This Week: Mozart outsells every CD this year?… How artificial intelligence is changing thinking… Why should artists be entrepreneurs?… How the West dominated global culture… Zadie Smith speaks out about multiculturalism.
“Higher costs of making and marketing big movies, as well as plummeting home video revenue, have dragged down studio profits. Once-bankable home entertainment sales — including DVDs and video on demand — have dropped more than 30% since 2010, according to Digital Entertainment Group.”
“The goal of this is not to sell tickets,” OM spokesman Pierre Vachon says. Engaging with a marginalized population can only help the company clarify its purpose within the larger community, he says, while ideally reducing prejudice about the homeless. “What is the meaning of art in our time, how important is it? That’s the discussion we’re having now.”
It’s all fun and game, of course, but the point is larger: “The goal of these special sections is to reimagine the possibilities of print.”
China doesn’t have an equivalent to the Oscars, but it does have the Huading Awards, a kind of People’s Choice open to voting. “Of course, when it comes to the People’s Republic, these are the choices of 1.3 billion potential moviegoers – which explains why the likes of Natalie Portman, Mel Gibson and Hilary Swank showed up to accept their accolades.”
A new approach to (some very) old art aims to entrance the contemporary museum visitor, not to mention art auction buyer. Why? “Historic pictures were for centuries the market’s biggest earners, but over the last 10 years or so they have been progressively overshadowed by postwar and contemporary art.”
The fallout from a failed sale is causing much consternation. “While it is not uncommon for experts to differ on such matters — Is that painting by the old master or the school of the old master? — the Beethoven episode raised questions about transparency in auctions.”
A reporter gets a peek into the world of ballet production. “Before the first performance, the party guests lined up in the wings to make our walk across the stage. A couple of young girls in mouse costumes asked me how I felt, if I was nervous. ‘Not really,’ I said. ‘The show isn’t really about me. It’s about you guys.’ They beamed.”
The woman with nine husbands tossed off one-liners and played to her broad, adoring public. “To Gabor, everyone was ‘dahlink,’ an endearment that entered the vernacular of mid-20th century America. She was a celebrity of the old school who believed in glamour. She once said of today’s actresses, ‘When you see them in real life, they look like nothing.’ Not so Zsa Zsa, who flaunted her jewels and furs.”
There was a time when to be elite meant to be something special – to be “chosen” or “select”. The OED says the English noun is “The choice part or flower (of society, or of any body or class of persons)”. But 2016 has not been a good one for elites, and the term has become a junk condemnation – “people with unearned privileges who keep honest folks from getting a fair shake.”
America has always had a distrust of experts, and in recent elections those who are expert or elite have been blamed for anything that hasn’t worked when it should. Politically this has been an effective tactic, but it also speaks to other sectors of our culture. Critics are elites who aren’t in touch with common opinion. “High” art is elitist because it holds itself out as better than popular culture.
Elites are suspect because they suggest complexity, nuance and ambiguity in a reactive age that demands simple answers.
Populist anger is hardly surprising: elite financiers tanked the global economy, elite economists failed to foresee it and political elites failed to respond effectively enough. Those elites in the crosshairs had to find other elites to blame, and they did so. Elite scientists and Hollywood liberals whining about climate change cost coal miners their jobs. Elite London journalists noshing on sushi ignore the problems that hard-working northern Brits suffer as a result of immigration. Cultural elites police what can be said about minorities. And so on. But the rush to blame elites has nearly everyone in the crosshairs
The populist uprising against elites threatens also to be a war on excellence, on achievement, on accomplishment. As we increasingly define quality using algorithms that really measure popularity, the meaning of elite as special or choice are in danger of being marginalized.
This Week In Audience: How We Think About Measuring Audiences Edition This Week: Business models and arts audiences… The rising impact of crowdfunding on the arts… Big Data can measure the wrong things, so be careful… Data show audiences are less affected by information overload … read more
AJBlog: AJ Arts Audience Published 2016-12-18
Weekend Extra: “Freeway” Two Ways
Chet Baker became famous as a trumpeter, not a composer. Still, when he was with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet he wrote a tune that attracts musicians more than sixty years later. “Freeway” has clever rhythmic … read more
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2016-12-17
‘Tis the Season
Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. Five of the dancing snowflakes in Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu Mark Morris’s The Hard Nut sets the knowing audience at … read more
AJBlog: Dancebeat Published 2016-12-17
On Stage with the Marx Bros
ONE of the glories of American culture is the cinematic ensemble known as the Marx Brothers. But before Chico, Zeppo, Harpo, and Groucho became anarchic movie stars in film like “A Day at the Races” … read more
AJBlog: CultureCrash Published 2016-12-16