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Abandoning the Arts

The arts and music are the first programs cut from US public school curricula amidst current vitriolic cultural and policy debates. With STEM focus, charter secondary schools often do not include arts and music. (I’m concerned schools would cut literature, too, if savvy teachers were not able to link it to literacy.) Anecdotal and alarmist rhetoric argues that the result is an apathetic, tech-centered generation, devoid of creativity. With art and music leaving formal schooling, the response seems to be that art and music will be produced out of a well of intrinsic passion and sustained through the same. Museums of all sort in the US are struggling with dropping attendance. The arts and letters in higher education are widely derided as worthless and are also facing cuts and dropping enrollments. What is the role of K-12 education, then, if anything, in exposing young people to, nurturing, and developing aesthetic sensibilities and skills? If we as a culture and society abandon K-12 arts and music education, as we are, what effects can we attribute to that decision (e.g., declining museum patronage)?

  • Utilitarianism at its worst. Why can't we have both??? – Munjeera 6 days ago
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  • This is a really awesome and relevant topic. As someone in music therapy, I see how dangerous cutting back on the arts can be. Art and music is in our human nature. Music is one of the most complex things our brain engages in. It develops the mind faster and encourages discipline. Out of all the disciplines I have studies, music has not only given me a new skill, but has helped me become disciplined and dedicated. I think when music is taught poorly in schools it is just as bad as cutting it. – birdienumnum17 6 days ago
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Actors as Liars

I have often wondered whether a trained actor would be able to beat a polygraph test. Is the art about deception or perception? Sure we all put up a front in our lives whether its work or relationships, do actors have a leg up in this respect?

  • I'd like to think actors as more in-tune with human emotion rather than "liars" per-say. And i wonder if the question you raise could be applied to lawyers too, when they defend someone they know to be guilty in their heart. It's hard to say really, but i think at the end of the day and actor isn't any more susceptible to compulsive lying that anyone else really. Heaps of people - whether they are actors and lawyers or not, have the ability and tendency to lie. At least with actors, there ability to pretend is put to good use in the form of cinema. – NoorGillani 3 weeks ago
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  • Actors are people paid to act in front of an audience. I think the topic should ask how actors are able to lie so easily. – BMartin43 3 weeks ago
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  • beekay,I would actually suggest expanding this idea and talk about how movies themselves are false. Jean-Luc Godard once said that movies are just, "24 lies per second" (in reference to the frames through the projector), which I would say is correct; nothing that happens in a movie is natural because it is all staged, and even if the director tries to be realistic about it and have the actors improvise, there is still a production going on; there's still lighting equipment and editing involved. With that said, I would also address the fact that most people know that what's happening in a movie is fake, so there really isn't any reason to feel like one has been lied to or cheated. – August Merz 2 weeks ago
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  • This is an interesting topic to consider and as a actor I wonder whether I could, in character, pass a polygraph test. As to whether the art is about deception or perception, well both aspects come into play. We may well deceive an audience into believing what they are seeing and we certainly do play with an audience's perception, but equally so an audience knows it's being deceived and has willingly suspended disbelief for the duration of the play, film or performance. Yes, I suppose we are more in tune with human emotion, but only so far as we study those aspects of a character in order to create a believable performance, although it has come in quite useful for me when dealing with pompous authority figures in my daily life, knowing how to tune my 'performance' to manipulate his/her perceptions and get what I need from them. How are we able to lie so easily? The short answer is because that's what we've been trained to do. It's a skill like any other and to become proficient it takes a lot of practice. – Amyus 2 weeks ago
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Taken by JulieCMillay (PM) 1 week ago.
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Docents at the Broad Museum: Guiding Visitors To Actively View Art

Comprised of a combination of art students, artists, and educators, the docents at Los Angeles’ Broad museum do not just give visitors the answers to questions. Answering questions by asking questions invites guests to come up with their own ideas about the art they are viewing. This is a refreshing experience that challenges viewers to interact with the art at a higher level of investment thus providing a more personalized experience. By increasing viewers’ understanding of art through more direct engagement, the Broad is creating a more artistically educated society one guest at a time.

  • Interesting form of public service. When I patronized a certain place and ask a question about it, being given an answer certainly lasts only as long as the next piece. By doling out questions, it seems to me that the experience permeates the mind longer. – lofreire 2 weeks ago
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The Male Dominance of Art Institutions

Analyse the extent to which art institutions remain male dominated. Some institutions actively aim to promote and encourage female artists, but others, particularly state and national galleries consistently show blockbuster male artists. This can be seen as discouraging for women and girls aspiring to work in any kind of art field, but can also just be a reflection of the underrepresentation of women in the art industry.

  • Many of the blockbusters (although not all) feature artists from the past when female artists were written out of art history. However, many of the other exhibitions at these institutions now focus on major contemporary female artists and many art historians are actively seeking to re-write the histories and include female artists in the story of art. The history of printmaking is particularly dominated by female artists. – AnitaPisch 4 weeks ago
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  • I am not really sure that this is indeed an issue this day and age. I would have to say that in my explorations of art worlds ranging from the alternative contemporary art scene in Athens, to the big institutions of America and Australia; all had a pretty even spread of exhibitions by both male and female artists. Particularly in contemporary art. I think if we look back historically there may be trend of male dominance in the institutions, but I think that is now a relic of the past. Any instances of gender bias I feel are isolated cases, and go both ways. – SoCrates 4 weeks ago
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  • As an emerging dance artist, I can't say that I feel women are discouraged but it is interesting to note some inequalities... I feel that women are over-represented in the industry, resulting in more competition between us. Whereas there aren't as many men who train to become dancers but there are very similar opportunities for them.Although ballet themes have moved away from portraying women as delicate, in my ballet training at times I felt as if I am still treated as such - being told that girls don't do particular steps and repertoire so not to bother learning the technique or practicing it, even though some of my strengths lie in stereotypically male areas like turns and grand allegro. It's also interesting to consider the dominance of male choreographers in ballet, which may typically be considered a female-dominant industry.I suppose you weren't really referring to dance when talking about women being discouraged but thought it might be an interesting consideration of how the dance industry exhibits both sides of the argument. – georgiapierce 2 days ago
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Does contemporary art attract more artistically minded individuals

Traditional art is based upon faultless technique, well-defined subject matter and definitive notions of beauty, while modern art is based upon personal expression, vision, originality and innovation. Analyse the idea that traditional art is more focused on portraying a theme or suggestion that is attractive or realistic to the eye, while modern art is more intent on conveying a theme or idea that is relevant to everyday life.

Based on this response, do individuals who prefer modern art over traditional appreciate artwork on a deeper and more meaningful level?

  • I hope this clarifies the topic a little better. – Ness 1 month ago
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  • This is a good topic. I think the argument could go either way, based on opinion and experience. I think personal upbringing and culture may play role as well. You might want to add that in. – birdienumnum17 1 month ago
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  • Great topic. It is important to remember the different priorities in traditional art practises. In renaissance and neo classicism, artists were trained technically, with a priority of replicating reality. This obviously does not take much understanding to comprehend. Having said this, perhaps it is a reason why artistically minded people are more interested in contemporary art that holds more hidden meaning? There is so much room for debate in this topic! – emhand 1 month ago
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  • An intriguing topic. I think that people who are not artistically minded appreciate traditional art over modern art because their talent is undeniable, as seen with their perfect execution of technique and beauty (as you have aforementioned). However artist, art theorists and other artistically minded people may appreciate modern art because of the idea's they are trying to convey. I think the idea of the "individual" needs to be redefined as either "do you think that the general public prefer modern art over traditional", or "do you think that contemporary artists / theories prefer modern art over traditional". The individual is a debatable perspective to write under. – Jessica Carmody 1 month ago
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  • It cannot be claimed that those who like modern art are on deeper and more meaningful level because every person has his individual point of view and preferences. Sure, if to be subjective, we can say that these or those people think wrong. But as for me, it is not an appropriate way to resolve this question. – MaryLand999 4 weeks ago
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The normalization of live theatre through TV live musicals

Every major broadcast network has at least one or two live TV musicals in the works for the next few years, and will this help to normalize musical theatre for the masses, or steal the magic. Hamilton has helped to usher in a different era of musical theatre, but is it drawing the elitism out of the art form, by facilitating the creation of broadcasts like this?

  • Interesting topic. The rising popularity of these live TV musicals certainly merits further critical exploration. That said, I take slight issue with your choice of the word "normalization," as it implies that musical theatre (i.e. an artform that, at least since the 1980s, quite literally exists for bourgeois consumption and merchandising) is something esoteric. Musical theatre has always been prominently positioned within the mainstream, and is one of the few forms of theatre to which that label still applies; I really don't think that television is a necessary mediator for acclimatizing the general public to the concept of musicals -- they're not exactly broadcasting Edward Bond or Sarah Kane. Perhaps there are better ways of approaching the subject. Two come to mind: 1) Aesthetically, regarding how this televisual intermediation affects the performance's fundamental theatrical elements. Is liveness enough to constitute "theatre"? Does the audience on the other side of a screen genuinely care if what they're watching is live, or are they missing out on the potential virtues of cinematic editing? Is there an appeal to simply knowing that the show is theatrical, even when not experiencing it in an actual theatre? If so, what and why? How does this differ from simply making a film adaptation of classic musicals? 2) Economically, regarding how television distribution allows a wider audience to experience Broadway productions (whose tickets are quite expensive, not to mention inaccessible to those living outside of New York and other major metropolitan areas). This, I believe, is more in line with what you may have meant by "normalization," as it allows people who otherwise would not have had a chance to see these plays an opportunity to see a version of them in performance. I see potential for an analysis of ratings, sponsorships, and funding models as a means of assessing the financial success or failure of this new distributional tactic. – ProtoCanon 1 month ago
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  • Interesting topic....and definitely one worth exploring. One of the fascinating aspects of the theater is the confined environment and this type of unity within the crowd. One performance will not be an exact replica of another---part of what makes the theater so unique. A crucial component of theater is the fourth wall--the impenetrable invisible barrier between the audience and the actor--which, ironically feels breached during a televised performance? I would have to disagree with the idea of elitism and broadcasts as analogous, especially due to the high-cost of the theater today, and making this once enjoyable, frequent venture, less common among 'average' folk. The price of tickets are astronomical and really is a disservice in a society that supposedly upholds the importance of a cultured society through the medium of art. – danielle577 1 month ago
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  • I love reading anything about theatre, especially musicals. In your suggested analysation though, be careful you're not looking at two separate topics here. Hamilton has indeed created a new generation of theatre-lovers and reinvented the genre of musical theatre. And live TV musicals have done this in their own way too; perhaps the discussion is more pointed towards where the future of musical theatre is heading, or, what is attractive about these refreshing works to a modern audience? – OJames 1 month ago
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  • This is a really good topic.I think TV broadcasts can make theatre a little more accessible, it can introduce the theatre in a similar way that Hamilton has introduced theatre to new audiences. It also comes without the cost of making trips to the West End or Broadway. You don't really lose the elitism of theatre because you still have the west end and broadway. Perhaps the focus is on the future of musical theatre, there is the live versions (And I don't think they will ever really go away), tv broadcasts and things like Todrick Hall's Straight Outta OZ on youtube. – RJRStClair 1 month ago
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Interracial Representation in Popular American Imagination

Miscegenation in the United States is a social taboo stretching back to early colonial North America. At first, Puritan theology condemned its practice. With the institutionalizing of slavery, the racial-caste system crystalized such divisions segregating specifically black-white sexual union. Subsequently from the religious to pseudo-scientific racism, eugenics further legislated such prohibitions. By the twentieth century, the effects of Jim Crow laws restricted the spirit of artistic license by suppressing interracial imageries. With the arrival of motion pictures, the Hays Code firmly enforced anti-miscegenation guidelines in popular Hollywood film. While a knee-jerk assumption is to summon pervasive binary between black and white miscegenation, the article proposes examples of all diverse mixing of racial and ethnic categories. Meanwhile, it explores a variety of interrelated questions. How are interracial romances treated in recent popular culture across the varying artistic mediums? What elements of interracial relationships are censured? What does such specific excising say about our society? In contemporary United States, what are considered the more acceptable pairing[s] of interracial couples and why?

  • A few grammatical errors here, but not a cause for rejection. – m-cubed 2 months ago
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  • Sounds interesting. There has been a shift in inter-racial portrayals. Good topic. – Munjeera 2 months ago
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  • I love this topic. I do agree with you and understand why this is a topic of interest. – daefray24 2 months ago
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  • I definitely want to read this! Even as recently as this year, the backlash towards film and television that shows interracial relationships proves there is still work to be done. Might be good for someone to hone in on one type of media, whether it be comic book films, music videos, dystopian literature etc. Your discussion points are really interesting and complex, I hope there are some takers. – Zujaja 2 months ago
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Taken by Iliasbakalla (PM) 3 weeks ago.
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How did politics permeate Pop Music of the 60s?

The 1960s overflowed with social injustices, civil rights, and the Vietnam War. The civil rights movement and the Vietnam War took center stage. Activists exercised democracy in action, demonstrating their rights under the First Amendment. These protests were breeding grounds that forged a path to songs by musicians with a social conscience. Protest songs of the 60s were instrumental in shaping domestic policy. "Times They are a Changin", by Bob Dylan became a theme song of the civil rights movement. "Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire influenced legislators to reduce the voting age to 18 with the line, "You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin". Jimi Hendrix’s solo, spell binding guitar rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock was symbolized to be the most influential protest song of the 60s. What other songs contributed to change in America by utilizing American values?

  • I would recommend looking into Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger and others who collaborated with them for more on this topic. – LisaM 8 months ago
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  • It doesn't get any more accurate or pointed than Dylan's "Masters of War," or "Only a Pawn in Their Game." Dylan just added another trophy - the Nobel - to his shelf, by the way. Not bad for a guy who couldn't get a band in high school. – Tigey 8 months ago
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  • This topic would make a great regular column. There's so much ground to cover. Practically limitless, really. – albee 8 months ago
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  • Absolutely! I felt this way, but had to put the brakes on. – Lorraine 8 months ago
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  • To quote the seagulls from "Finding Nemo, "Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine." This should be fun. – Tigey 8 months ago
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  • This would be interesting to hear more about. Many American think of Creedence when it comes to Vietnam "era" music. I would like to know about other pieces that impacted the movement and vice-versa. – dekichan 4 months ago
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  • This topic is a very good topic, it could even make a great column. – jhennerss 2 months ago
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Taken by Samuel Burleigh (PM) 2 months ago.