The axe falls

Deep Freeze Adventure 3

Publicly funded art: a chilling experience?

Had you had the opportunity to read Art of England Back Chat item I wrote and read the headline of the Financial Times for Saturday, 10 July 2010, [read the article here] you would have learned what is store for the arts in the UK — entrepreneurialism, philanthropy and the dismantling of the welfare state that is arts funding.

Of course this will require a change of behaviour of artists as well as the institutions that comprise the art and culture world.  Special interests will by their very nature plead for special treatment and perhaps some of these arguments will have merit. But in the main, the lazy hazy days of the public gravy train are near an end and cultural forces will have to be a little bit extra tuned toward their cultural audiences and away from the solipsism and self-indulgence that seems to pass for much art.

There is no lack of philanthropy for idiosyncratic acquisition of dodgy art, and there is no end to the institutionalisation of art in national galleries (along with a reluctance to prune the holdings — just see the fuss when the Albright-Knox in Buffalo, NY wanted to do this).

But culture is dynamic not static and warehousing art in public galleries is little different from checking the chest freezer to see what could be thawed out for dinner.

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