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The Digest of Arts, Culture and Ideas
Updated: 2 min 31 sec ago

Let’s Reconsider This Idea Of “Genius”

September 25, 2014 - 3:07pm

The term “genius” in its modern sense was first adopted in the eighteenth century and it involved a conflation of two Latin terms: genius, which for the Romans was the god of our conception, imbuing us with particular personality traits but nevertheless a supernatural force external to us, and ingenium, a related noun referring to our internal dispositions and talents, our inborn nature.

Why America Celebrates Ignorance (There’s Big Money In It)

September 25, 2014 - 2:43pm

“For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.”

Survival Guide: How Artists Can Protect Themselves In Gentrifying Cities

September 25, 2014 - 2:36pm

“How can artists fight for cities? By joining forces with people artists might not have considered natural allies before: community activists working on non-art issues like civil rights, police brutality, affordable housing.”

Amtrak’s First Writers In Residence

September 25, 2014 - 2:24pm

Amtrak has chosen its first class of 24 writers for its residency program. There were 16,000 applications. They’ll ride on long-distance trains and write about the experiences.

The Top Ten Most-Produced Theatre Productions In America Over The Past 20 Years

September 25, 2014 - 2:20pm

Here’s a list of most-produced plays from each year. Yazmina Reza and John Patrick Shanley had a good decade…

US Forest Service Wants To Require Permits For Taking Pictures In National Parks??

September 25, 2014 - 2:01pm

“New rules being finalized in November state that—across this country’s gloriously beautiful, endlessly photogenic, 193 million acres of designated wilderness area administered by the USFS—members of the press who happen upon it will need permits to photograph or shoot video.”

Next Round In The Fight Over The Detroit Institute’s Art

September 25, 2014 - 1:54pm

“The key question is whether the grand bargain — $815 million pledged by foundations, state government and the DIA to bolster city pensions and shield the art from sale by transferring ownership of the museum to an independent nonprofit — represents a reasonable proxy for the value of the collection in the overall context of the city’s plan.”

Pennsylvania Ballet Under The New Regime

September 25, 2014 - 3:50am

“Last year, PA Ballet asked art consultant Michael M. Kaiser to study their organization top to bottom and make some recommendations. As a result, they dropped an executive director, an artistic director, plus the ballet master and mistress – and hired the 38-year-old, Madrid-born [Ángel] Corella to take their company to bigger and better places. Now, the public gets to bear witness to the new leader’s new direction in about three weeks.”

EU Considers Banning Cadmium Pigments; Artists See Red

September 25, 2014 - 3:35am

“The EU is weighing a restriction on the chemical following pressure from Sweden, which argues that artists pollute the food chain when they rinse their brushes in the sink. Cadmium ends up in sewage sludge and is then spread on agricultural land.” Responds one pigment maker, “Artists are not rotters; they are not tipping this stuff down the drain, it’s an expensive substance.”

Joshua Bell To Try Busking In The D.C. Metro Again

September 25, 2014 - 3:34am

But this time he’s doing it during lunchtime instead of morning rush hour, he’s announcing the place and date in advance, and there will be a video crew.

How TV Helped Advance LGBT Rights

September 25, 2014 - 3:32am

“In the first instalment of Talking TV, … Tom Brook reports on how television has been at the vanguard of changing perceptions of gay people – especially in the US where the proliferation of gay and lesbian TV characters has arguably created a climate more receptive to the idea of gay marriage.” (video)

Restoration Of Unfinished Leonardo Da Vinci Painting Now On View

September 25, 2014 - 3:06am

Leonardo began work on The Adoration of the Magi in 1481 and abandoned it a year later. “The current restoration project, which began three years ago, has removed much of the dull, oxidized varnish as well as traces of past restoration attempts, revealing many previously hidden details, facial expressions and subtleties of light and shadow.”

Prehistoric Cave Art In Spain To Remain Open For Limited Viewing

September 25, 2014 - 2:57am

The Altamira caves, which had been closed since 2002 out of worries that moisture and body heat from tourists could ultimately damage the 18,000-year-old paintings, were opened earlier this year to a maximum of five visitors for one hour per week. Researchers say there’s been no perceptible damage to the art, and the experiment will continue for at least five more months.

Theater Folk In L.A. Say Entire Scene Needs Overhaul

September 25, 2014 - 2:52am

“A group of theater artists in Los Angeles is calling for major changes in the city’s stage industry, saying that companies are relying on outdated modes of doing business and that union rules over artist compensation, especially at small venues, need revision.”

Using Mel Gibson Movies And Korean Soap Operas To Save Endangered Languages

September 25, 2014 - 2:46am

A new project is using crowdsourced translation to provide subtitles for popular films and television programs in such tongues as Cherokee, Maori, and Basque.

What the Marshmallow Test Really Teaches About Self-Control

September 25, 2014 - 2:40am

“Over the last 50 years, the ‘Marshmallow Test’ has become synonymous with temptation, willpower, and grit. Walter Mischel’s work permeates popular culture.” In a Q&A, Mischel discusses “what the [test] really captures, how schools can use his work to help problem students, why men like Tiger Woods and President Bill Clinton may have suffered ‘willpower fatigue'” – and whether to worry if your pre-schooler flunks the test.

Ig Nobel Prizes For 2014 Include Arts-Related Research

September 25, 2014 - 2:34am

Among the honorees this year were scientists who investigated the differential in pain thresholds of people looking at beautiful art versus ugly art, the neuroscience behind people who see the face of Jesus in a piece of toast or the Virgin Mary in a stain on a wall, and the physics behind one of the hoariest gags in all of slapstock comedy.

Top Posts From AJBlogs 09.24.14

September 25, 2014 - 12:48am

A Troubled Orchestra In An Inexplicable Death Spiral

September 24, 2014 - 3:09pm

“You would think that in the midst of so much calamity in recent years Vallejo would want a symphony, would do whatever it could to have one, but sometimes the fact is that there’s just no place for a symphony in a particular town.”

Texas School District Bans Six Books (And On Banned Book Week, Too!)

September 24, 2014 - 3:02pm

“Objections were raised to Pulitzer winner David Shipler’s non-fiction title The Working Poor, because it includes a reference to a woman who was sexually abused as a child and had an abortion. Narrated by a dog, Garth Stein’s The Art of Racing in the Rain was criticised for a sex scene, and Alexie’s award-winning novel for its strong language. Also suspended were Jeannette Walls’s memoir The Glass Castle and Hermann Hesse’s classic novel Siddhartha.”