Wednesday, May 12, 2010

art economics 101

I don't know who the cartoonist is, but if I did I'd give him/her full credit as this is right on target. So much of the art I'm looking at these days is all about the artist. The market-savvy artist knows that artist-as-celebrity sells better than almost anything else in the current tabloid-mentality marketplace.

I'm in a really foul mood about society's shortcomings and government shortsightedness today. My boys, who are heavily involved in arts programmes, came home with information on the slashing of the district's and therefore school's fine arts budget. No more extracurricular theatre company, which affects Adam, only one or two multi-level art classes (it's a very small school but...) and no jazz band, beginner band or guitar being offered any more. Fortunately that doesn't affect Carl as he is graduating in a few weeks.

One good thing (the only good thing?) about former elitist societies is that art-making was not all about the bottom line. There was a purity of purpose when it was being made for the privileged classes, who often thought anything to do with money was unclean. Along with this economic freedom for the elite came buckets of education, and the resulting art patronage delivered many artists from the need to spend as much time on marketing as making art. Art was often about (gasp) art.

Please, feel free to argue with me. I'm itching for a fight today. :)


Blogger dinahmow said...

Sorry, but you wont get it from me!
I'm similarly cranky as national (primary school) tests are on this week. Supposed to show who performs "best" and where; all I can see it doing is promoting mediocrity.And "art" doesn't get a mention.

stomps off to slam a door somewhere...

12/5/10 4:49 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

blogger didn't post my comment, okay here I go ago. Love the comic! I'm in a foul mood just hearing about the cuts. What of the kids whose parents can't afford music lessons outside of school? where is the outlet for the artsy kids? sports never gets the same treatment. Grrrr.
But as for purity of purpose, i'll argue for the heck of it:) Egomanical popes, rich merchants who wanted to wank off to naked women in allegorical paintings before the days of Hustler and internet porn weren't such a noble lot, not to mention art used as propaganda by kings and rulers. meh, whaddagonnado eh?

12/5/10 5:27 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Dinah: You know, no matter how flawed, I think the rich, open-minded 'progressive' educators in the '70s were onto something. Education in its current form simply doesn't work any more.

Ellen: What?! Oh sorry, I misread it. You *didn't* say "egomaniacal popes who wanted to wank off to naked women..." though I'm not so sure it's very different... :) And please, more dissent. My brain needs to work on this some more. I was listening to an author being interviewed today and he was saying soemthing similar about the democratization of society also being the commoditization/Americanization of society, and that levelling the playing fields has had the unwanted result of enforcing mediocrity in education, cuisine, the arts, etc. etc. No question that horrendous exploitation happens in a caste/tiered society, but excellence of achievement also has more support.

12/5/10 7:23 p.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

It seems to me that the loss of the arts follows inevitably (with or behind?) the loss of a liberal arts education. So many folks that make it economically haven't a clue. Some don't care: I think many others do, desperately long for something more. But they don't know what, or how to find it, and their ego is too weak to allow them to simply go with their own taste. So they flock to those who are 'personalities' because they're safe.

13/5/10 4:39 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Hayden: I hate the idea that the world is full of lemmings but if you think of it in sheer numbers it makes sense. For a pack to form it only needs one leader (or a pair) and the rest must therefore be followers. It proves that we are social/habitual creatures before we are thinking creatures. Maybe that's why artists "feel different". They are!

13/5/10 9:40 p.m.  
Blogger Hayden said...

ABSOLUTELY artists are different! A few years back I realized that was the main problem in my life - too many friggin' bankers around me, too few artists.

A thoughtful friend was going on recently about people who live too tightly within the rules and do so at the expense of "living." I figure our entire education and most peoples' jobs reward exactly that. Stay inside the rules, don't be a game-changer. Boredom!!! To me, that's embracing death/stasis instead of life/change. I think this is all related somehow. Maybe Fear is the common denominator.

14/5/10 6:46 p.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

Love the comic but you've got no argument from me, my friend...totally in agreement

14/5/10 7:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


14/5/10 8:28 p.m.  

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