The Monocle Minute

In association with Brand Hong Kong x Monocle logo

The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 6 January 2018

Arts

Image: Alamy

Show me the money

A New York museum is to start charging visitors – which is fine until you find out how much the fountains cost.

For nearly half a century New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has operated a “pay-as-you-wish” admission policy. On 1 March the format will be dropped to make up for falling revenue in the public museum’s supposedly depleted coffers. While residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are exempt, the rest of the world will need an extra $25 (€21) in their wallets. Outcry has ensued, of course, and the argument has quickly become staged as libertarians versus socialists and educationalists. The Met is the de facto museum of the US and with its endowment of $2.5bn (€2bn) and trustees worth $500bn (€415bn), critics have rightly leered at the nasty fountains in the Met Plaza (embossed with donors’ names) that cost $65m (€54m) – potentially a decade of paid admissions. Arguably $25 to see the Van Goghs, Egyptian artefacts and Walter Evans archive is a snip but, seriously: where did all the money go?

Transport

Image: Getty Images

Gravy train

Rail links in Jakarta are – at long last – opening up the Indonesian capital to tourists and residents alike.

Short stopovers in Jakarta have become far more palatable in 2018 now that the airport rail link has finally opened. The 36km trip to the city centre has cut transfer times down to 55 minutes – a drastic reduction to the hours that can often be spent crawling along traffic-clogged and flood-prone streets. Poor transport infrastructure has long dampened the appeal of the Indonesian capital – and limited the potential of Southeast Asia’s largest economy – but more good news is on the way. Next year will see the opening of the sprawling city’s first underground subway line, as well as an elevated light-rail network. A similar combination has worked wonders in Bangkok so envious Jakartans will be hoping their congested city can also get moving.

Urbanism

Image: Alamy

Streets ahead

Melbourne’s street artists have been given a blank canvas in the form of a dedicated precinct.

Melbourne has long been known for its thriving street-art scene but the city’s commitment to civic art has now reached new heights, with the development of an official street-art precinct. The project, dubbed by curator Shaun Hossack as “the next step in the evolution of Melbourne’s street art”, features works by six prominent Australian street artists. Officially launched by mayor Robert Doyle last month, it is hoped that the project will inject new life into the CBD’s south end. Melbourne’s new precinct marks a milestone in the use of street art as a tool for cities to transform themselves – and takes it out of the hands of delinquent Banksy wannabes.

Television

Image: Shutterstock

Class act

Media outlets are promising more thoughtful coverage of the Golden Globes following the Weinstein scandal.

Tomorrow night’s Golden Globes marks the first major televised award ceremony in Hollywood post-Harvey Weinstein. The event has posed a conundrum for media outlets on how to square their red-carpet coverage – usually the most frothy of fare – with the Hollywood reckoning. The New York Times is sending a political reporter and the journalist who broke the Weinstein story to cover the red carpet; New York Magazine has said that it won’t be doing a best-dressed list (many actresses have pledged to wear sombre black to protest harassment). “I hope the Weinstein story will force red-carpet reporters to ask women more intelligent questions than ‘Who designed what you are wearing?’,” says Dana Thomas, journalist and author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. “In the last two decades, the red carpet has become another runway for fashion companies. But it doesn’t have to only be that. What would be wonderful – even radical – is if women were treated less like live mannequins and more like the men are: as talented, sophisticated, smart people.”

From Monocle 24

TV with Alice Vincent and Toby Earle

The Monocle Arts Review

Toby Earle, arts and entertainment writer for The Telegraph, and Alice Vincent, TV critic for London Live and The Evening Standard, discuss the latest series of technology anthology series Black Mirror, new BBC drama Hard Sun, Channel 4 and Netflix collaboration The End of the Fucking World and the latest series of black comedy Inside No. 9.

From Monocle Films

The high life, Lower Engadine

Each Swiss valley has its own culture – even language. Locals make the most of their isolation but also know how to sell their skills. The Lower Engadine has perfected this lost-world vibrancy.

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