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Mixing Art & Politics
http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=32192
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Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Mixing Art & Politics

Traditionally art and politics haven't mixed, with artists striving to remain aloof from political involvement, but Valery Gergiev seems to have crossed some kind of line with the following:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... s-son.html

Gergiev has become something of a controversial figure of late what with his dismissal of Vaziev and meddling in ballet affairs, but his latest actions may damage his international career. I wasn't aware that he had engaged in an exchange of words with Nina Ananiashvili, but Nina's situation is very different from Gergiev's as not only is she director of the Georgian Ballet company but is also married to the deputy foreign minister, Gregory Vashadze, making her a prime target for press interest and a legitimate spokeswoman for her country.

The Telegraph also gives a rather disturbing report of Mr Gergiev's concert that took place against a background of flames from freshly burning Georgian villages - attacked in spite of the supposed cease-fire and withdrawal'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... setia.html

Reading this report it is very clear that Gergiev is allowing himself to become a mouthpiece for Russian propaganda. Has he tarnished his reputation irreparably?

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:34 am ]
Post subject: 

This type of situation could force the Mariinsky Theatre to cancel in fall 2008 tour of the USA of its ballet troupe. :( Good thing I bought my October 15, 2008 performance tickets with my Visa card--Visa is pretty good about handling refunds due to cancellations from unforeseen circumstances such as this. :)

Author:  Cassandra [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 7:54 am ]
Post subject: 

I doubt very much if the situation in Georgia would have any effect at all on Kirov touring plans, but I wonder if Gergiev himself will be welcomed in the way he has been in the past. Here is another report of his concert and if you scroll down to the comments at the end you will notice a couple of people saying they won't be buying tickets for him or the LSO in future.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 579829.ece

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:26 am ]
Post subject: 

Cassandra wrote:
I doubt very much if the situation in Georgia would have any effect at all on Kirov touring plans, but I wonder if Gergiev himself will be welcomed in the way he has been in the past.


Given the increasingly tense situation between the USA and Russia, the possibility of Russian artistic troupes cancelling their tours of the USA over the next year or so is no longer far-fetched. :( Gergiev--because of his personal interest over the Russia-Georgia conflict--could end up being unwelcome in the USA, and the LAST thing the Mariinsky management wants is really negative publicity for all the wrong reasons.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

Gerviev may be kissing his conducting gigs at the Met goodbye.

I also doubt the Kirov would cancel a tour, but it wouldn't surpirse me if it did happen.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:44 pm ]
Post subject: 

LMCtech wrote:
Gerviev may be kissing his conducting gigs at the Met goodbye.

I also doubt the Kirov would cancel a tour, but it wouldn't surpirse me if it did happen.


I'm hoping Cathering Pawlick will jump in and tells us what she knows, given that she does go to Mariinsky Theatre performances on a regular basis (I wonder is she an MT season ticket holder) and probably has spoken to Gergiev in the past.

Author:  KANTER [ Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Beg to disagree

Beg to disagree with the tenor of this thread.

The Canard Enchaîné dated Wednesday reports - with no rebuttal whatsoever from the Elysée or Defence Ministry - that US military advisors have actually been in the field helping the Georgians with missile-targetting, e.g. at Tskhinvali, from day One onwards.

We might swiftly have been looking down the somewhat unartistic kaleidoscope of World War III.

As for mixing art and politics, I think we may ALL be a severe case of the pot calling the kettle black on this one.

Author:  salzberg [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Beg to disagree

KANTER wrote:
As for mixing art and politics, I think we may ALL be a severe case of the pot calling the kettle black on this one.


I knOw that i, fOr One, wOuld nOt ever impOse my pOlitical beliefs upOn this fOrum, especially as cOncerns the upcOming american presidential electiOn.

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

sO trOO

Author:  salzberg [ Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

Cassandra wrote:
Traditionally art and politics haven't mixed


I don't know that I agree with this. You'd have a hard time convincing Woody Guthrie, or Peter Paul and Mary, or William Shakespeare, or, for that matter, Kurt Joos.

True, when arts companies have a social mission, be it politics, religion, or something else, the art often suffers, but that's a function of implementation rather than one of concept. When companies maintain high aesthetic standards, political art can be quite compelling.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:52 pm ]
Post subject: 

salzberg wrote:
When companies maintain high aesthetic standards, political art can be quite compelling.


What's interesting about "socialist realism" in the Soviet Union during Stalin's time was that if properly implemented, the results can be quite spectacular: witness the artwork of many stations in the Moscow Metro or the famous Seven Sisters buildings built in Moscow just after World War II, with Moscow State University as the best example.

But in the world of ballet, "socialist realism" mostly failed, and very few ballets from the Stalinist period survive in the Mariinsky and Bolshoi repertoire today. (That's why I was a little surprised the Bolshoi even revived The Flames of Paris.)

Author:  Cassandra [ Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:48 am ]
Post subject: 

Salzburg, I may have expressed myself a little clumsily, but I had in mind some of the instances in the past when cold war dogma was ignored, such as President Kennedy welcoming the Bolshoi dancers shortly after the Cuban missile crisis and the genuine warmth that existed between artists at that time, generally ignoring their respective countries political posturing.

Although artists in the former Soviet Union toed the party line, with the examples of Prokofiev and Shostakovich always at the back of their minds to remind them what would happen to them if they didn't, I can't think of anyone acting in the way that Gergiev just has.

I hasten to add that I don't want to turn this into a discussion of the rights or wrongs of the present conflict, but I was deeply shocked by Gergiev's willingness to rattle the Russian sabre at such a high profile event.

Author:  Sacto7654 [ Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:33 am ]
Post subject: 

Cassandra wrote:
I hasten to add that I don't want to turn this into a discussion of the rights or wrongs of the present conflict, but I was deeply shocked by Gergiev's willingness to rattle the Russian sabre at such a high profile event.


I know the reason why: Gergiev's parents were born in what is now the North Ossetia region, and he spent most of his childhood there. As such, this conflict is of very personal interest to him given that he probably travelled frequently in both the North and South Ossetia regions in his early life before going to formal music training at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1972. This isn't like what happened to Prokofiev or Shostakovich, which got sanctioned by the Union of Composers of the USSR for nebulous reasons.

Author:  KANTER [ Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:26 am ]
Post subject:  Gérard Mortier shaves!

GÉRARD MORTIER SHAVES!


Gérard Mortier, washes, shaves and arrives on time for appointments. So far, so other than Gergeiev. Which you prefer is a matter of taste, or perhaps tastebuds.

Politically, however, Gégé, as he is known here, and I mean Mortier, is WAY out. Leaves Gergeiev behind pedaling a tricycle.

Take the latest issue of "Ligne 8", which happens to be the Paris Opera's official quarterly. The garish, odd-smelling journal springs open in your hands to a double-page editorial by Mortier entitled “European Art, instrument of the Union”, which has to be read jadies and lentilmen, to be believed.

Now, the French population went out three years ago, and voted more or less as one man against the Constitutional Treaty for Europe. The Irish population has just risen up to do precisely the same.

Nothing daunted, Mortier puts pen to paper with every argument in the book - hackneyed ones at that - in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. The usual - prevents war, and so forth. Tell that to the US military advisors crawling all over a European city known as Tiflis!

Anyway, as an expression of strictly personal opinion, that the author of these lines, by the way, declines to share, one might be tempted to say, "Mortier has a right to his own, so why Not?" Or at least “Why Not?” - in the Op-Ed pages of Le Figaro, Les Echos or Libération, NOT in the Opera quarterly.

But the line must be drawn somewhere.

To Mortier, “the Treaties of Rome, Maastricht and Lisbon may be nothing but crutches, but they are crutches that Europe must lean upon, if she is to heal properly from World War II. Her convalescence has been hindered by the persisting spectre of the Nation-State (...).”

‘SPECTRE’ of the Nation-State? Go tell that to General de Gaulle!

To give one an idea of how incoherent, or, more likely insincere, is the current General Director of the Paris Opera, it transpires that a mere two days ago, viz., August 25th 2008, a telegramme from Mortier reached Nike Wagner, Intendant of the Bayreuth Festival, proposing his candidacy to run the Festival. Richard Wagner! Whose most fervent admirers are hard put to present his ‘oeuvre’ as anything other than a paean to crude nationalism, and certainly not of the Gaullist, but of the very worst ilk.

So either M. Mortier has never come across Richard Wagner and wishes to run Bayreuth in order to get to know him better (unlikely), or else he is being incoherent (still more unlikely), or - he is being patently insincere.

Tiens, d’ailleurs, “Tristan” will shortly be up at the Bastille with scenography by Mortier’s Muse, the ‘videast’ Bill Viola. Again, incoherency, or insincerity? Mortier denounces Western materialism up and down the whazoo in this editorial. But does Bill Viola get paid for his work at Paris, or is it pro bono? And might the latter’s intriguing collaboration with highly official US institutions be pro bono as well? Does that collaboration have nothing at all to do with the ‘Spectre’ of the Nation State?

Perhaps Mortier thinks that we were all born yesterday, and that we none of us trouble to read the newspapers, busy as we are with Videasty, or whatever. But I baulk, Gérard, at your suggesting that the Red Brigades, Rote Armee Fraktion and Action Directe were an expression of “opposition” to Western materialism. No. These were terrorists, run top down by certain secret services, and their business was to kill the very people who opposed the imperial policies that Mortier now, and so very insincerely, purports to denounce.

Author:  Cassandra [ Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Artists on Politics: Hofesh Shechter

An interview with choreographer Hofesh Shechter on how he would rule the world together with some charmingly naive replies.

http://www.newstatesman.com/dance/2009/ ... art-banish

Better stick to the day job, Mr Shechter.

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