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Palmyra’s Antiquities Have Been In Danger Long Before ISIS Showed Up

May 22, 2015 - 5:55pm

UNESCO warnings about Palmyra go back as far as 2013, predating the rise of ISIS. Historian Eleanor Robson said that throughout the four-year Syrian civil war, the city’s antiquities have been imperiled by “members of the Assad regime, rebels, criminals, and opportunists.” She added, “It’s been chaos for years.”

Has Toronto’s Luminato Failed To Make An Impact As An International Festival?

May 22, 2015 - 2:52pm

“When Toronto was at a particular low point in the 2000s, Luminato was conceived by business leaders as the kind of high-level, multiarts smorgasbord that would attract international cultural tourists while also providing enough free, fun and family events to entertain the city. It was planned without sufficient consultation with Canadian arts groups and has often felt like a top-down exercise, a perception that repeatedly hiring Europeans will only reinforce.”

Perhaps The Most Audacious (And Ridiculous) Art Heist Ever (And How It Shook The British Government)

May 22, 2015 - 2:34pm

“The resulting image shows the young Irish art student, the belt of his tweed overcoat flapping as he moves at speed, grappling with the heavy gilt frame containing Berthe Morisot’s Jour d’Eté and two large pieces of card attempting to cover the image of two French ladies on a boating lake. After jumping into a taxi, Mr Hogan realised he had no idea where to take his loot and instructed the driver to head to the only place he could think of – Piccadilly Circus.”

What We Look At: Big Data Suggests That Applying Filters To Pictures Increases Our Interest In Them

May 22, 2015 - 1:45pm

“Overall, controlling for things like a user’s follower count and the popularity of the larger stream in which a given photo sits, “filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on” than unfiltered ones. As for which filters have which effects, the authors examined five.”

Police Shut Down Controversial Venice Biennale Project

May 22, 2015 - 12:52pm

“The provocative project, created inside a long-unused Catholic church, serves as Iceland’s national pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale and was intended in part to highlight the absence of a mosque in the historic heart of Venice, a city whose art and architecture were deeply influenced by Islamic trade and culture.”

Chicago Theaters Want Your Help When You Die

May 22, 2015 - 12:40pm

“The subject is sensitive, awkward and uncomfortable but also, a growing priority for even the most established theater companies in Chicago, many of which are still relatively new at what museums and universities have been doing for decades: discretely shimmying up to cherished, aging supporters and gently wondering if they might leave the theater a little something in their wills some day. But there is an art to the ask.

Why Doesn’t Hollywood Cater More To Older Audiences? (They’re Growing)

May 22, 2015 - 12:06pm

“According to a 2014 study of theatrical market statistics by the Motion Picture Association of America, the number of “frequent moviegoers” in the 60-plus demographic (that is, those who attend the cinema at least once a month) jumped almost 30 percent last year from 2013, to 5.3 million viewers. That is the highest level for the 60-plus demographic since 2010. Over the same period, attendance by frequent moviegoers ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 39 — still the dominant age groups, with annual attendance about 7 million each — continued to slide. But the pickings are sometimes slim for mature audiences looking for characters their age appearing in quality fare.”

Tom Stoppard: Here’s Where Science’s Explanations Of How The World Works Stop

May 22, 2015 - 11:36am

When I said: “could you relate cultural evolution to biological evolution”, that’s where I think there’s a fudge or a missing rung. I don’t understand what you mean, because your starting point is that there is no you and me outside our brains.”

Have Big Book Festivals Become Too Big To Actually Appreciate Books?

May 22, 2015 - 11:20am

This year’s Hay festival, which kicked off on Thursday night, calls itself “a party that is first and foremost a party”. Twenty-seven years old now and with stars including Jude Law appearing alongside many excellent writers, Hay sits at the showbiz end of the spectrum.

Who Owns What? Artist Takes Instagram Pix, Hangs Them In Gallery And Sells Them For A Fortune

May 22, 2015 - 11:02am

Right now, at the Gagosian Gallery in New York, you can purchase someone’s Instagram photo for around $100,000. The money won’t go to the photographer, however, it will go to “artist” Richard Prince, who has blown up and made prints of other people’s Instagram photos for his exhibit, “New Portraits.”

Nina Simone Heirs Allege Sony Music Operates A Piracy Ring

May 22, 2015 - 10:03am

According to his legal papers, “By operating a subsidiary that massively pirates Nina Simone recordings, at price points generally lower than those at which Sony sells her RCA recordings, [this] has the natural tendency to displace Sony’s sales, thereby depriving Claimants of the full royalties they would otherwise earn under the New Artist Agreement.”

Why UNESCO Is Freaking Out About The Safety Of Palmyra Treasures As ISIS Invades

May 22, 2015 - 9:59am

The city contains the ruins of what, according to UNESCO, “was one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world” — an important Silk Road hub where East met West more 2,000 years ago. A World Heritage Site, Palmyra is heralded by experts as having some of the finest Roman-era ruins in existence.

English National Ballet Announces An Ambitious New Home

May 22, 2015 - 9:55am

“English National Ballet (ENB) is to move to a new “state of the art” home in east London, its artistic director Tamara Rojo has announced. The company will share the building – on the new London City Island development, close to the Canning Town railway interchange – with the English National Ballet School.”

Our Culture Is Based On The Enlightenment. Now Those Ideas Need Defending

May 22, 2015 - 9:27am

Immanuel Kant defined the Enlightenment as the “progress of mankind toward improvement” through the “freedom to make public use of one’s reason on every point,” and Vincenzo Ferrone claims it is this critical process that has driven public opinion and politics, giving us the language of human rights, tolerance, and individual liberty.

“Hard To Overstate His Significance In Italian Culture” Dante Turns 750

May 22, 2015 - 8:49am

“I teach Dante to American undergraduates, and I struggle to convey to them his place in Italian culture. The obvious comparison is to Shakespeare, but this is like trying to make sense of Mozart by means of Coltrane: the number of centuries that divide Dante from Shakespeare is practically as large as the number that separates Shakespeare from us.”

“Pirates Of Penzance” Has Just Broken UK Moviecast Box Office Records

May 22, 2015 - 12:02am

“It has so far taken more than £600,000 at the UK box office, from a single screening on May 19, with around 400,000 people watching it. The previous record for an opera was the Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow earlier this year, which took £504,000 in total.”

PJ Paparelli, 40-Year-Old Director Of Chicago’s American Theater Co. Dies On Vacation

May 21, 2015 - 11:55pm

“Both Paparelli and his theater company — the two were inseparable — were at their creative peak. During Paparelli’s seven-year tenure, ATC produced a slew of highly regarded world premieres, including that of Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced” which moved to Broadway and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.”

Study: Innovators Have Easier Time Justifying Bad Behavior

May 21, 2015 - 10:37pm

“Refining earlier research, a newly published study finds innovative people are indeed more likely than most to cross ethical boundaries—but only after they have been engaged in creative work. According to a research team led by Ke Michael Mai, a creative frame of mind enables one to come up with compelling justifications for bad behavior.”

Rich Universities Get Richer – But Are Poor Students Being Left Behind?

May 21, 2015 - 10:31pm

“The gap between wealthy colleges and the rest of the pack is clearly wide, and getting wider each year, leading some to question if these rich universities need much of the public aid they receive. And if they are receiving public money, should they be doing more to enroll a higher percentage of low-income students?”

Iconic Dance Teacher Maggie Black, 85

May 21, 2015 - 10:24pm

“From the 1960s to the ’90s, Ms. Black’s classes were studded with star dancers and choreographers from American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, the Joffrey, Dance Theater of Harlem, the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Among them were Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown, Eliot Feld, William Forsythe, Gelsey Kirkland, Tina LeBlanc, Lar Lubovitch, Natalia Makarova, Kevin McKenzie, Ohad Naharin, Lawrence Rhodes and Martine Van Hamel.”