A journalist meets the 2015 Nobel Prize winner at the Louisiana Literature festival: “She was reluctant, when asked, to describe the evolution of her style. (‘Must I explain everything?’) … ‘When I walk my dog in Minsk, I go past a church,’ she told the festival audience, ‘I see the youth with their new cars. The priest comes out to see them. They want their cars to be blessed.’ This is how she prefers to answer questions – through details. … When the interview ended, after forty minutes, I figured Alexievich had had enough. … Back in New York, a few weeks later, I read the transcript: The translator, mindful of Alexievich’s schedule, had suggested we end the interview much earlier than we had. Alexievich declined and started to ask me questions.”
Rafael Bonachela, who took the reins of the company from Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon in 2009, “wants to create a Sydney Dance Company 2, a sibling company of eight young dancers to tour regional theatres throughout Australia. … [He] also wants Sydney to have its own ‘dance house’ – a dedicated theatre just for dance performances such as Sadler’s Wells or The Place in London – and an annual international dance festival.”
“Adichie looks with a gimlet eye at American liberal doctrine, preferring open and frank debate to the narrow constraints of approved messaging. Though she is considered a global icon of feminism, she has, on occasion, displeased progressive sects when she’s expressed her beliefs about gender with candor and without using the latest terminology.”
Nowadays scientists tend to shun the ‘maverick’ label. If you’ve hung out in a lab lately, you’ll notice that scientific researchers are often terrible gossips. Being labelled a ‘maverick’, a ‘crank’ or a ‘little bit crazy’ can be career-killing. The result is what the philosopher Huw Price at the University of Cambridge calls ‘reputation traps’: if an area of study gets a bad smell, a waft of the illegitimate, serious scientists won’t go anywhere near it.
It’s the brainchild of the evangelical Christian who owns Hobby Lobby and whose company paid a $3 million fine for intentionally mislabeling smuggled ancient Iraqi artifacts, and it’s opening soon. “Organisers contend that the museum is non-partisan, non-sectarian and educational rather than evangelical, appealing to people of all faiths or no faith. … But that is not how it began.”
Lyn Gardner: “The best teachers teach, do and more importantly they enable the future and support and inspire the young. Many have just as much artistic talent as those who appear on our stages and in movies, although they spend more time covered in paint in the school hall than on the red carpet. Their role and dedication is more important than ever at a time when opportunities for the rising generations are drying up, social mobility is stagnant and arts education is under siege in schools because of the EBacc.”
Previous research showed that more than 70% of musicians have experienced anxiety and panic attacks. The “precariousness and insecurity” of a career in music can be psychologically damaging, the new report claims, resulting in many experiencing “constant stress” around finding work and being financially stable.
This whole ‘knowing thyself’ business is not as simple as it seems. In fact, it might be a serious philosophical muddle – not to say bad advice.
“Most obviously, the city’s financial woes were so calamitous that, funders, most of whom already had extensive footprints in the city, had no choice but to respond en masse. Samuel Johnson’s old adage applies here: ‘When a man knows he is to be hanged, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.’ That being said, there’s far more to Philadelphia’s success than the threat of (figurative) imminent hanging.”
“Her plays are staged almost twice as often as anyone else’s on the list, far ahead of venerated figures like Eugene O’Neill and August Wilson, who edged her for the top spot last year. (The survey excludes Shakespeare, America’s perennial favorite.) Although men still write three-quarters of the plays that get produced, Gunderson has built a national reputation with works that center on women’s stories. And, though most playwrights also teach or work in television, she has managed to make a living, in San Francisco, by writing for the stage.”
“A group of major cultural institutions in the UK and Europe … is seeking a way to end decades of wrangling over the estimated 4,000 bronze and ivory artefacts looted by the British army from what is now southern Nigeria as part of a punitive expedition in 1897. Since the 1960s, Nigeria has repeatedly called for their repatriation.”
“For as long as anyone can remember, theater and movie directors, rich sponsors of art, dancing masters and acting coaches here in Russia have demanded sex from young actresses, ballerinas, and students in exchange for a part in a movie, a role in a play, or promotion in the ballet.”
“Park Chan-wook … combines dark humor, a painterly sense of composition and lots of gore. But beneath the violence lies a deep humanity – and a love of the absurd.”
A photo tour of the strange and fabulous (in more than one sense) buildings that have gone up in the cities of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, where the dictators were not going to let themselves be outdone.
“For many respondents, going to the park or eating at a food truck counts as a cultural experience, while attending a museum does not. … Below, we spotlight seven findings from the study could have major consequences for how traditional cultural hubs like museums think about audience outreach, development strategies, and cultural participation in the 21st century.”
“Some of these books are concise introductions to topics you might later wish to pursue in greater depth: Modern India, say, or Shakespeare’s Tragedies. Others, like Teeth, contain pretty much everything the average layperson would ever want or need to know. All of them, however, take their Very Short commitment seriously. The length of each book is fixed at thirty-five thousand words, or roughly a hundred and twenty pages. … Never mind that the Roman Empire got some four thousand pages from Edward Gibbon, and that was just to chronicle its demise; here it gets the same space as Circadian Rhythms, Folk Music, and Fungi.”
Siobhan Burke: “I can’t remember when I first sensed disgruntlement toward the E-word. But in speaking with dancers and choreographers over the years, I’ve noticed that more often than not it elicits an eye roll, head shake, groan, sigh or shrug of ‘whatever that means.'”
“The mini-studio announced Monday that it has entered into an agreement for [Los Angeles billionaire Thomas] Barrack’s private equity firm, Colony Capital, to provide a cash infusion to the New York company. … They have [also] entered a negotiation period for a sale of all or part of the beleaguered firm’s assets.”
At the famous theatre at Epidaurus, the claim has always been that you could hear a pin dropping or an actor whispering onstage even in the farthest seats. But a team of researchers has done extensive tests there, at Argos and at the Odeon in Athens, and they found that – while these ancient venues are hardly as bad as, say, the Sydney Opera House or Lincoln Center’s original Philharmonic Hall – this hear-a-pin-drop business is a myth.
“After more than a year and a half of renovation work, the Freer reopened to the public over the weekend, along with a raft of new exhibitions at its partner institution, the subterranean Sackler Gallery to which it is connected by an underground tunnel. With the director of the Freer/Sackler, Julian Raby, set to retire early next year,” writes Philip Kennicott, “this project serves as a summation of his tenure: Sensible, accessible and stylish in a low-key way.”
“The Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky set fire to an entrance of Bank of France in Paris this weekend. The artist also condemned bankers as the new monarchs in his latest act of political performance art in France, the country that granted him political asylum in May. Pavlensky came to worldwide attention for his previous performances in Moscow, such as nailing his scrotum to the ground in Red Square and setting alight an entrance of the Federal Security Service building.”
“At his final curtain call, Mr. Fairchild, the youngest dancer to have a farewell event at City Ballet” – he’s 30 – “choreographed an unusual flower presentation: he stood by a basket of roses and handed a flower to fellow principal dancers, who came onstage one by one.”
“He will begin the role starting with the 2018-19 season – the post had previously been held by Jiří Bělohlávek until his death in June this year.”
His six-decade career included plenty of television and film work (he played Mozart’s father in Amadeus) as well as an astounding number of stage appearances. He was an early member of Peter Hall’s Royal Shakespeare Company, won a Tony as the scheming father in A Moon for the Misbegotten, gave nearly 1,800 performances as 17th-century writer John Aubrey in the one-man show Brief Lives and hundreds more as the president in Mister Lincoln. He holds the world record for the number of different characters voiced in audiobooks – 224, in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Fire and Iceseries, the source for Game of Thrones.
The Voracious Collector
That headline could apply to dozens of people, especially nowadays in this age of competitive, ostentatious collecting of contemporary and modern art. But I was referring to J. P. Morgan, who in his lifetime purchased … read more
>AJBlog: Real Clear Arts Published 2017-10-16
Salvaging “Salvator Mundi”: Inside Look at “Extensive Restoration” of Leonardo at Christie’s
“Without question,” Christie’s confidently declared last week, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (being auctioned on Nov. 15 in New York) is “the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century.” Really? With 83 years still remaining in this century, we’re entitled to pose a few questions. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-10-16
Richard Wilbur, American Poet, 1921-2017
Just a quick post to note the death of the great poet and translator Richard Wilbur. Until two days ago, when he passed away at 96, I would have called him America’s finest living poet. … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2017-10-16
For instance, take the story of St. Louis’ Central Library, which was, for four years, across the street from a large homeless shelter that provided nothing but beds for the night, turning the library into a de facto shelter during the day. “It’s an extremely difficult and complex problem, balancing the safety of the library on the one hand with the acknowledgment on the other that the homeless and marginalized are real patrons, too.”
“Our deepest sense of this most famous artist remains subject to change. The systematic publication of the notebooks, beginning in the late nineteenth century, tipped our understanding of his goals from art toward science, and opened questions about how to square the legendary peacefulness of his nature with his designs for ingeniously murderous war machines.”
The Metropolitan Opera opened the season with its hundred-and-fifty-seventh performance of Bellini’s “Norma.” The New York Philharmonic began with its hundred-and-nineteenth rendition of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. This is the safe course that many performing-arts groups are choosing in precarious times: the eternal return to the world that was. Both works are masterpieces that deserve to be heard repeatedly. Yet the implicit message is reactionary. As the nation contends with its racist and misogynist demons, New York’s leading musical institutions give us canonical pieces by white males, conducted by white males, directed by white males.