The Week in Short: ‘Paltry progress’ in Hollywood, Pulitzer Prize expands eligibility and more

The Week in Short: ‘Paltry progress’ in Hollywood, Pulitzer Prize expands eligibility and more
Photo: Shinya Suzuki.

This week’s art news, in short.

Sept. 10

  • Revealing another chapter in its long-running program, the Studio Museum in Harlem announced its 2020–21 artists-in-residence cohort. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, this year’s iteration will take place digitally, with artists Texas Isaiah, Genesis Jerez and Widline Cadet named as residents. Jacolby Satterwhite will join as part of a new mid-career mentoring residency. [artnet News
  • File under “Good News”: The Pulitzer Prize Board is changing its rules to consider postponed, canceled and streamed productions for the 2021 drama award. The eligibility window will include theatrical works that were slated to open between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

“The spread of the COVID virus has closed theaters but has in no way dampened the creativity of the nation’s playwrights,” Pulitzer co-chairs Stephen Engelberg and Miami Herald said in a statement. “In this year, of all years, we wanted to honor the work that is being done. The shows are going on, even if the audience is remote.”

Michael R. Jackson’s metafictional musical “A Strange Loop” took home the Pulitzer in Drama this past May, marking the first time a Black writer of a musical took home the award.  [Broadway News

"A Strange Loop," by Michael R. Jackson. John-Andrew Morrison,
“A Strange Loop,” by Michael R. Jackson. John-Andrew Morrison,
L Morgan Lee, John-Michael Lyles, Jason Veasey, Larry Owens (plaid shirt), Antwayn Hopper, James Jackson, Jr. Photo: Joan Marcus.
  • How’s inclusion going over in Hollywood? According to a new report from the University of Southern California Annenberg, representation on-screen and in production roles has made “paltry progress,” though some gains have been made. While the percentage of speaking characters and leads identifying as female is slightly up from 2007, the proportion of speaking roles featuring underrepresented groups in the top 100 films of 2019 are down slightly from 2018. The Los Angeles Times notes that the 34.3% share of speaking characters portrayed by underrepresented actors is “well below the share of the U.S. population.”

“After 13 years, it is not clear what might convince entertainment companies to change,” professor Stacy L. Smith said in the report. “Despite public statements, the data reveal that there is still apathy and ambivalence to increasing representation of speaking characters overall in popular films. This is both the easiest representational gap to address and one that is essential to strengthen the pipeline to more prominent roles.” [Los Angeles Times

  • The Education Department will “review” employee book clubs (and other “internal employee activities”) that engage materials deemed “Anti-American propaganda,” according to an internal email obtained by Politico. The move comes after the White House announced a government crackdown on federal antiracism training dealing with topics such as critical race theory and white privilege. [LitHub

Sept. 8

  • Patricia Marroquin Norby, who is of Purépecha heritage, has been hired as associate curator of Native American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, marking the first time the institution has hired a full-time Native American curator. She will begin the role Sept. 14.

“Historical and contemporary Native American art embodies and confronts the environmental, religious and economic disruptions that Indigenous communities have so powerfully negotiated — and still negotiate — through a balance of beauty, tradition and innovation,” Norby said in a statement. “I am deeply honored to join with American Indian and Indigenous artists and communities in advancing our diverse experiences and voices in The Met’s exhibitions, collections and programs.” [ARTnews

Patricia Morroquin Norby. Photo: Scott Rosenthal.
Patricia Morroquin Norby. Photo: Scott Rosenthal.

Sept. 7

  • On Labor Day, faculty members at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia announced plans to unionize with the United Academics of Philadelphia. The group rallied outside the school Monday for the university to voluntarily recognize the union, which would cover both full-time and adjunct faculty. “We are forming a union because excellence in teaching and learning depends on a faculty body empowered and protected by stability, respect and due process,” organizers said in a statement.

The university later announced a decision declining to voluntarily recognize the union, stating to Hyperallergic that it “encourages the organizing committee to submit appropriate documentation to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) so that a supervised election, in an appropriate voting unit, can be organized and confirmed.” [WHYY, Hyperallergic]  

  • A crowd of music lovers came together at Saint Burchardi Church, located in the town of Halberstadt, Germany, to witness the 14th chord change of composer John Cage’s “As Slow As Possible,” a musical performance that will last 639 years. The last note change took place in 2013 and the piece (which began in 2001) is set to end in 2640. [BBC News

And new on the ALL ARTS feed: An excerpt from Elena FerranteAn artist creates a space for listening and justiceDiscussion questions for “The Lying Life of Adults”A quarantine poemShifting theater demographicsRecipes from Jacques Pépin

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