Posts in On our minds
VENTICENTO - A Series of Not-So Classical Nudes

Van Der Plas Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Venticento, a show of classically-inspired nudes on canvas, wall and paper by Russian-American artist Phil Rabovsky. Taking its name from the quattrocento, or Italian High Renaissance, Venticento is a twenty-first century look at the humanist tradition, bringing out ways this tradition has idealized, standardized, and appropriated the female body as a cultural symbol. Parallel to this critique, the show also sees in humanism the remains of something valuable—a faith in our own agency and ability to access truth that is missing from the politically-disoriented postmodern world. Politics, humanism reminds us, is not just about resisting power. It must also build polities. In light of recent events, Venticento asks if it is possible to reclaim a positive image of our own power, and believe in civilization once again.

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Meet the 11-Year-Old Girls Whose Music Wowed the Philharmonic- New York Times

It was the kind of debut most musicians only dream of: a world-class orchestra, tens of thousands of listeners. At its outdoor parks concerts last week, the New York Philharmonic performed works by two 11-year-old girls, Camryn Cowan and Jordan Millar — newcomers to the world of composing. They won over the crowds, who gave standing ovations. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times gave them an effusive review. “Audiences were clearly blown away and delightfully surprised,” said Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s president and chief executive.

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A year since Grenfell, and no answers

One year ago, decades of austerity, mismanagement and neglect came to a lethal conclusion in the Grenfell Tower block in west London. The inferno, wrote Claire Armitstead, was an “appalling reminder of how contemptuously many of London’s poorest citizens have been treated over decades of privatisation and mismanagement.” That such an atrocity could occur in 2017 in a Royal Borough running huge revenue underspends is a cruel irony, one matched only by the response to the tragedy, which has been criticized for showing the same callousness, racism and institutional failure that allowed conditions in Grenfell to become so dire—and which continue to characterize life for so many others in the capital.

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The World of Cecil Taylor

In 1966, the pianist Cecil Taylor appeared in Les Grandes Répétitions, a series of Nouvelle Vague-influenced documentaries for French television about Olivier Messiaen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and other modern composers. Taylor, who died at eighty-nine in April, was the only jazz musician featured. The avant-garde jazz movement was young, brash, and commanding increasing respect from a classical establishment that had been, at best, indifferent to black music, and Taylor, a conservatory-trained pianist who was creating a radical synthesis of jazz improvisation and European modernism, had emerged as one of its most militant and sophisticated leaders.

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From TIME Magazine: An Expert's Take on the Symbolism in Childish Gambino’s Viral ‘This Is America’ Video

Donald Glover released a new song and music video “This Is America” under his musical moniker Childish Gambino on Saturday Night Live this weekend — and the four-minute, single-take music video is laden with metaphors about race and gun violence in America.

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From the New York Times: Bowery Club Poets Take Issue With Documentary

En route to the National Poetry Slam two years ago, the team from the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan adopted a motto: “Don’t be nice; be necessary.” Now that they’ve seen a documentary about their journey, the team members have decided much of it is profoundly unnecessary. They say the film distorts their actions and exploits the trauma of police killings of black men.

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From the New York Times: I Went Naked to a Museum, and It Was … Revealing

PARIS — The most uncomfortable thing about being naked in a museum, it turns out, is the temperature. A half-hour into the first nudist tour of the Palais de Tokyo, a contemporary art museum in Paris, I had gotten used to the feeling of exposure, but I hadn’t acclimatized to the cold air circulating through the cavernous galleries.

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From The New Yorker: Four Women Accuse New York’s Attorney General of Physical Abuse

Update: Three hours after the publication of this story, Schneiderman resigned from his position. “While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” he said in a statement. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Illustration by Oliver Munday; Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty (man)

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From The New Yorker: How Michelle Wolf Blasted Open the Fictions of Journalism in the Age of Trump

          On Saturday, the comedian Michelle Wolf, performing at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, delivered the most consequential monologue so far of the Donald Trump era. Some of the attendees claimed to have walked out of the dinner in protest during the performance; others, like the President’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have been lauded for remaining stoically in place in the face of scathing humor.

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A Lynching Memorial Is Opening. The Country Has Never Seen Anything Like It.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In a plain brown building sits an office run by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, a place for people who have been held accountable for their crimes and duly expressed remorse.

Just a few yards up the street lies a different kind of rehabilitation center, for a country that has not been held to nearly the same standard.

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HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: THE ARTHUR MILLER FREEDOM TO WRITE LECTURE

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, delivering the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture to cap PEN America’s World Voices Festival, speaks out about threats to press freedom around the world–and in the United States. (Watch again!)

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New York Times Review: Beyoncé Is Bigger Than Coachella

INDIO, Calif. — Let’s just cut to the chase: There’s not likely to be a more meaningful, absorbing, forceful and radical performance by an American musician this year, or any year soon, than Beyoncé’s headlining set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Saturday night.

It was rich with history, potently political and visually grand. By turns uproarious, rowdy, and lush. A gobsmacking marvel of choreography and musical direction.

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Pulitzer-Winning Photographer Made Charlottesville Photo On His Last Day On The Job

Last summer, on August 12, photographer Ryan Kelly arrived at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., to take pictures for the city's newspaper, The Daily Progress.

It was his last day on the job — and it was a memorable one. A photo he took of a car plowing through a crowd of counterprotesters became the defining image of the chaos that day.

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