Author Archives: ArtsJournal1

New Yorkers Have Named The Vessel-Stairwell-Thingy At Hudson Yards

The developer of Hudson Yards temporarily christened Thomas Heatherwick’s big bronze stack of stairways The Vessel, but — just as 30 St Mary Axe in London is “the Gherkin” and Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park is “the Bean” (whether Norman Foster and Anish Kapoor like it or not) — New York’s new selfie-attraction is now “the Shawarma.” – Slate

‘Affect Theory’ And How It Explains Living In 2019 America

So what is “affect theory”? “Under its influence, critics attended to affective charge [in society]. They saw our world as shaped not simply by narratives and arguments but also by nonlinguistic effects — by mood, by atmosphere, by feelings.” Writer Hua Hsu looks at the work of one of affect theory’s main proponents today: Lauren Berlant, co-founder of the Feel Tank (as opposed to think tank) Chicago, and her idea of the “cruel optimism” Americans hang on to. – The New Yorker

Developing New And Diverse Theatre Critics In A Town Without A Culture Of Criticism

The English city of Hull has a lively theatre scene for a town its size, but the local newspaper published only two theatre reviews in the whole of 2018, and the national critics rarely make it to Hull. Jamie Potter of the city’s Middle Child Theatre writes about how his company developed and launched a New Critics Programme to recruit and establish at least eight new critics over four years. (And they made a point of seeing that the writers they chose weren’t all, as Potter puts it, “male, pale, and stale.”) – HowlRound

Is Music Strictly A Human Ability? Or Do Other Animals Have Musicality?

“Do we share musicality with other animals on account of the ‘common physiological nature of [our] nervous systems,’ as Darwin suspected? To understand the evolution of music and musicality, we have to establish what the components of music are and how they demonstrate their presence in animals and humans.” Music cognition researcher Henkjan Honing takes on the challenge. – Nautilus

The Hard-Working Little Publisher Keeping Local History Books Alive

“Arcadia’s business turns the traditional publishing model on its head. Big New York publishers are looking for the next blockbuster to sell 2 million copies across the English-speaking world in a month. Arcadia wants to find a book that will sell 1,000 copies this year in, say, McMullen Valley, Ariz.” Says the company’s CEO, “The books are completely evergreen. Once you publish them, they sell forever. So even though the initial numbers are modest, you’re creating a kind of annuity.” – The Washington Post

What Exactly Constitutes ‘Cultural Democracy’? And Should State Arts Funding Be Paying For It?

Nan van Houte: “This is not an attempt to discredit cultural democracy; I am convinced that access to the arts and the stimulus towards personal creativity are basic human rights and needs. This is, instead, an attempt to analyze my growing uneasiness when I read yet another arts fund, council, or ministry in Western Europe is opening a strand for ‘everyday creativity.’ … Why? I am afraid that soon we will no longer have to fear for the instrumentalization of the arts, because the artists themselves will be instrumentalized.” – HowlRound

‘Theater That Gets In The Way’ — A Company Puts Itself On The Front Lines Of Poland’s Culture Wars

Two years ago, the actors of the Powszechny Theater in Warsaw had to barricade themselves inside their building against conservative Catholic protesters angry about their production The Curse, about the suxual abuse of children by priests. This year, the company is following up with a staging of Mein Kampf. No wonder its slogan is “Theater that gets in the way.” – The New York Times