06.08.18

Worcester Museum Adds Signs To Its Art Explaining Ties To Slavery

Dispelling the notion of the autonomous realm of art means acknowledging that cultural institutions function within the system of inequality in the U.S. and that there has undoubtedly been inherent bias in what museums acquire and how they display it. Aruna D'Souza thinks mid-size institutions, like the Worcester Art Museum, are in a position to lead this kind of re-framing, as opposed to larger, legacy institutions with more corporate structures.

At The Worcester Art Museum, New Wall Text Places These Portraits In The Web Of The Slave Trade

For instance, the text by a portrait of Russell Sturgis has changed: "A conventional sign next to the piece informs us that Gilbert Stuart, mostly known for painting George Washington's portrait, painted Sturgis in 1822. A new sign above that, informs us that Sturgis' relatives established a business in present-day Haiti that trafficked in flour, horses and enslaved persons."

The Problem With Artist-Driven Museum Boards (Like L.A. MOCA’s)

Brian Allen: "Two defenestration of top people in a few weeks is a rarity in most museums, yet this is the latest sign of dysfunction at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles. ... As a museum, it prides itself as being founded by artists; lots of great museums were. The problem is that artist-driven boards almost always fail. And they take their museums with them, drowned in a sea of ego, hissy fits, door-slamming, free-spiriting, and self-promotion, seasoned with a legendary aversion to opening wallets."

In Praise Of The Mighty Dinkus

"Three months ago, I was a normal person. Now all I think about 24-7 is the dinkus. Did you know that dinkuses is an anagram of unkissed? I did. For the uninitiated, the dinkus is a line of three asterisks (* * *) used as a section break in a text." Daisy Alioto offers some reasons to love it.

Survey: More People Are Reading Poetry

The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, a collaboration between the NEA and the Census Bureau, found that 11.7 percent of the U.S. adult population in 2017 — or about 28 million people — had read poetry in the last year. Which admittedly may not seem like much on the surface — until it's compared with the 6.7 percent found during the last survey period, in 2012.

UK Lottery Sales Improve, Bolstering Arts Funding

Total National Lottery sales for the 2017/18 financial year increased by £26.4m to £6.95bn. Returns to National Lottery Good Causes were up £27m to £1.66bn, translating into a £331m return to the arts – a 1.7% increase on the year before. But the upswing is not strong enough to return to the highs of 2015/16, when £380m in lottery funding was directed to the arts.

Do We Still Need Theatre Critics?

"The question for arts journalism is, what is the role of the critic in contemporary society?" Charles Whitaker said. "Critics are no longer the influential arbiters of taste that they once were. People are turning to Facebook and their friends to determine where to spend their arts dollars. The role of the critic has been democratized by the fact that everyone has an opportunity to be an influencer, via their own media channels."

Justin Davidson’s Brilliant Personal History Of New York’s New Music Scene

"I sometimes wonder why New York still has a new music scene at all, now that composers can go hunting for influences by meandering through YouTube and form a social circle on Twitter. And yet they continue to rely on the happenstance and physical proximity that only a major city can provide. Many do what they must to live here, others pay the electric bill in other states or countries but keep converging here. In music, New York is finally living up to its reputation for globalism, transience, and cosmopolitanism."

Fired Author Steven Galloway Wins Award From University, But Says His Career Is Ruined

While he takes responsibility for certain actions that preceded his firing as the chair of the University of British Columbia’s creative writing department, the acclaimed author also believes that what happened to him is unconscionable – not just the abysmal, ham-fisted way in which he believes the university handled the allegations levelled against him, but also the fact that charges he’s insisted all along were groundless have left his reputation in ruins.