question of whether or not to move beyond “tradition.” It is the rhetorical use of the term “tradition” and the presumption of an uninformed critic to police black choreographers’ prerogatives. When will we be done with these tired tropes of authenticity and “tradition” that continue to plague contemporary black performance?
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Americans generated much of their own art by themselves and at home, through playing parlor piano, reciting Shakespeare around the dinner table, and other exercises in Emersonian self-reliance. All that changed with the introduction of radio, sound recordings, movie theaters, and other forms of industrially produced mass entertainment. The audience’s role increasingly was reduced to coming to a large venue, sitting in a darkened room, then applauding on cue.
And the upshot was that part of New Mexico became “Georgia O’Keeffe country.” Why? “As Mont Sainte-Victoire was to Cezanne, so Pedernal was to O’Keeffe, who painted it, obsessively, almost 30 times. ‘It’s my private mountain,’ she once said. ‘It belongs to me. God told me if I painted it enough, I could have it.'”
Kat Eschner tells the story of cobalt and the many shades of blue pigment that the element made achievable and affordable (no more finding and grinding lapis lazuli!).
“Alexander Calder is famous for having made sculptures that move, but conservators and collectors are cautious about showing them that way.” The current show at the Whitney is changing that, and the Times here offers a set of video animations that show the works in motion.
Lyn Gardner: “It’s not surprising that there is a great deal of nostalgia from actors such as Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Simon Callow who were the beneficiaries of the old rep system. But the purpose of contemporary theatre is not just to train the stars and Dames and Knights of the future. It is there to serve a much wider community … and most of all it is there to serve the particular and unique needs of the locale where a theatre is situated.” (What’s more, “from where I sit in aisle seats across the country the standard of British acting gets better year by year.”)
There’s a lot more to say about the way Lynn Nottage and Paula Vogel, and many other playwrights, get treated by an East Coast theatre establishment. “We know that the tension between minority playwrights and critics is not a new problem. It’s a very old problem, one made newly urgent by biased reviews of productions by women and playmakers of color this season.”
Sure, “the wonderful thing about the English language is its sponge-like ability to absorb, use and discard un-English verbiage and still be vitally itself.” But wait! Americanisms invading British English means “Britain, and young Britain in particular, has handed over ‘control of its culture and vocabulary to Washington, New York and Los Angeles.’ It is, Engel argues, ‘self-imposed serfdom.'”
Basically? Watch out for rich people. Oh, OK, here are a few other things that will help: “Science of Us talked to a number of experts and compiled this advice about how to spot bullshit, how to avoid falling victim to it, and how to call it out online and in person.”
“Branwell’s legacy has been shaped by sensation, such as the story that he once set his own bed on fire, or the suggestion that he died standing up. His erratic, out-of-control behaviour has contributed to his legacy as the family’s black sheep. … Despite being a passionate poet, writer and artist, he failed to hold down conventional jobs, and repeatedly succumbed to vice. Finally, his world fell apart after the end of an affair with a married woman, Lydia Gisborne, which accelerated his dependence on opiates and alcohol. He died at the young age of 31 from the long-term effects of substance abuse.”
Christian Matijas-Mecca: “I train my students to know the ins and outs of dance classes of varying styles. In return, we sometimes wish our collaborative partners understood more about what we bring to the studio.” For instance, “Don’t use the piano as an ad hoc desk. I teach my students appropriate studio etiquette. They will not wear shoes in your studio, talk while you are teaching or leave their belongings lying about. Show them the same courtesy.”
“The video streamer, which is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, announced last November that it planned to spend “tens of millions” to build out a competitor of Netflix, Hulu and the newly launched YouTube Red. … The company already has a subscription business in which it sells professional tools to its more than 750,000 creators” – and it will refocus on that business instead, according to the announcement.
Dance Magazine asked Rennie Harris and two of his students, Nicole Klaymoon and d. Sabela grimes, “Over the years, how has increased acceptance and visibility on concert-dance stages affected hip hop and its artists? And how has hip hop influenced concert dance?” Here’s the conversation the three gave in response.
“There was skepticism when Dallas Museum of Art director Agustín Arteaga proposed bringing a major exhibit of Mexican masterpieces here from Paris and allowing families who were not regular museum visitors to see it for free.” But the show has been a big hit, and more than half of its visitors, many of them Latino, are newcomers to the DMA. Says docent José Villanueva, “I haven’t seen this many brown people in the museum before.”
The plan is part of the “Year of Public Art” initiative declared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel for 2017.
Arnaud Valois didn’t expect much from the new film “120 Beats Per Minute.” Indeed, “after shooting the film last year, he returned to the Montorgueil area, his sophrology and his clients. (They all went on hiatus during filming, he said, and they all returned when he came back.) His practice ‘helped me to not have a baby blues after the shooting,’ he said. ‘Starting something real and simple. Not having assistants, and someone who comes to your house in the morning and drives you, and hair and makeup … a real life.'”
The Chinese government has kept the writer imprisoned for much of his adult life. “At 61 years old, Liu is perhaps known best for his role in the 1989 student-led protests in Tiananmen Square, in which hundreds of demonstrators were killed while demanding democratic reform in China. In addition to delivering passionate speeches, Liu and his colleagues organized a three-day hunger strike and helped to negotiate the peaceful withdraw of thousands of student protesters, in turn saving countless lives.”
You don’t need drugs, either, according to research – though both religion and drugs can help. “Much of our personality is made up of attitudes that are usually subconscious. We drag around buried trauma, guilt, feelings of low self-worth. In moments of ecstasy, the threshold of consciousness is lowered, people encounter these subconscious attitudes, and are able to step outside of them. They can feel a deep sense of love for themselves and others, which can heal them at a deep level. Maybe this is just an opening to the subconscious, maybe it’s a connection to a higher dimension of spirit – we don’t know.”
“Twenty years ago [Monday] the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision and unanimously overturned congressional legislation that made it unlawful to transmit ‘indecent’ material on the Internet if that content could be viewed by minors. The justices ruled that the same censorship standards being applied to broadcast radio and television could not be applied to the Internet.” David Kravets recounts the history.
Stephan Salisbury looks at a little-known part of Wyeth’s work: portraits of the historic African-American community (dating to before the Civil War) just down the hill from his home in Chadds Ford, Pa.
“The edfringereviews.com site proposed to charge companies £50 for a review during the fringe under the slogan ‘It is not about the reviewer it is about your show’. The site, which does not have any reviews on display, now says that the concept is ‘more complicated than we thought’, and that it will introduce the scheme in 2018. A spokesman for the site has told The Stage that the proposal this year was a ‘fishing trip’ to see if there was any interest in what he was offering.”
“Pilar Abel, a Tarot card reader, wants to be recognized as Dalí’s daughter, born as a result of what she has called a ‘clandestine love affair’ that her mother had with the painter in the late 1950s in Port Lligat, the fishing village where Dalí and his Russian-born wife, Gala, built a waterfront house.”
“Women and minority actors and stage managers are getting fewer jobs and often wind up in lower-paying shows than white male theater artists, according to a new study … based on an examination of employment data for shows that opened between 2013 and 2015.
“For years [François] Pinault, a self-made man whose luxury group had acquired a string of the world’s most famous fashion brands, from Yves Saint Laurent to Gucci, has been searching for a Paris home for his €1.25bn art collection of more than 3,500 works, including pieces by Mark Rothko to Damien Hirst. … Now Pinault is making his long-anticipated renewed bid to create a museum by renovating and restoring the former Paris stock exchange, the 19th-century Bourse de commerce – one of Paris’s most historically important but least known buildings.”
Art for ____________’s sake. What would you fill in?
A few weeks back I was in NYC and had the opportunity to attend a Public Forum event featuring the brilliant Jeremy McCarter … Toward the end of the evening McCarter turned to the rather large panel of activists and artists he had assembled and asked them to reflect on the phrase “Art for Art’s Sake.” There was an awkward silence. … read more
AJBlog: Jumper Published 2017-06-25
A New American Home for Italian Contemporary Art
There’s a new kid on the art block in the Hudson River Valley–Magazzino, in Cold Spring, about an hour and 45 minutes north of New York City. I went up to attend its opening on … read more
AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-06-26
“On Deadline with Gabe Pressman”: My Starstruck 1973 Profile of the Late Dean of NYC TV Reporters
Back in 1973, clutching a masters degree in journalism from Columbia, I decided to take the class that Gabe Pressman gave at the New School. This “indefatigable dean of New York’s television reporters” (as described … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-06-26
Monday Recommendation: A Captivating Book Of Photos
Jean-Pierre Leloir, Jazz Images (Elemental)
Jean-Pierre Leloir, who died in 2010, left a remarkable legacy of photographs from his work in the years when France was a destination for, and in a … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2017-06-26
Butterflies in the spotlight
Like many other major newspapers, The Wall Street Journal has started presenting special events for its subscribers. The editors approached me a few weeks ago about taking part in a theatrical event, a post-show talkback … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-06-26
Yes, really: The idea is to look at your phone, with the app open, during the concert. “The app, Octava, is intended to ‘assist the participant through a musical journey,’ with Chris Evans, director of press and marketing at RPO, saying its tone is ‘specifically aimed towards new and potentially younger audiences.'”
Not that Nutella needed help on the shelf, but … “The algorithm pulls from a database of dozens of patterns and colors to create seven million different versions of the Nutella label — pink and green, striped and polka-dotted, Pop Art-inspired and minimal.”
Charlotte Brontë was facing two crises: Her father’s health was in trouble, and she had for years been in love with a married, and uninterested, man. “The unstated fantasy driving the writing of Jane Eyre, which she began drafting nine months later, was in all likelihood to create a novel of romantic love that would achieve—through imagination—the fantasy fulfillment of an adulterous passion that was never to be hers. It would be a letter to him. At least in a novel, Brontë could have the heroine voice her own feelings, addressing them not to Heger but to the fictional Fairfax Rochester.”
Seriously though, think of The Iliad. “Our cultural anxiety about audiobooks may have deeper roots in media and educational history, dating as far back as the beginning of the Enlightenment period, when the West made a general shift towards the privileging of sight over the other senses. After all, oral storytelling predates print and writing by thousands of years.”