The unsigned painting of a woman wearing an outfit with a plunging neckline has been a favorite at the Spencer Museum of Art on the University of Kansas campus for decades. “Over the years, it’s been attributed to a few different artists — first, William Hoare, and then, sometime before the 1980s, to Highmore. But museum curators had never been 100 percent sure of the 1720s-era painting’s true origin, until now.”
Ondaatje’s Booker wins are complicated. More than anything, Ondaatje’s Golden Booker win showcases the contradictions of literary value in the current context of the global commodifications of creative goods. His 1992 success can be examined within the broader context of the prize, its relation to postcolonial fiction and the globalization of Can Lit.
“According to the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, the library’s former archivist and an antique bookseller allegedly conspired to steal and sell over $8 million worth of rare books from the [Pittsburgh] library, including [Isaac Newton’s] Principia, valued at $900,000. The archivist, Greg Priore, and the bookseller, John Schulman, were arrested on Friday for the crime.”
The fate of democracy depends on our ability to grasp and accept differing mindsets – yet the seemingly near-universal absence of reasonable public discourse suggests that this rarely occurs. We accuse those with conflicting opinions of having character defects, subliminal prejudices, faulty education, cultural brainwashing and a myriad of other ‘if only they knew better’ flaws of reasoning. But there’s a more basic and frightening possibility. What if we really aren’t capable of a sophisticated reading of other minds?
“The problem is that for the novelist the opposite question — How could I not? — also pertains. … Looking back on Empire Falls — both the novel and the fine HBO mini-series made from it — and trying to imagine what a novel on the same subject would look like today, I’m most struck by how innocent we all were.”
“That difficult history was of course a terrible tragedy, and it affected my family as well. But it’s clear that people here are coming to terms with that history and probing ever deeper into it. That wonderful exhibition Silenced Voices … portrays Jewish artists and theater personnel who once worked at the Bayreuth Festival and describes their fates. Every day I go by there and look at another one. I feel so honored to be able to stand on their shoulders and work here as an independent stage director without it being a major issue. My religion and heritage are irrelevant to my work anyway. It only comes up in conversation.”
Until the latest round of tariffs, art could be imported here duty-free. “Dealers in Chinese art and antiques described the proposed tariffs as misguided and detrimental to cultural exchange, noting it would not serve to protect a domestic industry, since American artists — unlike American factory workers — are not competing directly with Chinese artists. Nor would it meaningfully harm the robust and growing Chinese and broader Asian fine art and antiques markets.”
“‘The art was telling me that things had to change. And they had to change big. Something I created needed to die off. When the company was at its height, when it was at its most successful, I closed it down.’ These puzzling words are spoken by choreographer Trey McIntyre in Gravity Hero, his new documentary, which unpacks the rise and fall of his wildly successful dance company, Trey McIntyre Project.”
“A British opera director has been lambasted by [right-wing] Italian MPs after staging an ‘anti-racist’ performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute featuring a bulldozer poised to raze a migrant tent camp. Graham Vick, of Birmingham Opera Company and a former director of Glyndebourne, revised the original plot in an experimental production at the Macerata opera festival.”
Spotify told the BBC that in the past six months, the number of UK users aged 30 and under listening to their flagship Jazz UK playlist had increased by 108%. Smaller streaming platforms such as Deezer and Amazon Music reported similar increases. The growth has been attributed to a flourishing UK scene which fuses jazz with a variety of genres.
It was supposed to be Bahrain’s flagship cultural initiative, an art fair with international programming that would raise the profile of the Gulf State’s artists, diversify the economy and boost tourism. But after only three editions, Art Bahrain, now renamed Art Bahrain Across Borders, is facing accusations of unpaid invoices and chronic mismanagement from both exhibitors and former collaborators.
Emily Nussbaum: “It’s informational, but it doesn’t mind that you don’t know everything, because it gets that nobody does. This openheartedness makes it educational television in a broader, emotional sense — it’s like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, or Schoolhouse Rock!, if those shows had more orgies and Nazis.”
What’s most striking about the telescreen’s ubiquity is how right and how wrong Orwell was about our technological present. Screens are not just a part of life today: they are our lives. We interact digitally so often and in such depth that it’s hard for many of us to imagine (or remember) what life used to be like. And now, all that interaction is recorded.
EGREM, the state recording label, has sound archives capturing thecomplete history of Cuban history from 1964 onward as well as a lot of what came before the Revolution. Maintaining those archives remains a struggle, thanks to very tight money and the still-not-lifted U.S. embargo. Even a clogged air-conditioner filter presents a major danger: if it can’t be repaired or replaced quickly enough, EGREM’s tapes and records could literally melt.
Hana S. Sharif has been named artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. She will succeed Steven Woolf, who is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 season after more than 30 years in the position. Currently, Sharif is associate artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, where she has directed productions including “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Christians” and “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”
“The founding fathers of the state of Israel who signed the declaration [of independence] in 1948 considered the principle of equality to be the bedrock of the society they were building. … Instead, we have a [new] law that confirms the Arab population as second-class citizens. It follows that this is a very clear form of apartheid.”
“A new approach to theatre criticism, in which theatres see developing critical voices as part of audience and artist development and invest in it accordingly in terms of both time and money, is needed. … Particularly when The Stage survey indicates that word of mouth and friends is a more trusted source of opinion than mainstream publications. Could audiences be those friends too?”
“The bas-relief, which depicts a Persian guard, was seized in October by investigators for the Manhattan district attorney’s office from the Park Avenue Armory, where it was being offered for sale at an art fair. … Investigators say the item was reported stolen from Tehran in 1936, and then was stolen a second time, in 2011, from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, to which it had been donated decades earlier.”
“Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, a work that Zadie Smith called ‘the best book — in any medium — I have read about our current moment,’ is the surprise name among the 13 finalists announced today. It appears alongside Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, Sally Rooney’s much-hyped Normal People and Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight.”
The students, aged 12 to 21, were being transported from the dorms for the company’s summer instructional program to a Sunday evening recreational event when one of their buses rear-ended the other.
“In his time at the helm, the orchestra has achieved record concert attendance, become more involved in the community and grown its endowment from $8 million to $21 million. A major growth factor entailed reducing ticket prices in 2011 to a range of $15 to $45. Paid attendance has since increased by 49 percent and eliminated the orchestra’s debt.”
A Forbes contributor wrote a short piece titled “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” arguing that libraries should be shuttered in return for Amazon opening bookstores in local communities. At the gist of the writer’s argument is that Starbucks has replaced libraries as a friendly place to go and read and streaming services like Amazon Prime Video have replaced video rentals, which many local libraries had provided.
It was utterly apt that Gold became the first food writer to win a Pulitzer. He wrote miles around the rest of us. But aside from his sui generis, incomparably pungent prose, Gold’s lasting inspiration for all writers is to review restaurants as a way of celebrating and forming community.
Opera singer Charles Castronovo saved a performance of La Boheme at the Royal Opera House starring his wife Ekaterina Siurina, when he stepped in mid-show to sing the role of her lover.