Please see below selected recent arts-related change.
- Writing, for all that it might begin with experiences of joy or disinterested intellectual fascination, also owes its origins to despair, shame and a lack of someone to cry with. It is when we have screamed a long time for help, and no one came, that we may begin quietly to burn to write a novel instead. Writing can be the presenting solution to a more poignant ambition beneath: to be heard, to be held, to be respected, to have our feelings interpreted, and soothed, to be known and appreciated. Flaubert put it at its simplest: if he had been happy in love at eighteen, he would never have wanted to write, noted The School of Life.
- Big Think argued that art is as essential to understanding human nature as science. Art reveals the deep philosophical underpinnings that allow humans to unveil hidden truths. While humans are constrained by the world, we consistently push back against these constraints. Art, through mechanisms like irony, allows us to see the world differently and emancipate ourselves from limitations. The act of creating art is a profound inquiry into our relationship with the world.
- Further reading:
- 12 Eye-Opening Documentaries Streaming Now That Will Make You See The World Differently - Bustle
- An Artist’s Life Manifesto: Marina Abramović’s Rules of Life, Solitude, and Silence – The Marginalian
- Arts and Culture - Strategic Intelligence
- The long poem is just right for our confounding, fractured age - Psyche Ideas
- Books are getting shorter over time, according to The Spectator, with contemporary literature being especially thin.
- Online sales in 2021 accounted for 20% of the global US$65 billion art market. That’s twice the share of 2019, before the pandemic gave a boost to e-commerce in art.
- Society sometimes struggle with the question of what art might be for. The School of Life suggested that art is a weapon against despair. It can be a tool with which we try to wrestle against loneliness, a sense of persecution, paranoia, fear, timidity, an impression of having been left out, rage against those who have let us down, self-contempt - and regret at how much we have misunderstood. Art is about hope when it shows us pretty and inspiring things and especially when it shows us melancholy ones: a rainy afternoon, an isolated diner, a person crying at the kitchen table, a bedroom lit up against the darkness. Art can provide a common juncture at which the sadness in me can, with dignity and intelligence, meet the sadness in you.
- Microsoft announced their participation in a bold plan to preserve humankind’s musical heritage. The company partnered with the Global Music Vault to store the world’s best-loved music in a remote bunker in Svalbard, Norway. (Better known as the Doomsday Vault, the bunker is already home to an internationally-managed seed collection intended to prevent total species loss in the event of a global catastrophe.)
- A museum was set up to exhibit repatriated art. The Bët-bi community and cultural centre in Senegal was designed as a temporary home for looted African art returned from Western collections.
- There is a word that describes the common human response to music - a word for “that moment” when a song pierces your body and soul. It’s called “frisson,” and it’s the reason why music from artists as seemingly disparate background all featured on a recently released, "scientifically-backed" playlist of songs that researchers claimed are likely to give people “chills.” The 715-song playlist was curated by a team of neuroscientists and is available on Spotify.
- Further reading:
- A Psyche writer claimed that artworks diversify and enrich our cognitive capacities by acting as "catalytic scaffolding" for perceptual flights into and beyond the usual constraints of our own imaginations. Through art, we can extend our minds to points in time and space that otherwise remain invisible or ungraspable. Artworks both reflect and inspire transformative understandings of our own minds and our encounters with the world, widening and deepening the ways we make sense of our subjective experiences. Each style, artist and work of art provides distinct forms of cognitive mediation, distinct thought pathways, which expand our cognitive range and add to the array of virtual coordinates through which we orient ourselves.
- Psyche asked when art transports us, where do we actually go. The idea of artworks as portals to other worlds dates back several centuries, and it has become a commonplace way of talking about our experiences with art. In Pictures and Tears, the art historian James Elkins called it the ‘travelling theory’ of aesthetic experience.
- A team of archaeologists discovered what could be the oldest art on the planet. The art - a collection of hand and footprints made by hominin children = could be up to 226,000 years old. y studying the imprints, archaeologists concluded they were created not by accident but by design.
- Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer considered music to be the greatest of all artforms, rising head and shoulders above painting, sculpture, and even writing. This was because, in his eyes, music was not a copy of what he believed to be a higher truth but a direct manifestation of it. When we listen to music, we are able to lose track of ourselves, and in doing so, become free from the struggles of our daily lives.
- In an excerpt from The Future of the Museum, seven top curators and directors shared their predictions for the art experience of tomorrow.
- The earliest named writer in history was a woman. Enheduanna, a poet and high priestess in ancient Mesopotamia, was the subject of a forthcoming exhibition at New York’s Morgan Library.
- A 17,000-year-old shell still makes music. A modern musician was able to play a C, C-sharp, and D out of the paleolithic instrument, reported Quartz.
- Opera singers started teaching Covid sufferers how to breathe, with exercises designed to help those with lingering symptoms.
- While theatre, museums, and comedy may not get the official “essential business” designation, arts and culture can bring solace and distraction during trying times, not to mention providing livelihoods for their practitioners and other employees of the institutions that house them. Quartz detailed how exhibitions and performances have adapted - from creating 3D models of artworks to selling tickets for online shows - and what adaptations might stick around once the pandemic is over.
- “Computers don’t make art, people do” points out Aaron Schwarztmann: “Art can only be created by people (or other independent actors) capable of [certain] kinds of social relationships. In contrast, while we can get emotionally attached to our computers and other possessions, we feel no real empathy for their emotions, no ethical duty toward them, and no need to demonstrate our feelings toward them. This means computers cannot be credited as artists until they have some kind of personhood."
- The post-industrial, creative and entrepreneurial society is emerging. Entrepreneurs are like artists and artists are like entrepreneurs. They both “turn nothings into somethings”. Artists give a form to ideas that for some other people might be nothing more than vague thoughts or passing emotions. Art is an efficient way of creating novel associations, enriching connections and new, sometimes radical, openings. Art creates suggestions for fresh ways of defining the world we live in.
- Painter Robert Cenedella sued five major New York museums under antitrust law, claiming they are part of an international conspiracy to stifle competition in the art market by promoting the work of a few chosen artists.
- New York Magazine assembled a guide to the artist’s life for anyone seeking creative inspiration or simply to understand where art comes from.
- Why the long face? Why does sadness inspire great art when happiness cannot? examined how sadness can make people seem nobler, more elegant, more adult. Which is pretty weird, when you think about it, noted Aeon, asking what it is it about sadness that often gets the creative juices flowing.
- In September 1843, as The Economist’s first edition went to press, Charles Dickens was also commencing “A Christmas Carol”, which with its buzzing markets and Scrooge’s extravagant expenditure, may prescribe free trade and consumerism.
- Further reading:
- In the sixteenth century, noted Raconteur, it was the invention of canvases. In the nineteenth, photography. And today, it’s 3D printing, algorithmic art, VR, AR, AI… technology has always presented both challenges and opportunities in the art world, and the industry today needs to be more adaptable than ever. One of digital technology’s strengths is its ability to connect people. Collaboration has been a key part of the creative process for artists down the centuries, and online tools are making this process ever easier.
- Reggae is now protected by UNESCO. The music genre is described as “being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual, and spiritual.”
- Montreal doctors can now prescribe art, reported Quartz. Like exercise and relaxation, a free trip to a museum is thought to help depression and diabetes.
- Further reading:
- Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda was only a small boy, just over the cusp of preconscious memory, when he had a revelation about why we make art. It seeded in him a lifelong devotion to literature as a supreme tool that “widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things”.
- Many of the 20m items housed in Brazil’s National Museum, including what was thought to be the oldest human fossil in the Americas, were destroyed by fire. Inspectors had warned of poor safety standards at the museum, and Brazilians are enraged by the idea that the tragedy could have been avoided. Successive governments not only ignored curators’ pleas for cash, they also blocked private-sector efforts to help, reported The Economist.
- Further reading:
- For the Institute of Ideas, the problem we face is that art has become too much like life. In fact, the big slogan of the art movements in the last half century or so (at least since fluxus and pop art) has been that art should not be cut off from life. So if art becomes like life, then turning your life into a work of art either makes no sense or it becomes a pure anachronism.
- In a recent interview with NPR, a theatre artist talked about other ways engagement in the arts can help older adults - with dementia and without.
- What do we need to live? We need food to eat, air to breathe, sex to reproduce, but do we need art? The answer seems to be an unequivocal yes, as people will respond energetically if one fulfils their desire for artistic outputs - beauty, excitement, enjoyment and meaning.
- Sociologists, activists, scientists and others have shared their visions about the future of our planet with a broad public and let them decide whether they agree or not. Stock Exchange of Visions was such an experiment,
- Halcyon is tracking how various art forms can help people help themselves, e.g.
- Dance: Why we dance.
- Literature: Is literature the only art that can criticise itself; indeed the only one that can criticise anything? (Will Self analysed how the symphony and the novel evolved in tandem for two centuries and argued that music moved on after modernism, but, with a few notable exceptions like Ulysses aside, fiction did not.)
- Some believe that novels can act as a social glue, reinforcing the types of behaviour that benefit society.
- Music: Picking the right musical rhythm could reportedly help Parkinson's patients more effectively than traditional forms of physical therapy.
- Painting: There is a growing interest in so-called healing art.
- Photography: Susan Sontag warned that photos were a kind of moral anesthesia, deadening our response to pain by reproducing images of suffering until they became banalities. Apathetic reactions to TV coverage of recent famines seems to confirm this. How can we reverse this trend?
- Poetry: what can a poem tell you about your business that earnings reports cannot? An emerging new form of business foresight is known as "enterprise poetry".
- Study: A leading university is trying to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts.
- Theatre: A contemporary theatre has tried trying to capture the shifting meaning of human relationships.
- Further reading:
- The Library of Utopia - Technology Review
- The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Visual Micro-Tales of Our Shared Humanity Brain Pickings
- Robert Hughes, Famed Art Critic, Demystifies Modern Art
- Ordering the Heavens A Visual History of Mapping the Universe Brain Pickings
- The Lists, To-dos and Illustrated Inventories of Great Artists Brain Pickings
- How to Listen to Music A Vintage Guide to the 7 Essential Skills Brain Pickings
- Jacques Lacan Speaks; Zizek Provides Free Cliffs Notes Open Culture