Editor’s Digest

Recent articles of interest

Will opera houses become white elephants?

Some Art Institutions Deserve to Fail”: The New York City Opera closed after 70 years of performances, symbolizing a plight facing many American regional and mid-sized arts institutions. But if failure results from mismanagement, uncontrolled costs or a lack of innovation needed for today’s audiences, then those institutions deserve to fail. (Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2013.)

Opera makes less sense than ever”: Unappealing new music, widespread budget shortfalls, contentious unions unwilling to enable fiscal reform and a lack of managerial solutions all threaten to bring opera, as a genre, to its knees. And yet, thanks to telecasting and volunteer efforts, more people see opera now than ever. (Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, November 7, 2013.)

What’s the Economic Value of an Arts Education?”: Much to the disdain of budding artists and musicians, majors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields yield the highest salaries. However, students who received the most arts exposure, and bore the creative-thinking and critical problem solving fruits of the humanities filed the most patents and generated the most wealth for their companies. (Paul Hiebert, Pacific Standard Magazine, November 5, 2013.)

Hollywood plotlines are still sidelining women”: In the 1920s, women comprised half of the screenwriting profession, and writers such as Anita Loos penned scripts full of complex female characters with their own motivations. Today, females in film are only indispensable to the plot insofar as they enable audiences to understand the men in the story. (Charlie Lyne, The Guardian, November 1, 2013.)

Postmodernism killed the avant garde”: Art and music from Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus to Damien Hirst intends to shock rather than transgress, and must, if only out of necessity. Their work, and much of postmodern culture, has become intertwined with corporate production, where innovation comes from technology and artistic communities pave the path for gentrification.(Suzanne Moore, The Guardian, October 30, 2013.)

Other articles of interest

How Lou Reed Helped Bring Down Communism in Eastern Europe”: Lou Reed’s musical innovations shaped the history of rock ’n roll and punk. His music also influenced Vaclav Havel and set the tone for rock’s liberating power and its celebration of the individual among the repressed people of Soviet-era Eastern Europe. (Rob Wile, Slate, October 27, 2013.)

Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” Many an emerging artist or writer willingly sacrifices monetary compensation for public exposure. But not getting paid devalues the sense that creative work is work worth rewarding. Each time someone contributes content gratis, she makes it harder for anyone else to demand value. (Tim Kreider, New York Times Sunday Review, October 26, 2013.)

Has the time come to abandon online anonymity?”: Too many online discussion and comment threads devolve into abuse. Whatever the reason, eliminating anonymous comments on the Internet will encourage greater civility, even if it dampens discourse. (Editorial, New Scientist, October 25, 2013.)

Are Artists to Blame for Gentrification?”: In New York, London, Philadelphia and elsewhere, emerging communities of artists coalesce in neighborhoods that soon gentrify. Are the artists and their values to blame for the growth that pushes out disadvantaged former residents. (Ben Davis, Slate, October 15, 2013.)

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