Miri Regev has done just about everything she can to alienate and enrage those she considers the elites, or the “cultural junta,” of Israel. Leftists. Secularists. Tel Avivians. Ashkenazim — Jews of European origin. People who, as she told me recently, think that “classical music is better than the Andalusian music” of Morocco, or that “Chekhov is more important than Maimonides.”
“One of the hardest-hit areas is the country’s eastern coastal region, which is rich in archaeological treasures from sites such as the ancient Greek and Roman city of Cyrene. International and Libyan specialists say that ‘random digging’ here is proceeding unchecked.”
Ang Lee’s latest film “is the first ever to be shot in super-high-resolution 3-D at 120 frames per second. Lee knew its novel look—unrelenting clarity, abundant blooms of fine detail – might come off as more disturbing than impressive. ‘This is not just a new technology, but a new habit in watching movies,’ he warned the crowd. ‘I hope you keep an open mind.’ This was, perhaps, too much to ask.” Daniel Engber explains why.
“Estimated to make between $12m-$18m, the untitled painting from 1948-49 was acquired from the artist by the painter Edward Dugmore, his student at the California School of Fine Arts, and also passed through the hands of the Texas collector Edward Kitchen, before entering an East Coast collection about 20 years ago.”
“Did you know that tritones signify the Devil and Satan and evil spirits in music and that everyone just used to ‘know this’ and ‘recognize this’ and if you heard it in a piece you’d be like, ‘oh, right, the Devil’?”
“Even when the report appears to say the obvious, it’s useful to be reminded of the state of play. Particularly that there is a direct connection between supply and demand. Lots of people go to the theatre in London because there are lots of theatres and shows on offer, which are easily accessible in terms of transport links. Underserved parts of the country have seen a drop in attendances, sometimes dramatically, in recent years.”
“You would think our sole purpose as writers at these panels is to broaden the understanding of white people, when we could you know, talk about writing. Worse, it’s the same talk we gave last year, and the year before that, and the year before that one, going back years, and decades. Either we’re not speaking loud enough, or clear enough, or maybe nobody is listening. Maybe a diversity panel should be all white.”
“A 20% decrease in the number of paid attendees at live performances emerged in the study, to be released Friday by the advocacy group Dance/NYC. The study looked at 172 dance organizations over a six-year period. The audience decline appears to have been led by drops at the largest organizations, those with budgets of more than $5 million.”
When vandals knocked off the head of the young Christ in a Madonna-and-child statue at a parish in Sudbury, Ontario, the priest accepted the offer of a local artist to sculpt a replacement. Uh-oh: our correspondent describes the result as “Lisa Simpson crossed with King Triton.” Where have we seen this story before?
“When I first got to the city, many people on the administration staff said, ‘…oh dear, we have a grey-haired syndrome here…,’ meaning that our audience is getting older and older. But, we decided over the course of the season, that we would never change one thing – we felt that the one thing that transcends generation is the natural human tendancy to appreciate exceptional quality. So rather than push the bar down, we pushed the bar very, very high, where we challenge the audiences with extremely adventurous programming.”
Even during the years when he was working in factories, pushing a broom, getting fired from jobs, battling illness and going through rehab, Mr. Jones always thought of himself as a writer. “I’m a great believer in fate, and I believe that all those things in my life had to happen — being a drunk, a boxer, the epilepsy, the diabetes,” he told the Seattle Times. “You have to suffer a lot before you can be a writer of fiction.”
The original 11 paintings still hang on the walls of the agency’s headquarters, “represent[ing] an elemental approach to art [and] a swashbuckling donor,” according to a brief blurb on the agency’s website. What these paintings represent about the CIA’s relationship to the art world, though, is more complicated. On these walls, the intersection between US art and politics is especially busy.
Seattle International Film Festival, the largest film festival in the country, has been searching for a new executive director for a year. Thursday morning they announced they’ve found one in Sarah Wilke, who has been the managing director at Seattle’s premier contemporary performing arts haus, On the Boards, for the last 12 years. She’ll take over for interim director Christine Martin in January.
“For most of two decades, Detective Sgt. Jake Gomborow was usually the cop on the aisle. … ‘Acting under instructions, I attended the performance [of a drama titled King Hunger] … on Saturday evening, December 6th, 1924. The acting in the entire play, aside from the few vulgar and sacrilegious remarks, was weird and gruesome, and in my opinion, the average audience in any theatre would have walked out before the show was over. My reason for not stopping the performance was because it is in its first American appearance.”
“Many company directors – consciously or not – think, ‘I don’t know if it looks like ballet if it doesn’t look like 12 identical swans.’ … While dancers and company directors … say it’s extremely difficult for black dancers to get a job in a ballet company – especially if that company already has a ‘token’ black ballerina – they acknowledge that the task of diversifying dance troupes is made more difficult by social attitudes besides racial division.”
“Most of those disagreements have to do with the future: how much money the musicians, who have been on strike since Sept. 30, will make; how their retirements will be funded; and what the organization’s five-year financial forecast should look like. But … the two sides also differ over basic matters that have already taken place, such as whether the musicians were notified about the latest concert cancellations before management announced them to the public, and whether the musicians permitted management to give them a presentation about the organization’s finances.”
“Known for her collaborations with biologists and pungent Petri dish works, [Anicka] Yi exhibits smell as sculpture. ‘It isn’t unusual to smell a work by Yi before seeing it stewing in a corner or leaking down a wall,’ Beau Rutland wrote in the January 2013 issue of Artforum. ‘Scent becomes an interception, a piling-up of unexpected triggers, awakening sensations often ignored in aesthetic spaces.'”
“Pakistan on Wednesday imposed a blanket ban on Indian shows on its television networks and radio stations, a day after one of India’s top film directors vowed not to hire actors from Pakistan in response to a major Indian cinema group’s declaration that it would not screen films with Pakistani casts. The tit-for-tat measures come amid deteriorating relations between the two countries after an attack in September on an Indian Army base by militants who India says were from Pakistan.”
The future of classical music
I’m often asked what I think the future of classical music will be. Here’s a summary of what I think. It’s been sitting quietly in the Resources section of my blog, but it’s time to give it some bigger play. … read more
AJBlog: Sandow Published 2016-10-20
Reshuffling the Deck: An Illustrated Companion to My WSJ Piece on National Gallery Reinstallations
Although my Wall Street Journal piece, “A Capital Overhaul at the National Gallery,” on the reinvented and revitalized permanent collection displays, was generously granted three images by my editors, I think readers often crave a chance to see the other works discussed. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2016-10-20
Phil Chess Had A Jazz Role
The many obituaries of Chess Records co-founder Phil Chess correctly note his importance in the record company that that brought attention to blues artists who went on to became famous. Chess died yesterday at 95. … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2016-10-20
The video game industry is in the midst of a boom, with $23.5 billion in domestic revenue in 2015 — including spending on hardware and accessories — up 5% from the previous year. Popular games often gross more than Hollywood’s biggest movie releases, with “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3” raking in $550 million in three days to become the bestselling game of 2015. But one group feels left out in the cold — actors.
“The hard work of dancing is too often undernoticed and underpaid. Enter the New York Dance and Performance Awards, better known as the Bessies, which bestow some much needed recognition and a touch of glamour on the profession once a year, if not a whole lot of money – though this year’s ceremony, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Tuesday, began with an announcement that all nominees would receive a $500 honorarium. (It’s a start?)”
“Jed Bernstein, whose tenure as the president of Lincoln Center was cut short … after he failed to disclose a relationship with an employee, is crossing the river for his next post: He is now an adviser at National Sawdust, the new-music space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.”
“Five years ago, the small nonprofit theater company Ars Nova commissioned an up-and-coming composer to write his wacky dream project” – Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. “In a stunning and abrupt severing of an unusually close partnership, the nonprofit and the show’s commercial producers … are suddenly in a bitter battle” over three words in the show’s Playbill.
“Originally a child prodigy at the Paris Opera Ballet, Ms. Chauviré was acclaimed as a national symbol of French culture by an adoring public and by the French government, which bestowed its highest honors on her. Although she belonged to a generation of gifted ballerinas at the Paris Opera, she was set apart by a mesmerizing elegance that was never confused with chic.”