Connor Towne O'Neill travels to Woodstock, Alabama to ask the folks there about finding themselves the subject of a record-smashing podcast - and finds some fair-mindedness, some defensiveness, plenty of ambivalence and even more awkwardness. After all, they really do all know each other. (Warning: includes spoilers)

“Fame,” according to art critic Henry McBride, “is a most uncertain garment.” The same is true of art movements and labels. Some—Abstract Expressionism, for instance—are familiar to the average museumgoer. However, others that were at one time in the vanguard … Read More

An indefatigable, unstinting and intellectually voracious artistic director who reinvented Chicago’s most audacious and aggressive theater for a new era, Martha Lavey wrestled the Steppenwolf Theatre Company — kicking and screaming — into the 21st century. And in her cajoling, bullying, flattering, outwitting and otherwise leading its hugely talented but famously passionate and opinionated ensemble of tightknit actors toward reinvention and expansion for changed times, this artistic director of more than 20 years became one of the most important figures in the illustrious history of the Chicago theater.

"Old Millennials, as I'll call them, who were born around 1988 or earlier (meaning they're 29 and older today), really have lived substantively different lives than Young Millennials, who were born around 1989 or later, as a result of two epochal events that occurred around the time when members of the older group were mostly young adults and when members of the younger were mostly early adolescents." Jesse Singal, an Old Millennial, explains.

Despite pouring rain and unusually bitter April weather, guests crowded into Capitale last night for a gala to celebrate the Drawing Center’s 40th anniversary. As Brett Littman, the Drawing Center’s executive director, noted, it was something of an arbitrary marker … Read More

"This is a decision long in the making and not an easy one. I've had the greatest job I can think of, working with the finest colleagues anyone could ask for, for as long a stretch as I could imagine. But, looking ahead to my seventies (which start all too soon) I feel that it is time for me to begin a new phase of life. Over the next few months, I hope to figure out what that will be."

The data, which look at the economic role of the arts at the federal level, show that the arts and cultural sector contributed nearly $730 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014, the year for which the agencies evaluated data. That is roughly 4.2% of the U.S. economy for that year. (The NEA’s annual budget, as a point of comparison, is $148 million.)

The wild man of art criticism/failed artist/Instagram auteur is haunted by the thoughts he had seeing the art-world stars gathered to mourn the '80s impresario: "I don't mean that these people and their ideals lost. On the contrary, these people represent a kind of total victory!"

Key to the success of projects is promoting “the ‘fun’ and ‘social’ aspects of participation as opposed to focusing on the artistic aspects of activities”. The report notes that using “exclusive ‘arts’ language and jargon” acts as a barrier to encouraging local communities to get involved.

Director Kevin Smith says, "The weird thing about it is, you know, when you look at it now - to borrow a term from the present - it was very woke for 1997." Queer critics didn't agree: as Shannon Keating sums it up here, "Ultimately, the film assumes that a lesbian can go straight, even if just for a little while, as soon as the right guy comes along." But then, Keating continues, "Questions about how to define different queer identities, the possibilities and limits of sexual fluidity, and what mysterious chemistry drives attraction are as much a part of the contemporary queer conversation as they were in the mid-'90s. Chasing Amy was, in many ways, ahead of its time."

Brief answers by the three (male) star dancemakers to this question (evidently texted to them after the main conversation recorded in the article was over) - "Most of the major choreographers in classical dance are men. Why is that?" - led to a ferocious response from The Observer's Luke Jennings, after which "Twitter went mad." Courtney Escoyne surveys the battlefield.

It's April 23, el dia de Sant Jordi (St. George's Day), the Catalan counterpart to Valentine's Day - except that it's a book and not a box of chocolates that goes along with the bouquet for your true love. Natasha Lomas gives us a look at the celebration, for which €20 million worth of books are sold each year.

"If any state knows the value of publicly financed art, it may be South Dakota: One of its biggest tourist attractions, Mount Rushmore, is, among other things, a colossal federally funded sculpture. ... [The NEA's] generally small grants can have a bigger impact here than they would at the Metropolitan Operas of the world." Michael Cooper visits the Coyote State to see in action some of the arts programs funded by the agency the Trump administration proposes to eliminate.

Here's what we're reading this morning. Read More

"Annie Hanauer, 30, has achieved what many thought impossible for a performer with a disability: a thriving career in the mainstream dance world. After performing with the UK's Candoco Dance Company from 2008 to 2014, she is now an in-demand freelancer." (includes video)

The bequest from the artist, who died last May, is the largest gift of art in the history of the Buffalo museum, which made news last fall by raising $100 million in 12 weeks.

"Where [Carlos Castaneda's The Teachings of Don Juan] pursued enlightenment in hallucinogenic experience, Zen argued for its equal availability in the brain-racking rigors of Reason with a capital R. Years after its publication, it continues to be invoked by famous people when asked to name a book that affected them most deeply."

Benjamin Millepied's young company "has signed a five-year lease for its own rehearsal and performance space in the downtown Los Angeles arts district, and will move to its new headquarters in October. [Its space will] include two studios and a performance space with a seating capacity of about 300.

Tomás Saraceno and his eight-legged collaborators are displaying their installation, titled Quasi-Social Musical Instrument IC 342, at Buenos Aires's Museum of Modern Art.

Of course, the dangers were rather greater than they are for the cast of Saturday Night Live, or even Bassem Youssef, and more immediate than even for the Belarus Free Theatre.


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