Thursday, December 21, 2006

Garbage in, garbage out…

Public arts subsidies in…

I oppose arts subsidies not only because arts subsidies are thieving from people who do not want art thank you very much, although it is that of course. I also oppose arts subsidies because I really like art and I think arts subsidies damage art, by separating artists from audiences and by separating nob audiences from yob audiences, the aristocracy from the groundlings. With arts subsidies, you get High Art in one tent - precious, clever, obscure, self-regarding and pretentious, and expensive; and Low Art, brain-dead trash, in the other bigger tent. Without arts subsidies, they all go into the same tent and you get, well: Shakespeare basically. Shakespeare, nineteenth century classical music, the great nineteenth century novelists, twentieth century cinema (before that too got to subsidised into Posh and Trash), twentieth century pop music, all that is artistically vibrant, fun and profound.

— Brian Micklethwait, An artistic argument for the Olympic Games, via Quotulatiousness
On the other hand, we must expect great things from the London Cultural Office!

3 comments:

Dick said...

Mapmaster,

Given the above quote of Mr. Micklethwait, I need your opinion on something...

http://www.toronto.ca/planning/urbdesign/public_art.htm

MapMaster said...

Despite the best efforts of the photographers, the examples provided are inscrutable and uninspiring — I'd have to classify them as "brain-dead trash," or pretty much what could be expected from art for quota's sake. The pieces remind me of Vancouver, which is littered with these kinds of deadening obstructions — on a walk there I came across a group of chairs that had holes punched in them that I had assumed were tossed out on to public property, until I saw the little plaque informing me instead that they were part of an installation. My bad! But an utter waste of endeavour and public money. In Toronto's case, the one per cent dedication of construction costs to art are obviously not direct subsidies, but they amount to welfare for otherwise unemployable artists paid for by the tenants of the developments who, obviously, will have that one per cent passed on to their rents. The funny thing is that many developers, especially of high rent projects, voluntarily try to add aesthetic value to their properties to increase their economic values — it's hard to understand why the city feels obliged to mandate the requirement, unless it is to oblige the vocal "cultural" constituency.

By the way, Dick, I found an interesting interview on, among other things, the subject of planning. I hope to have it up here later on today.

Merry Christmas to the Velvet Loungers and their families,
MapMaster

Anonymous said...

Non-government art patronage gave us Beethoven, Renoir and Shakespeare.

Government art patronage gave us twelve-tone "symphonies", meat dresses and Margaret Atwood.

And didja ever wonder about this? The average artist earns a tiny pittance, lives in a dump of an garret or basement apartment, and has to supplement their income by working at menial jobs. A government arts bureaucrat has a huge salary, great benefits, ironclad job security, and a gold-plated pension. Yet we are told that the latter exists in order to benefit and enhance the work of the former. Suckers.