The week in short: Theater guidelines call to eliminate stage-door greetings, Tenement Museum cuts staff and more art stories

The week in short: Theater guidelines call to eliminate stage-door greetings, Tenement Museum cuts staff and more art stories

This week’s art stories, in short.

July 24

  • Much to the delight of surprised fans, Taylor Swift released her new album “Folklore” as Thursday cracked into Friday. The announcement for the artist’s eighth record arrived less than 24 hours before the 16-track album’s debut. Early reviews of “Folklore,” produced in collaboration with the National’s Aaron Dessner, have praised the release. [The Guardian]
  • Chris Herbert speaks about his production “Voices in the Wilderness,” which recreates the compositions of the first-known female composers in America: Sister Föben, Sister Katura and Sister Hanna. [NPR]

July 23

  • A survey released by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) indicates that one in three institutions may close without additional assistance from the government and funders. “The distress museums are facing will not happen in isolation,” Laura Lott, president and CEO of AAM, said in a statement. “The permanent closure of 12,000 museums will be devastating for communities, economies, education systems and our cultural history.” [ALL ARTS]
  • Opera lovers received some good news this week by way of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which announced a series of in-person concerts to be performed (when guidelines allow) for a ticketed audience capped at 200. There will also be digital offerings, including performances streamed from orchestra members’ homes and archival concerts. [Playbill]

July 22

  • Celebrated children’s book author Jason Reynolds secured a deal with Scribner to publish his first novel for adults. Titled “The Mouthless God and Jesus Number Two” and centered on a boy born without a mouth, the book has been slated to arrive in 2022. “I’m honored to tell the story of this boy, Mm, who has lived in my imagination for years, and has also been in the back row of every school auditorium I’ve visited,” Reynold said in a press release. [LitHub]
  • Mimicking the pervasive, honey-colored plywood boards nailed across doors and windows of museums and storefronts, the Whitney Museum’s website — the virtual window into the institution’s collection — will be boarded up via a commission by American Artist. The action will take place every day at sunset, when the conceptual artist will replace the museum’s images of art with digital plywood. [Artnet News]
  • Frieze Sculpture will make its debut at Rockefeller Center Sept. 1 after the New York Frieze Art Fair was pushed online amid COVID-19 cancellations. As part of the public presentation, viewers can observe Andy Goldsworthy’s “Red Flags,” hoisted onto the plaza’s famous flagpoles. A commissioned work by Beatriz Cortez, titled “Glacial Erratic,” will also be on display. [Observer]
  • The Internet Archive — which has come under fire from the literary community for its book-scanning practices and its National Emergency Library — urged publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Wiley and Penguin Random House to drop their copyright lawsuit against the organization. The plea came during a Zoom panel about Controlled Digital Lending, a practice that the Internet Archive uses to scan and upload books to its borrowing site. Critics argue that the Archive is in violation of copyright law. [Publishers Weekly]
  • The Tenement Museum announced further reductions to its staff, slashing 92% of its education employees. In total 76 workers were laid off, with 71 of those positions coming from the education staff. “Our educators make our programs come to life,” Tenement Museum President Morris Vogel told Hyperallergic. “They are an important part of the Museum’s success. We had hoped to avoid this drastic step.” [Hyperallergic]
  • The IATSE — the union representing theater stagehands, front-of-house staffers, dressers, stylists and more — announced guidelines for its members and their employers to adhere to once theaters begin to raise their curtains to audiences. Among the protocols outlined (in addition to PPE, staggered call times and screenings) is the elimination of backstage tours, greetings and the passing out of Playbills. As of now, Broadway will remain closed through 2020. [Playbill]
  • As monuments across the country continue to be toppled, the House voted Wednesday to rid the Capitol statues of Confederate figures and white supremacist leaders. The vote for the legislation was 305 to 113. The bill now goes to the Senate. [The New York Times]

July 20

  • The New York City independent cinema Metrograph is going further into the digital landscape with a new streaming lineup for at-home viewing. Culled under the banner “Metrograph Digital,” the venture kicks off with a slate of films and talks curated by the theater’s programming team. The inaugural series, “Live Screenings,” replicates the “communal movie watching” feeling by setting specific showtimes and extras catered for each release. [IndieWire]
  • When the Metropolitan Museum of Art unlocks its doors to the public, it will do so with one less building. As previously announced, the Met Breuer will be the temporary home of the Frick Collection as the institution renovates its Fifth Avenue location. The Frick will have keys to the building in August, though an open date has yet to be announced. [Artnet News]