“Every group of people I ask,” says Hans Rosling, “thinks the world is more frightening, more violent, and more hopeless — in short, more dramatic — than it really is.” And because the media know drama interests us, they offer frightening, violent, dramatic news of fresh disasters. Good news is no news.
“The paintings had been stolen in an elaborate scam involving at least eight different con artists, the police confirmed. At least one had posed as a Jewish rabbi with diplomatic immunity and offered the respective gallery owners €26 million for the paintings before stealing them. The theft took place at a rented office in Monza, above the Albanian embassy … on April 20th, 2017.”
Strength in culture has helped the UK reclaim pole position in the annual index of global soft power, moving ahead of France. It is the first time since 2015 that the UK has led the world. The UK was ranked second in the culture category, remaining behind the US but ahead of France and Germany for the fourth year running. The BBC World Service, described as “the world’s most trusted news provider”, and the British Council were highlighted as key cultural assets that help the country spread its influence.
Sebastian Smee: “When Whitten died this year, little more than a year after being presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, almost no one knew about the half-century of sculpture he had under his belt. That’s partly because the sculptures were made, and remained, mostly in his home in a small village on the Greek island of Crete, where he had spent almost every summer since 1969.”
Three years ago, Lanica Angpak started a social program to provide young women from Philadelphia’s Cambodian-American community with a safe place to deal with issues their traditional families might not handle so well. Now that program has become – at those young women’s request, not out of nudging from their elders – a class where an art form that barely survived the horrors that the late 20th century inflicted on Cambodia is being passed on.
“Since the 1970s, Calle has repeatedly invited us to question whether artists should be held to the same standards as other people. In viewing her work, we must ask whether invading someone’s privacy or betraying their trust is an acceptable emotional cost to art.” Natasha Bell looks at some of Calle’s most famous projects, similar work by other artists such as Arne Svenson, Dries Depoorter and Santiago Serra, and a graduate-school project of her own that got her an A and lost her a close friend.
“One is to come up with shows that are more expansive than her ABC fare. The other is to turn Shondaland into an enduring company that will live within Netflix in the same way that Marvel exists inside the Walt Disney Company. ‘It would be really amazing to me at some point down the line — not now — if somebody said, ‘There was a Shonda for Shondaland?” Ms. Rhimes said. ‘It needs to be bigger than me.'” (includes summaries of her first eight series for the streaming service)
Technicians laying cable near the Ponte Milvio came across ruins of four rooms from the first and fourth centuries. One of those rooms has carefully wrought floors of multi-colored marble and is adjacent to a small cemetery, which leads the supervising archaeologist to think that the site may have been a place of worship.
The latest round of difficulties at Firstsite, an arts center in the English city of Colchester with a headquarters building by starchitect Rafael Viñoly, began this past spring with the revelation that the organization had paid roughly $120,000 to a consulting firm, two of whose directors were the chairman and a member of Firstsite’s board of trustees.
Its July 16 launch opened pass reservations through October, and in the four days since its debut, the site has booked over 9,500 tickets. Hyperallergic confirmed with representatives of the program that the site will release more tickets in two weeks for eager patrons hoping to nab free entry to NYC museums.
I am emerging from this supersaturation with an emotion bordering on healthy dislike. “Hate the man, love the music” is the favorite counsel of music-lovers in such instances (Richard Wagner comes to mind). In Bernstein’s case, I’m no longer sure that I have all that much tolerance for either.
67% of cultural sector organisations agreed that ACE should “represent the role and value of the sector to central Government”, when asked about what the body’s purpose should be beyond funding. In contrast, only 29% said that the arts council should “evaluate the quality of what the individuals and organisations it funds deliver”.
“Both are acts of endurance and solitude. They require a lot of patience, enough confidence and nerve to keep going, and the acceptance of failure.”
“Of the writers in Kurosawa’s stable, Mr. Hashimoto was among the longest-serving, contributing to eight screenplays from 1950 to 1970. Their other pictures together include Throne of Blood (1957), a reworking of Macbeth set in feudal Japan; The Hidden Fortress (1958), an adventure film about a princess escorted in disguise through enemy territory; and Dodes’ka-den (1970), about the residents of a Tokyo slum.”
On Friday, “a few minutes after 4 p.m., around 70 protesters poured into the Harvard Art Museums’ courtyard to chants of ‘Sacklers lie, people die, fund harm reduction now,’ ‘People over profit,’ and ‘Shame on Sackler.'”
Who gets the balloon – the British Museum, the Museum of London, the Bishopsgate Institute, or others? “The Trump babysitters started a crowdfunding campaign to fund a ‘Trump Baby world tour’: They have so far raised over 34,000 British pounds, or about $44,500. But Mr. Smith said the creators need time to work out what to do next, and assess the offers from museums and others. Other options could include releasing the balloon’s design under a Creative Commons license so that activists worldwide can use it.”
Reddit’s AskHistorians subreddit – one of the largest history forums on the internet – doesn’t bother debating Holocaust deniers. Instead, it bans them, and one moderator says Facebook should, too, because “deniers need a public forum to spread their lies and to sow doubt among readers not well-informed about history. By convincing people that they might have a point or two, they open the door for further radicalization in pursuit of their ultimate goal.”
Is it time for new art funds? When people can trade portions of the value of an art work with blockchain tokens, what happens to the artwork’s value? And – er – what about the art itself? “Funds, tokenization and even digital art are all investments that don’t give investors anything to hang on their walls.”
As soon as the Culture Pass NYC site went live, it crashed for several hours under heavy traffic. Culture Pass is “an initiative that allows New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Library cardholders to book free passes at 33 of the city’s museums.” Some museums’ passes went quickly – the Whitney, MoMA – but they’ll drop more in August.
More fun, or more efficient, or more in line with what specific visitors want to see, that is. “Third-party tour companies, especially those working in fine art museums, bring more external filters, from the comedic to the academic. Their tours range from special themes, like feminism or gay culture, to museum highlights designed for time-pressed or attention-deficit travelers.”
Instead of responding by reflex, we often respond to our mental representation of a thing. That’s an extra step. But it might, in the end, be more efficient. “The organism can just think: there is a large object ahead that is moving relatively fast, and the best thing to do when faced with oncoming fast-moving large objects is to get out of their way. In this way, the organism does not have to store a large number of behavioural dispositions (‘red bicycle ahead → move to the side’; ‘blue motorcycle ahead → move to the side’ etc), but it can just reason about what the right answer is.”
It had a mild title, the essay that The New York Times published in 1968, but its intent was broad and strong. “‘Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of mankind by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships,’ [Andrei Sakharov] wrote. Suddenly the Soviet Union’s most decorated physicist became its most prominent dissident.”
Impressive change from 2012: “The contract includes a cost of living increase, Family Medical Leave Act language, processes that address air quality at outdoor concerts and scheduling language that will ‘help our musicians balance their multiple jobs so that it is more possible for them to be able to make a decent, living income.'”
It’s her mother’s maiden name, you guys, it doesn’t mean anything: “Manafort, the movie’s writer and director, used a pseudonym in connection with the project: Jess Bond.”
Forty-eighth Street was once famous for stores that sold musical instruments. Those stores catered to musicians of every stripe, but the vibe was very rock and roll. The names that stand out for me are Manny’s and Sam Ash, but there were several others, packed together, one next to the other, each a world unto itself. In my own private atlas of the city, that street was also notable for the degree its character changed in the course of one block, from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue. The music stores, like the support of a seesaw, were the point at which that character made its pivot.