Writes the chair of Arts Council England, who was for three decades director of the Tate Galleries, “In 2012 we became the first cultural body in the world to include environmental reporting and action in our long-term funding agreements with arts organisations. … Together we substantially increased understanding about the role of the sector in addressing environmental issues and associated social challenges. The findings of our Annual Report on Environmental Sustainability, published on Tuesday, prove the value of that intervention.”
The Winnipeg Indigenous Biennial, to be hosted by the Winnipeg Art Gallery beginning in 2020, will focus at first on contemporary work by indigenous artists in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; organizers plan for it to become, over the years, a showplace and launching pad for indigenous art and artists from all over the world.
After half a century, the building remained a gem but needed an upgrade. City officials gave the foundation until 2019 to remove asbestos, fix the sprinklers and make the site wheelchair accessible. The foundation’s president, Darren Walker, saw the opportunity to nudge the headquarters, in other ways as well, into the 21st century. And so Ford has now downsized its footprint, making room for other foundations. There’s a new public art gallery, a touch-and-feel garden in the atrium for the blind; and Mr. Walker converted his own office into a pair of conference rooms that can be used by outside nonprofits. The building is rechristened the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice.
Artemisia’s Intent, a one-woman show created by a group calling itself The Anthropologists, tells the story of Artemisia Gentileschi’s rape, and her prosecution of her rapist, “in her own words, which are eerily akin to those of modern women going through similar struggles. … The company, a New York City-based theatre troupe that aims to inspire social action with their work, uses a collaborative and research-based approach, focusing on creating theatre directly from source materials.”
Howard Sherman surveys the current landscape, where experienced critics discarded by legacy publications are now turning up at high-quality websites, and, though an imbalance remains, a few of those legacy outlets have hired younger female and nonwhite writers. (Sherman seems to have forgotten about Hilton Als, though.)
“MCQUEEN: What’s happening with #MeToo and Time’s Up is amazing — these are huge, giant steps. But I just feel sometimes, as a black filmmaker, that it’s still going around in circles.
DAVIS: It can’t just be ‘This is a time for female rage, so this is a time for female-centric movies and maybe some black artists.’ It should’ve been time years ago. This is what it always should be.”
Those who fund science research increasingly expect the public to be fully engaged with the scientific process. The Wellcome Trust in the UK and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation in the US are ploughing big money into science communication, and the results of this investment are far more exciting than a million TED Talks and podcasts.
In a strategic effort to reshape the narrative of American art, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation will help five museums acquire paintings, sculptures and works on paper by self-taught African-American artists of the South. These acquisitions bring to 12 the number of museums that have received more than 300 works from the Atlanta-based nonprofit, through gifts and purchase.
There are currently 397 people on the British Stunt Register – only two are black women. Shaina West wants to change that, she tells BBC Radio 5, and she’s created a new alter ego to help. (video)
You only need to look at Pittsburgh’s art, and the murders of Jewish worshippers at a synagogue there, to see the contradictions. “It is the best of times and it is the worst of times. A time in which the ‘whitelash’ to multiculturalism is becoming increasingly violent. But also a period in which art and culture present a more inclusive alternative to the executive orders emerging from the White House.”
The list, called The Mix, “Steppenwolf compiled a list of over 150 potential nominators and ultimately received plays from nearly 100 theater professionals, including playwrights, directors and theater administrators. … The shows are inclusive of (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender, varied physical or cognitive ability, size, sexual orientation and generation. The company hopes that the peer-developed resource will fortify efforts of building equity in theater.”
The people depicted in Rockwell’s famous series of paintings — as per the expectations of the time and the artist’s own lived experience — were almost all lily-white New Englanders. Reporter Laura M. Holson talks with artists who are restaging those images, often with the cooperation of the Rockwell Museum, with a more variegated cast of characters.
“Taking place on the last Saturday of each month, the tours are free to all and aim to uncover the queer histories of the objects in the museum’s collection.” For instance, the Flemish sculptor Giambologna’s marble of Samson slaying a Philistine (both unclothed) with the jawbone of an ass — an artwork that ended up in the possession of King James I’s boyfriend.
“[The larger issue is] what happens when a large number of people are concentrated together in a public space and have different ideas of how we should all behave. … We see these moral panics in other crowded spaces, too.” And sometimes the policing of behavior scares away the very communities that arts organizarions are trying to reach out to. Lyn Gardner meets Kirsty Sedgman, author of The Reasonable Audience: Theatre Etiquette, Behaviour Policing and the Live Performance Experience.
Controversy broke out when Anthony Ekundayo Lennon was selected for an Arts Council England-funded program to train minority theatre artists as directors: While he says his skin coloring has caused him to be treated as black or mixed-race in the acting marketplace, he acknowledges that his parents were white. Now the director of Talawa, the black-led theatre company that took Lennon on as a trainee, has spoken up about the choice.
“On Monday, the city’s arts agency added sweeping language to already approved grants requiring that artists and arts organizations avoid producing work that could be considered lewd, vulgar or political or be at risk of losing their funds. The arts community protested, saying the amended contract infringed on their First Amendment rights. The [D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities] capitulated.”
Jacob G. Padrón, a Yale Drama alum (as both student and administrator) who has produced more than 100 new plays and who founded the Sol Project to support and promote Latinx playwrights, succeeds Gordon Edelstein, who was fired early this year following accusations of bullying and sexual harassment.
“The problem is that, at the same time as having to boost income [because of subsidy cuts], theatres have faced increased demands to justify their funding. Organisations have had to diversify their audiences, artists and their personnel, to prove their social utility and inclusivity with access schemes and outreach programmes … Taken together, however, the two things add up to one hell of a paradox, which risks pulling theatres apart at the seams. Being dependent on both earned income and public subsidy, theatres are having to pull in two directions at once. Make more money. Do more good.”
The Iraqi city was the largest one that the violent extremist group conquered, and while it was liberated last year, there is still wreckage (physical and psychic) everywhere. Late last month, a group from the Iraqi National Symphony organized an orchestral concert in Mosul, and the city is hosting more cultural events as well — not least to get attention from international donors who could fund reconstruction.
“There’s a tendency to see the art world as separate from broader cultural, social, or political worlds, which I think is not helpful or accurate. Particularly with protests against institutions we’ve seen that issues of class, race, gender, and access are vital. Protesters come to us because they see us as part of the world, and hold us to task accordingly. We have greater legitimacy and more importance than we sometimes think we do. We have a responsibility towards the public.”
For Michael Morgan, “art and politics are, to varying degrees, indivisible: There’s no either/or. In the end, he’s interested in community, in blending cultures, the power of diversity, and the intersection of music and well-being, imagination, and hope. His obligation is to find that intersection over and over again — that’s his revolution.”
Actors Call For UK Production Companies To Get Tax Breaks If They Employ More Women, Minorities And Disabled
“The actors Lenny Henry, Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor were among the signatories to a letter to The Guardian that said similar moves had been successful before and should be tried again. … Also putting their names to the letter were the Paralympic athlete and television presenter Ade Adepitan, the playwright Lucy Prebble and Jodie Whittaker, the first female actor to play Doctor Who,” as well as playwright and Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah.
“The group’s deceptively simple premise — that getting musicians from groups [Israel and the Arab world] that have been opposed for decades to play together would foster understanding — seems even more ambitious in this polarized age.” (Indeed, the orchestra’s current tour of the U.S. nearly collapsed when the Trump administration withheld visas for some of its members.) As the conductor told reporter Michael Cooper, “When I’m with [the musicians], it doesn’t feel quixotic at all. When I talk to you, I know it is quixotic.”
The statement can mean one of two things: “access to art is a moral right” or “access to art ought to be a legal right; that free access to museums and other institutions housing cultural artifacts should be legally guaranteed to citizens.” NYU art professor Nickolas Calabrese argues that, while the first would seem to be true on its face, the second is far more problematic than most people who favor it seem to realize.
The move is part of a collaboration between professional company Ballet Black and dance shoe design and manufacturing company Freed of London and has been “over a year in development” according to the Ballet Black website.
Children in low income households were half as likely to take music lessons. The report suggests only 19% of children from families earning less than £28,000 learned a musical instrument, compared with 40% of those in high-earning households. This is despite similar levels of interest from both groups of children. The report also suggests higher-earning parents were twice as likely to want their children to learn an instrument.
“If you didn’t know much about classical ballet, you might think it’s an obvious home for queer artists and narratives, but it’s more complicated than that.” The canon is small and its stories are very conventionally heterosexual; even today, openly gay male dancers can have trouble getting cast as leads. “[Now] a new generation of dancers who are collapsing the boundaries between queerness and maleness in ballet by challenging its, and the culture’s, preconceived ideas of masculinity.”
“Shannon O’Loughlin, the executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, argues that curators ‘did not consult with affiliated tribal representatives to perform their due diligence, but their first mistake was to call these objects art’. She adds, ‘Most of these items are not art: they are ceremonial or funerary objects that belong with their original communities and could only have ended up in a private collection through trafficking and looting’. The Met counters that it has regularly conferred with Native American representatives.
“The question of how well — or poorly — the theater world accommodates child care has been talked about for years, and is closely bound up with the discussion of why women are so underrepresented as writers, directors, and designers at the industry’s highest, and highest-paying, levels. … The theater world is experimenting with a variety of small-scale solutions to make the juggling easier.”
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.