Honoring Her Honor. Tributes poured in from stars after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday, September 18, at age 87.
The Supreme Court confirmed that the judge died at her home in Washington after complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Ginsburg was hospitalized for a potential infection in July. “She underwent an endoscopic procedure at Johns Hopkins this afternoon to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August,” spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg told CNN in a statement at the time.
The Brooklyn native previously suffered from acute cholecystitis, a benign gallbladder condition which she received treatment for in May. She was hospitalized in November 2018 after fracturing three ribs in a fall. She underwent surgery to remove two cancerous nodules the following month.
Ginsburg fought cancer four times, most recently in August 2019. She announced in January that she was cancer-free.
The judge became an icon for women’s rights as she served on the Supreme Court, to which she was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was only the second female justice after Sandra Day O’Connor. Before serving on the country’s highest court, she studied at Cornell, graduated from Columbia Law School and became the first female tenured professor at Columbia.
Ginsburg made her mark on pop culture in recent years. Not only did Kate McKinnon spoof her on Saturday Night Live, but she was also the subject of the 2018 documentary RBG and the 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex. Felicity Jones portrayed her in the movie and confessed she was “insanely nervous” to meet her.
“I felt like I wanted to curtsy,” the actress, 36, exclusively told Us Weekly in January 2019. “Ruth was incredibly welcoming. We went to her office first and it felt like a very warm environment — covered in photographs of friends and family and all sorts of mementos that had been sent to her by her fans.”
Scroll down to see tributes to Ginsburg.
Education Is Not Expendable: Naima J. Keith on What Will Be Lost as Museums Continue to Make Cuts
Naima J. Keith is vice president of Education and Public Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Museums, as cultural institutions, are uniquely situated to define and mediate history in real time—and museum education departments, in particular, play a critical role in doing so. Every visitor to a museum brings an individual set…
Naima J. Keith is vice president of Education and Public Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Museums, as cultural institutions, are uniquely situated to define and mediate history in real time—and museum education departments, in particular, play a critical role in doing so. Every visitor to a museum brings an individual set of experiences and points of view, and finding ways to make art accessible and resonant to all of them is no easy task. Educators—traditionally one of the most diverse groups on museum payrolls—hold the keys to engaging different communities and facilitating difficult and necessary conservations. And at a moment when society as we’ve known it is shifting—with our country in crisis and protests calling for an end to persistent racism, police brutality, and white supremacy around the world—now is a time to bolster and reimagine the role of education within museums and the world beyond their walls.
Naima J. Keith.
Instead, we see movement trending otherwise. In late March, a little more than two weeks after closing amid the coronavirus crisis, the Museum of Modern Art in New York announced it was terminating all contracts with freelance education staff due to looming economic uncertainty. Several museums soon followed suit and furloughed or laid off educators, citing “redundancies” in light of financial pressure. An open letter signed earlier this year by more than 1,500 museum workers from across the globe condemned these widespread terminations and highlighted the need to evaluate how museums are living up to our ideals, specifically the need to promote—not displace—the crucial role that educators play in public engagement, especially with vulnerable, non-elite populations most in need of connection and support in this time of crisis.
Are museums providing a safe place for community development? Are museums sharing diverse perspectives that encourage critical conversations? Lonnie Bunch, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., issued a call to action in a panel discussion convened this past summer by the American Alliance of Museums: “It’s not enough to be a good museum.… The reality is what you really want is to change and make your community, make your region, make your country better. What I want to hear from museums in their vision statements is about the greater good.” In order to reach the communities we aim to serve in this unprecedented time, we must invest in our education services in the service of that greater good.
An art-making workshop at Charles White Elementary School related to LACMA’s exhibition “Rufino Tamayo: Innovation and Experimentation.”
HRDWRKR. ©Museum Associates/LACMA.
As vice president of Education and Public Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I’m called to reflect on the present moment of reckoning and purpose-finding in the museum world. Matters of representation are critical in creating a safe space for visitors and making museums more accessible to more communities. Museumgoers must be able to identify with the people who work in museums in order to picture themselves surviving and even thriving in the world that museums serve. But a Mellon Foundation Art Museum Staff Demographic Survey in 2018 revealed that 72 percent of staff at institutions affiliated with the Association of Art Museum Directors are white, with the remaining employees of color filling roles primarily in facilities, security, and human resources. By contrast, education teams tend to reflect much higher variety along racial, class, and gender lines—and it is clear that museums should invest in advancing such diversity even more.
As a child, I experienced the wonder and diversity of museums through my mom. She was introduced to museums and art collecting through her aunt Janet Carter, who was an early board member of the Studio Museum in Harlem. My great-uncle, a longtime security guard at LACMA, made sure my mom saw the landmark exhibition “Treasures of Tutankhamun” at his museum in 1978. And her exposure to art of all kinds, especially the work of African American artists, lit a lifelong spark that my mother passed on to her children.
As I was growing up, she was constantly dragging us to new exhibits all over L.A. While I didn’t recognize it at the time, my mother was giving me an invaluable gift that made art an accessible space and helped me develop my understanding of the world. My career so far is the realization of three generations of African Americans—from my mom’s aunt and uncle to me—who were moved by the power of museums.
Installation view of “Treasures of Tutankhamun,” 1978, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which left an impression on the author.
© Museum Associates/LACMA.
In my current position at LACMA, I understand the challenges that museums are facing right now, but I cannot mask my distress at the trend of dismissing educators. Beyond the moral imperative to cultivate different kinds of understanding, a prominent body of evidence confirms the impact of work in the museum education field. Two prominent research studies, one by the National Art Education Association and the Association of Art Museum Directors in 2018 and another that studied field trips at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2012, validated the work that museums do with youth and highlight how important education opportunities in art are to student learning and skill development.
Both studies found that museum visits led to developments in critical thinking, tolerance, and empathy in students. I don’t think I could come up with a better set of qualities to be an engaged citizen of the world today. The conductor of the Crystal Bridges study—Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas—said of its results, “We also found that these benefits were much larger, in general, for students from rural areas or high-poverty schools, as well as minority students.” That emphasizes how truly crucial our roles as educators are in vulnerable communities. And as schools across the U.S. face budget cuts and the challenges of engaging students remotely, museums can support them to ensure that the benefits of art education are not lost.
At LACMA, we have prioritized education outreach for more than 30 years, from conducting classes at elementary schools to presenting exhibitions at local libraries. Our partnership with the Charles White Elementary magnet school, for example, has exposed students there to the importance of the visual arts over the years, and our robust mobile programs have served tens of thousands of children elsewhere around L.A.
A student journalist interviewing LACMA director Michael Govan about the Rufino Tamayo exhibition at Charles White Elementary School.
HRDWRKR. ©Museum Associates/LACMA.
As one of the largest art education providers in Southern California, we take our position seriously. At the beginning of June, we sent a survey to more than 10,000 teachers and received responses from 60 area school districts. We asked teachers to characterize their districts’ plans for schooling in the fall and also to predict what impacts Covid-19 would have on their students’ interaction with art education. Unsurprisingly, respondents expressed worry at the impact the budget cuts would have on already small arts education programs, with many saying that the prospect of any field trips in the 2020–21 school year—beyond the health concerns involved—would likely be out of the question due to funding issues. The teachers also cited the power of art education in helping their students process the coronavirus crisis and racial traumas—and asked for more support to continue providing their services. The call was loud and clear: the resources available to museum educators must be increased in the ever-evolving delivery of education in response to the tumultuous world we live in today.
LACMA is stepping up to provide just that. Under the leadership of Michael Govan, the museum’s director, we made the decision early in the pandemic to maintain all our staff members. My 20 full-time and nearly 60 part-time education colleagues are part of the fabric of LACMA, and I will continue to be an advocate for their role in shaping our mission moving forward. We are not talking about how to return to normal when “this is all over”; we’re working to reimagine how museum education can leverage and transform what the new normal looks like.
We started this work by investing in our education team members, extending our outreach services to reach more children and teachers, working to pilot and design remote and in-person events, and using our platform to highlight Black artists and antiracism resources. We have produced live virtual classes and prerecorded sessions, such as our self-directed “Art and Social Justice” course. We have created an extensive, publicly accessible library of digital teacher resources to supplement primary and secondary school curriculums, and have offered online training to teachers through our K-12 professional development program “Evenings for Educators.” We have also complemented digital offerings with the delivery of home art kits with materials for projects such as painting, collage, and mosaics, as well as guidance via video by one of LACMA’s education teams to ensure that communities without internet access can commune with art too. Through such programs, we have a unique opportunity to seed discussions at the family dinner table—the way they happened around my own.
A screenshot from a video about creating a marble painting from LACMA’s series “Make Art @ Home.”
We also want to provide people with a host of antiracism resources so they can do the critical work of self-education. In collaboration with several arts and community groups, we launched a series called “Racism Is a Public Health Issue” to explore the ways that racism creates chronic physical and emotional conditions detrimental to those who suffer them. During a series of virtual panel discussions featuring prominent public health experts and Black leaders in the arts, participants have examined the role of police brutality on Black communities. And we’re committed as well to showcasing riches of Black joy and Black art—beyond the scope of exhibitions—that comment directly on our present social moment and expose the public to diverse ideas. None of this would be possible without a robust team of committed educators.
The sustained energy we’ve seen across our nation in a time of crisis is inspiring, and we must take advantage of this period to rethink what education will look like in an actively antiracist and post-Covid-19 world. We have all thought a lot about essential workers—from healthcare providers to grocery store clerks—and how they’ve kept our society afloat despite the challenges of the pandemic. To navigate the difficulties of turning protests into lasting and meaningful change, cultivating dialogue and acceptance will be key. And those who help facilitate such actions—teachers and museum educators very much among them—must be treated as nothing less than essential.
A version of this article appears in the Fall 2020 issue of ARTnews, under the title “Education Is Not Expendable.”
2021 Toyota Sienna first drive review: Minivan versatility, economy-car efficiency – Roadshow
Some vehicles can haul a load of passengers, others are supremely comfortable and plenty of others deliver incredible fuel efficiency. Plot these attributes on a Venn diagram and the 2021 Toyota Sienna would land smack-dab in the middle. It can accommodate up to eight adults, plus it’s appropriately cushy and amazingly economical. For drivers that…
Some vehicles can haul a load of passengers, others are supremely comfortable and plenty of others deliver incredible fuel efficiency. Plot these attributes on a Venn diagram and the 2021 Toyota Sienna would land smack-dab in the middle. It can accommodate up to eight adults, plus it’s appropriately cushy and amazingly economical. For drivers that haven’t completely turned their noses up to minivans, the new Sienna makes a strong case for itself.One of the best arguments in favor of this Toyota is fuel economy. After a good ol’ thrashing on a wide variety of roads, I averaged just shy of 35 miles per gallon in my Platinum-trim, all-wheel-drive tester. That’s practically economy-car efficiency, plus it’s right in line with this Toyota’s window sticker. According to the EPA, it should return 35 mpg city, 36 mpg highway and 35 mpg combined. Front-drive models are rated at 36 mpg across the board, and all-wheel drive is available across the lineup.Delivering that astonishing real-world efficiency is a hybrid drivetrain, which is standard in all 2021 Siennas. Yep, a traditional V6 is no longer offered. This gasoline-electric propulsion system, which is built around a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 1.9-kilowatt-hour nickel-metal hydride battery pack mounted underneath the front seats, delivers 245 horsepower, a good bit less than you get in either a Honda Odyssey (280 hp) or non-plug-in-hybrid Chrysler Pacifica (287 hp).
2021 Toyota Sienna is a hybrid-only van with lots of functionality
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As you might expect, the Sienna’s performance is perfectly adequate but hardly thrilling. It feels a bit tepid around town, exactly where you’d expect a hybrid with immediate torque provided by electric motors to shine. Paradoxically, this van seems punchier out on the open road, accelerating more vigorously. Still, a little extra giddy-up would be appreciated, especially if you’re hauling a full load or towing anywhere near this van’s 3,500-pound limit. When working hard, the Sienna’s fuel-sipping drivetrain also sounds a bit distressed, louder and more grumbly than I recall the Toyota Highlander Hybrid being, which has basically the same powertrain. Minor gripes aside, it’s hard to argue with the economy this family-hauler provides.Riding on a derivative of the automaker’s ubiquitous TNGA platform, the 2021 Sienna grows slightly compared to its predecessor. It’s a fraction of an inch wider and 3.1 inches longer. Additionally, the wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer and the floor is a bit lower. The Sienna’s new foundation also provides greater rigidity, giving it an impressively solid feel, while a new independent rear-suspension design improves handling and refinement. This minivan’s ride quality is supple, with little coarseness from the road filtering through to the cabin. Its interior also remains impressively hushed, even at highway speeds. Handling is benign and predictable, with a bit of body roll when pushed through corners, though my Platinum model’s Bridgestone Turanza tires mounted on chrome-clad 18-inch wheels give up long before you could ever get yourself in trouble, howling even when mildly pushed. Braking performance is good, though the pedal does feel rubbery and a bit unnatural as it progresses from regenerative to friction braking.
There are plenty of storage cubbies inside the 2021 Toyota Sienna.
But this is not something your passengers are ever going to notice. The Sienna’s aft accommodations are lovely, especially with the super-long-slide bucket seats, which are standard equipment on all seven-passenger models. Recliner comfortable, they move 25 inches fore and aft for stretch-out room, plus on front-drive Limited and Platinum models they also come with fold-out ottomans for even greater luxury. As for this Toyota’s third-row seat, no, it doesn’t feature any integrated leg-rests, but it is plenty spacious for adult passengers and is very cushy.
When it’s time to haul cargo instead of people, those long-slide second-row seats are, unfortunately, nonremovable — well not without some tools and a service manual. This is because they contain airbags. Ditto for eight-passenger models; their second-row seats cannot be taken out, either. The Sienna’s second-row seats do, however, fold and push all the way up to the back of the front buckets, providing a generous amount of interior space, 6.5 feet from the backrests to the rear hatch, though it still has significantly fewer cubic feet of room than either an Odyssey or Pacifica. Fortunately, this Toyota can still haul 4×8 sheets of building material, with the plywood or drywall somewhat awkwardly resting on top of the second-row seat’s headrests. The new Sienna’s cabin is thoughtfully designed and well built. Some of its interior materials are rather ordinary, but nothing is chintzy or frail feeling. There are also plenty of places to put things, with a large cubby running across the dashboard and generously sized door pockets. I love the design of the center console, which looks like a bridge running from the dashboard back between the front seats. That console also makes the Sienna feel cozy yet open at the same time.Second-row comfort is one of this minivan’s major selling points.
One disappointing aspect of this minivan is the infotainment system, which runs on a standard, 9-inch, tablet-style touchscreen. Bright and clear, it’s easy to reach, though the software is mediocre at best, unattractive and not particularly intuitive. Toyota really needs to improve its multimedia offerings these days, as well as the back-up and 360-degree cameras, which are gritty looking and quite inferior to what’s offered in other vehicles.Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. The Sienna offers plenty of other tech, much of which is very handy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. A 10-inch color head-up display is included on the Platinum model, making it easy to keep track of vehicle speed and navigation prompts without taking your eyes off the road. A 12-speaker JBL sound system is available, as is a crisp, 11.6-inch, 1080p HD rear-seat entertainment screen. Ensuring everyone’s devices stay fully charged, seven USB ports are sprinkled throughout the cabin. Two handy standalone options the Sienna can be had with include a 1,500-watt power inverter with a household-style outlet on the back of the center console and another one in the cargo area, plus a digital rear-view mirror, which gives you a much wider field of view behind the vehicle. The 2021 Toyota Sienna can also be ordered with an integrated vacuum cleaner and a mini refrigerator, though these features will not be available immediately at launch due to supplier issues.As for driver-assistance tech, Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 is standard on every version of the Sienna. This suite includes helpful features like automatic high beams, road-sign recognition and pedestrian detection. Adaptive cruise control with lane centering is included, too, and it works as advertised, attentively adjusting speed based on traffic conditions and doing a commendable job keeping my tester in the middle of its lane. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are both standard on all grades, too, which is great news.Thanks to its crazy fuel efficiency and lounge-like interior, the new Sienna is an all-star minivan.
The Sienna’s looks have grown on me since I first checked out a prototype model, but that front end, which was inspired by Japanese bullet trains, is still a bit much, with its massive grille and swept-back headlamps. But hey, I appreciate Toyota taking a risk here, and things do get better the further back you go. This minivan’s powerful rear fenders flow neatly into its distinctive taillights, giving it a shapely look in profile. The molded-resin tailgate is also surprisingly stylish, with its integrated spoiler.A base, front-wheel-drive, LE version of the 2021 Toyota Sienna starts at $35,635, including $1,175 in destination fees. The range-topping, all-wheel-drive Platinum model shown here stickers for around $51,460, which is still a reasonable sum. I say “around” because it’s a prototype model; an official figure is not available at the time this is published.There’s not too much competition in the minivan segment right now. Having reviewed most of the available contenders, at the end of the day, I think Honda’s Odyssey is a bit better to drive and the Chrysler Pacifica more attractive, but this Toyota is still an undeniably good family transporter, especially with those throne-like second-row seats and stellar fuel economy.
2021 Toyota Sienna first-look video
Kazakhstan embraces Borat catchphrase to woo tourists
‘Very Nice!’ used by the tourism board in a light-hearted manner, but the foreign ministry says Borat sequel is racist.Ridiculed once again in a film featuring fictional Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan has embraced the joke this time around and adopted Borat’s catchphrase to try to attract tourists. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm:…
‘Very Nice!’ used by the tourism board in a light-hearted manner, but the foreign ministry says Borat sequel is racist.Ridiculed once again in a film featuring fictional Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev, the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan has embraced the joke this time around and adopted Borat’s catchphrase to try to attract tourists.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, a follow-up to a 2006 film featuring the same sexist and racist character, was released on Amazon Prime last week.
Like the first film, the movie has Borat on the rampage in the United States where he tries to trick US politicians and others into letting their guard down and compromising themselves.
Borat’s first outing caused anger in Kazakhstan where authorities discouraged its screening and threatened legal action over what they saw as an insult to their national character.
This time around, they have taken a different approach and adopted Borat’s catchphrase “Very Nice!” to try to promote tourism in the vast Central Asian country.
In a slick video released by the tourism board featuring spectacular mountains and lakes, exotic food market, and futuristic-looking cityscapes, a series of foreign tourists use the catchphrase to signal their appreciation for what they are seeing.
The idea to use Borat’s catchphrase belongs to Dennis Keen, a US citizen living in Kazakhstan, who is married to a Kazakh woman and has a business running walking tours.
“It was something I’d been thinking about for years as everyone who comes here is aware of the Borat thing being attached to the country’s brand,” Keen told Reuters news agency.
Borat’s “Very Nice!” catchphrase could be put to good use instead, he said.
“It’s actually the perfect description of the country in the most sincere way. The people and the food are very nice.”
COVID-19 means tourism in Kazakhstan has been hard hit by travel restrictions and border closures like many other countries.
But Kairat Sadvakassov, deputy chairman of Kazakh Tourism, said he hoped the campaign would help people see that Borat’s jokes about the country were off target when the situation improved.
“We would like everyone to come experience Kazakhstan for themselves by visiting our country in 2021 and beyond, so that they can see that Borat’s homeland is nicer than they may have heard,” Sadvakassov said in a news release.
Still, Kazakh authorities remain unimpressed with the film.
In a statement issued by the foreign ministry on Saturday, officials said the new movie was racist and xenophobic, but that an official protest was pointless because it would only generate more publicity and profits for the film’s makers.