issues

The World’s Largest City Made Of Ice

Every winter the Harbin (China) Ice and Snow Festival assembles 200,000 blocks of ice to make a city. Millions come to see it. “The workers, most recruited from local villages, spend over a month each year cutting 3-foot-thick blocks of ice from the river and transporting them to the festival site, where they are sculpted and stacked by an even larger team of workers. Beginning before dawn and working through the day in temperatures that average -13 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers earn around $35 a day for some of the world’s most backbreaking labor.” – Wired

The Daunting Task Of Preserving Auschwitz

In the museum’s storage areas and display rooms, there are some 3,800 suitcases, along with 5,000 toothbrushes and 110,000 shoes and shoe remnants. There are also mountains of human hair, prosthetic limbs, eyeglasses and other things left behind by the prisoners. It all amounts to a huge number of artifacts given the museum’s storage capacity — but relative to the vast number of victims, it isn’t much. – Der Spiegel

How Performing Arts Centers Are Evolving For The 21st Century

‘We really see that we have a role in creating pathways for creative people who are local and who are in the community to create work, have their ideas and get their work onto a stage – pathways for their work to find its way out into the wider world. And then the other way is pathways into this region, bringing work from the rest of the world to Geelong to keep us excited about what the arts are. That’s one of the ways that we’re starting to think about it for ourselves.’ – ArtsHub

How Did The Catholic Church Go From Being A Major Patron Of The Arts To… Meh

For centuries, the Catholic Church was one of the world’s most important collectors and patrons of art, but in recent decades, the Vatican’s holiday nativity scene has often been one of its most high-profile artistic contributions. This shift didn’t happen overnight—or even in a generation—but across centuries, and it is inseparable from the evolution of modern European nations, the secularization of public life, and the rise of the art market. – Artsy

American Alliance Of Museums Launches Program To Diversify Museum Leadership

“The project, ‘Facing Change: Advancing Museum Board Diversity & Inclusion,’ will be supported by $4 million in grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alice L. Walton Foundation and the Ford Foundation. The funds will go toward training and resources over the next three years that will help museum leaders better reflect the communities they serve.” — The New York Times

‘Uncomfortable Art’ And #QueerMuseum: Alternative Museum Tours Are Catching On In Britain

Dan Vo leads groups on #QueerMuseum tours of Cambridge museums and the V&A, pointing out things like an Antarctic explorer’s scandalized notes on male-on-male penguin sex and a “gender-fluid” statue of Lucifer. Alice Procter’s “Uncomfortable Art” tours through the likes of the British Museum point out the ways colonialism pervades the collections. — The New York Times