Yo Yo Ma And Deborah Borda: Music As A Force For Social Justice

Ma: “It’s never art for art’s sake, because even if I do it for myself in my head, I have an ideal. I’m actually trying to take something — a construct, a concept, a theory — and then I want to make it visible, I want to make it audible, I want to make it tactile. I want to make it felt.” Borda spoke of the New York Philharmonic’s efforts to engage with social issues, including gender equality. Recognizing that “all the music we play was written by men,” the organization is launching an initiative next year — the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote — to have 19 women write major world premieres for the orchestra. – Harvard Gazette

Hudson Yards Owners Modify Policy After Claiming They Owned Any Pictures You Take

Now visitors “retain ownership of any photographs, text, audio recordings or video footage depicting or relating to the Vessel” that they create. But if you want to send that photo out to your Instagram fans, you still “hereby grant to Company and its affiliates the right to repost, share, publish, promote and distribute the Vessel Media via such social media channel and via websites associated with the Vessel or Hudson Yards (including my name, voice and likeness and any other aspects of my persona as depicted in the Vessel Media), in perpetuity.” – The New York Times

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

British Opera Audiences Are Booing The Villains, Just Like At A Panto

“Audiences at the opera are increasingly booing the ‘baddies’, not for a perceived poor performance but because of their characters, in a change that has been attributed to the enthusiasm of new audiences. While lifelong opera-lovers have feared the trend may be disconcerting for singers, especially foreign stars who would find the world of pantomime alien, it has been emphatically welcomed by many.” – The Telegraph (UK)

The Internet Is Being Walled Off Country By Country. There Are Dangerous Consequences

As the web becomes more splintered and information more controlled across the globe, we risk the deterioration of democratic systems, the corruption of free markets and further cyber misinformation campaigns. We must act now to save a free and open internet from censorship and international maneuvering before history is bound to repeat itself. – TechCrunch

When Culture Is At The End Of An Algorithm, We Lose The Juice Of Engaging With It

Christian Lorentzen: “The new books coverage is more like litter. Endless lists of recommendations blight the landscape with superlatives that are hard to believe, especially, as is inevitable, when they aren’t drawn from the work of critics but compiled by poorly paid writers who haven’t read the books they’re recommending, a standard practice in preview lists. Proliferating recommendations become what Elizabeth Hardwick called ‘a hidden dissuader, gently, blandly, respectfully denying whatever vivacious interest there might be in books or in literary matters generally.’ Readers are better served by the algorithm, which never pretends to have an actual opinion.” – Harper’s

LACMA Decides To Collapse Euro And American Art Into One Big Department

Christopher Knight on why this isn’t going to work – with a review of a new show embedded within the commentary: “Art museums have two audiences — one general, who may or may not have a genuine interest (there’s got to be someplace to take the in-laws over the holidays); the other a dedicated art audience, who range from passionate enthusiasts to committed professionals. … Lose the core and the museum is in trouble.” – Los Angeles Times