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Culture is good for nothing

On 4 June, the Council for Culture issued its opinion on the subsidy applications of cultural institutions in the so-called basic infrastructure. The Council for Culture is the legal advisory body of the government and parliament in the field of art, culture and media. The Council advises on current policy issues and subsidy applications, solicited and unsolicited. It is very worthwhile af... 

Why the art world, subsidised and commercial, must stop campaigning NOW

A few months ago, I reported via this site that Eurovision Song Contest wanted an orchestra to perform, for less than no money. The post, including follow-ups, was read just under a hundred thousand times, so can be assumed somewhat familiar. Yesterday, I received a press release from a rather expensive public relations agency, which the culture world took action on... 

Call. Let culture workers take one-and-a-half metres of Space for the Imagination

Whether the 'cry for culture' ten years ago was the best response to the cuts announced then, I don't know, but just like then, I feel the urge to do something now. In response to a spontaneous statement of mine on Facebook, a still modest group of people emerged this weekend willing to commit to an idea... 

The lobby has made art just a little too big. Now populism is reaping the benefits of that.

Naturally, I stand speechless along the sidelines watching Dutch art get hit by a 'perfect storm'. Two, maybe three deep depressions crossing each other at the worst possible moment, creating a surge that sinks even the strongest ships. In this case: an extremely weak minister, a cultural sector divided to the bone ... 

White wine and black pain at finely diverse Theatre Festival Boulevard

One of the benefits of advancing secularisation is that beautiful buildings are becoming vacant in more and more places. You can do things with those buildings. With art, for example. So this week, Studio Orka from Belgium did something beautiful in the Maria Church in Vught. They turned the empty neo-Romanesque building into, yes, an empty church.... 

CLASH is an ode to art

Art at a music festival often degenerates into decoration, but that certainly does not apply to Groningen's CLASH. 'We don't want art to be left out of the programming, but rather to be given full attention. We think it deserves that,' says organiser Milou de Boer. Fifty per cent of CLASH's programming budget goes to the arts, and that was too... 

The colonial image of the black woman with bared upper body is rewritten in Legacy by Nadia Beugré at @HollandFestival

A sizable group of women, their skin all shades of brown, white and black, their breasts and chests hopping briskly to the beat of stepping and running movements on the spot, swirls around its own axis upon entering the auditorium at the Brakke Grond. Legacy is an intimate performance that moves loosely up and down between concert, performance,... 

Millennial Poets at Poetry International (@poetry_en) - Social Justice with Self-mockery and Laughing at Rape... Is it possible?

Poets Danez Smith and Patricia Lockwood once broke the internet with their virtuoso wordplay. Smith with a frothy tirade about ineradicable racism and police brutality in America (Dear White America) and Lockwood with a heartbreaking/funny poem about her rape (Rape Joke). Both have outgrown their hypes. They have secretly been doing a fantastic job for years, using Twitter, YouTube, paper and stage... 

Winternachten 2018 ended up being a beautiful ode to anger. #wu18

She is 14, heavily veiled and bespectacled, with a voice that can be heard in the farthest corners of The Hague. She wants to be a surgeon but first she wins the preliminary round of the school competition for young poets at Winternachten. What anger there is in that person. What maturity sounds from her cry... 

The new theatre system is just about finished. Only seven 'dilemmas' remain.

[This post was already online under the title 'Save us from the Transition Office', but has been updated in a few details] While you are preparing for a well-deserved holiday, people in the arts sector are working on a new model. That new model is needed because the old model is no longer adequate. That old model, and we are of course talking about our... 

Composer George Crumb gives like button a break #HF17

The doors are closing and the society of spectacle, as described by Guy Debord, remains outside. George Crumb (1929) - in focus at this year's Holland Festival - unpacks contemporary man with his Metamorphoses, Book I (which has its European premiere Friday night). Gone, then, goes the shell of the ongoing pandemonium in which a diarrhoea of word, image and sound meet... 

Are we still capable of having a real opinion?

I read the biography of Jacob Israel De Haan, Onrust, by Jan Fontijn. Writer and director Gerardjan Rijnders based Salaam Jerusalem on this biography. It is this play, performed by De Nieuw Amsterdam, that really makes me realise how urgent it is to let such an almost forgotten figure as De Haan speak. Jacob Israel De Haan overturned taboos, fought... 

The 5 concerts not to miss at Musica Sacra

From Thursday 17 September onwards, Maastricht will be dominated by four days of arts festival Musica Sacra. Started in 1983 as the European Festival of Religious Music, other art disciplines are now also presented, in atmospheric churches and other historical venues. This year's theme is 'The Way', loosely inspired by the pilgrimage route to pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela, with the central question of whether... 

Robert Wilson enchants with Krapp's Last Tape

For the first time in years, Robert Wilson is back on stage by himself and he proves what a sublime performer he is. In Samuel Beckett's play Krapp's Last Tape, he plays an old man looking back at his younger self. His older self is almost without language, but with cries, grimaces and gestures. Wilson manages to take the play to its bitter... 

Anton Corbijn at the Gemeentemuseum (author photo)

Anton Corbijn in The Hague: Iconic portraits, dated musicians

In the halls of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Mark Rothko has made way for photographer Anton Corbijn. A bigger difference hardly seems conceivable, but an exhibition with lots of pop photographs fits seamlessly into the museum's mission to bring 20th-century avant-garde art, stresses director Benno Tempel. Corbijn, who celebrates his 60th birthday this year, will be honoured with a double exhibition; besides... 

Five questions to Willem Jeths, Composer of the Fatherland

Willem Jeths (1959) is one of the most successful Dutch composers. Through his enormous craftsmanship and drive, he manages to create his own sound world, which is surprising yet accessible. His work is regularly performed at home and abroad and has appeared on many CDs. In 2014, he received the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts and later that year he was appointed 

Belgium beware: artists defending subsidies. You can do better.

With a new government in Belgium, the debate on art subsidies has also erupted there. The issue there is only 0.7 per cent of the national budget. The cut of a mere 10% is less substantial than in the Netherlands under the PVV's noose, but the arguments are the same. Though they are often better articulated. Josse de Pauw, international... 

Shirokuro © Anja Beutler

Unmercifully gracious, 'Shirokuro' builds on hammered Ustvolskaya @HollandFestival

Holland Festival

The collaboration between pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and choreographer Nicole Beutler in the performance 'Shirokuro', seen last week at the Holland Festival, provides a beautiful perspective on two piano sonatas by Galina Ustvolskaya. 'Shirokuro' means black and white in Japanese. Despite strong visuals and impressive co-protagonists on stage, the Russian composer's absolute music is never explained and therefore retains its sheer power.

No-nonsense audience does not care for tour de force of anti-pale dance in Révolution

Eleven poles are atmospherically lit like a nightclub. Dancers enter and make their way to their work stations. They will walk around their poles in a two-hour shift. They are not the only ones: audience members also start walking, towards the exit. Yet the dizzying repetitions of the hard-working ladies are effective. However, the transcendental minimalism will turn into a... 

Secretary of State excels in inanity as cultural cuts rumble on

On radio, the State Secretary for Culture and Education once again reiterated his position that when making cuts, it is good not to know one's field of activity . As an example, he did not know who the painter of "The Scream" is (Edvard Munch) and brought up a definition of culture as a "grab bag": "The beauty of culture is, that... 

Progress news: Give Act no more for culture, Utrecht more expensive and Purmerend stops all subsidies

Lower House approves Tax Plan 2012 (...) Furthermore, the adjusted Giving Act was also passed. The 7 million euro tax support shifts from cultural institutions to sports and music associations. Source: 18 Nov 11 Utrecht - Culture may cost something - by Wouter de Heus (...) this week, when I finally saw the renewed operating plan for the Music Palace in... 

Arts sector comes up with its own interpretation of culture cuts: more money to venues and assessment by 'professionals' on 'objective grounds'.

After the cry, now the official piece. With a fitting, tad Den Uyl/Van Agt-like title: 'Less where it can be done, better where it must be done.' But let's not laugh too hard. It is quite brave what they have done. Gitta Luyten, Marianne Versteegh, Joke Hubert, Henk Scholten, Siebe Weide and Ben Holvast, together as bosses of arts umbrellas and cultural sector institutes also... 

'There are provinces where you can vote VVD or CDA just fine'; new website gives voting tips to art lovers

It looked like a party. Coffee and flan, a Maastricht song, brass band music and a speech by Prince Carnival. Optimism surrounded the launch of the website on 21 February. Surely the cry for culture in November was mainly a voice of dissent. Now there is a chance to take forward-looking action. 'Mobilise everyone you know to join the March 2... 

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