On Brazilian fires, French antiques, Barnes & not-so-Noble & more.
Recent links of note:
“Brazil’s National Museum Goes Up in Smoke, Leaving Brazilians Heartbroken and Angered”
Mariana Simões, Hyperallergic
When Brazil’s National Museum lost 90 percent of its collection to a fire on September 2, a local university student called it “a tragedy foretold.” Over its two-hundred-year history, the museum established itself as one of the most important natural history museums in the Americas. But the museum has struggled in recent years: it was shut down multiple times, its employees sometimes went unpaid, and its strategies and infrastructure for fire response were nearly nonexistent. Brazilian citizens, and lovers of history the world over, have responded in protest to what they consider the Brazilian government’s lack of support for the country’s arts and culture. The National Museum is only the most recent instance of neglect turning into a nightmare: in the past ten years, eight of the country’s cultural institutions have been destroyed by fire. The museum’s director, Alexander Kellner, sounded the rallying cry for rebuilding the museum, saying that citizens and the government alike should “help the National Museum to recompose our history.”
“The disputes that blight the French antiques market”
Vincent Noce, The Art Newspaper
Paris’s Biennale des Antiquaires has seen better days. Once one of the world’s greatest art fairs, attendance and interest have been plummeting due to a rise in the number of fairs elsewhere in France, as well as fraud scandals and leadership controversies. The Paris Biennale runs from September 6 to 18, this year with half of the number of exhibitors it boasted in 2016, and with more dropping out in the past month: Art Deco and Old Master specialists, fine art galleries, jewelers, and others are turning to new venues, such as the controversial Sublime fair, which is slated to open this October, led by a former president of the antique dealers’ union that founded the Biennale.
“Barnes & Noble Sales Slide Continues as It Looks to Stabilize Business”
Allison Prang & Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, The Wall Street Journal
In another narrative of decline, Barnes & Noble reported sales losses amid a quarter that also included the dismissal of their chief executive, Demos Parneros. With print sales falling because of the typical Kindle-and-Amazon-Prime woes and Parneros faced with a lawsuit for sexual harassment and bullying, the company is hanging on until the Christmas sales season—hoping they’ll be restored to Santa’s (and their customers’) “Nice” list.
From the Editors:
“Hank Mobley, the greatest sax player you never heard”
Andrew L. Shea, Spectator USA
This week, Blue Note Records will release five albums from a too-little-known saxophone player, Hank Mobley (or “The Hankenstein,” as his friend Dexter Gordon called him). Our own Andy Shea brings this overlooked musician, a master of the “hard bop” genre, into the spotlight for Spectator USA.
“Who will take the noise out of sport?”
James Panero, Spectator USA
Soccer arenas have vuvuzelas, basketball courts have loudspeakers, and the roof of the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium in Queens turns into the world’s noisiest umbrella every time it rains. In all this din, spectators and athletes can become deaf to the music of the sports themselves. Our own James Panero writes about the search for a moment’s peace and quiet at contemporary sporting events.
From our pages:
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