“The salvaged glass – some dating back to the 13th century, including stars, flowers and sun rays, fierce little mythical animals and beautiful medieval faces – is being recycled into dazzling new windows being made for the abbey at the stained glass studio at Canterbury Cathedral, where some of the original medieval glass artists may have worked.”
The artist, Hugo Crosthwaite, wore a shirt that made him more approachable – more like a sign painter, less like an artist – and hoo boy, was he ever approached. His interactions with people changed the huge mural. “The mural, created in partnership with the California Historical Society, features a singular mix of images — rendered in the artist’s preferred black and white — inspired by Mexican pulp comics, 19th century French illustration, Southern California visual iconography and current political events. It also features elements drawn from the artist’s dialogues with the hundreds of people that stream through the space on a daily basis.”
California was more than a rumor; it was a way to change history. “For African Americans dreaming of opportunity in the early part of 20th century, that lure, the music in California’s new-start promise, was embedded into the consciousness. It burrowed deep. It was the necessary fuel — inspiration — to carry onward beyond known possibilities. Roughly between 1910 and 1970, in two great waves of migration, six million African Americans would journey out of the nightmare of the American South, fleeing post-slavery horrors: Jim Crow segregation, lynching, nonexistent or stunted economic opportunities.”
Words refer to objects, and they don’t actually live in our brains – only experience does, and we use words to convey our experiences. Or so is the claim. For instance: “What is an angel but a juggling of past experience: beautiful body, plus wings, as in a dream? What is dark matter if not a piece needed to complete a puzzle, a theory, made up of endless complex objects in the world? Sometimes, the imaginary object is a reshuffling of real objects and thus it is real in its own way; sometimes, it is nothing.”
Texas attorney Anthony Buzbee probably thought his evening was going well when he brought 29-year-old blonde Lindy Lou Layman to his $14 million mansion. But she got overly inebriated, and when he tried to send her home in an Uber, she hurled two sculptures across the room, ripped three paintings – including two original Warhols – off the wall, and poured some as-yet-unidentified liquid on them.
Algorithms that amplify fear and help foreign powers put a finger on the scale of democracy? These things sound dangerous! That’s a shift from just a few years ago, when “algorithm” primarily signified modernity and intelligence, thanks to the roaring success of tech companies such as Google—an enterprise founded upon an algorithm for ranking web pages.
In a speech on Tuesday, Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said that universities “should be places that open minds not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged and prejudices exposed. But in universities in America and increasingly in the United Kingdom, there are countervailing forces of censorship, where groups have sought to stifle those who do not agree with them in every way under the banner of ‘safe spaces’ or ‘no-platforming.’ However well-intentioned, the proliferation of such safe spaces, the rise of no-platforming, the removal of ‘offensive’ books from libraries and the drawing up of ever more extensive lists of banned ‘trigger’ words are undermining the principle of free speech in our universities.”
“From the get-go, the project was a behemoth. The Library of Congress was essentially vacuuming up every tweet, archiving it, and attempting to turn it into a public searchable destination. In 2013, the data already represented hundreds of terabytes. Even back then, creating this archive was an immense task, and as Twitter has grown and changed, it became more and more unfeasible. According to the U.S.’s oldest federal cultural institution, the decision to not archive every tweet was brought on by the platform’s growing volume.”
“The malign genius of the private equity business model, of which more in a moment, is that it allows the absentee owner to drive a paper into the ground, but extract exorbitant profits along the way from management fees, dividends, and tax breaks. By the time the paper is a hollow shell, the private equity company can exit and move on, having more than made back its investment. Whether private equity is contained and driven from ownership of newspapers could well determine whether local newspapers as priceless civic resources survive to make it across the digital divide.”
The blistering growth has prompted new criticism from theaters and studio owners — namely that MoviePass will never be able to make money by charging $9.95 a month when a single ticket can cost almost twice that amount. They say that will cause MoviePass to either raise prices or go out of business, disappointing audiences and ultimately hurting the fragile multiplex business.
“The group of donors set to take over operations of the San Antonio symphony has backed out of the deal after discovering a potential $8.9 million pension liability, leaving the future of the orchestra in doubt. … The Symphony Society of San Antonio has been running the orchestra since 1939 and was supposed to relinquish control to the new group earlier this year.”
“The painting, on an apartment building on Broome Street in the Lower East Side, was commissioned by a local street art foundation and made by a Swedish artist, Carolina Falkholt, as a companion to a similarly vast if more abstract vagina, further east on Pike Street.” The landlord has now had it painted over.
The Year in CultureGrrl: Kicking the “*!%&@” Out of Plan B (for “Blog”)
Once again, art-lings, allow me to offer you my Best Wishes for an Art-Full New Year, along with CultureGrrl’s Top 20 Stories for 2017, in chronological order, with an emphasis on the controversies that we’ve been following and exhibitions that caught my eye. … read more
AJBlog: CultureGrrl Published 2017-12-27
A Book That Brings Her Back Alive
Mary Beach’s Electric Bananas, the brilliant posthumous collection put together by her daughter Pam Plymell, uncovers a writer who has the kind of … read more
AJBlog: Straight|Up Published 2017-12-27
I’m not nearly as good as I should be about answering my reader mail, especially during stretches of time when my life becomes more complicated than usual. So I spent an hour on Christmas afternoon … read more
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2017-12-27
According to new figures from the Booksellers Association, in 2017 the number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland grew, rather than shrank, for the first time since 1995. The growth is minuscule – this year, the total number of independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland increased to 868 stores, up one on 2016 – but the BA believes that independent booksellers’ “fortunes are reversing”, ending the yearly decline recorded since 1995, when numbers stood at 1,894.
“The most obvious explanation was that the newfound dominance of digital streaming scrambled the entrenched hierarchies, elevating voices that had long puzzled or offended gatekeepers. With physical and digital album sales as well as track downloads all in free fall, and hip-hop and R&B setting the pace for streaming, major labels and major stars alike were often left scrambling to earn the honors that once came so easily. Because the rules and norms of this era are still coalescing, the systems could also be gamed and manipulated.”
“Words are really not so different from sofas and armchairs. They are external objects that do things in the world and, like other objects, they produce effects in our brains and thus eventually, through us, in the world. The only real difference is that, when it comes to what we call thinking, words are an awful lot easier to juggle around and rearrange than bits of furniture.”