“In an ideal world, Rattle would tour the LSO around its own country, instead of everywhere abroad, with a rallying cry to raise standards. That won’t happen either, because the Arts Council won’t fund anything that treads on the toes of regional clients. All of which leaves Rattle with a job title that has less clout than a viscountcy, an honorific to deceive the media into believing in miracles. These inhibitions may help explain why the incoming music director has set such store on getting the public authorities to build him a new hall. That, at least, could be credited as a concrete achievement.”
Magazines have sputtered for years, their monopoly on readers and advertising erased by Facebook, Google and more nimble online competitors. But editors and executives said the abrupt churn in the senior leadership ranks signaled that the romance of the business was now yielding to financial realities.
Some collectors have responded to the resulting existential malaise by deliberately collecting art that is difficult to live with, refusing the notion of art-as-investment and embracing work that is not easy on any level, art that until recently would only have found a home in a well-financed institution that had the resources to maintain it. These are works that are difficult not merely in a conceptual sense but in reality as well, works that require as much time and energy as they do money, works that are ephemeral and unwieldy and often extremely messy. This is the sort of art that can die, rot, dry up or just disappear.
“The good news for publishers, looking forward, is that much of the audience for digital is young. Almost half of those who say they listen to audiobooks were under 35. And it’s a hungry audience. While only 24 percent of Americans say they listened to at least one audio book in 2016, the average listener in that category consumed 15 books in that same period, mostly on a smartphone. You have to figure that the average reader of physical books did not buy 15 books last year, much less read that many.”
Sure, Alex Alpharoah’s play about coming to the U.S. as a baby in his then-15-year-old mother’s arms was powerful, and sure, it sold fine during its six-week run at Ensemble Studio Theatre. But its name – Wet: A DACAmented Journey indicates what had everyone from politicians like Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) to the ACLU and the Human Rights Watch showing up, and what has the theatre planning for another run: It’s about DACA, the “Dreamers” program that the president kept saying he would end.
Bradley’s first album, on the ’60s sound revival label Daptone, was released when he was 62, and his James-Brown-evoking performances became legendary. Daptone’s Gabriel Roth: “Charles was somehow one of the meekest and strongest people I’ve ever known. His pain was a cry for universal love and humanity.”
Traditionally, science fiction with spaceships has been about exploration and escaping Earth. But that escape is a pipe dream. “We experience our actual earthbound future as an incomprehensible betrayal. For humanity to flicker and die on Earth alone — and to leave no trace of itself save its garbage and the geological echo of incomprehensibly vast mass extinction — seems to us like a crime against the specialness of our species (not to mention all the other species we’ve made extinct just to get this far).”
Well: “Mr. Weinstein said that when arranging the charitable contributions that flowed to the theater he told some donors that the funds were to support the ‘Finding Neverland’ production. But, he said, it wasn’t his responsibility to further disclose that the money would be used to reimburse him and the other investors or otherwise cover their business obligations. If people wanted to learn more, he said, they could have done internet research.”
Davis and her husband, Julian Tennon, set up a production company in 2011 to do just that – but, Tennon says, “When I go to meetings, it’s generally not African Americans that I’m talking to about getting something greenlit. Folks at the top are going to have to make decisions about trying to make systemic change. That’s the only way it’s going to happen.”
Not really, but he’s OK with that. “I come to make room for the ones coming after. Because these people coming after are going to deliver us something. We just need to watch out. Just look at the luscious, juicy deliciousness that is black art right now. I just feel like we’re only scratching the surface.”
Even when fashion designers get outrageous for the Fall Gala, New York City Ballet’s costume shop knows what it’s doing. “They know how every fabric moves, they know what a seam does, what a hem does, what stretches, what doesn’t, what absorbs, what doesn’t, what can be lifted, what can move.”
One curator: “It’s as if taking a photo of a work in a museum means ‘seeing’ it to a viewer, even though someone like me worries that taking the photo replaces seeing it in the slow and thoughtful way I would ideally wish. … And the problem with all the photo-takers is that they make it impossible for someone who wants to do that kind of looking to do so.”