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Out Of Bethlehem: The Radicalization Of Joan Didion

August 20, 2015 - 4:01am

Louis Menand looks at how a young and eager Goldwater Republican, the descendant of California pioneers, became the sharpest-eyed of social critics.

Kansas City Art Institute Receives Record $25 Million Donation

August 20, 2015 - 4:00am

“The gift to KCAI is critical to increasing need-based and merit scholarship funds, Jones said. Six million dollars of the gift, in the form of a two-for-one challenge grant, will be used for student scholarships, endowed professorships and visiting professors.”

Sculptures By ‘Soviet Henry Moore’ Smashed By Orthodox Zealots For Being ‘Blasphemous’

August 20, 2015 - 3:54am

“The exhibition, called ‘Sculptures that We Don’t See,’ showed works by Soviet sculptors that did not see the light of day during the Soviet period because they were non-conformist. The show … included some works with religious themes including a crucifixion bas-relief” by Vadim Sidur which was a target of the vandals.

Artist Lets Tiger Loose In Detroit’s Old Packard Plant

August 20, 2015 - 3:39am

“British photographer David Yarrow booked a two-day photo shoot at [the famously ruined venue]. Only problem was, he apparently didn’t tell anyone at the plant that he was bringing a tiger, two wolves and a bobcat with him. … The animals, trainers and photographers were given the boot about an hour later. But not before the tiger got loose and holed itself up on a fourth-story staircase.” (includes video)

The Neuroscience Of Being A Selfish Jerk

August 20, 2015 - 3:30am

A team of Hungarian researchers scanned the brains of people who got high scores on a test for Machiavellianism (yes, this is a clinical term for a personality trait) while they played a game of trust. “They found that Machiavellians’ brains went into overdrive when they encountered a partner who exhibited signs of being fair and cooperative. Why? … Because the Machiavellians are immediately figuring out how to exploit the situation for their own gain.”

Two Drunken Audience Members Come Backstage During Show, Asking For Ladies’ Room

August 20, 2015 - 3:25am

And one of them walked onstage to get there. Said one cast member, “As soon as I got back offstage, I asked my crew member, ‘Did that really happen? Did someone really come back here and ask me where the bathroom was?'”

Ballet Life, Unfiltered And Uploaded To Instagram

August 20, 2015 - 3:21am

“Ballet is, in many ways, a superhuman art form, but it’s important to remember that dancers are still human. … With Instagram, dancers have found a way to break through the tulle and tiaras by presenting backstage life on their terms.”

Best Groomsmen’s Dance Ever Goes Viral (The Happy Couple Are, Of Course, Ballet Dancers)

August 20, 2015 - 3:17am

Richmond Ballet member Kirk Henning gave his company colleague and bride, Valerie Tellmann-Henning, a big, wonderful surprise – a surprise that’s been viewed more than 165,000 times. (includes video)

Top Posts From AJBlogs 08.19.15

August 20, 2015 - 2:16am

Lessons from a Grocery Chain
AJBlog: Engaging Matters Published 2015-08-18

Desmond’s Later Years Revisited
AJBlog: RiffTides Published 2015-08-19

Snapshot: Dana Andrews sings a song by Aaron Copland and Ira Gershwin
AJBlog: About Last Night Published 2015-08-19

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Argument: The Creative Economy Is Dying. (But It’s Not, And The Reasons Are Complex)

August 19, 2015 - 4:10pm

“The thrust of this argument is simple and bleak: that the digital economy creates a kind of structural impossibility that art will make money in the future. The world of professional creativity, the critics fear, will soon be swallowed by the profusion of amateurs, or the collapse of prices in an age of infinite and instant reproduction will cheapen art so that no one will be able to quit their day jobs to make it — or both.”

James Wood – A Harsh Critic Mellows?

August 19, 2015 - 1:47pm

“For me, there’s no competition between pleasure and analysis. And there never was. That might be the self-selecting answer as to why I became a critic. At exactly the moment that I wanted really to write, and started writing poems and then trying to write bad fiction, I was reading with a view to learning stuff.”

New Director For The Uffizi

August 19, 2015 - 12:08pm

Schmidt, a 47-year-old art historian who is currently a curator for decorative arts at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, said he would first focus on the visitor experience at Uffizi and on developing programs for children and teenagers. “If someone from America and China comes to the Uffizi and starts the visit by standing in line for two to three hours, that is not the ideal way to begin,” Schmidt told The Associated Press over the telephone.

Phoenix Art Museum: New Director, New Direction, Big Staff Turnover

August 19, 2015 - 11:44am

In recent months, more than a dozen employees have left the museum, which currently has 58 administrative workers with another 79 in customer-service positions ranging from retail to security guards.

Taking To Kickstarter, A Major Architect Wants To Fund Activist Public Art

August 19, 2015 - 11:21am

The Kickstarter campaign is as much about activism as it is about funding—an increasingly popular tactic in the architecture world. “You could say the whole idea of the project is an exercise in radical transparency. What the project does is make blatantly legible a carbon footprint that is invisible, and only exists in the form of numbers and specifics and news.” The point of the tower is to raise environmental awareness. By asking the public to contribute, the firm is putting it to the people to decide if they want a visual representation of pollution on the skyline. It also detaches the project from any corporate influence.

Mario Vargas Llosa: We Live In A Time Of No Culture

August 19, 2015 - 11:06am

“We must be grateful to him for describing in a relatively orderly manner the chaos of hypocrisy and emptiness into which our globalised culture has plunged and to which we seem to have little option but to subscribe.”

Back From The Brink? Atlanta Symphony Makes A Turnaround

August 19, 2015 - 10:58am

“Today, the ASO is showing signs of financial health not seen in more than a decade, a condition which musicians and management agree bodes well for restoring the musical standards that had previously elevated the orchestra to critical acclaim, international prominence and a seemingly endless string of Grammy Awards.”

An All-White Cast For Shakespeare? What Is Trevor Nunn Thinking?

August 19, 2015 - 10:51am

“Perhaps an all-white cast will one day seem as absurd as Donald Sinden blacking up to play Othello in 1979, but fidelity to 16th-century staging has long served as an excuse for a lack of diversity in theatre.”

Actors Union Condemns Major Production Of Shakespeare In London For Its All-White Cast

August 19, 2015 - 10:50am

“To present this benchmark of British heritage in a way that effectively locks minorities out of the cultural picture [literally] flies in the face of the huge conversation taking place in British media at present, of the very real progress made in recent years to increase diversity in our industry.”

Choice Of LACMA Architect Has Critics Wondering About The Place Of Quality Architecture In LA

August 19, 2015 - 10:32am

“Many have challenged the logic of a Swiss building in Los Angeles, asking whether his revered precision will translate given the economics of American construction. Others ask whether his monastic aesthetic will make sense in the image-driven landscape of Los Angeles and, more specifically, whether his architectural language of sublime asceticism will respond to the city’s very diverse urban context. Even more inflammatory critics have suggested that he lacks adequate experience in buildings of this scale. In a sense, all of the criticisms can be boiled down to a single accusation: quality architecture does not belong in Los Angeles.”

Why Are Major Canadian Theatres Hiring Outsiders Over Home-Grown Talent?

August 19, 2015 - 9:30am

“They have reinforced a message to young Canadian directors that the best way to get ahead at home is to move abroad, and that what audiences think of you in New York matters more to boards than what audiences think of you here. Even minor experience in your field outside this country will trump major experience at home.”