issues

Climate Activists Protest BP Funding At London Outdoor Screening Of Royal Ballet

Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion descended on the big-screen event, which live-streamed a Royal Ballet performance of Romeo and Juliet for free on June 11. BP has sponsored the free screenings for more than a decade and has a 30-year relationship with the Opera House, which has come under fire from climate change campaigners for accepting money from the oil and gas giant because of its “devastating impact on the natural world”. – The Stage

Funders Are Asking For More Data From Arts Organizations. This Is A Trap

“Constantly demanding data, while changing formats, metrics, methodology and requirements every few years, creates the illusion of order and control, while actually making meaningful insight more difficult. The situation is convenient for funders, as it reinforces their power while making it harder to hold their own performance to account. It also provides useful work for consultants and researchers. For arts organisations themselves, however, the advantages are less obvious.” – Arts Professional

Redefining London Culturally

“More of us than ever consider ourselves culturally engaged, and we are now expanding the definition of culture “possibly to the point of extinction”. ‘Big c’ and ‘small c’ culture now intermix with a day-to-day theatricality that we all welcome, and the stage for this activity is places, from small community-owned plots to large brownfield regeneration sites, where these elements can be brought together in ways that benefit a range of communities and tell great stories.” – Arts Professional

Why Medieval History(!) Has Become A Modern Battleground

Last week The New York Times reported in detail on YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, which is “capable of drawing users deeper into the platform by figuring out ‘adjacent relationships’ between videos that a human would never identify.” The Crusades are a plum example of a topic that turns into a thread, leading the viewer through a labyrinth towards potential radicalization. You can search “Knights Templar” on YouTube and reach conspiracy theories (“Ten Secret Societies Ruling The World”) within three intuitive clicks.  – The New Republic

Mexican Government Calls Out Fashion Designer For Cultural Appropriation, Calls For U.N. Involvement (?!)

Alejandra Frausto, Mexico’s secretary for culture, wrote an official letter to designer Carolina Herrera and her creative director, Wes Gordon, about a recent Herrera collection that Frausto described as “plagiarism”: “This is a matter of ethical consideration that obliges us to speak out and bring an urgent issue to the UN’s sustainable development agenda: promoting inclusion and making those who are invisible visible.” – The Daily Beast

Plagued By Construction Problems And Controversy, Berlin’s Humboldt Forum Postpones Opening

“The museum, one of Europe’s most ambitious and expensive current cultural projects, has been burdened … by accusations from academics and activists that it hasn’t done enough to determine the provenance of its objects that were acquired during the colonial era or to address whether it is appropriate to hold onto them. The opening of the permanent exhibition had already been delayed to 2020; the Forum was slated to open in stages, beginning with a temporary exhibition of ivory objects in November.” – The New York Times

Thirty Years Ago, The Corcoran Canceled A Mapplethorpe Exhibit, Setting Off Washington’s First Big Battle In The Culture Wars. Now The Corcoran Has A Show About That Cancellation

Few of the people involved in the controversy at the time imagined that the culture wars would still be raging three decades later. Kriston Capps reconsiders that battle and the way museums have addressed the wider issues, then and now. – The Washington Post

‘Little Fresh Meat’ — A New, Androgynous Style Of Masculinity Arises In China’s Pop Culture

“[The phrase is] a nickname, coined by fans, for young, delicate-featured, makeup-clad male entertainers.” (The Chinese Communist authorities, it seems, prefers to call them niangpao — “sissypants.”) “These well-groomed celebrities star in blockbuster movies, and advertise for cosmetic brands and top music charts. Their rise has been one of the biggest cultural trends of the past decade.” – The New York Times