Some 332 violins, 76 violas and, 73 cellos and 19 double basses are available to view, along with hundreds of other stringed instruments from around the world, and thousands of wind, keyboard, percussion and electronic examples, spanning 5,000 years of human history.
Culturally, mazes are now massively resurgent. Practically every country park has its hedge maze, mirror maze or maize maze – and so do a growing number of churches and cathedrals. In virtual reality, notably, the maze forms the basic substructure of innumerable videogames. So why do mazes draw us in? And what do they do to us while we are there?
“A portmanteau of ‘architecture’ and ‘ecology,’ arcology was first theorized by the Italian architect Paolo Soleri in the late 1960s. Billed by its creator as the blueprint for a “city in the image of man,” arcologies challenged the notion of the urban environment as something separate from and antagonistic to nature. In Soleri’s cities, cars would be useless and the very notion of roads would be abolished as divisive constructs. Work and living spaces would be nearly indistinguishable. There’d be no need to ever use a light bulb during the day or air conditioning during the summer, even in the desert.”
Because of its relationship to development — and the rigid nature of that policy — public art mainly grows in the shadows of new building projects. That means large swathes of the city’s inner suburbs have been neglected. The report recommends pooling art funds contributed by developers and by the city’s own capital projects to target underserved areas.
“Vachon, now 55, has either launched or been instrumental in developing the careers of such idiosyncratic talents as Todd Solondz (Happiness), Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol), and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch)” – not to mention Todd Haynes, from Poison to Velvet Goldmine to Far From Heaven to Carol. “She has an instinct for which voices are best suited to tell which stories, and which audiences will turn out to see them. She likes working with first-time directors ‘because they are often telling a story they’ve waited their whole lives to tell.'” A Q&A with Dana Stevens.
“As an arts commissioner swept up in a zeitgeist where all public displays of art honoring problematic white men are on red alert, [Kilolo] Luckett is in a position where she must not only help [Pittsburgh] navigate this space, but she also gets to help discern what message the city sends to the people. As a professional art historian, this is an uneasy dance of preserving artistic freedoms and expressions and also making sure decisions are not merely capitulations to political correction.”
Given that real fear can be scarring and unpleasant, there’s a temptation to believe that the best way to deal with it is to avoid it at all costs. But science and philosophy often suggest otherwise. Fear can be one of the great sources of personal improvement. In particular, fear can help people cultivate several classic virtues that religious figures, sages, and secular moral traditions have all seen as essential for living a well-ordered life.
“Not only were there no eyewitnesses; Luther himself, ordinarily an enthusiastic self-dramatizer, was vague on what had happened. He remembered drawing up a list of ninety-five theses around the date in question, but, as for what he did with it, all he was sure of was that he sent it to the local archbishop. Furthermore, the theses were not, as is often imagined, a set of non-negotiable demands about how the Church should reform itself in accordance with Brother Martin’s standards. Rather, like all “theses” in those days, they were points to be thrashed out in public disputations, in the manner of the ecclesiastical scholars of the twelfth century or, for that matter, the debate clubs of tradition-minded universities in our own time.”
“When weird things happen, we still crave the sense of control we get from believing that there’s a reason, that they lay bare the good and evil in society. The human toll of natural disasters tells a story of collective apathy that allows a famine to unfold; corporate greed and unchecked development causes a flood. When nature throws something unexpected our way – as it did to us here in Houston, when I was writing this article from the island that used to be my neighbourhood – we are all apt to look, despite ourselves, for meaning in the madness.”
It is rare enough with American orchestras to appoint a principal guest. The reason for the post more often than not is to fill in something lacking in a music director. The last time the L.A. Phil had principal guests was three decades ago, when it brought in the especially versatile and tuned-in young conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Simon Rattle to complement an old master, Carlo Maria Giulini. In the case of Mälkki, the natural first reaction may be that she’s a woman. While American orchestras have begun hiring female music directors, this is the biggest crack, thus far, in the increasingly fragile glass ceiling about to crash down on top-tier orchestras.
For all a director’s authority, film is the most collaborative art form, and Glass is surely the most collaborative artist in history. His dozens of movies are only a small part of his prolific output, which includes music for well over 50 operas, dance works and music theater pieces; 11 symphonies; hoards of concertos and other orchestra and chamber pieces. All that and the reams of music for the Philip Glass Ensemble, which he founded 49 years ago and is still going strong, as it demonstrated at the Ace on Sunday.
“For most of the work’s duration, twenty-four subwoofers, placed with their cones pointed upward, emit electronic tones that vibrate at a frequency of 10.67 hertz, or around ten oscillations per second. … Human ears can’t detect sounds much below twenty hertz, but you register their presence all the same. … The body is listening even when the ears tune out.” Alex Ross checks out Ashley Fure’s “opera for objects,” The Force of Things.
Nick Denton: “The headlines are shocking – unless you read Gawker before it was shut down … Those first accounts of sexual harassment – even if anonymous or thinly sourced – give confidence to victims that they are not alone. Gossip, though it draws those motivated by envy and resentment, is also a tool of the powerless.”
“For one thing, it goes to small places other than Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in the country, where people are underserved in terms of having access to the work of Canadian artists. It is also a gathering place where everyone from students to audiences to artists can come together to meet and talk; and it is also a showcase for Canadian artists who don’t have a lot of platforms for their work. There are more now – but an opportunity for presenters to see a lot of Canadian work in one place in a short period of time is very important.”
The oddest finding may be the sharp increase in an innocuous little word: “and.” In 1946, “and” accounted for around 2.6 percent of the words in the reports, a frequency similar to that of average academic prose. But by 2015, as this chart shows, its share had almost doubled, reflecting what the researchers describe as the growing tendency toward long lists of nouns that create the illusion of activity, sometimes despite a “total absence of logic.”
Literary criticism typically tends to emphasize the singularity of exceptional works that have stood the test of time. But the canon, Franco Moretti argues, is a distorted sample. Instead, he says, scholars need to consider the tens of thousands of books that have been forgotten, a task that computer algorithms and enormous digitized databases have now made possible. “We know how to read texts,” he wrote in a much-quoted essay included in his book “Distant Reading,” which won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. “Now let’s learn how to not read them.”
“Why are the carceral practices in the US so harsh? Part of the reason is the vestige of a Christian-inspired desire to reform the offender’s soul. Around the time of the Revolution, the penitentiary’s ‘unsocial manner of life’ based on order, obedience and silence could seem plausible only to those who thought that they could achieve a ‘new victory of mind over matter’. Today, prolonged solitary confinement is coming to be seen for what it is: torture.”
The fraud is relatively simple. Criminals hack into an art dealer’s email account and monitor incoming and outgoing correspondence. When the gallery sends a PDF invoice to a client via email following a sale, the conversation is hijacked. Posing as the gallery, hackers send a duplicate, fraudulent invoice from the same gallery email address, with an accompanying message instructing the client to disregard the first invoice and instead wire payment to the account listed in the fraudulent document.
The purchases include $31,900 at an art gallery in Florida and a whopping $623,910 at a New York antiques dealer. All that pales in comparison, however, beside the staggering $1 million spent at a rug dealer in Alexandria, Virginia. Wires were also made for $849,215 to a “Men’s Clothing Store in New York,” $520,440 to a “Clothing Store in Beverly Hills,” and $655,500 to a “Landscaper in the Hamptons.”
Philosopher Martha Nussbaum, who holds an endowed chair at the University of Chicago, identifies three lies (her word) at the heart of the Strauss-Hofmannsthal opera. (She makes fair points, but did she honestly expect that a Viennese comic opera written a century ago – and set 270 years ago – would seem realistic about such matters, or that audiences would take it as such, in 2017?)
“In the American ballet world, issues of diversity and equality are front and center. Many have pointed to a lack of female choreographers and heads of major companies. Millepied says that’s a problem that’s specific to ballet. ‘There are amazing choreographers in contemporary dance. If ballet schools made that more part of their mission, I think more women would be choreographing.'”
“In past months, religious nationalists in the Hindu-majority country have stepped up a campaign to push the four-century-old Mughal monument to the margins of Indian history. One legislator recently kicked up a national storm when he labelled the tomb ‘a blot’. Resentment at the fact the country’s most recognisable monument was built by a Muslim emperor has always existed on the fringes of the Hindu right. But those fringes have never been so powerful.”
“Just two days before a scheduled hearing on a suit brought by the three sons of Norman Rockwell …, the attorney general’s office has submitted a legal filing stating that it ‘has significant questions and concerns’ about the museum’s planned sell-off of 40 paintings on November 13 at Sotheby’s in New York. The filing calls on the court to grant a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction so that the office has more time to study the case and formulate a final position.”