The Twitterverse worked itself into a bit of a lather a couple of weekends ago, when Sunday Times columnist Sathnam Sanghera decried the people who sit down and play the pianos that have been left in train stations, writing “Can we please get back to good old British reserve in general?” In response, reporter Amy Walker went to St. Pancras Station in London and talked to some of the people who took a turn at the keyboards there that day.
“Following a network of leads, many from underworld contacts, [former Scotland Yard detective Charles] Hill is convinced that the Gardner treasures are still stashed in the Republic of Ireland. ‘Even if Bulger did not order the robbery originally, he would have muscled in and taken control of the haul soon after it took place. … Whitey felt he owed one to his friends in the Republic. I believe he offered them the paintings.”
“Tough times are not always bad times, and so many factors are involved in the evolution of the arts that cause and effect are simply not quantifiable. Technology. Entrepreneurship. Audiences. The economy. You name it. All play ever-changing parts. Institutions die and new ones are born. Look around downtown L.A. and elsewhere. Young musicians have begun their own ensembles. To be an outlier is to be in. Composers have found the players they need. New music and new opera are thriving throughout the country like never before. What matters in the end is not money but priorities.”
What can possibly be the appeal? The answer lies in our desire for mastery and elucidation. The ability to enhance a life by bringing scaled-down order and illumination to an otherwise chaotic world – a world over which we may otherwise feel we have little control – cannot be overvalued. The fascination of holding in our hands something completely realised at an impossibly reduced scale is a wholly fulfilling one, and the satisfactions of inquisitive observation will never tire. At its simplest, the miniature shows us how to see, learn and appreciate more with less.
“Why did Stalin airbrush those people out of those photographs?” he asked. “Why go to the trouble? It’s because there is something very, very powerful about the visual image. If you change the image, you change history. We’re incredibly visual beings. We rely on vision—and, historically, it’s been very reliable. And so photos and videos still have this incredible resonance. How much longer will that be true?”
Anthony Ekundayo Lennon has always acknowledged that his parents and grandparents are white, but says that his skin coloring (which his brothers share) has led to his being treated, and discriminated against, as black or mixed-race for his entire life, including his work in theatre. Lennon applied, as a “mixed-heritage individual,” for and won an Arts Council England grant to work a a black-led London theatre company. The company, Talawa, willingly sponsors Lennon, but other black actors and directors are publicly objecting.
“I was due to leave Covent Garden in two years’ time … Once I realised the company would be rudderless, musically speaking, I had no choice. I couldn’t walk away having given so much blood, sweat and tears for so long, only to see all our collective efforts wither.” He will not remain as the Royal Opera House’s music director through at least 2022-23.
Si Newhouse had apprehended the seismic shift then afoot in the upper-income levels of American taste—away from the discreet cultivation of East Coast grandees like the Rockefellers and Mellons (which I’ve called stealth wealth), and toward the unabashed display of new money that characterized the Reagan Revolution, especially on the West Coast and across the Sun Belt, where the operative attitude was “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” And no magazine reflected that change more accurately than Architectural Digest.
A bidding war at Christie’s last week sent the price of a 3,000-year-old stone relief from $7 million to more than $28 million, setting a world record for ancient Assyrian artworks and raising fears among some archaeologists that soaring prices will fuel the market for looted antiquities as well as legally acquired ones.
Barris left ABC after it wouldn’t air an episode of black-ish that was about NFL players kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance – but he left, in what both sides describe as an amicable split, for a lucrative deal at Netflix. What’s he going to do with the new opportunity? He doesn’t say much, but he will tease: “I can say this. … I want to reboot what a family show is.”
Ming Peiffer says that the moment she realized she needed to stop writing for others and start writing her own truth changed her play Usual Girls extensively. “I recoiled from the original play that I was writing, and [a new version] almost just spewed out. … Even as I realized that I was going to some very deep, dark, and uncomfortable places, by that point I was already going — there was an energy attached to it that I didn’t want to stop.”
Wiley, who painted the presidential portrait for former President Barack Obama: “My first thought was that no one makes it as a painter. I was just looking around at the landscape of contemporary art, which was pretty dry in Southern California during the ’90s. There was no modeling for success when it came to a job in the arts. So I thought that my best option would probably be in arts education. … I just knew that that would enable me to support my art habit.”
Kazantzis, born into a literary family (and a titled one – a privilege she steadfastly refused), “explored themes like the power relations between men and women and the abuses of power against the weak, and when it was first published in the 1970s, it resonated with an emerging new feminism — one that was giving a platform to women to express their repressed anger toward patriarchy, find a place in the literary establishment and, perhaps more important, connect with one another.”
Sally Tannant has worked at London’s Serpentine Galleries and has run the Liverpool Biennial, and now she’ll be the new executive director at the Queens Museum.
Amazon suddenly dropped antiquarian booksellers from the Czech Republic, South Korea, Hungary and several other countries from AbeBooks. One bookseller from California says, “The biggest e-commerce giant in the world apparently finds it too complicated to do business in Prague. … You have to wonder who’s next. We’re all vulnerable to Amazon’s capricious actions.”