The Origins of Woke: Civil Rights Law, Corporate America, and the Triumph of Identity Politics, by Richard Hanania (Broadside Books): “There will be no V-Day in the war on wokeness,” cautions Richard Hanania in the introduction to his new book The Origins of Woke; “rather, those outraged by current trends should try to change laws today in the hopes of creating a new society decades down the line.” This is a long-range view, and yet the phrase “new society” will cause some wincing on the Right, where conservatism has long been confused with a half-hearted defense of a liberalizing status quo. The result of that approach, of course, is that conservatives today have precious little to conserve. Such is “The new conservative dilemma,” the subject of the symposium in The New Criterion’s forthcoming October 2023 issue. With contributions from Margot Cleveland, Victor Davis Hanson, Daniel McCarthy, and James Piereson (who treats Hanania’s book at greater length in his essay), the special section will appear online this Wednesday, and on newsstands and in mailboxes shortly after. —RE
“Manet/Degas,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (opens September 23): The Irish novelist George Moore said the relationship between Édouard Manet and Edgar Degas was “jarred by an inevitable rivalry.” The precise nature of their creative tension is now the subject of a major exhibition opening this week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With over 150 paintings and works on paper, “Manet/Degas” presents unprecedented loans from Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, the Met’s partner for the exhibition, as well as dozens of other lenders for what is sure to be the blockbuster of the season—and deservedly so. Here is an extensive, in-depth examination that encourages close looking and visual comparison, with each artist helping us to see the other in new ways. —JP
New York City Ballet 75th Anniversary Season: The first person to be credited as a “choreographer” was George Balanchine, in 1936. Balanchine didn’t invent dance design, of course—though he might have pretended otherwise—but he did invent much of modern dance. The bulk of that work was completed within the storied walls of New York City Ballet, which he founded with Lincoln Kirstein in 1948. In celebration of this founding seventy-five years ago, City Ballet is dedicating the entirety of the fall season to Balanchine’s work. Seven programs presenting ballets spanning the entirety of his career will be staged, providing a panoramic vision of the man who did for dance what Matisse did for painting, or Eliot for poetry. The first program on the calendar is Jewels, which Laura Jacobs describes as a medievalism “woven into a neoclassical nervous system.” It opens Tuesday. —LL
Annual Selinunte Lecture: New Discoveries, at the Institute of Fine Arts (September 28): The ancient Greek colonial city of Selinunte, in modern-day Sicily, disappeared in 250 B.C. But every year the Institute of Fine Arts devotes a lecture to presenting its ongoing archaeological discoveries at the site. This year’s lecture, on September 28 and featuring the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Seán Hemingway among others, will also celebrate a new agreement between the Met and the Assessorato dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana, which will initiate a series of long-term loans between the Met and the Archaeological Regional Museum “Antonino Salinas” in Palermo. Attend at the James B. Duke House on the Upper East Side or sign up to stream via this link. —BR
By the Editors:
“Soviet-Era Treasures Burn in Tbilisi”
Isaac Sligh, The Wall Street Journal
“Music for a While #80: Telling the time,” featuring Jay Nordlinger. Jay Nordlinger, The New Criterion’s music critic, talks music—but, more important, plays music.
“Tediums, treasures, traps,” by Luke Lyman. On the 2023 Armory Show.